Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The constellation Antlia (Latin for pump) is a relatively new constellation as it was only created in the 18th century, being too faint to be acknowledged by the ancient greeks. The IAU adopted it as one of the 88 modern constellations. Beginning at the north, Antlia is surrounded by the sea monster Hydra, the compass Pyxis, the sails (Vela) of the mythological ship Argo and finally the centaur Centaurus.
Antlia is a faint constellation void of bright stars. Its least faint star is:
- α Ant: being Antlia's principal star its apparent brightness is still only 4.25 mag. Its spectral class is K4 III
Notable deep sky objects
- NGC 2997 : Spiral galaxy of type Sc which is inclined 45° to our line of sight.
- NGC 3132 : This planetary nebula is also called Eight Burst Nebula or Southern Ring Nebula. At its heart is a binary system.
- PGC 29194 : This dwarf spheroidal galaxy with an apparent brightness of only 14.8m belongs to our Local Group of galaxies.
The French astronomer Abbé Nicolas Louis de La Caille created 13 constellations for the southern sky to fill some star poor regions, among them Antlia. It was originally denominated Antlia pneumatica (Latin for the air pump invented by Robert Boyle) which is why in English this constellation is also often called Air Pump.
It is interesting to note that no attempt seems to have been made to assign Bayer letters according to their apparent brightness.
There is no mythology attached to Antlia as La Caille discontinued the tradition of giving names from mythology to constellations and instead chose mostly names of instruments used in science.
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