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Pherkad, Gamma Ursae Minoris, 13 Ursae Minoris, HD137422, HIP75097, HR5735

Pherkad (Gamma Ursae Minoris) is a blue giant star that can be located in the constellation of UrsaMinor. Pherkad is the brightest star in Ursa Minor based on the Hipparcos 2007 apparent magnitude. The star can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.

Gamma Ursae Minoris is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR5735. HIP75097 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD137422.

Pherkad has alternative name(s), Pherkad Major , .

Location of Pherkad

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 Pherkad, the location is 15h 20m 43.75 and +71d50`02.3 .

Proper Motion of Pherkad

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 17.90 ± 0.10 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -17.73 ± 0.11 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Physical Properties (Colour, Temperature, Radius) of Pherkad

Pherkad has a spectral type of A3II-III. This means the star is a blue giant star. The star is 7437.00000000 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or terms of Light Years is 24256.7678932800000000s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.05 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 8,917 Kelvin.

Pherkad Radius has been calculated as being 14.47 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 10,068,810.77.km. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 14.67. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS and has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.

Pherkad Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Pherkad has an apparent magnitude of 3.00 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 -2.84 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -2.87. 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 Pherkad

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 6.79 which gave the calculated distance to Pherkad as 480.36 light years away from Earth or 147.28 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 480.36 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 6.70 which put Pherkad at a distance of 486.81 light years or 149.25 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.

The star's Galacto-Centric Distance is 7,437.00 Parsecs or 24,256.77 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

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.

Pherkad Facts

Alternative Names

Traditional/Proper NamePherkad
Flamsteed Name13 Ursae Minoris
Flamsteed Short Name13 UMi
Bayer DesignationGamma Ursae Minoris
Alternative Name(s)Pherkad Major
Hipparcos Library I.D.75097
Yale Bright Star Catalogue (HR) Id5735
Bonner DurchmusterungBD+72 679
Henry Draper Designation137422

Visual Facts

Star Typegiant star
Absolute Magnitude-2.84 / -2.87
Visual / Apparent Magnitude3.00
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)15h 20m 43.75
Declination (Dec.)+71d50`02.3
Galactic Latitude40.84 degrees
Galactic Longitude108.46 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth6.79 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 480.36 Light Years
 147.28 Parsecs
2007 Revised Distance from Earth6.70 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 486.81 Light Years
 149.25 Parsecs
Galacto-Centric Distance24,256.77 Light Years / 7,437.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.17.90 ± 0.10 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-17.73 ± 0.11 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index0.05
Radial Velocity-3.90 ± 0.60 km/s
Spectral TypeA3II-III
Colour(A) blue

Estimated Facts

Calculated Effective Temperature8,917 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

Related Stars

Location of Pherkad in Ursa Minor


Pherkad (Gamma Ursae Minoris) Location in Ursa Minor

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


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