Rigel

β Ori (Rigel)B2 IaeBeta Orionisbrightest starRigel ARigel IVβ Oriβ Orionis
Rigel, also designated β Orionis (Latinized to Beta Orionis, abbreviated Beta Ori, β Ori), is on average the seventh-brightest star in the night sky and the brightest in the constellation of Orion—though occasionally it is outshone within the constellation by the variable star Betelgeuse.wikipedia
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Orion (constellation)

Orionconstellation of OrionOrion constellation
Rigel, also designated β Orionis (Latinized to Beta Orionis, abbreviated Beta Ori, β Ori), is on average the seventh-brightest star in the night sky and the brightest in the constellation of Orion—though occasionally it is outshone within the constellation by the variable star Betelgeuse. The river Eridanus marks a line of stars in the sky leading to it, and the other stars of Orion are his ceremonial tools and entourage.
Its brightest stars are Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis), a blue-white and a red supergiant, respectively.

Betelgeuse

α OriBetelg'''euseBetelgeuse mass loss
Rigel, also designated β Orionis (Latinized to Beta Orionis, abbreviated Beta Ori, β Ori), is on average the seventh-brightest star in the night sky and the brightest in the constellation of Orion—though occasionally it is outshone within the constellation by the variable star Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse and Saiph lie at a similar distance to Rigel, although Betelgeuse is a runaway star with a complex history and is likely to have originally formed in the main body of the association. In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Rigel, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph.
From 1836 to 1840, he noticed significant changes in magnitude when Betelgeuse outshone Rigel in October 1837 and again in November 1839.

List of brightest stars

brightest starsbrightest starone of the brightest stars
Rigel, also designated β Orionis (Latinized to Beta Orionis, abbreviated Beta Ori, β Ori), is on average the seventh-brightest star in the night sky and the brightest in the constellation of Orion—though occasionally it is outshone within the constellation by the variable star Betelgeuse.

Deneb

Alpha Cygniα CygAlpha Cygni (Deneb)
Rigel's variability is complex and is caused by stellar pulsations similar to those of Deneb, the prototype of the class of Alpha Cygni pulsating stars.
However, its exact distance (and hence luminosity) has been difficult to calculate; it is estimated to be somewhere between 55,000 and 196,000 times as luminous as the Sun, rivalling Rigel A as the most inherently luminous first magnitude star.

Bayer designation

Bayerdesignationdesignations
Beta Orionis is the star's Bayer designation.

Apparent magnitude

apparent visual magnitudemagnitudevisual magnitude
On early 20th century and older orthochromatic (blue-sensitive) photographic film, the relative brightnesses of the blue supergiant Rigel and the red supergiant Betelgeuse irregular variable star (at maximum) are reversed compared to what human eyes perceive, because this archaic film is more sensitive to blue light than it is to red light.

Stellar classification

spectral typeK-typeG-type
Since 1943, the spectrum of this star has served as the spectral reference, for class B8Ia, by which other stars are classified.
B8Ia – Rigel

Color index

colour indicescolorcolour
Rigel has a color index (B–V) of −0.03, meaning it appears white or slightly blue-white.
For comparison, the yellowish Sun has a B−V index of 0.656 ± 0.005, whereas the bluish Rigel has a B−V of −0.03 (its B magnitude is 0.09 and its V magnitude is 0.12, B−V = −0.03).

IC 2118

Witchhead Nebula
As it is both bright and moving through a region of nebulosity, Rigel lights up several dust clouds in its vicinity, most notably IC 2118 (the Witch Head Nebula).
IC 2118 (also known as Witch Head Nebula due to its shape) is an extremely faint reflection nebula believed to be an ancient supernova remnant or gas cloud illuminated by nearby supergiant star Rigel in Orion.

Rigel in fiction

RigelRigelianfictional works
The name, or the star itself, also occurs frequently in fictional works.
Rigel (Beta Orionis) is a luminous blue supergiant of spectral type B8 Iae, in the constellation Orion, that is frequently featured in works of science fiction.

Orion Nebula

1976M42Orion
It is thought to be considerably closer than most of the members of Orion OB1 and the Orion Nebula, but projecting Rigel's path through space for its expected age brings it close to the nebula.
There has been speculation that the Mayans of Central America may have described the nebula within their "Three Hearthstones" creation myth; if so, the three would correspond to two stars at the base of Orion, Rigel and Saiph, and another, Alnitak at the tip of the "belt" of the imagined hunter, the vertices of a nearly perfect equilateral triangle with Orion's Sword (including the Orion Nebula) in the middle of the triangle seen as the smudge of smoke from copal incense in a modern myth, or, in (the translation it suggests of) an ancient one, the literal or figurative embers of a fiery creation.

Saiph

κ Oriκ Ori (Saiph)
Betelgeuse and Saiph lie at a similar distance to Rigel, although Betelgeuse is a runaway star with a complex history and is likely to have originally formed in the main body of the association. In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Rigel, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph.
It is smaller, less luminous but hotter at its surface than Rigel with an apparent visual magnitude of 2.1.

Matariki

Māori New Year
The Māori people named Rigel as Puanga, which was said to be a daughter of Rehua (Antares), the chief of all stars.
The first rising of the Pleiades and of Rigel (Puanga in northern Māori, Puaka in southern Māori) occurs just prior to sunrise in late May or early June.

Capella

AlhaiotAlpha Aurigaealpha Aurigae (Capella)
The apparent visual magnitude of Rigel is 0.13, making it on average the seventh-brightest star in the celestial sphere excluding the Sun—just fainter than Capella.
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.

Alpha Cygni variable

α Cyg variableα Cygni variableAlpha Cygni type
It has exhausted the hydrogen in its core and expanded to over 70 times the Sun's radius . It pulsates quasi-periodically and is classified as an Alpha Cygni variable.

Eridanus (constellation)

EridanusEriEridano
The river Eridanus marks a line of stars in the sky leading to it, and the other stars of Orion are his ceremonial tools and entourage.
IC 2118 is a faint reflection nebula believed to be an ancient supernova remnant or gas cloud illuminated by nearby supergiant star Rigel in Orion.

List of most luminous stars

most luminousmost luminous starsmost luminous stars known

Blue supergiant star

blue supergiantBlueblue-white supergiant
The primary star, Rigel A, is a blue-white supergiant estimated to be anywhere from 61,500 to 363,000 times as luminous as the Sun, depending on the method used to calculate its properties and assumptions about its distance.
The best known example is Rigel, the brightest star in the constellation of Orion.

Aurvandil

EarendelÉarendelAurvandil the Bold
Rigel is presumably the star known as "Aurvandil's toe" in Norse mythology.
Guesses as to the identity of this star have included the polestar, the planet Venus, Sirius and the star Rigel which forms the toe of the constellation Orion, though if Aurvandil is to be identified with the constellation Orion one would expect to find Aurvandil himself being translated into the sky, not just his toe.

Alnitak

ζ OriAlnitahAlnitak (ζ Ori)
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Rigel, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph.
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Xiù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka (Orion's Belt) with Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Saiph and Rigel Consequently, Alnitak are known as 參宿一 (Shēn Xiù yī, the First Star of Three Stars).

Mintaka

δ OriMintaka ABδ Ori (Mintaka)
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Rigel, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph.
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Mintaka, Alnilam, Alnitak, (Orion's Belt) with Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Saiph and Rigel Consequently, Alnilam are known as 參宿三 (Shēn Sù sān, the Third Star of Three Stars).

Antares

Antares Bα Scorpionisα
The Māori people named Rigel as Puanga, which was said to be a daughter of Rehua (Antares), the chief of all stars.
Rehua is father of Puanga/Puaka (Rigel), an important star in the calculation of the Māori calendar.

Alnilam

ε Oriε Ori (Alnilam)Epsilon
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Rigel, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph.
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Alnilam, Alnitak, Mintaka (Orion's Belt) with Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Saiph and Rigel Consequently, Alnilam are known as 參宿二 (Shēn Sù èr, the Second Star of Three Stars).

Bellatrix

γ Oria star in the Orion constellationγ Ori (Bellatrix)
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Rigel, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph.
In Chinese, 參宿 (Shēn Sù), meaning Three Stars (asterism), refers to an asterism consisting of Bellatrix, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Saiph and Rigel.