Mensa Constellation: Facts & Myths

Constellations are decorations of the sky which glow and twinkle smiling at you from the top, guiding you and showing the way. In your childhood, they were hot topics of grandmother’s stories and fairy tales with many heroes descending from there to save the goodness and impart morals. While out on a voyage, they are the only means of determination of direction and a light house to the lost travelers to head back home. Knowing about stars has always been the primary agenda of mankind with calculations and researches going on since humans began thinking. They are a record and memoir of the evolution of earth and the rise of the human race. Here is some information about Mensa, one of the incredible constellations.

General information about Mensa constellation

Mensa is one of the twelve constellations formulated by Louis de Lacaille, the French Astronomer in the 18th century. Its name translates to “table” in Latin, though it was initially known as Mons Mensae and depicted Table Mountain.  It is situated in the South celestial hemisphere, in the vicinity of the south celestial poles and is one of the twelve constellations discovered in the 18th century. It lies next to Octans and is located in the far south of all the stars. It is not visible in the northern hemisphere and can be viewed only with the help of a high power telescope. There are no stars brighter than 5th magnitude in Mensa, and Large Magellanic Cloud is the only deep sky object in Mensa.

Where to look for Mensa constellation?

Size wise, Mensa constellation stands on the 75th platform and holds an area of about 153 square degrees. The exact location of Mensa is southern hemisphere’s first quadrant (SQ 1) and is found in latitudes +4 degrees to -90 degree. Chamaleon, Volans, Dorado, Octans, and Hydrus are sweet and shiny neighbors of Mensa constellation.

Mensa constellation houses itself in the Lacaille family of constellations along with darling buddies Antilia, Telescopium, Caelum, Sculptor, Circus, Reticulum, Fornax, Pictor, Horologium, Octans, Microscopium and Norma.

Two stars of Mensa constellation are known to have planets, and the constellation is devoid of any Messier objects. Alpha Mensae is the brightest star in the constellation with 5.09 as its magic magnitude number. The constellation is rather dull and is deprived of meteor showers.

Discovery of Mensa constellation

Lacaille made Mensa out of dim southern stars to pay tribute to Table Mountain in the vicinity of Cape Town in South Africa. This location was his laboratory where he worked in 1751 and 1752 and cataloged southern stars. It is also called Table Mountain because the Large Magellanic cloud forms a part of it which imparts cloudy appearance and the view is similar to the peaks of the Table Mountains capped by clouds.

Constellations are lights of the dreamland, appealing and motivating the looker to do something to reach there. They are the result of thousand years of incessant change and are a depiction of the transience of time.