Phoenix

Phoenix


Transit Date of principal star:
28 September


Phoenix, the mythical bird rising from its own ashes, is another of those Southern Hemisphere constellations introduced by Johann Bayer in 1603.

In the past the constellation had been known as "The Boat" by the Arabs, then it became an eagle or other type of bird, so Bayer's decision to call it a phoenix does have some vague precedence.

The asterism is in fact rather like a large bird, rising into the air. The Bayer stars generally range from third to fifth magnitude.

There are a number of unspectacular binaries and several variables, including an important dwarf Cepheid.


Double stars:

Beta Phe: is a close binary:
AB: 4.1, 4.2; 93, 0.5".
Zeta Phe is a multiple system:
AB: 4.0, 6.8; 113, separation 0.6".
C: 8.2; 240, 6.7".
Theta Phe: 6.5, 7.3; 278, 3.9".


Variable stars:

Rho Phoenicis is a delta Scuti type variable: 5.2-5.3 every 0.12 days (2h 38m).

SX Phoenicis is a dwarf cepheid with a considerable history.

The star has a rather large proper motion (0.892"), but it is as a variable that the star is now better known.

This is a pulsating A-type subdwarf with a period of slightly under eighty minutes (exactly 1h, 19m, 8.9s). The magnitude ranges from 6.7 to 7.5.

The star is 2.5 degrees NE of iota Phoenicis.


Deep Sky Objects:

Phoenix has a number of galaxies, however they are all quite faint. The best of the group, NGC 55, is actually in nearby Sculptor.


For a more detailed appreciation of Phoenix, visit the Binocular Section.


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