Fixed star:  FORAMEN
Constellation:  Eta (η) Carina- the Ship Argo Navis
Longitude 1900:  20LIB47 Longitude 2000:  22LIB09
Declination 1900:  -59.10' Declination 2000:  -59.40'
Right ascension:  10h 44m Latitude:  -58.55'
Spectral class:  P Magnitude: 1.9 VAR

The history of the star: Foramen

from p.73 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.
[A scanned copy can be viewed on this webpage]

Eta (η) Carina, Foramen, lies in the Carina (Keel) subdivision of the Ship Argo Navis, but is invisible from north of the 30th parallel.

This is one of the most noted objects in the heavens, perhaps even so in almost prehistoric times, for Babylonian inscriptions seem to refer to a star, noticeable from occasional faintness in its light, that German Orientalist Peter Jensen (1861-1936) thinks was eta (η). And he claims it as one of the temple stars associated with Ea, or Ia, of Eridhu (Eridu), the Lord of the Waves, otherwise known as Oannes the mysterious human fish and greatest god of the kingdom.

In China eta (η) was Tseen She, Heaven's Altars. {p.74} The variations in its light are as remarkable in their irregularity as in their degree. The first recorded observation, said to have been by the English astronomer Halley in 1677, although it is not in his Southern Catalogue, made eta (η) a 4th-magnitude, but since that it has often varied either way, at longer or shorter intervals, from absolute invisibility by the naked eye to a brilliancy almost the equal of Sirius. Sir John Herschel saw it thus in December, 1837, as others did in 1843; but, gradually declining since then, it touched its lowest recorded magnitude of 7.6 in March, 1886. It is now, however, on the increase; for on the 13th of May, 1896, it was 5.1, or about a half-magnitude higher than its maximum of the preceding year.

The nebula, N.G.C. (New Galaxy Catalog ) 3372, surrounding this star has been called the Keyhole from its characteristic features; but the most brilliant portion, as drawn by Sir John Herschel, seems to have disappeared at some time between 1837 and 1871. That great observer saw 1203 stars scattered over its surface.

Near eta (η) is a vacant space of irregular shape that Abbott has called the Crooked Billet; and there are two remarkable coarse clusters in its immediate vicinity.

[Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].

Eta Carinae is like a star that has just blown itself to pieces. It lies at the heart of a cloud of gas and dust called the Keyhole Nebula. It started as a fourth magnitude star and by April 1843, it brightened up enough that it was the second-brightest star in the sky (apparently outshining Canopus and by some accounts Sirius). Since then, it has dimmed down. [Source]

The Keyhole Nebula (which is also known as the Carina Nebula or NGC 3372) is a glowing cloud of gas, dust, and stars some 8000 light years distant toward the constellation Carina. The Keyhole Nebula contains both bright regions that glow by means of fluorescence emission from ionized gas, and dark regions that obscure background light by means of dense molecular gas and dust. (Astrographics - see picture)

The astrological influences of the constellation Carina

No myths or astrological interpretations are associated with the constellation Carina because this constellation had always been seen as part of the constellation Argo Navis, the Great Ship, until French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1752 subdivided Argo Navis into Carina (the keel of the ship), Puppis (the poop), and Vela (the sails), plus a subordinate division of Argo now called Pyxis Nautica. The constellation Argo Navis represents the ship in which Jason brought the Golden Fleece from Colchis, said to be the first ship ever built.

The astrological influences for the whole constellation of Argo Navis, the Great Ship: According to Ptolemy the bright stars are like Saturn and Jupiter. Argo is said to give prosperity in trade and voyages, and strength of mind and spirit, but it has been observed to accompany cases of drowning, a notable instance being furnished by the horoscope of Shelley, where Argo occupied the 8th house and contained the Sun, Venus and Uranus. Drowning is particularly to be feared when Saturn afflicts the Moon in or from Argo. It is probably on account of this constellation that Virgo, especially the first decanate, is frequently found to be connected with drowning. [Robson*, p.30.]

The astrological influences of the star Foramen

Of the nature of Saturn and Jupiter. It causes peril, dignity, piety, usefulness and acquisitiveness, and gives danger to the eyes. [Robson*, p.167.]

With Sun: Danger of shipwreck. [Robson*, p.167.]


*[Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].