A

David

Darling

Fornax

Fornax constellation

Fornax. © 2003 Torsten Bronger.


Fornax (abbreviation: For), the Chemical Furnace, is a faint southern constellation created by Lacaille in 1751-52 from several dim stars previously in Eridanus and named by him in honor of the chemist Antoine Lavoisier, who was guillotined in the French Revolution. Its only star brighter than magnitude 4.0 is Alpha For, or Fornacis (visual magnitude 3.80; absolute magnitude 3.05; spectral type F8V; distance 46 light-years; R.A. 03h 12m 04s, Dec. -28° 59' 13"). Extragalactic objects of interest include Fornax A (NGC 1316), the Fornax Dwarf, and the Fornax Cluster (see below).

 


Fornax A

 

NGC 1316, Fornax A

 

Fornax A (NGC 1316) is an unusual giant elliptical galaxy that appears to have merged, or be in the process of merging, with a spiral galaxy (see galaxy merger). Evidence for this includes a dark central lane of dust, arcs and plumes of stars in the outer parts of the galaxy, and an enormous outpouring of radio waves, powered ultimately by material falling onto a central supermassive black hole. The designation Fornax A means that this is the brightest radio source in its constellation; in fact, it is one of the strongest and largest radio sources in the sky, with radio lobes extending over several degrees.

 


Fornax Cluster

 

Fornax Cluster

 

The Fornax Cluster is the second richest cluster of galaxies within 100 million light-years of us, although it is much smaller than the Virgo Cluster; it lies primarily in Fornax. There are actually two neighboring clusters, Fornax I and Fornax II (also known as the Eridanus Group), which contain 30 to 40 large galaxies each.

 


Fornax Dwarf

 

Fornax Dwarf

 

The Fornax Cluster is the second richest cluster of galaxies within 100 million light-years of us, although it is much smaller than the Virgo Cluster; it lies primarily in Fornax. There are actually two neighboring clusters, Fornax I and Fornax II (also known as the Eridanus Group), which contain 30 to 40 large galaxies each.

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