Phoenix, the mythical bird rising from its own ashes, is another
of those Southern Hemisphere constellations introduced by Johann Bayer
In the past the constellation had been known as "The Boat" by the Arabs,
then it became an eagle or other type of bird, so Bayer's decision to
call it a phoenix does have some vague precedence.
The asterism is in fact rather like a large bird,
rising into the air. The Bayer stars generally
range from third to fifth magnitude.
There are a number of unspectacular binaries and several variables,
including an important dwarf Cepheid.
Beta Phe is a multiple system:
AB: 4.2, 4.2; 346 degrees, 1.4".
C: 11.5 visual magnitude, at approx. 60 degrees and separation 57".
Zeta Phe is another multiple system:
AB: 4, 7; 40 degrees and separation 0.8".
C: 8; 243 degrees, 6.4".
Theta Phe: 6.5, 7; 275 degrees, 4.0".
Xi Phe has a faint companion: 5.7, 10; 253 degrees, 13.2".
Rho Phoenicis is a delta Scuti type variable: 5.2-5.3 every 0.12
days (2h 38m).
SX Phoenicis is a dwarf cepheid with a considerable history.
The star has a rather large proper motion (0.892"), but it is as a
variable that the star is now better known.
This is a pulsating A-type subdwarf with a period of slightly under
eighty minutes (exactly 1h, 19m, 8.9s). The magnitude ranges
from 6.7 to 7.5.
The star is 2.5 degrees NE of iota Phoenicis.
Deep Sky Objects:
Phoenix has a number of galaxies, however they are all quite faint. The
best of the group, NGC 55, is actually in nearby Sculptor.
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