Phoenix (constellation)

  • July Phöniciden
  • December hair dryer.
  • Sculptor
  • Crane
  • Toucan
  • ( Small water snake)
  • Eridanus
  • Chemical oven

The Phoenix is ​​a constellation of the southern sky.


The Phoenix is a little distinctive constellation north of the bright star Achernar in Eridanus. Only the main star α Phoenicis ( Ankaa ) is brighter than the third magnitude.

Due to its southern location of the Phoenix is not seen from Germany. In southern latitudes, as in Switzerland, Austria territories south of the Danube and the far south of Germany stands on the northernmost star just above the southern horizon.


The Phoenix is one of the constellations, which were introduced by the Dutch navigators Pieter Keyser and Frederick de Houtman Dirkszoon end of the 16th century. Johann Bayer took him in his 1603 celestial atlas published Uranometria.

The phoenix does not belong in contrast to the altar to the 48 ancient constellations, although the constellation altar a little further south lies as the phoenix and does not consist of much brighter stars. The reason for this is that the phoenix has wandered through precession in the last 3000 years, 15 degrees north. Around 1000 BC, was shown from Phoenix to Crete (35 ° N ) still no star. Today there is almost the whole constellation above the horizon, in 600 years, the phoenix will be completely visible there. By the year 9200, the constellation will continue to migrate north and completely rise even in Denmark over the horizon. After that, the precession will move the phoenix again towards the south. When constellation altar it was reversed, it was further north than today in the ancient world.


The phoenix was a bird in Egyptian mythology, who had appeared at the creation of the world on the primeval mound (see Benu ). He was revered as sacred and usually regarded as the personification of the sun god. He was later taken over by the ancient Greeks and Romans, where he had a wide variety of meanings over time. The now familiar version of a bird that burns itself and rises from its own ashes, only dates from the 1st century AD.

Celestial objects


α Phoenicis is a 77 light-years distant, orange star of spectral type K0 III. It has 2.5 times the mass and 10 times the diameter of our sun. The name is of Arabic origin and Ankaa denotes a bird from the Arabian mythology.

Multiple stars

The binary star system β Phoenicis is 198 light years away. The two components belong to the spectral types B6 and F7.

Phoenicis ζ is a multiple star system composed of four stars, in 280 light years away. Three stars are visible in a central telescope. A fourth star orbits the main star in such a small distance that it can not be observed directly. He eclipsed the star regularly.

Variable Stars

ζ Phoenicis is an eclipsing variable star Algol type. A faint companion orbiting the primary star in a close distance in the plane of view to our earth. All 1.669 days attracts the weaker star passing in front of the main star and obscures this for the terrestrial observer.

NGC objects