Located in the southern sky, Octans is a faint constellation. The name is Latin for the eighth part of a circle, but is named after the octant, a navigational instrument. Created by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1752, Octans is one of the 88 modern constellations.

Due to its faintness, relative recentness, and because of its extreme southerly latitude, there is no real mythology related to Octans. Octans is not visible in the Pacific Northwest.

Applicable Information
Visibility In Pacific NorthwestNever visible above the horizon
Best Times To ViewNever visible above the horizon
Right Ascension22h
Area291 square degrees
Main Stars3
Brightest Objectν Oct
Meteor showers0
Messier objects0
Neighboring ConstellationsTucana, Indus, Pavo, Apus, Chamaeleon, Mensa, Hydrus

The Name

Octans was one of 14 constellations created by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille during his expedition to the Cape of Good Hope. The constellation was originally named l’Octans de Reflexion, which means “the reflecting octant. This occurred in 1752, after he had observed and catalogued almost 10,000 southern stars during a 2 year residency at the Cape of Good Hope. During this time, he devised fourteen new constellations in uncharted regions of the Southern Celestial Hemisphere, which were visible from Europe. 13 of the 14 constellations he create honored instruments that symbolized the Age of Enlightenment


Octans is a very faint constellation. NGC 2573 (also known as Polarissima Australis) is a faint barred spiral galaxy that happens to be the closest NGC object to the South Celestial Pole. NGC 7095 and NGC 7098 are two barred spiral galaxies that are 115 million and 95 million light-years distant from Earth respectively. The sparse open cluster Collinder 411 is also located in the constellation.

Make sure to check out other articles on the site, including a brief introduction to constellations, other constellation articles, and more!

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