Tau Ceti

A G-type main sequence star

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Tau Ceti is located in the constellation Cetus

What is Happening?

Tau Ceti is a star that converts hydrogen to helium for a really long time until it runs out.



Radius= 0.793

Distance from Earth (lightyear)= 11.905 ly

Luminosity= 0.52

Temperature= 5,344 k

Color= yellow

Star System= single


Stages of Tau Ceti

A G-type main sequence star fuses hydrogen for approximately 10 billion years, until it is exhausted at the center of the star. When this happens, the star expands to many times its previous size and becomes a red giant star. Eventually the red giant sheds its outer layers of gas, which becomes a planetary nebula, while the core rapidly cools and contracts into a dense white dwarf.

Right now.....

Right now, Tau Ceti is still in the stage of a main sequence star. Its age is approximately 6 billion years old, so there is about 4 more billion years to come before Tau Ceti turns into a red giant star.


Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. The name Cetus is also Greek as well as Arabic, and translates variously as a large fish, a whale, a shark, or a sea monster. In Greek mythology, the cetacean constellation, although not the star itself, represents the monster slain by Perseus in his rescue of the beautiful princess Andromeda.

Tau Ceti was also referred to in Star Trek. It was a place where people actually lived before the time of 2151. Also, it was the site of the Tau Ceti Accords which was a peace agreement signed between the Vulcan High Command and Andorian Empire. There are SO many more references to Tau Ceti in Star Trek. To learn more, click the link below! :)

Are There Other Planets??

Since December 2012, there has been evidence of possibly five planets orbiting Tau Ceti- two of them potentially being in the habitable zone. The five planets are estimated to have masses between two and six times the mass of the Earth, making it the lowest-mass planetary system yet detected. The planet(s) in the habitable zone of the star have a mass around five times that of Earth, making it the smallest planet(s) found to be orbiting in the habitable zone of any sun-like star.

How Do We Know This?

About the star...

The international team of astronomers from the United Kingdom, Chile, United States, and Australia, combined more than six-thousand observations from three different instruments and intensively modeled the data. They used the following telescopes: HARPS (a 3.6 meter telescope), UCLES, and HIRES (a 10-meter Keck telescope). Using new techniques, the team has found a method to detect signals half the size previously thought possible. This greatly improves the sensitivity of searches for small planets and suggests that Tau Ceti is not a lone star but has a planetary system.

Tau Ceti has an orbital period of 168 days and has a minimum mass of 4.3 Earth masses. Because the minimum mass of a super-Earth is 5 Earth masses, Tau Ceti is classified as being Earth sized.

About the planets surrounding the star...

Astronomers have discovered what may be five planets orbiting Tau Ceti, the closest single star beyond our solar system whose temperature and luminosity nearly match the sun's. If the planets are there, one of them is about the right distance from the star to sport mild temperatures, oceans of liquid water, and even life. However, the discovery still needs to be confirmed.

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Here is a picture of the sun (left) compared to Tau Ceti (right). The sun is somewhat hotter because Tau Ceti is less active.