· · · ·

Westward of the main body of Orion the Hunter, in the direction of neighbouring Taurus, is an arc of stars running north to south known as Orion's Shield. Each of these six stars is designed Pi Orionis, numbered 1 to 6 from north to south, so Pi6 Orionis forms the southern point of the Shield's arc. Despite their shared Bayer designation, these stars are quite unrelated to one another: some are far closer to the Solar System than Pi6's 950 light years' distance, while others are far more distant still.

Pi6 Orionis appears relatively faint in the night sky of Earth, with a magnitude of just +4.5, but this is an effect of its great distance. In fact it is an immensely luminous object belonging to the classification known as 'bright giants'. Its diameter is some 75 times that of the Sun, and it emits nearly 2,000 times as much energy. This star's absolute magnitude is -2.9, meaning that if it lay a standard distance of 10 parsecs from the Solar System, it would shine nearly as brightly as Venus in the sky.


Related Entries