Alpha Columbae

α Columbae
Alpha Columbae is called Phact (also written Phad, Phakt, and Phaet). Apparently they all mean ring dove, or ringneck dove.

The constellation is small, and very compact, southwest of Canis Major. With the naked eye, move down from Sirius to the bottom of this constellation about three binocular fields. Just to the southwest two binocular fields is alpha and beta Columbae.

Having found alpha and beta, with the naked-eye you should be able to make out the asterism of the dove, complete with olive branch.

There are two fine binaries in Columba, h3849 and h3857.

h3849 is southeast of alpha and beta, a direct line two binocular fields away: h3849, a fine binocular double, 6.7, 8.1; 54, 39.5"

Now if from this binary you move northeast one binocular field (or with alpha centred, two binocular fields east), you have h3857, a multiple system:
      AB: 5.7, 9.8; 254, 13.1"
      AC: 5.7, 6.9; 75, 63.5".

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.