Lambda Scorpii

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Lambda Scorpii
Scorpius constellation map.png
Shaula is λ star in the tail of the "Scorpion".
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Scorpius
Right ascension 17h 33m 36.520s[1]
Declination −37° 06′ 13.76″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 1.62 / 14.9 / 12.0[1][2]
Spectral type B2IV (A)
U−B color index −0.91 (A)
B−V color index −0.23 (A)
Variable type Beta Cephei (A)
Radial velocity (Rv) −3 km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: −8.90 mas/yr
Dec.: −29.95 mas/yr
Parallax (π) 5.71 ± 0.90 mas
Distance approx. 570 ly
(approx. 180 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) −5
λ Sco A
Mass 10.4 ± 1.3[3] M
Radius 6.5[4] R
Temperature 26,292 ± 408[4] K
λ Sco B
Mass 8.1 ± 1.0[3] M
Other designations
Shaula, 35 Scorpii, 35 Sco, HR 6527, CD -37 11673, HD 158926, SAO 208954, FK5 652, HIP 85927, CCDM J17336-3706A/B/C.
Data sources:
CCDM (2002),

Lambda Scorpii (λ Sco, λ Scorpii) is a blue star and the second brightest star system in the constellation Scorpius, and one of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky. It has the Bayer designation λ despite being the second brightest in its constellation. It has the traditional name Shaula, which comes from the Arabic الشولاء al-šawlā´ meaning the raised [tail], as it is found in the tail of the scorpion (Scorpius). It is known as Wei Xiu Ba 尾宿八 (the Eighth Star of the Tail) in Chinese.


Lambda Scorpii is located some 570 light years away from Earth.[1] Spectroscopic and interferometric observations have shown that A is actually a triple system consisting of two B-type stars and a pre–main sequence star.[3] The primary star is also a beta Cephei variable star.[5][6] The pre–main sequence star has an orbital period of 6 days and the B companion has a period of 1053 days. The three stars lie in the same orbital plane, strongly suggesting that they were formed at the same time. The masses of the primary, pre–main sequence star and the B companion are 10.4±1.3, 1.8±0.2 and 8.1±1.0 solar masses, respectively. The age of the system is estimated to be in the range 10–13 million years.

A 15th magnitude star has a separation of 42 arcseconds, while a 12th magnitude star is 95 arcseconds away. It is not known whether or not these components are physically associated with Lambda Scorpii. If they both were, the first would have a projected linear separation of approximately 7500 Astronomical Units and the second approximately 17,000 AU (0.27 light years) away.

In culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "lam Sco -- Variable Star of beta Cep type", SIMBAD Astronomical Object Database (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg), retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  2. ^ Reed, B. Cameron (2003), "Catalog of Galactic OB Stars", The Astronomical Journal 125 (5): 2531–2533, Bibcode:2003AJ....125.2531R, doi:10.1086/374771. 
  3. ^ a b c Tango, W. J. et al. (August 2006), "Orbital elements, masses and distance of λ Scorpii A and B determined with the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer and high-resolution spectroscopy", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 370 (2): 884–890, arXiv:astro-ph/0605311, Bibcode:2006MNRAS.370..884T, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2006.10526.x. 
  4. ^ a b Underhill, A. B. et al. (November 1979), "Effective temperatures, angular diameters, distances and linear radii for 160 O and B stars", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 189: 601–605, Bibcode:1979MNRAS.189..601U. 
  5. ^ Interpretation of the variability of the β Cephei star λ Scorpii. I. The multiple character, K. Uytterhoeven, B. Willems, K. Lefever, C. Aerts, J. H. Telting, and U. Kolb, Astronomy and Astrophysics 427 (2004), 581–592. Abstract on ADSABS
  6. ^ Orbital elements, masses and distance of λ Scorpii A and B determined with the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer and high-resolution spectroscopy, W. J. Tango, J. Davis, M. J. Ireland, C. Aerts, K. Uytterhoeven, A. P. Jacob, A. Mendez, J. R. North, E. B. Seneta, and P. G. Tuthill, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 370 (2006) 884–890. Abstract on ADSABS
  7. ^ Rogers, J. H. (February 1998). "Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions". Journal of the British Astronomical Association, no.1 108: 9–28. Bibcode:1998JBAA..108....9R. 
  8. ^ p. 1678, Burnham's Celestial Handbook: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System, Volume 3, Robert Burnham, New York, Dover Publication, Inc, 1978.
  9. ^ "Astronomy of the Brazilian Flag". FOTW Flags Of The World website. 
  10. ^ Hamacher, Duane W.; Frew, David J. (2010). "An Aboriginal Australian Record of the Great Eruption of Eta Carinae" (PDF). Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage 13 (3): 220–34. 
  11. ^ Stanbridge, WM (1857). "On the Astronomy and Mythology of the Aboriginies of Victoria" (PDF). Transactions Philosophical Institute Victoria 2: 137–140. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: Sky map 17h 33m 36.520s, −37° 06′ 13.76″