Sky Map: The Southern Sky

Usually visible from southern latitudes

Map of the Sky: The Southern Sky

Vela and Carina, the Sail and Keel of the great star-ship Argo, sail across the band of the Milky Way, with the fish constellations of Volans and Dorado beneath them. Carina is notable as being home to the second brightest star in the sky, Canopus, which is outshone only by Sirius. To the east of the ship Argo, at the feet of Centaurus, is probably the southern sky's most immediately recognisable constellation: the simple but prominent shape of Crux the Southern Cross.

The southern sky is host to both the Magellanic Clouds, smaller companion galaxies to the Milky Way. The Large Magellanic Cloud straddles the border between Dorado and Mensa, while the Small Magellanic Cloud lies nearby in the sky, falling within the bounds of Tucana the Toucan. Unlike the northern sky, the region around the Southern Celestial Pole is devoid of bright stars. The Pole itself falls within the constellation Octans, but there is no bright and distinct southern equivalent to the northern Pole Star.

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