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Constellation Ara (Altar)

Constellation Ara (Altar)

Southern Hemisphere




The Altar (lat. Ara) is a constellation of the south with an area of 237 square degrees. It belongs to the 48 constellations of antiquity, which were described by Ptolemy. The brightest star is "Choo", Alpha Arae, with a magnitude of 1.9.

How to spot Ara

Ara is best seen in summer. The striking shape of the letter H ensures that the constellation is easy to find. It borders on Scorpius in the north, on Norma in the west, on Telescopium in the east and on Triangulum Australe in the south.


The first mention of the constellation dates back to the third century before Christ: In an astronomical doctrine Aratos of Soloi called it the "incense altar" and interpreted its visibility as a warning of storms on the seas. Centuries later, the Romans saw Ara as part of Centaurus before it was finally recognized as one of the 88 modern constellations.