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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:52  
clear_day Transit: 11:51  
SunsetSet: 15:49 south
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All Constellations » Ursa Major » 

Merak - β Ursae Majoris (beta Ursae Majoris)

Altitude: 81.5°   Azimuth: 309.6°   Direction: North-West

Merak, also designated as β Ursae Majoris (beta Ursae Majoris), is a variable main-sequence star in the constellation of Ursa Major.

Merak visual magnitude is 2.37, making it the 80th brightest star in the sky. Thanks to its high brightness, Merak 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 Merak:


Merak - β Ursae Majoris (beta Ursae Majoris) is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: 81.5°
Azimuth: 309.6°
Direction: North-West

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of Merak

Merak 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 Merak are provided in the following table:

11h 01m 50s
+56° 22’ 57”
Ursa Major

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

Finder chart Merak - β Ursae Majoris (beta Ursae Majoris) star
Simplified finder chart for Merak - β Ursae Majoris (beta Ursae Majoris).

Visibility of Merak from your location

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

Merak - β Ursae Majoris (beta Ursae Majoris) is circumpolar and transits at 05:47 UTC (altitude: 85.1°)

Digitized Sky Survey image of Merak

The image below is a photograph of Merak 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 Merak is 0.082 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and 0.034 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 10000 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of Merak - β Ursae Majoris (beta Ursae Majoris) star
DSS2 image of Merak. The red arrow shows the motion of Merak during the next 10000 years (13.67 arcmin in Right Ascension and 5.67 arcmin in declination);

Distance of Merak from the Sun and relative movement

Merak is distant 79.38 light years from the Sun and it is moving towards the Sun at the speed of 12 kilometers per second.

24.35 pc
79.38 ly
-12 km/s
0.082 arcsec/year
0.034 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of Merak

Merak belongs to spectral class A1 and has a luminosity class of V corresponding to a main-sequence star.


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

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

Alternative designations of Merak

β Ursae Majoris
(beta Ursae Majoris)
48 Ursae Majoris