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Menkar (Alpha Ceti, 92 Ceti) Star Facts

Menkar Facts

  • Menkar is a pulsating giant star that can be located in the constellation of Cetus. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Menkar is a main star of the constellation outline.
  • Based on the spectral type (M2III) of the star, the star's colour is 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 249.17 light years away from us. Distance

Menkar's Alternative Names

Alpha Ceti (Alf Cet) 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 HR911. HIP14135 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD18884.

Menkar has alternative name(s) :- Menkab, alf Cet. In Arabic, it is known as Al-Minkhar.

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 92 Ceti. The Flamsteed name can be shortened to 92 Cet.

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 310 G. Ceti. There are no stars with a Gould designation in Ursa Major for example.

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+03 419.

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

Location of Menkar

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 Menkar, the location is 03h 02m 16.78 and +04° 05` 23.7 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Menkar

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 -76.85 ± 0.33 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -10.41 ± 0.44 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 -26.08000 km/s with an error of about 0.02 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 Menkar

Menkar Temperature and Colour

Based on the star's spectral type of M2III , Menkar's colour and type is red giant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 1.63 which means the star's temperature is about 3,700 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu.

Menkar Radius

Menkar estimated radius has been calculated as being 47.70 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 33,189,460.15.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 54.01550175352118320865379696. 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.

Menkar Iron Abundance

Menkar Iron Abundance is -0.03 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.

Menkar Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Menkar has an apparent magnitude of 2.54 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 -1.61 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -1.88. 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 Menkar

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 14.82000 which gave the calculated distance to Menkar as 220.08 light years away from Earth or 67.48 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is about 1,293,767,872,130,248.89, based on 1 Ly = 5,878,625,373,183.61 miles.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 13.09000 which put Menkar at a distance of 249.17 light years or 76.39 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 15,756,458.76 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 7,453.00 Parsecs or 24,308.95 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 Menkar

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)
Walking441,774,386,361.98
Car1201,392,479,545.40
Airbus A380736227,034,708.49
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.269217,782,219.08
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.54108,890,967.62
New Horizons Probe33,0005,063,561.98
Speed of Light670,616,629.00249.17

Variable Type of Menkar

The star is a pulsating Slow Irregular 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. Menkar brightness ranges from a magnitude of 2.642 to a magnitude of 2.604 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 0.0 days (variability).

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 Menkar Facts and Figures

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NameMenkar
Alternative NamesAlpha Ceti, Alf Cet, Menkab, Al-Minkhar, HD 18884, HIP 14135, HR 911, 310 G. Ceti, 92 Ceti, 92 Cet, BD+03 419, alf Cet
Spectral TypeM2III
Constellation's Main StarYes
Multiple Star SystemNo / Unknown
Star TypeGiant Star
ColourRed
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationCetus
Absolute Magnitude -1.61 / -1.88
Visual / Apparent Magnitude2.54
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)03h 02m 16.78
Declination (Dec.)+04° 05` 23.7
Galactic Latitude-45.59554251 degrees
Galactic Longitude173.31582011 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth14.82000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 220.08 Light Years
 67.48 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth13.09000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 249.17 Light Years
 76.39 Parsecs
 15,756,458.76 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance24,308.95 Light Years / 7,453.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-76.85000 ± 0.33000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-10.41000 ± 0.44000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1.63
Radial Velocity-26.08000 ± 0.02 km/s
Iron Abundance-0.0300 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Eccentricity0.22150
Semi-Major Axis7314.0000000

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Variable Star Details


Variable Star ClassPulsating
Variable Star TypeSlow Irregular
Mean Variability Period in Days0.027
Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)2.604 - 2.642

Estimated Calculated Facts


Radius (x the Sun)54.02
Effective Temperature3,700 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

Location of Menkar in Cetus


Menkar Location in Cetus

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

Cetus Main Stars


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