Name a Star in the Ara Constellation

Modified: July 1, 2023     Author: International Star Registry

Name a star NASA image of Andromeda Constellation | International Star Registry

Ara, the Latin word for “The Altar”, is one of the original 48 constellations first named Βωμός (Bōmǒs) by the ancient Greeks as described by the astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Said to be shaped like an altar, it is one of the southernmost constellations described by the Greeks and borders the constellations Scorpius, Telescopium, Triangulum Australe, and Norma. Although the constellation lies too far south to be seen by most of the northern hemisphere it is relatively easy to locate from below the equator. It sits just south of the scorpion’s tail. The Milky Way passed through the northern portion of the constellation and it contains several notable stars including Beta Arae, Alpha Arae, and Westerlund 1-26, thought to be the largest star known, in the super star cluster Westerlund 1. Ara is 63rd constellation in the world and it is placed in the third quadrant of the southern hemisphere. If you are interested in seeing it just look for H shaped constellation at latitudes between +25° and -90°. Ara is best visible during July in the southern hemisphere at latitudes between +25° and -90°. Its notable stars form an asterism in the shape of the letter H and thanks to that you can easily spot it in the sky 



Symbol: Ara 

Right Ascension: 05:24 

Declination: -54 

Diameter (°): 9 

Area (square °): 237 

Opposition: Jun 13 

Size Rank: 63rd 

Brightness Rank: 45th 

Genitive: Arae 


Major stars in Ara 

β Arae (Beta Arae) 

α Arae (Alpha Arae) 

γ Arae (Gamma Arae) 

ζ Arae (Zeta Arae) 

μ Arae (Mu Arae) 

ε Arae (Epsilon Arae) 


Deep sky objects in Ara 

Ara Cluster (Westerlund 1) 

ESO 280-SC06 

Hen 3-1357 (The Stingray Nebula) 

IC 4651  

IRAS 16594-4656 (Water Lily Nebula) 

NGC 6193 

NGC 6200 

NGC 6204 

NGC 6208 

NGC 6215 

NGC 6300 

NGC 6221 

NGC 6250 

NGC 6326 

NGC 6328 

NGC 6352 

NGC 6362 

NGC 6397 


Mythology of the Constellation Ara 


According to some legends, Ara represents the Altar of Zeus and is usually depicted with smoke or incense rising southward. It was here that the Gods of Olympus vowed to overthrow and reclaim the universe from the titans.  The titan Cronus (Kronus) was one of the 12 gigantic children of Uranus (the Sky) and Gaia (the Earth). After Uranus banished 2 of his siblings, Gaia persuaded her other children to castrate Cronus and depose him from his throne. The other children were not willing to follow through with the deed, so Cronus was given the sickle and did the deed.  Cronus ruled the Earth and, with his consort Rhea, had 5 children. All seemed well until his mother prophesized that he would suffer the same fate as his father at the hand of his own children. Fearing the five future gods and godesses (Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Poseidon) would overthrow if they were allowed to live, he swallowed them all. 

When a 6th child, Zeus, was born Rhea saved her son by giving Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes to swallow in his place.  Rhea hid her son in Crete where he was raised by the nymph Amalthea and fed with the magical horn of plenty. Once he reached adulthood, Zeus freed his brothers and sisters by tricking Cronus into drinking a nectar that caused him to vomit the gods and goddesses he had swallowed. When this army of gods was released, they vowed upon the sacred altar “Ara” to fight together. They vanquished the titans and created a kingdom atop Mount Olympus.  To commemorate their victory, Zeus placed Ara, the Altar, among the stars. 

“Neath the glowing sting of that huge sign the 

Scorpion, near the south, the Altar hangs.” 


Authors of astronomical biblical interpretations are divided. Some refer to it as the “Altar of Noah,” erected after the deluge and others as the permanent golden temple of Jerusalem. 


Q. What is Alpha Arae? 

 A. Alpha Arae, the second brightest star in Ara, is a variable Be star, a B-type star with prominent emission lines of hydrogen in its spectrum. 

Q. What is the constellation? 

A. One of the southernmost constellations depicted by in illustrations, Ara is usually depicted as compact classical altar with its smoke ‘rising’ southward. 

Q. What time of year is Ara best visible? 

A. Ara is best seen in the summer 

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