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List of brightest stars

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List of brightest stars

This is a list of the brightest individual stars in determined by their average apparent magnitudes in the visible spectrum as seen from Earth. This is not the same as a list of the brightest stars as seen with the naked eye, as close binary or multiple star systems will appear as a single star with an apparent magnitude greater than their individual components, e.g. the binary system Rigel Kentaurus has an apparent magnitude of -0.27, but the brightest individual star is Alpha Centauri A with the apparent magnitude as listed here of -0.01. Hence Alpha Centauri is the third brightest star in the night sky, while its brightest component Alpha Centauri A is the fourth brightest individual star. Stellar brightness in this selected table is limited to brighter than +2.50 magnitude, mostly as the available number of observable stars increases almost exponentially as the magnitude increases.[1] To the naked eye on a clear dark night, in a location far from cities and lights, the total number of stars visible is around 9000 (9110 total objects in the Bright Star Catalogue of naked eye stars, including 9096 stars, ten novae or supernovae, and four clusters). Stars visible through optical aid increase this even further. Telescopically, the entire night's sky has been mapped, photographed and catalogued almost completely down to 11th magnitude, and recent star surveys are continuing to catalogue much fainter stars.


Below are listed the 93 brightest individual stars in order of their average apparent magnitudes.

For comparison, the non-stellar objects in our Solar System with maximum visible magnitudes below +2.50 are the Moon (−12.92), Venus (−4.89), Jupiter (−2.94), Mars (−2.91), Mercury (−2.45), and Saturn (−0.49).

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

  • The brightnesses of all stars 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. The invention of the telescope and the discovery of double or binary stars meant that star brightness could be individual (separate) or total (combined).
  • More and more accurate instrumental photometry differentiated stellar magnitudes, often changing the order of lists of brighter stars.
  • Stellar magnitude is sometimes listed by the apparent brightness of stars as seen to the naked eye as if they were single stars, as it is here. Other examples include Norton's Star Atlas 18th Edition pg. 136.[2]
  • Other stellar magnitude lists report individual stars, differentiating those in binary stars or double star systems. Often, the differences apply to the ten or hundred brightest stars. For example, the total or combined magnitude of Capella is 0.08, while Capella A and B have magnitudes of 0.76 and 0.91.
  • A third kind includes the Sun as first in the magnitude listings, making Sirius 2nd, Canopus 3rd, etc. Some, like this list, place the Sun at zero, as it is not a nighttime star.
  • 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, these are indicated with var.)
  V Mag.
Bayer designation Proper name Distance (ly) Spectral class SIMBAD
0 0.000−26.74   (Sun) 0.000 016 G2 V
1 0.001−1.46 α CMa Sirius 0008.6 A1 V Sirius A
2 0.003−0.72 α Car Canopus 0310 F0 Ia Canopus
3 0.004−0.27 α Cen AB (α1,2 Cen) Rigil Kent, Toliman[3][note 1] 0004.4 G2 V/K1 V Alpha Centauri
4 0.005−0.04 var α Boo Arcturus 0037 K1.5 III Arcturus
5 0.03 α Lyr Vega 0025 A0 V Vega
6 0.08 α Aur Capella 0042 G8 III, G1 III Capella A
7 0.12 β Ori Rigel 0860 B8 Iab Rigel
8 0.34 α CMi Procyon 0011 F5 IV-V Procyon
9 0.42 var α Ori Betelgeuse 0640 [4] M2 Iab Betelgeuse
10 0.50 α Eri Achernar 0140 B3 Vpe Achernar
11 0.60 β Cen Agena, Hadar 0350 B1 III Hadar (Agena)
12 0.77 α Aql Altair 0017 A7 V Altair
13 0.77 α Cru Acrux 0320 B1 V Acrux A
14 0.85 var α Tau Aldebaran 0065 K5 III Aldebaran
15 1.04 α Vir Spica 0260 B1 III-IV, B2 V Spica
16 1.09 var α Sco Antares 0600 M1.5 Iab-b Antares
17 1.15 β Gem Pollux 0034 K0 IIIb Pollux
18 1.16 α PsA Fomalhaut 0025 A3 V Fomalhaut
19 1.25 α Cyg Deneb 2,600 A2 Ia Deneb
20 1.30 β Cru Mimosa, Becrux[note 1] 0350 B0.5 IV Mimosa
21 1.35 α Leo Regulus 0077 B7 V Regulus
22 1.51 ε CMa Adara 0430 B2 Iab Adara
23 1.58 α Gem Castor 0052 A1 V, A2 Vm Castor
24 1.62 λ Sco Shaula 0700 B1.5-2 IV+ Shaula
25 1.63 γ Cru Gacrux 0088 M4III Gacrux
26 1.64 γ Ori Bellatrix 0240 B2 III Bellatrix
27 1.68 β Tau El Nath 0130 B7 III El Nath
28 1.68 β Car Miaplacidus 0110 A2 IV Miaplacidus
29 1.70 ε Ori Alnilam 1,300 B0 Iab Alnilam
30 1.70 ζ Ori A Alnitak 0820 O9 Iab Alnitak A
31 1.74 α Gru Alnair 0100 B7 IV Al Na'ir
32 1.76 ε UMa Alioth 0081 A0pCr Alioth
33 1.78 γ2 Vel Suhail, Regor 0840 WC8 + O7.5e Velorum2Gamma
34 1.79 α UMa Dubhe 0120 K0 III, F0 V Dubhe
35 1.80 ε Sgr Kaus Australis 0140 B9.5 III Kaus Australis
36 1.82 α Per Mirfak 0590 F5 Ib Mirfak
37 1.84 δ CMa Wezen 1,800 F8 Ia Wezen
38 1.85 η UMa Benetnasch, Alkaid 0100 B3 V Benetnasch (Alkaid)
39 1.86 θ Sco Sargas 0270 F1 II Sargas
40 1.86 ε Car Avior 0630 K3 III, B2 Vp Avior
41 1.90 γ Gem Alhena 0100 A0 IV Alhena
42 1.91 α Pav Peacock 0180 B2 IV Peacock
43 1.92 α TrA Atria 0420 K2 IIb-IIIa Atria
44 1.96 δ Vel Koo She 0080 A1 V, F2-F5 Delta Velorum
45 1.97 var α UMi Polaris 0430 F7 Ib-II Polaris
46 1.98 β CMa Mirzam 0500 B1 II-III Murzim
47 1.98 α Hya Alphard 0180 K3 II-III Alphard
48 2.00 α Ari Hamal 0066 K2IIICa-1 Hamal
49 2.01 γ1 Leo Algieba 0130 K0 IIIb, G7 IIICN Algieba
50 2.04 β Cet Deneb Kaitos, Diphda 0096 K0 III Deneb Kaitos
51 2.05 κ Ori Saiph 0720 B0.5Iavar Saiph
52 2.06 σ Sgr Nunki, Sadira 0220 B2.5 V Nunki
53 2.06 θ Cen Menkent 0061 K0IIIb Menkent
54 2.06 α And Alpheratz, Sirrah 0097 B8IV Alpheratz
55 2.06 β And Mirach 0200 M0III Mirach
56 2.08 β UMi Kochab 0130 K4 III Kochab
57 2.10 α Oph Rasalhague 0047 A5V Ras Alhague
58 2.12 var β Per Algol 0093 B8V Algol
59 2.13 β Gru - 0170 M5 III Beta Gruis
60 2.14 β Leo Denebola 0036 A3 V Denebola
61 2.15 γ And Almach 0350 K3IIb, B9.5V Almach
62 2.17 γ Cen Muhlifain 0130 A1IV, (A0III/A0III) Muhlifain
64 2.21 ζ Pup Naos, Suhail Hadar 1,400 O5 Ia Zeta Puppis
65 2.21 α CrB Alphecca, Gemma 0075 A0V, G5V Alphecca
66 2.23 λ Vel Suhail 0570 K4.5 Ib-II Lambda Velorum
67 2.23 γ Dra Eltanin 0150 K5 III Etamin
68 2.23 ζ1 UMa Mizar 0078 A2 V Mizar A
69 2.23 δ Ori Mintaka 0900 O9.5 II, B0.5III Mintaka
70 2.24 γ Cyg Sadr 1,500 F8 Ib Sadr
71 2.25 α Cas Schedar 0230 K0 IIIa Schedar
72 2.25 ι Car Aspidiske, Turais 0690 A8 Ib Aspidiske
73 2.27 β Cas Caph 0054 F2 III-IV Caph
74 2.27 ε Cen - 0380 B1III Epsilon Centauri
75 2.28 α Lup Men, Kakkab 0550 B1.5 II Alpha Lupi
76 2.29 δ Sco Dschubba 0400 B0.2 IV Dschubba
77 2.29 ε Sco Wei 0065 K2 IIIb Wei
78 2.32 η Cen Marfikent 0310 B1.5Vne Eta Centauri
79 2.35 β UMa Merak 0079 A1V Merak
80 2.37 α Phe Ankaa, Nair al Zaurak 0077 K0 III Ankaa
81 2.38 κ Sco Girtab 0460 B1.5 III Girtab
82 2.39 γ Cas Tsih, Navi 0610 B0.5 IVe Gamma Cassiopeiae
83 2.39 ε Boo Izar 0202 A0 Izar
84 2.40 ε Peg Enif 0670 K2 Ib Enif
85 2.40 η CMa Aludra 2,000[5] B5 Ia Aludra
86 2.42 β Peg Scheat 0200 M2.3 II-III Scheat
87 2.43 γ UMa Phecda 0084 A0Ve SB Phecda
88 2.43 η Oph Sabik 0049 A1 V, A3 V Sabik
89 2.44 α Cep Alderamin 0049 A7 IV Alderamin
90 2.46 κ Vel Markeb 0540 B2 IV-V Kappa Velorum
91 2.49 α Peg Markab 0140 B9 III Markab
92 2.50 ε Cyg Gienah 0072 K0 II Gienah
93 2.50 β Sco Acrab 0404 B1V+B2V Acrab

See also


  1. ^ a b Not in common use


  1. ^ David Haworth, Observational Astronomy, "How Many Stars You Can Observe"
  2. ^ Dolan, Chris. "The Brightest Stars, as Seen from the Earth". Reference (2010). 
  3. ^ Kunitzsch P., & Smart, T., A Dictionary of Modern star Names: A Short Guide to 254 Star Names and Their Derivations, Cambride, Sky Pub. Corp., 2006, p. 27
  4. ^ 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,): pp. 1430–1440.  
  5. ^ van Leeuwen, F. (November 2007). "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics 474 (2): 653–664.  

External links

  • 25 Brightest Stars, as Seen from the Earth
  • The Brightest Stars at An Atlas of the Universe
  • The Magnitude system
  • About stellar magnitudes
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