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Q & A: Magnitude of stars and the sun

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Most recent answer: 05/16/2013
Q:
What magnitude of star is our sun? I.E how bright is it?
- Nora
La Grande, OR, USA
A:
The Greek astronomer Hipparchus devised the magnitude system around 150 B.C.  Curiously, the larger the magnitude the dimmer the star.  It is a logarithmic system:  a change of 5 magnitudes corresponds to a factor of 100 in brightness.  The sun has a magnitude of -26.7, the moon -12.6.   The star Vega is the standard of the industry and has a magnitude of 0.  The faintest star you can see with your eye is about +6.5
For more information see:    
LeeH

(published on 05/16/2013)

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