Theta2 Orionis

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θ2 Orionis
The three components of θ2 Orionis, plus nearby stars
Credit: Ian Nartowicz (derived from ESA/Hubble image)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Orion
Right ascension 05h 35m 22.90115s[1]
Declination −05° 24′ 57.8207″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 5.02[2]
Right ascension 05h 35m 26.4018s[3]
Declination −05° 25′ 00.720″[3]
Apparent magnitude (V) 6.380[4]
Right ascension 05h 35m 31.436s[3]
Declination −05° 25′ 16.40″[3]
Apparent magnitude (V) 8.18[5]
Spectral type O9.5IVp[6] + B0.7V[7] + B5V[8]
Radial velocity (Rv) 35.6[9] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: 2.29[1] mas/yr
Dec.: 0.96[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 2.11 ± 0.41[1] mas
Distance approx. 1,500 ly
(approx. 470 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) −4.3[10] + −2.60[4] + −0.6[11]
Mass 39[12] M
Luminosity 107,000[13] L
Temperature 34,900[13] K
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 133[7] km/s
Mass 14.8[4] M
Radius 4.3[4] R
Luminosity 12,300[4] L
Surface gravity (log g) 4.30[4] cgs
Temperature 29,300[4] K
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 33[7] km/s
Age <2[4] Myr
Mass 4.86[13] M
Luminosity 616[13] L
Temperature 13,800[13] K
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 78[14] km/s
Age <1[14] Myr
Other designations
θ2 Ori, STF 4016, WDS J05354-0525, ADS 4188
A: 43 Ori, HR 1897, BD−05°1319, HD 37041, SAO 132321, HIP 26235, CCDM 05353-0524E
B: BD−05°1320, HD 37042, SAO 132322, CCDM 05353-0524F
C: V361 Ori, BD−05°1326, HD 37062, SAO 132329, S 490A, CCDM 05353-0524G
Database references

Theta2 Orionis (θ2 Ori) is a multiple star system in the constellation Orion. It is a few arc minutes from its more famous neighbour the Trapezium Cluster, also known as θ1 Orionis.


The three stars of θ2 Orionis within the Orion Nebula

θ2 Orionis consists of three stars in a line, each about an arc-minute from the next. In addition to the well-known three stars, the Washington Double Star Catalog confusingly lists a component D which is actually θ1 Orionis C.[15]

There is one other star brighter than 10th magnitude in the region. V1073 Orionis is a B9.5 Orion variable that forms an equilateral triangle with θ2 Ori B and C.

Bizarrely, θ2 Orionis C has a second entry in the Washington Double Star Catalog under the name S490. The companion is 10th magnitude and actually lies between θ2 Ori B and V1073 Ori.[15]

θ1 Orionis, the well known Trapezium cluster, is only 2 arc minutes away from θ2 Orionis A. Despite the names, θ2 Orionis A is marginally brighter than the brightest star in the Trapezium. The Catalog of Components of Double and Multiple Stars includes the stars of θ1 and θ2 Ori within the same system of 13 components.

There are dozens of much fainter stars in the same field, many of them pre-main-sequence stars still forming from the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.


The primary component A appears as a 5th magnitude O class subgiant over 100,000 times as luminous as the sun. The spectral type suggests it is evolving away from the main sequence, although it is thought to be less than 2 million years old. The spectral peculiarities may be related to close companions or could be caused by the extreme youth of the star.

The 6th magnitude component B is an early B main sequence star nearly 30,000 K and over 10,000 times the luminosity of the sun.

Component C is another B class main sequence star, but cooler and less than a thousand times the luminosity of the sun.

θ2 Orionis A system[edit]

θ2 Orionis A is itself a triple star system. Its spectral lines were seen to change position periodically, indicating orbital motion. The first orbit was derived in 1924, indicating a period of 21 days. and a rather eccentric orbit.[16]

Speckle interferometry has resolved a companion about 0.3" away, around 147 AU. High resolution spectroscopy shows that there is an even closer companion, only about 0.47 AU from the primary, for a total of three stars. Both companions are thought to be early A or late B with masses of 7-9 M. This helps to explain the high mass and visual luminosity for an O9.5 star at this distance. The three stars together have nearly the same mass as the O5.5 θ1 Orionis C and visually are even brighter.[17]

θ2 Orionis A also shows unexplained rapidly variable x-ray emission. The x-rays cannot be explained standard mechanisms such as colliding winds or coronal emissions from an unseen companion.[12]


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