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Circinus facts for kids

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NGC 5315HSTfull.jpg
Hubble Space Telescope's view of NGC 5315, showing its intricate structure and central star
Abbreviation Cir
Genitive Circini
Pronunciation Círcinus,
Symbolism Compass
Right ascension 13h 38.4m to 15h 30.2m
Declination −55.43° to −70.62°
Quadrant SQ3
Area 93 sq. deg. (85th)
Main stars 3
Stars with planets 2
Stars brighter than 3.00m 0
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly) 0
Brightest star α Cir (3.19m)
Nearest star α Cir
(53.50 ly, 16.40 pc)
Messier objects 0
Meteor showers Alpha Circinids (ACI)
Triangulum Australe
Visible at latitudes between +30° and −90°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of July.

Circinus is a small, faint constellation in the southern sky, first defined in 1756 by the French astronomer Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille. Its name is Latin for compass, referring to the drafting tool used for drawing circles (it should not be confused with Pyxis, a constellation that represents a mariner's compass which points north). Its brightest star is Alpha Circini.

Notable features

The Milky Way runs through the constellation, the Alpha Circinids (ACI), a meteor shower also discovered in 1977, radiate from this constellation.

Meteor showers

Circinus is the radiant of an annual meteor shower, the Alpha Circinids (ACI). First observed in Queensland in 1977, the meteors have an average velocity of 27.1 km/s and are thought to be associated with a long-period comet. In 2011, Peter Jenniskens proposed that the debris trail of comet C/1969 T1 could intersect with the Earth's orbit and generate a meteor outburst. The ACI shower peaks on 4 June, the day it was first observed.

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