Agena (β Centauri)
Alternative name for the star Hadar, the second brightest star in Centaurus and the tenth brightest star in the sky. → Hadar.
The etymology of Agena is not clear. Some sources have suggested L. a genu "by the knee," but it seems dubious.
Fr.: Alpha du Centaure
Brightest star in the constellation → Centaurus (V = -0.01 magnitude) and third brightest star in the sky; also known as → Rigil Kent. It is a main-sequence star of the same spectral class (G2 V) as the Sun. Actually, Alpha Centauri is a triple-star system, the components being designated A, B, and C. The component C is also called → Proxima Centauri because it is the closest star to the Earth (other than the Sun), at a distance of 4.22 → light-years, but it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye. Components A and B are currently about 4.36 light-years away.
Alpha Centauri system
Fr.: système Alpha du Centaure
A system of three stars, the → close binary Alpha Centauri A (→ spectral type G2 V) and Alpha Centauri B (K1 V), and a small and faint → red dwarf, Alpha Centauri C (M6 Ve), better known as → Proxima Centauri. To the unaided eye, the two main components (AB) appear as a single object with an → apparent visual magnitude of -0.27, forming the brightest star in the southern constellation → Centaurus and the third brightest star in the night sky, after → Sirius and → Canopus. The individual visual magnitudes of the components A, B, and Proxima are +0.01, +1.33, and +11.05, respectively. The masses of A and B are 1.100 and 0.907 Msun, respectively. Their → effective temperatures are (A) 5,790 K and (B) 5,260 K; their luminosities (A) 1.519 Lsun and (B) 0.500 Lsun. The binary members are separated in average by only 23 → astronomical units. They revolve around a common center of mass with a period of about 80 years. Both have a distance of 4.37 → light-years. Proxima Centauri, lying about 15,000 AU apart from AB, is → gravitationally bound to them. It has a mass of 0.1 Msun, a radius of 0.1 Rsun, a luminosity of about 0.001 Lsun, and an → effective temperature of ~ 3,000 K.
sayyârak-e Kentâwr (#)
Fr.: astéroïde Centaure
An → asteroid whose orbit around the Sun lies typically between the orbits of → Jupiter and → Neptune Neptune (5 to 30 → astronomical units). The first Centaur, called → Chiron, was discovered in 1977, but since then more than 100 roughly similar objects have been found. Three centaurs, Chiron, 60558 Echeclus, and 166P/NEAT 2001 T4, have been found to display → cometary → comas. Chiron and 60558 Echeclus are now classified as both asteroids and → comets. Most of the Centaur asteroids are probably dormant comets from the → Kuiper belt which have been pulled in by the gravity of → outer planets.
The Centaur. A → constellation in the southern hemisphere covering an extensive area of about 1060 square degrees from R.A. 11 h to 15 h and Dec. -30° to -64°. Abbreviation: Cen, genitive form: Centauri. Centaurus is the ninth largest constellation in the sky, but it does not contain any → Messier objects. The brightest star in constellation is → Alpha Centauri which is also the third brightest star in the sky. Beta Centauri, the second brightest star in Centaurus, also called → Hadar, is the eleventh brightest star in night sky. Among other bright stars of the constellation are: Menkent (θ Cen), γ Cen, ε Cen, and η Cen. There are three → meteor showers associated with the constellation: the Alpha Centaurids, the Omicron Centaurids, and the Theta Centaurids. The constellation contains several extragalactic objects, among which: Centaurus A (NGC 5128), Omega Centauri, and NGC 5139.
L. centaurus, from Gk. kentauros, cf. Av. gandarəwa- "a mythical monster killed by Kərəsâspa," Skt. gandharva- "name of mythical beings related with Soma." In Gk. mythology, centaurs were half-man half-horse creatures living on Mount Pelion in Thessaly, northern Greece. They were followers of the wine god Dionysus and well known for drunkenness and carrying off helpless young maidens.
Kentâwros, from Gk. "Kentauros." Arabicized Qenturis (
Fr.: Centaurus A
The closest (3.8 ± 0.1 Mpc) → radio galaxy with a physical age of about 560 Myr, associated with the massive → elliptical galaxy NGC 5128. The nucleus harbours a → supermassive black hole, with a mass (5.5 ± 3.0) × 107 Msol derived from stellar → kinematics. A prominent → dust lane, with → starburst, crosses the central parts. Centaurus A shows a twin → jet in → radio and → X-ray bands, symmetrical on parsec scales but with evident asymmetry on kpc scales. The main (i.e. northern) jet which is markedly brighter than the counterjet, is seen at a viewing angle of approximately 50°. From photoionization models for such a viewing angle, the → Lorentz factor of the jet is derived to be ≤ 5. A large number of radio and X-ray → knots is discernible in the jet on kpc scales with the radio knots of larger proper motions showing comparatively little X-ray emission (see S. Wykes et al. 2015, MNRAS 447, 1005, and references therein).
Situated in the → Centaurus constellation.
Fr.: superamas du Centaur
The nearest large → supercluster. It is dominated by the → galaxy cluster A3526 (→ Abell catalog). The Centaurus supercluster is a long structure that stretches away from us. The most distant of the clusters, A3581, is about 300 million → light-years away.
Hadar (Beta Centauri)
Fr.: Hadar (β Centauri)
A blue-white → giant star of → spectral type B1 III with a visual magnitude of V = 0.61 lying in the constellation → Centaurus. It lies at a distance of 350 → light-years and is the eleventh brightest star of the night sky. Also called → Agena
Hadar, from Ar. haZâr (
Menkent (Theta Centauri)
Fr.: Menkent (θ Centauri)
Menkent, corruption of Ar. Mankib "shoulder," short for
Mankib al-Qanturis (
Omega Centauri (ω Cen)
Fr.: Omega centauri
The largest and most luminous → globular cluster associated with the Milky Way Galaxy. Omega Centauri is located about 18,300 → light-years away and contains several million old stars. The stars in its center are so crowded that they are believed to be only 0.1 light-year away from each other. It is about 12 billion years old. Omega Centauri was first listed in Ptolemy's catalog nearly two thousand years ago. In 1677 Edmond Halley reported it as a nebula, and in the 1830s John Herschel was the first to correctly identify it as a globular cluster. Also called NGC 5139.
Omega, Gk. alphabet letter; Centauri, → Centaurus.
proksimâ Kentâwros, nazdiktarin ~
Fr.: Proxima du Centaure
The closest star to the Sun, lying 4.24 → light-years away. Other designations: α Centauri C, GL 551, HIP 70890, or simply Proxima. It is the faintest of the three stars that make up the → Alpha Centauri system. Proxima Centauri is a → red dwarf of → spectral type M6 Ve. It has a magnitude of +11.0, but undergoes sudden brightness increases of up to 1 mag lasting several minutes. Proxima is a late-type → flare star with a rotation period of ~ 84 days. Its mass is about 0.123 → solar masses or 129 → Jupiter masses. Proxima orbits the binary system AB at a distance of about 15,000 → astronomical unit (AU)s, with a period of approximately 550,000 years (Kervella et al., 2016, arXiv:1611.0349). In about 200,000 years it will be at the same distance as AB and in 240,000 years it will be farther to Sun than AB. It has an → effective temperature of only around 3,050 K, a luminosity of 0.15 per cent of that of the Sun, a measured radius of 14 per cent of the radius of the Sun and a mass of about 12 per cent of the mass of the Sun. An → exoplanet, named → Proxima b, has been discovered orbiting our nearest neighbor star. Proxima experiences a seven-year activity cycle, similar to the Sun's 11-year cycle (B. J. Wargelin, B. J. et al., 2016, arXiv:1610.03447). But unlike the Sun's relatively moderate flares, Proxima's outbursts of X-ray and ultraviolet radiation could prove deadly for any hypothetical life on its planet, Proxima b.
Proksimâ, from L., as above; Kentâwros, → Centaurus; nazdiktarin, superlative of nazdik "near," from Mid.Pers. nazdik "near," from nazd "close" (Mid.Pers. nazd, nazdik "near," nazdist "first;" O.Pers. ašna- "close;" Av. nazdišta- "nearest, next," nazdyo "nearer to," nas- "to come near, approach, reach;" cf. Skt. nédīyas- "closer, very close," nas- "to approach, to reach") + -ik, → -ic.
Proxima Centauri b
Proksimâ Kentâwros b
Fr.: Proxima Centauri b
→ Proxima b.
Rigil Kentaurus (α Centauri)
Fr.: Alpha du Centaure
Another name of → Alpha Centauri.
Rigel, from Ar. rijl (
Pâ "foot, step" (from Mid.Pers. pâd, pây; Av. pad- "foot;" cf. Skt. pat; Gk. pos, genitive podos; L. pes, genitive pedis; P.Gmc. *fot; E. foot; Ger. Fuss; Fr. pied; PIE *pod-/*ped-); Kentâwros→ Centaurus.
Fr.: association Scorpius-Centaurus
The nearest → OB association to the Sun. It contains several hundred stars, mostly → B stars which concentrate in the three subgroups: Upper Scorpius, Upper Centaurus Lupus, and Lower Centaurus Crux. Upper Scorpius is the youngest subgroup, Upper Centaurus Lupus the oldest subgroup of the association. Isochrone fitting to the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram indicates that the star formation occurred some 5-20 Myr ago. Based on data from the → Hipparcos catalog, it turns out that the Sco-Cen association lies at a distance of 118-145 → parsecs, with the exact value depending on the subgroup of the association. The Sco-Cen association is probably a member of the → Gould Belt (Preibisch & Mamajek, 2008, astro-ph/0809.0407).