Transit Date of principal star:
2 January

Pictor, "The Painter's Easel", is an invention of Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, who originally called the constellation "Le Chevalet et la Palette" (The Painter's Easel and Palette).

Pictor's stars are quite faint. Nevertheless there are several objects of interest, including the second fastest star known.

Double stars:

Theta Pictoris is a multiple system:
AB: 6.8, 7.4; PA 208, separation 0.3"
AB-C: 6.2, 6.7; PA 288, separation 38.3".
Iota Pictoris is a wide binary: 5.6, 6.2; PA 59, separation 12.8".

Mu Pictoris has a relatively faint component: 5.6, 9.3; PA 230, separation 2.5".

Variable stars:

Delta Pictoris is an eclipsing binary: 4.7 to 4.9 every 1.67 days.

R Pictoris is a semi-regular variable with a range from 6.9 to 10 about every 172 days.

Deep Sky Objects:

Kapteyn's Star is a fairly faint (8.8) red dwarf known for its large proper motion, which is second only to Barnard's Star (in Ophiuchus).

The star's discovery was made nearly a century ago, in 1897, by Professor Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn (1851-1922) of the University of Groningen in Holland.

Kapteyn's lasting discovery was that all stars which have a measurable proper motion are part of one of two streams which move in different directions at different speeds.

Kapteyn's Star has a radial velocity of 242 km/s and a distance of 12.73 light years (=parallax of 0.256" or 3.91 pc). The star has a luminosity of only 0.004 suns (i.e. an absolute magnitude of 10.85). It is found roughly 8.5 degrees NW of beta Pictoris (Burnham, p. 1463, has a finder's chart).

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

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