Procyon

From Academic Kids

This article is about the star. Procyon is also the mammalian genus to which Raccoons belong.

Missing image
Position_Alpha_Cmi.png
The position of Procyon

Procyon (α CMi / α Canis Minoris / Alpha Canis Minoris) is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor and the eighth brightest star in the nighttime sky.

Its name comes from the Greek προκύον (Prokyōn), meaning "fore-dog", since it precedes the "Dog Star" Sirius in as it travels across the Earth's sky due to the Earth's rotation (although Procyon has a greater right ascension, it also has a more northerly declination, which means it will rise above the horizon earlier than Sirius from most northerly latitudes). These two "dog stars" are referred to in the most ancient literature and were venerated by the Babylonians and the Egyptians.

Procyon is a vertex of the Winter Triangle.

Procyon is one of the closest stars to Earth's solar system, being only 3.5 pc or 11.41 light years away. Like Sirius, it is a binary star —the main star (Procyon A) having a faint white dwarf companion (Procyon B). Procyon A is also known as HD 61421, HR 2943, BD+051739, GCTP 1805.00A and LHS 233.

Its closest neighbour is Luyten's star, 0.34 pc or 1.11 ly away.

Contents

Procyon A

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Procyon-v-sol.MOST.png
Light variability of Sol vs. that of Procyon

Procyon A is 7 times brighter than the Sun. It is considered a subgiant, meaning it has just finished fusing its hydrogen into helium and begun to expand. It is expected that the Sun will also go through this process when it begins to die.

In late June of 2004, Canada's orbital MOST satellite telescope completed a 32-day survey of Procyon A. The continuous optical monitoring was intended to confirm oscillations in its brightness observed from Earth. During the entire two month period however, no fluctuation in intensity whatever was observed. These findings have caused astrophysicists to question the accepted tenets of helioseismology, and theories of star formation.

Characteristics

Procyon B

Procyon B is a faint white dwarf star, with an average separation from Procyon A of about 16 times the Earth's distance from the Sun or roughly the distance between Uranus and the Sun.

Characteristics

Astrology

Astrologically, Procyon portends wealth, fame, and good fortune.

Procyon in fiction

In Star Trek: Enterprise, Procyon was the scene of a formidable Federation victory during a war against an alien species known as the Sphere Builders. The USS Enterprise-J took part in this battle. In 2153, Captain Jonathan Archer was brought 400 years forward in time to witness part of the battle.

The human colony world of We Made It (which is mentioned in Larry Niven's stories and books of the Known Space) orbits Procyon. Pierson's Puppeteers are said to have evolved in a solar system with a star similar to Procyon (which later became a red giant).

See also

External links

de:Prokyon it:Procione (astronomia) ja:プロキオン fi:Procyon zh:南河三

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