Your Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 4:45  
clear_day Transit: 12:57  
SunsetSet: 21:09 south
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All Constellations » Centaurus » 

τ Centauri (tau Centauri)

Altitude: -14.0°   Azimuth: 158.0°   Direction: South-South-East

τ Centauri is a main-sequence star in the constellation of Centaurus.

τ Centauri visual magnitude is 3.86. Because of its moderate brightness, τ Centauri 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 Centauri:


τ Centauri (tau Centauri) is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: -14.0°
Azimuth: 158.0°
Direction: South-South-East

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of τ Centauri

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

12h 37m 42s
-48° 32’ 27”

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

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

Visibility of τ Centauri from your location

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

τ Centauri (tau Centauri) is currently not visible from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt

Digitized Sky Survey image of τ Centauri

The image below is a photograph of τ Centauri 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 Centauri is -0.184 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and -0.005 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 1000 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of τ Centauri (tau Centauri) star
DSS2 image of τ Centauri. The red arrow shows the motion of τ Centauri during the next 1000 years (-3.07 arcmin in Right Ascension and -0.08 arcmin in declination);

Distance of τ Centauri from the Sun and relative movement

τ Centauri is distant 131.61 light years from the Sun and it is moving far from the Sun at the speed of 5 kilometers per second.

40.37 pc
131.61 ly
5 km/s
-0.184 arcsec/year
-0.005 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of τ Centauri

τ Centauri belongs to spectral class A2 and has a luminosity class of V corresponding to a main-sequence star.


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

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

Alternative designations of τ Centauri

τ Centauri
(tau Centauri)