Apus is one of those small and inconsequential constellations
adapted from others in 1603 by Johann Bayer, designed to fill in the
blanks in the Southern Hemisphere. Apart from several binaries and
a faint globular cluster little else is found in this portion of the
Apus, or Bird of Paradise, was known from sixteenth century voyagers, also being called "Apus Indica" or Bird of India. Some say it comes from the Greek apous, meaning without feet, as a reference to a Greek myth about the swallow, which was said to be legless.
From the paucity of interesting elements in this constellation, it might be argued that the name comes from the Greek apousia, which means
In 1603 Johann Bayer included it in Uranometria, his book of
constellations, and it's been with us ever since. Most of the Bayer stars are fourth and fifth magnitude.
Delta1 and delta2 Apodis form a rather wide double of two orange giants: 4.7, 5.3; PA 12º, separation 103".
Some observers report a slight colour difference, a reddish primary and
an orange companion.
Apus has three Bayer-star variables:
Delta1 Apodis is a giant irregular (Lb) variable:
Theta Apodis is a semi-regular variable (SRb): 6.4-8.6.
Kappa1 Apodis is a gamma Cas variable: 5.43-5.61.
Deep Sky Objects:
NGC 6101 is a faint globular cluster, with stars no brighter than
fourteenth magnitude. The cluster is found nearly 7º due north of gamma Apodis.
For a closer appreciation of Apus, visit the Binocular Section.