Centaurus as depicted by Johannes Hevelius in his Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia (1687). Source image provided by www.RareMaps.com — Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
|Centaurus Constellation Profile
|Location: Southern Hemisphere
||Size/Area: 1060 sq. deg.
||Size Rank: 9
|On Meridian: 9pm May 20th
||Best View (North): Spring
||Best View (South):
|Bordering Constellations: Hydra, Antlia, Vela, Carina, Musca, Crux, Circinus, Lupus, Libra
The Myth Behind the Constellation Centaurus
Centaurus, “The Centaur”, is one of two centaurs in the night sky, the other being Sagittarius. Centaurs are half-man, half-horse beasts known for being ill behaved. In some Greek myths, Centaurus is Chiron, an extremely wise and intelligent being. He was a renowned tutor, and he instructed the likes of Hercules, Achilles, Jason, Theseus and Asclepius (see Ophiuchus) from his cave on Mount Pelion. He taught archery, hunting, medicine, music and prophecy.
He was accidently shot in the knee with one of Hercules’ Hydra poisoned arrows during an attack while the two were paying a visit to the centaur Pholous. The pain from the poison was excruciating and unending, and being immortal he could not die. Zeus agreed to transfer Chiron’s immortality to Prometheus so he could die and be released from the agony. When he passed, Zeus placed him amongst the stars.
Centaurus Constellation Points of Interest
Interesting stars and objects.
Bright Stars in Centaurus
These are the stars in Centaurus with a minimum magnitude of 3.0.