The Constellation Carina

by Dominic Ford
Carina Carina
The constellation Carina. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.

Carina is visible in the far southern sky in the months around January. Visually, it is dominated by the star Canopus, the second brightest star in the sky.

It is also home to one of the sky's most variable stars, η-Car, which in recent times has remained rather faint at mag 7–8, but in 1843 briefly rivalled Sirius in brightness at mag –1.5.

Until the eighteenth century, Carina was part of the much larger ancient constellation of Argo Navis, listed by Ptolemy among his 48 constellations in the second century. Argo Navis covered over 4% of the sky, an area 25% larger than the biggest modern constellation, Hydra.

In 1763, Nicolas Louis de Lacaille divided it up into three parts: Carina, Puppis and Vela. As a result of this relatively recent subdivision, the Bayer designations (α, β, γ, etc) are split between the stars of the three constellations.

In classical mythology, Argo Navis was the ship sailed by Jason and the Argonauts on their voyage to recover the golden fleece. Carina represents the ship's keel.

Date First Appeared
1756 (Lacaille)
Sky Area
1.2% of the sky
494.2 square degrees
Messier Objects
Carina contains no Messier objects
Caldwell Objects
Carina contains the following Caldwell objects: C90, C91, C92, C96, C102.
The following constellations neighbor Carina: Centaurus, Chamaeleon, Musca, Pictor, Puppis, Vela, Volans.
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Brightest Objects in Carina

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Canopus (mag -0.6) IC 2602 (mag 1.9) NGC 2808 (mag 6.2) NGC 3136 (mag 11.0)
Miaplacidus (mag 1.7) NGC 3532 (mag 3.0) NGC 3059 (mag 11.2)
Avior (mag 1.9) NGC 2516 (mag 3.8) NGC 2822 (mag 12.0)
Aspidiske (mag 2.2) IC 2581 (mag 4.0) NGC 2887 (mag 12.5)
θ-Car (mag 2.7) NGC 3114 (mag 4.2) NGC 2836 (mag 12.6)
υ-Car (mag 3.0) NGC 3293 (mag 4.7) NGC 2417 (mag 13.1)
ω-Car (mag 3.3) NGC 3572 (mag 6.6) NGC 2502 (mag 13.1)
V337 Car (mag 3.4) NGC 3324 (mag 6.7) IC 2554 (mag 13.2)
PP Car (mag 3.4) NGC 3496 (mag 8.2) NGC 2191 (mag 13.3)
V357 Car (mag 3.4) NGC 3590 (mag 8.2) NGC 2842 (mag 13.3)
χ-Car (mag 3.4) IC 2714 (mag 8.2) NGC 2381 (mag 13.4)
l Car (mag 3.8) NGC 3603 (mag 9.1) IC 2200 (mag 13.8)
u-Car (mag 3.8) NGC 3255 (mag 11.0) NGC 2369 (mag 14.2)
c-Car (mag 3.8) NGC 2609 IC 2596 (mag 15.6)
s-Car (mag 3.8) NGC 3036 NGC 2640
V382 Car (mag 3.9) NGC 2714
i-Car (mag 3.9)
I-Car (mag 4.0)
h-Car (mag 4.1)
V343 Car (mag 4.3)
g-Car (mag 4.3)
N-Car (mag 4.4)
V415 Car (mag 4.4)
r-Car (mag 4.5)
V344 Car (mag 4.5)






Color scheme