Fornax


Transit Date of principal star:
9 November


Fornax, "The Furnace", is another of those constellations created by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the mid-eighteenth century; he took several dozen fairly bright stars away from the middle of Eridanus and called the result Fornax Chemica.

Alpha Fornacis is an easy visual binary, however the most noteworthy object in this constellation is the Fornax Galaxy Cluster (see below).

The asterism is a rather uninspired connection of its three brightest stars. In general the Bayer stars are fourth and fifth magnitude.


Double stars:

Alpha Fornacis is a visual binary with orbit of 314 years. The 2000 epoch values are 4.0, 7.0; PA 299, separation 5.1".

Gamma1A and gamma1B For form a faint triple system: .

AB: 6.0, 12; PA 145, 12".
C: 11; 143, 41".
Omega For is a fixed binary: 5.0, 7.7; PA 244, 10.8".


Variable stars:

Nu Fornacis is an alpha CV type variable: 4.68-4.73 every 1.9 days.

Deep Sky Objects:

In the southeastern corner of Fornax, on the border with Eridanus, is a collection of bright galaxies which go by the collective name of "The Fornax Galaxy Cluster".

Eighteen galaxies make up the cluster. The brightest is NGC 1316 (which is also a radio source called Fornax A). NGC 1399 is nearly as bright; the third brightest, NGC 1365, is a splendid barred spiral seen face on, with open spiral arms.

NGC 1316 is 2 SW of chi3 For;
NGC 1365 is 1 ESE of chi3 For;
NGC 1399 is 2 E of chi2 For.


See also the Binocular Section.


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All files associated with The Constellations Web Page are
Richard Dibon-Smith.