Tau Boötis, Latinized from τ Boötis, is an F-type main-sequence star approximately 51 light-years away[1] in the constellation of Boötes. The system is also a binary star system, with the secondary star being a red dwarf. As of 1999, an extrasolar planet has been confirmed to be orbiting the primary star.

τ Boötis
Boötes constellation map.svg
Red circle.svg
Location of τ Boötis (circled)
Observation data
Epoch J2000.0      Equinox J2000.0
Constellation Boötes
Right ascension  13h 47m 15.74s[1]
Declination +17° 27′ 24.9″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 4.50[2]
Spectral type F7IV[3] + M3V[4]
B−V color index 0.48[2]
Variable type Variable star
Proper motion (μ) RA: −479.53±0.16[1] mas/yr
Dec.: +53.49±0.13[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π)64.03 ± 0.19[1] mas
Distance50.9 ± 0.2 ly
(15.62 ± 0.05 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV)3.38[5]
Primaryτ Boo A
Companionτ Boo B
Period (P)996 yr
Semi-major axis (a)8.01″
Eccentricity (e)0.76
Inclination (i)49°
Longitude of the node (Ω)174°
Argument of periastron (ω)
τ Boo A
Mass1.39±0.25[7] M
Radius1.42±0.08[7] R
Luminosity3.06±0.16 L
Surface gravity (log g)4.27±0.06[7] cgs
Temperature6399±45[7] K
Rotation3.31 days[8]
Rotational velocity (v sin i)14.27±0.06[7] km/s
Age1.6–2.3[9] Gyr
τ Boo B
Mass0.4[7] M
Other designations
τ Boo, 4 Boötis, ADS 9025, BD+18°2782, CCDM 13473+1727, FK5 507, GC 18637, GCTP 3144.00, GJ 527, HD 120136, HIP 67275, HR 5185, LTT 14021, SAO 100706
Database references

Stellar componentsEdit

The system is a binary. The primary component is a yellow-white dwarf (spectral type F7 V) and secondary is a dim red dwarf (spectral type M2 V). The system is relatively nearby, distance being about 51 light years. The primary star should be easily visible to the unaided eye under dark skies.

The primary star, Tau Boötis A is a yellow-white dwarf. It is 20 percent more massive than the Sun and thus is somewhat brighter and hotter. It has a radius 1.9 times solar, and is probably about 1.3 billion years old. Since it is more massive than the Sun, its lifespan is shorter – less than 6 billion years. Tau Bootis is the first star apart from the sun to be observed changing the polarity of its magnetic field.[10] It is also listed as a suspected variable star. The magnetic activity cycle for this star shows a period of 122 days − much shorter than the solar cycle.[11]

Tau Boötis B (with a capital B, as opposed to the planet) is a dim red dwarf orbiting the primary star at a distance of 240 AU. One orbit around the primary would take approximately one thousand years to complete.[6]

Planetary systemEdit

In 1996 the planet Tau Boötis b was discovered orbiting the primary star by a team of astronomers led by Geoff Marcy and R. Paul Butler.[12] There are also some indications of another planet orbiting the star with a period of roughly 5000 days; however, this could be due to an instrumental effect or a stellar magnetic activity cycle.[13] In an unusual case of role-reversal, it appears that Tau Boötis's rotation has been tidally locked to Tau Boötis b.[14]

The Tau Boötis A planetary system[15]
(in order from star)
Mass Semimajor axis
Orbital period
Eccentricity Inclination Radius
b 6±0.28 MJ 0.0481 ± 0.028 3.312463 ± 0.000014 0.023 ± 0.015 44.5 ± 1.5°

The planet and its host star was one of the planetary systems selected by the International Astronomical Union as part of their public process for giving proper names to exoplanets and their host star (where no proper name already exists).[16][17] The process involved public nomination and voting for the new names, and the IAU announced the new names in mid-December 2015.[18] However, the IAU annulled the vote for the system, as the winning names ("Shri Ram Matt" for the star and "Bhagavatidevi" for the planet)[19] were judged not to conform with the IAU rules for naming exoplanets.[20] The names garnered the majority of the votes cast for the system, and also making up a significant proportion of all votes cast as part of the contest.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f van Leeuwen, F. (2007). "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 474 (2): 653–664. arXiv:0708.1752. Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357. Vizier catalog entry
  2. ^ a b Mallik, Sushma V. (December 1999), "Lithium abundance and mass", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 352: 495–507, Bibcode:1999A&A...352..495M
  3. ^ Gray, R. O.; Napier, M. G.; Winkler, L. I. (2001). "The Physical Basis of Luminosity Classification in the Late A-, F-, and Early G-Type Stars. I. Precise Spectral Types for 372 Stars". The Astronomical Journal. 121 (4): 2148. Bibcode:2001AJ....121.2148G. doi:10.1086/319956.
  4. ^ Joy, Alfred H.; Abt, Helmut A. (1974). "Spectral Types of M Dwarf Stars". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 28: 1. Bibcode:1974ApJS...28....1J. doi:10.1086/190307.
  5. ^ Reiners, A. (January 2006), "Rotation- and temperature-dependence of stellar latitudinal differential rotation", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 446 (1): 267–277, arXiv:astro-ph/0509399, Bibcode:2006A&A...446..267R, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20053911.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, Lewis C.; et al. (2011). "Know the Star, Know the Planet. I. Adaptive Optics of Exoplanet Host Stars". The Astronomical Journal. 142 (5). 175. arXiv:1109.4320. Bibcode:2011AJ....142..175R. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/142/5/175.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Borsa, F.; Scandariato, G.; Rainer, M.; Bignamini, A.; Maggio, A.; Poretti, E.; Lanza, A. F.; Di Mauro, M. P.; Benatti, S.; Biazzo, K.; Bonomo, A. S.; Damasso, M.; Esposito, M.; Gratton, R.; Affer, L.; Barbieri, M.; Boccato, C.; Claudi, R. U.; Cosentino, R.; Covino, E.; Desidera, S.; Fiorenzano, A. F. M.; Gandolfi, D.; Harutyunyan, A.; Maldonado, J.; Micela, G.; Molaro, P.; Molinari, E.; Pagano, I.; et al. (2015). "The GAPS programme with HARPS-N at TNG. VII. Putting exoplanets in the stellar context: Magnetic activity and asteroseismology of <ASTROBJ>τ Bootis A</ASTROBJ>". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 578: A64. arXiv:1504.00491. Bibcode:2015A&A...578A..64B. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201525741.
  8. ^ Strassmeier, Klaus G. (September 2009), "Starspots", The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review, 17 (3): 251–308, Bibcode:2009A&ARv..17..251S, doi:10.1007/s00159-009-0020-6
  9. ^ Mamajek, Eric E.; Hillenbrand, Lynne A. (2008). "Improved Age Estimation for Solar-Type Dwarfs Using Activity-Rotation Diagnostics". The Astrophysical Journal. 687 (2): 1264–1293. arXiv:0807.1686. Bibcode:2008ApJ...687.1264M. doi:10.1086/591785.
  10. ^ Donati, J.-F.; et al. (2008). "Magnetic cycles of the planet-hosting star Tau Boötis". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 385 (3): 1179–1185. arXiv:0802.1584. Bibcode:2008MNRAS.385.1179D. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.12946.x.
  11. ^ Mittag, M.; et al. (April 2017), "Four-month chromospheric and coronal activity cycle in τ Boötis", Astronomy & Astrophysics, 600: 9, Bibcode:2017A&A...600A.119M, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201629156, A119.
  12. ^ Butler, R. Paul; et al. (1997). "Three New 51 Pegasi Type Planets". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 474 (2): L115–L118. Bibcode:1997ApJ...474L.115B. doi:10.1086/310444.
  13. ^ Howard, Andrew W.; Fulton, Benjamin J. (2016). "Limits on Planetary Companions from Doppler Surveys of Nearby Stars". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 128 (969). 114401. arXiv:1606.03134. Bibcode:2016PASP..128k4401H. doi:10.1088/1538-3873/128/969/114401.
  14. ^ Walker, G. A. H.; et al. (2008). "MOST detects variability on tau Bootis possibly induced by its planetary companion". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 482 (2): 691–697. arXiv:0802.2732. Bibcode:2008A&A...482..691W. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078952.
  15. ^ Butler, R. P.; et al. (2006). "Catalog of Nearby Exoplanets". The Astrophysical Journal. 646 (1): 505–522. arXiv:astro-ph/0607493. Bibcode:2006ApJ...646..505B. doi:10.1086/504701.
  16. ^ "NameExoWorlds: An IAU Worldwide Contest to Name Exoplanets and their Host Stars". International Astronomical Union. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  17. ^ "The ExoWorlds". NameExoWorlds. International Astronomical Union. n.d. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  18. ^ "The Process". NameExoWorlds. International Astronomical Union. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  19. ^ a b "The Statistics". NameExoWorlds. International Astronomical Union. n.d. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Final Results of NameExoWorlds Public Vote Released". International Astronomical Union. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2016.

External linksEdit

Coordinates:   13h 47m 15.7s, +17° 27′ 25″