History of the Universe

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Magnitude of a Star

Apparent magnitude is the brightness of an object as it appears to an observer on Earth. In this page we will use the word magnitude to mean apparent magnitude.

The way astronomers measure the brightness of stars and other objects in the sky is not very logical and can cause confusion. You would expect to give a big number to something that is bright, a little number to something that is small or insignificant. But on the magnitude scale, the LOWEST numbers refer to the BRIGHTEST objects. This is not sensible, but we are stuck with it!

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History of the Universe eBook
History of the Universe eBook
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Written by Wyken Seagrave
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