Constellation - Ara

Constellation - Ara


Ara the Altar is a southern constellation. It is a small constellation of eight stars but was included in the original 48 constellations described by Ptolemy. The constellation is visible in the Northern hemisphere below +25 degrees latitude in the Summer.


Ara the altar is said to have been created by the Cyclopes to offer sacrifices to the Gods. Later Centaurus the centaur sacrificed Lupus the Wolf on the altar. Other legends talk of a child being sacrificed to Zeus by Lycaeus. Zeus turned the child into a wolf and placed the constellation Lupus into the night sky.

Take the Tour:

Number Object Description Magnitude Surface Brightness
1 C81 Globular Cluster 7.8 n/a
2 C86 Globular Cluster 5.8 n/a

Each image is the size of a full moon for size comparison.



Caldwell 81 or NGC 6352 is a globular cluster found approximately 19,500 light years away. As can be seen from the image the cluster is small and loosely packed making it a challenging object to view. This cluster was missed by Herschel in his catalogue.



Caldwell 86 or NGC 6397 is a globular cluster found 7,200 light years away. It is one of the closest globular clusters to Earth (the other being Messier 4) and can be seen with the naked eye. This globular was used to estimate the age of the Milky Way. It is one of about 20 globulars known to have undergone a core collapse.

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