A Constellation in the Southern Sky

Phoenix is a constellation consisting of six stars that is seen chiefly in the Southern Hemisphere during summer. The brightest star encompassed in it is Ankaa, with an apparent magnitude of 2.40 - the other five are Beta Phoenicis, Gamma Phoenicis, Alpha Phoenicis, Zeta Phoenicis, and Nu Phoenicis. Nearby constellations include Eridanus, Grus, Fornax, Hydrus, Sculptor, and Tucana.

Phoenix was named after the mythical creature phoenix. A phoenix is an eagle-like animal that lives for 500 years and then builds a nest at the top of a tree when it nears its death. It the ignited itself and died on the nest, and from the ashes rose a baby phoenix. The cycle continued continuously.

The Arabs knew Phoenix as the Boat. It was first discovered by a Dutch astronomer named Petrus Plancius in the late 18th century. Phoenix is easy for anyone in South Africa or Australia to see, but places located above the 40th parallel it is nonexistent.