V2133 / 12 Ophiuchi
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ę Torben Krogh & Mogens Winther,
(Amtsgymnasiet and EUC Syd Gallery,
student photo used with permission)
12 Ophiuchi is an orange-red
dwarf star, like Epsilon Eridani
at left center of meteor. (See
a 2MASS Survey image of
12 Ophiuchi from the NASA
Star and Exoplanet Database.)
12 Ophiuchi is located about 31.9 light-years (ly) away from our Sun, Sol, within the east central corner (16:36:21.4-2:19:28.5, ICRS 2000.0) of Constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder or Snake Charmer -- near Yed Prior (Delta Ophiuchi) and Yed Posterior (Epsilon Ophiuchi), and south of Marfik (Lamda Ophiuchi) and north of Zeta Ophiuchi. The star may be visible to many Humans without a telescope. As 12 Ophiuchi was one of the top 100 target stars for NASA's planned Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), which has been postponed indefinitely.
12 Ophiuchi is a main-sequence orange-red dwarf star of spectral and luminosity type K0-2 Ve, but has been classed as yellow as G9 (Lˇpez-Santiago et al, 2010, HD 149661 in Table A.2). The star may have around 83 percent of Sol's mass (NASA Star and Exoplanet Database, based on David F. Gray, 1992), 85 to 100 percent of its diameter (Perrin and Karoji, 1987, page 236; and Johnson and Wright, 1983, page 687), and around 39 percent of its visual luminosity and over 45 percent of its bolometric luminosity (NASA Star and Exoplanet Database, derived from the exponential formula of Kenneth R. Lang, 1980). It appears to be as enriched than Sol in elements heavier than hydrogen ("metals") with about 102 percent of Sol's abundance of iron (Cayrel de Strobel et al, 1991, page 300).
The SIMBAD Astronomical Database identifies 12 Ophiuchi as a BY Draconis-type variable star -- whose variability is attributed to stellar rotation in which starspots covering a significant fraction of the stellar surface rotate in and out of the field of view -- with the designation of V2133 Ophiuchi. According to the Yale Bright Star Catalogue, 1991 5th Revised Edition notes entry for HR 6171, the star has a rotational period of 11 days based on observation of its starspots and is deficient in ultraviolet wavelengths. Useful star catalogue numbers for 12 Ophiuchi include: V2133 Oph, 12 Oph, HR 6171*, Gl 631, Hip, 81300, HD 149661, BD-01 3220, BD-02 4211, SAO 141269, FK5 1433, LHS 3224, LTT 6632, LFT 1294, and LPM 614.
Estimates based on one type of model calculations performed for the NASA Star and Exoplanet Database indicate that the inner edge of 12 Ophiuchi's habitable zone could be located around 0.586 AU from the star, while the outer edge edge lies around 1.163 AUs. Based on a bolometric luminosity of 45.3 percent Solar, the orbital distance from 12 Ophiuchi where an Earth-type planet may have liquid water on its surface is centered around only 0.673 AU -- inside the orbital distance of Venus in the Solar System -- where a planet probably would have an orbital period of about 221 days or near 61 percent of an Earth year.
Hunt for Substellar Companions
Using the radial velocity technique pioneered by Geoffrey W. Marcy and R. Paul Butler, the Lick Planet Search for substellar companions has thus far failed to find a brown dwarf or large Jupiter- or Saturn-mass object in a "torch" orbit around 12 Ophiuchi (Cumming et al, 1999). A subsequent search for substellar companions using direct imaging was negative (Leconte et al, 2010), and no significant circumstellar debris disk has been found (Trilling et al, 2008).
The following star systems are located within 10 light-years of 12 Ophiuchi.
|Star System||Spectra &|
|GJ 1207||M3.5 V||2.7|
|LP 625-34||M V||5.0|
|Wolf 635||K5 V||5.5|
|L 989-20 AB||G-M3.5 V |
|Wolf 636||M0-3.5 V||6.4|
|BD+05 3409 A?||M1 V||8.8|
|BD+02 3312||K7 V||9.3|
Up-to-date technical summaries on these stars can be found at: the Astronomiches Rechen-Institut at Heidelberg's ARICNS, the NASA Star and Exoplanet Database, and the SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Additional information may be available at Roger Wilcox's Internet Stellar Database and at www.alcyone.de's entry for V2133 Ophiuchi.
One story is that the Ancient Greeks named this constellation after Aesculapius (the first doctor, a son of Apollo and Coronis, and grandfather of Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician). Aesculapius was killed by Zeus at the urging of Hades for threatening to make mankind immortal like the gods by bringing the dead back to life. In admiration of the doctor's skills, however, Zeus raised the doctor and the serpent from which he had first learned the medicinal usefulness of certain herbs into the heavens. Located along the equatorial region of the sky, Ophiuchus is one of the larger constellations. For more information on stars and objects in this constellation and an illustration, go to Christine Kronberg's Ophiuchus. For another illustration, see David Haworth's Ophiuchus.
Note: Nominated as a "notable nearby star" by Mike Stevens.
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