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Beta Orionis, 19 Orionis

Proper NamesRigel
Bayer DesignationBeta Orionis
Flamsteed Number19 Orionis
Right Ascension5h 14m 32s
Declination-8° 12' 6"
Distance773 light years
237 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +0.2
Absolute: -6.7
Spectral ClassB8 Blue Supergiant
Optimum VisibilityDecember
NotesThe supergiant at the core of the Rigel system is a pulsating variable star of the Alpha Cygni type; it is orbited by a binary system of two blue dwarf stars.

The pulsating blue supergiant Rigel has a diameter of about 100 million kilometres, some seventy times that of the Sun. In the far distance a double blue star is visible - Rigel's much less luminous companions.

A blue supergiant star that remains very bright despite lying almost 800 light years away. At a distance of 10pc, it would be much brighter than Venus.

Location of Rigel

The famous blue star Rigel forms the western foot of the Hunter Orion, and indeed its Arabic name means 'Leg of the Giant'.


The pattern of Rigel's variability suggests that it is turbulent and energetic, with the star's internal processes sending complex patterns of waves and ripples across its surface regions.

Relative Galactic Position of Rigel

The galactic position and direction of Rigel relative to Earth's Sun. Note that, at this extreme scale, the two stars are effectively in the same place.


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