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Alkaid

Benetnash, Eta Ursae Majoris, 85 Ursae Majoris

Proper NamesAlkaid, Benetnash
Bayer DesignationEta Ursae Majoris
Flamsteed Number85 Ursae Majoris
HR (BSC)5191
HD120315
ConstellationUrsa Major
Right Ascension13h 48m 21s
Declination+49° 12' 39"
Distance104 light years
32 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +1.9
Absolute: -0.7
Spectral ClassB3V Blue Dwarf
Optimum VisibilityApril / May (Usually visible from northern latitudes)
NotesEta Ursae Majoris is a blue dwarf star, hotter and more massive than the Sun. While most of the stars that make up the Plough or Big Dipper formation belong to the same Ursa Major moving group, Alkaid is an outlier that happens to fall on the same line of sight from Earth.

Alkaid is easy to locate in the sky - it is the 'handle' of the Plough or Big Dipper, and also the tip of the tail of the Great Bear itself. In fact, this is a blue star of variable brightness, about 100 light years from Earth.

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