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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: 7:38  
clear_day Transit: 11:46  
SunsetSet: 15:54 south
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All Constellations » Auriga » 

τ Aurigae (tau Aurigae)

Altitude: 65.1°   Azimuth: 252.7°   Direction: West-South-West

τ Aurigae is a multiple giant star in the constellation of Auriga.

τ Aurigae visual magnitude is 4.52. Because of its moderate brightness, τ Aurigae should be easily visible from locations with dark skyes, while it can be barely visible, or not visible at all, from skyes affected by light pollution.

The table below summarizes the key facts about τ Aurigae:


τ Aurigae (tau Aurigae) is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: 65.1°
Azimuth: 252.7°
Direction: West-South-West

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of τ Aurigae

τ Aurigae 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 τ Aurigae are provided in the following table:

05h 49m 10s
+39° 10’ 51”

The simplified sky map below shows the position of τ Aurigae in the sky:

Finder chart τ Aurigae (tau Aurigae) star
Simplified finder chart for τ Aurigae (tau Aurigae).

Visibility of τ Aurigae from your location

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

τ Aurigae (tau Aurigae) is circumpolar and transits at 01:18 UTC (altitude: 77.7°)

Digitized Sky Survey image of τ Aurigae

The image below is a photograph of τ Aurigae 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 τ Aurigae is -0.025 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and -0.022 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 10000 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of τ Aurigae (tau Aurigae) star
DSS2 image of τ Aurigae. The red arrow shows the motion of τ Aurigae during the next 10000 years (-4.17 arcmin in Right Ascension and -3.67 arcmin in declination);

Distance of τ Aurigae from the Sun and relative movement

τ Aurigae is distant 212.52 light years from the Sun and it is moving towards the Sun at the speed of 20 kilometers per second.

65.19 pc
212.52 ly
-20 km/s
-0.025 arcsec/year
-0.022 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of τ Aurigae

τ Aurigae belongs to spectral class G8 and has a luminosity class of III corresponding to a giant star.


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

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

τ Aurigae star system properties

τ Aurigae 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 τ Aurigae double sysyem:

49.6 arcsec

Alternative designations of τ Aurigae

τ Aurigae
(tau Aurigae)