Constellation Ara (Altar)

Ara: IAU Constellation Map [150]


Ara lies in a star-rich area of ​​the Milky Way south of scorpion's tail. The constellation encloses an area of ​​237 square degrees and culminates at midnight on June 12th, but is not visible from Europe. [9, 15]

Data for constellation Ara [150]
IAU NameAra
IAU GenitiveArae
IAU Abbr.Ara
English NameAltar
Opposition10 June
Season (47° N)
Right Ascension16h 34m 17s … 18h 10m 41s
Declination-67° 41' 26" … -45° 29' 10"
Area237 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)Sco, Nor, TrA, Aps, Pav, Tel, CrA

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions


Constellation Ara
Constellation Ara: Illustration from «Uranometria» by Johann Bayer, copper engraving by Alexander Mair, 1603 [28]

Mythology and History

Despite its unobtrusive outlines, the constellation was already known to the Greeks and Romans in ancient times. According to legend, Centaurus sacrificed the wolf (Lupus) on this altar. [7] Another explanation saw it the table of the gods. Among the 48 constellations of Ptolemy this appears as the three-legged censer to which he had assigned seven stars. [15]


  • [7] «Der grosse Kosmos-Himmelsführer» von Ian Ridpath und Wil Tirion; Kosmos Verlag; ISBN 3-440-05787-9
  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [28] «Uranometria omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata aereis laminis expressa» Johann Bayer, Augsburg, 1603; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-309
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;