Columba

Columba


Transit Date of principal star:
16 December


Columba, "The Dove", may refer to the bird the Argonauts sent ahead, to help them pass the narrow strait at the mouth of the Black Sea.

However, early atlas makers called it "Columba Noae", referring to the story of Noah and the Ark, and they depicted the dove carrying an olive branch in its beak. This is how I've drawn the asterism as well.

The constellation's Bayer stars are not complete, and mostly are in the fourth and fifth magnitude range.


Double stars:

Columba has several binaries of interest. Check the Binocular link, at the bottom of this page.

Phaet (alpha Col) is an optical binary (with an 11- magnitude companion), although Tirion's Sky Atlas marks it as a true binary.


Variable stars:

The constellation has a number of Mira-type variables; of these T Col is the brightest.

R Col varies from 8.0 to about 14 every 327 days. It's three degrees NE of mu Col.

T Col varies from 6.7 to 12.6 every 225 days. It's located one degree NNE of omicron Col.


Deep Sky Objects:

Of the few deep sky objects in Columba, NGC 1851 is perhaps the most interesting. This is a globular cluster of rather faint stars in a remote section of the sky, to the southwest, eight degrees SW of alpha Col.


For a closer appreciation of Columba, visit the Binocular Section.


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