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Constellation Octans (Octant)

Constellation Octans (Octant)

Southern Hemisphere




The Octant (lat. Octans) is an inconspicuous constellation of the south. In it, you can find the Polaris Australis, but unlike its northern partner Polaris, the north polar star in the constellation Ursa Minor, it is not particularly bright. The 5.45m bright star is about 1° away from the south celestial pole, but is not particularly suitable as a guide for navigation because of its lack of light. 

How to spot Octans

With an area of 291 square degrees, Octans can be seen in the autumn at the south celestial pole. The constellation borders in the north, among others, to Pavo, Indus, Hydrus and the Chamaeleon.


After the invention of the telescope, the French astronomer Nicolas de Lacaille named some constellations of the southern hemisphere that had not been recognized before. Unlike the 48 constellations of antiquity, which bear the names of mythological figures, he often used the name of technological novelties for the new constellations. The octant is intended to commemorate the device to measure angular distances that was used to determine geographic latitudes until the 19th century.