Regulus (Alpha Leonis) is a blue main sequence dwarf star that can be located in the constellation of Leo. The description is based on the spectral class. Regulus is the 21st brightest star in the night sky and is the brightest star in Leo 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.
Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation hence its Flamsteed classification of "Alpha Leonis". It is not actually one but a multiple star system consisting of two pairs of two stars. The brightest is a Blue-white star and is much bigger than our own the sun.
What may surprise you to know is that this star is more oval or egg-shaped than other stars. Reasons for this is because it spins faster than other stars, for example, our own star, The Sun rotates at about 4,500 miles an hour whereas Regulus rotates at about 700,000 miles an hour. Its also five times as big as the Sun. In addition to the rotation speed, it could be the fact that it is a multi-star system where the other stars pull as they orbit causing the bulge. All stars including our own bulge a little affected by the gravity of the orbiting planets.
Alpha Leonis (Alf Leo) is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR3982. HIP49669 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD87901.
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 32 Leonis with it shortened to 32 Leo.
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+12 2149.
More details on star alternative names can be found at Star Names .
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 Regulus, the location is 10h 08m 22.46 and +11° 58` 01.9 .
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 5.59 ± 0.21 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -248.73 ± 0.35 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 5.90000 km/s with an error of about 2.40 km/s .
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 239.45 that I have given is based on the value in the Simbad Hipparcos Extended Catalogue at the University of Strasbourg from 2012.
Regulus has a spectral type of B7V. This means the star is a blue main sequence dwarf star. The star is 7,411.00 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or terms of Light Years is 24,171.97 s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of -0.08 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 11,099 Kelvin.
Regulus Radius has been calculated as being 3.21 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 2,232,673.58.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 3.28. 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 0.21 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context.
Regulus has an apparent magnitude of 1.36 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 -0.52 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -0.57. 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 42.09 which gave the calculated distance to Regulus as 77.49 light years away from Earth or 23.76 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 77.49 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 41.13 which put Regulus at a distance of 79.30 light years or 24.31 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 7,411.00 Parsecs or 24,171.97 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.
The Alpha Leonids Meteor Shower radiants from a point near this star. The meteor shower runs typically between 13-Jan - 13-Feb with a peak date of 24/31 Jan. p>
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.
|Primary / Proper / Traditional Name||Regulus|
|Alternative Names||Alpha Leonis, Alf Leo, HD 87901, HIP 49669, HR 3982, 32 Leonis, 32 Leo, BD+12 2149|
|Multiple Star System||Yes|
|Star Type||main sequence Dwarf Star|
|Absolute Magnitude||-0.52 / -0.57|
|Visual / Apparent Magnitude||1.36|
|Naked Eye Visible||Yes - Magnitudes|
|Right Ascension (R.A.)||10h 08m 22.46|
|Declination (Dec.)||+11° 58` 01.9|
|Galactic Latitude||48.93 degrees|
|Galactic Longitude||226.43 degrees|
|1997 Distance from Earth||42.09 Parallax (milliarcseconds)|
|77.49 Light Years|
|2007 Distance from Earth||41.13 Parallax (milliarcseconds)|
|79.30 Light Years|
|Galacto-Centric Distance||24,171.97 Light Years / 7,411.00 Parsecs|
|Proper Motion Dec.||5.59 ± 0.21 milliarcseconds/year|
|Proper Motion RA.||-248.73 ± 0.35 milliarcseconds/year|
|Radial Velocity||5.90 ± 2.40 km/s|
|Iron Abundance||0.21 ± 9.99 Fe/H|
|Stellar Luminosity (Lsun)||239.45|
|Brightest in Night Sky||21st|
|Associated / Clustered Stars||Regulus B|
|Calculated Effective Temperature||11,099 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|