Reticulum Constellation

One of the smallest constellations up there in our night sky, Reticulum is known for being one of the constellations discovered by astronomer Nicolas Lacaille during his time spent in South Africa. This constellation is best seen in the Southern hemisphere due to it’s declination. Let’s look at some facts about Reticulum.

  • Bordered By; Horologium, Dorado, Hydrus.
  • Named after; The Reticle
  • Declination; -60°
  • Brightest Star; Alpha Reticuli.
  • Best seen; November
  • Size rank; 82nd
  • Constellation family; Lacaille
  • Pronunciation; RET-TIC-CUE-LUM

What is Reticulum named after?

Reticulum takes it’s name from the Latin word for reticle, which is the net of crosshairs that are used to measure star positions in a telescopes eyepiece.

Who founded the Reticulum Constellation?

Reticulum is known for being one of the Lacaille constellations, founded by the astronomer Nicolas Lacaille. Lacaille was thought to have discovered his family of constellations during a visit to South Africa in the 1700s, which Reticulum being one of these. They all bear the name of a scientific instrument.

How can I see Reticulum in the sky?

The best time of year to see this constellation is between the months of October and December. However, it is not possible to see this constellation from the Northern hemisphere in this time.

Main Stars of Reticulum

There are many different stars which make up the constellation of Reticulum. As well as this, the Nebula NGC 1559 is also located in the constellation too. Lets look at these stars in greater detail.

  • Alpha Reticuli (α) – The brightest star in this constellation is called Alpha Reticuli. Although it is a solitary star, it is still bright enough to be seen quite clearly without a telescope. This star is around 330 million years old, and it’s mass is more than 3x that of the Sun.
  • Beta Reticuli (β) – The next brightest star in this constellation is called Beta Reticuli. It is less than 100 light years away from the Sun, and it is one of the older stars, with experts saying that it is somewhere between 5 and 6 billion years old.
  • Epsilon Reticuli (ε) – Epsilon Reticuli is a binary star, comprised of a white dwarf secondary and an orange subgiant as the primary star. This star is easily visible in the night sky, even without a telescope.
  • Gamma Reticuli (γ) – Gamma Reticuli is faintly visible without a telescope, and it is situated around 470 light years away from us. It is around 1846x as luminous as the Sun.
  • Delta Reticuli (δ) – Delta Reticuli is a little further away, around 530 light years away from the Sun. It is 56x the size and 1100x as luminous as the Sun, too.
  • Kappa Reticuli (κ) – This star is a binary star system, made up of a yellow hued subgiant star and another orange hued secondary star. it is a member of the Hyades supercluster.

As well as these stars, this constellation also contains a nebula called NGC 1559. This is a barred spiral galaxy that has large spiral arms, making it one of the most beautiful to look at.

Conclusion

All in all, Reticulum is an interesting constellation to learn about, although it is viewed from the Southern hemisphere. It takes it’s name from one of Lacaille’s scientific instruments, as he named all of his constellations after this. Out of all the stars in this constellation, we know that at least 5 of them have planets orbiting them too. So, it’s likely we’ll learn more about this constellation in the near future.

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