The Constellation Fornax

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

Fornax is a faint constellation in the southern sky, visible in the evening sky in the months around October.

Its brightest stars are of fourth magnitude, but it is best known for some of its extremely faint deep sky objects.

Lying well away from the plane of the Milky Way, Fornax offers an extremely good window on the distant Universe. Even compared to other similarly dark sky areas, Fornax offers unusually large areas of sky where there is minimal obscuration from nearby material.

For this reason, it was chosen for the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Other deep sky objects of interest include the Fornax Dwarf galaxy – a nearby companion to the Milky Way – and the Fornax Cluster of galaxies. Both, however, require a large telescope and exceptionally dark skies to be seen.

The name ‘Fornax’ was given to this sky area by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1756. It is Latin for ‘furnace’.

Date First Appeared
1756 (Lacaille)
Sky Area
1.0% of the sky
397.5 square degrees
Messier Objects
Fornax contains no Messier objects
Caldwell Objects
Fornax contains the following Caldwell object: C67.
The following constellations neighbor Fornax: Cetus, Eridanus, Phoenix, Sculptor.
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Brightest Objects in Fornax

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
α-For (mag 3.9) NGC 1049 (mag 0.0) NGC 686 (mag 0.0)
β-For (mag 4.5) NGC 824 (mag 0.0)
ν-For (mag 4.7) NGC 1292 (mag 0.0)
ω-For (mag 5.0) NGC 1339 (mag 0.0)
δ-For (mag 5.0) IC 1728 (mag 0.0)
φ-For (mag 5.1) IC 1858 (mag 0.0)
κ-For (mag 5.2) IC 1904 (mag 0.0)
μ-For (mag 5.3) NGC 698 (mag 0.0)
π-For (mag 5.4) NGC 897 (mag 0.0)
γ²-For (mag 5.4) NGC 1406 (mag 0.0)
η³-For (mag 5.5) IC 1759 (mag 0.0)
ρ-For (mag 5.5) IC 1814 (mag 0.0)
HD 20729 (mag 5.6) IC 1862 (mag 0.0)
ζ-For (mag 5.7) IC 1913 (mag 0.0)
χ²-For (mag 5.7) NGC 775 (mag 0.0)
ι¹-For (mag 5.7) NGC 1366 (mag 0.0)
λ²-For (mag 5.8) NGC 1459 (mag 0.0)
ι²-For (mag 5.8) IC 1782 (mag 0.0)
ε-For (mag 5.9) IC 1885 (mag 0.0)
λ¹-For (mag 5.9) IC 1981 (mag 0.0)
σ-For (mag 5.9) NGC 689 (mag 0.0)
HD 20606 (mag 5.9) NGC 854 (mag 0.0)
η²-For (mag 5.9) NGC 1124 (mag 0.0)
ψ-For (mag 5.9) NGC 1302 (mag 0.0)
HD 21430 (mag 5.9) NGC 1341 (mag 0.0)




Color scheme