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Star names

constellationswStars are generally designated by a Greek letter and the name of the constellation in which they reside. Usually alpha is the brightest star in the constellation, beta is the second brightest, etc.

Many stars also have proper names. In this example the proper names are:

  • Alpha Virginis – Spica
  • Beta Virginis – Zavijawa
  • Gamma Virginis – Porrima
  • Epsilon Virginis – Vindemiatrix

In addition, all stars are identified by designators in various star catalogues.

 

 

As an example Spica is identified by the following designators:

Proper name Spica
Bayer letter a Virginis
Flamsteed number 67 Virginis
GCVS designation alpha Virginis
Tycho catalog number TYC 5547-1518-1
Hipparcos catalog number HIP 65474
PPM catalog number PPM 227262
SAO catalog number SAO 157923
HD catalog number HD 116658
Bright star number HR 5056
BD number BD -10 3672
WDS designation BUP 150

 

 

 

 

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