Pictor, "The Painter's Easel", is an invention
of Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, who originally called the constellation
"Le Chevalet et la Palette" (The Painter's Easel and Palette).
Pictor's stars are quite faint. Nevertheless
there are several objects of interest, including the second fastest star
Theta Pictoris is a multiple system:
AB: 6.8, 7.4; PA 208º, separation 0.3"
AB-C: 6.2, 6.7; PA 288º, separation 38.3".
Iota Pictoris is a wide binary: 5.6, 6.2; PA 59º,
Mu Pictoris has a relatively faint component: 5.6, 9.3; PA 230º, separation 2.5".
Delta Pictoris is an eclipsing binary: 4.7 to 4.9 every 1.67
R Pictoris is a semi-regular variable with a range from 6.9 to 10
about every 172 days.
Deep Sky Objects:
Kapteyn's Star is a fairly faint (8.8) red dwarf known for its large
proper motion, which is second only to Barnard's Star (in Ophiuchus).
The star's discovery was made nearly a century ago, in 1897, by Professor
Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn (1851-1922) of the University of Groningen in
Kapteyn's lasting discovery was that all stars which have a measurable
proper motion are part of one of two streams which move in different
directions at different speeds.
Kapteyn's Star has a radial velocity of 242 km/s and a distance of
12.73 light years (=parallax of 0.256" or 3.91 pc). The star has a
luminosity of only 0.004 suns (i.e. an absolute magnitude of 10.85). It is
found roughly 8.5 degrees NW of beta Pictoris (Burnham, p. 1463, has a
For a more detailed appreciation of Pictoris, visit the Binocular Section.
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