Centaurus is often thought to be the most magnificent constellation in the southern hemisphere, containing over 100 bright stars (brighter than 5.5 magnitude). Alpha Centauri (or Rigel Kentaurius, which is its real name), Centaurus' brightest star, is actually bright because it is so close, only 4.3 light-years away, and is our sun's closest neighbor.

Centaurus is also the "sister constellation" of Sagittarius. Both symbolize centaurs, but it is unclear which represents Chiron and which Pholus.