The Constellation Circinus

by Dominic Ford
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Circinus is the fourth smallest constellation, squeezed into a narrow gap between the front feet of Centaurus and Triangulum Australe.

It represents a pair of compasses and together with its neighbor Norma – a set square – forms a pair of constellations which celebrate drawing instruments. Both were introduced by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1756.

Circinus is visible in the far southern sky in the months around April, but contains only one star brighter than fourth magnitude. It lies across the plane of the Milky Way and despite its small size contains four open clusters with NGC numbers, including the Caldwell object C88 (NGC 5823).

Date First Appeared
1756 (Lacaille)
Sky Area
0.2% of the sky
93.4 square degrees
Messier Objects
Circinus contains no Messier objects
Caldwell Objects
Circinus contains the following Caldwell object: C88.
The following constellations neighbor Circinus: Apus, Centaurus, Lupus, Musca, Norma, Triangulum Australe.
Circinus Circinus
The constellation Circinus as it appears to the unaided eye. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.

San Diego



Color scheme

Brightest Objects in Circinus

Hover the pointer over the name of an object to highlight its position on the starchart to the right, or click to see more information.

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
α-Cir (mag 3.2) NGC 5823 (mag 7.9)
β-Cir (mag 4.1) NGC 5715 (mag 9.8)
γ-Cir (mag 4.5) NGC 5288 (mag 11.8)
ε-Cir (mag 4.9) NGC 5359
θ-Cir (mag 5.0)
δ-Cir (mag 5.1)
TYC8707-1990-2 (mag 5.2)
η-Cir (mag 5.2)
HIP 73036 (mag 5.2)
HIP 72131 (mag 5.4)
HIP 74941 (mag 5.4)
HIP 70492 (mag 5.6)
HIP 75308 (mag 5.7)
HIP 67942 (mag 5.7)
HIP 69763 (mag 5.7)
HIP 67664 (mag 5.8)
HIP 74750 (mag 5.8)
HIP 70657 (mag 5.8)
HIP 72438 (mag 5.9)
HIP 71002 (mag 5.9)
AX Cir (mag 6.0)
HIP 68455 (mag 6.0)
HIP 71530 (mag 6.0)
ζ-Cir (mag 6.1)
HIP 69241 (mag 6.1)
HIP 69298 (mag 6.1)
BU Cir (mag 6.1)
HIP 72097 (mag 6.1)
HIP 71861 (mag 6.2)
HIP 72471 (mag 6.2)
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