Antares

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Antares (α Scorpii, α Sco, Alpha Scorpii) is a red supergiant star in the Milky Way galaxy and the sixteenth brightest star in the nighttime sky (sometimes listed as fifteenth brightest, if the two brighter components of the Capella quadruple star system are counted as one star). Along with Aldebaran, Spica, and Regulus it is one of the four brightest stars near the ecliptic. Antares is a slow variable star with an average magnitude of +1.09.[1]

Contents

Properties

Antares is a class M supergiant star, with a radius of approximately 800 times that of the sun; if it were placed in the center of our solar system, its outer surface would lie between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Antares is approximately 600 light-years (180 pc) from our solar system. Its visual luminosity is about 10,000 times that of the Sun, but because the star radiates a considerable part of its energy in the infrared part of the spectrum, the bolometric luminosity equals roughly 65,000 times that of the Sun. The mass of the star is calculated to be 15 to 18 solar masses.[3] Its large size and relatively small mass give Antares a very low average density.

The size of Antares may be calculated using its parallax and angular diameter. The parallax angle is given in the box to the right, and the angular diameter is known from lunar occultation measurements (41.3 ± 0.1 mas).[4] This leads to a radius of 822 ± 80 solar radii.[clarification needed]

Antares is a type LC slow irregular variable star, whose apparent magnitude slowly varies from +0.88 to +1.16.[2]

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