Wednesday, February 20, 2008

61 Virginis

Star type
g G6V

Distance from Earth
g 29.12 ly

Star Service No.
g NA

g At least the same age as Sun but probably 6.1 billion - 6.6 billion years old

Diameter/Mass/Temp (xSol)
g 94%; 96.4%; 5,585 K

Brightness (xSol)
g 87.6%

g May be almost (93 to 95 percent) as enriched as Sol with elements heavier than hydrogen

Comparison to Sol
g See chart (composition of this star is nearly identical to Sol, and there is only a low level of activity in the stellar chromosphere)

Picture of star
g See photo at upper right (photo courtesy Kevin Heider)

Star system features
g NHosts vast amounts of cometary debris, at least 10 times more comets than in our own Solar System's Kuiper Belt, possibly because it hosts no Saturn-Jupiter-sized planets (see "known planets" below)

Known planets
Hosts at least three planets, with masses ranging from about 5 to 25 times the mass of Earth. Also contains a thick ring of dust at a distance roughly twice as far from 61 Vir as Pluto is from our Sun; the dust is apparently created by collisions of comet-like bodies in the cold outer reaches of the system.
g 61 Virginis b: Mass is 5.1 x Earth and orbits star every 4.2150 days. The Super Earth probably is too hot to support Earth-like life or hold liquid water.
g 61 Virginis c: Mass is 18.2 x Earth and orbits star every 38.021 days.
g 61 Virginis d: Mass is 22.9 x Earth and orbits star every 123.01 days.

Habitable zone
g The orbit of an Earth-like planet (with liquid water) around this star would be centered around 0.9 AU - inside the orbital distance of Earth in the Solar System - with an orbital period of almost 317 days, or about 87 percent of an Earth year. High probability of life as similar to Sun (Probability is based on Stephen Dole’s “Habitable Planets for Man” RAND Research Study 1964). Porto de Mello lists it as one of 13 nearby astrobiologically interesting stars.

Orbital map
g NA

View from star
g NA

Nearby stars
(Star systems with 10 light years)
g L 763-63 (K2 V): 4.6 ly
g Ross 695: 6.4 ly
g LP 734-32: 8.9 ly

Map locating star system
g NA

Location in Earth sky
g Can be seen with the naked eye under dark skies in southern edge of the spring constellation Virgo, the Maiden, southwest of Spica (Alpha Virginis)

Other names
g 61 Vir; HR 5019; Gl 506; Hip 64924; HD 115617; BD-17 3813; SAO 157844; FK5 1345; LHS 349; LTT 5111; LPM 467; LFT 990; GC 18007; GCTP 3039.00; FK5 1345; BDS 6447; CCDM 13185-1818

Sci-fi mentions
g NA

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