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Star used in celestial navigation.

Arietis is the name by which eighteenth century European mariners knew the star generally known today as Hamal (the Arabic word for lamb).

Hamal is a cool class K orange giant some 66 light years from the Earth that astronomers estimate to be about 18 times the diameter of the sun and 55 times more luminous.

Hamal is the brightest star in the Aries constellation, which appears to climb the eastern sky through the autumn of the Northern Hemisphere.

2,000 years ago the appearance of the Aries constellation was an event of great religious significance in many cultures of the Northern Hemisphere as it marked the beginning of spring. Hamal also has a long history of being used in land and sea navigation.


Prepared by: Turnbull, P
Created: 4 October 2001
Modified: 10 October 2001

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000060

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