Thuban


Thuban

:"This article is about the Star. Th'uban is an Arabic word for Dragon.":"Th'uban also appears as an enemy in the video game Final Fantasy X."Starbox begin
name=Thuban
Starbox observe
epoch=J2000
ra=14h 04m 23.3498s
dec=+64° 22' 33.062"'
appmag_v=3.647
constell=Draco
Starbox character
class=A0III
b-v=-0.05
u-b=-0.08
variable=None
Starbox astrometry
radial_v=-13.0
prop_mo_ra=-56.52
prop_mo_dec= 17.19
gal_lat=+50.9588
gal_lon=110.5237
parallax=10.56
p_error=0.52
absmag_v=3.617
Starbox detail
mass=3.4
radius=265
Starbox visbin
name=Alpha Draconis B
period=0.13963
axis=
eccentricity=
inclination=
node=
periastron=
Starbox catalog
names= Alpha Draconis, GSC 04174-01262, 2MASS J14042335+6422331, 11 Dra, HD 123299, AG+64° 666, PLX 3209, TYC 4174-1262-1, BD+65° 978, FK5 521, HIP 68756, PPM 18861, GC 19019, HR 5291, IRAS 14030+6436, SAO 16273
Starbox reference
Simbad=Alpha+Draconis

Thuban (α Dra / α Draconis / Alpha Draconis) is a star (or star system) in the constellation of Draco. A relatively inconspicuous star in the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere, it is historically significant as having been the north pole star in ancient times.

Even though Thuban carries the Bayer designation Alpha Draconis, at apparent magnitude 3.65 it is over a magnitude fainter than the brightest star in the constellation, Gamma Draconis (Etamin), whose apparent magnitude is 2.23. Thuban is not bright enough to be viewed from light-polluted areas.

Given good viewing conditions, Thuban is relatively easy to spot in the night sky, due to its location in relation to the Big Dipper asterism of Ursa Major. While it is well known that the two outer stars of the 'dipper' point to the modern-day pole star Polaris, it is less well known that the two inner stars, Phecda and Megrez, point to Thuban, just seven and a half degrees of arc from Megrez.

Use as pole star

Due to the precession of Earth's rotational axis, Thuban was the naked-eye star closest to the north pole from 3942 BC, when it moved farther north than Theta Boötis, until 1793 BC, when it was superseded by Kappa Draconis. It was closest to the pole in 2787 BC, when it was less than two and a half arc-minutes away from the pole. It remained within one degree of true north for nearly 200 years afterwards, and even 900 years after its closest approach, was just five degrees off the pole. Thuban was considered the pole star until about 1900 BC, when the much brighter Kochab began to approach the pole as well.

Having gradually drifted away from the pole over the last 4,800 years, Thuban is now seen in the night sky at a declination of 64° 20' 45.6", RA 14h 04m 33.58s. After moving nearly 47 degrees off the pole by 10000 AD, Thuban will gradually move back toward the north celestial pole. In 20346 AD, it will again be the pole star, that year reaching a maximum declination of 88° 43' 17.3", RA 19h 08m 54.17s.

Classification

Thuban has a spectral class of A0III, indicating its similarity to Vega in temperature and spectrum, but more powerful and more massive. Thuban is not a main sequence star; it has now ceased hydrogen fusion in its core and is fusing helium. That makes it a white giant star, being 250 times more powerful than our Sun but over 300 light-years distant.

Thuban has no real anomalies other than it's quite rare to have a giant star in the A class, A being usually reserved for main sequence and the occasional supergiant. This indicates that Thuban has not been a giant star for very long and is likely still in the process of expanding, probably to eventually become a K class red-orange giant of the Aldebaran sort. It may also mean that it has recently run out of helium to fuse and is contracting before starting to burn carbon, in which case it may end up a blue giant such as Beta Centauri.

Thuban is a binary star, with a companion star in a 51-day orbit. The companion has not been directly imaged and from its mass is likely a red dwarf or a low mass white dwarf.

The name comes from the Arabic ثعبان ("θu‘bān", "the basilisk"), the Arabic name for the constellation Draco.

References

* http://www.alcyone-software.com/cgi-bin/search.pl?object=HR5291
* http://jumk.de/astronomie/big-stars/thuban.shtml


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Look at other dictionaries:

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