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Procyon, Alpha Canis Minoris, 10 Canis Minoris, HD61421, HIP37279, HR2943

Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris) is a blue to white subgiant star that can be located in the constellation of CanisMinor. Procyon is the 9th brightest star in the night sky and is the brightest star in Canis 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. The star has an estimated age of 1.70 Billion of Years but could be as young as 1.60 to 1.80 according to Hipparcos.

Alpha Canis Minoris is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR2943. HIP37279 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD61421. The Gliese ID of the star is Gliese GL280A. The star was part of the original catalogue devised by German Astronomer Wilheim Gliese of stars located within 20 parsecs of Earth. Ref : Star Names.

Location of Procyon

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 Procyon, the location is 07h 39m 18.54 and +05d13`39.0 .

Proper Motion of Procyon

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 -1,036.80 ± 0.55 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -714.59 ± 1.26 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Physical Properties (Colour, Temperature, Age, Radius) of Procyon

Procyon has a spectral type of F5IV-V. This means the star is a blue to white subgiant star. The star is 7403.00000000 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or terms of Light Years is 24145.8723563200000000s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.43 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 6,590 Kelvin.

Procyon Radius has been calculated as being 2.09 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 1,450,743.69.km. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 2.09. 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 -0.02 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context.

The stars age according to Hipparcos data files put the star at an age of about 1.70 Billion years old but could be between 1.60 and 1.80 Billion years old. In comparison, the Sun's age is about 4.6 Billion Years Old.

The star has a companion star which is in orbit close by, it has at least the following companions in close orbit, .

Procyon Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Procyon has an apparent magnitude of 0.40 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 2.68 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 2.67. 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 Procyon

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 285.93 which gave the calculated distance to Procyon as 11.41 light years away from Earth or 3.50 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 11.41 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 284.56 which put Procyon at a distance of 11.46 light years or 3.51 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 7,403.00 Parsecs or 24,145.87 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.

Procyon Facts

Alternative Names

Traditional/Proper NameProcyon
Flamsteed Name10 Canis Minoris
Flamsteed Short Name10 CMi
Bayer DesignationAlpha Canis Minoris
Hipparcos Library I.D.37279
Yale Bright Star Catalogue (HR) Id2943
Bonner DurchmusterungBD+05 1739
Gliese ID280A
Henry Draper Designation61421

Visual Facts

Star Typesubgiant star
Age1.70 Billion Years Old
Age Range1.60 - 1.80 Billion Years Old
Absolute Magnitude2.68 / 2.67
Visual / Apparent Magnitude0.40
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)07h 39m 18.54
Declination (Dec.)+05d13`39.0
Galactic Latitude13.02 degrees
Galactic Longitude213.70 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth285.93 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 11.41 Light Years
 3.50 Parsecs
2007 Revised Distance from Earth284.56 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 11.46 Light Years
 3.51 Parsecs
Galacto-Centric Distance24,145.87 Light Years / 7,403.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-1036.80 ± 0.55 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-714.59 ± 1.26 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index0.43
Radial Velocity-2.70 ± 1.01 km/s
Iron Abundance-0.02 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Eccentricity0.36
Inclination31.91
Semi-Major Axis1179.00
Orbital Period (Days)14748.00
Argument Of Periastron88.80
Spectral TypeF5IV-V
Brightest in Night Sky9th
Colour(F) blue to white

Estimated Facts

Calculated Effective Temperature6,590 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

Related Stars

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
61421+05 1739.0A0.50000-710.00000-1023.00000F5Yellow/White
B13.00000-710.00000-1023.000001896
C11.70000-3.000001.000001958
D1958
E1874

Location of Procyon in Canis Minor


Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris) Location in Canis Minor

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


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