Alpha Columbae

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Alpha Columbae
Diagram showing star positions and boundaries of the Columba constellation and its surroundings
Cercle rouge 100%.svg
Location of α Columbae (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000.0      Equinox J2000.0 (ICRS)
Constellation Columba
Right ascension  05h 39m 38.94103s[1]
Declination −34° 04′ 26.7950″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 2.645[2]
Spectral type B7 IV[3]
U−B color index −0.44[2]
B−V color index −0.125[2]
R−I color index −0.09[4]
Radial velocity (Rv)+35.0[5] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: −1.58[1] mas/yr
Dec.: −24.82[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π)12.48 ± 0.36[1] mas
Distance261 ± 8 ly
(80 ± 2 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV)−1.87[6]
Mass4.5[7] M
Radius5.8[8] R
Luminosity (bolometric)1,000[7] L
Surface gravity (log g)3.73[8] cgs
Temperature12,963[8] K
Rotational velocity (v sin i)176[9] km/s
Other designations
Alpha Columbae, α Col, CCDM J05396−3404 A, CD−34 2375, CPD−34 703, FK5 215, GC 7078, HD 37795, HIP 26634, HR 1956, NSV 2549, PPM 281732, SAO 196059.[10]
Database references

Alpha Columbae (α Columbae, abbreviated Alpha Col, α Col), officially named Phact /ˈfækt/,[11][12] is a third magnitude star in the southern constellation of Columba. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 2.6,[2] making it the brightest member of Columba. Based upon parallax measurements made during the Hipparcos mission, Alpha Columbae is located at a distance of around 261 light-years (80 parsecs).[1]


Alpha Columbae is the star's Bayer designation.

The traditional name of Phact (also rendered Phad, Phaet, Phakt)[13] derives from the Arabic فاجتة fākhitah 'ring dove'. It was originally applied to the constellation Cygnus and later transferred to this star.[14][15][16][17] The etymology of its name hadāri (unknown meaning)[18] has also been suggested. In 2016, the International Astronomical Union organized a Working Group on Star Names (WGSN)[19] to catalog and standardize proper names for stars. The WGSN's first bulletin of July 2016[20] included a table of the first two batches of names approved by the WGSN; which included Phact for this star.

In Chinese, 丈人 (Zhàng Rén), meaning Grandfather, refers to an asterism consisting of α Columbae and ε Columbae.[21] Consequently, α Columbae itself is known as 丈人一 (Zhàng Rén yī, English: the First Star of Grandfather.).[22] From this Chinese name, the name Chang Jin has appeared[23]


This is believed to be a solitary star,[9][24] although it has a faint optical companion at an angular separation of 13.5 arcseconds, making it a double star.[25] The stellar classification of Alpha Columbae is B7 IV,[3] with the luminosity class of IV indicating it has evolved into a subgiant star. The spectrum shows it to be a Be star surrounded by a hot gaseous disk, which is generating emission lines because of hydrogen recombination.[13] Like most if not all such stars, it is rotating rapidly with a projected rotational velocity of 176 km s−1. The azimuthal equatorial velocity may be 457 km s−1.[9] It is a suspected Gamma Cassiopeiae type (GCAS) variable star, with its apparent magnitude varying from 2.62m to 2.66m.


  1. ^ a b c d e f 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 d Cousins, A. W. J. (1972), "UBV Photometry of Some Very Bright Stars", Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, 31: 69, Bibcode:1972MNSSA..31...69C
  3. ^ a b Houk, Nancy (1979), Michigan catalogue of two-dimensional spectral types for the HD stars, 3, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Dept. of Astronomy, University of Michigan,
  4. ^ HR 1956, database entry, The Bright Star Catalogue, 5th Revised Ed. (Preliminary Version), D. Hoffleit and W. H. Warren, Jr., CDS ID V/50. Accessed on line April 21, 2009.
  5. ^ Wilson, R. E. (1953). General Catalogue of Stellar Radial Velocities. Carnegie Institute of Washington D.C. Bibcode:1953GCRV..C......0W.
  6. ^ Anderson, E.; Francis, Ch. (2012), "XHIP: An extended hipparcos compilation", Astronomy Letters, 38 (5): 331, arXiv:1108.4971, Bibcode:2012AstL...38..331A, doi:10.1134/S1063773712050015.
  7. ^ a b Jim Kaler: Phact - STARS Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed on line April 21, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Meilland, A.; Stee, Ph.; Chesneau, O.; Jones, C. (October 2009), "VLTI/MIDI observations of 7 classical Be stars", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 505 (2): 687–693, arXiv:0908.1239, Bibcode:2009A&A...505..687M, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200911960
  9. ^ a b c Oudmaijer, R. D.; et al. (October 2008), "Sub-milliarcsecond precision spectro-astrometry of Be stars", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 489 (2): 627–631, arXiv:0807.3673, Bibcode:2008A&A...489..627O, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20079117
  10. ^ "alf Col". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  11. ^ Kunitzsch, Paul; Smart, Tim (2006). A Dictionary of Modern star Names: A Short Guide to 254 Star Names and Their Derivations (2nd rev. ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Sky Pub. ISBN 978-1-931559-44-7.
  12. ^ "IAU Catalog of Star Names". Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b Note of HR 1956, database entry, The Bright Star Catalogue, 5th Revised Ed. (Preliminary Version), D. Hoffleit and W. H. Warren, Jr., CDS ID V/50. Accessed on line April 21, 2009.
  14. ^ Davis, Jr. G. A. (1971). Pronunciations, Derivations, and Meanings of a Selected List of Star Names (Reprint ed.). Cambridge, MA: Sky Pub. Corp. p. 11.
  15. ^ Kunitzsch, P. (1959). Arabische Sternnamen in Europa. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. pp. 191–192.
  16. ^ Laffitte, R. (2005). Héritages arabes: Des noms arabes pour les étoiles (2éme revue et corrigée ed.). Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geunthner / Les Cahiers de l'Orient. p. 223.
  17. ^ Kunitzsch, P. & Smart, T. (2006). A Dictionary of Modern star Names: A Short Guide to 254 Star Names and Their Derivations (2nd rev. ed.). Cambridge, MA: Sky Pub. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-931559-44-7.
  18. ^ Allen, R. H. (1963). Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (Reprint ed.). New York, NY: Dover Publications Inc. p. 167. ISBN 0-486-21079-0.
  19. ^ "IAU Working Group on Star Names (WGSN)". Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Bulletin of the IAU Working Group on Star Names, No. 1" (PDF). Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  21. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Chinese) 中國星座神話, written by 陳久金. Published by 台灣書房出版有限公司, 2005, ISBN 978-986-7332-25-7.
  22. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Chinese) 香港太空館 - 研究資源 - 亮星中英對照表 Archived 2011-01-30 at the Wayback Machine, Hong Kong Space Museum. Accessed on line November 23, 2010.
  23. ^ Richard Hinckley Allen: Star Names — Their Lore and Meaning: Columbae
  24. ^ Eggleton, P. P.; Tokovinin, A. A. (September 2008). "A catalogue of multiplicity among bright stellar systems". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 389 (2): 869–879. arXiv:0806.2878. Bibcode:2008MNRAS.389..869E. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13596.x.
  25. ^ CCDM J05396-3404, database entry, J. Dommanget and O. Nys (2002) Catalogue of the Components of Double and Multiple Stars, Accessed on line April 21, 2009.