Concept

Groombridge 1618

Summary
Groombridge 1618 is a star in the northern constellation Ursa Major. With an apparent visual magnitude of +6.6, it lies at or below the threshold of stars visible to the naked eye for an average observer. It is relatively close to Earth, at . This is a main sequence star of spectral type K7.5 Ve, having just 67% of the Sun's mass. This star was first identified as entry 1618 in the work A Catalog of Circumpolar Stars by Stephen Groombridge published posthumously in 1838. It has such a proper motion across the sky that it guaranteed the star was quite nearby and made it an early candidate for parallax measurements. In 1884 the parallax angle was measured as 0′′.322 ± 0′′.023, which is larger than the modern value of 0′′.205. Groombridge 1618 has a stellar classification of K8 V, which means it is a K-type main sequence star that is generating energy by fusing hydrogen at its core. It has 67% of the mass of the Sun, 61% of the Sun's radius, but radiates only 15% of the Sun's energy and only 4.6% of the Sun's energy in the visible light spectrum. The effective surface temperature of the star's photosphere is about 4,000 K, giving it an orange hue. It is a BY Draconis variable with a surface magnetic field strength of 750 G. The chromosphere is relatively inactive and produces star spots comparable to Sun spots. However, like UV Ceti, it has been observed to undergo increases in luminosity as a flare star. A search for excess infrared emission from this star by the Infrared Space Observatory came up negative, implying that Groombridge 1618 does not possess a nearby debris disk (such as Vega does). However, observations using the Herschel Space Observatory showed a small excess suggesting a low-temperature debris disk. The data can be modeled by a ring of coarse, highly-reflective dust at a temperature below 22 K orbiting at least 51 AU from the host star. If this star does have a companion, astrometric measurements appear to place an upper bound of 3–12 times the mass of Jupiter on such a hypothetical object (for orbital periods in the range of 5–50 years).
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