Capella

AlhaiotAlpha Aurigaealpha Aurigae (Capella)Alpha Aurigae AaCapella, the starthe starα Aurα Aur (Capella)α Aurigae
Capella, designated α Aurigae (Latinized to Alpha Aurigae, abbreviated Alpha Aur, α Aur), is the brightest star in the constellation of Auriga, the sixth-brightest star in the night sky, and the third-brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere after Arcturus and Vega.wikipedia
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Auriga (constellation)

AurigaAurHaedi
Capella, designated α Aurigae (Latinized to Alpha Aurigae, abbreviated Alpha Aur, α Aur), is the brightest star in the constellation of Auriga, the sixth-brightest star in the night sky, and the third-brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere after Arcturus and Vega. A few degrees to the southwest of Capella lie three stars, Epsilon Aurigae, Zeta Aurigae, and Eta Aurigae, the latter two of which are known as "The Kids", or Haedi.
Its brightest star, Capella, is an unusual multiple star system among the brightest stars in the night sky.

List of brightest stars

brightest starsbrightest starone of the brightest stars
Capella, designated α Aurigae (Latinized to Alpha Aurigae, abbreviated Alpha Aur, α Aur), is the brightest star in the constellation of Auriga, the sixth-brightest star in the night sky, and the third-brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere after Arcturus and Vega.

Amalthea (mythology)

AmaltheaAmaltheiaa Greek deity with the same name
Its name meaning "little goat" in Latin, Capella depicted the goat Amalthea that suckled Zeus in classical mythology.
"Amaltheia was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Capra—the group of stars surrounding Capella on the arm (ôlenê) of Auriga the Charioteer."

Circumpolar star

circumpolarcircumpolar stars(astral) square
A prominent object in the northern winter sky, it is circumpolar to observers north of 44°N.
For British observers, for example, the first magnitude stars Capella (declination +45° 59') and Deneb (+45° 16') do not set from anywhere in the country.

Star system

multiple star systemtriple starmultiple systems
Although it appears to be a single star to the naked eye, Capella is actually a quadruple star system organized in two binary pairs, made up of the stars Capella Aa, Capella Ab, Capella H, and Capella L.

Zeta Aurigae

ζ AurHaedus Iζ Aur (Saclateni)
A few degrees to the southwest of Capella lie three stars, Epsilon Aurigae, Zeta Aurigae, and Eta Aurigae, the latter two of which are known as "The Kids", or Haedi.
It was one of the two haedi (Latin: 'kids') of the she-goat Capella, the other being Haedus II, Eta Aurigae.

Epsilon Aurigae

ε AurMaazε Aurigae
A few degrees to the southwest of Capella lie three stars, Epsilon Aurigae, Zeta Aurigae, and Eta Aurigae, the latter two of which are known as "The Kids", or Haedi.
Richard Hinckley Allen reported that Oxford scholar Thomas Hyde recorded the traditional name Almaaz in his 1665 translation of the catalogue of Ulugh Beg, which he identified with the Arabic Al Maʽaz "the billy goat", corresponding to the name of the star Capella (Latin for "nanny goat").

Giant star

giantorange giantgiants
The primary pair, Capella Aa and Capella Ab, are two bright yellow giant stars, both of which are around 2.5 times as massive as the Sun. The hotter secondary Ab has been given various spectral types of late (cooler) F or early (warmer) G. The MK spectral types of the two stars have been measured a number of times, and they are both consistently assigned a luminosity class of III indicating a giant star.

Eta Aurigae

η AurHaedusHaedus II
A few degrees to the southwest of Capella lie three stars, Epsilon Aurigae, Zeta Aurigae, and Eta Aurigae, the latter two of which are known as "The Kids", or Haedi.
Along with Zeta Aurigae it represents one of the Kids of the she-goat Capella, from which it derived its Latin traditional name Haedus II or Hoedus II, from the Latin haedus "kid" (Zeta Aurigae was Haedus I).

First-magnitude star

first magnitude starfirst magnitudebrightest
Capella is closer to the north celestial pole than any other first magnitude star.

Asterism (astronomy)

asterismasterismsFalse Cross
The four form a familiar pattern, or asterism, in the sky. In traditional Chinese astronomy, Capella was part of the asterism 五車 (Wŭ chē; English: Five Chariots), which consisted of Capella together with Beta Aurigae, Theta Aurigae, and Iota Aurigae, as well as Beta Tauri.

Red clump

red clump giantclump giantclump giants
An ageing red clump star, it is fusing helium to carbon and oxygen in its core.

Stellar classification

spectral typeK-typeG-type
The hotter secondary Ab has been given various spectral types of late (cooler) F or early (warmer) G. The MK spectral types of the two stars have been measured a number of times, and they are both consistently assigned a luminosity class of III indicating a giant star.

Rigel

Beta Orionisβ Ori (Rigel)β Orionis
Its amplitude of about 0.1 magnitudes means that it may at times be brighter or fainter than Rigel, Betelgeuse, and Vega, which are also variable.
It is usually fainter than Capella, which also varies slightly in brightness.

Betelgeuse

Alpha OrionisBételgeuseα Ori
Its amplitude of about 0.1 magnitudes means that it may at times be brighter or fainter than Rigel, Betelgeuse, and Vega, which are also variable.
There are periods when it will surpass Rigel to become the sixth brightest star, and occasionally it will be even brighter than Capella.

Effective temperature

surface temperatureeffective (surface) temperaturetemperature
Their surface temperatures can be calculated by comparison of observed and synthetic spectra, direct measurement of their angular diameters and brightnesses, calibration against their observed colour indices, and disentangling of high resolution spectra.
A star near the middle of the spectrum, such as the modest Sun or the giant Capella radiates more energy per unit of surface area than the feeble red dwarf stars or the bloated supergiants, but much less than such a white or blue star as Vega or Rigel.

Beta Aurigae

β AurMenkalinanβ Aurigae
In traditional Chinese astronomy, Capella was part of the asterism 五車 (Wŭ chē; English: Five Chariots), which consisted of Capella together with Beta Aurigae, Theta Aurigae, and Iota Aurigae, as well as Beta Tauri.
The combined apparent visual magnitude of the system is 1.9, making it the second-brightest member of the constellation after Capella.

Double star

visual companiondouble starsoptical double
Most are only line-of-sight companions, but the close pair of red dwarfs H and L are at the same distance as the bright component A and moving through space along with it.

Beta Tauri

Elnathβ TauBeta (β) Tauri
In traditional Chinese astronomy, Capella was part of the asterism 五車 (Wŭ chē; English: Five Chariots), which consisted of Capella together with Beta Aurigae, Theta Aurigae, and Iota Aurigae, as well as Beta Tauri.
In Chinese, 五車 (Wǔ Chē), meaning Five Chariots, refers to an asterism consisting of β Tauri, ι Aurigae, Capella, β Aurigae and θ Aurigae.

Behenian fixed star

Behenian starsfixed stars
In the Middle Ages, it was considered a Behenian fixed star, with the stone sapphire and the plants horehound, mint, mugwort, and mandrake as attributes.

Five Chariots

In traditional Chinese astronomy, Capella was part of the asterism 五車 (Wŭ chē; English: Five Chariots), which consisted of Capella together with Beta Aurigae, Theta Aurigae, and Iota Aurigae, as well as Beta Tauri.

SS Capella (T-AKR-293)

USNS ''Capella'' (T-AKR-293)Sea-Land McLeanSS ''Capella (T-AKR-293)
In keeping with the pattern of the naming the Algol-class ships after bright stars, the Capella was named after Capella, the brightest star in the constellation Auriga, the sixth brightest in the night sky.

The Listeners (novel)

The Listeners
The highly regarded 1972 novel The Listeners involves a SETI-like program on Earth in communication with an alien civilization in the Capella system.
That night, as Thomas visits the MacDonald household, The Project receives a message from the region of the star Capella in the constellation Auriga.

Chinese star names

Chinese nameChinese uranographyTraditional Chinese star names
Since it was the second star in this asterism, it has the Chinese name 五車二 (Wŭ chē èr; English: Second of the Five Chariots).

Procyon

Procyon BProcyon ACanis minor
Called Hoku-lei "star wreath", it formed this asterism with Procyon, Sirius, Castor and Pollux.
Called Puana ("blossom"), it formed this asterism with Capella, Sirius, Castor, and Pollux.