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Meaning in Englishthe Altar
Right ascension17.39 h
Visible to latitudeBetween 25° and -90°
On meridian9 p.m., July 20
 - Total
Ranked 63rd
237 sq. deg.
Number of stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
β Arae
Bordering constellations

Ara (the Altar) is a faint southerly constellation between the constellations Centaurus and Lupus.

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Notable features

Ara's brightest star, β Arae, has an apparent magnitude of 2,9. Its γ star is a double star just south of β.

Notable deep sky objects

The northwest corner of Ara is crossed by the Milky Way and contains several open clusters and diffuse nebulae. The brightest of the globular clusters, NGC 6397, is 8,200 light-years from our solar system and may be the closest such cluster.


This constellation was split off from Centaurus and Lupus by the interposition of Norma.


The altar, usually depicted upside down, but sometimes upright with the smoke drifting into the Milky Way, was identified as that of the centaur Chiron; its original Latin name was Ara Centauri. It was also occasionally called the altar of Dionysus.

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