Abbreviation Sex
Genitive Sextantis, Sextansis
Pronunciation ,
Symbolism the Sextant
Right ascension 10
Declination 0
Family Hercules
Quadrant SQ2
Area 314 sq. deg. (47th)
Main stars 3
Stars with planets 5
Stars brighter than 3.00m 0
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly) 5
Brightest star α Sex (4.49m)
Nearest star LHS 292
(14.80 ly, 4.54 pc)
Messier objects None
Meteor showers Sextantids
Visible at latitudes between +80° and −90°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of April.

Sextans is a minor equatorial constellation which was introduced in 1687 by Johannes Hevelius. Its name is Latin for the astronomical sextant, an instrument that Hevelius made frequent use of in his observations.

Notable features

The constellation Sextans as it can be seen by the naked eye.
Sextans and other constellations seen around Hydra. From Urania's Mirror (1825)

Sextans as a constellation covers a rather dim, sparse region of the sky. It has only one star above the fifth magnitude, namely α Sextantis at 4.49m. The constellation contains a few double stars, including γ, 35, and 40 Sextantis. There are a few notable variable stars, including β, 25, 23 Sextantis, and LHS 292. NGC 3115, an edge-on lenticular galaxy, is the only noteworthy deep-sky object. It also lies near the ecliptic, which causes the Moon, and some of the planets to occasionally pass through it for brief periods of time.

The constellation is the location of the field studied by the COSMOS project, undertaken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Sextans B is a fairly bright dwarf irregular galaxy at magnitude 6.6, 4.3 million light-years from Earth. It is part of the Local Group of galaxies.[1]


  1. ^ Levy 2005, p. 178.
  • Levy, David H. (2005). Deep Sky Objects. Prometheus Books.  
  • Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). Stars and Planets Guide, Collins, London. ISBN 978-0-00-725120-9. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0-691-13556-4.

External links

  • The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Sextans
  • Star Tales – Sextans
  • Sextans Constellation at Constellation Guide