Antlia (originally Antlia pneumatica, now Antlia alone, from Latin Antlia, "the pump") is a constellation created by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille in 1752 in an attempt to cover the last few regions of the southern hemisphere sky that were still left without any denomination. It's a faint constellation, its brightest star, Alpha antliae, being an orange giant of magnitude 4.25. α Antliae is located roughly 370 light-years away and is a slightly variable star, but highly imprevisible.

Origin of the name

Disontinuing the tradition of naming constellations after mythologic characters, French astronomer Lacaille named all of his new constellations after scientific instruments. Antlia is no exception, being a tribute to Robert Boyle's invention of the air pump.

Shape and location

Being a faint constellation, Antlia is rather difficult to spot in the sky. It is bordered by Hydra, Pyxis, Vela and Centaurus and covers 239 square degrees, the 62nd largest constellation of the 88 modern ones.

Notable stars

Antlia is a constellation devoid of bright stars, and very few have any interesting features.

Zeta Antliae is a multiple star, made up of three companions of magnitudes 5,93, 6,35 and 7.21.

U Antliae is an irregular variable star, which magnitude oscillates between 5,50 and 6,80.

Finally, HD 93083 is a very faint star known to have at least one exoplanet.

Notable deep sky objets

If Antlia has little to offer in terms of interesting stars, it however has several deep sky objects worthy of mention.

NGC 3132, nicknamed the Eight-burst Nebula, is a planetary nebula located on the frontier between Antlia and Vela with a binary star system at its core. The cloud of gases surrounding them reminds of M57.

NGC 2997 is a spiral galaxy particularly notable for a nucleus surrounded by a chain of hot giant clouds of ionized hydrogen. Also a radiogalaxy, it appears as an elliptical galaxy from Earth because of its inclination of roughly 45 degrees.

The Antlia Dwarf (PGC 29194) is a dwarf galaxy of spheric shape that seems to belong to our Local group. Only discovered in 1997 and very faint, being of apparent magnitude 14.8, it is located about 3.7 million ly away.

List of the stars found in the constellation

Name / app. magnitude / abs. magnitude / Distance (ly) / Spectral class / Notes

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