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Name: Thomas M. Stephens
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1993 - 1999

Hi! I was reading DiISCOVER magazine just a while ago and it mentioned the star "Zubeneschamali". Is this a real star, and if so, what are some of its characteristics, and where is it out there?


From the Skyguide (Golden Press):

Zubeneschemali is "the northern claw of the scorpion", a 2.61 magnitude star [not very bright] of spectral type B8 V, 140 lt-yr away.

The "Zuben..." stars are all in the "scorpion".

J Lu

According to the National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to the Constellations, the second-brightest star (also known as beta Librae) in the constellation Libra was called Zubeneschamali, which is Arabic for "northern claw". I have also seen the name rendered Zubenelchemale. This star is also known as Kiffa Borealis.

According to the Guide, the stars of Libra were once considered part (the claws) of the constellation Scorpius; indeed, according to Patrick Moore's International Encyclopedia of Astronomy, this group of stars was once known as Chelae Scorpionis, "the Scorpion's Claws". Libra was taken to be a constellation in its own right sometime during the days of the Roman empire.

Libra is not a very prominent constellation. But it is easy to find Scorpio (look in the southern sky now, after sunset -- you'll see bright Jupiter there too) and look above and to the right of Scorpio's "head". You'll see 4 stars that make a sort of kite shape -- that's Libra, and the northenmost star, at the "top" of the kite, is Zubeneschamali.

RC Winther

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