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A blue, fourth-magnitude star in Centaurus, j Centauri belongs to a small segment of Centaurus that runs down westward of Crux, the Southern Cross. The star shines against a dense region of the Milky Way, and is surrounded by nebulae and clusters, most notably the Running Chicken Nebula (C100 to the west of j Centauri), and its associated Lambda Centauri Cluster.

Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

These phenomena lie far beyond j Centauri, though the star itself is nonetheless relatively distant from the Sun at an estimated 710 light years. This is a main-sequence star, but nonetheless a much hotter and more luminous such star than the Sun. The spectrum of j Centauri implies that it belongs to the class known as 'Be stars', stars that rotate at an unusually rapid rate, and are commonly surrounded by rings or shells of matter.

j Centauri is the Bayer designation for this star, using a lowercase 'j'. It is not to confused with the binary system J Centauri (with an uppercase 'J'), a quite distinct star that lies much farther to the east across the constellation of Centaurus.


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