The Solar System and all of the visible stars are in different orbits about the core of the Milky Way galaxy. Thus, their relative positions change over time, and for the nearer stars this movement can be measured. As a star moves toward or away from us, its apparent brightness changes. Sirius is currently the brightest star in Earth's night sky, but it has not always been so. Canopus has persistently been the brightest star over the ages; other stars appear brighter only during relatively temporary periods, during which they are passing the Solar System at a much closer distance than Canopus.
Working out exactly which stars were or will be the brightest at any given point in the past or future is difficult since it requires precise 3D proper motions of large numbers of stars and precise distances. This information only started to become available with the 1997 Hipparcos satellite data release. Jocelyn Tomkin used this data to compile a list of brightest star in Earth's night sky at each period within the last or next 5 million years. Reanalysis of the Hipparcos data and new data from the Gaia spacecraft have rendered the list somewhat outdated. For example, it doesn't include Gliese 710 which in about 1.35 million years time is expected to be close enough to have a magnitude of −2.7.
|Epsilon Canis Majoris ||...||−4,460,000||−4,700,000||−3.99||34||430||1.50|
|Beta Canis Majoris ||−4,460,000||−3,700,000||−4,420,000||−3.65||37||500||1.99|
|Canopus (first time)||−3,700,000||−1,370,000||−3,110,000||−1.86||177||310||−0.72|
|Canopus (second time)||−950,000||−420,000||-950,000||-1.09||252||310||−0.72|
|Canopus (third time)||−160,000||−90,000||-160,000||-0.70||302||310||−0.72|
|Canopus (fourth time)||+480,000||+990,000||+480,000||-0.40||346||310||−0.72|
|NR Canis Majoris||+2,670,000||+3,050,000||+2,870,000||−0.88||14||280||5.6|
This is a list of the brightest natural objects in the sky. This list orders maximum apparent magnitudes from Earth, not anywhere else, and is for naked eye viewing. Individual stars without IAU approved names and multiple star systems are listed with their Bayer designations. This list does not include comets, man-made objects, or phenomenon such as supernovae or clouds.List of brightest stars
This is a list of stars down to magnitude +2.50, as determined by their maximum, total, or combined visual magnitudes as viewed from Earth. Although several of the brightest stars are known binary or multiple star systems and are relatively close to Earth, they appear to the naked eye as single stars. The list below combines/adds the magnitudes of bright individual components. Most of the proper names in this list are those approved by the Working Group on Star Names. Popular star names here that have not been approved by the IAU appear with a short note.List of extremes in the sky
This article describes some extremes in the sky as a textual addition to the list of star extremes page.Outline of astronomy
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to astronomy:
Astronomy – studies the universe beyond Earth, including its formation and development, and the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects (such as galaxies, planets, etc.) and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth (such as the cosmic background radiation).
Category:Stars · Stars portal