Star Names:

Pavo


Map of The Constellation of Pavo
Please hover over any star to get more information
Pavo is a constellation in the southern hemisphere. It was created by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius, who introduced it as one of the constellations on his celestial globe in the late 16th century. The constellation later appeared in German cartographer Johann Bayer's star atlas Uranometria in 1603. The name Pavo means "peacock" in Latin. Some of the stars in the constellation form an asterism known as "the Saucepan" in Australia when they are used for navigation.

In mythology, the peacock was the sacred bird of the goddess Hera, who was said to have travelled in a carriage drawn by peacocks in the air. When Hera's husband Zeus transformed his mistress Io into a white heifer to avoid being caught, Hera remained suspicious and ordered Argus, a giant with 100 watchful eyes, to guard the animal. Zeus dispatched Hermes to free Io and Hermes obliged. He spent a day with Argus telling him stories until all of Argus' eyes were closed. Once he was fast asleep, Hermes killed him and freed the heifer. Hera then took the eyes of Argus and placed them on the peacock's tail.

The constellation Pavo occupies an area of 378 square degrees and contains four stars with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +30° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of August.

The brightest star in the constellation is [6196] alpha Pavonis, a spectroscopic binary also known as Peacock, a name it got in the late 1930s in the navigational almanac The Air Almanac, released by the Nautical Almanac Office for the Royal Air Force.

Another notable star is [6198] delta Pavonis, a subgiant that is on its way to becoming a red giant. Located about 19.9 light-years away, the star is similar to the Sun, only it is in a more mature stage of evolution. It is also the closest Sun-like star to Earth that is not a component of a binary or multiple star system. Astronomers Margaret Turnbull and Jill Tarter of the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute called [6198] delta Pavonis the "best SETI target."

[6212] phi-2 Pavonis is another star in Pavo similar to the Sun. It is a yellow-white dwarf, that will soon become a subgiant. It lies about 82 light-years from Earth. It has an unconfirmed extrasolar planet that was also given the name Peacock.

[6203] gamma Pavonis is a yellow main sequence dwarf star brighter than the Sun, lying about 30.1 light-years away. It is notable for being one of the top 100 target stars for NASA’s planned Terrestrial Planet Finder project, along with [6198] delta Pavonis.

The constellation Pavo does not have many notable deep sky objects. The only cluster visible to the naked eye is NGC 6752, a large, bright globular cluster near [6196] alpha Pavonis. Only 20,000 light-years distant, it is one of the nearest globular clusters to our solar system.

Pavo also contains two galaxies. NGC 6744 is a large barred spiral galaxy lying near [6202] lambda Pavonis, while NGC 6782 is another barred spiral galaxy, about 183 million light-years distant.

Pavo belongs to the Johann Bayer family of constellations, along with Hydrus, Dorado, Volans, Apus, Grus, Phoenix, Tucana, Indus, Chamaeleon and Musca.

Constellations directly bordering Pavo are Octans, Apus, Ara, Telescopium and Indus.


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