Ara (constellation)

Infobox Constellation
name = Ara
abbreviation = Ara
genitive = Arae
symbology = the Altar
RA = 17.39
dec= −53.58
areatotal = 237
arearank = 63rd
numbermainstars = 7
numberbfstars = 18
numberstarsplanets = 4
numberbrightstars = 2
numbernearbystars = 4
brighteststarname = β Ara
starmagnitude = 2.9
neareststarname = 41 Ara
stardistance = 28.7
numbermessierobjects = 0
meteorshowers = None
bordering = Corona Australis
Scorpius
Norma
Triangulum Australe
Apus
Pavo
Telescopium
latmax = 25
latmin = 90
month = July
notes=

Ara (pron-en|ˈɛərə, [Random House Dictionary] _la. altar) is a southern constellation situated between the constellations Scorpius and Triangulum Australe.

Notable features

Ara's brightest star, β Arae, has an apparent magnitude of 2.9. γ Arae is a double star just south of β. μ Arae is believed to have at least four planets orbiting it, one of which may be rocky in nature. ά Arae has the name Choo, Chinese for club or staff. Epsilon Arae, έ Arae, has the name Tso Kang, meaning left guard.

Notable deep sky objects

The northwest corner of Ara is crossed by the Milky Way and contains several open clusters and diffuse nebulae. The brightest of the globular clusters, NGC 6397, is 8,200 light-years from our solar system and may be the closest cluster of that kind.

History

This constellation was one of Ptolemy's original 48 constellations.

Mythology

In ancient Greek mythology, it was thought that the Cyclopes originally built the altar as a place to sacrifice to the Olympian gods. The altar, usually depicted upside down, but sometimes upright with the smoke drifting into the Milky Way, was identified as the altar of
Lycaon. Lycaon sacrificed a child (according to one legend, it was Arcas) to Zeus on the altar on mount Lycaeus, and immediately after the sacrifice was turned into a wolf, which may have also formed the basis for the myth of the constellation Lupus.

In other Greek tales, Ara was identified with the altar of the god of wine, Dionysus.

Ara was also sometimes identified with that of the centaur Chiron; its original Latin name was Ara Centauri.

References

* Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). "Stars and Planets Guide", Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.

External links

* [http://www.allthesky.com/constellations/norma/ The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Ara]
* [http://www.nightskyinfo.com/constellations/ara/ NightSkyInfo.com: Constellation Ara]
* [http://www.wikisky.org/?ra=17.376392410628202&de=-56.62050634239181&zoom=3&locale=EN&show_grid=1&show_constellation_lines=1&show_constellation_boundaries=1&show_const_names=0&show_galaxies=1"WIKISKY.ORG": Ara]
* [http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/ara.htm Star Tales – Ara]


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