Mirfak (Alpha Persei) is a blue to white very luminous supergiant star that can be located in the constellation of Perseus. It is the 36th brightest star in the night sky. Alpha Persei is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR1017. HIP15863 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD20902. Mirfak has alternative name(s), 33 Persei , 33 Per. In Arabic, it is known as Al-Mirfaq.
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 Mirfak, the location is 03h 24m 19.35 and +49d51`40.5 .
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 -026.23 ± 000.11 towards the north and 023.75 ± 000.17 east if we saw them in the horizon.
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 16000.0000000 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.
Mirfak has a spectral type of F5Ib. This means the star is a blue to white supergiant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.48 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 6,166 Kelvin.
Mirfak has been calculated as 65.00 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 45,229,831.35.km.
Mirfak has an apparent magnitude of 1.79 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 -4.50 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -4.17. 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 5.51 which gave the calculated distance to Mirfak as 591.95 light years away from Earth or 181.49 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 591.95 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 6.44 which put Mirfak at a distance of 506.46 light years or 155.28 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.
|Short Name||33 Per|
|English Meaning||'The elbow' of the Pleiades|
|Bayer Designation||Alpha Persei|
|Alternative Name(s)||33 Persei|
|Hipparcos Library I.D.||15863|
|Yale Bright Star Catalogue (HR) Id||1017|
|Bonner Durchmusterung||BD+49 917|
|Henry Draper Designation||20902|
|Star Type||supergiant star|
|Absolute Magnitude||-4.50 / -4.17|
|Right Ascension (R.A.)||03h 24m 19.35|
|1997 Distance from Earth||5.51 Parallax (milliarcseconds)|
|591.95 Light Years|
|2007 Revised Distance from Earth||6.44 Parallax (milliarcseconds)|
|506.46 Light Years|
|Proper Motion Dec.||-26.23 ± 0.11 milliarcseconds/year|
|Proper Motion RA.||23.75 ± 0.17 milliarcseconds/year|
|Brightest in Night Sky||36th|
|Colour||(F) blue to white|
|Radius (x the Sun)||65.00|
|Luminosity (x the Sun)||16,000.0000000|
|Calculated Effective Temperature||6,166 Kelvin|
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. Id||B.D. Id||Star Code||Magnitude||R.A.||Dec.||Spectrum||Colour||Year|