14-Aurigae -- Multiple & Variable Star in Auriga
A Quintuple Star with Three Names
There are many catalogs of star names around. Some are redundant but many refer to
specialized features or characters of the star. For example, 14-Aurigae (Flamsteed Star
Number) refers to its east-west location within the constellation (in this case the constellation
of the Charioteer). Since 14-Aurigae is also a multiple star system it also carries the name of
“Struve 653”. In addition, 14-Aurigae is a variable star and thus is also listed as “KW Sculti”.
Two of 14-Aurigae’s four stars are within reach of my telescope. Alpha 14-Aurigae is brilliant
white and its companion (at 7 o’clock) is a pale blue. It was originally thought that the dimmer
star at 1 o’clock was also a companion star but recent data suggests that it is just a star along
the same line-of-sight as 14-Auriga and not really associated with the star system. Both
14-Aurigae and its bluish companion each are double stars that are not within reach of my
telescope. Thus the 14-Aurigae Star System contains at least four stars.
I drew 14-Aurigae off center because I was hoping to tease out the Open Cluster “Dolidze 16”
and its associated reflection nebula which is located about ½ distance between 14-Aurigae
and the left-edge of the drawing. Don’t look for it in the drawing – I never was able to find it.
But this little failure was greatly overshadowed by the stunning view of the white and blue of