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Zeta Aquarii

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Companion  ζ Aquarii B
Constellation  Aquarius
Magnitude  4.42
Zeta Aquarii
Similar  Alpha Aquarii, Gamma Aquarii, Delta Aquarii, Beta Aquarii

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Zeta Aquarii (ζ Aquarii, ζ Aqr) is the Bayer designation for a binary, or possibly a triple star system; the central star of the "water jar" asterism in the equatorial constellation of Aquarius. The combined apparent visual magnitude of this system is 3.65, which is readily visible to the naked eye. Parallax measurements yield a distance estimate of around 92 light-years (28 parsecs) from Earth.

Contents

Etymology

Zeta Aquarii has the traditional name Sadaltager (or Altager), from the Arabic سعد التاجر sa‘d al-tājir "luck of the merchant". In the catalogue of stars in the Calendarium of Al Achsasi Al Mouakket, this star was designated Achr al Achbiya (أجر ألأجبية - akhir al ahbiyah), which was translated into Latin as Postrema Tabernaculorum, meaning the end of luck of the homes (tents). This star, along with γ Aqr (Sadachbia), π Aqr (Seat) and η Aqr (Hydria), were al Aḣbiyah (الأخبية), the Tent.

In Chinese, 墳墓 (Fén Mù), meaning Tomb, refers to an asterism consisting of ζ Aquarii, γ Aquarii, η Aquarii and π Aquarii. Consequently, ζ Aquarii itself is known as 墳墓一 (Fén Mù yī, English: the First Star of Tomb.)

Properties

Christian Mayer, director of the Mannheim Observatory, is considered the first to have observed Zeta Aquarii to be double, in 1777. A couple of years later, William Herschel also discovered this duality. The two stars have an orbital period of about 587 years. The semimajor axis is 3.8 arcseconds and they have an orbital eccentricity of 0.40. The orbital plane is inclined by 138.2° to the line of sight.

The brighter component, ζ Aquarii A (also called ζ2 Aquarii), is a yellow-white-hued F-type main sequence star with an apparent magnitude of +4.42. Its companion, ζ Aquarii B (also called ζ1 Aquarii), is a yellow-white-hued F-type subgiant with an apparent magnitude of +4.51. The fact that their brightness is so similar makes the pair easy to measure and resolve.

ζ Aquarii B is a suspected astrometric binary system with a 25.8 year orbital period and a semimajor axis of 10.8 astronomical units. If this is confirmed, then the smaller companion may be a red dwarf with a classification of M0 V and 40% of the Sun's mass.

Zeta Aquarii is currently a northern hemisphere object. In 2004 it was directly above the celestial equator, and before that it was located south of it.

References

Zeta Aquarii Wikipedia


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