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W Canis Majoris, HD54361, HIP34413

W Canis Majoris is a pulsating luminous giant star that can be located in the constellation of CanisMajor. The star can not be seen by the naked eye, you need a telescope to see it.

HIP34413 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD54361.

W Canis Majoris has alternative name(s), W CMa.

Location of W Canis Majoris

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 W Canis Majoris, the location is 07h 08m 03.44 and -11d55`23.8 .

Proper Motion of W Canis Majoris

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 2.74 ± 0.38 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -5.55 ± 0.52 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Physical Properties (Temperature, Radius) of W Canis Majoris

W Canis Majoris has a spectral type of C5II. This means the star is a luminous giant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 2.55 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 7 Kelvin.

W Canis Majoris Radius has been calculated as being 67,415,178.65 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 46,907,481,303,053.01.km. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 75990664.51. 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 0.30 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context.

W Canis Majoris Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

W Canis Majoris has an apparent magnitude of 6.65 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 -5.13 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -5.39. 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 W Canis Majoris

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 0.44 which gave the calculated distance to W Canis Majoris as 7412.80 light years away from Earth or 2272.73 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 7412.80 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 0.39 which put W Canis Majoris at a distance of 8363.16 light years or 2564.10 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.

Variable Type of W Canis Majoris

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. W Canis Majoris brightness ranges from a magnitude of 6.973 to a magnitude of 6.387 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 0.4 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.

W Canis Majoris Facts

Alternative Names

Traditional/Proper NameW Canis Majoris
Short NameW CMa
Hipparcos Library I.D.34413
Bonner DurchmusterungBD-11 1805
Henry Draper Designation54361

Visual Facts

Star Typeluminous giant star
Absolute Magnitude-5.13 / -5.39
Visual / Apparent Magnitude6.65
Naked Eye VisibleRequires a 7x50 Binoculars - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)07h 08m 03.44
Declination (Dec.)-11d55`23.8
Galactic Latitude-1.78 degrees
Galactic Longitude225.42 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth0.44 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 7412.80 Light Years
 2272.73 Parsecs
2007 Revised Distance from Earth0.39 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 8363.16 Light Years
 2564.10 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.2.74 ± 0.38 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-5.55 ± 0.52 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index2.55
Radial Velocity23.00 ± 4.90 km/s
Iron Abundance0.30 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Spectral TypeC5II

Variable Star Details

Variable Star ClassPulsating
Variable Star TypeSlow Irregular
Mean Variability Period in Days0.447
Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)6.387 - 6.973

Estimated Facts

Calculated Effective Temperature7 Kelvin

Sources and Links

SIMBAD SourceLink

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