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A bright binary star in the constellation Orion, approximately 815 light years from Earth.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Celestial Objects) the brightest star, Beta Orionis, in the constellation Orion: a very luminous and extremely remote bluish-white supergiant, a double star. Visual magnitude: 0.12; spectral type: B8I
[C16: from Arabic rijl foot; from its position in Orion's foot]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
Ri•gel(ˈraɪ dʒəl, -gəl)
a first-magnitude star in the constellation Orion.
[1585–95; < Arabic rijl foot]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
A very bright, bluish-white star in the constellation Orion. It is a supergiant.
Word History The history of astronomy owes much to Arabic scientists of the Middle Ages, who preserved the astronomical learning of ancient Greece and made improvements on it. The English names of many of the brightest stars in the heavens are Arabic in origin. The name of the supergiant star Rigel, for example, comes from the Arabic word for "foot" (the foot of the constellation Orion, that is). Some other important stars whose names are Arabic include Aldebaran, "the one following (the Pleiades)"; Betelgeuse, "hand of Orion"; Deneb, "tail" (of the constellation Cygnus, the swan); and Altair, "the flying eagle" (in the constellation Aquila, the eagle). The names of other stars are usually Greek or Latin, such as Antares or Sirius, as are the names of the constellations.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.