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α Scorpii (Latinised to Alpha Scorpii) is the star's Bayer designation.It also has the Flamsteed designation 21 Scorpii, as well as catalogue designations such as HR 6134 in the Bright Star Catalogue and HD 148478 in the Henry Draper Catalogue.Its traditional name Antares derives from the Ancient Greek Antares and its red color have been known since antiquity.Antares is a variable star and is listed in the General Catalogue of Variable Stars but as a Bayer-designated star it does not have a separate variable star designation.
Antares is a member of the Upper Scorpius subgroup of the Scorpius–Centaurus Association, which contains thousands of stars with mean age 11 million years at a distance of approximately 170 parsecs (550 ly).
Comparison between the red supergiant Antares and the Sun, shown as the tiny dot toward the upper right. Arcturus is also included in the picture for comparison.
Notably, like all red giants, the true size of Antares is uncertain based on the uncertainties like the star's distance and luminosity, so the 300 million kilometre radius shown here tends towards minimum of the range of published values. The brightness of Antares at visual wavelengths is about 10,000 times that of the Sun, but because the star radiates a considerable part of its energy in the infrared part of the spectrum, the true bolometric luminosity is around 100,000 times that of the Sun.
It was first observed by Scottish astronomer James William Grant FRSE while in India on 23 July 1844.
The last is equal to a projected separation of about 529 astronomical units (au) at the estimated distance of Antares, giving a minimum value for the separation of the pair.