Apus - Ara - Caelum - Carina - Centaurus - Chamaeleon - Circinus - Columba - Crux - Corona Australis


A rather dull, uninteresting group to the eye, though with some fine sweeping in its southern reaches.

Groups of stars

1. ε (4.6). Some fair areas for sweeping around here and towards η.

2. α (4.4). Another star in a fine area.

Wide doubles

ζ1,2. Another wide pair (both 7.4m) lie to the East.

Close doubles

P.12. A wide, easy 6th-magnitude pair. Distance 172".

Variable stars

U (5.7-6.8) A chart is supplied for this easy red variable.

RR (8.0-9.2) Another red star, found from the wide double ψ Velorum. 2°North is a little foursome of 6.4, 8.3, 8.4 and 8.5, though little else.


A small but easily-noticed constellation near the South Pole of the sky.

Groups of stars

1. Small triangle of β , γ and δ .

Variable stars

θ (5.2-7.0) This red star lies not far from α , and between the two are three stars of 6.2, 6.2 and 6.0. Epsilon Apodis (5.2) may also be used.


A small, though brilliant group containing several fine clusters.

Groups of Stars

1. α (3.0). Beautiful sweeping from here to the bright pair beta and gamma.

2. 17h20m, -63°. Small group of assorted magnitudes.

3. σ (4.6). Numerous scattered collections of stars around here. Brilliant region.

Wide doubles

η . A fine, wide pair lies closely North.

μ . Between this star and λ is P.29 (6.2,8.1, 186"). The primary is a small-amplitude variable, V626 Arae.

Close doubles

P.69. A faint pair of mags. 7.3 and 8.0, 165 seconds distant.

P.70. Both these stars are orange, and are 283" apart. A third star is visible.

P.92. A rather unequal pair of 5.9 and 8.2, distance 153". Fine field.

Variable stars

R (6.0-6.9) An eclipsing binary, well-suited to small glasses.

V713 (8.2-9.0) A small-amplitude red star. It is one of a long trapezium of magnitude 7, whose two northernmost members possess a couple of useful stars of 8.4 and 8.9 closely South, but on the whole the range in magnitude is rather small for effective observation.

Clusters and Nebulae

NGC 6193. Binoculars will resolve some of this cluster's stars. It is also immersed in a gaseous nebula. Brilliant sweeping.

NGC 6397. A large and bright globular cluster, visible as a silvery round glow. It is one of the closer objects of this type, "only" 2300 light-years away. Use the chart here to find it.


A small group which, though visible from most of the USA. needs high altitude to show its few interesting objects to any advantage.

Groups of stars

1. Sweep the area bounded by α and δ Caeli and α Horologii (3.8).

2. A fine large group North of α, containing some small doubles. The most northern star of this group is a wide orange pair, both magnitude 7. Two degrees South of this is another pair of 6.0 and 7.5, again both orange.

Wide doubles

γ . A 4.6m star with a 6m companion that is a small-range variable, X Caeli.


This magnificent group, together with its "shipmates" is laden with some of the sky's most resplendent and interesting objects. The constellations of Vela, Puppis and Carina form together Argo, the ship of Jason in Greek mythology; and the three groups are treated together as one enormous constellation insofar as they share the Greek alphabet between them, a relic of the time not so long ago when the ship Argo had not been subdivided.

Groups of stars

1. Canopus. The sky's second brightest star by apparent magnitude (and one of the most powerful stars known, to boot) lies in a beautiful bright field.

2. 08h 25m, -55°. Magnificent group of about a dozen stars.

3. Large triangular group, including ε (1.7) c and f, this last also known as V344 Carinae, a small-amplitude variable.

4. Prominent quadrilateral of ι , g, h and the variable N Velorum. A superb part of the sky.

5. 10h 00m, -60°. Brilliant field of stars that includes the marvellous open cluster NGC3114.

6. s (4.1). Around this star we have one of the most brilliant areas of the entire sky. This region is so crowded with stars that it is hard to tell the difference between a true cluster and simply a rich star-field. Many of the stars here are in some way connected with the amazing "Keyhole" Nebula which dominates the area.

7. θ (3.0). Lies in a magnificent clustering of brilliant stars.

Wide doubles

e1. This forms with e2 a bright wide double in a strangely sparse region. Not far away, b1 and b2 are a similar, but wider, pair.

g. A 4.2m star with a 6.4m neighbour.

x. Closely North is a fine wide pair of magnitude 6. Near the open cluster NGC 3532.

y. This star has two seventh-magnitude companions.

s. Note a bright, wide pair to the North.

Close doubles

u. Another brilliant object; magnitudes 3.9 and 6.6, distance 155". Have a look at the colours of these stars.

A. One degree South is a small right-angle which includes the beautiful pair I157 (6.6 and 6.8, 128 seconds apart).

I. A bright, wide double of mags. 4 and 6 separated by 250" of arc.

Δ60. Rather harder at 6.0 and 8.2, and 41" distance.

h3984. A faint pair, both white and 107" apart.

h4000. Wider as well as brighter; magnitudes 6 and 7.

P.26. An unequal object of 6.1 and 8.3 and 229" distance. The bright star is also slightly variable (QY Car).

P.27. Again unequal and wide; 4.9 and 7.3, 253 seconds apart.

P.35. A faint, isolated pair of 7th and 8th mags. Distance is 170".

P.37. This beautiful pair of 6.3 and 6.5 are separated by 61".

P.38. Another good target, less equal but wider at 172".

P.116. These stars are of magnitude eight, and are separated by 165 seconds.

P.119. More equal this time; mags 7.4 and 7.7. Distance 146". A fine high-power field.

P.122. Another 7th-mag double, with orange and yellow components.

Variable stars

R (4.6-9.6) One of the few Mira stars always visible in binoculars, and also circumpolar from most Southern latitudes. I have provided a chart for this rewarding star.

S (5.7-8.5). Another Mira variable, this time of spectral type K, rare among these stars. Its short period of 150 days means you need to estimate it twice a month rather than the usual once. It is easy to find near the 3rd-mag star q Carinae. The best comparisons are a neat little triangle of 6.5, 7.0 and 7.6 between S and q above. A fainter star of 8.0 lies just south of S.

RR (7.3-8.5) A red semi-regular for which a chart is supplied.

VY (6.9-8.0) This Cepheid star has a period of 19 days and lies in a brilliant field between the bright stars x Velorum and u Carinae. The best comparisons all lie in a little line to the E, and they are of (S to N) 8.1, 7.0, 6.3 and 7.2. A good star for average glasses, plus the added attraction of one of the most awe-inspiring regions of the sky.

AC (7.8-9.0) A red variable; again a chart is provided.

AG (7.1-9.0) A highly massive, powerful star of which there are many in this area. It is an eruptive variable which you should look at on every clear night, or at the very least once a week. I have again supplied a chart.

BO (7.2-8.5) This red star lies not far from eta (see below) and is included on its chart.

BZ (7.5-9.2) Another red variable near an eruptive object, this appears on the chart for AG above.

CK (8.0-9.2) A fainter star, though readily found close to the bright star s Carinae. Two other stars lie in a regular line to the W, of 9.0 and 8.9m, and another of 7.9m lies to the North.

IW (7.3-9.0) A fascinating RV Tauri star with a period of only 68 days, although the mean magnitude of this period itself varies over a 4-year cycle, and large glasses may be needed to catch it around minimum light. This interesting star is included on the chart with R above.

IX (7.4-8.3) A red variable in a nebulous area. The best guide is a wide, bright pair of 6.1 and 6.7 on the edge of the eta Carinae nebula. IX has a companion of 7.0m, and a little line runs to the South of these wide pairs; its stars are of 8.3, 7.5 and 8.2m.

QX (6.6-7.2) This is an easy Algol-type object, though of rather small amplitude. It appears on the chart for RR Carinae.

V341 (6.2-7.1) This red star lies in the variable nebula IC 2220, and makes an equilateral triangle with a 5.8m star to the South and the lovely open cluster NGC 2516, which is bordered by a bright line of three (5.6, 5.7 and 6.4). Another line of three terminates in the 5.8m star above and their mags. are 7.3 and 6.7. Worth looking at for the nebula and cluster alone!

η (-0.8 - 7) This is one of the most amazing objects in the sky, and its present magnitude of seven rather belies its explosive past. Originally catalogued by Halley of comet fame as a fourth-magnitude star, eta Carinae underwent a unique series of fluctuations until in 1838 it reached magnitude -1 and thus became the brightest star in the entire sky with the exception of Sirius! A supermassive, superluminous star at a great distance, that now wobbles around the seventh magnitude, the improved Hubble Space Telescope revealed symmetrical tangerine-coloured bursts emanating from this star. Of course, you won't see this with bins, but you will see the many nebulous flecks which pervade the general area. One gets the impression that this whole area, with its titanic stars and exotic nebulae, is a part of the sky completely unlike any other; it should always be watched closely, for these highly-masssive stars will not last long, and we could well see a supernova here any day. Naturally, I have had to supply a chart, though note that, because of the star density, this is a close-up view.

Clusters and Nebulae

NGC 2516. A marvellous sight in binoculars, resolving into a beautiful spray of stars before a white gleam.

NGC 3114. Another brilliant cluster, visible with the naked eye in fact.

NGC 3372. The Keyhole Nebula, around eta Carinae. Easily visible with binoculars and probably the most photogenic of the whole class of gaseous nebulae. This whole area is dominated by the nebula and the many hot and powerful stars connected with it.


Another vast and interesting constellation which is partly visible from the US of A, though its richer southern reaches are best appreciated from South of the line. A really outstanding constellation for the binocular owner.

Groups of stars

1. 1(4.8) is one of a fine collection which also includes u (5.6).

2. 13h 10m, -42°. A long string of variously-coloured stars; from N. to S., they are 6.2 red, 5.7 orange, 5.8 yellow, 6.1 orange, another the same, and 5.3 yellow. The smallest glasses actually give the best view of this fine group, which is a good example to practice your magnitude estimation skills on.

3. Small but attractive group of i, g, k and h,also called 1, 2, 3 and 4. The second of these is slightly variable. In the far North of Centaurus, this little group has been seen from Southern England.

4. Sweep the triangle bounded by the bright stars η , ψ and b. Many beautiful coarse fields.

5. λ (3.3). Around this star lies the richest region in the whole constellation. Note especially a brilliant curving line, and a small, rather faint group just South of λ.

6. ζ (3.1). This forms a neat triangle with two 6m stars.

7. Omega Centauri. The area of the famous globular cluster is worth sweeping.

8. K (5.3) is in an area of many bright stars.

Wide doubles

I78. This telescopic pair forms a wide double with a red star of 5.7m.

h4563. Another telescopic double star, but one of a triple in binoculars.

C. A brilliant wide triple of magnitudes 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6. C1, the faintest of these, is a small-ampltiude variable, V763 Cen.

γ . This bright star forms a nice, wide pair with w(4.6, orange).

M. 1° N is a wide pair of 5.5 and 6.1, and M itself is very near the globular cluster NGC 5286.

Close doubles

J. A fine pair of magnitudes 5 and 6, 60" apart. The companion is slightly variable, V790 Centauri.

u. See if you can spot the double in the little isosceles triangle closely West of this star. Its magnitudes are 6.7 and 8.4.

P.127. An equal but rather faint pair, both yellow and 197" apart.

P.128. These stars are also both yellow and magnitude 8, though closer at only 71".

P.131. This is an eighth-magnitude triple of which the two closer stars are 133 seconds apart.

P.132. 192 seconds divide these stars of 7.1 and 8.1. A fine field.

P.134. The mags here are similar, but the stars wider at 253".

Variable stars

R (5.8-11). An interesting Mira star with variations characterised by alternate bright and faint minima. R Normae and BH Crucis are stars of the same type, and neither of them are very far away from this object. You can find this star easily, between the brilliant α and β, in a triangle formed by beta and two bright comparisons of 5.0 and 5.3. A wide pair NE of beta is of 6.5 and 7.7, while R itself makes a little equilateral with a 6.7m star to the North and a small line of 8.4, 8.9 and 8.2 to the East.

S (6.0-7.0)A good star for small glasses, this red variable forms a triangle with σ and τ , and makes a similar pattern with two stars of 6.2 and 7.0.

T (5.5-9.0) This star has one of the shortest periods of any Mira-type variable - 90 days. Both a chart and predictions are supplied.

Y (7.3-8.4) Another red star; a chart is again provided.

RR (7.3-7.9) An eclipsing binary with rather a small range, but easy to find near α and β and between two 5m stars. Closely E of the Northern one of these is a small cross of (W to E) 7.2, 8.5, 8.2, 7.8 and 8.2.

SZ (8.3-8.9) Another eclipsing binary nearby and with the same range.

V412 (6.5-8.5) An irregular variable between β and ε . A chart is provided for it, which also includes SZ above.

V744 (5.1-6.6) This easy object lies near the 4.7m star M Cen. Two stars of 6.3 and 6.5 lie between this and V744, which has a faint comparison of 7.2m just to the South.

V766 (6.2-7.5) Slightly fainter, though still a good star for those with minmal optical power, this is an eruptive variable that lies on the edge of the open cluster NGC5281 precisely between two good comparisons of 6.7 and 7.3.

V854 (7.0-14) This fairly recently-discovered variable is of the peculiar R Coronae Borealis type, and is one of the more active of its class (some of these stars can go for decades without doing anything unexpected!) This object was used in a recent study by amateur and professional astronomers which revealed what I have to say I had always suspected - i.e., that visual observers could be highly accurate in their results, provided that good conditions prevailed (i.e., suitable comparison stars with accurate values, a good spread of observers, etc). This is a good point at which to reiterate that the charts on this site are "for amusement only". If you decide to take this branch of astronomy seriously, you should join an accepted society such as the AAVSO or BAA and obtain official charts from them.

Clusters and Nebulae

NGC 3766. This fine cluster betrays some of its many stars to binoculars. It lies in a striking region near λ .

IC 2948. A much larger cluster even nearer to λ. It is a wonderful sight in binoculars, with several doubles and triples being visible.

NGC 5460. A rather less "dominant" object, but still a beautiful sight, this is surrounded by delicate little groupings of stars. You can use the chart here to find it.

NGC 5662. Large glasses give a good view of this cluster, showing it to be beautifully symmetrical. Two tiny triples sandwich a wide pair, with a closer double between them.

NGC 5139. This is the brilliant, blazing globular called ω Centauri. It is one of the few globulars that are not spherical. What does its shape look like to you? Many other gleams of light, betraying fainter globulars, may be seen in the areas around alpha and beta.


An indistinct little group not far from the pole, which contains several fascinating nebular variables - all unfortunately far beyond the grasp of even large binoculars!

Groups of stars

1. α (4.1). A fine double-curved line of 7th- and 8th-mag stars lies closely East.

Wide doubles

η . This star has a companion which is variable, RS Cha (below)

δ . Another wide pair, separated by 5 arc-minutes.

ε . This has a closer but fainter neighbour to the NE.

Close doubles

P.156. A difficult pair, due to the close distance of 27" and the magnitudes of the stars (7 and 8.9). Definitely one for the large glasses.

P.157. Wider but fainter, this is an 8th-magnitude pair separated by 69 seconds.

Variable stars

RS (6.0-6.7) An eclipsing binary, whose dips in light occur every 1.7 days. It forms a wide double with η (5.6). Between the two is a fainter star of 7.7, while 2°West are two other stars of 6.8 and 7.3.


A small but rich group in the Southern Milky Way, with many beautiful high-power fields.

Groups of stars

1. δ (5.2) lies in a most beautiful field of bright stars.

2. 14h 46m, -66°. Delicate little group that includes five stars in a straight line.

Wide doubles

β . A star with a 6m companion. Fine field, on the edge of a large dark cloud in the Milky Way.

β and γ . Forming an isosceles with these stars is a fine 7th-mag pair.

Close doubles

Δ169. In a beautiful region, this pair is of mags 6.2 and 7.7, and 69" distance.

P.87. Fainter and wider, at 113" and magnitudes 7.7 and 8.1.


A neat group with some fine fields and interesting double stars. Though visible from the USA, it feels more at home in the far-southern groups.

Groups of stars

1. β(3.2) Sweep around here, and towards epsilon. Beta Columbae is sometimes called by its proper name of Wezn, which is the same as the star Delta Canis Majoris, and means "weight", the idea being that the stars in question never climb very high above the horizon.

2. η (4.0). Lies in an interesting area.

3. 06h 35m, -37°. Beautiful bright group, of which the northern member is a wide double.

Wide doubles

π 1,2. A fine, wide pair in an attractive region.

Close doubles

θ . This has a 7m neighbour 279" away. Note a neat little triple to the NE, and a wide, rather faint pair NE of this.

GC 7735. Mags here are 5.9 and 8.3. Distance 74".

h3740. The separation of this pair is at most binoculars' limit of 25".

h3857. A beautiful object, both stars yellow and in a fine region. Magnitudes are 5.7 and 6.7, distance 65".

P.158. This fine yellow pair of magnitude 7 lie in a neat little group on the border with Lepus. Distance is 86".

P.167. Two 8m stars separated by 153". Lies in a straight line with the next two objects. All are shown on the finder chart here.

P.170. The mags are similar to P.167 but the stars are closer (66")

P.171. Mags are 6.2 and 8.7, so rather difficult for most bins. However the separation is wide at 175".

P.172. Difficult for the same reason (7.4 and 9.0) and even closer at 59".

P.175. An equal, wide double. 194" separates the orange stars, though their colour may not be evident in small binoculars.

P.177. A neat 7th-magnitude pair 66 seconds apart.

Variable stars

RV (8.5-9.5) A faint red star only suitable for large glasses. Note a wide unequal pair SE, and a tiny faint line NW, of 9.4, 9.6 and 9.7.


Also called Corona Austrina, this is a well-named little group which, like its boreal counterpart, extends beyond the crown itself. Richer though fainter than Borealis.

Groups of stars

1.The arc running from δ to γ is a fine sight, notably in the region of α . In this area are several diffuse nebulae, both bright and dark, and a great many faint nebular variables.

Wide doubles

η1,2 . Note a third (7th-mag.) star forming a wide triple.

ζ This has a 6m companion to the NW.

Close doubles

κ . A difficult pair of 6.0 and 6.6, only 23" apart.

P.15. Easier at 222". Mags here are 5.5 and 6.7.

P.152. A wide but unequal pair; 6.6 and 8.5, distance 164".

P.153. Much easier this time, this is a fine yellow double of 7.1 and 7.5 separated by 138".

Clusters and Nebulae

NGC 6541. Binoculars show this globular cluster as a fuzzy grey spot very close to the 5th-magnitude telescopic double star h5014.


Although the smallest constellation in the sky, Crux crams into its 100 square degrees a noble cluster, a large dark nebula, several doubles, an interesting variable and three first-magnitude stars!

Groups of stars

1. Fine sweeping from λ Cen to ε (3.4). This is the star that one of the old astronomers wanted moved, as it spoiled the symmetry of the cross!

Wide doubles

θ1. This makes a beautiful wide pair with θ2, slightly fainter. A brilliant field.

η . Again in a splendid part of the sky, this has a 7m companion to the South.

ι . Between this star and the "Jewel Box" is a fine pair, both white.

Close doubles

β . A brilliant pair for large glasses (the primary rather overpowers its companion). Mags 1.6 and 5.1, both blue. Distance 85".

γ . A wider but more unequal coupling, of 1.6 and 6.7, separated by 111".

h4548. Difficult because of the faint (9m) companion 53" distant.

P.85. This is an unequal pair of 6.6 and 7.8, 160" apart.

Variable stars

AO (7.3-8.8) A chart is supplied for this red variable.

BH (7.2-10) A peculiar Mira star like R Centauri, a sort of cross between the Mira stars and the RV Tauri objects; it shows a double period, with alternating bright and faint maxima, and is followable for nearly all its range by average binoculars. I have supplied a chart.

Clusters and Nebulae

NGC 4755. A cluster of many stars, and beautiful in large glasses. Called by Sir John Herschel the "Jewel Box" because its variously-coloured stars suggested to him "a superb piece of fancy jewellery".

β . Just South of this star, and extending over a sizeable portion of the whole group, is the famous "Coal Sack", a giant dark nebula blotting out the light of goodness knows how many stars behind it. It occupies an important place in Aboriginal and Bushman folklore.