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Bellatrix (γ Orionis)
Diagram showing star positions and boundaries of the Orion constellation and its surroundings

Cercle rouge 100%.svg

Location of γ Orionis (circled)

Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Orion
Pronunciation /ˈbɛlətrɪks/
Right ascension 05h 25m 07.86325s[1]
Declination +06° 20′ 58.9318″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 1.64[2]
Spectral type B2 III[3]
U−B color index –0.86[2]
B−V color index –0.21[2]
Variable type Eruptive[citation needed]
Radial velocity (Rv) +18.2[4] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: –8.11[1] mas/yr
Dec.: –12.88[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 12.92 ± 0.52[1] mas
Distance 250 ± 10 ly
(77 ± 3 pc)
Mass 8.4+0.3
−0.1[5] M
Radius 6[6] R
Luminosity ~6,400[7] L
Surface gravity (log g) 3.60[8]
Temperature 22,000[8] K
Metallicity [Fe/H] –0.25[9] dex
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 46 ± 8[8] km/s
Age 20+2
−4[5] Myr
Bellatrix, γ Orionis, Amazon Star, warrioress, 24 Ori, Al Najid, HR 1790, BD +06°919, HD 35468, SAO 112740, FK5 201, HIP 25336.[10]
For other uses, see Bellatrix (disambiguation).

Bellatrix, also known by its Bayer designation Gamma Orionis (γ Ori, γ Orionis), is the third brightest star in the constellation Orion, the twenty-seventh brightest star in the night sky, and one of the brightest second-magnitude stars. The name Bellatrix is Latin for female warrior. In the Alfonsine tables, it was also called the Amazon Star, a loose translation of the Arabic name Al Najīd, the Conqueror. It forms the left shoulder of Orion the Hunter.[11] Bellatrix is one of the four navigational stars in Orion that are used for celestial navigation.[12] The Chinese name for the star is 参宿五 („The Fifth of the Three Stars„).

From left to right, the stars Bellatrix, the Sun, and Algol B

This is a massive star with about 8.4 times the Sun’s mass. It has an estimated age of approximately 20 million years;[5] long enough for a star of this mass to consume the hydrogen at its core and begin to evolve away from the main sequence into a giant star.[7] The effective temperature of the outer envelope of this star is 22,000 K,[8] which is considerably hotter than the 5,778 K on the Sun. This high temperature gives this star the blue-white hue that occurs with B-type stars.[13] The measured angular diameter of this star, after correction for limb darkening, is 0.72 ± 0.04 mas.[14] At an estimated distance of 250 light-years (77 parsecs),[1] this yields a physical size of about six times the radius of the Sun.[6][7]

Since 1963, Gamma Orionis was included with a set of bright stars that astronomers employ as a luminosity standard. These are used for comparison with other stars to check for variability, and so by definition, the apparent magnitude of Gamma Orionis was set to 1.64. However, when an all-sky photometry survey was carried out in 1988, this star was itself found to be variable. It ranges in apparent magnitude from 1.59 to 1.64.[15]

Bellatrix was once thought to belong to the Orion OB1 Association of stars that share a common motion through space, along with the „Orion’s Belt” stars ζ Ori (Alnitak), ε Ori (Alnilam), and δ Ori (Mintaka). However, this is no longer believed to be the case, as Gamma Orionis is now known to be much closer than the rest of the group.[7] It is not known to have a stellar companion.[16] A 2011 search for nearby companions failed to conclusively find any objects that share a proper motion with Bellatrix. Three nearby candidates were all found to be background stars.[5]


Bellatrix Lestrange

Bellatrix Lestrange is the first female Death Eater introduced in the books, and one of the most faithful members of Voldemort’s inner circle.[17] She is described as being highly attractive yet emaciated due to her time in Azkaban and described as having long, straight black hair and dark heavily lidded eyes. Bellatrix is portrayed as paranoid, mentally unstable and fanatically devoted to Voldemort. She takes an obvious pleasure in acts of torture and cruelty. Despite her apparent mental instability, she is a witch of prodigious ability, as demonstrated by all her victories in duels against other characters, and as noted by Harry in the final book.[18]

Bellatrix was born Bellatrix Black to Cygnus Black and Druella Rosier in the year 1951 and has two sisters, Andromeda and Narcissa. She is also a first cousin to Sirius and Regulus Black, and an aunt to Draco Malfoy and Nymphadora Tonks. Bellatrix married Rodolphus Lestrange after leaving Hogwarts because it was „expected of her to marry a pure-blood”. However, Rowling stated in an interview that Bellatrix’s true love was Voldemort, and she had a non-sexual relationship with him.[4] In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rowling uses Dumbledore’s Pensieve as a plot device to reveal that Bellatrix, rather than deserting Voldemort after his downfall like many other Death Eaters, is part of the group of dark wizards – along with Barty Crouch Jr, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange – that tortured well-known Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom in an attempt to gain information about Voldemort’s location.[14] For using the Unforgivable Cruciatus Curse to torture the Longbottoms to insanity, Bellatrix and her three associates were sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. During the trial, she said Voldemort would rise again and reward them. When Voldemort is raised, he says the Lestranges will be deeply rewarded when Azkaban is broken open.

Fourteen years after Voldemort’s fall, Bellatrix is one of the many Death Eaters who escapes Azkaban and rejoins him. She is present at the battle of the Department of Mysteries in the climax of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in which a group of Death Eaters attempts to steal Sybill Trelawney‘s prophecy pertaining to Voldemort’s downfall. Rowling let Bellatrix prove her magical powers during the mission when she overpowers her niece Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt in one-on-one duels, kills her cousin Sirius by blasting him through the veil in the Death Chamber, and deflects one of Dumbledore’s spells as she makes her escape. Harry attempts to use the Cruciatus Curse on her in revenge for killing Sirius, but the curse is ineffective due to the lack of real cruelty behind it. Before she can do any more, Bellatrix is subdued by Dumbledore in the Ministry of Magic‘s Atrium so he can duel Voldemort. Voldemort however rescues Bellatrix and takes her with him as he disapparates.

At the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Bellatrix attempts to keep Narcissa from confiding Draco’s secret mission to Snape at Spinner’s End. Rowling used the conversation between Snape and Bellatrix to imply that Voldemort is still furious at Bellatrix’s failure in the previous book.[19] That conversation also suggests that Bellatrix mistrusts Snape not only because of his low birth, but also for many valid questions about his loyalty to the Dark Lord. Snape surprises Bellatrix by replying to each of her arguments and by agreeing to create an Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa to assist Draco in his mission to kill Dumbledore. Later in the book, it is mentioned by Snape that Bellatrix had been teaching Occlumency to Draco, in an effort to aid him with his mission. In the film, she and Fenrir Greyback arrive at the Burrow (the Weasley house) and burn it down. Harry and Ginny chase after them, with Bellatrix taunting „I killed Sirius Black!”. Her wand is walnut, 12 3/4 inches, dragon heartstring, unyielding and according to Ollivander should be treated carefully.

The first chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows implies that Voldemort is still angry with Bellatrix, as evidenced when he makes fun of the fact that her niece Tonks married werewolf Remus Lupin.[20] However, Voldemort gives Bellatrix a chance to „prune” her family tree during the Death Eaters’ attempt to capture Harry as the boy departs from the Dursleys‘ home, during which Bellatrix unsuccessfully tries to kill Tonks.[21] In this book, Rowling reveals that Bellatrix is the guardian of Helga Hufflepuff‘s cup (though she is unaware of its true nature), which Voldemort has entrusted the Lestranges to keep in their Gringotts vault. Bellatrix and the Malfoys detain Harry, Ron, and Hermione at Malfoy Manor, and Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix when she suspects the trio has broken into her vault, but Dobby appears and saves the prisoners, though not before being hit by a knife thrown by Bellatrix as they disapparate to safety. Later in the book, Harry, Ron, and Hermione use a stray hair of Bellatrix’s to disguise Hermione as Bellatrix using Polyjuice Potion, in order to gain access to the Lestrange’s Gringotts vault. Though Voldemort apparently punishes Bellatrix and the Malfoys severely for interrupting his Elder Wand side quest only to have Potter escape and steal the cup, she nevertheless fights for her master in the Battle of Hogwarts towards the end of the novel. Rowling stated in an interview that, during the battle, it was Bellatrix who killed Tonks.[4] When the battle resumes inside the Great Hall after Harry’s supposed death, Bellatrix simultaneously duels with Hermione, Ginny, and Luna, none of whom is a match for Bellatrix, who nearly hits Ginny with a Killing Curse. An enraged Molly Weasley engages Bellatrix in a duel and fires a curse that hits Bellatrix right over the heart, killing her.[22] Rowling revealed that, though there was speculation that Neville would kill Bellatrix, she had always intended Molly to do so because the author wanted to match Bellatrix’s obsessive love with Molly’s maternal love.[23]

In the film series, Bellatrix is played by Helena Bonham Carter.

IGN listed Bellatrix Lestrange as their tenth top Harry Potter character, and IGN’s Joe Utichi listed Bellatrix as his fourth favourite Harry Potter character, calling her the „most pitiable” of Voldemort’s servants.[24][25] In NextMovie.com’s Harry Potter Mega Poll, Bellatrix was voted as the No. 1 villain in the series.[26]

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