Antares (α Scorpii, α Sco, Alpha Scorpii) is a red supergiant star in the Milky Way galaxy and the sixteenth brightest star in the nighttime sky. (It is sometimes listed as 15th brightest, if the two brighter components of the Capella quadruple star system are counted as one star.) Along with Aldebaran, Spica, and Regulus it is one of the four brightest stars near the ecliptic. It is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius, and is often referred to as "the heart of the scorpion". Antares is a slow variable star with an average magnitude of +1.09. Antares is the brightest, most massive, and most evolved stellar member of the nearest OB association (the Scorpius-Centaurus Association). 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 145 parsecs (470 light years).