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Gamma Herculis (20 Herculis) Star Facts

Gamma Herculis Facts

Gamma Herculis's Alternative Names

Gamma Herculis (Gam Her) 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 HR6095. HIP80170 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD147547.

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 20 Herculis. The Flamsteed name can be shortened to 20 Her.

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+19 3086.

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

Location of Gamma Herculis

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 Gamma Herculis, the location is 16h 21m 55.24 and +19° 09` 10.9 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Gamma Herculis

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 43.81 ± 0.14 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -47.39 ± 0.22 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 -35.30 km/s with an error of about 2.70 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.

Gamma Herculis 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 92.15 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.

Physical Properties (Colour, Temperature) of Gamma Herculis

Gamma Herculis Colour and Temperature

Gamma Herculis has a spectral type of A9III. This means the star is a blue - white giant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.29 which means the star's temperature is about 7,270 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being .

Gamma Herculis Radius

Radius has been calculated as being 6.31 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 4,388,544.24.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 6.22. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS and has been known to produce widely incorrect figures. The star's Iron Abundance is 0.07 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context.

Gamma Herculis Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Gamma Herculis has an apparent magnitude of 3.74 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 -0.15 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -0.12. 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 Gamma Herculis

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 16.69 which gave the calculated distance to Gamma Herculis as 195.42 light years away from Earth or 59.92 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is 131,051,901,639.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 16.93 which put Gamma Herculis at a distance of 192.65 light years or 59.07 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 12,183,977.21 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 7,364.00 Parsecs or 24,018.67 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 Gamma Herculis

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)
Walking432,298,573,394.21
Car1201,076,619,113.14
Airbus A380736175,535,724.97
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.269168,382,006.28
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.5484,190,893.41
New Horizons Probe33,0003,914,978.59
Speed of Light670,616,629.00192.65

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 Gamma Herculis Facts and Figures

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NameGamma Herculis
Alternative NamesGam Her, HD 147547, HIP 80170, HR 6095, 20 Herculis, 20 Her, BD+19 3086
Spectral TypeA9III
Constellation's Main StarNo
Multiple Star SystemYes
Star TypeGiant Star
ColourBlue
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationHercules
Absolute Magnitude -0.15 / -0.12
Visual / Apparent Magnitude3.74
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)16h 21m 55.24
Declination (Dec.)+19° 09` 10.9
Galactic Latitude41.30 degrees
Galactic Longitude35.26 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth16.69 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 195.42 Light Years
 59.92 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth16.93 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 192.65 Light Years
 59.07 Parsecs
 12,183,977.21 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance24,018.67 Light Years / 7,364.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.43.81 ± 0.14 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-47.39 ± 0.22 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index0.29
Radial Velocity-35.30 ± 2.70 km/s
Iron Abundance0.07 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Eccentricity0.10
Semi-Major Axis7274.00
Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)92.15

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Estimated Calculated Facts


Radius (x the Sun)6.22
Effective Temperature7,270 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

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
147547+19 3086.0A3.80000-47.0000042.00000F0Yellow/White
+19 3085.0B9.80000-26.00000-45.000001938
BC12.200001910

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