Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae) -- Multiple Star in Libra
The Scorpion’s Southern Claw
The 3rd magnitude star Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae), is easily seen resting between the
Virgin and the Scorpion from my suburban backyard. It is a widely spaced, attractive white
& yellow double star in the telescope. The primary star is really made up of three separate
stars, all well below the resolution of my telescope to split, thus making Zubenelgenubi at
least a four-star system.
The star name Zubenelgenubi is old – older than the constellation Libra where it currently
resides today. It translates to the “Southern Claw” which correctly shows that it was, at the
time of naming, a western extension of Scorpius.
The V-shaped asterism of six stars directly north of the double star is a nice bonus to the
white & yellow paired stars.