The Celestial Sphere from Latitude 30° South

0300 Hours Sidereal Time

The sky from 30°S at 0300 hours sidereal time

This page contains a description of the stars, constellations, and deep-sky objects that can be seen in the sky at around 0300 hours sidereal time. It is assumed that the observer is located at approximately 30° latitude south.

To use the sky map, orient it so that the direction you are facing is at the bottom of the map. Zenith, the point directly overhead in the sky, is located at the centre of the map.

Looking South

Skimming the southern horizon is Triangulum Australe, the southern triangle. It is bigger and brighter than its northern counterpart which is visible in the north. Also low in the south is Crux, the famous 'Southern Cross'. The middle star of the cross is slightly off-centre so Crux actually looks a bit more like a kite than a cross.

Above Crux and halfway to the zenith is the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. The Small Magellanic Cloud is smaller and located to the west of the LMC. Both objects appear as fuzzy patches in the sky, as though pieces of the Milky Way have become detached and drifted away. High in the sky above the SMC is the bright star Achernar in the constellation Eridanus.

The majestic ship 'Argo', now split into several constellations, dominates the south eastern skies. Canopus is the brightest star in Carina, the keel of the ship, and there are a number of interesting deep-sky objects in the area. Also rising in the east is Canis Major with brilliant Sirius to add its light to the night sky. These two stars are the brightest in the sky after the Sun. In the case of Sirius, this is because it is relatively close to us but Canopus is simply intrinsically bright.

In the west, Capricornus is setting, soon to be followed by Aquarius. Fomalhaut, the brightest star in Piscis Austrinus, is sinking in the western sky too but still has a few hours left.

The southern avian constellations populate the southern and western skies, among them Pavo, Grus, Tucana and Phoenix which is next to Achernar.

Looking North

The northern sky can also claim a 'dog star' of its own. Just rising in the east is Procyon, the brightest star in Canis Minor. Along with Canis Major, Canis Minor is a hunting dog of Orion. The giant hunter is forced to hunt standing on his head in the southern hemisphere. His club points toward the ground and the star marking the shoulder holding the club aloft is Betelgeuse. Marking the hunter's knee in the opposite corner of this hourglass-shaped figure is Rigel. The colours of these two stars should appear quite different, with Betelgeuse taking on a ruddy hue whilst Rigel glows a cold blue-white. Hanging (up) from Orion's belt is what looks like several fuzzy stars. These are actually nebula. The largest one is M42, the Great Orion Nebula, and is a place where starbirth is currently taking place.

The three stars of the belt of Orion point westward to Aldebaran and then to M45, the Pleiades. Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus. The upside-down V of stars near Aldebaran is an open cluster called the Hyades. The Pleiades also make up an open cluster.

Lepus stands at Orion's feet and the mighty river Eridanus flows from here as well, providing a place for the whale Cetus to swim. Below Cetus is Pisces, notable for its 'Circlet' of stars. Racing along the horizon beneath Pisces is Pegasus, its 'Great Square' easily visible. Andromeda, attached to Pegasus at the lower right hand corner of the 'Great Square', contains the most distant object visible to the naked eye, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Due north is Perseus, the saviour of the princess Andromeda. No bright objects mark the western sky. Only faint Aquarius quietly prepares to set.