Antlia is thought to represent the air pump invented by the English
physicist Robert Boyle. This already gives a hint, that this constellation does
not belong to the old, (in the north) long known ones. It belongs to the La
Caille constellation family and is
located in the southern hemisphere (about DECL=-25 degrees and DECL=-40
degrees, RA=11h and RA=9h30m).
Antlia is a faint constellation - its brightest star, alpha Ant (spectraltype K4III) shows a brightness of 4.25 mag.
Stars and other objects
The double zeta Ant is a wide pair of an A1 main sequence star of 6.35
mag (zeta2) and an A9 subgiant of 5.93 mag (zeta3). These two can easily be
observed with binoculars. Small scopes reveal another companion: another A1
main sequence star of 7.21 mag (zeta1).
The planetary nebula NGC3132 lies very close to the border line to the constellation Vela, south of Antlia. It is bright and large planetary nebula - it can be compared to the famous Ring Nebula in Lyra, yet it is a full magnitude brighter. When viewed with a telescope of average size the nebula appears as a misty disk of elliptical shape; the apparent size of this disk is even larger than the apparent size of our largest planet, Jupiter.
In April 1997 a new member of the Local Group of galaxies was found in this constellation. This spheroidal dwarf galaxy has been discovered by astronomers of Cambridge. You can find it at RA=10h 01.8m and DECL=-27deg 05'. It is located in a distance of about 1150 kpc.