The Constellation Centaurus, the Centaur
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Centaurus - The Centaur
Below the stars of Hydra
, the sea serpent,
the scorpion, you can find the half-man, half-horse creature,
Centaurus. He faces east holding a lance-like pole which he is using
to kill Lupus, the wolf standing in front of him.
Centaurus' brightest star (Alpha Centauri), is called
Toliman or Rigel Kentaurus. It's the third brightest star in the sky
and the closest star to the Sun. Alpha Centauri is really a triple
star: two components form a double star. The third component is a red
dwarf, more than 2 degrees away from the bright pair. It is called
Proxima Centauri (closest in Centaurus) because, of the three
components, it is the closest to Earth, about 4 light-years away.
Centaurus is home to Omega Centauri (NGC 5139), the brightest and
largest globular cluster in
the sky. It is visible to the naked eye as a faint smudge. It is one
of the closest globular clusters to Earth and contains more than a
According to a Greek myth, it was Centaurus who first grouped the
stars into constellations. He also taught humans how to read the
sky. Centaurus placed a picture of himself in the sky to guide a
group of sailors called the Argonauts.
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