Mizar (ζ Ursae Majoris)
A star of visual magnitude 2.3 in the constellation → Ursa Major, which is the second star from the end of the → Big Dipper's handle. It forms a naked-eye double with → Alcor, lying at an angular separation of about 12 minutes of arc. Mizar is resolved into a 14''.4 → binary star (denoted A and B) with a probable period of thousands of years. Mizar A is a nearly equal-mass, → double-lined spectroscopic binary with period 20.54 days and → eccentricity of 0.53. The two components of Mizar A (denoted Aa and Ab) are both about 35 times as luminous as the Sun, and revolve around each other in about 20 days. Similarly, Mizar B is a → spectroscopic binary with a period of 175.57 days and an eccentricity of 0.46. Recent results suggest that Alcor is actually a binary and apparently → gravitationally bound to the Mizar system. This would make the Mizar-Alcor system a probable → sextuplet, lying at about 78 → light-years from Sun and the second closest such multiple known, after → Castor (Mamajek et al., 2010, AJ 139, 919).
Mizar, from Ar. al-Mi'zar (