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The Phoenix

Constellation of the southern sky

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Map of Phoenix Map of Phoenix

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 it 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 constellation: Beta and Gamma Phoenicis are both variable giant stars, nearly three times as far from the Solar System as Ankaa.

The constellation of Phoenix contains no significant deep sky objects.


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