Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tempus fuggeddit

There are many interesting and spectacular constellations in the night sky, such as Orion, Ursa Major and Cygnus. But which constellation would you consider to be the most boring? My initial candidate was Horologium - the Pendulum Clock. This was mapped by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille - an astronomer with an inordinate fondness for machines - in honour of Christiaan Huygens who invented it. Huygens also discovered the rings of Saturn.
Horologium is made up of a number of faint stars, the brightest being magnitude 3.85. Iota Horologii has a planet twice the mass of Jupiter, 0.91 AU from the star, orbiting in about 311 days. Now if it's got a large enough moon, orbiting far enough out to avoid the intense radiation, it could be within the star's habitation zone, and have liquid water on its surface, and possibly life.
This makes Horologium much more interesting, so my candidate now for most boring constellation is Caelum - the Chisel. It has no star brighter than 4th magnitude. It's got a Mira-type variable star (R Caeli), and that's about it.
It's also a neighbouring constellation to Horologium.

1 comment:

Mother Jones RN said...

Poor Caelum, I wonder what it feels like to be a wall flower constellation:-)