The Carina constellation is located in the southern hemisphere, and was at one time part of the larger constellation of Argo Navis.
The Argo Navis is the ship sailed by Jason and the Argonauts on their quest to recover the golden fleece.
French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille divided the constellation into 3 separate parts...Carina(the keel), Vela(the sails), and Puppis(the stern or poop deck).
Volans is the small constellation outlined to the right.
photo courtesy and © T. Credner & S. Kohle, www.AlltheSky.com
Right Ascension: 9 hours
Declination: -60 degrees
Visible between latitudes: +20 and -90 degrees
Best seen in March at 9:00 PM local time
Named Stars: Canopus(Alpha Carinae) Miaplacidus(Beta Carinae) Avior(Epsilon Carinae) Aspidiske(Iota Carinae) Simiram(Omega Carinae)
There are plenty of sights to see on this voyage across the sky.
It starts with the bright star Canopus. Canopus is the second brightest star in the night sky after Sirius in the constellation Canis Major.
A white variable star that was once the night's brightest, Canopus has an apparent magnitude of -0.72. Three hundred thirteen light-years away this star is actually much more luminous than Sirius(8.6 light-years away) which is a lot closer.
Other stars with a magnitude above 3.00 include: Beta, Theta, Iota, and Epsilon.
Variable stars abound in the Carina constellation as well.
1 Carinae is a Cepheid variable that's the brightest to the naked-eye. It is a yellow hyper-giant star with an apparent magnitude between 4.2 and 3.3.
R Carinae is a red giant that varies between 10 and 4 apparent magnitude, and S Carinae varies between 10 and 5 apparent magnitude.
The most important though is Eta Carinae. This giant star is 4 million(4,000,000) times brighter than the Sun.
In 1677 Edmund Halley noticed when it suddenly flared into an apparent magnitude of 4. In 1827 it brightened to an apparent magnitude of 1, until 1828 when it faded slightly to 1.5.
In 1843 it reached its brightest point as it became a star as bright as Sirius.
The Carina Nebula(NGC3372) is the prominent nebula of the Carina constellation. With an apparent magnitude of 8.0 it is visible in small telescopes and, in dark skies, binoculars. It contains the Keyhole Nebula in the center.
The Homunculus Nebula is the home of Eta Carinae and is visible to the naked eye.
Globular cluster NGC2808 is visible to the naked eye.
Open cluster NGC2516 is naked-eye visible with a red giant star of magnitude 5.2.
NGC3114 is a loose cluster of 6th magnitude stars.
NGC3532 has orange stars of 7th magnitude but the cluster is naked-eye visible.
IC2602 is the open cluster known as “The Southern Pleiades”. It contains the star Theta Carinae and amongst it 60 or so stars are many visible to the naked eye.
Epsilon and Upsilon Carinae are both double stars that can be split into their component stars in small backyard stargazer's scopes.Celestial Solar System › CONSTELLATIONS › Carina Constellation