This area of the sky was originally part Argo Navis. The original constellation was depicted as a massive ship that sailed on the Milky Way around the southern pole. It is a stunning constellation south of the equator. Carina is most easily spotted by looking for the very bright star Canopus, the second brightest star visible from Earth with a magnitude of -0.74.
This constellation is never visible from North America, Europe, or much of Asia. Carina is the 34th largest constellation in the sky and is located in the second quadrant of the southern hemisphere. If you want to check it out set the latitudes between +20° and -90°. Bordered constellations are Centaurus, Chamaeleon, Musca, Pictor, Puppis, Vela and Volans.
Right Ascension: 07:32
Diameter (°): 27
Area (square °): 494
Opposition: Jan 11
Size Rank: 34th
Brightness Rank: 3rd
Major stars in Carina
Canopus – α Carinae (Alpha Carinae)
η Carinae (Eta Carinae)
Miaplacidus – β Carinae (Beta Carinae)
Avior – ε Carinae (Epsilon Carinae)
Aspidiske – ι Carinae (Iota Carinae)
θ Carinae (Theta Carinae)
υ Carinae (Upsilon Carinae)
ω Carinae (Omega Carinae)
Deep sky objects in Carina
Carina Nebula (Eta Carinae Nebula, NGC 3372)
Theta Carinae Cluster (Southern Pleiades, IC 2602, Caldwell 102)
Wishing Well Cluster (NGC 3532)
The Diamond Cluster (NGC 2516, Caldwell 96, C96)
Mythology of the Constellation Carina
Originally, the area of the sky we call Carina was part of a massive constellation known as Argo Navis named for giant ship Argo. It appeared to be sailing along the Milky Way around the southern hemisphere. Because the size of the constellation caused too much confusion, the constellation was split up into several parts. Carina the keel has been designated as a separate constellation from the other parts of the ship which include: Puppis, the stern, Pyxis, the compass, and Vela, the sails.
In Greek mythology, the great ship Argo was procured by the goddess Athena and was equipped with a magical oaken prow and the powers of thought and speech. This amazing ship was carried Jason and the Jason and the 50 Argonauts who journeyed to find the Golden Fleece. The names of stars have a long history dating back to Greek mythology and beyond.
In Egyptian mythology, Argo Navis was the ship of Osiris.
Located entirely in the southern hemisphere, as a single constellation Argo Navis is the largest constellation and contains over 800 naked eye stars. Its original star designations by de Lacaille used 180 Greek letters; many repetitions lent to confusion and error. More recent astronomers have separated the original constellation of Argo Navis into four parts of the boat.
Sometimes Malus, the mast, is used to further define Argo Navis, which covers almost 75 degrees of the sky. It is south of Monoceros, Hydra and Sirius (the brightest star in the sky). A few of the most northern stars of Puppis and Pyxis can be seen on the horizon in New York City in early March. Canopus, the second brightest star, is in Carina.