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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
SunriseRise: 6:42  
clear_day Transit: 12:10  
SunsetSet: 17:40
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now?
All Constellations » Auriga » 

Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae)

Altitude: 23.0°   Azimuth: 43.8°   Direction: North-East

Capella, also designated as α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae), is a variable and multiple giant star in the constellation of Auriga.

Capella visual magnitude is 0.08, making it the 6th brightest star in the sky. Thanks to its high brightness, Capella is clearly visible when observed from locations with dark skies, and should be also quite easily visible from light polluted areas.

The proper motion of Capella is 0.076 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and -0.425 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 1000 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae) star
DSS2 image of Capella. The red arrow shows the motion of Capella during the next 1000 years (1.27 arcmin in Right Ascension and -7.08 arcmin in declination);

Key facts about Capella


Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae) is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: 23.0°
Azimuth: 43.8°
Direction: North-East

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of Capella

Capella 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 Capella are provided in the following table:

05h 16m 41s
+45° 59’ 53”

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

Finder chart Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae) star
Simplified finder chart for Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae).

Visibility of Capella from your location

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

Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae) is circumpolar and transits at 18:32 UTC (altitude: 84.5°)

Distance of Capella from the Sun and relative movement

Capella is distant 42.18 light years from the Sun and it is moving far from the Sun at the speed of 30 kilometers per second.

12.94 pc
42.18 ly
30 km/s
0.076 arcsec/year
-0.425 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of Capella

Capella belongs to spectral class G5 and has a luminosity class of III corresponding to a giant star.


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

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

Capella star system properties

Capella is a visual double star which can be observed only with the help of very large telescopes. The table below shows key information about the Capella double sysyem:

0 arcsec

Alternative designations of Capella

α Aurigae
(alpha Aurigae)
Gl 194 A