Caelum constellation is located in the southern hemisphere. Its name is the Latin word for “the chisel.”
The small, faint constellation was originally named Caela Sculptoris, or the sculptor’s chisel. Along with 13 other constellations, it was created by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the 18th century.
Caelum does not contain any prominent deep sky objects and has only two stars brighter than fifth magnitude. The constellation is home to the faint eclipsing binary star RR Caeli and the unusual quasar HE0450-2958, notable for appearing to lack a host galaxy.
FACTS, LOCATION & MAPCaelum is the eighth smallest constellation in the sky, occupying an area of only 125 square degrees.
It lies in the first quadrant of the southern hemisphere (SQ1) and can be seen at latitudes between +40° and -90°.
Caelum does not have any stars with known planets, nor does it contain any Messier objects. There are no meteor showers associated with the constellation. The brightest star in Caelum is Alpha Caeli.
There are no myths associated with Caelum. It is one of the constellations introduced by the French astronomer Lacaille in the 18th century. Lacaille named his constellations after various instruments and tools, not stories and myths.
Caelum is depicted as a sculptor’s chisel. It first appeared in Lacaille’s map of the southern stars published in 1756, as “les Burins,” a pair of crossed burins connected by a ribbon. (Burins are sharp engraving tools.)
In Johann Bode’s star atlas Uranographia, the constellation still had the longer name, Caela Scalptoris.
MAJOR STARS IN CAELUM
α Caeli (Alpha Caeli)
Alpha Caeli is the brightest star in the constellation, even if its apparent visual magnitude is only 4.44. It is a binary star, approximately 65.7 light years distant, and about 900 million years old. It is a suspected member of the Ursa Major Moving Group (Collinder 285), a group of stars (including the brightest stars in the constellation Ursa Major) that share similar velocities and likely originated from the same star cluster.
The binary star’s primary component is an F-type main sequence star (Alpha Caeli A) which is a suspected Delta Scuti type variable star; one exhibiting variations in luminosity as a result of both radial and non-radial pulsations on its surface. The star has an apparent magnitude of 4.44.
The companion is a red dwarf belonging to the spectral class M0.5V, with an apparent magnitude of 9.80. It is also a variable, UV Ceti type (flare star), one that occasionally undergoes sudden extreme increases in luminosity for a few minutes.
γ Caeli (Gamma Caeli)
Gamma Caeli is a designation for two star systems separated by 0.22° in the sky. In a small telescope, the system is resolved into a red giant and a white giant with apparent magnitudes of 4.5 and 6.34 respectively.
Gamma-1 Caeli is a binary star that consists of an orange K-type giant, approximately 185 light years distant, and a magnitude eight companion located 3.1 arcseconds away.
Gamma-2 Caeli is also a double star, about 334 light years from Earth. It is composed of a yellow-white F-type giant classified as a Delta Scuti type variable and a companion star of the spectral type F2IV/V, with an apparent visual magnitude of 9.6.
β Caeli (Beta Caeli)
Beta Caeli is the third brightest star in Caelum, with an apparent magnitude of 5.04. It is a yellow-white F-type main sequence dwarf, located approximately 90.2 light years away. The star’s luminosity is more than six times that of the Sun.
Other notable stars:δ Caeli (Delta Caeli) is a blue-white B-type subgiant approximately 711 light years distant. It has an apparent magnitude of 5.07.
ν Caeli (Nu Caeli) is a yellow-white F-type main sequence dwarf 171 light years distant. It has a magnitude of 6.06.
DEEP SKY OBJECTS IN CAELUM
Caelum does not have any prominent deep sky objects, only a few very faint galaxies.
NGC 1679 is a spiral galaxy located two degrees south of Zeta Caeli.
NGC 1571 and IC 2106 are two other galaxies located in the constellation.