61 Cygni is a nearby binary star system that consists
of two orange-red K-type dwarfs moving in
a highly elongated orbit about each other with a mean separation of about
double the distance of Pluto from the Sun.
The brighter star 61 Cygni A is of apparent magnitude 5.2, the fainter 61
Cygni B is 6.1.
|Photo: ESO Online Digitized Sky Survey
61 Cygni lies in the constellation Cygnus, southeast
of Sadr (Gamma Cygni) and can just be glimpsed
with the naked eye. It was christened the "Flying Star" in 1792 by Giuseppe Piazzi for its unusually large proper
motion – the largest of any star that is visible to the naked
eye. In 1838, it became the first star (other than the Sun) to have its
distance to Earth successfully calculated, by Friedrich Bessel,
using trigonometric parallax. Both components
appear to be slightly variable.
||5.21 (A), 6.03 (B)
||7.49 (A), 8.31 (B)
||K5Ve (A), K7Ve (B)
||0.09 Lsun (A), 0.04 Lsun (B)
||24.4" (apparent), 84 AU (actual)
|distance from Sun
||11.40 light-years (3.52 pc)
||R.A. 21h 06m 54/55s,
Dec. +38° 44' 57/31"
61 Cygni in science fiction
The 61 Cygni system is the location of Hal Clement's
fictional fast-rotating planet, Mesklin, in Mission
of Gravity. In the Star Trek universe,
61 Cygni is the home of the Tellarite race.
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