Beta Aurigae


Distance (Light Years) 82.1 ± 1.6
Apparent Magnitude 1.9
Color (B-V)0.03

Names For This Star

This star is also known as Menkalina. The star name derives from the Arabic name Al Mankib dhi'l Inan, "The Shoulder of the One Who Holds the Reins," that is, "The Shoulder of the Charioteer."

Description of the Star

The Menkalinan spectrum is characteristic of a white A2IV subgiant star.

Menkalinan is actually a multiple star system. According to Burnham the A and B components are almost identical in size and spectrum and revolve with a period of 3.96 days. The orbit appears almost edge-on to the earth. So one of the two stars eclipses the other twice each revolution.

During an eclipse, about 25% of the diameter of one star is covered by the other, and the brightness of the pair of stars decreases by about 0.09 magnitudes.

According to Burnham, the diameter of each star is about 2.6 times that of the sun. One star is about 2.35 times as massive as the sun, while the other star contains about 2.25 solar masses.

There is a third component to the system, Menkalinan C, of Apparent Magnitude 14.1. The C component is separated from A and B by 13 sec of arc which corresponds to a projected distance of 330 AU or more than 8 times the radius of the solar system out to Pluto.

Other Designations For This Star


34 Aurigae

Hipparcos Identifier (HIP Number)


Harvard Revised (HR Number)


Henry Draper Catalog (HD Number)


Bonner Durchmusterung (BD Number)

BD+44 1328
Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory compendium (SAO Number)

Fundamental Katalog (FK5 Number)



Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Arnold V. Lesikar,
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Science,
St. Cloud State University,St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

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