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Albireo (Beta Cygni A, 6 Cygni A) Star Facts

Albireo Facts

  • Albireo is a luminous giant star that can be located in the constellation of Cygnus. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Albireo is a main star of the constellation outline.
  • Based on the spectral type (K3II+...) of the star, the star's colour is orange to red .
  • The star can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.
  • Using the most recent figures given by the 2007 Hipparcos data, the star is 434.31 light years away from us. Distance

Information on Albireo

Visual Double or Double Star

Albeiro is seen as a double star but as Phil Plait describes on Syfy Wire, Albireo is a visual double. A Visual Double is where the stars are close together in the sky but are not close enough to be classed as a binary star. They look as though they are a double star but they are two independent stars. As he puts it, stars passing in the night sky.

The stars do not have the same proper motion, that is they don't travel at the same speeds. If the stars were to have the same speeds then we would know that they would be in orbit together, either one round the other or both round a central point in space.

Albireo's Alternative Names

Beta Cygni A (Bet01 Cyg) is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Bayer Classification was created by Johann Bayer in 1603. The brightest star in the constellation is normally given the Alpha designation, there are exceptions such as Pollux which is Beta Geminorum.

The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR7417. HIP95947 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD183912.

Flamsteed designations are named after the creator, Sir John Flamsteed. Sir John named the stars in the constellation with a number and its latin name, this star's Flamsteed designation is 6 Cygni A. The Flamsteed name can be shortened to 6 Cyg A.

BD number is the number that the star was filed under in the Durchmusterung or Bonner Durchmusterung, a star catalogue that was put together by the Bonn Observatory between 1859 to 1903. The star's BD Number is BD+27 3410.

More details on objects' alternative names can be found at Star Names .

Location of Albireo

The location of the luminous giant star in the night sky is determined by the Right Ascension (R.A.) and Declination (Dec.), these are equivalent to the Longitude and Latitude on the Earth. The Right Ascension is how far expressed in time (hh:mm:ss) the star is along the celestial equator. If the R.A. is positive then its eastwards. The Declination is how far north or south the object is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Albireo, the location is 19h 30m 43.29 and +27° 57` 34.9 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Albireo

Proper Motion

All stars like planets orbit round a central spot, in the case of planets, its the central star such as the Sun. In the case of a star, its the galactic centre. The constellations that we see today will be different than they were 50,000 years ago or 50,000 years from now. Proper Motion details the movements of these stars and are measured in milliarcseconds. The star is moving -6.15 ± 0.28 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -7.17 ± 0.33 milliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Radial Velocity

The Radial Velocity, that is the speed at which the star is moving away/towards the Sun is -24.07000 km/s with an error of about 0.12 km/s . When the value is negative then the star and the Sun are getting closer to one another, likewise, a positive number means that two stars are moving away. Its nothing to fear as the stars are so far apart, they won't collide in our life-time, if ever.

Physical Properties of Albireo

Albireo Temperature and Colour

Based on the star's spectral type of K3II+... , Albireo's colour and type is orange to red luminous giant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 1.08 which means the star's temperature is about 4,803 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu.

Albireo Luminosity

Luminosity is the amount of energy that a star pumps out and its relative to the amount that our star, the Sun gives out. The figure of 1,403.17 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.

Albireo Radius

Albireo estimated radius has been calculated as being 39.08 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 27,188,505.47.km. If you need the diameter of the star, you just need to multiple the radius by 2. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 44.045694640037343411155187882. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS rather than peer reviewed papers. It has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.

Albireo Iron Abundance

Albireo Iron Abundance is -0.08 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context. The value comes from the Hipparcos Extended Catalog.

Albireo Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Albireo has an apparent magnitude of 3.05 which is how bright we see the star from Earth. Apparent Magnitude is also known as Visual Magnitude. If you used the 1997 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -2.31 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -2.57. Magnitude, whether it be apparent/visual or absolute magnitude is measured by a number, the smaller the number, the brighter the Star is. Our own Sun is the brightest star and therefore has the lowest of all magnitudes, -26.74. A faint star will have a high number.

Distance to Albireo

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 8.46000 which gave the calculated distance to Albireo as 385.54 light years away from Earth or 118.20 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is about 2,266,445,226,377,209.00, based on 1 Ly = 5,878,625,373,183.61 miles.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 7.51000 which put Albireo at a distance of 434.31 light years or 133.16 parsecs. It should not be taken as though the star is moving closer or further away from us. It is purely that the distance was recalculated.

Using the 2007 distance, the star is roughly 27,466,030.21 Astronomical Units from the Earth/Sun give or take a few. An Astronomical Unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun. The number of A.U. is the number of times that the star is from the Earth compared to the Sun. The star's Galacto-Centric Distance is 7,339.00 Parsecs or 23,937.13 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

Travel Time to Albireo

The time it will take to travel to this star is dependent on how fast you are going. U.G. has done some calculations as to how long it will take going at differing speeds. A note about the calculations, when I'm talking about years, I'm talking non-leap years only (365 days).

The New Horizons space probe is the fastest probe that we've sent into space at the time of writing. Its primary mission was to visit Pluto which at the time of launch (2006), Pluto was still a planet.

DescriptionSpeed (m.p.h.)Time (years)
Walking472,813,877,035.25
Car1202,427,129,234.51
Airbus A380736395,727,592.58
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.269379,600,255.11
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.54189,799,880.19
New Horizons Probe33,0008,825,924.49
Speed of Light670,616,629.00434.31

Source of Information

The source of the information if it has a Hip I.D. is from Simbad, the Hipparcos data library based at the University at Strasbourg, France. Hipparcos was a E.S.A. satellite operation launched in 1989 for four years. The items in red are values that I've calculated so they could well be wrong. Information regarding Metallicity and/or Mass is from the E.U. Exoplanets. The information was obtained as of 12th Feb 2017.

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Additional Albireo Facts and Figures

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NameAlbireo
Alternative NamesBeta Cygni A, Bet01 Cyg, HD 183912, HIP 95947, HR 7417, 6 Cygni A, 6 Cyg A, BD+27 3410
Spectral TypeK3II+...
Constellation's Main StarYes
Multiple Star SystemYes
Star TypeLuminous Giant Star
ColourOrange to Red
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationCygnus
Absolute Magnitude -2.31 / -2.57
Visual / Apparent Magnitude3.05
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)19h 30m 43.29
Declination (Dec.)+27° 57` 34.9
Galactic Latitude4.57150115 degrees
Galactic Longitude62.10965494 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth8.46000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 385.54 Light Years
 118.20 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth7.51000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 434.31 Light Years
 133.16 Parsecs
 27,466,030.21 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance23,937.13 Light Years / 7,339.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-6.15000 ± 0.28000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-7.17000 ± 0.33000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1.08
Radial Velocity-24.07000 ± 0.12 km/s
Iron Abundance-0.0800 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Eccentricity0.07410
Semi-Major Axis6815.0000000
Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)1403.1700000
Associated / Clustered StarsAlbireo B

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Estimated Calculated Facts


Radius (x the Sun)44.05
Effective Temperature4,803 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

Location of Albireo in Cygnus


Albireo Location in Cygnus

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

Cygnus Main Stars


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