Term Paper on Stars

This essay has a total of 650 words and 3 pages.


Mike McCann Science Report
Science Report P.d. 4


The 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. 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
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