Advertisement.

EnchantedLearning.com is a user-supported site.
As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages.
Click here to learn more.

ad
(Already a member? Click here.)


You might also like:
The Nearest StarsMajor Stars and Star SystemsNebulaeStar ClassificationStar Life CycleToday's featured page: Whale Activities - AllAboutWhales.com



Our subscribers' grade-level estimate for this page: 6th
Table of Contents Enchanted Learning
All About Astronomy
Site Index
Our Solar System Stars Glossary Printables, Worksheets, and Activities
The Sun The Planets The Moon Asteroids Kuiper Belt Comets Meteors Astronomers

The Stars
Lifecycle Nuclear Fusion Brightest Stars Galaxies Other Solar Systems Constellations Why Stars Twinkle
Birth Death Star Types Closest Stars Nebulae Major Stars The Zodiac Activities, Links

BRIGHT STARS AND THE STARS CLOSEST TO EARTH

LUMINOSITY
Luminosity is the total brightness of a star or galaxy.

ABSOLUTE AND APPARENT MAGNITUDE
Rank Star Absolute Magnitude Apparent Magnitude Distance from Earth
(light-years)
. The Sun +4.8 -26.72 .
1 Sirius (in Canis Major) +1.4 -1.46 8.6
2 Canopus (in Carina) -2.5 -0.72 74
3 Rigel Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri) (in Centaurus) +4.4 -0.27 4.3
4 Arcturus (in Boötes) +0.2 -0.04 34
5 Vega (in Lyra) +0.6 0.03 25
6 Capella (in Auriga) +0.4 +0.08 41
7 Rigel (in Orion) -8.1 +0.12 900
8 Procyon (in Canis Minor) 2.8 +0.38 11
9 Archenar (in Eridanus) -1.3 +0.46 75
10 Betelgeuse (in Orion) -7.2 +0.50 1,500
11 Hadar (in Centaurus) -4.3 +0.61 300
12 Altair (in Aquila) +2.3 +0.77 17
13 Acrux (in Crux) -3.8 +0.79 270
14 Aldebaran (in Taurus) -0.2 +0.85 65
15 Antares (in Scorpius) -4.5 +0.96 400
...............
20 Deneb (in Cygnus) -7.2 +1.25 1,500
-- Proxima Centauri (in Centaurus) +15.5 +11.05 (var.) 4.3

Apparent magnitude is a measure of the brightness of a celestial object as seen from Earth. The lower the number, the brighter the object. Negative numbers indicate extreme brightness. The full moon has an apparent magnitude of -12.6; the sun's is -26.8. We can see objects up to 6th magnitude without a telescope. Apparent magnitude is abbreviated m. This system of rating the brightness of celestial objects was developed by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus in 120 B.C.

Absolute magnitude is a measure of the inherent brightness of a celestial object. This scale is defined as the apparent magnitude a star would have if it were seen from a distance of 32.6 light-years (10 parsecs). The lower the number, the brighter the object. Negative numbers indicate extreme brightness.


SOME BRIGHT THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM EARTH

ANTARES
(Alpha Scorpii) Antares (meaning "Rival of Mars") is the brightest star in Scorpius, one of the constellation in the zodiac. Antares is a M1.5Iab variable red supergiant star that is about 520 light-years from Earth and is about 230 times as big as the Sun. This incredibly massive, old, low-temperature (3500 K) star is the 15th brightest star in the sky; it has a visual (apparent) magnitude of +0.96 (var.) and an absolute magnitude of -5.2.

ARCTURUS
(Alpha Boötis) Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes (the herdsman). It is a red giant (spectral type K1.5IIIp) that is the fourth brightest star in the sky. Arcturus is 34 light-years from Earth. It has an apparent magnitude of -0.04 and an absolute magnitude of 0.2.

BETELGEUSE
(pronounced "beetle juice") Betelgeuse (alpha Orionis) is the second-brightest star in the constellation Orion and one of the brightest stars in the sky. It is a supergiant star, reddish in color, and over 600 million miles in diameter (almost 1,000 times bigger than the Sun but cooler than the Sun). If Betelgeuse were at the center of our Solar System, it would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter. It is 520 light-years from Earth. It is a variable star, varying in magnitude from 0.3 to 1.2 over a period of about 7 years, averaging about 0.70. It is the only star (other than our sun) for which we have surface images.

DENEB
Deneb (which means "tail" in Arabic) is the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus (the swan); Deneb is also referred to as alpha Cygni, and is the tail of the swan. This young, bright, white supergiant star is about 1,500 light years away. Deneb is about 60,000 times more luminous than the sun!

POLARIS
Polaris (alpha UMi) is the current pole star for the Northern Hemisphere; it is 1 degree from the exact Northern celestial pole. In 1780, Sir William Herschel discovered that Polaris was a double star with a faint companion star. Polaris is a blue-green Cepheid variable star (its size brightness changes periodically, with period of 3.969778 days; it varyies between mag 1.92 and 2.07). Polaris has a relatively dim companion star (9th magnitude). Polaris' distance from Earth has been estimated to be from 360 to 820 light years. At its brightest, Polairs is about 6,000 to 10,000 times brighter than our Sun. It is the larger star at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor). Polaris is also called the Lodestar or the Cynosure.

ORION
Orion, also known as "The Hunter," is a constellation in the zodiac. The brightest stars in Orion are Rigel, Betelgeuse, and Bellatrix. The Horsehead Nebula and the nebulae M42 and M43 are also in this constellation.

RIGEL
Rigel (beta Orionis) is the brightest star in the constellation Orion and one of the brightest stars in the sky. It is a blue (very hot) supergiant, over 60 million miles in diameter (almost 100 times bigger than the sun). It is more than 50,000 times more luminous than the Sun. It has an absolute magnitude of -7.1 and an apparent magnitude of +0.12. It is over 900 light-years from Earth.

SIRIUS
Sirius (meaning "scorching" in Greek), also known as the dog star, is the brightest star in the sky (except for the sun). It is in the constellation Canis Major (The Great Dog). Sirius is a main sequence star that is about 70 times more luminous than the sun. It is about 8.6 light-years from Earth. It has an apparent magnitude of -1.46 and an absolute magnitude of +1.4. Sirius has a companion star (called the Pup), which is a white dwarf.




Enchanted Learning®
Over 35,000 Web Pages
Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers, or click below

Overview of Site
What's New
Enchanted Learning Home
Monthly Activity Calendar
Books to Print
Site Index

K-3
Crafts
K-3 Themes
Little Explorers
Picture dictionary
PreK/K Activities
Rebus Rhymes
Stories
Writing
Cloze Activities
Essay Topics
Newspaper
Writing Activities
Parts of Speech

Fiction
The Test of Time
iPhone app
TapQuiz Maps - free iPhone Geography Game

Biology
Animal Printouts
Biology Label Printouts
Biomes
Birds
Butterflies
Dinosaurs
Food Chain
Human Anatomy
Mammals
Plants
Rainforests
Sharks
Whales
Physical Sciences: K-12
Astronomy
The Earth
Geology
Hurricanes
Landforms
Oceans
Tsunami
Volcano
Languages
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Japanese (Romaji)
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Geography/History
Explorers
Flags
Geography
Inventors
US History

Other Topics
Art and Artists
Calendars
College Finder
Crafts
Graphic Organizers
Label Me! Printouts
Math
Music
Word Wheels

Click to read our Privacy Policy

E-mail


Enchanted Learning Search

Search the Enchanted Learning website for:



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Copyright ©1999-2016 EnchantedLearning.com ------ How to cite a web page