Universe Guide

HomeFactsConstellationsGemini

Castor (Alpha Geminorum) - HD60179 - HIP36850 - HR2891

Castor (Alpha Geminorum) is a blue main sequence dwarf star that can be located in the constellation of Gemini. It is the 25th brightest star in the night sky. The star can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.

Alpha Geminorum is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR2891. HIP36850 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD60179. The Gliese ID of the star is Gliese GL278A. The star was part of the original catalogue devised by German Astronomer Wilheim Gliese of stars located within 20 parsecs of Earth. Ref : Star Names.

Castor has alternative name(s), Castor A,66 Geminorum , 66 Gem. Castor is a multiple star system with 3 stars orbiting in its solar system.

The information for Castor on this site is based on the Hipparcos Catalogue which doesn`t differentiate the three stars that make up the star system. If you wanted to break the stars down, you would need to search on the Bonner Durchmusterung number. The numbers are A - BD+32°1581A, B - BD+32°1581B and C - BD +32° 1582

Although the star is referred to as the Alpha star in the constellation, it is not as bright as its twin, Pollux which is a yellow supergiant.

Location of Castor

The location of the star in the galaxy 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 star is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Castor, the location is 07h 34m 36.00 and +31d53`19.1 .

Proper Motion of Castor

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 -145.19 ± 2.63 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -191.45 ± 3.75 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Castor 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 17.0000000 that I have given is based on the Spectral Types page that I have found on the Internet. You might find a different figure, one that may have been calculated rather than generalised that I have done. The figure is always the amount times the luminosity of the Sun. It is an imprecise figure because of a number of factors including but not limited to whether the star is a variable star and distance.

Physical Properties (Colour, Temperature, Radius) of Castor

Castor has a spectral type of A2Vm. This means the star is a blue main sequence dwarf star. The star is 7414.00000000 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or terms of Light Years is 24181.7503241600000000s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.03 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 9,140 Kelvin.

Castor Radius has been calculated as being 2.84 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 1,974,647.80.km. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 2.81. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS and has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.

The star has companion stars which are in orbit close by, it has at least the following companions in close orbit, Castor B, Castor C.

Castor Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Castor has an apparent magnitude of 1.58 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 0.59 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 0.61. 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 Castor

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 63.27 which gave the calculated distance to Castor as 51.55 light years away from Earth or 15.81 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 51.55 years to get there. We don't have the technology or spaceship that can carry people over that distance yet.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 64.12 which put Castor at a distance of 50.87 light years or 15.60 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.

The star's Galacto-Centric Distance is 7,414.00 Parsecs or 24,181.75 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

Meteor Showers Radiating from near Castor

The Geminids Meteor Shower radiants from a point near this star. The meteor shower runs typically between December 6-19 with a peak date of Dec. 13/14. The speed of a meteor in the shower is 34 Km/s. The amount of meteors predicted to be seen per hour (Zenith Hourly Rate) is 34.

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.

Castor Facts

Alternative Names

Traditional/Proper NameCastor
Short Name66 Gem
Bayer DesignationAlpha Geminorum
Alternative Name(s)Castor A,66 Geminorum
Hipparcos Library I.D.36850
Yale Bright Star Catalogue (HR) Id2891
Bonner DurchmusterungBDD+32 1581
Gliese ID278A
Henry Draper Designation60179

Visual Facts

Star Typemain sequence dwarf star
Absolute Magnitude0.59 / 0.61
Visual / Apparent Magnitude1.58
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Ref: Wiki
Right Ascension (R.A.)07h 34m 36.00
Declination (Dec.)+31d53`19.1
Galactic Latitude22.48 degrees
Galactic Longitude187.44 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth63.27 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 51.55 Light Years
 15.81 Parsecs
2007 Revised Distance from Earth64.12 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 50.87 Light Years
 15.60 Parsecs
Galacto-Centric Distance24,181.75 Light Years / 7,414.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-145.19 ± 2.63 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-191.45 ± 3.75 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index0.03
Radial Velocity5.40 ± 0.50 km/s
Spectral TypeA2Vm
Brightest in Night Sky25th
Colour(A) blue

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts

Stars in Solar System3
Companion StarsCastor B
Castor C

Estimated Facts

Luminosity (x the Sun)17.0000000
Calculated Effective Temperature9,140 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

Related Stars

Multi-Star System

The star has been identified as being a multi-star system, one in which there is at least one star in close orbit to another star or two or more stars orbiting a central point. The stars may be of equal mass, unequal mass where one star is stronger than the other or be in groups orbiting a central point which doesn't necessarily have to be a star. More information can be found on my dedicated multiple star systems page. The source of the info is Simbad. The file is dated 2000 so any differences between this and any other source will be down to the actual source from where the information came from.


Proper Motion mas/yr
H.D. IdB.D. IdStar CodeMagnitudeR.A.Dec.SpectrumColourYear
60179+32 1581.0A2.00000-171.00000-103.00000A0White
60178B2.90000A0White1826
+32 1582.0C8.80000-210.00000-112.00000M1Red1835
+32 1580.0D4.00000-23.000001902

Location of Castor in Gemini


Castor (Alpha Geminorum) Location in Gemini

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


Add a Comment


Name:
Email: (Optional)
Comment: