Xi Cephei

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ξ Cephei
Cepheus constellation map.svg
Red circle.svg
Location of ξ Cephei (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Cepheus
Right ascension 22h 03m 47.455s[1]
Declination +64° 37′ 40.71″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 4.2[2] (4.45 + 4.60[3])
ξ Cephei A
Spectral type kA2.5hF2mF2(IV)[4]
ξ Cephei B
Spectral type F8V[5]
Proper motion (μ) RA: 215.46±1.14[1] mas/yr
Dec.: 91.06±0.97[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 38.10 ± 2.81[6] mas
Distance 86 ± 6 ly
(26 ± 2 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) +1.79[7]
Period (P) 810.9 d
Eccentricity (e) 0.46
Periastron epoch (T) 2438529.8 JD
Argument of periastron (ω)
Semi-amplitude (K1)
7.1 km/s
Semi-amplitude (K2)
19.9 km/s
ξ Cephei Aa
Mass 1.045±0.031[6] M
ξ Cephei Ab
Mass 0.408±0.066[6] M
Other designations
Kurhah, 17 Cephei, BD+63°1802, CCDM J22038+2407, HIP 108917, HR 8417, SAO 19827, WDS J22038+6438
A: HD 209790
B: HD 209791
Database references

Xi Cephei (ξ Cephei, abbreviated Xi Cep, ξ Cep) is a multiple star system in the constellation of Cepheus. It is approximately 86 light-years from Earth.[6]

It consists of two binary stars, designated Xi Cephei A and B, together with a more distant companion, Xi Cephei C. A's two components are themselves designated Xi Cephei Aa (also named Kurhah[9]) and Ab.


ξ Cephei (Latinised to Xi Cephei) is the system's Bayer designation. The designations of the three constituents as ξ Cephei A, B and C, and those of A's components - ξ Cephei Aa and Ab - derive from the convention used by the Washington Multiplicity Catalog (WMC) for multiple star systems, and adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).[10]

Xi Cephei bore the traditional names Kurhah, Alkirdah or Al Kirduh,[11] the name coming from Qazvini who gave Al Ḳurḥaḥ (القرحة al-qurhah), an Arabic word Ideler translated as a white spot, or blaze, in the face of a horse. Allen indicates that Ideler felt this was not a proper name for a star, and suggested the name Al Ḳirdah (ألقردة al qírada "the Ape").[12] In 2016, the International Astronomical Union organized a Working Group on Star Names (WGSN)[13] to catalogue and standardize proper names for stars. The WGSN approved the name Kurhah for the component Xi Cephei Aa on 12 September 2016 and it is now so included in the List of IAU-approved Star Names.[9]

In Chinese, 天鈎 (Tiān Gōu), meaning Celestial Hook, refers to an asterism consisting of Xi Cephei, 4 Cephei, HD 194298, Eta Cephei, Theta Cephei, Alpha Cephei, 26 Cephei, Iota Cephei and Omicron Cephei.[14] Consequently, Xi Cephei itself is known as 天鈎六 (Tiān Gōu liù, English: the Sixth Star of Celestial Hook).[15]


Xi Cephei A is a double-lined spectroscopic binary system with an orbital period of 810.9 days and an eccentricity of 0.46.[8] The primary, component Aa, is a chemically peculiar Am star, a probable subgiant with an apparent magnitude of +4.29. Eight arcseconds away, Xi Cephei B is another spectroscopic binary. Xi Cephei C is a 13th magnitude star nearly two arcminutes away.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d van Leeuwen, F. (2007). "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 474 (2): 653–664. arXiv:0708.1752Freely accessible. Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357. Vizier catalog entry
  2. ^ Monet, David G.; Levine, Stephen E.; Canzian, Blaise; Ables, Harold D.; Bird, Alan R.; Dahn, Conard C.; Guetter, Harry H.; Harris, Hugh C.; Henden, Arne A.; Leggett, Sandy K.; Levison, Harold F.; Luginbuhl, Christian B.; Martini, Joan; Monet, Alice K. B.; Munn, Jeffrey A.; Pier, Jeffrey R.; Rhodes, Albert R.; Riepe, Betty; Sell, Stephen; Stone, Ronald C.; Vrba, Frederick J.; Walker, Richard L.; Westerhout, Gart; Brucato, Robert J.; Reid, I. Neill; Schoening, William; Hartley, M.; Read, M. A.; Tritton, S. B. (2003). "The USNO-B Catalog". The Astronomical Journal. 125 (2): 984. arXiv:astro-ph/0210694Freely accessible. Bibcode:2003AJ....125..984M. doi:10.1086/345888. 
  3. ^ a b Mason, Brian D.; Wycoff, Gary L.; Hartkopf, William I.; Douglass, Geoffrey G.; Worley, Charles E. (2001). "The 2001 US Naval Observatory Double Star CD-ROM. I. The Washington Double Star Catalog". The Astronomical Journal. 122 (6): 3466. Bibcode:2001AJ....122.3466M. doi:10.1086/323920. 
  4. ^ Gray, R. O; Garrison, R. F (1989). "The early F-type stars - Refined classification, confrontation with Stromgren photometry, and the effects of rotation". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 69: 301. Bibcode:1989ApJS...69..301G. doi:10.1086/191315. 
  5. ^ Gray, R. O; Napier, M. G; Winkler, L. I (2001). "The Physical Basis of Luminosity Classification in the Late A-, F-, and Early G-Type Stars. I. Precise Spectral Types for 372 Stars". The Astronomical Journal. 121 (4): 2148. Bibcode:2001AJ....121.2148G. doi:10.1086/319956. 
  6. ^ a b c d Farrington, C. D.; et al. (2014). "Separated Fringe Packet Observations with the CHARA Array. II. omega Andromeda, HD 178911, and xi Cephei". The Astronomical Journal. 148 (3): 48. arXiv:1407.0639Freely accessible. Bibcode:2014AJ....148...48F. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/148/3/48. 
  7. ^ Anderson, E.; Francis, Ch. (2012), "XHIP: An extended hipparcos compilation", Astronomy Letters, 38 (5): 331, arXiv:1108.4971Freely accessible, Bibcode:2012AstL...38..331A, doi:10.1134/S1063773712050015. 
  8. ^ a b Pourbaix, D.; Tokovinin, A. A.; Batten, A. H.; Fekel, F. C.; Hartkopf, W. I.; et al. (2004), "SB9: The ninth catalogue of spectroscopic binary orbits", Astronomy & Astrophysics, 424 (2): 727, arXiv:astro-ph/0406573Freely accessible, Bibcode:2004A&A...424..727P, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20041213. 
  9. ^ a b "Naming Stars". IAU.org. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  10. ^ Hessman, F. V.; Dhillon, V. S.; Winget, D. E.; Schreiber, M. R.; Horne, K.; Marsh, T. R.; Guenther, E.; Schwope, A.; Heber, U. (2010). "On the naming convention used for multiple star systems and extrasolar planets". arXiv:1012.0707Freely accessible [astro-ph.SR]. 
  11. ^ Islamic Crescent Project: Star names
  12. ^ Allen, R. H. (1963). Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (Reprint ed.). New York: Dover Publications Inc. p. 159. ISBN 0-486-21079-0. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  13. ^ IAU Working Group on Star Names (WGSN), International Astronomical Union, retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  14. ^ (in Chinese) 中國星座神話, written by 陳久金. Published by 台灣書房出版有限公司, 2005, ISBN 978-986-7332-25-7.
  15. ^ (in Chinese) 香港太空館 - 研究資源 - 亮星中英對照表 Archived January 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Hong Kong Space Museum. Accessed on line November 23, 2010.