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Zeta Reticuli

Zeta1,2 Reticuli

A binary star in the skies of Earth's southern hemisphere. Lying roughly halfway between the Large Magellanic Cloud and the bright star Achernar in the sky, Zeta Reticuli falls within the boundaries of Reticulum, near its western border with Horologium. The stars that make up this binary pair are spaced widely apart, and easily resolved as a double star.

The stars of the Zeta Reticuli system both G-type (yellow) classification, and each is closely similar to the Sun, which is also a G-type main sequence star (though both the yellow dwarfs of Zeta Reticuli are marginally smaller and less massive than the Sun). These stars orbit one another at a vast distance - currently estimated at a little under 4,000 AU, or about 5% of a light year - and take a period of at least 170,000 years to complete one of their mutual orbits.

Zeta2 (the northerly of the two components) is fractionally larger and more luminous than its companion, and evidence suggests that it has a disc of debris in orbit. This disc is somewhat comparable to the Solar System's Asteroid Belt, though it orbits farther from its parent star.

An analysis of the relative motion of the Zeta Reticuli system places it within a group of about ten related stars that are thought to share a common origin, but are now scattered throughout the sky. Another member of the same group is Beta Hydri, another yellow star in the same general area of the southern sky. The entire group is more widespread than this might suggest, and its brightest member is Zeta Herculis (from which the entire Zeta Herculis Moving Group takes its name) which lies in the northern constellation of Hercules.


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