Mike McCannScience ReportScience Report P.

d. 4STARSThe magnitude scale was invented by an ancient Greek astronomer named Hipparchus in about 150 BC He ranked the stars he could see in terms of their brightness, with 1 representing the brightest down to 6 representing the faintest. Modern astronomy has extended this system to stars brighter than Hipparchus’ 1st magnitude stars and ones much, much fainter than 6. As it turns out, the eye senses brightness logarithmically, so each increase in 5 magnitudes corresponds to a decrease in brightness by a factor 100. The absolute magnitude is the magnitude the stars would have if viewed from a distance of 10 parsecs or some 32.6 light years.

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Obviously, Deneb is intrinsically very bright to make this list from its greater distance. Rigel, of nearly the same absolute magnitude, but closer, stands even higher in the list. Note that most of these distances are really nearby, on a cosmic scale, and that they are generally uncertain by at least 20%. All stars are variable to some extent; those which are visibly variable are marked with a “v”.

What are apparent and absolute magnitudes? Apparent is how bright the appear to us in the sky. The scale is somewhat arbitrary, as explained above, but a magnitude difference of 5 has been set to exactly a factor of 100 in intensity. Absolute magnitudes are how bright a star would appear from some standard distance, arbitrarily set as 10 parsecs or about 32.6 light years. Stars can be as bright as absolute magnitude -8 and as faint as absolute magnitude +16 or fainter.

There are thus (a very few) stars more than 100 times brighter than Sirius, while hardly any are known fainter than Wolf 356.Star, large celestial body composed of gravitationally contained hot gases emitting electromagnetic radiation, especially light, as a result of nuclear reactions inside the star. The sun is a star. With the sole exception of the sun, the stars appear to be fixed, maintaining the same pattern in the skies year after year.

In fact the stars are in rapid motion, but their distances are so great that their relative changes in position become apparent only over the centuries.The number of stars visible to the naked eye from earth has been estimated to total 8000, of which 4000 are visible from the northern hemisphere and 4000 from the southern hemisphere. At any one time in either hemisphere, only about 2000 stars are visible. The other 2000 are located in the daytime sky and are obscured by the much brighter light of the sun. Astronomers have calculated that the stars in the Milky Way, the galaxy to which the sun belongs, number in the hundreds of billions.

The Milky Way, in turn, is only one of several hundred million such galaxies within the viewing range of the larger modern telescopes. The individual stars visible in the sky are simply those that lie closest to the solar system in the Milky Way.The star nearest to our solar system is the triple star Proxima Centauri, which is about 40 trillion km (about 25 trillion mi) from earth. In terms of the speed of light, the common standard used by astronomers for expressing distance, this triple-star system is about 4.29 light-years distant; light traveling at about 300,000 km per sec (about 186,000 mi per sec) takes more than four years and three months to travel from this star to earth (see LIGHT-YEAR).

Physical Description The sun is a typical star, with a visible surface called a photosphere, an overlying atmosphere of hot gases, and above them a more diffuse corona and an outflowing stream of particles called the solar (stellar) wind. Cooler areas of the photosphere, such as the sunspots (see SUN) on the sun, are likely present on other typical emailprotected@

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