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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dorado, Mensa, & Reticulum

Constellation map of Dorado, Mensa, and Reticulum
DORADO the Swordfish, MENSA the Table Mountain, and RETICULUM the Reticule (also spelled Reticle) are three relatively dim constellations seen by residents of the Southern Hemisphere. Geographically in the night sky, these constellations are relatively close to the South Celestial Pole, which is located in the constellation Octans the Octant. The most magnificent feature in the region is the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which spans the boundaries of Dorado and Mensa. Within the LMC are various nebulae and star-forming regions, including the Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070 and 30 Doradus) in Dorado and N159 in Mensa. The Papillon Nebula is a nebula within a nebula (N159)! The Tarantula Nebula is an emission nebula about 179,000 light-years away from Earth. In addition to nebulae found in the region, multiple galaxies are found within the boundaries of Dorado and Reticulum. With an apparent magnitude of about 3.27, Alpha Doradus is the brightest star in the three constellations. Finally, the region has multiple binary and variable stars, which are stars in which the brightness often fluctuates. Several variable stars include R Doradus, R Reticuli, TZ Mensae, and U Mensae. NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) image links - the yellow text below - automatically open in new tabs and windows.

Brightest Star: Alpha Doradus (α)
Galaxies: Large Magellanic Cloud; New General Catalogue (NGC) objects: 1515, 1533, 1549, 1553, 1566, 1617, and 1672
Nebulae: N44 emission nebula in the LMC; Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070)

Brightest Star: Alpha Mensae (α)
Galaxy: Large Magellanic Cloud
Nebulae: N159 and Papillon Nebula in the LMC

Brightest Star: Alpha Reticuli (α)
Galaxies: NGC 1313, NGC 1543, and NGC 1559

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Blog Background

The background has three Hubble Space Telescope images, which are accessible at this Hubble webpage:

— LH 95 is a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, Dorado constellation.

— Ant Nebula (also called Menzel 3) is an aptly-named planetary nebula located in the constellation Norma.
— Egg Nebula (also called CL 2688) is a protoplanetary nebula in the constellation Cygnus.

HubbleSite Image Links: LH 95, Ant Nebula, and Egg Nebula