Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


The star Altair (α Aquilae), in the Aquila constellation, is a white star of visual magnitude 0.77 located 17 light years away. It is the twelfth brightest star in the skies and one of the closest visible stars. This star is a vertex of the Summer Triangle. Altair is most notable for its extremely rapid rotation; by measuring the width of its spectral lines, it was determined that its equator does a complete rotation in about 6 1/2 hours. In comparison, our star, the Sun, requires a little more than 25 days for a complete rotation.

Altair, along with β and γ Aquilae, form the well-known line of stars sometimes referred to as the shaft of Aquila.

The name Altair come from the arabic words al-nasr al-tair, which mean the flying eagle.


See Chinese Valentines Day.

This star was ill-omened in astrology, portending danger from reptiles.

Altair 8800 was one of the first personal computers, released in 1975.