15 brightest stars

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

Why do some stars burn brighter than others?

The night sky – it shines with the luxury of a thousand stars, but plenty You can enjoy the magnificent picture only far from the city fuss. But why are some of them brighter than others? For this it is necessary understand how the life cycle of the cosmic body goes. At The formation of a star will be dominated by hydrogen. Than an object the greater the greater the likelihood that a nuclear reaction will occur synthesis: helium is formed from hydrogen.

As the mass of a star increases, its core becomes hotter. The most massive stars live very little: hydrogen fuel in the core ends very quickly. After that, the object begins to burn heavy elements, gradually expanding and turning into a giant. FROM At this moment, the brightness of the celestial body increases significantly.

Star luminosity used – visible stellar value (m). This is a measure of the brightness of a stellar body in terms of Earth observer. The lower the indicator, the greater the brightness. object.

Overview of the brightest stars in the sky

Nomination a place name Apparent magnitude
Rating of the brightest stars in the sky 15 Antares 0.96 (ac)
14 Aldebaran 0.85 (REV)
13 Akruks 0.77 (REV)
12 Altair 0.77 (REV)
11 Hadar 0.61 (REV)
10 Betelgeuse 0.5 (REV)
9 Achernar 0.46 (REV)
8 Procyon 0.38 (REV)
7 Crossbar 0.12 (REV)
6 Chapel 0.08 (REM)
5 Vega 0.03 (REM)
4 Arcturus -0.05 (REM)
3 Alpha Centauri -0.27 (PER)
2 Canopus -0.72 (PER)
1 Sirius -1.46 (PER)

Antares

Rating: 4.2

Antares

Apparent Magnitude: 0.96 (ac)

The brightest star in the constellation Scorpio and one of the Red Giants Milky Way. And in the sky Antares is seen in red. Name its Anti-Ares, which means the opposite of Mars. Bright, unusual light this star aroused great interest among the ancient peoples: the Chinese considered her one of the three most influential, the Persians attributed to royal.

Antares is 600 light years from our planet. If a compare it with the Sun, a megagiant exceeds it in size in 800 times, the circumference of the circle is 400 times, and the brightness is 65,000 times. In this case, the mass of Antares exceeds the mass of the Sun by only 17 times. Such a small mass index with huge sizes indicates low density of the substance from which the star is formed. You can enjoy the best view of the object (especially against the background of the sun) in May. Antares companion star was discovered in 1813, but because of the brightness of her brother, it’s quite difficult to see her, although she It is considered large (5th magnitude) and is 170 times greater than brightness of the sun.

Aldebaran

Rating: 4.3

Aldebaran

Apparent Magnitude: 0.85 (move)

When looking at Aldebaran from Earth, it is as if united with star cluster Hyades (represented by 4 stars, of which unites attraction). Together they resemble the English letter V, but their integrity is only apparent: Aldebaran is a loner. However, not really: a red dwarf revolves around it – modest companion so dull that notice him without special technology is impossible. Nearest “neighbors” (not counting the satellite) located from Aldebaran at a distance of 20 light-years.

The star got its name from the Arabs – in translation “aldebaran” means “follower.” But this giant has other names: the Romans called him Palilius, the dreki – Lamparus. Aldebaran is sometimes called the Bull’s Eye. The star is considered a normal giant that glows in orange. Is in 65 light years from our planet. A giant bigger than our sun in 44 times and 150 times more powerful. According to scientists, Aldebaran has already burned all hydrogen on its surface and now destroys helium: star greatly increased in size. You can see her in the sky in winter months.

Akruks

Rating: 4.4

Akruks

Apparent Magnitude: 0.77

The North Star, the brightest in the constellation of the Southern Cross and one of the few stars of the night sky whose name is not associated with mythology. It was formed from the name of the constellation itself (on in Latin it sounds exactly like “Crooks”), Alpha Crooks means A Crooks. Observations of this century show that Akruks is not just a star, and a constellation consisting of 3 celestial bodies.

There is still debate in the scientific community about whether to include third star (Alpha 3) in the Akruks system. Similar doubts arose for two reasons: it is too far away and too bright for its class. The mass of the main star of the Akruks system is 14 times exceeds the mass of the Sun, the second – 10 times. Studies show that both objects could become supernovae in the future explosion and after turn into a massive white dwarf.

Altair

Rating: 4.4

Altair

Apparent Magnitude: 0.77

After creating a high-resolution telescope, it became possible measurement of a star whose motion is so fast that its the shape is elongated along the equator. Altair is a white, hot star non-spherical shape. Her first image was obtained only in 2007 year. Altair – one of the closest to our planet stars, creating a whole line known as the Eagle Family. The distance from Earth to Altair is only 16.8 light years. Altair – one of the peaks of the “summer-autumn triangle” and is observed in summer-autumn period in the Northern Hemisphere.

To understand how fast Altair’s speed is, enough compare it with the speed of the sun: if it makes a full circle in 25.05 days, Altair only needs 8.9 hours. In the 2000s years, studies have been carried out, as a result of which assumption: due to the high rotation speed, gravity and the temperature at the equator is lower. In addition, the star equator is less brighter than the rest of it: this is the so-called gravitational darkening.

Hadar

Rating: 4.5

Khadar

Apparent Magnitude: 0.61 (AC)

Khadar is a bright blue giant. It is she who is depicted on Australian flag. This is the second brightest space object in the constellations of the Centaurus and, of course, one of the brightest stars of the night skyline. The distance from Khadar to Earth is pretty impressive – 530 light years. Khadar or Khadar-A – 2 star twins, 3 astronomical units remote from each other (150 million km). Space objects are considered ancient: their age is, according to at least 12 million years. Both stars are impressive mass: it varies according to different sources from 11 to 133 masses Of the sun.

You can only view a star in the night sky of Yuzhny hemisphere. Recent evidence suggests that Khadar-A is expanding. Some astronomers believe that this will lead to a transformation twins into supergiants, and after the explosion into supernovae.

Betelgeuse

Rating: 4.5

Betelgeuse

Apparent Magnitude: 0.5 (ac)

According to some sources, this supermassive giant can emit your last breath at any moment, creating a grand super flash and leaving behind a Crab nebula with an invisible star or black hole in the center. The problem is that to predict this event does not seem even remotely possible, because astronomy is a very young science, and Betelgeuse the star is mysterious and little studied. Which is not surprising, because she It is unimaginably far from our planet: according to one data, in 420-650 light years, according to others – up to 1300 light years.

The estimation of the magnitude and mass of this supergiant is rather averaged: Betelgeuse mass is about 17 solar, and the radius is 950-1200 solar radii, respectively. It is well known that the star does not belong to any close cluster and is not double. Will there be an explosion? This is not known to scientists: surely they only claim that the star is in the final development cycle when the amount of carbon and heavy there are so few elements that maintaining stable fusion processes are no longer possible.

Achernar

Rating: 4.5

Achernar

Apparent Magnitude: 0.46

Achernar is a bright star with an incredible speed of rotation around its axis – about 260-310 km / s. This is a representative of the constellation. Eridanus and its brightest object. Due to the high rotation speed Achernar is strongly compressed around the poles, which is why its shape is not traditional spherical, but ellipsoidal. Tremendous speed rotation also affects the temperature of the cosmic body: on at the poles it reaches 20,000 K, at the equator – about 10,000 K.

The mass of Achernar is quite large and is about 8 solar. The distance from the star to our planet is 139 light years. See This bright space object is possible only in the southern latitudes. In all you can see Achernar in November, and to the south 33 0 north latitude star does not go beyond the horizon: Asian countries and the equator can enjoy its view year-round.

In Arabic, the name of the star translates as “end of the river.” The thing is what Achernar used to be considered the last in the constellation of Eridanus (today it is known that it is Akamar).

Interesting fact. The name of the star is often found in science fiction books: at least six references are known Achernara in fantastic stories.

Procyon

Rating: 4.6

Procyon

Apparent Magnitude: 0.38

This is Alpha of Canis Minor. Without exaggeration to say that Procyon is the constellation. Represented by 2 stars, which can be observed without optics. The second is Gomiza. Origin the name of the star was rather unusual and it was formed on the basis of long observation. Literally translated from Greek as “before the dog.” In the literary translation there is another name – “harbinger of a dog.” And all because Procyon appears on the horizon 40 minutes before the rising Sirius.

The celestial object is not very far from us: only 11.41 light years. Its radius is 1.9 from the sun, and the brightness – 8 times more than the sun. Procyon is considered a subgiant and by brightness, we can conclude that helium synthesis in its bowels have already ceased and the process of expanding the facility has begun. Gradually, the star will turn into a red giant.

Canis Minor constellation rises low above the horizon, since it is equatorial. To see him, and at the same time a star, it is necessary to turn to the south, to find the belt of Orion and from it lower luminaries draw a figurative line to the east. In his Procyon constellation is the brightest, so finding it is not difficult. The best period for observation is winter.

Crossbar

Rating: 4.7

Crossbar

Apparent Magnitude: 0.12 (ac)

The star is considered one of the brightest not only in the constellation Orion: Rigel practically does not have a visible Galaxy competitors. The power of its glow is simply unimaginable: the star is brighter The sun is 85,000 times. The distance to the object is as enormous as and its luminous intensity is 773 light years. Crossbar so powerful shines that illuminates the colossal space around him: he makes the dust clouds of its constellation visible.

The giant is not a loner. It is part of a system consisting of 3 stars, 2 of which are a telescopic double star combined gravitational force. The blue-white giant is superior in diameter our sun is 68 times. The crossbar differs in changeable gloss: on pulsating processes occur on its surface luminaries.

Interesting fact. The power of the Rigel luminescence is so great that, if he were in the place of the sun, there would be no planets left from the planets of our system and trace: any object at a distance of up to 150 million would have evaporated instantly into a stream of eerie stellar wind.

Chapel

Rating: 4.7

Capella

Apparent Magnitude: 0.08

It is considered one of the brightest in the sky and deservedly takes the honorable 6th place. By the power of the light coming from her, Capella exceeds some giants like Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. It 77 times brighter than the sun. Recent figures suggest that The chapel is at the stage of completion of its life path, although by human standards, this will happen very, very soon.

The chapel is considered a double celestial body: it consists of two equivalent giants (Capella Aa and Capella Ab). That’s why she so clearly visible even without special optics. Known that more 240,000 years ago, the Chapel was considered the brightest on earth. sky: then she reached the closest possible distance to of our planet. Today it’s a third further, therefore inferior in brightness to several other stars.

Capella Aa is a red giant, but Capella Ab is not yet has passed its evolutionary path: thermonuclear processes inside it are already completed, but helium has not yet begun to burn. By the way, despite the different degree of development, both objects of the same age – they are approximately 5.25 billion years.

The Chapel is the brightest and largest star in the constellation of the Ascendant. The ancient Greeks identified with him the Athenian king Erichthonius, leading a horse harness. According to legend, it was he who invented the first chariot. On the shoulder of the king sits a heavenly goat – Capella. IN of mythology, this goat nourished little Zeus with its milk, who was hiding in Crete from his father Kronos. According to one of legends, during a game with a goat, a god accidentally broke her horn, and wealth spilled from there. It was a cornucopia.

Vega

Rating: 4.7

Vega

Apparent Magnitude: 0.03

In the summer-autumn period, residents of the Northern Hemisphere can observe the Great Summer Triangle. Vega is its highest point. It is considered the brightest in the constellation Lyra. The distance from it to the sun is a little over 25 light years. Vega played an important role in the formation of astrophysics. She became a reference point in the developed photometric system for determining the color and intensity of space tel.

Vega was the first photographed star after the Sun, and at 12 century BC she pointed to the North Pole, that is, was the Polar and again will be so in 12,000 years. Vega’s energy source considered the process of thermonuclear fusion of helium from hydrogen. Brightness it is 37 times more than the sun, and the mass is only 2 times more. Due to the impressive mass, Vega will exist as a white giant about 1 billion years (only 1/10 of the life of the Sun), then it will turn in the red giant, and even later in the white dwarf. Now experts are exploring the possibility of an exoplanet present in an object. Until that only a dust disk was found around Vega.

Arcturus

Rating: 4.8

Arcturus

Apparent Magnitude: -0.05 (ac)

Home in the constellation Bootes and one of the brightest on earth skyline. If we talk about the brightness of the glow, then Arcturus is more powerful The sun is 110 times. The parameters of the cosmic body are also impressive: although its mass is almost equal to the sun, the radius exceeds the solar in 27 time. The object is very light due to the low heavy content. metals.

But brightness is not the main feature of Arcturus. He is able to change own position in space, that is, has its own movement. Among all the stars observed in the sky by speed Arcturus’ own movement is second only to Alpha Centauri. Observing a space object for a long time, astronomers noticed that he does not move independently: he is “accompanied” by a whole a group of smaller celestial bodies and their number exceeds 50. The magnitude of these stars and the speed of their own motion are approximately the same, therefore, it was decided to combine the group into asterism – Stream Arcturus.

Arcturus is considered an old star with a low heavy content. metals in its composition. It speaks of extragalactic origin. luminaries, because in the Milky Way there are no stars with a similar composition. On the that Arcturus is the “guest” of our galaxy also indicates age and object type: it is an orange giant 7.1 billion years old.

Alpha Centauri

Rating: 4.8

Alpha Centauri

Apparent Magnitude: -0.27

The star system closest to the solar system is bright, unusual and well-studied. Alpha Centauri – a triple star, consisting of Centauri A, Centauri B and Proxima Centauri. She is older The sun is 2 billion years old – it is already 6 billion years old. To the naked eye it is impossible to distinguish the first two stars: they form a real tandem – incredibly powerful in its brightness. Radiated by Centauri A and Centauri Into the Light reaches the limits of the Earth in 4.3 years. The third one the star is a modest red dwarf.

Despite the proximity, currently getting to Alpha Centaurs are not possible: the path to the modern the spaceship will take more than 1 million years. Watch beautiful the sight of the brightly glowing Alpha Centauri can only residents of the South hemisphere. The star is important for earth navigation: drawing a line from Centaurs B to the line from the Southern Cross can be obtained pole indicator.

The bright star was included in the star atlas by the ancient Greeks in far 4 century BC, and divided into 2 objects only in 1689. Proxima was discovered in 1915. Astronomers give a lot of time and forces to study the Alpha Centauri system in the hope of discovering planets suitable for living. In 2012, it was announced that a planet is found that is slightly larger than the Earth and orbiting its star at an acceptable speed. That’s just she is too hot. Its position is comparable to Mercury in our system.

Canopus

Rating: 4.9

Canopus

Apparent Magnitude: -0.72

Incredibly bright space object, the luminosity of which exceeds solar by 15,000 times. Yellowish supergiant located 310 light-years from Earth. But even despite this remoteness, Canopus is clearly visible on earth skyline. Unusual luminary for many years played an important role in history, navigation, art. For sailors Canopus was the most a true guiding star: it was often called the “South Polar” for what she pointed towards the South Pole.

Canopus is also used for astro correction: to its position Oriented when launching rocket launchers. Although the star is considered one of the brightest in the sky, you can observe it far from every point of the globe: it shines only in the southern hemisphere. And in some countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, the cosmic body is always above the horizon.

Canopus was discovered several millennia ago by the Arab stargazers. Most often, mention of a bright star can be found in Indian and Egyptian sources. Canopus name is associated with in the name of the legendary navigator who stormed Troy. Astronomers call the star Alpha Kiel: this is the main and brightest star of the constellation Kiel.

Sirius

Rating: 5.0

Sirius

Apparent Magnitude: -1.46

The brightest star in the sky, shining in the constellation Canis Major and visible in the Northern Hemisphere (especially in throughout the winter). The star is considered the closest to our planet: she located 8.6 light years from the sun. Sirius is the simplest object for lay astronomers: his photo is very easy receive. And at the same time, the brightness of Sirius makes it difficult for Photographing: processing received data requires significant training.

Observing Sirius, astronomers noticed that the trajectory of the star is a wavy curve. Moreover, the fluctuations were noticeable even for a short period of time, which is very unusual because the star is colossal from us distance. Scientists have suggested that for a similar trajectory the motion is responsible for a hidden object orbiting Sirius with a period of 50 years. And, after almost 20 years, finally managed detect a tiny asterisk – the first white dwarf – one of the most massive among those found to date.


Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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