γ Centauri


Gamma Centauri is a multiple star system, h4539:
      AB: 2.8, 2.9; 224º, 0.1" [orbit]
      AC: 2.4, 14.4, 120º, 40.4"
      AD: 2.8, 3.9; 304º, 1000" (about 2.7º)

The star forms the hip or backside of the Centaur and is found directly north of the Southern Cross.

Draw a line from alpha Crucis north through gamma Crucis and continue it for a little more than the same distance: binoculars.

On the southern edge of your view is h4546: 7.9, 9.5; 222º, 15".

For the most outstanding global cluster in the heavens, move a bit more than one field northeast: omega Cen.

The cluster is so bright it even goes by its own star name, omega Centauri. Thought to contain over a million stars—perhaps millions—it has an apparent visual magnitude of 3.9 and appears nearly as large as the full moon. It is about 12 billion years old. Recent studies have speculated that there may be a black hole at its centre.

The largest star in the same field, xi2, is a telescopic binary with the label DUN 128: 4.2, 10.1; 100º, 25.2"

Moving one binocular field east brings you to zeta Centauri, and its two neighbouring binaries: binoculars. Click on zeta on the map for their details.

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© 1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.