Scope on the Skies: The brightest stars in the skyby: Bob Riddle

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What makes some stars brighter than others? Interestingly, there is a relationship between the color of a star, its temperature, and its brightness. The temperature of a star determines its surface color and luminosity (the star’s actual output of energy, which we see as how bright it appears). In general, cool stars such as Betelgeuse are reddish; medium temperature stars such as our Sun are yellow-orange; and hotter stars, such as Sirius and Rigel, are blue or blue-white). The hottest stars, logically, are also the brightest stars. However, the size of the star and its distance from the Earth play important roles in how bright the star appears.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:08 AM

Loved the My bright Star facts figure!

Tory Addison
Tory Addison

  • on Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:39 PM

This article provides an excellent resource for when and where to look at the winter sky to see familiar constellations. Included in the article are diagrams and charts that help the reader identify the stars and planets that are seen during the winter months. The author also includes several internet resources for additional information.

Maureen Stover  (Fayetteville, NC)
Maureen Stover (Fayetteville, NC)

  • on Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:50 PM

Using the constellation of Orion the author describes stars in terms of their brightness and points out that the brightness of a star is also a factor of the stars color and temperature. There is an interesting char that compares our sun with other stars in terms of distance from Earth, the apparent and absolute magnitude of these stars. The author also points out those closer stars may make them appear brighter as well.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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