A

David

Darling

Carina

Carina constellation

Figure 1. Carina. © 2003 Torsten Bronger.


Carina Dwarf

Figure 2. Carina Dwarf.


Carina (abbreviation: Car), the Keel (part of Jason's ship, the Argo), is a major southern constellation that is home to the second brightest star in the sky, Canopus. It lies to the south of Vela and the southeast of Centaurus. The Milky Way passing through Carina and Vela makes for a field rich in open clusters. See the tables below for details of the constellation's brightest stars and interesting deep sky objects.

 


Carina Dwarf

The Carina Dwarf (see Figure 2) is a dwarf galaxy that orbits our own Milky Way Galaxy; it was discovered in 1977 and lies 330,000 light-years from the galactic center. It appears to have formed several billion years after the other satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, its oldest stars dating back no more than about 7 billion years.

 


Carina OB1 and OB2

Carina OB1 and OB2 are two rich OB associations that lie about 10,000 light-years from the Sun, near Eta Carinae. They contain some exceptional objects, including Star 12 in Carina OB2, which, along with Eta Carinae itself, one of the most massive stars known, and the Wolf-Rayet star HD 93162 in Carina OB1, which has one of the largest known stellar X-ray luminosities.

 


Southern Pleiades

 

IC 2602 (Southern Pleiades)

 

The Southern Pleiades (IC 2602) is an open cluster of more than 50 stars in Carina, centered on the blue-white star Theta Carinae and forming a triangle in the sky with Beta and Iota Car. At a distance of less than 500 light-years, the Southern Pleiades is relatively nearby compared with many star clusters, and can be seen with the naked eye.

 

magnitude 2
diameter 50'
position R.A. 10h 43.2m, Dec. -64° 24'

 


Toby Jug Nebula

 

Toby Jug Nebula (IC 2220)

 

The Toby Jug Nebula (IC 2220) is a reflection nebula in Carina with a bipolar structure that gives it the shape of an old English drinking vessel. It surrounds and is illuminated by the red giant HD 65670, which is also an irregular variable (ranging between sixth and seventh magnitude) known by the variable star name V341 Carinae. The dust and gas in the Toby Jug Nebula have come from mass lost by this star while in its giant stage.

 


Brightest stars in Carina and other objects of interest

 

Stars brighter than magnitude 4.0
Star Visual mag. Abs. mag. Spectral type Distance (lt-yr) R.A. (h m s) Dec. (° ' ")
Alpha (Canopus) -0.62 -5.53 F0Ib 313 06 23 57 -52 41 44
Beta (Miaplacidus) 1.67 -1.00 A2III 111 09 13 12 -69 43 02
Epsilon (Avior) 1.86 -4.58 K3III+B2V 632 08 22 31 -59 30 34
Iota (Tureis, Aspidiske) 2.21 -4.43 A8Ib 693 09 17 05 -59 16 31
Theta 2.74 -2.91 B0V 439 10 42 57 -64 23 39
Upsilon 2.92 -5.57 A7Ib+B7III 1,620 09 47 06 -65 04 18
Omega 3.29 -1.99 B8III 370 10 13 44 -70 02 16
q 3.38 -3.38 K3IIa 736 10 17 05 -61 19 56
a 3.43 -2.11 B2IVe 419 09 10 58 -58 58 01
Chi 3.46 -1.91 B3IVp 387 07 56 47 -52 58 56
x 3.93 -7.37 G0Ia 5,930 11 08 35 -58 58 30

 


Other objects of interest
Name Type of object Notes
NGC 2867 planetary nebula An object just within binocular range, lying between Iota and Chi Car. Magnitude 9.7; diameter 11"; R.A. 09h 21.4m, Dec. -58° 19'
Eta Carinae Nebula diffuse nebula NGC 3372. See separate article
NGC 2516 open cluster A large cluster best seen with binoculars. It contains about 100 stars, including a fifth magnitude red giant. Magnitude 3.8; diameter 30'; R.A. 07h 58.3m, Dec. -60° 52'
NGC 3532 open cluster About 150 stars of sixth magnitude and fainter. Small telescopes show it well and reveal an elliptical shape. A magnitude 4 orange star at one edge is not a true member but is much more distant. Magnitude 3.0; diameter 55'; distance 1,300 light-years; R.A. 11h 06.4m, Dec. -58° 40'
NGC 2808 globular cluster A faint naked-eye object. Magnitude 6.3; diameter 14'; R.A. 09h 12.0m, Dec. -64° 52'

 


Constellations
Andromeda | Antlia | Apus | Aquarius | Aquila | Ara | Aries | Auriga | Bootes | Caelum | Camelopardalis | Cancer | Canes Venatici | Canis Major | Canis Minor | Capricornus | Carina | Cassiopeia | Centaurus | Cepheus | Cetus | Chamaeleon | Circinus | Columba | Coma Berenices | Corona Austrina | Corona Borealis | Corvus | Crater | Crux | Cygnus | Delphinus | Dorado | Draco | Equuleus | Eridanus | Fornax | Gemini | Grus | Hercules | Horologium | Hydra | Hydrus | Indus | Lacerta | Leo | Leo Minor | Lepus | Libra | Lupus | Lynx | Lyra | Mensa | Microscopium | Monoceros | Musca | Norma | Octans | Ophiuchus | Orion | Pavo | Pegasus | Perseus | Phoenix | Pictor | Pisces | Piscis Austrinus | Puppis | Pyxis | Reticulum | Sagitta | Sagittarius | Scorpius | Sculptor | Scutum | Serpens | Sextans | Taurus | Telescopium | Triangulum | Triangulum Australe | Tucana | Ursa Major | Ursa Minor | Vela | Virgo | Volans | Vulpecula