Centaurus in the southwestern sky, shortly after sunset.
The two bright stars are (left) Alpha Centauri and (right) Beta Centauri. The faint red star in the center of the red circle is Proxima Centauri.
Centaurus in the Firmamentum Sobiescianum of Johannes Hevelius. This image is reversed from what one sees looking at the sky — it is as though one is looking at the "celestial sphere" from the outside.
Centaurus, 1602

Bright constellation in the southern sky.

- Centaurus

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Alpha Centauri

For other uses, see Alpha Centauri (disambiguation).

Alpha Centauri is the brightest object in the constellation of Centaurus (top left).
Apparent and true orbits of Alpha Centauri. The A component is held stationary, and the relative orbital motion of the B component is shown. The apparent orbit (thin ellipse) is the shape of the orbit as seen by an observer on Earth. The true orbit is the shape of the orbit viewed perpendicular to the plane of the orbital motion. According to the radial velocity versus time, the radial separation of A and B along the line of sight had reached a maximum in 2007, with B being further from Earth than A. The orbit is divided here into 80 points: each step refers to a timestep of approx. 0.99888 years or 364.84 days.
The relative sizes and colours of stars in the Alpha Centauri system, compared to the Sun
Relative positions of Sun, Alpha Centauri AB and Proxima Centauri. Grey dot is projection of Proxima Centauri, located at the same distance as Alpha Centauri AB.
The two bright stars at the lower right are Alpha (right) and Beta Centauri (left, above antenna). A line drawn through them points to the four bright stars of the Southern Cross, just to the right of the dome of the Danish 1.54 m telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Alpha Centauri AB taken in daylight by holding a Canon Powershot S100 in line with the eyepiece of a 110-mm refractor. The photo is one of the best frames of a video. The double star is clearly visible.
View of Alpha Centauri from the Digitized Sky Survey-2
Alpha Centauri A is of the same stellar type G2 as the Sun, while Alpha Centauri B is a K1-type star.
Closest stars to the Sun
Distances of the nearest stars from 20,000 years ago until 80,000 years in the future
Animation showing motion of Alpha Centauri through the sky. (The other stars are held fixed for didactic reasons) "Oggi" means today. "Anni" means years.
The discovery image of Alpha Centauri's candidate Neptunian planet, marked here as "C1".
Looking towards the sky around Orion from Alpha Centauri with Sirius near Betelgeuse, Procyon in Gemini, and the Sun in Cassiopeia generated by Celestia.
Simulated night-sky image with a "W" of stars from Cassiopeia connected by lines, and the Sun, labeled "Sol", as it would appear to the left of the "W"
The Very Large Telescope and Alpha Centauri

To the naked eye, the two main components appear to be a single star with an apparent magnitude of −0.27, the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus and the third-brightest in the night sky, outshone only by Sirius and Canopus.


Constellation of the southern sky that is centred on four bright stars in a cross-shaped asterism commonly known as the Southern Cross.

Depiction of the Crux by João Faras in May 1500
Southern Cross from New Zealand
Deep exposure of Crux, Coalsack Nebula, and IC 2944
Locating the south celestial pole
The constellation Crux as it can be seen by the naked eye
Crux with clouds, from Cape Town
Crux, appearing on a number of flags and insignia

Nearby to the southeast is a large dark nebula spanning 7° by 5° known as the Coalsack Nebula, portions of which are mapped in the neighbouring constellations of Centaurus and Musca.

Proxima Centauri

Alpha Centauri AB is the bright star to the left, which forms a triple star system with Proxima Centauri, circled in red. The bright star system to the right is Beta Centauri.

Proxima Centauri is a small, low-mass star located 4.2465 ly away from the Sun in the southern constellation of Centaurus.

Beta Centauri

Star system named DI Cha. While only two stars are apparent, it is actually a quadruple system containing two sets of binary stars.

Beta Centauri is a triple star system in the southern constellation of Centaurus.

Omega Centauri


Omega Centauri (ω Cen, NGC 5139, or Caldwell 80) is a globular cluster in the constellation of Centaurus that was first identified as a non-stellar object by Edmond Halley in 1677.

Sagittarius (constellation)

One of the constellations of the zodiac and is located in the Southern celestial hemisphere.

The "Teapot" asterism is in Sagittarius. The Milky Way is the "steam" coming from the spout. The galactic center Sagittarius A* is located off the top of the spout.
Sagittarius region of the Milky Way
The constellation Sagittarius. North is to the left. The line going to the right connects ζ to α and β Sagittarii. Above this line one sees Corona Australis.
Large Sagittarius Star Cloud with Lagoon Nebula at top
The Omega Nebula, also known as the Horseshoe or Swan Nebula
Messier 54 was the first globular cluster found that is outside the Milky Way.
Sagittarius as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. The Terebellum is seen in the back of the centaur
Terebellum asterism

As there are two centaurs in the sky, some identify Chiron with the other constellation, known as Centaurus.

James Dunlop

Scottish astronomer, noted for his work in Australia.

1843 oil portrait of James Dunlop by Joseph Backler
Jane Dunlop
The headstone of James Dunlop (1793–1848) at St. Paul's Anglican Church, Kincumber, New South Wales, Australia

His most famous discovery is likely the radio galaxy NGC 5128 or Centaurus A, a well-known starburst galaxy in the constellation of Centaurus.

Asterism (astronomy)

Observed pattern or group of stars in the sky.

A picture of stars, with a group of appearingly bright blue and white stars. The bright stars together are identified as the asterism Coathanger resembling a coathanger, in the constellation Vulpecula.
Some major asterisms on a celestial map (the projection exaggerates the stretching)
The Big Dipper asterism
The "Teapot" asterism in Sagittarius. The Milky Way appears as "steam" coming from the spout.
The "37" or "LE" of NGC 2169, in Orion. It is visible through a pair of binoculars.

The Southern Cross is an asterism by name, but the whole area is now recognised as the constellation Crux. The main stars are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and arguably also Epsilon Crucis. Earlier, Crux was deemed an asterism when Bayer created it in Uranometria (1603) from the stars in the hind legs of Centaurus, decreasing the size of Centaur. These same stars were probably identified by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia as the asterism 'Thronos Caesaris.'

Lupus (constellation)

Not to be confused with the constellation Lepus, the hare.

Lupus is located in the bottom-left corner of card 32 in Urania's Mirror (1825)
The constellation Lupus as it can be seen by the naked eye
Planetary nebula NGC 5882 (HST/NASA/ESA)

Lupus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations but was long an asterism associated with the just westerly, larger constellation Centaurus.


Held to be the superlative centaur amongst his brethren since he was called the "wisest and justest of all the centaurs".

The Education of Achilles by Chiron, fresco from Herculaneum, 1st century AD (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples)
Chiron, Peleus and infant Achilles
Peleus wrestling Thetis (who shapeshifts in fire and big cat), between Chiron and a Nereid. Side B of an Attic black-figure amphora, c. 510 BC.
A lekythos depicting Chiron and Achilles
The Education of Achilles, by Eugène Delacroix.
Chiron and Achilles by John Singer Sargent (circa 1922-1925)
The Education of Achilles by Donato Creti, 1714 (Musei Civici d'Arte Antica, Bologna)
Chiron and Achilles. Lithograph after J.B. Regnault.
Chiron and Achilles, tapestry by Rubens (17th century)
Chiron Instructing Achilles in the Bow by Giovanni Battista Cipriani (circa 1776)
Achilles and Chiron, detail from a sarcophagus from the Via Casilina in Torraccia. (3rd century CE)
Achilles Handing over to Chiron by Donato Creti
Achilles and Chiron by Puget
The Education of Achilles by Chiron by Pierre Paul Puget (circa 1690)
The Centaur Chiron Teaching Geography to the Young Achilles
The Education of Achilles by James Barry
The Education of Achilles by Eugène Delacroix (circa 1862)
Thetis takes Achilles from the Centaur Chiron by Pompeo Batoni (1770)
Achilles learns the Javelin by Giovanni Battista Cipriani (Circa 1776)
Peleus entrusting his son Achilles to Chiron
Chiron and Achilles by Giorgio Sommer & Edmond Behles (early 20th c.)
Thétis et Achille chez Chiron
Thetis gives Achilles into the care of Chiron by Johann Balthasar Probst (17th/18th century)
The Education of Achilles by Bénigne Gagneraux (1785)
The Education of Achilles by Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1806-1807)
The Education of Achilles by Auguste-Clément Chrétien (1861)
Chirone insegna ad Achille a suonare la cetra by Rinaldo Rinaldi (1817)
Jason and His Teacher by Maxfield Parrish (1909)

The Greeks identified him as the constellation Centaurus.