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.
Antlia is a constellation devoid of bright stars, and very few have any interesting features.
U Antliae is an irregular variable star, which magnitude oscillates between 5,50 and 6,80.
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
- α Ant 4,28 -0,97 367 K4III
- δ Ant 5.57 −0.27 481 B9/B9.5V
- ε Ant 4,51 -2,15 700 K3III
- ι Ant 4,60 0,67 199 K0III
- θ Ant 4,78 -0,58 384 A7V+...
- η Ant 5,23 2,66 106 A8IV
- ζ Ant 5.75 0.46 372 A0
- HD 93083 8.33 6.03 94 K2V
- HR 4086 5,34 2,3 132 A8V
- HR 4313 5,43 -0,63 530 A0V
- AG Ant 5,44 -3,68 2175 B9.5Ib/II
- HR 3770 5,49 -1,36 764 K2IIICNII
- AG Antliae 5.52 −3.60 2173 B9.5Ib/II Alpha Cygni variable
- S Antliae 6.43 2.05 245 F3V W Ursae Majoris variable
- U Antliae 5,50 -1,54 836 C Carbon star
- UX Antliae 12.20 - - R Coronae Borealis variable
- DEN 1048-3956 17.39 19.37 13.2 M8.5 V 28th closest star system to ours. Either a low-mass star or brown dwarf