The Constellation Directory


"The Altar"


By IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg)[CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Abbreviation: Ara
Genitive: Arae
Constellation family: Hercules
Nearest constellations: Apus, Corona Australis, Norma, Pavo, Scorpius, Telescopium, and Triangulum Australe
Right ascension: 17.39h
Declination: -53.58°
Visible between latitudes: +25° and -90°
Square degrees: 237
Luminary: Beta Arae
Notable deep sky objects: M7, NGC 6193, NGC 6208, NGC 6397


Ara is a small constellation in the southern hemisphere that is best seen in the month July. It contains the Stingray Nebula (Hen-1357), which is the youngest known planetary nebula.


According to some sources, Ara represents the altar of the centaur Chiron (or Centaurus), who was considered by the Greeks to be the wisest creature on Earth.