Near the River's End, the star Achernar
in Eridanus, rises the constellation
of the Phoenix. This star-group contains a number of noticeable stars, but little
else of interest.
To Arab astronomers, this group of stars represented a boat, moored to the banks of the River
Eridanus. Its description as a phoenix, the mythical bird that could rise from its own
ashes, is comparatively recent. It seems to date from the late 1500's, and was recorded by Bayer in 1603.
By far the most prominent of the Phoenix' stars is Ankaa, or Alpha Phoenicis, whose
magnitude of +2.4 makes far more noticeable than any of the other
stars in the group. Ankaa is an orange
giant star, a little under eighty
light years from Earth.
Ankaa is almost a magnitude brighter than the next brightest members of the
and Gamma Phoenicis are both variable giant
stars, nearly three times as far from the Solar System
The constellation of Phoenix contains no significant deep sky objects.