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Psi Virginis, 40 Virginis, HD112142, HIP62985, HR4902

Psi Virginis is a red pulsating giant star that can be located in the constellation of Virgo. The description is based on the spectral class. The star can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.

Psi Virginis's Alternative Names

Psi Virginis (Psi Vir) is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR4902. HIP62985 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD112142.

Psi Virginis has alternative name(s) :- , psi Vir.

Flamsteed designations are named after the creator, Sir John Flamsteed. Sir John numbered the stars in the constellation with a number and the latin name, this star's Flamsteed designation is 40 Virginis with it shortened to 40 Vir.

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 93 G. Virginis. 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-08 3449.

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

Location of Psi Virginis

The location of the 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 star is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Psi Virginis, the location is 12h 54m 21.17 and -09° 32` 20.2 .

Proper Motion of Psi Virginis

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 -19.52 ± 0.14 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -18.08 ± 0.23 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon. The Radial Velocity, that is the speed at which the star is moving away/towards us is 12.82000 km/s with an error of about 1.17 km/s .

Psi Virginis 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 1,153.48 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.

Physical Properties (Colour, Temperature) of Psi Virginis

Psi Virginis has a spectral type of M3IIIvar. This means the star is a red giant star. The star is 7,346.00 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or terms of Light Years is 23,959.96 s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 1.59 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 3,804 Kelvin.

Psi Virginis Radius has been calculated as being 30.51 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 21,228,253.98.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 39.85. 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 -0.10 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context.

Psi Virginis Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Psi Virginis has an apparent magnitude of 4.77 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 -0.76 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -1.34. 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 Psi Virginis

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 7.82 which gave the calculated distance to Psi Virginis as 417.09 light years away from Earth or 127.88 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 417.09 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 5.99 which put Psi Virginis at a distance of 544.51 light years or 166.94 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 7,346.00 Parsecs or 23,959.96 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

Variable Type of Psi Virginis

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. Psi Virginis brightness ranges from a magnitude of 4.849 to a magnitude of 4.770 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 0.1 days (variability).

Meteor Showers Radiating from near Psi Virginis

The Psi Virginids Meteor Shower radiants from a point near this star.

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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Psi Virginis Facts

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NamePsi Virginis
Alternative NamesPsi Vir, HD 112142, HIP 62985, HR 4902, 93 G. Virginis, 40 Virginis, 40 Vir, BD-08 3449, psi Vir
Spectral TypeM3IIIvar
Multiple Star SystemNo / Unknown
Star TypeGiant Star
Colour red
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationVirgo
Absolute Magnitude-0.76 / -1.34
Visual / Apparent Magnitude4.77
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)12h 54m 21.17
Declination (Dec.)-09° 32` 20.2
Galactic Latitude53.33 degrees
Galactic Longitude304.14 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth7.82 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 417.09 Light Years
 127.88 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth5.99 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 544.51 Light Years
 166.94 Parsecs
Galacto-Centric Distance23,959.96 Light Years / 7,346.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-19.52 ± 0.14 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-18.08 ± 0.23 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1.59
Radial Velocity12.82 ± 1.17 km/s
Iron Abundance-0.10 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Eccentricity0.12
Semi-Major Axis6612.00
Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)1,153.48

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Variable Star Details


Variable Star ClassPulsating
Variable Star TypeSlow Irregular
Mean Variability Period in Days0.077
Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)4.770 - 4.849

Estimated Facts


Calculated Effective Temperature3,804 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

Related Stars


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