Star Names:

Phoenix


Map of The Constellation of Phoenix
Please hover over any star to get more information
Phoenix is a constellation in the southern hemisphere. It got its name after the mythical firebird, the phoenix. The phoenix supposedly looked like a huge eagle with multi-coloured plumage.

Phoenix was one of the constellations first mapped in the late 16th century by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius, from the observations of Dutch navigators on an expedition to the East Indies. Phoenix was first depicted in German uranographer Johann Bayer's star atlas Uranometria in 1603.

In Greek mythology, the phoenix lived for about 500 years and then built itself a scented nest on top of a tree, ignited the twigs and ended its life on a pyre. A baby phoenix was born in the nest of the dying bird. In many cultures, the phoenix is associated with death and rebirth. The constellation Phoenix is usually depicted as a large bird rising into the sky. The Arabs knew it as the Boat.

The constellation Phoenix occupies an area of 469 square degrees and contains six stars with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +32° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of November.

Phoenix only has two stars brighter than magnitude 5.0. [6612] alpha Phoenicis or Ankaa ("the phoenix") is an orange giant about 80 light-years distant. It is also known as Nair al-Zaurak ("the bright star of the skiff").

[6613] beta and [6614] gamma Phoenicis are both variable giants, almost three times as distant as [6612] Ankaa.

[6616] zeta Phoenicis is an eclipsing binary star system, an Algol type variable, comprised of four stars. It is approximately 280 light-years distant.

[6626] nu Phoenicis is a star similar to the Sun, only brighter and more massive. It is a main sequence dwarf that emits excess infrared radiation and might have a dust ring.

Phoenix also has a notable deep sky object. NGC 625 is a barred spiral galaxy. It lies approximately 12.7 million light-years away and is a member of the Sculptor Group of galaxies, a group located near the south galactic pole.

Phoenix belongs to the Johann Bayer family of constellations, along with Hydrus, Dorado, Volans, Apus, Pavo, Grus, Tucana, Indus, Chamaeleon and Musca.

Constellations directly bordering Phoenix are Sculptor, Tucana, Grus, Hydrus, Eridanus and Fornax.


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