Seven things you might not know about Bellatrix

As Sir Ben Ainslie goes for glory at in the America's Cup he is also celebrating the birth of his first daughter, Bellatrix.

Friday, 22nd July 2016, 11:40 am
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2016, 12:43 pm

Contrary to some reports, it is unlikely that Sir Ben, 39, and his wife Georgie, 38, have named their newborn after the deranged ‘Harry Potter’ villain Bellatrix Lestrange.

It’s far more likely that the couple took the name to one of the stars in the Orion constellation (pictured) that is used by sailors to navigate.

1. Bellatrix is the name given to the 3rd brightest star in the Orion constellation, and the 27th brightest in the night sky, of the same name. Also known as Gamma Orionis, the 20-million year old blue giant has a solar mass 8.4 times the Sun’s mass.

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2. The name ‘Bellatrix’ translates from Latin as ‘female warrior’, and as star that is over 1,000 times brighter than the Sun, is a vital compass point when it comes to the maritime tradition of celestial navigation.

3. Bellatrix is 243 light-years from Earth - It would typically take a space shuttle 37,200 years to travel one light-year, meaning it would take over 9 million years (9,039,600 to be exact) for a shuttle to get there.

4. In the 1968 sci-fi classic ‘Planet of the Apes’, astronaut Landon (played by Robert Gunner) believed that the planet they had crash-landed on was in orbit around Bellatrix. This was obviously before (SPOILER ALERT) they realised they were on earth, and had mistaken Bellatrix for the Sun.

5. According to an Amazon River myth, Bellatrix embodies a young boy in a canoe with an old man, who represents the neighbouring star Betelguese. It is said that they are chasing a dark spot in the sky near Orion called the ‘Peixie Boi’.

6. The US Navy have commissioned several ships under the name Bellatrix. The original USS Bellatrix served in both World War II and the Korean War, and earned a total of six battle stars before it was sold for scrapping in 1991.

7. Bellatrix was also the name of an Iceland rock band who had limited success in Britain. Their single ‘Jedi Wannabe’ spent one week in the UK Singles Chart at #65, and the band also went on a co-headline UK tour with Coldplay in the same year. They never gained the fame of their touring partners, however, and disbanded in 2001.