The 30 brightest stars in the night sky
The stars in this list are sorted according to their apparent brightness perceived from Earth. The list contains stars up to a magnitude of +2.50, determined by their maximum, total, or combined visual sizes seen from Earth. Although some of the brightest stars are known binary or multiple star systems and are relatively close to Earth, they appear to the naked eye as single stars.
|The Sun is the closest star to Earth and the center of our solar system. It is a dwarf or main sequence star, the radiation energy is released by the fusion of hydrogen atoms. The diameter is about 1.4 million km (about 100 times larger than the Earth). The sun is 149.6 million km away from the earth and about 4.57 billion years old.
|Sirius is a binary star consisting of Sirius A & B. Sirius A is the brightest star in the night sky.
|Canopus is located in the constellation Carina and thus belonged to the largest constellation in the night sky in ancient times, Argo Navis.
|Alpha Centauri A
|Alpha Centauri is a binary star system (Alpha Centauri A & B) and, as the name suggests, is located in the constellation Centaur.
|Arcturus is the brightest star of the northern hemisphere and, therefore, visible from all continents of the earth, despite its position. It was probably the first star in the day sky to be sighted by Jean-Baptiste Morin in 1635. Arcturus is located in the constellation Bootes.
|Vega belongs to the known summer triangle and is the brightest star in the northern hemisphere in white light. It is located in the constellation Lyra.
|Capella means "little goat" in Latin. To the name belongs a history of Greek mythology: Zeus was nourished by the goat Amaltheia in childhood on the island of Crete. Out of gratitude, he put her to the starry sky, into the constellation Auriga.
|Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation Orion.
|Procyon is the brightest star of the constellation Canis Minor. Greek means "before the dog", which indicates that it rises before Sirius, which is located in the constellation of Canis Major.
|Achernar, also called Alpha Eridani, is best to be seen in the southern hemisphere. Achernar means "end of the river" in Arabic, because it is the last star in the constellation Eridanus. It has a very high rotational speed, which suggests that it is strongly flattened.
|In Arabic it means "Hand of the Giantess". The star is also referred to the shoulder star of Orion and is located in the constellation of the same name.
|As the second star in the binary star system with Alpha Centauri, Beta Centauri is also in the constellation Centaurus. It is also called Agena or Hadar, is 530 light-years away from the solar system, exceeds the luminosity of the Sun by a factor of 10,000 and was exposed as a binary star in 1935.
|Together with the stars Vega and Deneb, Altair forms the summer triangle. It is located in the constellation Aquila.
|Acrux is the brightest star in the constellation Crux. It is a binary star system.
|Aldebaran is a binary star system as well and the brightest star in the constellation Taurus.
|Antares, also called Alpha Scorpii, belongs to the constellation Scorpius. It is often confused with Mars because of its similar red coloration.
|Spica, also called Alpha Virgines, Azimech or Alaraph, is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. It represents the corn in the hand of the virgin.
|Pollux is the brightest star in the constellation Gemini.
|Fomalhaut is the brightest star in the constellation Piscis Austrinus.
|Deneb is the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus. Together with Vega and Altair it forms the summer triangle.
|Becrux or Mimosa is the second brightest star in the constellation Crux.
|Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo. In Latin, Regulus means „little king“ or "prince".
|Adhara is located in the constellation Canis Major, too. The binary star system is also described with the Greek letter Epsilon.
|Lambda Scorpii or also Shaula is part of the spine of the constellation Scorpius.
|Castor is the second brightest star in the constellation Gemini and, thus, represents one of the two brothers.
|Gamma Crucis is the third brightest star in the constellation Crux.
|Bellatrix, or Gamma Orionis, is the third brightest star in the constellation Orion and occupies the position of the shoulder star next to Betelgeuse.
|Elnath, also called Beta Tauri, forms the tip of a horn in the constellation Taurus.
|Miaplacidus, Beta Carinae, is located in the constellation Carina.
|Alnilam is the proper name of the star Epsilon Orionis. In winter it is recognizable in the middle of the Orion belt.