Vindemiatrix (ε Virginis) Facts

Vindemiatrix is located at around 109.6 light-years away from the Sun. It appears as a single star, and it doesn’t seem like Vindemiatrix has any exoplanets around it. Keep reading for comprehensive facts and information.

Vindemiatrix, designated as Epsilon Virginis, is a star located in the zodiacal constellation of Virgo. It is the third brightest star in Virgo. 

Key Facts & Summary

  • Vindemiatrix is located at around 109.6 light-years away from the Sun.
  • It appears as a single star, and it doesn’t seem like Vindemiatrix has any exoplanets around it.
  • Vindemiatrix is a giant star, with a yellow-hued glow of a G-type star, and with a stellar classification of G8 III.
  • Vindemiatrix has reached a stage in its evolution where the hydrogen fuel in its core is exhausted, and thus the star has started to expand.
  • Vindemiatrix has an apparent magnitude of +2.8, and an absolute magnitude of about 0.37.
  • It is quite a young star, Vindemiatrix being only around 560 million years old.
  • Vindemiatrix has a radial velocity of around -14.6 kilometers / – 9 miles per second.
  • The surface gravity on Vindemiatrix has been estimated to be at around 2.71 cgs.
  • Vindemiatrix is cooler than our Sun, having surface average temperatures of around 5,086 K.
  • This star completes one rotation in around 173 days.
  • Vindemiatrix is a slow spinner, having a rotational velocity of around 2.3 km / 1.4 mi per second.
  • Vindemiatrix is more massive than our Sun. It has around 2.64 solar masses and around 10.6 solar radii – which means that Vindemiatrix should be around 20 times bigger than our Sun. 
  • This is the result of its expansion, the star was much smaller before.
  • Vindemiatrix is 77 times brighter than our Sun.
  • The spectrum of this star has served as the anchor point by which other stars are classified, since 1943.
  • Some sources state that Vindemiatrix is a likely member of the thin disk population and the orbit departs by no more than 200 light-years / 60 parsecs, from the galactic plane.

The star Epsilon Virginis bore the traditional names Vindemiatrix and Vindemiator, which comes from Greek through the Latin vindemiatrix, vindemiator, meaning, “the grape-harvesters.”

Some other medieval names that the star bore was Almuredin, Alaraph, Provindemiator, Protrigetrix, and Protrygetor. In 2016, the IAU approved the name Vindemiatrix.

Formation

Vindemiatrix formed roughly 560 million years ago from an interstellar medium of gas and dust. Gravity pulled the swirling gas and dust together and resulted in the third brightest star in Virgo, Vindemiatrix.

Some sources state that Vindemiatrix is a likely member of the thin disk population and the orbit departs by no more than 200 light-years / 60 parsecs, from the galactic plane.

Distance, Size, and Mass

Vindemiatrix / Epsilon Virginis is situated at around 109.6 light-years away from the Sun. Vindemiatrix has 2.64 solar masses or 264% of the Sun’s mass.

The radius of Vindemitarix is around 10.6 solar radii or 1060% of the Sun’s radius. Based upon its expansion, and radius, Vindemiatrix / Epsilon Virginis is at least 10 times bigger than our Sun.

Vindemiatrix’s radius would translate to around 7.3 million kilometers, and if we were to convert it to miles, it would be around 4.5 million.

Other Characteristics

Vindemiatrix / Epsilon Virginis is a giant star, with a yellow-hued glow of a G-type star, and with a stellar classification of G8 III. It has reached a stage in its evolution where the hydrogen fuel in its core is exhausted, and thus the star has started to expand, it already has expanded up to more than 10 solar radii.

Vindemiatrix has an apparent magnitude of +2.8, and an absolute magnitude of about 0.37. It is 77 times brighter than our Sun. Vindemiatrix has a radial velocity of around -14.6 kilometers / – 9 miles per second.

The surface gravity on Vindemiatrix has been estimated to be at around 2.71 cgs. Vindemiatrix is cooler than our Sun, having surface average temperatures of around 5,086 K.

This star completes one rotation in around 173 days. Vindemiatrix is a slow spinner, having a rotational velocity of around 2.3 km / 1.4 mi per second. The spectrum of Vindemiatrix has served as the anchor point by which other stars are classified, since 1943.

Location

Vindemitrix / Epsilon Virginis is located in the zodiacal constellation of Virgo. It is the third brightest star there. The constellation of Virgo is the second largest in the night sky, after Hydra, and the largest zodiacal constellation.

It is one of the Greek constellations, first listed by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy, in the 2nd century C.E. The Virgo constellation contains 11 Messier objects. The brightest star in the constellation is Spica. The star 70 Virginis has one of the first known extrasolar planetary systems, with one confirmed planet 7.5 times the mass of Jupiter.

Vindemitrix Epsilon Virginis Location

Another star, 61 Virginis, is very similar to our Sun and has three planets orbiting it – one is a super-Earth, and two are Neptune-mass planets.

There are many more interesting stars, exoplanets, many galaxies, and other deep-sky objects in the constellation o Virgo. The best time to observe them and this includes Epsilon Virginis – Vindemiatrix – is during the month of May.

If you want to hunt for galaxies, there is a galaxy cluster here, consequently called the Virgo Cluster, 5 to 12 degrees west of Vindemiatrix.

The Future

Vindemiatrix / Epsilon Virginis will continue to survive for many millions of years. It has reached a stage in its evolution where the hydrogen fuel in its core is exhausted, and thus the star has started to expand and will continue to do so for a long time before moving on to a different stage.

Did you know?

  • Vindemiatrix, along with Beta Virginis, Gamma Virginis, Eta Virginis, and Delta Virginis was part of the Arabic asterism known as Al’Awwa – which translates to the Barker.
  • The Chinese know Vindemiatrix as Tai Wei Zuo Yuan si – the Fourth Star of  Left Wall of Supreme Palace Enclosure – the Left Wall of Supreme Palace Enclosure is an asterism consisting of Epsilon Virginis, Eta Virginis, Gamma Virginis, Delta Virginis, and Alpha Comae Berenices. It represents the Second Eastern General.

Sources:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Universeguide
  3. Astrologyking

Image sources: