Beta Orionis, 19 Orionis

Proper Name Rigel
Bayer Designation Beta Orionis
Flamsteed Number 19 Orionis
Constellation Orion
Right Ascension 5h 14m 32s
Declination -8 12' 6"
Distance 773 light years
237 parsecs
Magnitude Apparent: +0.2
Absolute: -6.7
Spectral Class

B8 Blue Supergiant

Optimum Visibility December
A blue supergiant star that remains very bright despite lying almost 800 light years away. At a distance of 10pc, it would be much brighter than Venus.

The pulsating blue supergiant Rigel has a diameter of about 100 million kilometres, some seventy times that of the Sun. In the far distance a double blue star is visible - Rigel's much less luminous companions.




On the western heel of Orion, the Hunter, rests brilliant Rigel. In classical mythology, Rigel marks the spot where Scorpio, the Scorpion stung Orion after a brief and fierce battle. Its Arabic name means the Foot.

Rigel is a multiple star system. The brighter component, Rigel A, is a blue super giant that shines a remarkable 40,000 times stronger than the Sun! Although 775 light-years distant, its light shines bright in our evening skies, at magnitude 0.12.