Universe Guide

Ankaa (Alpha Phoenicis) Star Facts

Ankaa Facts

  • Ankaa is a giant star that can be located in the constellation of Phoenix. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Ankaa is a main star of the constellation outline.
  • Based on the spectral type (K0III...) of the star, the star's colour is orange to red .
  • Ankaa is the 81st brightest star in the night sky and is the brightest star in Phoenix based on the Hipparcos 2007 apparent magnitude. The star can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.
  • Ankaa has a radius that is 15.00 times bigger than the Suns. Radius
  • Using the most recent figures given by the 2007 Hipparcos data, the star is 84.72 light years away from us. Distance

Information on Ankaa

Ankaa is a binary multiple star system where its companion stars orbit at about 10.5 years so pretty slow compared to some other binary stars. It has already depleted its hydrogen and now currently burning its stock of Helium before it dies quietly.

It is one of the few stars in the southern hemisphere to have a common name. Its name is derived from the Arabic word for Phoenix, Al-anqa.

Ankaa's Alternative Names

Alpha Phoenicis (Alf Phe) 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 HR99. HIP2081 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD2261. In Arabic, it is known as Al-'Anka'.

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

Location of Ankaa

The location of the 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 Ankaa, the location is 00h 26m 16.87 and -42° 18` 18.4 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Ankaa

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 -356.30 ± 0.52 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and 233.05 ± 0.73 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 75.20000 km/s with an error of about 3.90 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 Ankaa

Ankaa Colour and Temperature

Based on the star's spectral type of K0III... , Ankaa's colour and type is orange to red giant star. The star's effective temperature is 4,436 Kelvin which is cooler than our own Sun's effective Temperature which is 5,777 Kelvin

Ankaa 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 97.52 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.

Ankaa Radius

Ankaa Radius has been calculated as being 15.00 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 10,437,000.00.km. If you need the diameter of the star, you just need to multiple the radius by 2.

Ankaa Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Ankaa has an apparent magnitude of 2.40 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 0.52 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 0.33. 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 Ankaa

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 42.14000 which gave the calculated distance to Ankaa as 77.40 light years away from Earth or 23.73 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is about 455,005,603,884,411.41, based on 1 Ly = 5,878,625,373,183.61 miles.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 38.50000 which put Ankaa at a distance of 84.72 light years or 25.97 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 5,356,659.69 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 7,395.00 Parsecs or 24,119.78 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 Ankaa

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)
Airbus A38073677,193,805.45
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.26974,047,877.35
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.5437,023,890.42
New Horizons Probe33,0001,721,655.78
Speed of Light670,616,629.0084.72

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 Ankaa Facts and Figures

Visual Facts

Primary / Proper / Traditional NameAnkaa
Alternative NamesAlpha Phoenicis, Alf Phe, Al-'Anka', HD 2261, HIP 2081, HR 99
Spectral TypeK0III...
Constellation's Main StarYes
Multiple Star SystemYes
Star TypeGiant Star
ColourOrange to Red
GalaxyMilky Way
Absolute Magnitude 0.52 / 0.33
Visual / Apparent Magnitude2.40
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)00h 26m 16.87
Declination (Dec.)-42° 18` 18.4
Galactic Latitude-73.97906215 degrees
Galactic Longitude320.00280373 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth42.14000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 77.40 Light Years
 23.73 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth38.50000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 84.72 Light Years
 25.97 Parsecs
 5,356,659.69 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance24,119.78 Light Years / 7,395.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-356.30000 ± 0.52000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.233.05000 ± 0.73000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1
Radial Velocity75.20000 ± 3.90 km/s
Semi-Major Axis5071.0000000
Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)97.5200000
Brightest in Night Sky81st

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts

Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Estimated Calculated Facts

Radius (x the Sun)15.00
Effective Temperature4,849 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

Location of Ankaa in Phoenix

Ankaa Location in Phoenix

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

Phoenix Main Stars

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