Constellation Dove (Columba - Col)

The name, the history, the myth

The constellation of the Dove seems to have been introduced in 1592 by the Dutch astronomer and cosmographer Petrus Plancius, in his celestial hemisphere, with the name Columba Nohae, that is "Noah's dove". and was officially included in Bayer's catalogue in 1603.
Although recent, the Dove has a mythological story to tell, if in fact strong are the references to the dove released by Noah after the end of 150 days of the Universal Flood, which returned with an olive branch in its beak, as proof of the existence of a dry land and emerged from the abundant waters, the parallel reference to the bird that was commissioned by the Argonauts (see constellation Carena) to indicate a safe passage between the Rocce Cozzanti (Simplegadi) is equally well founded.


The constellation of the Dove culminates at midnight in mid-December, can be found in the sky in the cold season, starting from Sirius and descending southwest by about twenty degrees.

From Italy it is very difficult, however, to see this constellation that always appears very low on the horizon.

Heavenly bodies

The main stars of the Dove are alpha and beta, with magnitudes of 2.6 and 3.1 respectively. Alpha, Phact (the "dove ring") is a blue-white star, while beta, Wasn (the "weight" or "sounder") is yellowish. They are two stars called "bearers of good news".
From the point of view of non-stellar bodies, however, there is very little to observe other than a globular cluster, NGC 1851

Audio Video Constellation Dove (Columba - Col)
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