The Sextans constellation lies in the southern sky, near the celestial equator. The constellation represents the astronomical sextant.

Sextans is located in a dim region of the sky between the constellations Hydra, Crater, and Leo. The constellation was created by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. It is a rather faint one, with only one star brighter than fifth magnitude.

Applicable Information
Visibility In Pacific NorthwestNovember to May
Best Times To ViewJanuary, February
Right Ascension10h
Area314 sq. deg. 
Main Stars3
Brightest Objectα Se
Meteor showersSextantids
Messier objects0
Neighboring ConstellationsLeo, Crater, and Hydra

The Name

The Sextans constellation got its name because Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in 1687 name it after the instrument he had used to measure star positions. Therefore, there are no myths associated with this constellation.


The constellation contains a few double stars, including γ, 35, and 40 Sextantis. There are a few notable variable stars, including β, 25, 23 Sextantis, and LHS 292. NGC 3115, an edge-on lenticular galaxy, is the only noteworthy deep-sky object. It also lies near the ecliptic, which causes the Moon, and some of the planets to occasionally pass through it for brief periods of time. The constellation is the location of the field studied by the COSMOS project, undertaken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

In June 2015, astronomers reported evidence for population III stars in the Cosmos Redshift 7 galaxy (at z = 6.60) found in Sextans. Such stars are likely to have existed in the very early universe (i.e., at high redshift), and may have started the production of chemical elements heavier than hydrogen that are needed for the later formation of planets and life as we know it.[1]

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


[1] = Overbye, Dennis (17 June 2015). “Astronomers Report Finding Earliest Stars That Enriched Cosmos”New York Times

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