Dabih (Beta Capricorni) -- Quadruple Star System in Capricornus
Lucky Stars of the Slaughter
I have always found this name somewhat of an oxymoron. How could something be lucky that
is going to be slaughtered? I have no answer. The second brightest star in the Sea Goat
(Capricornus) is named Dabih which translate to “The Lucky Stars of the Slaughter”. The name
is so old that no one really knows why, or what, was lucky to be slaughtered.
In older astronomy books Dabih is listed as a three-star system for binoculars and small
telescopes. Indeed, that is the view as it appears in my 85mm refractor, a wide, but pretty,
yellow, blue and yellow triplet. Modern data shows that the dimmer of the three stars,
HD 193543, is a foreground star that is not associated with the Dabih system. In addition,
Dabih Major is made up of three very close stars (below the ability to split in my telescope). The
light blue Dabih Minor has no additional companions, making Dabih, in total, a gravitationally
bound four-star system.
This evening the Sea Goat was low in the southwestern sky and its stars were dimmed by a
bright gibbous moon. Still, the apparent triple star of Dabih was an easy and pleasing site in the