English: The Bird of Paradise
Size Ranking: 67th
Area: 206 square degrees
Fully Visible: 7°N to 90°S.
Continuing, yet again, to look at the lesser Southern constellations, the constellation Apus, the Bird of Paradise is quite faint, which lies near the south celestial pole, to the south of Centaurus, and is another of the constellations, totaling 12, introduced in the 1590’s-1600’s by the Dutch navigators, Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. It was intended by them to represent a bird of paradise, native to New Guinea. There are no legends attached to it.
The suggested way to Apus, is to locate Triangulum Australe and, starting at αTrA, imagine a line drawn to βTrA. Then turn toward the SCP through just over 90° and travel until the next brightest star, αAps, is reached, such that the distance βTrA to αAps, is approximately 130% of the distance αTrA to βTrA.
Features of Interest:
αAps, is an orange giant star of magnitude, 3.8 and is 411ly away.
βAps, is another orange giant, but closer at 158ly and of 4.2 magnitude.
γAps, is a magnitude 3.9 orange star, and 160ly distant.
δ¹,δ²Aps, are a binocular pair, made up of a red star, magnitude 4.7, 765ly away, and an orange star, 663ly distant, magnitude 5.3; separation 102.9”, PA 012°.
θAps, being 328ly away, is a red giant star that varies semi-regularly between 6.4 and 8.6 every 4 months or so.
1. Redshift 2 – Maris Multimedia
2. The Guinness Book of Astronomy – Patrick Moore
3. Stars and Planets – Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion
4. Sky Charts – Cartes du Ciel V 2.75.