Brightest stars


A star has been described as a radiant or shining sphere that ismassive and that which is held in space by its own gravity.Astronomers have discovered that the Sun is the nearest star to theEarth. According to astronomers, some stars are only visible at nightas small shining points due to the immense distance between them andthe Earth (Schaaf, 2008). The stars are categorized according totheir prominence and brightness. During the night, there are somecelestial bodies, which are more visible than the others (Aguilar,2010). Astronomers use a scale called magnitude to measure thebrightness of the stars. According to the magnitude scale, stars withlower magnitude numbers are brighter than the ones with highermagnitude numbers. Astronomers state that the stars with negativemagnitude numbers are exceptionally bright (Schaaf, 2008). Themeasurement of the brightness of the stars by astronomers is based ontheir view from the Earth. In addition, the composition and thedistance of a star from the Earth also determines its brightness(Aguilar, 2010).

The Sun, which is closest star to the Earth, has been described asthe brightest star. The Sun has an apparent magnitude of -26.72 andan absolute magnitude of 4.2 (Aguilar, 2010). The Sun is composed ofhydrogen and helium, just as the other stars. The Sun is the largestcelestial body in the solar system. Researchers have stated that theSun has diameter that is 109 times bigger than that of the Earth(Schaaf, 2008). The Sun is extremely hot and it produces all theenergy that is used by the Earth. The Sun is also one of the billionsof stars in the Milky Way. Apart from the Sun, Sirius is also anotherstar that is said to be the brightest. This star is the 6thnearest to the Earth at 8.6 light years. The star has also been namedthe Dog Star (Schaaf, 2008). This star has a companion, named SiriusB, which was discovered by Bessel in 1844. It is vital to point outthat the star and its companion are found in the constellation CanisMajor (Aguilar, 2010).

Canopus is another brightest star in the sky. It is less bright thanthe Sirius. Its distance from the Earth is estimated to be at 74light years. The star was named after an ancient city in Egypt.Astronomers have described the star as extremely to an extent that itfrequently used as a reference point in navigation of spacecraftlaunched on interplanetary missions. The star is situated in thesouthern part of the sky and it is not visible from the north ofNorfolk (Aguilar, 2010). It is also essential to note that the staris found in the constellation Carina. After the Canopus, the RigilKentaurus is the fourth brightest star. The star is also called AlphaCentauri. It is a triple star which comprises of the Alpha CentauriA, B and C. Its distance from the Earth is estimated to be 4.3 lightyears and it is situated in the constellation Centaurus. The star hasan apparent magnitude of -0.27 and an absolute magnitude of 4.4(Aguilar, 2010).

The Arcturus is the fifth brightest star in the sky, which issituated in the constellation Bootes. Researchers in astronomy havepointed that the star is one of the oldest. The star is orange incolor and is said to have a diameter that is 10 times bigger that ofthe Sun. It is also one of the stars closest to the Sun (Schaaf,2008). The star has an apparent magnitude -0.04 and an absolutemagnitude of 0.2. The list of the brightest stars is long and cannotbe exhausted. However, Vega is one of the brightest stars that cannotbe left out in the list. It is a star that is 50 times bigger thanthe Sun. It has an apparent magnitude of 0.03 and an absolutemagnitude of 0.6 and it lies in the constellation Lyra.

There are other bright stars that can be discussed. However, thestars discussed above clearly indicate the brightest stars in the sky(Aguilar, 2010). Stars such as Rigel and Capella are also extremelybright and follow in this list. Next in the list is the Procyon. Itis the ninth brightest star in the sky with a 0.38 apparent magnitudeand a 2.6 absolute magnitude (Schaaf, 2008). The star is located inthe constellation of Canis Minor, which is also called the lesserdog. Achernar is also one of the next brightest stars in the sky. Itis the tenth brightest star and it has an apparent magnitude of 0.46and an absolute magnitude of -1.3 (Good, 2009).

This research proposal has highlighted varying details and factswith regard to the brightest stars. It has been clear that the closerthe star is to the Sun, the brighter it appears. However, in order todetermine the brightness of the stars, astronomers use a magnitudescale to measure the brightness of the stars (Aguilar, 2010). Starsare viewed from the Earth when determining their brightness.


Schaaf, F. (2008). The brightest stars: Discovering the universethrough the sky`s most brilliant stars. Hoboken, N.J: JohnWiley.

Aguilar, D. A. (2010). Super stars: The biggest, hottest,brightest, most explosive stars in the Milky Way.

Good, G. A. (2009). Observing variable stars. London:Springer.