Maia (star)

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For other uses, see Maia (disambiguation).
Maia, 20 Tauri
Maia is located in the upper right section of the map.
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Taurus
Right ascension 03h 45m 49.6067s[1]
Declination 24° 22′ 03.895″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 3.871[1]

Spectral type B8III[1]
U−B color index -0.40
B−V color index -0.07[2]
Variable type Suspected
Radial velocity (Rv) 7.5[1] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: 21.09[1] mas/yr
Dec.: -45.03[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 8.2 ± 1.03[3] mas
Distance approx. 400 ly
(approx. 120 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) -1.69
Mass 5+[4] M
Radius 6.04[4] R
Luminosity 850[4] L
Temperature 12,600[4] K
Metallicity 1.10 Fe/H[5]
Rotation 33 km/s[6]
Age ? years
Other designations
Maia, 20 Tauri, HR 1149, BD 23° 516, HD 23408, HIP 17573, SAO 76155, GC 4500, NSV 01279, WDS J03458+2422
Database references

Coordinates: Sky map 03h 45m 49.607s, +24° 22′ 03.895″

Maia (20 Tauri) is a star in the constellation Taurus. It is the fourth brightest star in the Pleiades open star cluster (M45), after Alcyone, Atlas and Electra, in that order. The name Maia originates with the Greek: Μαῖα and Latin: Maia. She is one of the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione in Greek mythology—stars which are also included in the Pleiades star cluster (see map). Maia is a blue giant of spectral type B8 III, and a mercury-manganese star.


Maia's visual magnitude is 3.871, requiring darker skies to be seen. Its total bolometric luminosity is 660 times solar, mostly in the ultraviolet, thus suggesting a radius that is 5.5 times that of the Sun and a mass that is slightly more than 4 times solar.[4] Maia is one of the stars in the Maia Nebula (also known as NGC 1432), a bright emission or reflection nebula[7] within the Pleiades star cluster.

Maia was thought to be a variable star by astronomer Otto Struve. A class of stars known as Maia variables was proposed, which included Gamma Ursae Minoris, but Maia and some others in the class have since been found to be stable.[4]


Main article: Maia (mythology)
God council in Olympus: Hermes with his mother Maia. Detail of the side B of an Attic red-figure belly-amphora, ca. 500 BC.

Maia was the oldest of seven beautiful sisters known as the Pleiades. She was raped by Zeus, thereby conceiving Hermes, the messenger god. As Maia and the Pleiades are visible in the winter night sky along with the constellation Orion, the Greek myths tell of Maia and her sisters being pursued by the giant huntsman, and turned into doves to preserve their safety.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "SIMBAD query result: MAIA -- Variable Star". Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 2010-06-11. 
  2. ^ Johnson, H. L.; Iriarte, B.; Mitchell, R. I.; Wisniewski, W. Z. (1966). "UBVRIJKL photometry of the bright stars". Comm. Lunar Plan. Lab., 4. SIMBAD. Bibcode:1966CoLPL...4...99J. 
  3. ^ Perryman, M. A. C.; et al. (1997), "The Hipparcos Catalogue", Astronomy & Astrophysics 323: L49–L52, Bibcode:1997A&A...323L..49P 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Professor James B. (Jim) Kaler. "MAIA (20 Tauri)". University of Illinois. Retrieved 2010-06-11. 
  5. ^ Heacox, W. D. (1979). "Chemical abundances in Hg-Mn stars". Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 41: 675–688. Bibcode:1979ApJS...41..675H. doi:10.1086/190637. 
  6. ^ Royer, F.; Grenier, S.; Baylac, M.-O.; Gómez, A. E.; Zorec, J. (2002). "Rotational velocities of A-type stars in the northern hemisphere. II. Measurement of v sin i in the northern hemisphere". Astronomy and Astrophysics 393 (3): 897–911. arXiv:astro-ph/0205255. Bibcode:2002A&A...393..897R. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20020943. 
  7. ^ "SEDS Students for the Exploration and Development of Space". NGC 1432. Retrieved 2010-06-11. 
  8. ^ Hesiod, Works and Days 619ff.

External links[edit]