The Sculptor Tools Constellation (Sculptor - Scl)


The Sculptor Tools constellation from Stellarium

From the star map made with Stellarium we can see its location in the sky, just east of the Southern Fish and therefore clearly visible, although not very high on the horizon, at our latitudes. If we can identify Fomalhaut, then the Sculptor is there a little more to the left, with its stars that do not reach the fourth magnitude, but still visible for example in the mountains (in summer) with the skies a little darker than in the city.


As announced in the initial summary, in this constellation there are many deep sky objects, (I've chosen for you 12 of them!) some of them really spectacular, as we'll see later on. Then we have a nearby star and two medium-large stars.

In reality, however, it is not an artist, but his studio: it must be said that it is a modern constellation, created in the 18th century by the astronomer Luis de Lacaille.

If we look for the representation of the constellation in the star maps that we know well we find that it doesn't appear neither in the maps of Hevelius nor in the Uranometria since it is a modern constellation. The only possibility is obviously Stellarium where the sculptor's studio is represented with a part of it, a work table where the artist is forging a wonderful sculpture of unknown.

The Sculptor according to Stellarium

The name, history and myth of the Sculptor 

The constellation of the Sculptor, is probably the most useful of the fourteen constellations established by Nicholas La Caille in the years 1751- 1752, because it is located in a portion of the sky with weak and previously unclassified stars, east of the Southern Fish. Once called the 'Atelier of the Sculptor' (Attelier du Sculpteur), La Caille wrote that one should see a cabinet with a block of marble on it with the tools to sculpt it next to it.
Like many constellations in the southern hemisphere, its name is not associated with any mythology but is linked to instruments of science and the arts.


A couple of stars of important size, a neighbor and a variable

comparison between the Sculptor's stars and other very large and very well-known ones

In the diagram of comparison with other larger and better known stars encountered during the episodes, two stand out, of well known spectral classes: we can already imagine that it is a red giant and an orange one that will give poor Aldebaran a hard time.

The biggest star is a gigante red spectral class M2, η Scl, whose size is equal to 80 times that of our Sun and much bigger than Aldebaran.

Slightly larger than half is the other gigante orange κ2 Scl, spectral class K2, with a diameter of 45 times our yellow dwarf: again Aldebaran is outdated and not by much.

In order to see how the star η Scl appears from a distance of 10 UA (Saturn's star from the Sun, just to be clear), I had made for a long time the request to my friends of the agesclerati, but only after a long time, postponements and strange pauses I was able to get it (here is the picture) : it must be said that this behavior not really awake have it from the age of reason on.

Of a completely different breed are my friends Scaltrieorgogliosi: they were very happy and very fast to send me the photo of their sun (κ2 Scl) from a distance of 10 UA . Part of their nickname is "proud" because, more unique than rare in the universe, their sun is called k2 and is no less than class K2 ! What's more, it is much bigger than Aldebaran and this means that their week has always consisted of 5 days of celebration followed by a weekend of 2 working days: what envy!


We come back serious for the necessary time to signal that inside this constellation there is a very particular near star, not so much for its small distance from the Sun, equal to only 14.16 light-years, but above all because it is the founder of a glorious family whose members we have met in practically every constellation: it is the number one, Gliese 1, a small red dwarf of stellar class M2, also known as HIP 439.

Obviously, I had to contact my nice English friends, of certain terrestrial origins, ancient inhabitants of a vast area bordering Hungary on one side and England on the other and who emigrated to their present planet just a year before the disappearance of the dinosaurs: perfect timing! In the photo they sent me you can see that the Sun, of magnitude 3, is near the stars of the Big Dipper on one side and Denebola (of the constellation of Leo) and α Centauri on the other side (that every now and then shows itself thanks to its proximity to the Sun).

Let's definitely abandon the factions (that however accompany true news) to return serious and talk about another very particular star, the variable semi-regular star R Scl, a red giant of spectral class C, placed at 867 from the Sun:

the variable star R Scl

It is a star in the final part of its existence and appears with a strange spiral structure of matter around it: it is thought to have an invisible binary companion to which it emits material and gas.


The time has now come to dive into this sea of ...

Deep sky objects

This small constellation contains really remarkable and interesting deep sky objects: we will discover them time by time in these photos taken by the famous and powerful HST. Let's start from an amazing galaxy (equipped with a dust ring), generated by the probable collision (or better fusion) between two galaxies: it's the Cartwheel Galaxy (i.e. wagon wheel galaxy)

the amazing Cartwheel Galaxy

Absolutely fantastic is also the dwarf spheroidal dwarf galaxy called Sculptor Dwarf, which as we can see is teeming with stars.

the dwarf spheroidal galaxy, Sculptor Dwarf

Let's continue now with a series of galaxies belonging to the NGG catalogue, which I show you in strict numerical order, just so as not to wrong any of them: the first is the NGC 7, a spiral galaxy

one of the first galaxies in the catalogue, the NGC 7.

Small but beautiful is the spiral galaxy NGC 10, surrounded by other deep sky objects

the small spiral galaxy NGC 10

Majestic though small in size is the spiral galaxy NGC 24

the spiral galaxy NGC 24

Now here is irregular galaxy NGC 55, called Southern Cigar Galaxy.

the irregular galaxy NGC55

we have arrived at spiral galaxy NGC 247.

the spiral galaxy NGC 247

really beautiful and full of details is the NGC 253 barred spiral galaxy called Sculptor Galaxy

the Sculptor Galaxy, the NGC 253.

which we also see here in one detail

Galaxy detail NGC 253

we've arrived at a magnificent globular cluster, NGC 288.

the globular cluster NGC 288

equally beautiful is the spiral galaxy NGC 300

the spiral galaxy NGC 300

we now see the dwarf spiral galaxy NGC 625, which is actually located within the Phoenix Constellation (I had already mentioned it in this article), but is part of the so-called Sculptor Group.

the dwarf spiral galaxy NGC 625

and finally the spiral galaxy NGC 7793

the spiral galaxy NGC 7793

Names of stars and visibility

After this saraband of fantastic images I close by saying that none of the Sculptor's stars have received a name.

As for the visibility of the constellation at the convenient time of 9 p.m., the Sculptor appears low on the South-East horizon at the end of September around the autumn equinox, culminating in the South from the beginning to the end of November (the constellation has a great horizontal development, parallel to the horizon), and finally it sets towards South-West in a period of about twenty days at the turn of the following New Year.



Audio Video The Sculptor Tools Constellation (Sculptor - Scl)
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