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Nu Centauri

Nu Centauri Facts

  • Nu Centauri is a eclipsing binary sys subgiant star that can be located in the constellation of Centaurus. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Nu Centauri is not part of the constellation outline but is within the borders of the constellation.
  • Based on the spectral type (B2IV) of the star, the star's colour is blue .
  • 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 436.63 light years away from us. Distance

Nu Centauri's Alternative Names

Nu Centauri (Nu. 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 HR5190. HIP67464 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD120307.

Nu Centauri has alternative name(s) :- , nu. 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 272 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 .

Location of Nu Centauri

The location of the subgiant 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 Nu Centauri, the location is 13h 49m 30.30 and -41° 41` 15.6 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Nu Centauri

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 -20.18 ± 0.09 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -26.77 ± 0.17 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 8.00000 km/s with an error of about 2.00 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 Nu Centauri

Nu Centauri Colour and Temperature

Based on the star's spectral type of B2IV , Nu Centauri's colour and type is blue subgiant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of -0.22 which means the star's temperature is about 18,854 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu.

Nu Centauri 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 3,777.63 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.

Nu Centauri Radius

Nu Centauri estimated radius has been calculated as being 2.66 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 1,847,585.24.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 2.4328660346585606367687717801. 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.

Nu Centauri Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Nu Centauri has an apparent magnitude of 3.41 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 -2.41 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -2.22. 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 Nu Centauri

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 6.87000 which gave the calculated distance to Nu Centauri as 474.76 light years away from Earth or 145.56 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is about 2,790,936,182,172,650.68, based on 1 Ly = 5,878,625,373,183.61 miles.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 7.47000 which put Nu Centauri at a distance of 436.63 light years or 133.87 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 27,612,477.21 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 7,313.00 Parsecs or 23,852.33 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 Nu Centauri

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)
Walking473,202,834,680.07
Car1202,440,094,489.34
Airbus A380736397,841,492.83
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.269381,628,006.24
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.54190,813,754.43
New Horizons Probe33,0008,873,070.87
Speed of Light670,616,629.00436.63

Variable Type of Nu Centauri

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. Nu Centauri brightness ranges from a magnitude of 3.329 to a magnitude of 3.318 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 2.6 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 Nu Centauri Facts and Figures

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NameNu Centauri
Alternative NamesNu. Cen, HD 120307, HIP 67464, HR 5190, 272 G. Centauri, nu. Cen
Spectral TypeB2IV
Constellation's Main StarNo
Multiple Star SystemNo / Unknown
Star TypeSubgiant Star
ColourBlue
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationCentaurus
Absolute Magnitude -2.41 / -2.22
Visual / Apparent Magnitude3.41
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)13h 49m 30.30
Declination (Dec.)-41° 41` 15.6
Galactic Latitude19.88583291 degrees
Galactic Longitude314.41392229 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth6.87000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 474.76 Light Years
 145.56 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth7.47000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 436.63 Light Years
 133.87 Parsecs
 27,612,477.21 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance23,852.33 Light Years / 7,313.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-20.18000 ± 0.09000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-26.77000 ± 0.17000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index-0.22
Radial Velocity8.00000 ± 2.00 km/s
Eccentricity0.08200
Semi-Major Axis6856.0000000
Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)3777.6300000

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Variable Star Details


Variable Star ClassEclipsing binary sys
Variable Star TypeBeta Lyrae (Sheliak)
Mean Variability Period in Days2.625
Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)3.318 - 3.329

Estimated Calculated Facts


Radius (x the Sun)2.43
Effective Temperature18,854 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

Related Stars


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