Carina (constellation)

Carina (keel) is a southern constellation which forms part of the old constellation of Argo Navis. It contains Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky, and the supermassive star η Carinae which is embedded in the giant Eta Carinae Nebula (NGC 3372).

Notable features

Since the Milky Way runs through Carina, there are a large number of open clusters in the constellation. These include NGC 2516 and IC 2602, the latter popularly known as the "Southern Pleiades." The most notable object in Carina is Homunculus Nebula in NGC 3372, the Eta Carinae Nebula. It is a planetary nebula visible to the naked eye that is being ejected by the erratic variable star Eta Carinae, one of the Milky Way's largest stars and one not far from becoming a supernova. NGC 3532 is a large binocular cluster having about 150 stars. Carina also contains the naked-eye globular cluster NGC 2808. Epsilon Carinae and Upsilon Carinae are double stars visible in small telescopes. Carina contains the radiant of the Eta Carinids meteor shower, which peaks around January 21 each year.


  • Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). Stars and Planets Guide, Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.

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