Although visible to the
Ancient Greeks, Antlia's stars were too faint to have been commonly recognised as a figurative object, or part of one, in ancient asterisms. The stars that now comprise Antlia are in a zone of the sky associated with the asterism/old constellation
Argo Navis, the ship, the Argo, of the Argonauts, in its latter centuries. This, due to its immense size, was split into hull, poop deck and sails by Lacaille in 1763. Ridpath reports that due to their faintness, the stars of Antlia did not make up part of the classical depiction of Argo Navis.
In non-Western astronomy
Chinese astronomers were able to view what is modern Antlia from their latitudes, and incorporated its stars into two different constellations. Several stars in the southern part of Antlia were a portion of "Dong'ou", which represented an area in southern China. Furthermore,
Theta Antliae were incorporated into the celestial temple, which also contained stars from modern
Covering 238.9 square degrees and hence 0.579% of the sky, Antlia ranks 62nd of the
88 modern constellations by area. Its position in the
Southern Celestial Hemisphere means that the whole
constellation is visible to observers south of
49°N.[b]Hydra the sea snake runs along the length of its northern border, while
Pyxis the compass,
Vela the sails, and
Centaurus the centaur line it to the west, south and east respectively. The three-letter abbreviation for the constellation, as adopted by the International Astronomical Union, is "Ant". The official constellation boundaries, as set by Belgian astronomer
Eugène Delporte in 1930,[c] are defined by a polygon with an east side, south side and ten other sides (facing the two other cardinal compass points) (illustrated in infobox at top-right). In the
equatorial coordinate system, the
right ascension coordinates of these borders lie between 09h 26.5m and 11h 05.6m, while the
declination coordinates are between −24.54° and −40.42°.
Lacaille gave nine stars
Bayer designations, labelling them Alpha through to Theta, combining two stars next to each other as Zeta. Gould later added a tenth,
Iota Antliae. Beta and Gamma Antliae (now
HR 4339 and
HD 90156) ended up in the neighbouring constellation Hydra once the constellation boundaries were delineated in 1930. Within the constellation's borders, there are 42 stars brighter than or equal to
apparent magnitude 6.5.[d]
The constellation's two brightest stars—
Epsilon Antliae—shine with a reddish tinge. Alpha is an orange
spectral typeK4III that is a suspected
variable star, ranging between
apparent magnitudes 4.22 and 4.29. It is located 320 ± 10
light-years away from Earth. Estimated to be shining with around 480 to 555 times the
luminosity of the Sun, it is most likely an ageing star that is brightening and on its way to becoming a
Mira variable star, having converted all its core fuel into carbon. Located 590 ± 30 light-years from Earth, Epsilon Antliae is an evolved orange giant star of spectral type K3 IIIa, that has swollen to have a diameter about 69 times that of the Sun, and a luminosity of around 1279 Suns. It is slightly variable. At the other end of Antlia,
Iota Antliae is likewise an orange giant of spectral type K1 III. It is 202 ± 2 light-years distant.
HD 93083 is an orange dwarf star of spectral type K3V that is smaller and cooler than the Sun. It has a planet that was discovered by the
radial velocity method with the
HARPS spectrograph in 2005. About as massive as Saturn, the planet orbits its star with a period of 143 days at a mean distance of 0.477 AU.WASP-66 is a sunlike star of spectral type F4V. A planet with 2.3 times the mass of Jupiter orbits it every 4 days, discovered by the transit method in 2012.DEN 1048-3956 is a
brown dwarf of spectral type M8 located around 13 light-years distant from Earth. At magnitude 17 it is much too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. It has a surface temperature of about 2500 K. Two powerful
flares lasting 4–5 minutes each were detected in 2002.2MASS 0939-2448 is a system of two cool and faint brown dwarfs, probably with effective temperatures of about 500 and 700 K and masses of about 25 and 40 times that of Jupiter, though it is also possible that both objects have temperatures of 600 K and 30 Jupiter masses.
ESO 376-16 is located nearly 23 million light-years from Earth.
^Although parts of the constellation technically rise above the horizon to observers between the 49°N and
65°N, stars within a few degrees of the horizon are to all intents and purposes unobservable.
^Delporte had proposed standardising the constellation boundaries to the International Astronomical Union, who had agreed and gave him the lead role
^Objects of magnitude 6.5 are among the faintest visible to the unaided eye in suburban-rural transition night skies.
^Hellier, Coel; Anderson, D. R.; Collier Cameron, A.; Doyle, A. P.; Fumel, A.; Gillon, M.; Jehin, E.; Lendl, M.; Maxted, P. F. L.; Pepe, F.; Pollacco, D.; Queloz, D.; Ségransan, D.; Smalley, B.; Smith, A. M. S.; Southworth, J.; Triaud, A. H. M. J.; Udry, S.; West, R. G. (2012). "Seven transiting hot Jupiters from WASP-South, Euler and TRAPPIST: WASP-47b, WASP-55b, WASP-61b, WASP-62b, WASP-63b, WASP-66b and WASP-67b". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 426 (1): 439–50.
^Leggett, Sandy K.; Cushing, Michael C.; Saumon, Didier; Marley, Mark S.; Roellig, Thomas L.; Warren, Stephen J.; Burningham, Ben; Jones, Hugh R. A.; Kirkpatrick, J. Davy; Lodieu, Nicolas; Lucas, Philip W.; Mainzer, Amy K.; Martín, Eduardo L.; McCaughrean, Mark J.; Pinfield, David J.; Sloan, Gregory C.; Smart, Richard L.; Tamura, Motohide; Van Cleve, Jeffrey E. (2009). "The Physical Properties of Four ~600 K T Dwarfs". The Astrophysical Journal. 695 (2): 1517–1526.
^Torrealba, G.; Belokurov, V.; Koposov, S. E.; Li, T. S.; Walker, M. G.; Sanders, J. L.; Geringer-Sameth, A.; Zucker, D. B.; Kuehn, K.; Evans, N. W.; Dehnen, W. (2019). "The hidden giant: Discovery of an enormous Galactic dwarf satellite in Gaia DR2". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 488 (2): 2743–2766.