Universe Guide

Tau4 Eridani (16 Eridani) Star Facts

Tau4 Eridani Facts

  • Tau4 Eridani is a pulsating giant star that can be located in the constellation of Eridanus. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Tau4 Eridani is a main star of the constellation outline.
  • Based on the spectral type (M3/M4III) of the star, the star's colour is red .
  • 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 304.54 light years away from us. Distance

Tau4 Eridani's Alternative Names

Tau4 Eridani (Tau04 Eri) 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 HR1003. HIP15474 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD20720.

Tau4 Eridani has alternative name(s) :- , tau04 Eri.

Flamsteed designations are named after the creator, Sir John Flamsteed. Sir John named the stars in the constellation with a number and its latin name, this star's Flamsteed designation is 16 Eridani. The Flamsteed name can be shortened to 16 Eri.

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 81 G. Eridani. 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-22 584.

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

Location of Tau4 Eridani

The location of the giant 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 Tau4 Eridani, the location is 03h 19m 30.97 and -21° 45` 28.6 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Tau4 Eridani

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 32.92 ± 0.35 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and 51.89 ± 0.54 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 41.70000 km/s with an error of about 0.70 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 Tau4 Eridani

Tau4 Eridani Colour and Temperature

Based on the star's spectral type of M3/M4III , Tau4 Eridani's colour and type is red giant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 1.61 which means the star's temperature is about 3,754 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu.

Tau4 Eridani Radius

Tau4 Eridani estimated radius has been calculated as being 31.76 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 22,100,751.91.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 37.490925315608771301805303708. 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.

Tau4 Eridani Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Tau4 Eridani has an apparent magnitude of 3.70 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 -0.79 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -1.15. 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 Tau4 Eridani

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 12.63000 which gave the calculated distance to Tau4 Eridani as 258.24 light years away from Earth or 79.18 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is about 1,518,096,216,370,935.45, based on 1 Ly = 5,878,625,373,183.61 miles.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 10.71000 which put Tau4 Eridani at a distance of 304.54 light years or 93.37 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 19,258,810.76 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 7,444.00 Parsecs or 24,279.60 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 Tau4 Eridani

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)
Airbus A380736277,485,853.53
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.269266,177,296.61
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.54133,088,474.85
New Horizons Probe33,0006,188,775.40
Speed of Light670,616,629.00304.54

Variable Type of Tau4 Eridani

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. Tau4 Eridani brightness ranges from a magnitude of 3.761 to a magnitude of 3.694 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 0.1 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 Tau4 Eridani Facts and Figures

Visual Facts

Primary / Proper / Traditional NameTau4 Eridani
Alternative NamesTau04 Eri, HD 20720, HIP 15474, HR 1003, 81 G. Eridani, 16 Eridani, 16 Eri, BD-22 584, tau04 Eri
Spectral TypeM3/M4III
Constellation's Main StarYes
Multiple Star SystemYes
Star TypeGiant Star
GalaxyMilky Way
Absolute Magnitude -0.79 / -1.15
Visual / Apparent Magnitude3.70
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)03h 19m 30.97
Declination (Dec.)-21° 45` 28.6
Galactic Latitude-55.99575397 degrees
Galactic Longitude212.08895427 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth12.63000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 258.24 Light Years
 79.18 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth10.71000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 304.54 Light Years
 93.37 Parsecs
 19,258,810.76 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance24,279.60 Light Years / 7,444.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.32.92000 ± 0.35000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.51.89000 ± 0.54000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1.61
Radial Velocity41.70000 ± 0.70 km/s
Semi-Major Axis7368.0000000
Associated / Clustered StarsTau1 Eridani
Tau3 Eridani
Tau5 Eridani
Tau6 Eridani
Tau7 Eridani
Tau8 Eridani
Tau9 Eridani

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts

Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Variable Star Details

Variable Star ClassPulsating
Variable Star TypeSlow Irregular
Mean Variability Period in Days0.055
Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)3.694 - 3.761

Estimated Calculated Facts

Radius (x the Sun)37.49
Effective Temperature3,754 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

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
20720-22 584.0A4.0000049.0000037.00000M2Red

Eridanus Main Stars

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