Lupus Constellation: Facts & Myths

Have you ever noticed stars in groups forming beautifully exciting patterns? Yes, they are the constellations in astronomy and astro physics. A constellation located in the deep Southern Sky is Lupus. It is named after the Latin name of the wolf. Listed in the 48 constellations given in the 2nd Century by the astronomer Ptolemy, the constellation remains a part of the modern 88 constellations.

As per the history, the Greeks named the constellation as Thorium (which is a wild animal) while the Romans knew it as Bestia or the beast. Lupus constellation was earlier considered as an asterism that is a group of stars with no definite boundaries like the constellations. It was associated earlier with the neighboring constellation Centaurus. The abbreviation of the constellation is Lup while the genitive is Lupi.

Location of Lupus

The neighboring constellations of the Lupus are Centaurus and ScorpiusHydraLibra, and Norma. It occupies an area of approximately 334 square degrees and lies in the third quadrant of the Southern Hemisphere. The constellation is visible between +35° and -90° latitudes. The constellation belongs to the Hercules family along with other constellations like OphiuchusSagittaSerpensAquillaCentaurusHydra, etc.

Stars within Lupus

There are 127 stars in total within the constellations border which are brighter than or equal to magnitude 6.5. Alpha Lupi is the brightest star of the constellation. Most bright stars from the constellation are massive members of a nearby stellar association, Scorpius- Centaurus. The constellation has five stars with planets.

Alpha Lupi is a giant spectral type star B1.5 III and is on a distance of 460 ± ten light years from the Earth. It is a Beta Canis Majoris Star that surges in brightness every 7hours and 6 minutes by 0.03 of a magnitude.

The major stars of the constellation include:

α Lupi (Alpha Lupi) as mentioned above is the brightest star of the constellation.

β Lupi (Beta Lupi) is found to be the second brightest star from the constellation.

δ Lupi (Delta Lupi) is believed to be 15 million years old. And is 10,000 times more luminous than the sun.

ε Lupi (Epsilon Lupi) it is a multi-star sub system.

ι Lupi (Iota Lupi) is a class B subgiant.

φ Lupi (Phi Lupi) is a designation of two stars.

π Lupi (Pi Lupi) belongs to the spectral class B5. It is a double system star.

KT Lupi (114 G. Lupi) it is a class B star and emits strong hydrogen emission lines.

τ Lupi (Tau Lupi) it is a designation occupied by the two stars Tau-1 and Tau-2 Lupi.

Lupi (Nu Lupi) it is also a designation shared by two stars, Nu-1 and Nu-2 Lupi.

RU Lupi is a very young T Tauri variable star from the constellation.

  • Deep sky objects

Following is a list of some Deep sky objects found in the constellation.

NGC 5986 is a notable cluster as it contains two major A-F class stars.

Retina Nebula – IC 4406 is a planetary nebula located on the western borders of the constellation.

NGC 5824 is a globular cluster located near the borders of Centaurus.

NGC 5749 is an open cluster discovered back in 1826.

NGC 5882 is a planetary nebula.

NGC 5927 is a globular cluster which is located in association with the nearing constellation Norma.

Lupus the constellation is approximately 460 light years away from Earth.