Apparent magnitude

The apparent magnitude (m) of an astronomical object is a number that is a measure of its brightness as seen by an observer on Earth. The magnitude scale is logarithmic. A difference of 1 in magnitude corresponds to a change in brightness by a factor of 5100, or about 2.512. The brighter an object appears, the lower its magnitude value (i.e. inverse relation), with the brightest astronomical objects having negative apparent magnitudes: for example Sirius at −1.46.

The measurement of apparent magnitudes or brightnesses of celestial objects is known as photometry. Apparent magnitudes are used to quantify the brightness of sources at ultraviolet, visible, and infrared wavelengths. An apparent magnitude is usually measured in a specific passband corresponding to some photometric system such as the UBV system. In standard astronomical notation, an apparent magnitude in the V ("visual") filter band would be denoted either as mV or often simply as V, as in "mV = 15" or "V = 15" to describe a 15th-magnitude object.

Asteroid 65 Cybele and two stars, with their magnitudes labeled


Visible to
to Vega
Number of stars
brighter than
apparent magnitude[2]
in the night sky
Yes −1.0 251% 1 (Sirius)
00.0 100% 4
01.0 40% 15
02.0 16% 48
03.0 6.3% 171
04.0 2.5% 513
05.0 1.0% 1602
06.0 0.4% 4800
06.5 0.25% 9100[3]
No 07.0 0.16% 14000
08.0 0.063% 42000
09.0 0.025% 121000
10.0 0.010% 340000

The scale used to indicate magnitude originates in the Hellenistic practice of dividing stars visible to the naked eye into six magnitudes. The brightest stars in the night sky were said to be of first magnitude (m = 1), whereas the faintest were of sixth magnitude (m = 6), which is the limit of human visual perception (without the aid of a telescope). Each grade of magnitude was considered twice the brightness of the following grade (a logarithmic scale), although that ratio was subjective as no photodetectors existed. This rather crude scale for the brightness of stars was popularized by Ptolemy in his Almagest and is generally believed to have originated with Hipparchus.

In 1856, Norman Robert Pogson formalized the system by defining a first magnitude star as a star that is 100 times as bright as a sixth-magnitude star, thereby establishing the logarithmic scale still in use today. This implies that a star of magnitude m is about 2.512 times as bright as a star of magnitude m + 1. This figure, the fifth root of 100, became known as Pogson's Ratio.[4] The zero point of Pogson's scale was originally defined by assigning Polaris a magnitude of exactly 2. Astronomers later discovered that Polaris is slightly variable, so they switched to Vega as the standard reference star, assigning the brightness of Vega as the definition of zero magnitude at any specified wavelength.

Apart from small corrections, the brightness of Vega still serves as the definition of zero magnitude for visible and near infrared wavelengths, where its spectral energy distribution (SED) closely approximates that of a black body for a temperature of 11000 K. However, with the advent of infrared astronomy it was revealed that Vega's radiation includes an Infrared excess presumably due to a circumstellar disk consisting of dust at warm temperatures (but much cooler than the star's surface). At shorter (e.g. visible) wavelengths, there is negligible emission from dust at these temperatures. However, in order to properly extend the magnitude scale further into the infrared, this peculiarity of Vega should not affect the definition of the magnitude scale. Therefore, the magnitude scale was extrapolated to all wavelengths on the basis of the black body radiation curve for an ideal stellar surface at 11000 K uncontaminated by circumstellar radiation. On this basis the spectral irradiance (usually expressed in janskys) for the zero magnitude point, as a function of wavelength, can be computed.[5] Small deviations are specified between systems using measurement apparatuses developed independently so that data obtained by different astronomers can be properly compared, but of greater practical importance is the definition of magnitude not at a single wavelength but applying to the response of standard spectral filters used in photometry over various wavelength bands.

With the modern magnitude systems, brightness over a very wide range is specified according to the logarithmic definition detailed below, using this zero reference. In practice such apparent magnitudes do not exceed 30 (for detectable measurements). The brightness of Vega is exceeded by four stars in the night sky at visible wavelengths (and more at infrared wavelengths) as well as the bright planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, and these must be described by negative magnitudes. For example, Sirius, the brightest star of the celestial sphere, has an apparent magnitude of −1.4 in the visible. Negative magnitudes for other very bright astronomical objects can be found in the table below.

Astronomers have developed other photometric zeropoint systems as alternatives to the Vega system. The most widely used is the AB magnitude system,[6] in which photometric zeropoints are based on a hypothetical reference spectrum having constant flux per unit frequency interval, rather than using a stellar spectrum or blackbody curve as the reference. The AB magnitude zeropoint is defined such that an object's AB and Vega-based magnitudes will be approximately equal in the V filter band.


VISTA Magellanic Cloud Survey view of the Tarantula Nebula
30 Doradus image taken by ESO's VISTA. This nebula has an apparent magnitude of 8.
Apparent magnitude
A graph of apparent magnitude against brightness

As the amount of light actually received by a telescope is reduced by transmission through the Earth's atmosphere, any measurement of apparent magnitude is corrected for what it would have been as seen from above the atmosphere. The dimmer an object appears, the higher the numerical value given to its apparent magnitude, with a difference of 5 magnitudes corresponding to a brightness factor of exactly 100. Therefore, the apparent magnitude m, in the spectral band x, would be given by

which is more commonly expressed in terms of common (base-10) logarithms as

where Fx is the observed flux density using spectral filter x, and Fx,0 is the reference flux (zero-point) for that photometric filter. Since an increase of 5 magnitudes corresponds to a decrease in brightness by a factor of exactly 100, each magnitude increase implies a decrease in brightness by the factor 5100 ≈ 2.512 (Pogson's ratio). Inverting the above formula, a magnitude difference m1m2 = Δm implies a brightness factor of

Example: Sun and Moon

What is the ratio in brightness between the Sun and the full Moon?

The apparent magnitude of the Sun is −26.74 (brighter), and the mean apparent magnitude of the full moon is −12.74 (dimmer).

Difference in magnitude:

Brightness factor:

The Sun appears about 400000 times brighter than the full moon.

Magnitude addition

Sometimes one might wish to add brightnesses. For example, photometry on closely separated double stars may only be able to produce a measurement of their combined light output. How would we reckon the combined magnitude of that double star knowing only the magnitudes of the individual components? This can be done by adding the brightnesses (in linear units) corresponding to each magnitude.[7]

Solving for yields

where mf is the resulting magnitude after adding the brightnesses referred to by m1 and m2.

Absolute magnitude

Since flux decreases with distance according to the inverse-square law, a particular apparent magnitude could equally well refer to a star at one distance, or a star four times brighter at twice that distance, and so on. When one is not interested in the brightness as viewed from Earth, but the intrinsic brightness of an astronomical object, then one refers not to the apparent magnitude but the absolute magnitude. The absolute magnitude M, of a star or astronomical object is defined as the apparent magnitude it would have as seen from a distance of 10 parsecs (about 32.6 light-years). The absolute magnitude of the Sun is 4.83 in the V band (yellow) and 5.48 in the B band (blue).[8] In the case of a planet or asteroid, the absolute magnitude H rather means the apparent magnitude it would have if it were 1 astronomical unit from both the observer and the Sun, and fully illuminated (a configuration that is only theoretically achievable, with the observer situated on the surface of the Sun).

Standard reference values

Standard apparent magnitudes and fluxes for typical bands[9]
Band λ
Flux at m = 0, Fx,0
Jy 10−20 erg/(s·cm2·Hz)
U 0.36 0.15 1810 1.81
B 0.44 0.22 4260 4.26
V 0.55 0.16 3640 3.64
R 0.64 0.23 3080 3.08
I 0.79 0.19 2550 2.55
J 1.26 0.16 1600 1.60
H 1.60 0.23 1080 1.08
K 2.22 0.23 0670 0.67
L 3.50
g 0.52 0.14 3730 3.73
r 0.67 0.14 4490 4.49
i 0.79 0.16 4760 4.76
z 0.91 0.13 4810 4.81

It is important to note that the scale is logarithmic: the relative brightness of two objects is determined by the difference of their magnitudes. For example, a difference of 3.2 means that one object is about 19 times as bright as the other, because Pogson's Ratio raised to the power 3.2 is approximately 19.05.

A common misconception is that the logarithmic nature of the scale is because the human eye itself has a logarithmic response. In Pogson's time this was thought to be true (see Weber–Fechner law), but it is now believed that the response is a power law (see Stevens' power law).[10]

Magnitude is complicated by the fact that light is not monochromatic. The sensitivity of a light detector varies according to the wavelength of the light, and the way it varies depends on the type of light detector. For this reason, it is necessary to specify how the magnitude is measured for the value to be meaningful. For this purpose the UBV system is widely used, in which the magnitude is measured in three different wavelength bands: U (centred at about 350 nm, in the near ultraviolet), B (about 435 nm, in the blue region) and V (about 555 nm, in the middle of the human visual range in daylight). The V band was chosen for spectral purposes and gives magnitudes closely corresponding to those seen by the light-adapted human eye, and when an apparent magnitude is given without any further qualification, it is usually the V magnitude that is meant, more or less the same as visual magnitude.

Because cooler stars, such as red giants and red dwarfs, emit little energy in the blue and UV regions of the spectrum their power is often under-represented by the UBV scale. Indeed, some L and T class stars have an estimated magnitude of well over 100, because they emit extremely little visible light, but are strongest in infrared.

Measures of magnitude need cautious treatment and it is extremely important to measure like with like. On early 20th century and older orthochromatic (blue-sensitive) photographic film, the relative brightnesses of the blue supergiant Rigel and the red supergiant Betelgeuse irregular variable star (at maximum) are reversed compared to what human eyes perceive, because this archaic film is more sensitive to blue light than it is to red light. Magnitudes obtained from this method are known as photographic magnitudes, and are now considered obsolete.

For objects within the Milky Way with a given absolute magnitude, 5 is added to the apparent magnitude for every tenfold increase in the distance to the object. For objects at very great distances (far beyond the Milky Way), this relationship must be adjusted for redshifts and for non-Euclidean distance measures due to general relativity.[11][12]

For planets and other Solar System bodies the apparent magnitude is derived from its phase curve and the distances to the Sun and observer.

Table of notable celestial objects

Apparent visual magnitudes of known celestial objects
Celestial object ... ... as seen from
−67.57 gamma-ray burst GRB 080319B as seen from 1 AU.
−44.00 star R136a1 as seen from 1 AU.
−40.07 star Zeta1 Scorpii as seen from 1 AU.
−38.00 star Rigel as seen from 1 AU. It would be seen as a large very bright bluish disk of 35° apparent diameter.
−30.30 star Sirius as seen from 1 AU.
−29.30 star Sun as seen from Mercury at perihelion
−27.40 star Sun as seen from Venus at perihelion
−26.74 star Sun as seen from Earth (about 400,000 times brighter than mean full moon)[13]
−25.60 star Sun as seen from Mars at aphelion
−25.00 Minimum brightness that causes the typical eye slight pain to look at
−23.00 star Sun as seen from Jupiter at aphelion
−21.70 star Sun as seen from Saturn at aphelion
−20.20 star Sun as seen from Uranus at aphelion
−19.30 star Sun as seen from Neptune
−18.20 star Sun as seen from Pluto at aphelion
−16.70 star Sun as seen from Eris at aphelion
−14.20 An illumination level of 1 lux[14][15]
−12.90 full moon maximum brightness of perigee+perihelion full moon (mean distance value is −12.74,[16] though both values are about 0.18 magnitude brighter when including the opposition effect)
−11.20 star Sun as seen from Sedna at aphelion
−10.00 Comet Ikeya–Seki (1965) which was the brightest Kreutz Sungrazer of modern times[17]
0−9.50 Iridium (satellite) flare maximum brightness
0−7.50 supernova of 1006 the brightest stellar event in recorded history (7200 light-years away)[18]
0−6.50 The total integrated magnitude of the night sky as seen from Earth
0−6.00 Crab Supernova of 1054 (6500 light-years away)[19]
0−5.90 International Space Station when the ISS is at its perigee and fully lit by the Sun[20]
0−4.92 planet Venus maximum brightness[21] when illuminated as a crescent
0−4.14 planet Venus mean brightness[21]
0−4 Faintest objects observable during the day with naked eye when Sun is high
0−3.99 star Epsilon Canis Majoris maximum brightness of 4.7 million years ago, the historical brightest star of the last and next five million years
0−2.98 planet Venus minimum brightness when it is on the far side of the Sun[21]
0−2.94 planet Jupiter maximum brightness[21]
0−2.94 planet Mars maximum brightness[21]
0−2.5 Faintest objects visible during the day with naked eye when Sun is less than 10° above the horizon
0−2.50 new moon minimum brightness
0−2.48 planet Mercury maximum brightness at superior conjunction (unlike Venus, Mercury is at its brightest when on the far side of the Sun, the reason being their different phase curves)[21]
0−2.20 planet Jupiter mean brightness[21]
0−1.66 planet Jupiter minimum brightness[21]
0−1.47 star Sirius Brightest star (except for the Sun) at visible wavelengths[22]
0−0.83 star Eta Carinae apparent brightness as a supernova impostor in April 1843
0−0.72 star Canopus 2nd brightest star[23]
0−0.55 planet Saturn maximum brightness near opposition and perihelion when the rings are wide open[21]
0−0.3 Halley's comet Expected apparent magnitude at 2061 passage
0−0.27 star system Alpha Centauri AB The total magnitude (3rd brightest star to the naked eye)
0−0.04 star Arcturus 4th brightest star to the naked eye[24]
0−0.01 star Alpha Centauri A 4th brightest individual star visible telescopically in the sky
0+0.03 star Vega which was originally chosen as a definition of the zero point[25]
0+0.23 planet Mercury mean brightness[21]
0+0.50 star Sun as seen from Alpha Centauri
0+0.46 planet Saturn mean brightness[21]
0+0.71 planet Mars mean brightness[21]
0+1.17 planet Saturn minimum brightness[21]
0+1.86 planet Mars minimum brightness[21]
0+3.03 supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud (160,000 light-years away)
0 3...4 Faintest stars visible in an urban neighborhood with naked eye
003.44 Andromeda Galaxy M31[26]
4 Orion Nebula
004.38 moon Ganymede maximum brightness[27] (moon of Jupiter and the largest moon in the Solar System)
004.50 open cluster M41 an open cluster that may have been seen by Aristotle[28]
4.5 Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy
005.20 asteroid Vesta maximum brightness


planet Uranus maximum brightness[21]
005.68 planet Uranus mean brightness[21]
005.72 spiral galaxy M33 which is used as a test for naked eye seeing under dark skies[30][31]
005.8 gamma-ray burst GRB 080319B Peak visual magnitude (the "Clarke Event") seen on Earth on March 19, 2008 from a distance of 7.5 billion light-years.
006.03 planet Uranus minimum brightness[21]
006.49 asteroid Pallas maximum brightness
006.5 Approximate limit of stars observed by a mean naked eye observer under very good conditions. There are about 9,500 stars visible to mag 6.5.[1]
006.64 dwarf planet Ceres maximum brightness
006.75 asteroid Iris maximum brightness
006.90 spiral galaxy M81 This is an extreme naked-eyetarget that pushes human eyesight and the Bortle scale to the limit[32]
0 7...8 Extreme naked-eye limit, Class 1 on Bortle scale, the darkest skies available on Earth[33]
007.25 planet Mercury minimum brightness[21]
007.67[34] planet Neptune maximum brightness[21]
007.78 planet Neptune mean brightness[21]
008.00 planet Neptune minimum brightness[21]
008.10 moon Titan maximum brightness; largest moon of Saturn[35][36]; mean opposition magnitude 8.4[37]
8.29 UY Scuti Maximum brightness; largest known star by radius
008.94 asteroid 10 Hygiea maximum brightness[38]
009.50 Faintest objects visible using common 7×50 binoculars under typical conditions[39]
010.20 moon Iapetus maximum brightness[36], brightest when west of Saturn and takes 40 days to switch sides
10.7 Luhman 16 Closest brown dwarfs
11.05 Proxima Centauri 2nd closest star
11.8 moon Phobos Maximum brightness; brightest moon of Mars
12.23 R136a1 Most luminous and massive star known[40]
12.89 Deimos Maximum brightness
012.91 quasar 3C 273 brightest (luminosity distance of 2.4 billion light-years)
013.42 moon Triton Maximum brightness[37]
013.65 dwarf planet Pluto maximum brightness[41], 725 times fainter than magnitude 6.5 naked eye skies
13.9 Titania Maximum brightness; brightest moon of Uranus
14.1 WR 102 Hottest known star
015.4 centaur Chiron maximum brightness[42]
015.55 moon Charon maximum brightness (the large moon of Pluto)
016.8 dwarf planet Makemake Current opposition brightness[43]
017.27 dwarf planet Haumea Current opposition brightness of[44]
018.7 dwarf planet Eris Current opposition brightness
020.7 moon Callirrhoe (small ~8 km satellite of Jupiter)[37]
022 Faintest objects observable in visible light with a 600 mm (24″) Ritchey-Chrétien telescope with 30 minutes of stacked images (6 subframes at 5 minutes each) using a CCD detector[45]
022.91 moon Hydra maximum brightness of Pluto's moon
023.38 moon Nix maximum brightness of Pluto's moon
025.0 moon Fenrir (small ~4 km satellite of Saturn)[46]
027.6 planet Jupiter if it were located 5,000 AU (750 billion km) from the Sun[47]
027.7 Faintest objects observable with an 8-meter class ground-based telescope such as the Subaru Telescope in a 10-hour image[48]
028.2 Halley's Comet in 2003 when it was 28 AU from the Sun[49]
028.4 asteroid 2003 BH91 observed magnitude of ~15-kilometer Kuiper belt object Seen by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in 2003, dimmest known directly-observed asteroid.
031.5 Faintest objects observable in visible light with Hubble Space Telescope[50]
034 Faintest objects observable in visible light with James Webb Space Telescope[51]
035 unnamed asteroid expected magnitude of dimmest known asteroid, a 950-meter Kuiper belt object discovered by the HST passing in front of a star in 2009.[52]
035 star LBV 1806-20 a luminous blue variable star, expected magnitude at visible wavelengths due to interstellar extinction

Some of the above magnitudes are only approximate. Telescope sensitivity also depends on observing time, optical bandpass, and interfering light from scattering and airglow.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Vmag<6.5". SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  2. ^ "Magnitude". National Solar Observatory—Sacramento Peak. Archived from the original on 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2006-08-23.
  3. ^ Bright Star Catalogue
  4. ^ Pogson, N. (1856). "Magnitudes of Thirty-six of the Minor Planets for the first day of each month of the year 1857". MNRAS. 17: 12. Bibcode:1856MNRAS..17...12P. doi:10.1093/mnras/17.1.12.
  5. ^ See [1].
  6. ^ Oke, J. B.; Gunn, J. E. (March 15, 1983). "Secondary standard stars for absolute spectrophotometry". The Astrophysical Journal. 266: 713–717. Bibcode:1983ApJ...266..713O. doi:10.1086/160817.
  7. ^ "Magnitude Arithmetic". Weekly Topic. Caglow. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  8. ^ Evans, Aaron. "Some Useful Astronomical Definitions" (PDF). Stony Brook Astronomy Program. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  9. ^ Huchra, John. "Astronomical Magnitude Systems". Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  10. ^ Schulman, E.; Cox, C. V. (1997). "Misconceptions About Astronomical Magnitudes". American Journal of Physics. 65 (10): 1003. Bibcode:1997AmJPh..65.1003S. doi:10.1119/1.18714.
  11. ^ Umeh, Obinna; Clarkson, Chris; Maartens, Roy (2014). "Nonlinear relativistic corrections to cosmological distances, redshift and gravitational lensing magnification: II. Derivation". Classical and Quantum Gravity. 31 (20): 205001. arXiv:1402.1933. Bibcode:2014CQGra..31t5001U. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/31/20/205001.
  12. ^ Hogg, David W.; Baldry, Ivan K.; Blanton, Michael R.; Eisenstein, Daniel J. (2002). "The K correction". arXiv:astro-ph/0210394.
  13. ^ Williams, David R. (2004-09-01). "Sun Fact Sheet". NASA (National Space Science Data Center). Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  14. ^ Dufay, Jean (2012-10-17). Introduction to Astrophysics: The Stars. p. 3. ISBN 9780486607719.
  15. ^ McLean, Ian S. (2008). Electronic Imaging in Astronomy: Detectors and Instrumentation. Springer. p. 529. ISBN 978-3-540-76582-0.
  16. ^ Williams, David R. (2010-02-02). "Moon Fact Sheet". NASA (National Space Science Data Center). Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  17. ^ "Brightest comets seen since 1935". International Comet Quarterly. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  18. ^ Winkler, P. Frank; Gupta, Gaurav; Long, Knox S. (2003). "The SN 1006 Remnant: Optical Proper Motions, Deep Imaging, Distance, and Brightness at Maximum". The Astrophysical Journal. 585 (1): 324–335. arXiv:astro-ph/0208415. Bibcode:2003ApJ...585..324W. doi:10.1086/345985.
  19. ^ "Supernova 1054 – Creation of the Crab Nebula". SEDS.
  20. ^ "ISS Information -". Heavens-above. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Mallama, A.; Hilton, J.L. (2018). "Computing Apparent Planetary Magnitudes for The Astronomical Almanac". Astronomy and Computing. 25: 10–24. Bibcode:2018A&C....25...10M. doi:10.1016/j.ascom.2018.08.002.
  22. ^ "Sirius". SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  23. ^ "Canopus". SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  24. ^ "Arcturus". SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  25. ^ "Vega". SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
  26. ^ "SIMBAD-M31". SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Retrieved 2009-11-29.
  27. ^ Yeomans; Chamberlin. "Horizon Online Ephemeris System for Ganymede (Major Body 503)". California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2010-04-14. (4.38 on 1951-Oct-03)
  28. ^ "M41 possibly recorded by Aristotle". SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). 2006-07-28. Retrieved 2009-11-29.
  29. ^ "Uranus Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  30. ^ "SIMBAD-M33". SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  31. ^ Lodriguss, Jerry (1993). "M33 (Triangulum Galaxy)". Retrieved 2009-11-27. (Shows bolometric magnitude not visual magnitude.)
  32. ^ "Messier 81". SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). 2007-09-02. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  33. ^ John E. Bortle (February 2001). "The Bortle Dark-Sky Scale". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  34. ^ "Neptune Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  35. ^ Yeomans; Chamberlin. "Horizon Online Ephemeris System for Titan (Major Body 606)". California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2010-06-28. (8.10 on 2003-Dec-30) Archived November 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  36. ^ a b "Classic Satellites of the Solar System". Observatorio ARVAL. Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  37. ^ a b c "Planetary Satellite Physical Parameters". JPL (Solar System Dynamics). 2009-04-03. Archived from the original on 23 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  38. ^ "AstDys (10) Hygiea Ephemerides". Department of Mathematics, University of Pisa, Italy. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  39. ^ Zarenski, Ed (2004). "Limiting Magnitude in Binoculars" (PDF). Cloudy Nights. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
  40. ^ "What Is the Most Massive Star?". Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  41. ^ Williams, David R. (2006-09-07). "Pluto Fact Sheet". National Space Science Data Center. NASA. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  42. ^ "AstDys (2060) Chiron Ephemerides". Department of Mathematics, University of Pisa, Italy. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  43. ^ "AstDys (136472) Makemake Ephemerides". Department of Mathematics, University of Pisa, Italy. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  44. ^ "AstDys (136108) Haumea Ephemerides". Department of Mathematics, University of Pisa, Italy. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  45. ^ Steve Cullen (sgcullen) (2009-10-05). "17 New Asteroids Found by LightBuckets". LightBuckets. Archived from the original on 2010-01-31. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
  46. ^ Sheppard, Scott S. "Saturn's Known Satellites". Carnegie Institution (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism). Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  47. ^ Magnitude difference is 2.512 log10[(5000/5)2 × (4999/4)2] ˜ 30.6, so Jupiter is 30.6 magnitudes fainter at 5000 AU
  48. ^ What is the faintest object imaged by ground-based telescopes?, by: The Editors of Sky Telescope, July 24, 2006
  49. ^ "New Image of Comet Halley in the Cold". ESO. 2003-09-01. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  50. ^ Illingworth, G. D.; Magee, D.; Oesch, P. A.; Bouwens, R. J.; Labbé, I.; Stiavelli, M.; van Dokkum, P. G.; Franx, M.; Trenti, M.; Carollo, C. M.; Gonzalez, V. (21 October 2013). "The HST eXtreme Deep Field XDF: Combining all ACS and WFC3/IR Data on the HUDF Region into the Deepest Field Ever". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 209 (1): 6. arXiv:1305.1931. Bibcode:2013ApJS..209....6I. doi:10.1088/0067-0049/209/1/6.
  51. ^ (retrieved Sep 14 2017)
  52. ^ "NASA – Hubble Finds Smallest Kuiper Belt Object Ever Seen". NASA. Retrieved 16 March 2018.

External links

39 Boötis

39 Boötis (abbreviated as 39 Boo) or ADS 9406 B is a star in the constellation Boötes. A multiple star system, it has a combined apparent magnitude of 5.68. The system is 224 ± 8 light-years distant.

It is composed of BD+49 2326A, which has an apparent magnitude of 6.248 and spectral type F8V, and BD+49 2326B, which has an apparent magnitude of 6.62 and spectral type F7V. Both stars are themselves spectroscopic binaries.

Absolute magnitude

Absolute magnitude is a measure of the luminosity of a celestial object, on a logarithmic astronomical magnitude scale. An object's absolute magnitude is defined to be equal to the apparent magnitude that the object would have if it were viewed from a distance of exactly 10 parsecs (32.6 light-years), with no extinction (or dimming) of its light due to absorption by interstellar dust particles. By hypothetically placing all objects at a standard reference distance from the observer, their luminosities can be directly compared on a magnitude scale. As with all astronomical magnitudes, the absolute magnitude can be specified for different wavelength ranges corresponding to specified filter bands or passbands; for stars a commonly quoted absolute magnitude is the absolute visual magnitude, which uses the visual (V) band of the spectrum (in the UBV photometric system). Absolute magnitudes are denoted by a capital M, with a subscript representing the filter band used for measurement, such as MV for absolute magnitude in the V band.

The more luminous an object, the smaller the numerical value of its absolute magnitude. A difference of 5 magnitudes between the absolute magnitudes of two objects corresponds to a ratio of 100 in their luminosities, and a difference of n magnitudes in absolute magnitude corresponds to a luminosity ratio of 100(n/5). For example, a star of absolute magnitude MV=3 would be 100 times more luminous than a star of absolute magnitude MV=8 as measured in the V filter band. The Sun has absolute magnitude MV=+4.83. Highly luminous objects can have negative absolute magnitudes: for example, the Milky Way galaxy has an absolute B magnitude of about −20.8.An object's absolute bolometric magnitude represents its total luminosity over all wavelengths, rather than in a single filter band, as expressed on a logarithmic magnitude scale. To convert from an absolute magnitude in a specific filter band to absolute bolometric magnitude, a bolometric correction is applied.

For Solar System bodies that shine in reflected light, a different definition of absolute magnitude (H) is used, based on a standard reference distance of one astronomical unit.


A bolide (French via Latin from the Greek βολίς bolís, "missile") is an extremely bright meteor, especially one that explodes in the atmosphere. In astronomy, it refers to a fireball about as bright as the full moon, and it is generally considered a synonym for a fireball. In geology, a bolide is a very large impactor.

One definition describes a bolide as a fireball reaching an apparent magnitude of −14 or brighter — more than twice as bright as the full moon. Another definition describes a bolide as any generic large crater-forming impacting body whose composition (for example, whether it is a rocky or metallic asteroid, or an icy comet) is unknown.A superbolide is a bolide that reaches an apparent magnitude of −17 or brighter.

Recent examples of superbolides include the Sutter's Mill meteorite and the Chelyabinsk meteor.

C/2013 US10

C/2013 US10 (Catalina) is an Oort cloud comet discovered on 31 October 2013 by the Catalina Sky Survey at an apparent magnitude of 19 using a 0.68-meter (27 in) Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope. As of September 2015 the comet is around apparent magnitude 6.

D Centauri

D Centauri (D Cen) is a double star in the constellation Centaurus. The system has a combined apparent magnitude of +5.31 and is approximately 570 light years from Earth.

The system is classified as an orange K-type giant. The brighter component has an apparent magnitude of +5.31, while the apparent magnitude of the optical companion is +6.8. The two stars are separated by 2.9 arcseconds.

GRB 080319B

GRB 080319B was a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detected by the Swift satellite at 06:12 UTC on March 19, 2008. The burst set a new record for the farthest object that was observable with the naked eye: it had a peak visual apparent magnitude of 5.3 and remained visible to human eyes for approximately 30 seconds. The magnitude was brighter than 9.0 for approximately 60 seconds.

If viewed from 1 AU away, it would have had a peak apparent magnitude of -67.57 (for comparison the Sun has an apparent magnitude of -27).

HD 218061

HD 218061 is a class K4III (orange giant) star in the constellation Aquarius. Its apparent magnitude is 6.16 and it is approximately 650 light years away based on parallax. It has a companion B of apparent magnitude 11.4 and separation 55.1", corresponding to roughly absolute magnitude 4.9 and a separation of 11000 AU if the distance from Earth is the same.

Magnitude (astronomy)

In astronomy, magnitude is a unitless measure of the brightness of an object in a defined passband, often in the visible or infrared spectrum, but sometimes across all wavelengths. An imprecise but systematic determination of the magnitude of objects was introduced in ancient times by Hipparchus.

The scale is logarithmic and defined such that each step of one magnitude changes the brightness by a factor of the fifth root of 100, or approximately 2.512. For example, a magnitude 1 star is exactly 100 times brighter than a magnitude 6 star. The brighter an object appears, the lower the value of its magnitude, with the brightest objects reaching negative values.

Astronomers use two different definitions of magnitude: apparent magnitude and absolute magnitude. The apparent magnitude (m) is the brightness of an object as it appears in the night sky from Earth. Apparent magnitude depends on an object's intrinsic luminosity, its distance, and the extinction reducing its brightness. The absolute magnitude (M) describes the intrinsic luminosity emitted by an object and is defined to be equal to the apparent magnitude that the object would have if it were placed at a certain distance from Earth, 10 parsecs for stars. A more complex definition of absolute magnitude is used for planets and small Solar System bodies, based on its brightness at one astronomical unit from the observer and the Sun.

The Sun has an apparent magnitude of −27 and Sirius, the brightest visible star in the night sky, −1.46. Apparent magnitudes can also be assigned to artificial objects in Earth orbit with the International Space Station (ISS) sometimes reaching a magnitude of −6.

Mu Cygni

μ Cygni (Latinised as Mu Cygni) is a binary star in the constellation Cygnus. Located around 22.24 parsecs (72.5 ly) distant, the system has a combined apparent magnitude of 4.50. The primary, with an apparent magnitude of 4.69, has a spectral type of F6V, and the secondary, with an apparent magnitude of 6.12, has a spectral type of G2V.

Their orbit has a period of around 800 years, with a semimajor axis of 5" and an eccentricity around 0.6.Two reported additional components, C (apparent magnitude 12.93) and D (apparent magnitude 6.94), are believed to be optical doubles rather than part of the Mu Cygni system. Component D is the more distant spectroscopic binary HD 206874 (HIP 107326), consisting of two early F-type subgiants.

NGC 102

NGC 102 is a lenticular galaxy estimated to be about 330 million light-years away in the constellation of Cetus. It was discovered by Francis Leavenworth in 1886 and its apparent magnitude is 14.

NGC 105

NGC 105 is a spiral galaxy estimated to be about 240 million light-years away in the constellation of Pisces. It was discovered by Édouard Stephan in 1884 and its apparent magnitude is 14.1.

NGC 106

NGC 106 is a lenticular galaxy estimated to be about 270 million light-years away in the constellation of Pisces. It was discovered by Francis Leavenworth in 1886 and its apparent magnitude is 14.5.

NGC 119

NGC 119 is a lenticuluar galaxy of type E/SA0? pec with an apparent magnitude of 13.0 located in the constellation Phoenix.

NGC 62

NGC 62 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Cetus. It is located at RA 00h 17m 05.4s, dec −13° 29′ 15″, and has an apparent magnitude of 13.5.

NGC 83

NGC 83 is an elliptical galaxy estimated to be about 260 million light-years away in the constellation of Andromeda. It was discovered by John Herschel in 1828 and its apparent magnitude is 14.2.

NGC 86

NGC 86 is a lenticular galaxy estimated to be between 275 and 300 million light-years away in the constellation of Andromeda. It was discovered by Guillaume Bigourdan in 1884 and its apparent magnitude is 14.9.

NGC 96

NGC 96 is a lenticular galaxy estimated to be about 290 million light-years away in the constellation of Andromeda. It was discovered by Guillaume Bigourdan in 1884 and its apparent magnitude is 17.

NGC 97

NGC 97 is a elliptical galaxy estimated to be about 230 million light-years away in the constellation of Andromeda. It was discovered by John Herschel in 1828 and its apparent magnitude is 13.5.

Pisces (constellation)

Pisces is a constellation of the zodiac. Its name is the Latin plural for fish. It lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east. The ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect within this constellation and in Virgo. Its symbol is (Unicode ♓).

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