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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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TUCANA

The Toucan

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Tucana - Coelum Australe Stelliferum - Nicolai-Ludovici de la Caille - 1754

Tucana, named for the large billed tropical bird, the toucan, was one of twelve southern constellations introduced by Dutchman Fredrick de Houtman in 1603, following an expedition to the Indonesian island of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. The constellation in its entirety is not visible above 13 degrees north latitude. To help find Tucana, look for the brilliant first magnitude star Acherner, in the constellation Eridanus just to the east.

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Tucana - November 15, 10:00 PM - Latitude 5° North, Longitude 95° West





Stars and Planets of Tucana

Alpha Tucanae (RA: 22h18m29.943s DE:-6015'35.19")

Tucana contains no named stars. Alpha Tucanae is the brightest star in the constellation at magnitude 2.87. It is classified as a K3III orange giant, about 200 light years away. It is a close spectroscopic binary system, but not much is known about the companion star.

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There are six stars in Tucana with planets, but they are all very far away, beyond naked eye visibility, and the planets so far discovered have all been gas giants. For more information on these and other extrasolar planets, visit NASA's New Worlds Atlas, and The Open Exoplanets Catalogue.


Deep Skies of Tucana

NGC 292 - The Small Magellanic Cloud (RA: 00h52m 36.0s DE:-7248'00")

Tucana contains one of the sky's true wonders, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), otherwise known as NGC 292. Its big brother, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is right next door in the nearby constellation of Dorado. The Magellanic Clouds were named after the Portugese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who observed them in 1519 as he was making history by sailing around the entire globe. They are irregular dwarf galaxies, small satellite galaxies of our Milky Way, containing hundreds of millions of stars, located 210,000 light years away.

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Large and Small Magellanic Clouds - European Southern Observatory - December, 2009

NGC 104 - 47 Tucana (RA: 00h24m06.0s DE:-7205'00")

Right next to the SMC is the big, bright globular cluster NGC 104. With a magnitude of 4.0, it is the second brightest and second largest globular cluster in the sky (after Omega Centauri), easily visible with the naked eye. The cluster is 120 light years across, about 16,700 light years away, and contains millions of stars. It is so luminous it was first named as a star, and still carries the star designation of 47 Tucanae.

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NGC 104 - Tucanae 47 - Globular Star Cluster - European Southern Observatory, Chile - January, 2013

NGC 121 (RA: 00h26m 48.0s DE:-7132'00")

NGC 121 is a much fainter globular cluster, because it is much further away. It is gravitationally bound to the Small Magellanic Cloud, at a distance of about 200,000 light years. With a magnitude of 10.6, it is a challenge for a small telescope.

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NGC 121 - Globular Cluster - Hubble Space Telescope - July, 2014

NGC 265 (RA: 00h47m 12.0s DE:-7329'00")

One of the many dazzling star clusters inside the Small Magellanic Cloud is the open cluster NGC 265, 65 light years across, with a magnitude of 12.0.

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NGC 265 - Open Star Cluster - Hubble Space Telescope - April, 2006

NGC 290 (RA: 00h51m 12.0s DE:-7310'00")

The open star cluster NGC 290 is also found inside the Small Magellanic Cloud. Like NGC 265 above, it spans about 65 light years, and has a magnitude of 12.0.

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NGC 290 - Open Star Cluster - Hubble Space Telescope - April, 2006







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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