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The Brightest Stars in the Night Sky

The brightest star that we can see full stop is the Sun with an apparent magnitude of -26.74 which is so bright we are unable to see any other stars during the day. If you see a star during the morning, it is probably Venus and not a star.

For the list below, the list is based on the apparent magnitude from the Hipparcos Catalogue. Hipparcos was the name of a satellite that was sent into space by the European Space Agency on August 8th, 1989 which monitored over 100,000 closest stars.

Something you will notice is that generally the brightest star in a constellation will have the Alpha designation but not always, for example, the constellation of Orion where Rigel is the Beta star but isn't the brightest. The other thing you notice is that both stars from the same constellation make the list, its not uncommon as a couple of stars from Canis Major and Gemini make the list. A lot of Alpha stars of major constellations such as Acubens, the alpha star of Cancer the Crab doesn't make the list.

Being nearby doesn't necessarily mean they will be the brightest in the night sky, the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri is not visible to the naked eye, it is a small red dwarf a mere 4 light years away. The next closest star, Rigil Kentaurus does make the list.

#Star NameConstellationLatin NameDistance (Lieutenant Yr)Magnitude
1SiriusCanis MajorAlpha Canis Majoris8.60-1.44
2CanopusCarinaAlpha Carinae309.16-0.62
3ArcturusBootesAlpha Bootis36.72-0.05
4Rigil KentaurusCentaurusAlpha Centauri4.32-0.01
5VegaLyraAlpha Lyrae25.050.03
6CapellaAurigaAlpha Aurigae42.800.08
7RigelOrionBeta Orionis862.870.18
8ProcyonCanis MinorAlpha Canis Minoris11.460.4
9AchernarEridanusAlpha Eridani139.450.45
10BetelgeuseOrionAlpha Orionis497.960.45
11HadarCentaurusBeta Centauri392.020.61
12AltairAquilaAlpha Aquilae16.730.76
13AcruxCruxAlpha Crucis321.980.77
14AldebaranTaurusAlpha Tauri66.650.87
15SpicaVirgoAlpha Virginis249.740.98
16AntaresScorpiusAlpha Scorpii553.761.06
17PolluxGeminiBeta Geminorum33.791.16
18FomalhautPiscis AustrinusAlpha Piscis Austrini25.131.17
19MimosaCruxBeta Crucis278.531.25
20DenebCygnusAlpha Cygni1411.961.25
21RegulusLeoAlpha Leonis79.301.36
22AdharaCanis MajorEpsilon Canis Majoris405.171.5
23CastorGeminiAlpha Geminorum50.871.58
24GacruxCruxGamma Crucis88.561.59
25ShaulaScorpiusLambda Scorpii571.211.62
26BellatrixOrionGamma Orionis252.451.64
27ElnathTaurusBeta Tauri133.891.65
28MiaplacidusCarinaBeta Carinae113.171.67
29AlnilamOrionEpsilon Orionis1976.751.69
30Al NairGrusAlpha Gruis101.011.73

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