Zavijava (Beta Virginis)
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Beta Virginis is located about 35.6 light-years (ly) away from our Sun, Sol. It lies at the western edge (1:50:41.7+1:45:53.0, ICRS 2000.0) of Constellation Virgo, the Earth-Goddess -- northwest of Porrima (Gamma Virginis) and Zaniah (Eta Virginis), southwest of Vindemiatrix (Epsilon Virginis), and south of Denebola (Beta Leonis). Named in many ancient cultures, the primary star is now commonly called "Zavijava" in modern star catalogues, originally from "Al Zawiah," the Angle or Corner (i.e. Kennel) of the Arab Dogs although Gamma Virginis (commonly called Porrima from the Latin) now fits the location better (Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889: page 469). The star has two optical companions, IDS 11454N0219 B and C (Abt and Levy, 1976: page 393), and has been suspected of being a spectroscopic binary (see remark in ARICNS).
Zavijava is a yellowish star of spectral and luminosity type F9 V (Morgan and Keenan, 1973: page 33) but also has been classed as white as F8 (Smith and Lambert, 1983), possibly from the Henry Draper Catalogue. The star is poised to evolve off the main sequence into a subgiant, as it is close to or just past the end of core hydrogen burning (North et al, 2009; and Eggenberger and Carrier, 2006). It has around 1.2 to 1.4 times Sol's mass, around 1.7 times Sol's diameter, and 3.51 (+/- 0.10) times its bolometric luminosity (North et al, 2009; and Eggenberger and Carrier, 2006). Beta Virginis is nearly 1.4 times as enriched as Sol with elements heavier than hydrogen ("metallicity") based on its abundance of iron and may be around 3.2 to 4.1 billion years old (North et al, 2009; Eggenberger and Carrier, 2006; and Thomas Gehren, 1978). Useful star catalogue numbers for the star include: Bet Vir, 5 Vir, HR 4540, Gl 449, Hip 57757, HD 102870, BD+02 2489, SAO 119076, FK5 445, LFT 854, LTT 12364, and LHS 2465.
The orbital distance from Zavijava where a planet currently would be "comfortable" for Earth-type carbon-based lifeforms with liquid water on the planetary surface in the so-called habitable zone is centered near 1.87 AU -- between the orbital distances of Mars and the Main Asteroid Belt in the Solar System. At that distance from the star, such a planet would have an orbital period close to 2.3 Earth years (835 days). Life on an Earth-like planet, however, may have developed closer to the star before it evolved and began heating up out of the main sequence into a subgiant, thereby shifting its habitable zone outwards away from the star.
The following star systems are located within 10 light-years, plus more bright stars within 10 to 20 ly, of Zavijava.
|Star System||Spectra &|
|Ross 119||M0-3.5 V||5.2|
|LTT 13408||M V||8.5|
|Porrima 3||F0 V |
|* plus bright stars *||. . .|
|Ross 948 AB||G V |
|HR 4587||G8-K0 IV||11|
|61 Virginis||G5-6 V||18|
|61 Ursae Majoris||G8 Ve||19|
|Beta Comae Berenices 2||F9.5-G0 V||19|
|Alula Australis 4?||F8.5-G0 Ve |
Up-to-date technical summaries on these stars can be found at: the Astronomiches Rechen-Institut at Heidelberg's ARICNS; the NASA Stars and Exoplanet Database; and SIMBAD. Additional information may be available at Roger Wilcox's Internet Stellar Database and from www.alcyone.de as Zavijah. New research papers on this stars may eventually become available at the SAO/NASA ADS.
Translated into Latin by the Romans from the Greek Goddess Demeter, the Earth-Goddess, Virgo, is associated with the arrival of spring and bringer of the growing season. For more information about the stars and objects in this constellation and an illustration, go to Christine Kronberg's Virgo. For another illustration, see David Haworth's Virgo.
For more information about stars including spectral and luminosity class codes, go to ChView's webpage on The Stars of the Milky Way.
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