Saiph, Arabic for "sword "or "hilt," marks the right knee of Orion. It's temperature (50,000 F) is much hotter than the Sun's (10,000 F) and its brightness is about 18,000 times that of the Sun. Saiph, because of its high temperature, is white .

Many of the other bright stars in Orion (for example, the belt stars) are at the same distance as Saiph. Probably Saiph and these other stars formed out of the molecular clouds astronomers have found in Orion.All three are at the same distance from us and, with Rigel and Meissa, probably formed at about the same time some ten million years ago.

Fact Table

Name Saiph
Object Star -- Super Giant
Distance 820 light years
Brightness 18,000 times greater than the Sun
50,000 F
Color White-blue
Mass 25 times the mass of the Sun


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Ronald J. Maddalena 1998