Eta Centauri (Eta Cen) 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 HR5440. HIP71352 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD127972.
Eta Centauri has alternative name(s) :- Eta CenTau, eta Cen.
The Gould star designation is one that was designed by American astronomer, Benjamin Apthorp Gould. Gould stars are predominantly in the Southern and Equatorial constellations but do appear in northern constellations such as Bootes and Orion. The star has the designation 356 G. Centauri. There are no stars with a Gould designation in Ursa Major for example.
More details on objects' alternative names can be found at Star Names .
The location of the main sequence 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 Eta Centauri, the location is 14h 35m 30.45 and -42° 09` 27.9 .
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 -32.72 ± 0.11 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -34.73 ± 0.21 milliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.
The Radial Velocity, that is the speed at which the star is moving away/towards the Sun is 0.00 km/s with an error of about 1.60 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.
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 2,432.97 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.
Eta Centauri has a spectral type of B1Vn + A. This means the star is a blue main sequence star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of -0.15 which means the star's temperature is about 13,674 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being .
Radius has been calculated as being 5.38 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 3,746,465.29.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 5.34. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS and has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.
Eta Centauri has an apparent magnitude of 2.33 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 -2.55 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -2.53. 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.
Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 10.57 which gave the calculated distance to Eta Centauri as 308.57 light years away from Earth or 94.61 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is 206,932,173,211.
In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 10.67 which put Eta Centauri at a distance of 305.68 light years or 93.72 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 19,331,002.94 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 7,329.00 Parsecs or 23,904.51 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.
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.
|Description||Speed (m.p.h.)||Time (years)|
|Speed of Sound (Mach 1)||767.269||267,173,691.56|
|Concorde (Mach 2)||1,534.54||133,586,671.68|
|New Horizons Probe||33,000||6,211,942.16|
|Speed of Light||670,616,629.00||305.68|
The star is a eclipsing binary sys Beta Lyrae (Sheliak) variable type which means that its size changes over time. The Variable Type is usually named after the first star of that type to be spotted. Eta Centauri brightness ranges from a magnitude of 2.338 to a magnitude of 2.255 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 1.3 days (variability).
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.
|Primary / Proper / Traditional Name||Eta Centauri|
|Alternative Names||Eta Cen, Eta CenTau, HD 127972, HIP 71352, HR 5440, 356 G. Centauri, eta Cen|
|Spectral Type||B1Vn + A|
|Constellation's Main Star||Yes|
|Multiple Star System||No / Unknown|
|Star Type||Main Sequence Dwarf Star|
|Absolute Magnitude||-2.55 / -2.53|
|Visual / Apparent Magnitude||2.33|
|Naked Eye Visible||Yes - Magnitudes|
|Right Ascension (R.A.)||14h 35m 30.45|
|Declination (Dec.)||-42° 09` 27.9|
|Galactic Latitude||16.67 degrees|
|Galactic Longitude||322.77 degrees|
|1997 Distance from Earth||10.57 Parallax (milliarcseconds)|
|308.57 Light Years|
|2007 Distance from Earth||10.67 Parallax (milliarcseconds)|
|305.68 Light Years|
|19,331,002.94 Astronomical Units|
|Galacto-Centric Distance||23,904.51 Light Years / 7,329.00 Parsecs|
|Proper Motion Dec.||-32.72 ± 0.11 milliarcseconds/year|
|Proper Motion RA.||-34.73 ± 0.21 milliarcseconds/year|
|Radial Velocity||0.00 ± 1.60 km/s|
|Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)||2,432.97|
|Variable Star Class||Eclipsing binary sys|
|Variable Star Type||Beta Lyrae (Sheliak)|
|Mean Variability Period in Days||1.285|
|Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)||2.255 - 2.338|
|Radius (x the Sun)||5.34|
|Effective Temperature||13,674 Kelvin|
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