List of brightest stars

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This article is about apparent magnitude. For absolute magnitude, see List of most luminous stars.

This is a list of the brightest naked eye stars to +2.50 magnitude, as determined by their maximum, total or combined apparent visual magnitudes as seen from Earth. Although several of the brightest stars are also known close binary or multiple star systems, they do appear to the naked eye as single stars. The given list below combines/adds the magnitudes of bright individual components.

List[edit]

Apparent visual magnitudes of the brightest star can also be compared to non-stellar objects in our Solar System. Here the maximum visible magnitudes above the brightest star, Sirius (-1.46), are as follows. Other than the Sun, the brightest object is the Moon (−12.7), Venus (−4.89), Jupiter (−2.94), Mars (−2.91), Mercury (−2.45), and Saturn (−0.49).

Any exact order of the visual brightness of stars is not perfectly defined for the following reasons:

  • Stellar brightness were traditionally based on the apparent visual magnitude as perceived by the human eye, from the brightest stars of 1st magnitude to the faintest at 6th magnitude. Since the invention of the telescope and the discovery of double or binary stars meant that star brightness could be expressed as either individual (separate) or total (combined). The table is ordered by combined magnitude of all components that appear to the naked eye as if it were a single star, with the magnitudes of any individual components bright enough to make a detectable contribution included in parentheses. For example, the total or combined magnitude of the double star Alpha Centauri is −0.27, while its two component stars have magnitudes of +0.01 and +1.33.
  • New or more accurate photometry, standard filters, or adopting differing methods using standard stars can measure stellar magnitudes slightly differently. This can change the apparent order of lists of bright stars. The table shows V magnitudes, and is measured using a specific filter that closely approximates human vision. However, other kinds of magnitude systems do exist based on different wavelengths, some well away from the distribution of the visible wavelengths of light, and this effects the assumed apparent brightness. This generally explains the cause of magnitude variance in the literature.
  • There are sometimes small statistical variations in measured magnitudes; however, for most of the brightest stars, accurate photometry means brightness stays unchanged. These particular stars are sometimes called standard stars, which appear in the Catalogues of Fundamental Stars like the FK4, FK5 or FK6.
  • Some stars, like Betelgeuse and Antares, are variable stars, changing their magnitude over days, months or years. In the table, the range of variation is indicated with var. Magnitudes are expressed within the table are either when the stars are at maximum, or for the red variable stars, they are based on the mean brightness of the star when it is near maximum, which is general estimated over many observed light-curve cycles, sometimes lasting centuries.[citation needed]
  • The source of magnitudes cited in this list is the Wikipedia articles referenced - this list is simply a catalog of what Wikipedia itself documents.

Main table of the brightest stars[edit]

V Mag.
(mV)
Bayer designation Proper name Distance (ly) Spectral class
0.000−26.74   Sun 0.000 016 G2 V
0.001−1.46 α CMa Sirius 0008.6 A1 V , DA2
0.003−0.74 α Car Canopus 0310 F0 Ib
0.004−0.27 (0.01 + 1.33) α Cen AB (α1,2 Cen) Rigil Kent, Toliman[1][note 1] 0004.4 G2 V, K1 V
0.005−0.05 α Boo Arcturus 0037 K0 III
0.03 (−0.02 - 0.07var) α Lyr Vega 0025 A0 Va
0.08 (0.03 - 0.16var) α Aur Capella 0042 K0 III, G1 III
0.13 (0.05 - 0.18var) β Ori Rigel 0860 B8 Ia
0.34 α CMi Procyon 0011 F5 IV-V
0.46 (0.40 - 0.46var) α Eri Achernar 0140 B6 Vep
0.42 (0.2 - 1.2var) α Ori Betelgeuse 0640[2] M2 Iab
0.61 β Cen Agena, Hadar 0350 B1 III
0.76 α Aql Altair 0017 A7 V
0.76 (1.33 + 1.73) α Cru Acrux 0320 B0.5 IV, B1 V
0.86 (0.75 - 0.95var) α Tau Aldebaran 0065 K5 III
0.96 (0.6 - 1.6var) α Sco Antares 0600 M1.5 Iab, B3 V
0.97 (0.97 - 1.04var) α Vir Spica 0260 B1 III-IV, B2 V
1.14 β Gem Pollux 0034 K0 III
1.16 α PsA Fomalhaut 0025 A3 V
1.25 (1.21 - 1.29var) α Cyg Deneb 2,600 A2 Ia
1.25 (1.23 - 1.31var) β Cru Mimosa, Becrux[note 1] 0350 B0.5 II, B2 V
1.39 α Leo Regulus 0077 B7 V
1.50 ε CMa Adara, Adhara 0430 B2 Iab:
1.62 λ Sco Shaula 0700 B2 IV
1.62 (1.98 + 2.97) α Gem Castor 0052 Am, A1 V
1.64 γ Cru Gacrux 0088 M3.5 III
1.64 γ Ori Bellatrix 0240 B2 III
1.65 β Tau El Nath 0130 B7 III
1.69 β Car Miaplacidus 0110 A1 III
1.69 (1.64 - 1.74var) ε Ori Alnilam 2,000 B0 Ia
1.72 (1.81 - 1.87var + 4.27) γ1,2 Vel Suhail, Regor 0840 WC8, O7.5e
1.74 α Gru Alnair 0100 B7 IV
1.77 ε UMa Alioth 0081 A1 III-IVp kB9
1.77 ζ Ori A Alnitak 0820 O9.7 Ib, O9 III, B0 II-IV
1.79 α UMa Dubhe 0120 G9 III, A7.5
1.80 α Per Mirfak 0590 F5 Ib
1.82 δ CMa Wezen 1,800 F8 Ia
1.84 θ Sco Sargas 0270 F0 II
1.85 ε Sgr Kaus Australis 0140 B9.5 III
1.86 ε Car Avior 0630 K3 III, B2 Vp
1.86 η UMa Benetnasch, Alkaid 0100 B3 V
1.90 (1.89 - 1.94var) β Aur Menkalinan 0100 A1mIV+A1mIV
1.91 α TrA Atria 0420 K2 IIb-IIIa
1.92 γ Gem Alhena 0100 A1.5 IV+
1.94 α Pav Peacock 0180 B2 IV
1.96 (1.99 - 2.39var + 5.57) δ Vel - 0080 A1 Va(n), F2-F5
1.98 β CMa Mirzam 0500 B1 II-III
2.00 α Hya Alphard 0180 K3 II-III
1.98 (1.86 - 2.13var) α UMi Polaris 0430 F8 Ib
2.00 α Ari Hamal 0066 K1 IIIb
2.08 (2.37 + 3.64) γ1 Leo Algieba 0130 K0 III, G7 IIIb
2.02 β Cet Deneb Kaitos, Diphda 0096 K0 III
2.05 σ Sgr Nunki, Sadira 0220 B2.5 V
2.06 θ Cen Menkent 0061 K0 III
2.05 (2.01 - 2.10var) β And Mirach 0200 M0III
2.06 α And Alpheratz, Sirrah 0097 B8 IV
2.07 α Oph Rasalhague 0047 A5 V
2.08 β UMi Kochab 0130 K4 III
2.09 κ Ori Saiph 0720 B0 Iab:
2.11 β Leo Denebola 0036 A3 Va
2.12 (2.1 - 3.39var) β Per Algol 0093 B8 V
2.15 (2.0 - 2.3var) β Gru - 0170 M5 III
2.17 γ Cen Muhlifain 0130 A1IV, (A0III/A0III)
2.21 ι Car Aspidiske, Turais 0690 A9 Ib
2.21 (2.14 - 2.30var) λ Vel Suhail 0570 K4.5 Ib-II
2.23 (2.21 - 2.32var) α CrB Alphecca, Gemma 0075 A0 V, G5 V
2.23 (2.23 - 2.35var) δ Ori Mintaka 0900 B0 III, O9 V
2.23 γ Cyg Sadr 1,500 F8 Ib
2.23 γ Dra Eltanin 0150 K5 III
2.24 α Cas Schedar 0230 K0 IIIa
2.25 ζ Pup Naos 1,100 O4 If(n)p
2.26 γ And Almach 0350 K3 IIb, B9.5 V, B9.5 V, A0 V
2.27 ζ1 UMa Mizar 0078 A2 Vp, A2 Vp, A1m, A5 V
2.28 (2.25 - 2.31var) β Cas Caph 0054 F2 III
2.29 ε Boo Izar 0202 K0 II-III, A2 V
2.30 (2.29 - 2.34var) α Lup Men, Kakkab 0550 B1.5 III
2.30 (2.29 - 2.31var) ε Cen - 0380 B1III
2.31 (1.6 - 2.32var) δ Sco Dschubba 0400 B0.3 IV
2.31 ε Sco Wei 0065 K1 III
2.35 (2.30 - 2.41var) η Cen Marfikent 0310 B1.5Vne
2.37 β UMa Merak 0079 A1 IVps
2.38 α Phe Ankaa, Nair al Zaurak 0077 K0.5 IIIb
2.39 κ Sco Girtab 0460 B1.5 III
2.40 (0.7 - 3.0var) ε Peg Enif 0670 K2 Ib
2.42 (2.31 - 2.74var) β Peg Scheat 0200 M2.5 II-IIIe
2.43 η Oph Sabik 0049 A1 V, A3 V
2.44 γ UMa Phecda 0084 A0Ve
2.45 η CMa Aludra 2,000[3] B5 Ia
2.46 κ Vel Markeb 0540 B2 IV
2.47 (1.6 - 3.0var) γ Cas Tsih, Navi 0610 B0.5 IVpe
2.48 α Peg Markab 0140 B9 III
2.48 ε Cyg Gienah 0072 K0 III-IV
2.50 β Sco Acrab 0404 B1V, B2V

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Not in common use

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kunitzsch P., & Smart, T., A Dictionary of Modern star Names: A Short Guide to 254 Star Names and Their Derivations, Cambridge, Sky Pub. Corp., 2006, p. 27
  2. ^ Graham M. Harper, Alexander Brown, and Edward F. Guinan, (April 2008). "A New VLA-Hipparcos Distance to Betelgeuse and its Implications" (PDF). The Astronomical Journal (IOP Publishing) 135 (4,): 1430–1440. Bibcode:2008AJ....135.1430H. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/135/4/1430. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  3. ^ van Leeuwen, F. (November 2007). "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics 474 (2): 653–664. arXiv:0708.1752. Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357. 

External links[edit]