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Pherkad

Pherkad Major, Gamma Ursae Minoris, 13 Ursae Minoris

Proper NamesPherkad
Bayer DesignationGamma Ursae Minoris
Flamsteed Number13 Ursae Minoris
HR (BSC)5735
HD137422
ConstellationUrsa Minor
Right Ascension15h 20m 42s
Declination+71° 46' 28"
Distance487 light years
149 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +3.0
Absolute: -2.9
Spectral ClassA3III White Giant
Optimum VisibilityMay / June (Usually visible from northern latitudes)
NotesA relatively hot and young star some fiften times the diameter of the Sun, Pherkad is a white giant star that shows slight but rapid variability, oscillating in brightness over a period of hours. It is classified as a Delta Scuti variable, though it is unusual for that class and may have unique properties of its own.

With Kochab, Pherkad is one of the two northern stars known as the Guardians of the Pole. Pherkad is a pulsing white star (of the Delta Scuti group of variables) nearly five hundred light years from the Solar System. Nearby in the sky is a fainter star known as Pherkad Minor, but this is in fact quite unrelated to Pherkad itself.

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