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A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:48  
clear_day Transit: 11:49  
SunsetSet: 15:50 south
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All Constellations » Ursa Major » 

Alkaid - η Ursae Majoris (eta Ursae Majoris)

Altitude: 71.5°   Azimuth: 274.7°   Direction: West

Alkaid, also designated as η Ursae Majoris (eta Ursae Majoris), is a variable main-sequence star in the constellation of Ursa Major.

Alkaid visual magnitude is 1.86, making it the 37th brightest star in the sky. Thanks to its high brightness, Alkaid is clearly visible when observed from locations with dark skyes, and should be also quite easily visible from light polluted areas.

The table below summarizes the key facts about Alkaid:


Alkaid - η Ursae Majoris (eta Ursae Majoris) is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: 71.5°
Azimuth: 274.7°
Direction: West

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of Alkaid

Alkaid is situated north of the celestial equator, as such, it is more easily visible from the northern hemisphere. Celestial coordinates for the J2000 equinox as well as galactic coordinates of Alkaid are provided in the following table:

13h 47m 32s
+49° 18’ 47”
Ursa Major

The simplified sky map below shows the position of Alkaid in the sky:

Finder chart Alkaid - η Ursae Majoris (eta Ursae Majoris) star
Simplified finder chart for Alkaid - η Ursae Majoris (eta Ursae Majoris).

Visibility of Alkaid from your location

Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Alkaid - η Ursae Majoris (eta Ursae Majoris) is circumpolar and transits at 08:47 UTC (altitude: 87.8°)

Digitized Sky Survey image of Alkaid

The image below is a photograph of Alkaid from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2 - see the credits section) taken in the red channel. The area of sky represented in the image is 0.5x0.5 degrees (30x30 arcmins). The proper motion of Alkaid is -0.122 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and -0.011 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 1000 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of Alkaid - η Ursae Majoris (eta Ursae Majoris) star
DSS2 image of Alkaid. The red arrow shows the motion of Alkaid during the next 1000 years (-2.03 arcmin in Right Ascension and -0.18 arcmin in declination);

Distance of Alkaid from the Sun and relative movement

Alkaid is distant 100.65 light years from the Sun and it is moving towards the Sun at the speed of 11 kilometers per second.

30.87 pc
100.65 ly
-11 km/s
-0.122 arcsec/year
-0.011 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of Alkaid

Alkaid belongs to spectral class B3 and has a luminosity class of V corresponding to a main-sequence star.


The red dot in the diagram below shows where Alkaid is situated in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.

HR Diagram
H-R diagram showing the position of Alkaid. Attribution: Richard Powell / CC BY-SA

Alternative designations of Alkaid

η Ursae Majoris
(eta Ursae Majoris)
85 Ursae Majoris