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Epsilon Carinae

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Title: Epsilon Carinae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Carina (constellation), List of brightest stars, Star designation, Vela (constellation), List of proper names of stars, Asterism (astronomy), Alpha Pavonis, Iota Carinae, Upsilon Carinae, Avior
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Epsilon Carinae

Epsilon Carinae A/B

Location of ε Carinae (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Carina
Right ascension 08h 22m 30.83526s[1]
Declination −59° 30′ 34.1431″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V)1.86[2] (2.166/4.121)[3]
Spectral typeK3 III[4] + B2 Vp[5]
U−B color index+0.19[2]
B−V color index+1.27[2]
Variable typeEclipsing (suspected)[6]
Radial velocity (Rv)+11.6[7] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: –25.52[1] mas/yr
Dec.: 22.72[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π)5.39 ± 0.42[1] mas
Distance610 ± 50 ly
(190 ± 10 pc)
ε Car A
Mass9.0 ± 0.9[8] M
Temperature3,523[9] K
Age31.2 ± 10.1[8] Myr
ε Car B
Mass7.30[9] M
Temperature20,417[9] K
Other designations
Avior, CD−59°1032, FK5 315, HD 71129, HIP 41037, HR 3307, SAO 235932.[10]
Database references

Epsilon Carinae (ε Car, ε Carinae) is a star in the southern constellation of Carina. It is also known by the name Avior. At apparent magnitude +1.86 it is one of the brightest stars in the night sky, but is not visible from the northern hemisphere.

Epsilon Carinae is a double star located roughly 560–660 light-years (170–200 parsecs) away from the Earth.[1] Measurements during the Hipparcos mission give the pair an angular separation of 0.46 arcseconds with a difference in magnitude of 2.0.[5] At their estimated distance, this angle is equivalent to a physical separation of around 4 Astronomical Units.[11] This pair may form an eclipsing binary system[11] with a period of 785 days (2.15 years), resulting in a magnitude change of 0.12 during each eclipse.[6][12]

The primary component has an apparent visual magnitude of 2.2,[3] which by itself would still make it the third brightest star in the constellation. It is an evolved giant star with a stellar classification of K0 III. However, examination of the ultraviolet flux from this star suggests it may instead be of spectral type K7.[5] The fainter secondary companion has an apparent visual magnitude of 4.1,[3] which, if it were a solitary star, would be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. This is a hot, core hydrogen-fusing B-type main sequence star of spectral class B2 Vp.[5] The secondary may itself have an orbiting stellar companion of spectral class F8:.[9]


The name Avior is not a classical in origin. It was assigned to the star by Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office in the late 1930s during the creation of The Air Almanac, a navigational almanac for the Royal Air Force. Of the fifty-seven navigation stars included in the new almanac, two had no classical names: Epsilon Carinae and Alpha Pavonis. The RAF insisted that all of the stars must have names, so new names were invented. Alpha Pavonis was named "Peacock", a translation of Pavo, whilst Epsilon Carinae was called "Avior".[13]

In Chinese, 海石 (Hǎi Dàn), meaning Sea Rock, refers to an asterism consisting of ε Carinae, ι Carinae, HD 83183, HD 84810 and υ Carinae .[14] Consequently, ε Carinae itself is known as 海石一 (Hǎi Dàn yī, English: the First Star of Sea Rock.)[15]


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