Beta Virginis

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Beta Virginis
Diagram showing star positions and boundaries of the Virgo constellation and its surroundings
Cercle rouge 100%.svg

Location of β Virginis (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Virgo
Right ascension 11h 50m 41.71824s[1]
Declination +1° 45′ 52.9910″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 3.604[2]
Spectral type F9 V[3]
U−B color index +0.090[2]
B−V color index +0.553[2]
Radial velocity (Rv) +4.1[4] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: +740.23[1] mas/yr
Dec.: -270.43[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 91.50 ± 0.22[1] mas
Distance 35.65 ± 0.09 ly
(10.93 ± 0.03 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) 3.41[4]
Mass 1.25[5] M
Radius 1.681 ± 0.008[6] R
Luminosity 3.572 ± 0.052[6] L
Surface gravity (log g) 4.25[7] cgs
Temperature 6,132 ± 26[6] K
Metallicity [Fe/H] 0.20[7] dex
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 4.3[5] km/s
Age 2.9 ± 0.3[4] Gyr
Other designations
Zavijava, Zavijah, Alaraph, Minelauva, 5 Virginis, BD +02°2489, FK5 445, Gl 449, HD 102870, HIP 57757, HR 4540, SAO 119076.[8]
Database references

Beta Virginis (β Vir, β Virginis) is a star in the constellation Virgo. It has the traditional names Zavijava (also Zavijah) and Alaraph.[9] Despite being the beta star of the constellation Virgo it is only the fifth star in order of brightness.

Physically, Beta Virginis is larger and more massive than the Sun, and is comparatively metal-rich (that is, it has a higher preponderance of elements heavier than helium).[7]

Since it is close to the ecliptic, it can be occulted by the Moon and (very rarely) by planets. The next planetary occultation of Zavijava will take place on 11 August 2069, by Venus.

This was the star Einstein used during the solar eclipse of September 21, 1922, to determine the speed of light in space,[dubious ] as it was close to the Sun.


The medieval name Zavijava (Zavijah, Zavyava, Zawijah) is from the Arabic زاوية العواء zāwiyat al-cawwa’ "Corner of the barking (dog)". Another name was Alaraph.

Hunt for substellar objects[edit]

According to Nelson & Angel (1998),[10] Beta Virginis could host two or three jovian planets in wide orbits. The authors have set an upper limit of 1.9, 5 and 23 Jupiter masses for the putative planets with orbital periods of 15, 25 and 50 years respectively. Also Campbell et al. 1988[11] inferred the existence of planetary objects or even brown dwarfs around Beta Virginis. However more recent studies have not confirmed the existence of any substellar companion around Beta Virginis yet. McDonald Observatory team has set limits to the presence of one or more planets [12] with masses between 0.16 and 4.2 Jupiter masses and average separations spanning between 0.05 and 5.2 Astronomical Units.

In fiction[edit]

  • Beta Virginis was the original destination of the Bussard scoopship Leonora Christine in Poul Anderson's Tau Zero.


  1. ^ a b c d e van Leeuwen, F. (November 2007), "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction", Astronomy and Astrophysics 474 (2): 653–664, arXiv:0708.1752, Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357 
  2. ^ a b c Gutierrez-Moreno, Adelina; Moreno, Hugo (June 1968), "A photometric investigation of the Scorpio-Centaurus association", Astrophysical Journal Supplement 15: 459, Bibcode:1968ApJS...15..459G, doi:10.1086/190168 
  3. ^ Morgan, W. W.; Keenan, P. C. (1973), "Spectral Classification", Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 11 (1): 29, Bibcode:1973ARA&A..11...29M, doi:10.1146/annurev.aa.11.090173.000333 
  4. ^ a b c Holmberg, J.; Nordström, B.; Andersen, J. (July 2009), "The Geneva-Copenhagen survey of the solar neighbourhood. III. Improved distances, ages, and kinematics", Astronomy and Astrophysics 501 (3): 941–947, arXiv:0811.3982, Bibcode:2009A&A...501..941H, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200811191 
  5. ^ a b Carrier, F.; Eggenberger, P.; D'Alessandro, A.; Weber, L. (2005). "Solar-like oscillations in the F9 V β Virginis". New Astronomy 10 (4): 315–323. arXiv:astro-ph/0502014. Bibcode:2005NewA...10..315C. doi:10.1016/j.newast.2004.11.003. Retrieved 2007-06-05. 
  6. ^ a b c Boyajian, Tabetha S. et al. (February 2012), "Stellar Diameters and Temperatures. I. Main-sequence A, F, and G Stars", The Astrophysical Journal 746 (1): 101, arXiv:1112.3316, Bibcode:2012ApJ...746..101B, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/746/1/101 . See Table 10.
  7. ^ a b c Gehren, T. (1978). "On the chemical composition and age of Beta VIR". Astronomy and Astrophysics 65 (3): 427–433. Bibcode:1978A&A....65..427G. 
  8. ^ "LHS 2465 -- High proper-motion Star", SIMBAD Astronomical Object Database (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg), retrieved 2012-03-20 
  9. ^ Atlas of the Heavens, part II, catalogue, Antonín Bečvář
  10. ^ The Range of Masses and Periods Explored by Radial Velocity Searches for Planetary Companions
  11. ^ A search for substellar companions to southern solar-type stars
  12. ^ Detection Limits from the McDonald Observatory Planet Search Program

External links[edit]

  • Kaler, Jim (2007). "Zavijava". Stars: Portraits of Stars and their Constellations. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  • "Zavijah". Alcyone. Retrieved 2007-06-06.