Astronomy:List of brightest stars

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Short description: Stars sorted by apparent magnitude

This is a list of stars arranged by their apparent magnitude – their brightness as observed from Earth. It includes all stars brighter than magnitude +2.50 in visible light, measured using a V-band filter in the UBV photometric system. Stars in binary systems (or other multiples) are listed by their total or combined brightness if they appear as a single star to the naked eye as

or listed separately if they do not. As with all magnitude systems in astronomy, the scale is logarithmic and inverted i.e. lower/more negative numbers are brighter.

Most stars on this list appear bright from Earth because they are nearby, not because they are intrinsically luminous. For a list which compensates for the distances, converting the apparent magnitude to the absolute magnitude, see the list of most luminous stars.

Some major asterisms, which feature many of the brightest stars in the night sky


The Sun is the brightest star as viewed from Earth, at −26.78 mag. The second brightest is Sirius at −1.46 mag. For comparison, the brightest non-stellar objects in the Solar System have maximum brightnesses of:

Any exact order of the visual brightness of stars is not perfectly defined for four reasons:

  • Stellar brightness is based on the apparent visual magnitude as perceived by the human eye, from the brightest stars of 1st magnitude to the faintest at 6th magnitude. Since the invention of the optical telescope and the documenting of binary stars and multiple star systems, stellar brightness could be expressed as either individual (separate) or total (combined) magnitude. The table is ordered by combined magnitude of all naked eye components appearing as if it they were single stars. Such multiple star systems are indicated by parentheses showing the individual magnitudes of component stars bright enough to make a detectable contribution. For example, the binary star system Alpha Centauri has the total or combined magnitude of −0.27, while its two component stars have magnitudes of +0.01 and +1.33.[3]
  • New or more accurate photometry, standard filters, or adopting differing methods using standard stars can measure stellar magnitudes slightly differently. This may change the apparent order of lists of bright stars. The table shows measured V magnitudes, which use a specific filter that closely approximates human vision. However, other kinds of magnitude systems do exist based on different wavelengths, some well away from the distribution of the visible wavelengths of light, and these apparent magnitudes vary dramatically in the different systems.[4] For example, Betelgeuse has the K-band (infrared) apparent magnitude of −4.05.[5]
  • Some stars, like Betelgeuse and Antares, are variable stars, changing their magnitude over days, months or years. In the table, the range of variation is indicated with the symbol "var". Single magnitude values quoted for variable stars come from a variety of sources. Magnitudes shown in the table are either when the stars are at maximum brightness, which is repeated for every cycle (e.g. the eclipsing binary Algol); or, if the variations are small, a simple average magnitude. For red variable stars, specifying a single maximum brightness is often difficult because each cycle produces a different maximum brightness; this is thought to be caused by poorly understood pulsations in stellar evolution processes. Such quoted stellar brightness is sometimes based on the average maximum apparent magnitude[6] from estimated maxima over many observed light-curve cycles, sometimes spanning across centuries. Results often quoted in the literature are not necessarily straightforward and may differ in expressing an alternate value for a singular maximum brightness or as a range of values.
  • A few selected stars, thought to be uniformly fixed in brightness, are used as standard stars.[which?] These standard stars have carefully determined magnitudes that have been analysed over many years, and are often used to determine other stars' magnitudes or their stellar parameters using comparatively consistent scales.[7]


All of these stars have multiple valid names or catalogue designations. The table lists their Bayer designation and the most common proper name. Most of the proper names have been approved[8] by the Working Group on Star Names of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Popular names which have not been approved by the IAU are omitted.


The source of magnitudes cited in this list is the linked Wikipedia articles. This basic list is a catalog of what Wikipedia itself documents. References can be found in the individual articles.

Wolf–Rayet star
O-type star
B-type star
A-type star
F-type star
G-type star
K-type star
M-type star
Brightest star of its constellation
Rank Visual magnitude (mV) Proper name[8] Bayer
Distance (ly) Spectral type
0 0.000−26.74 Sun 0.0 G2 V
1 0.001−1.46 Sirius α CMa 0008.6 A0mA1 Va, DA2
2 0.003−0.74 Canopus α Car 0310 A9 II
3 0.004−0.27 (0.01 + 1.33) Rigil Kentaurus
& Toliman
α Cen 0004.34 G2 V, K1 V
4 0.005−0.05 Arcturus α Boo 0037 K0 III
5 0.03 (−0.02–0.07var) Vega α Lyr 0025 A0 Va
6 0.08 (0.03–0.16var) Capella α Aur 0043 K0 III, G1 III
7 0.13 (0.05–0.18var) Rigel β Ori 0860 B8 Ia
8 0.34 Procyon α CMi 0011 F5 IV-V
9 0.46 (0.40–0.46var) Achernar α Eri 0139 B3 Vpe
10 0.50 (0.0–1.6var) Betelgeuse α Ori 0550 M1-M2 Ia-ab
11 0.61 Hadar β Cen 0390 B1 III
12 0.76 Altair α Aql 0017 A7 V
13 0.76 (1.33 + 1.73) Acrux α Cru 0320 B0.5 IV, B1 V
14 0.86 (0.75–0.95var) Aldebaran α Tau 0065 K5 III
15 0.96 (0.6–1.6var) Antares α Sco 0550 M1.5 Iab-Ib, B2.5 V
16 0.97 (0.97–1.04var) Spica α Vir 0250 B1 III-IV, B2 V
17 1.14 Pollux β Gem 0034 K0 III
18 1.16 Fomalhaut α PsA 0025 A3 V
19 1.25 (1.21–1.29var) Deneb α Cyg 2,600 A2 Ia
20 1.25 (1.23–1.31var) Mimosa β Cru 0280 B0.5 III, B2 V
21 1.39 Regulus α Leo 0079 B8 IVn
22 1.50 Adhara ε CMa 0430 B2 II
23 1.58 (1.93 + 2.97) Castor α Gem 0051 A1 V, Am
24 1.62 Shaula λ Sco 0570 B2 IV
25 1.64 Gacrux γ Cru 0089 M3.5 III
26 1.64 Bellatrix γ Ori 0250 B2 III
27 1.65 Elnath β Tau/γ Aur 0130 B7 III
28 1.69 Miaplacidus β Car 0110 A1 III
29 1.69 (1.64–1.74var) Alnilam ε Ori 2,000 B0 Ia
30 1.72 (1.81–1.87var + 4.27) γ Vel 0840 WC8, O7.5III
31 1.74 Alnair α Gru 0100 B6 V
32 1.77 Alnitak ζ Ori 01,300 O9.5 Iab, B1 IV, B0 III
33 1.77 Alioth ε UMa 0083 A1 III-IVp kB9
34 1.79 Dubhe α UMa 0120 K0 III, F0 V
35 1.80 Mirfak α Per 0510 F5 Ib
36 1.82 Wezen δ CMa 1,800 F8 Ia
37 1.84 Sargas θ Sco 0330 F0 II
38 1.85 Kaus Australis ε Sgr 0140 B9.5 III
39 1.86 Avior ε Car 0600 K3 III, B2 Vp
40 1.86 Alkaid η UMa 0100 B3 V
41 1.90 (1.89–1.94var) Menkalinan β Aur 080 A1mIV+A1mIV
42 1.91 Atria α TrA 0390 K2 IIb-IIIa
43 1.92 Alhena γ Gem 0100 A1.5 IV+
44 1.94 Peacock α Pav 0180 B3 V
45 1.96 (1.99–2.39var + 5.57) Alsephina δ Vel 0080 A1 Va(n), F7.5 V
46 1.98 Mirzam β CMa 0500 B1 II-III
47 2.00 Alphard α Hya 0180 K3 II-III
48 1.98 (1.86–2.13var) Polaris α UMi 0430 F7 Ib
49 2.00 Hamal α Ari 0066 K1 IIIb
50 2.08 (2.37 + 3.64) Algieba γ Leo 0130 K0 III, G7 IIIb
51 2.02 Diphda β Cet 0096 K0 III
52 2.04 Mizar ζ UMa 0083 A2 Vp, A2 Vp, Am
53 2.05 Nunki σ Sgr 0230 B2.5 V
54 2.06 Menkent θ Cen 0059 K0 III
55 2.06 Alpheratz α And/δ Peg 0097 B8 IVpMnHg, A3 V
56 2.07[9] (2.01–2.10var) Mirach β And 0200 M0 III
57 2.07 Rasalhague α Oph 0047 A5IVnn
58 2.08 Kochab β UMi 0130 K4 III
59 2.09 Saiph κ Ori 0720 B0.5 Ia
60 2.11 Denebola β Leo 0036 A3 Va
61 2.12 (2.1–3.39var) Algol β Per 0093 B8 V, K0 IV, A7m
62 2.15 (2.0–2.3var) Tiaki β Gru 0170 M5 III
63 2.17 Muhlifain γ Cen 0130 A0 III, A0 III
64 2.21 Aspidiske ι Car 0690 A9 Ib
65 2.21 (2.14–2.30var) Suhail λ Vel 0570 K4 Ib
66 2.23 (2.21–2.32var) Alphecca α CrB 0075 A0 V, G5 V
67 2.23 (2.23–2.35var) Mintaka δ Ori 0900 O9.5 II, B1 V, B0 IV
68 2.23 Sadr γ Cyg 1,500 F8 Iab
69 2.23 Eltanin γ Dra 0150 K5 III
70 2.24 Schedar α Cas 0230 K0 IIIa
71 2.25 Naos ζ Pup 1,080 O4 If(n)p
72 2.26 Almach γ And 0350 K3 IIb, B9.5 V, B9.5 V, A0 V
73 2.28 (2.25–2.31var) Caph β Cas 0054 F2 III
74 2.29 Izar ε Boo 0202 K0 II-III, A2 V
75 2.30 (2.29–2.34var) α Lup 0550 B1.5 III
76 2.30 (2.29–2.31var) ε Cen 0380 B1III
77 2.31 (1.6–2.32var) Dschubba δ Sco 0400 B0.3 IV, B1-3 V
78 2.31 Larawag ε Sco 0065 K1 III
79 2.35 (2.30–2.41var) η Cen 0310 B1.5 Vne
80 2.37 Merak β UMa 0079 A1 IVps
81 2.38 Ankaa α Phe 0077 K0.5 IIIb
82 2.39 κ Sco 0460 B1.5 III
83 2.40 (0.7–3.0var) Enif ε Peg 0670 K2 Ib
84 2.42 (2.31–2.74var) Scheat β Peg 0200 M2.5 II-IIIe
85 2.43 Sabik η Oph 0088 A1 IV, A1 IV
86 2.44 Phecda γ UMa 0084 A0 Ve
87 2.45 Aludra η CMa 2,000 B5 Ia
88 2.46 Markeb κ Vel 0540 B2 IV
89 2.47 (1.6–3.0var) γ Cas 0610 B0.5 IVe
90 2.48 Markab α Peg 0140 A0 IV
91 2.48 Aljanah ε Cyg 0072 K0 III-IV
92 2.50 Acrab β Sco 0404 B0.5 IV-V, B1.5 V, B2 V

Brighest star by galaxy

Galaxy Apparent Magnitude Star Distance (ly) Spectral type Notes
Milky Way –26.74 Sun 0 G2V
Large Magellanic Cloud 8.99 – 9.22 (variable)[10] HD 33579 163,000 A3Ia+ The Luminous Blue Variables S Doradus and R71 are brighter during their outbursts.
Small Magellanic Cloud 10.47[11] SK 69 200,000 B8Ia
Andromeda Galaxy 15.6[12] [DMM2009] J004406.32+420131 2,500,000 F2Ia
Triangulum Galaxy 14.859[13] B324 3,200,000 A8–F0Ia A yellow hypergiant.

See also


  1. Zombeck, Martin V. (2007). Handbook of space astronomy and astrophysics (Third ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 75, 144–145. ISBN 978-0-521-78242-5. 
  2. Mallama, Anthony; Hilton, James L. (October 2018). "Computing apparent planetary magnitudes for The Astronomical Almanac". Astronomy and Computing 25: 10–24. doi:10.1016/j.ascom.2018.08.002. Bibcode2018A&C....25...10M. 
  3. Hoffleit, Dorrit; Jaschek, Carlos (1991). "The Bright star catalogue". New Haven. 
  4. Bessell, Michael S. (2005). "Standard Photometric Systems". Annual Review of Astronomy & Astrophysics 43 (1): 293–336. doi:10.1146/annurev.astro.41.082801.100251. Bibcode2005ARA&A..43..293B. 
  5. Ducati, J. R. (2002). "VizieR Online Data Catalog: Catalogue of Stellar Photometry in Johnson's 11-color system". CDS/ADC Collection of Electronic Catalogues 2237. Bibcode2002yCat.2237....0D. 
  6. Illingworth, Valerie (1979). Macmillan Dictionary of Astronomy. Dictionary Series (Second ed.). London: Springer (published April 1985). p. 237. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-17803-2. ISBN 9781349178032. OCLC 965821821. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  7. Landolt, Arlo U. (2009). "UBVRI Photometric Standard Stars Around the Celestial Equator: Updates and Additions". The Astronomical Journal 137 (5): 4186–4269. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/137/5/4186. Bibcode2009AJ....137.4186L. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Naming Stars". IAU Division C WG Star Names. 
  9. "HD 6860 | NASA Exoplanet Archive". 
  10. "VSX : Detail for LMC V1006". 
  11. Bonanos, A. Z.; Lennon, D. J.; Köhlinger, F.; van Loon, J. Th.; Massa, D. L.; Sewilo, M.; Evans, C. J.; Panagia, N. et al. (2010-06-24). "SPITZERSAGE-SMC INFRARED PHOTOMETRY OF MASSIVE STARS IN THE SMALL MAGELLANIC CLOUD". The Astronomical Journal 140 (2): 416–429. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/140/2/416. ISSN 0004-6256. 
  12. Drout, Maria R.; Massey, Philip; Meynet, Georges; Tokarz, Susan; Caldwell, Nelson (2009-08-27). "YELLOW SUPERGIANTS IN THE ANDROMEDA GALAXY (M31)". The Astrophysical Journal 703 (1): 441–460. doi:10.1088/0004-637x/703/1/441. ISSN 0004-637X. 
  13. Massey, Philip; Olsen, K. A. G.; Hodge, Paul W.; Strong, Shay B.; Jacoby, George H.; Schlingman, Wayne; Smith, R. C. (May 2006). "A Survey of Local Group Galaxies Currently Forming Stars. I.UBVRIPhotometry of Stars in M31 and M33". The Astronomical Journal 131 (5): 2478–2496. doi:10.1086/503256. ISSN 0004-6256. 

External links