Delta Ophiuchi

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Delta Ophiuchi
Diagram showing star positions and boundaries of the Ophiuchus constellation and its surroundings
Cercle rouge 100%.svg

Location of δ Ophiuchi (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Ophiuchus
Right ascension 16h 14m 20.73853s[1]
Declination –03° 41′ 39.5612″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 2.75[2]
Spectral type M0.5 III[3]
U−B color index +1.96[2]
B−V color index +1.59[2]
Variable type Suspected[4]
Radial velocity (Rv) –19.9[5] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: –47.54[1] mas/yr
Dec.: –142.73[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 19.06 ± 0.16[1] mas
Distance 171 ± 1 ly
(52.5 ± 0.4 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) –0.90[6]
Mass 1.5[7] M
Radius 59[8] R
Surface gravity (log g) 1.4[9] cgs
Temperature 3,679[9] K
Metallicity [Fe/H] 0.32[9] dex
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 7.0[10] km/s
Other designations
1 Oph, BD-03 3903, FK5 603, HD 146051, HIP 79593, HR 6056, SAO 141052.[11]

Delta Ophiuchi (δ Oph, δ Ophiuchi) is a star in the constellation Ophiuchus. It has the traditional name Yed Prior. The star Epsilon Ophiuchi, with which it forms a naked eye optical double, is Yed Posterior. The apparent visual magnitude is 2.75,[2] making this a third-magnitude star and the fourth brightest in the constellation. Parallax measurements from the Hipparcos spacecraft yield a distance estimate of around 171 light-years (52 parsecs) from Earth.[1]


Delta Ophiuchi is 170 light years from Earth, while Epsilon is 108; hence they are a mere optical double. This star has a stellar classification of M0.5 III,[3] making this a red giant star that has undergone expansion of its outer envelope after exhausting the supply of hydrogen at its core. The measured angular diameter of this star, after correction for limb darkening, is 10.47 ± 0.12 mas.[12] At the estimated distance of Delta Ophiuchi,[1] this yields a physical size of about 59 times the radius of the Sun.[8] In spite of its enlarged size, this star has only 1.5 times the mass of the Sun and hence a much lower density.[7] The effective temperature of the outer atmosphere of Delta Ophiuchi is a relatively cool 3,679 K,[9] which is what gives it the orange-red hue of an M-type star.[13]

Yed Prior is listed as a suspected variable star that may change by 0.03 in visual magnitude.[4][11] It has a low projected rotational velocity of 7.0 km s−1, which gives a minimum value for the azimuthal velocity along the star's equator.[10] The abundance of elements other than hydrogen and helium, what astronomers term the star's metallicity, is more than double the abundance in the Sun's photosphere.[9]

The star has a high optical linear polarisation that increases from red to blue wavelengths and displays some variability, this has been ascribed to either an asymmetric distribution of dust grains in an envelope expelled from it, or the presence of photometric hot spots.[14]


The traditional name Yed is derived from Arabic meaning "the hand", and the two stars are the left hand of Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer) that holds the head of the serpent Serpens Caput.

It was a member of the indigenous Arabic asterism al-Nasaq al-Yamānī, the "Southern Line" of al-Nasaqān the "Two Lines",[15] along with α Ser (Unukalhai), δ Ser (Qin, Tsin), ε Ser (Ba, Pa), ε Oph (Yed Posterior), ζ Oph (Han) and γ Oph (Tsung Ching).[16]

According to the catalogue of stars in the Technical Memorandum 33-507 - A Reduced Star Catalog Containing 537 Named Stars, al-Nasaq al-Yamānī or Nasak Yamani were the titles for two stars :δ Ser as Nasak Yamani I and ε Ser as Nasak Yamani II (exclude this star, α Ser, ε Oph, ζ Oph and γ Oph[clarification needed] ).[17]

In Chinese, 天市右垣 (Tiān Shì Yòu Yuán), meaning Right Wall of Heavenly Market Enclosure, refers to an asterism which is represent eleven old states in China which is marking the right borderline of the enclosure, consisting of δ Ophiuchi, β Herculis, γ Herculis, κ Herculis, γ Serpentis, β Serpentis, α Serpentis, δ Serpentis, ε Serpentis, ε Ophiuchi and ζ Ophiuchi.[18] Consequently, δ Ophiuchi itself is known as 天市右垣九 (Tiān Shì Yòu Yuán jiǔ, English: the Ninth Star of Right Wall of Heavenly Market Enclosure), representing the state of Liang (梁) (or Leang).[19][20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g van Leeuwen, F. (November 2007), "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 474 (2): 653–664, arXiv:0708.1752free to read, Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357 
  2. ^ a b c d Johnson, H. L.; et al. (1966), "UBVRIJKL photometry of the bright stars", Communications of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, 4 (99), Bibcode:1966CoLPL...4...99J 
  3. ^ a b Morgan, W. W.; Keenan, P. C. (1973), "Spectral Classification", Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 11: 29, Bibcode:1973ARA&A..11...29M, doi:10.1146/annurev.aa.11.090173.000333 
  4. ^ a b Percy, J. R.; Shepherd, C. W. (October 1992), "A Photometric Survey of Small-Amplitude Red Variables", Information Bulletin on Variable Stars, 3792: 1, Bibcode:1992IBVS.3792....1P 
  5. ^ Wilson, Ralph Elmer (1953), General Catalogue of Stellar Radial Velocities, Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington, Bibcode:1953GCRV..C......0W 
  6. ^ Schmidt-Kaler, T.; Oestreicher, M. O. (October 1998), "The luminosity index for M stars and the distance to the LMC", Astronomische Nachrichten, 319 (6): 375–386, Bibcode:1998AN....319..375S, doi:10.1002/asna.2123190606 
  7. ^ a b Tsuji, Takashi (May 2007), "Isotopic abundances of Carbon and Oxygen in Oxygen-rich giant stars", in Kupka, F.; Roxburgh, I.; Chan, K., Convection in Astrophysics, Proceedings of IAU Symposium #239 held 21-25 August, 2006 in Prague, Czech Republic, pp. 307–310, arXiv:astro-ph/0610180free to read, Bibcode:2007IAUS..239..307T, doi:10.1017/S1743921307000622 
  8. ^ a b Lang, Kenneth R. (2006), Astrophysical formulae, Astronomy and astrophysics library, 1 (3rd ed.), Birkhäuser, ISBN 3-540-29692-1 . The radius (R*) is given by:
  9. ^ a b c d e Oinas, V. (October 1977), "Neutral-ion anomaly in cool stars", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 61 (1): 17–20, Bibcode:1977A&A....61...17O 
  10. ^ a b Massarotti, Alessandro; et al. (January 2008), "Rotational and Radial Velocities for a Sample of 761 HIPPARCOS Giants and the Role of Binarity", The Astronomical Journal, 135 (1): 209–231, Bibcode:2008AJ....135..209M, doi:10.1088/0004-6256/135/1/209 
  11. ^ a b "del Oph -- Variable Star", SIMBAD, Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg, retrieved 2010-07-06 
  12. ^ Richichi, A.; Percheron, I.; Khristoforova, M. (February 2005), "CHARM2: An updated Catalog of High Angular Resolution Measurements", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 431: 773–777, Bibcode:2005A&A...431..773R, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20042039 
  13. ^ "The Colour of Stars", Australia Telescope, Outreach and Education, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, December 21, 2004, retrieved 2012-01-16 
  14. ^ Cotton, D. V.; et al. (January 2016). "The linear polarization of Southern bright stars measured at the parts-per-million level". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 455: 1607–1628. arXiv:1509.07221free to read. Bibcode:2016MNRAS.455.1607C. doi:10.1093/mnras/stv2185. 
  15. ^ Kunitzsch, P.; Smart, T. (2006), A Dictionary of Modern Star names: A Short Guide to 254 Star names and Their Derivations (Second Revised ed.), Cambridge, MA: Sky Publishing, p. 31, ISBN 1-931559-44-9 
  16. ^ Allen, R. H. (1963), Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (Reprint ed.), New York, NY: Dover Publications Inc, p. 243, ISBN 0-486-21079-0, retrieved 2010-12-12 
  17. ^ Rhoads, Jack W. (November 15, 1971), Technical Memorandum 33-507-A Reduced Star Catalog Containing 537 Named Stars (PDF), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology 
  18. ^ (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.
  19. ^ (Chinese) 香港太空館 - 研究資源 - 亮星中英對照表, Hong Kong Space Museum. Accessed on line November 23, 2010.
  20. ^ (Chinese) English-Chinese Glossary of Chinese Star Regions, Asterisms and Star Name, Hong Kong Space Museum. Accessed on line November 23, 2010.

External links[edit]

  • Kaler, James B., "Yed Prior", Stars, University of Illinois, retrieved 2012-02-07