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Melucta, Epsilon Geminorum, 27 Geminorum

Proper NamesMebsuta, Melucta
Bayer DesignationEpsilon Geminorum
Flamsteed Number27 Geminorum
HR (BSC)2473
Right Ascension6h 43m 56s
Declination+25° 7' 52"
Distance845 light years
259 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +3.2
Absolute: -4.0
Spectral ClassG8 Yellow Supergiant
Optimum VisibilityJanuary
NotesThe name of this star comes from ancient Arab lore, in which it belonged to an enormous star-group known as Asad, the Lion, that encompassed several modern constellations (including Leo, the modern Lion constellation). Mebsuta and neighbouring Mekbuda represented the outstretched paws of this great star-lion.
Location of Mebsuta

Mebsuta lies in the Milky Way as it passes through the heart of Gemini. The star is so close to the plane of the Ecliptic that its light is occasionally cut off from Earth by the passage of the Moon.

An immensely massive yellow star in the western parts of Gemini. Its name means 'outstretched', an historical name relating to a lion in Arabic star-lore, and not directly related to its modern home constellation of Gemini.

If the vast yellow supergiant occupied the place of the Sun our own Solar System, it would swallow Mercury and probably Venus as well. Though its diameter is dozens of times that of the Sun, its surface is actually rather cooler than that of the Sun.

At least for a time, this supergiant is not alone in space. At a distance of about quarter of a light year is a another star, an orange dwarf comparable with our own Sun in terms of mass. This orange star seems to be a great deal older than the supergiant, so it is unlikely to have evolved within the Mebsuta system itself. Instead, it seems to be an independent star travelling through the system at very close range - dangerously close, in fact, because the supergiant is approaching the cataclysmic end of its short life cycle.


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