SkyEye

Octans

The Octant

Abbreviation: Oct
Genitive: Octantis

The constellation of Octans

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 Octans, the octant (a navigational instrument). It was originally called Octans Hadleianus in honour of the inventor of the octant, John Hadley.

The south celestial pole currently lies within the boundaries of this constellation, near the fifth magnitude star σ Oct.