RASNZ logo

Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand

Lupus, a constellation for June and July

Contributed by Paul Rodmell, Southland Astronomical Society.

LUPUS "The Wolf" (pronounced LOO-puss)

Chart showing the constellation.

This ancient constellation was designated in the Almagest of Ptolemy in the second century AD as a wild beast, held in the grasp of Centaurus as an offering to the gods. The unspecified wild beast seems to have become a wolf in Renaissance times.

To find this constellation look high to the north in the evening sky, find the red star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion and the Pointers to Crux, the Southern Cross. Lupus lies in the Milky Way between them.

View facing north with Lupus overhead, at about 9.00 pm at the beginning of July.

Lupus constellation

Constellation Crux Constellation Centraurus Constellation Ophiuchus Constellation Circinus Triangulum Australe Constellation Norma Constellation Ara Constellation Telescopum Constellation Scorpius Constellation Libra Constellation Hydra Constellation Virgo

Some stars and interesting objects in the Constellation

α Lupi is a pulsating blue giant star varying between magnitudes 2.29 and 2.34. It lies 548 light years away.

β Lup is a magnitude 2.62 blue-white star 524 light years away.

γ Lup is a magnitude 2.97 blue-white star 567 light years away.

ε Lup is a multiple star system 504 light years away. The blue-white primary star is magnitude 3.37, while the secondary star is magnitude 4.85. The primary is also a spectroscopic double star.

η Lup is white and ashy pair of stars of magnitudes 3.4 and 7.7 lying 493 light years away. This double is not easy to see in small telescopes because of the magnitude difference.

κ Lup is an easy double star for small telescopes. A bright pale yellow pair of stars of magnitudes 3.88 and 5.70 dominate a striking field. The system lies 182 light years away.

μ Lup is a multiple star with three components. The close pair needs a telescope of 10.5 cm aperture or more to resolve them. The wider companion looks slightly reddish. The field is sown with stars making the effect very attractive. The primary star is reasonably bright with magnitude 3.88.

ξ Lup is a beautiful pair of stars in a field of scattered stars. This is well seen in small telescopes. The stars are of magnitudes 5.14 and 5.59 and lie 199 light years away.

π Lup is clearly resolved into a pair of stars with moderate apertures. The magnitudes of the two similar blue-white stars is around 4.5 and they lie 497 light years away.

NGC 5822 is a large loose cluster of stars needing a large field to be seen plainly. Small apertures show patterns of lines of stars. It is estimated as 2,000 light years away.

NGC 5986 is a globular cluster, seen as a hazy spot in smaller telescopes. It lies about 35,000 light years away.

NGC 5927 is a broadly compressed globular cluster in a fine starry field, lying about 25,000 light years away.

Visibility

Lupus passes overhead as seen from New Zealand, with the more southerly parts of the constellation being cicumpolar, that is not setting, as seen from the South Island. The constellation is overhead at about 10pm in mid June and 8 pm mid July.

Because of its southerly declination, Lupus is visible for at least part of the night throughout the year.


Top of Page      Other Constellations      Return to RASNZ home page.