Rigel

Rigel rī´jəl [key], bright star in the constellation Orion Bayer designation Beta Orionis 1992 position R.A. 5 h14.2 m, Dec. −8°13′. A huge, blue supergiant of spectral class B8 Ia, Rigel has an intrinsic brightness about 40,000 times as luminous as that of the sun. It is an irregular variable star , with apparent magnitude ranging from 0.08 to 0.20, making it normally the seventh-brightest star in the sky. Its distance from the earth is nearly 1,000 light-years. Rigel is actually a four-star system consisting of a visual binary star , each component of which is itself a spectroscopic binary. Its name is from the Arabic word meaning foot, indicating its position in the constellation.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.