SkyEye

Mensa

Table Mountain

Abbreviation: Men
Genitive: Mensae

The constellation of Mensa

French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille travelled to South Africa in the mid-eighteenth century where he constructed an observatory and spent two years observing the southern skies. Not only did he catalogue nearly 10,000 southern stars, he also surveyed 42 'nebulous' objects and devised over a dozen new constellations. One of those constellations was Mensa, named after Table Mountain near the modern city of Cape Town. It is the only constellation named after a geographical feature on the Earth.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
Large Magellanic Cloud This irregular galaxy is one of the Milky Way's nearest galactic neighbours. It seems to have a bar-like structure, suggesting that it might have been a barred spiral before being disrupted by our galaxy's gravitational field. It is visible to the naked eye as a hazy patch of light but binoculars or a small telescope reveal clusters and nebulae within it.