Corona Australis

Corona Australis

Transit Date of principal star:
9 July

Corona Australis is a small compact constellation nestled between Sagittarius and Scorpius, just east of Scorpion's stinger.

The constellation is quite old, and is said to represent the crown worn by the centaur Sagittarius (and sometimes known as "Corona Sagittarii").

Like a number of other constellations in the southern hemisphere, its Bayer stars are far from complete, and are rather faint as well.

Double stars:

Kappa2 and kappa1 Coronae Australis form a gorgeous fixed double, visible in most of North America (as far north as Vancouver and Winnipeg) but only part of Europe, generally south of Paris or Stuttgart, and not at all in the UK.

Kappa2 is the primary: 5.6, 6.2; 358 and separation 21.2".

h5014 is a close visual binary with an orbit of 191 years. These are two equal stars: 5.7, 5.7; 4, 1.8".

Variable stars:

Corona Australis has no long-period variables, but there are several irregular variables of considerable interest. Two of these, TY and R, are found in the nebulosity NGC 6726/27/29 (see below).

Deep Sky Objects:

There are no Messier objects in Corona Australis, however the constellation does have a globular cluster suitable for binoculars, as well as an interesting region of nebulosity that goes under a multiple name.

NGC 6541 is a globular cluster, quite large and bright, about 15,000 light years away. It's nearly midway between theta CrA and theta Sco, a bit closer to the latter (more precisely thirty arc minutes east of theta Sco).

NGC 6729 is part of a nebulous region that contains both variable stars R CrA and TY CrA.

The region is a mixture of bright and dark nebulae; the brightest region is NGC 6726/6727, which form a figure eight. Just to the SE is NGC 6729, which is much fainter, but of more interest as it contains R CrA, an irregular variable that goes from 9.7 to about 12. As the star brightens, so does the surrounding nebula.

The other variable, TY CrA, is found in NGC 6726, and varies from about 8.8 to 12.6.

The easiest way of finding the nebulosity is to drop seven and a half degrees south of zeta Sagittarii.

For a closer appreciation of Corona Australis, visit the Binocular Section.

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