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Man must rise above the Earth, to the top of the atmosphere and beyond, for only then will he fully understand the world in which he lives.
Socrates, 469 - 399 BC

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COLUMBA

The Dove

columba-jamieson-1822 (369K)
Columba - Celestial Atlas by Alexander Jamieson - 1822

Columba is a small, faint constellation first introduced by Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius in 1592. Originally named "Columba Noachi", meaning Noah's Dove, it was meant to represent the dove that left Noah's Ark to look for dry land, and returned with an olive branch in its beak to signify the end of the flood.

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Stars of Columba

Phaet (RA: 05h39m38.944s DE:-3404'27.18")

Alpha Columbae is named Phaet, from the Arabic "Al Fakhita", the dove. It is a B9V blue/white main sequence star, about 260 light years away. With amagnitude of 2.65, it is the brightest star in the constellation.

Wezn (RA: 05h50m57.661s DE:-3545'59.77")

Beta Columbae is named Wezn, from the Arabic for weight. It is a K1III orange giant, located at a distance of 82 light years. With a magnitude of 3.1, it is the second brightest star in the constellation.

Ghusm al Zaitun (RA: 06h22m06.797s DE:-3326'11.88")

Delta Columbae is named Ghusm al Zaitun, the olive branch. It marks the end of the olive branch the dove brought back to Noah, showing the emergence of dry land after the flood. It is a G7II yellow bright giant, about 237 light years away. At magnitude 3.85, it is the third brightest star in the constellation.

Mu Columbae (RA: 05h45m59.899s DE:-3218'23.54")

Mu Columbae does not have a name, but is a well known runaway star that is moving at a much higher speed and in a different direction than the surrounding stars. It is moving in direct opposition to the star AE Aurigae in the constellation Auriga at a speed of 200 kilometers per second. The origins of both these stars can be traced back to the Great Orion Nebula, where interactions between binary systems or perhaps a supernova explosion caused the stars to be ejected from the nebula. Mu Columbae is an O9V blue main sequence star with a surface temperature of a sizzling 33,000 degrees C, making it 21,000 times brighter than our Sun. At a distance of 1,300 light years, it has a magnitude of 5.13.

Planets of Columba

So far only one star in Columba has been found to host a planet, but the star is extremely far away and dim, and the planet is a gas giant about a third the size of Jupiter. For more information on these and other extrasolar planets, visit NASA's New Worlds Atlas, and The Open Exoplanets Catalogue.



Deep Skies of Columba

NGC 1792 - The Starburst Galaxy (RA: 05h05m 12.0s DE:-3759'00")

Columba contains the bright spiral galaxy NGC 1792, with a magnitude of 10.7. At a distance of 50 million light years, it is known as the Starburst Galaxy because of the rapid rate of new star formation within it.

ngc1792-eso-sm (66K)
NGC 1792 - Starburst Spiral Galaxy - European Southern Observatory - December, 2003







Winter: Orion   Canis Major   Canis Minor   Monoceros   Lepus   Eridanus   Taurus   Auriga   Camelopardalis   Lynx   Gemini   Cancer  
Spring: Hydra   Sextans   Crater   Corvus   Leo   Leo Minor   Ursa Major   Ursa Minor   Canes Venatici   Coma Berenices   Virgo   Bootes  
Summer: Draco   Corona Borealis   Hercules   Ophiuchus   Serpens   Libra   Scorpius   Sagittarius   Scutum   Aquila   Sagitta   Vulpecula   Lyra   Cygnus  
Autumn: Andromeda   Perseus   Pegasus   Cassiopeia   Cepheus   Cetus   Lacerta   Delphinus   Equuleus   Capricornus   Aquarius   Pisces   Aries   Triangulum  
Southern Skies: Centaurus   Crux   Lupus   Corona Australis   Piscis Australis   Sculptor   Tucana   Fornax   Dorado   Columba   Puppis   Carina   Vela  

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