Eta Virginis

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

Location of η Virginis (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Virgo
Right ascension 12h 19m 54.35783s[1]
Declination –00° 40′ 00.5095″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 3.890[2]
Spectral type A2 V[3]
U−B color index +0.055[2]
B−V color index +0.029[2]
Radial velocity (Rv) +2.3[4] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: –57.58[1] mas/yr
Dec.: –25.19[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 12.29 ± 0.45[1] mas
Distance 265 ± 10 ly
(81 ± 3 pc)
Primary η Vir Aa
Companion η Vir Ab
Period (P) 71.7916 ± 0.0006 days
Semi-major axis (a) 0.00736 ± 0.0006"
Eccentricity (e) 0.244 ± 0.007
Inclination (i) 45.5 ± 0.9°
Primary η Vir A
Companion η Vir B
Period (P) 7,896.2 ± 0.2 days
Semi-major axis (a) 0.133 ± 0.001"
Eccentricity (e) 0.087 ± 0.002
Inclination (i) 50.6 ± 0.1°
η Vir Aa
Mass 2.5039 ± 0.1246[6] M
Surface gravity (log g) 3.0[7] cgs
Temperature 9,333[7] K
Metallicity [Fe/H] +0.11[7] dex
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 18[8] km/s
η Vir Ab
Mass 1.8907 ± 0.0932 M
η Vir B
Mass 1.66 ± 0.16 M
Other designations
Zaniah, Zannakh, 15 Virginis, HR 4689, HD 107259, BD+00 2926, FK5 460, HIP 60129, SAO 138721, CCDM 12199-0040, WDS J12199-0040AB.[9]

Eta Virginis (η Vir, η Virginis) is a multiple star system in the zodiac constellation of Virgo. It has the traditional name Zaniah /zəˈn.ə/. From parallax measurements, the distance to this star was found to be roughly 265 light-years (81 parsecs). It has an apparent visual magnitude of 3.89,[2] which is bright enough for the system to be seen with the naked eye in dark skies.

Although the star looks single, lunar occultations have shown this star to be a very close triple star system consisting of two stars only 0.6 AU apart, assuming a distance of 91 parsecs, with a third slightly more distant star. The inner pair is a spectroscopic binary that completes an orbit with a period of 72 days. The inclination of this orbit was determined through interferometer observations to be 45.5°, which allowed the individual masses of the two stars to be estimated. The primary star, η Vir Aa, has a mass of about 2.5 times the Sun's mass, while the secondary, η Vir Ab, has 1.9 solar masses. The faint tertiary star, η Vir B, orbits the inner group in a wider orbit over a period of 13.1 years.[6]

Because Zaniah is near the ecliptic, it can be occulted by the Moon and (very rarely) by planets. On October 12, 272 BC, the ancient Greek astronomer Timocharis observed a conjunction of the star with Venus.[10][11] The last occultation by a planet took place on September 27, 1843, also by Venus, which will occult it again on November 19, 2445.[citation needed]


The medieval name Zaniah is from the Arabic زاوية zāwiyah "corner", the same source as Zavijava.

In the catalogue of stars in the Calendarium of Al Achsasi Al Mouakket, this star was designated Thanih al Aoua, which was translated into Latin as Secunda Latratoris, meaning the second barker.[12] This star, along with β Vir (Zavijava), γ Vir (Porrima), δ Vir (Auva) and ε Vir (Vindemiatrix), were Al ʽAwwāʼ, the Barker.[13]

In Chinese, 太微左垣 (Tài Wēi Zuǒ Yuán), meaning Left Wall of Supreme Palace Enclosure, refers to an asterism consisting of η Virginis, γ Virginis, δ Virginis, ε Virginis and α Comae Berenices.[14] Consequently, η Virginis itself is known as 太微左垣一 (Tài Wēi Zuǒ Yuán yī, English: the First Star of Left Wall of Supreme Palace Enclosure.),[15] representing 左執法 (Zuǒzhífǎ), meaning The Left Law Administrator.[16] 左執法 (Zuǒzhífǎ), spelled Tso Chih Fa by R.H. Allen, means "the Left-hand Maintainer of Law" [17]


  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 d Cousins, A. W. J. (1984), "Standardization of Broadband Photometry of Equatorial Standards", South African Astronomical Observatory Circulars 8: 59, Bibcode:1984SAAOC...8...59C 
  3. ^ Levato, O. H. (August 1972), "Rotational Velocities and Spectral Types of Some A-Type Stars", Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 84 (500): 584, Bibcode:1972PASP...84..584L, doi:10.1086/129336 
  4. ^ Wilson, Ralph Elmer (1953). General Catalogue of Stellar Radial Velocities. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington. Bibcode:1953GCRV..C......0W. 
  5. ^ a b c Hummel, C. A.; Benson, J. A.; Hutter, D. J.; Johnston, K. J.; Mozurkewich, D.; Armstrong, J. T.; Hindsley, R. B.; Gilbreath, G. C.; Rickard, L. J.; White, N. M. (2003). "First Observations with a Co-phased Six-Station Optical Long-Baseline Array: Application to the Triple Star η Virginis". The Astronomical Journal 125 (5): 2630. Bibcode:2003AJ....125.2630H. doi:10.1086/374572. 
  6. ^ a b Behr, Bradford B.; et al. (July 2011), "Stellar Astrophysics with a Dispersed Fourier Transform Spectrograph. II. Orbits of Double-lined Spectroscopic Binaries", The Astronomical Journal 142 (1): 6, arXiv:1104.1447, Bibcode:2011AJ....142....6B, doi:10.1088/0004-6256/142/1/6 
  7. ^ a b c Wolff, Sidney Carne (October 1967), "A Spectroscopic and Photometric Study of the AP Stars", Astrophysical Journal Supplement 15: 21, Bibcode:1967ApJS...15...21W, doi:10.1086/190162 
  8. ^ Royer, F.; Zorec, J.; Gómez, A. E. (February 2007), "Rotational velocities of A-type stars. III. Velocity distributions", Astronomy and Astrophysics 463 (2): 671–682, arXiv:astro-ph/0610785, Bibcode:2007A&A...463..671R, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20065224 
  9. ^ "eta Vir -- Spectroscopic binary", SIMBAD (Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg), retrieved 2012-01-06 
  10. ^ Pedersen, Olaf (2010), Jones, Alexander, ed., A Survey of the Almagest: With Annotation and New Commentary by Alexander Jones, Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences (2nd ed.), Springer, p. 411, ISBN 0-387-84825-8 
  11. ^ Fomenko, A. T.; Vi︠a︡cheslavovich, Vladimir Kalashnikov; Nosovskiĭ, Gleb Vladimirovich (1993), Geometrical and statistical methods of analysis of star configurations: dating Ptolemy's Almagest, CRC Press, p. 215, ISBN 0-8493-4483-2 
  12. ^ Knobel, E. B. (June 1895). "Al Achsasi Al Mouakket, on a catalogue of stars in the Calendarium of Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 55 (8): 429. Bibcode:1895MNRAS..55..429K. doi:10.1093/mnras/55.8.429. 
  13. ^ Allen, R. H. (1963), Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (Reprint ed.), New York: Dover Publications Inc, p. 469, ISBN 0-486-21079-0, retrieved 2010-12-12 
  14. ^ (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.
  15. ^ (Chinese) 香港太空館 - 研究資源 - 亮星中英對照表 Archived August 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., Hong Kong Space Museum. Accessed on line November 23, 2010.
  16. ^ (Chinese) English-Chinese Glossary of Chinese Star Regions, Asterisms and Star Name Archived August 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., Hong Kong Space Museum. Accessed on line November 23, 2010.
  17. ^ Richard Hinckley Allen: Star Names — Their Lore and Meaning: Virgo

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