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Delta Aquarii, 76 Aquarii

Skat is a third-magnitude star in the central regions of Aquarius, falling almost directly northward of bright Fomalhaut in Piscis Austrinus. The most recent parallax data suggest a distance from the Solar System of some 141 light years, though earlier measurements give quite some variation in this distance value.

Physically Skat is classified as a main sequence star like the Sun, though it is considerably larger and more massive, with a diameter between twice and five times that of the Sun. An old star for its type, Skat appears to reaching the point where its hydrogen reserves are nearly consumed, and beginning the transition into a subgiant and ultimatelty a giant star.

Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

There are some slight indications that Skat may have a binary companion, but calculations suggest that this companion would orbit just two Astronomical Units from the primary star. The existence of this companion is therefore debatable at best.

The origins of the name Skat are also subject to some debate. It seems to have originally had the form Scheat, a name shared with Beta Pegasi, and this may have been transferred to the star in Pegasus in error (Pegasus lies on the northern border of Aquarius). Various interpretations of the name are proposed, but perhaps the most likely is Arabic al-sāq, 'the shin' (and indeed traditional star-maps show Skat as marking the shin of Aquarius the Water Carrier).


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