Your guide to the Solar System and the night sky
🌎 Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]

Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae)

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 skyes, and should be also quite easily visible from light polluted areas.

The table below summarizes the key facts about Capella:

0.08
Giant
Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae) is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]. Altitude: 28°.

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”
162.58°
4.57°
Auriga

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 [change]
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Capella - α Aurigae (alpha Aurigae) is circumpolar and transits at 10:13 UTC (altitude: 84.5°)

Digitized Sky Survey image of Capella

The image below is a photograph of Capella 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 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);

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.

-0.48
G5III
5281K

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:

0.08
0.58
0.5
0 arcsec

Alternative designations of Capella

Capella
α Aurigae
(alpha Aurigae)
SAO40186
SAO40186
Gl 194 A