Alpha Herculis

From the Science Archives, the open-project database of science information
Jump to navigation Jump to search

α Herculis
Hercules constellation map.svg
Red circle.svg
Location of α Herculis (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Hercules
Right ascension 17h 14m 38.853s[1]
Declination +14° 23′ 25.0″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 3.350[1] (2.7–4.0[2])
Right ascension 17h 14m 39.181s[1]
Declination +14° 23′ 23.98″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 5.322[1]
Evolutionary stage AGB[3]
Spectral type M5 Ib-II[3]
U−B color index +1.01[4]
B−V color index +1.45[4]
Variable type SRc[2]
Spectral type G8III + A9IV-V[3]
Proper motion (μ) RA: −6.71[5][6][7] mas/yr
Dec.: 32.78[5][6][7] mas/yr
Parallax (π)9.07 ± 1.32[5][6] mas
Distanceapprox. 360 ly
(approx. 110 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV)−2.3[8] + 1.8 + 2.8[9]
Mass2.175–3.250 M
Radius284 ± 60, 264–303 R
Diameter284 ± 60, 264–303 D
Luminosity7,244–9,333 L
Surface gravity (log g)−0.41±0.19[10] cgs
Temperature3,155–3,365 K
Mass~2.5 M
Luminosity126 L
Temperature4,900 K
Mass~2 M
Luminosity26 L
Temperature7,350 K
Age0.41–1.25 Gyr
Other designations
Ras Algethi, Rasalgethi, α Her, 64 Her, BD+14°3207, HIP 84345, CCDM J17146+1424, AAVSO 1710+14, WDS&nbspJ17146+1423
A: HD 156014, HR 6406, SAO 102680
B: HD 156015, HR 6407, SAO 102681
Database references

Alpha Herculis (α Herculis, abbreviated Alpha Her, α Her), also designated 64 Herculis, is a multiple star system in the constellation of Hercules. Appearing as a single point of light to the naked eye, it is resolvable into a number of components through a telescope. It has a combined apparent magnitude of 3.08, although the brightest component is variable in brightness.[11] Based on parallax measurements obtained during the Hipparcos mission, it is approximately 360 light-years (110 parsecs) distant from the Sun.[5][6]

It consists of two binary pairs in mutual orbit designated α¹ Herculis or α Herculis A (the brightest of the two) and α² Herculis or α Herculis B.[12][13] A's two components are themselves designated α Herculis Aa (also named Rasalgethi[14]) and Ab; B's as α Herculis Ba and Bb.

Alpha Herculis also forms the A and B components of a wider system designated WDS J17146+1423 with two additional visual companions designated WDS J17146+1423C and D.[15]


α Herculis (Latinised to Alpha Herculis) is the system's Bayer designation; α¹ and α² Herculis, those of its two components. 64 Herculis is the system's Flamsteed designation. WDS J17146+1423 is the wider system's designation in the Washington Double Star Catalog. The designations of Alpha Herculis' two components as Alpha Herculis A and B and the wider system's four components as WDS J17146+1423A, B, C and D, together with those of A's and B's components - Alpha Herculis Aa, Ab, Ba and Bb - derive from the convention used by the Washington Multiplicity Catalog (WMC) for multiple star systems, and adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).[16]

Alpha Herculis bore the traditional name Rasalgethi or Ras Algethi (Template:Lang-ar 'Head of the Kneeler').[17] 'Head' comes from the fact that in antiquity Hercules was depicted upside down on maps of the constellation. In 2016, the IAU organized a Working Group on Star Names (WGSN)[18] to catalog and standardize proper names for stars. The WGSN approved the name Rasalgethi for the component Alpha Herculis Aa on 30 June 2016 and it is now so included in the List of IAU-approved Star Names.[14]

The term ra's al-jaθiyy or Ras al Djathi appeared in the catalogue of stars in the Calendarium of Al Achsasi al Mouakket, which was translated into Latin as Caput Ingeniculi.[19]

In Chinese astronomy, Alpha Herculis is called 帝座, Pinyin: Dìzuò, meaning 'Emperor's Seat', this star is marking itself and stands alone in the center of the Emperor's Seat asterism, Heavenly Market enclosure (see : Chinese constellations).[20] 帝座 (Dìzuò) was westernized into Ti Tso by R.H. Allen, with the same meaning [21]


Alpha Herculis A and B are more than 500 AU apart, with an estimated orbital period of approximately 3600 years. A presents as a relatively massive red bright giant, but radial velocity measurements suggest a companion with a period of the order of a decade.[15] B's two components are a primary yellow giant star and a secondary, yellow-white dwarf star in a 51.578 day orbit.

Alpha Herculis Aa is an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star, a luminous red giant that has both hydrogen and helium shells around a degenerate carbon-oxygen core. It is the second nearest AGB star to the Sun.[3] The angular diameter of the star has been measured with an interferometer as 34 ± 0.8 mas, or 0.034 arcseconds.[22] At its estimated distance of 110 parsecs this corresponds to a radius of about 280 million kilometers (or 170 million miles), which is roughly 400 R or 1.87 AU.[23] If Rasalgethi were at the center of the Solar System its radius would extend past the orbit of Mars at 1.5 AU but not quite as far as the asteroid belt. The red giant is estimated to have started its life with about 2.175-3.250 M.[3]

Like most type M stars near the end of their lives, Rasalgethi is experiencing a high degree of stellar mass loss creating a sparse, gaseous envelope that extends at least 90 AU.[24] It is a semiregular variable with complex changes in brightness with periods ranging from a few weeks to many years. The most noticeable variations occur at timescales of 80–140 days and at 1,000 - 3,000 days. The strongest detectable period is 128 days.[25] The full range in brightness is from magnitude 2.7 to 4.0,[2] but it usually varies over a much smaller range of around 0.6 magnitudes.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Høg, E.; Fabricius, C.; Makarov, V. V.; Urban, S.; Corbin, T.; Wycoff, G.; Bastian, U.; Schwekendiek, P. et al. (2000). "The Tycho-2 catalogue of the 2.5 million brightest stars". Astronomy and Astrophysics 355: L27. Bibcode 2000A&A...355L..27H. doi:10.1888/0333750888/2862. ISBN 0333750888.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Samus, N. N.Expression error: Unrecognized word "etal". (2009). "VizieR Online Data Catalog: General Catalogue of Variable Stars (Samus+ 2007-2013)". VizieR On-line Data Catalog: B/gcvs. Originally published in: 2009yCat....102025S 1. Bibcode 2009yCat....102025S.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Moravveji, Ehsan; Guinan, Edward F.; Khosroshahi, Habib; Wasatonic, Rick (2013). "The Age and Mass of the α Herculis Triple-star System from a MESA Grid of Rotating Stars with 1.3 <= M/M ⊙ <= 8.0". The Astronomical Journal 146 (6): 148. arXiv:1308.1632. Bibcode 2013AJ....146..148M. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/146/6/148.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ducati, J. R. (2002). "VizieR Online Data Catalog: Catalogue of Stellar Photometry in Johnson's 11-color system". CDS/ADC Collection of Electronic Catalogues 2237. Bibcode 2002yCat.2237....0D.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Perryman, M. A. C.Expression error: Unrecognized word "etal". (July 1997), "The Hipparcos Catalogue", Astronomy and Astrophysics 323: L49–L52, Bibcode 1997A&A...323L..49P
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 van Leeuwen, F (November 2007). "Hipparcos, the New Reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg) 474 (2): 653. arXiv:0708.1752. Bibcode 2007A&A...474..653V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  8. Huang, W.; Wallerstein, G.; Stone, M. (2012). "A catalogue of Paschen-line profiles in standard stars". Astronomy & Astrophysics 547: A62. arXiv:1210.7893. Bibcode 2012A&A...547A..62H. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201219804.
  9. Reimers, D. (1977). "On the absolute scale of mass-loss in red giants. I - Circumstellar absorption lines in the spectrum of the visual companion of Alpha-1 HER". Astronomy and Astrophysics 61: 217. Bibcode 1977A&A....61..217R.
  10. Schröder, K.-P.; Cuntz, M. (April 2007), "A critical test of empirical mass loss formulas applied to individual giants and supergiants", Astronomy and Astrophysics 465 (2): 593–601, arXiv:astro-ph/0702172, Bibcode 2007A&A...465..593S, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20066633
  11. Hoffleit, Dorrit; Jaschek, Carlos (1991). "The Bright star catalogue". New Haven. Bibcode
  12. Tokovinin, A. A. (1997). "MSC - a catalogue of physical multiple stars". Astronomy & Astrophysics Supplement Series 124: 75. Bibcode 1997A&AS..124...75T. doi:10.1051/aas:1997181.
  13. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  16. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 876: attempt to call method 'sub' (a nil value).
  17. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  18. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 379: attempt to call method 'match' (a nil value).
  19. Knobel, E. B. (June 1895). "Al Achsasi Al Mouakket, on a catalogue of stars in the Calendarium of Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 55 (8): 429. Bibcode 1895MNRAS..55..429K. doi:10.1093/mnras/55.8.429.
  20. (in Chinese) AEEA (Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy) 天文教育資訊網 2006 年 6 月 25 日
  21. Richard Hinckley Allen: Star Names — Their Lore and Meaning: Hercules
  22. Benson, J. A.; Dyck, H. M.; Mason, W. L.; Howell, R. R.; Ridgway, S. T. et al. (December 1991). "The infrared angular diameter of Alpha Herculis measured with a Michelson interferometer". Astronomical Journal 102: 2091–2097. Bibcode 1991AJ....102.2091B. doi:10.1086/116033.
  23. To determine Rasalgethi's radius in terms of solar units, the calculations begin with the formula for angular diameter as follows:
    where δ equals Rasalgethi's angular diameter in arcseconds, dR the star's diameter in AU, and DR the Distance from Earth in parsecs. If one knows the angular diameter and the Distance, then one can solve for dR as follows:
    To obtain Rasalgheti's radius:
    Converting into Solar units, 1 AU = 149,597,871 km and the mean radius of the Sun = 696,000 km, hence the calculation:
  24. Deutsch, Armin J. (March 1956). "The Circumstellar Envelope of Alpha Herculis". Astrophysical Journal 123: 210–227. Bibcode 1956ApJ...123..210D. doi:10.1086/146152.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Percy, John R; Wilson, Joseph B; Henry, Gregory W (2001). "Long‐TermVRIPhotometry of Small‐Amplitude Red Variables. I. Light Curves and Periods". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 113 (786): 983. Bibcode 2001PASP..113..983P. doi:10.1086/322153.

Add your comment
The Science Archives welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

As a reminder, article comments are only for discussions on how to improve the article. Please direct other comments to a user's talk page. Please be formal and do not use excessive uppercase. Please be advised you may receive an automatic block if you break the article comments policy. For information regarding what is acceptable/not acceptable in article comments, please message Icons-flag-ru.png Joey (talk), Natalia (talk), Icons-flag-fr.png ynoss (talk), or Icons-flag-ca.png Daniel (older account/talk).

External links[edit]