50 Brightest Stars

The brightest or apparent magnitude of each star in the night time sky is determined by the star's intrinsic luminosity, and by its distance from us. The intrinsic luminosity of the stars varies from less than 1/1000 of the Sun's luminosity to over a million times greater. Most of the brighter naked eye stars are at distances of a few tens to hundreds on light years from Earth. In general, this makes them all intrinsically brighter than the Sun.

Many stars are actually multiple systems with two or more stellar components. In cases where individual components can be resolved with a telescope but not with the naked eye, the apparent magnitude reported on this list is the combined brightness of the components. The luminosity, mass and radius listed are for the primary or brightest component. Telescopically resolved multiple stars include Alpha Centauri (mag = 0.01 + 1.33), Capella (mag = 0.71 + 0.96), Acrux (mag = 1.40 + 2.09), and Castor (mag = 1.98 + 2.88).

The table below lists details for the 50 brightest stars according to the Hipparcos Space Astrometry Mission. This 3.5 year mission was designed to measure the positions and distances of over a million stars with unprecedented accuracy.

50 Brightest Stars
RankStar NameBayer NameVisual Mag.Abs. Mag.Dist. (ly)Spectral TypeLum. (Sol)Mass (Sol)Diam. (Sol)RA
1SiriusAlp CMa-1.441.458.6A1V 252.01.706h 45m-16.7°
2CanopusAlp Car-0.62-5.53310F0Ib 136008.56506h 24m-52.7°
3Rigil Kent.Alp Cen-0.28c4.344.4G2V+K1V 40m-60.8°
4ArcturusAlp Boo-0.05v-0.3136.7K2III 1701.12614h 16m+19.2°
5VegaAlp Lyr0.03v0.5825.3A0V 372.12.318h 37m+38.8°
6CapellaAlp Aur0.08v-0.4842.2G5III+G0II 792.71205h 17m+46.0°
7RigelBet Ori0.18v-6.69770B8Ia 66000177805h 15m-8.2°
8ProcyonAlp CMi0.402.6811.4F5IV-V 39m+5.2°
9BetelgeuseAlp Ori0.45v-5.14430M2Ib 1050001893605h 55m+7.4°
10AchernarAlp Eri0.45v-2.77144B3V 33006-81001h 38m-57.2°
11HadarBet Cen0.61v-5.42525B1III 1600010.7814h 04m-60.4°
12AltairAlp Aql0.76v2.2016.8A7V 51m+8.9°
13AcruxAlp Cru0.77c-4.19320B0.5IV+B1V 2500014?12h 27m-63.1°
14AldebaranAlp Tau0.87-0.6365.1K5III 4251.744.204h 36m+16.5°
15SpicaAlp Vir0.98v-3.55260B1V+B2V 13400117.813h 25m-11.2°
16AntaresAlp Sco1.06v-5.28605M1Ib+B4V 6500015.580016h 29m-26.4°
17PolluxBet Gem1.161.0933.7K0III 321.9807h 45m+28.0°
18FomalhautAlp PsA1.171.7425.1A3V 58m-29.6°
19DenebAlp Cyg1.25v-8.733200A2Ia 540002011020h 41m+45.3°
20MimosaBet Cru1.25v-3.92350B0.5III 3400014812h 48m-59.7°
21RegulusAlp Leo1.36-0.5277.5B7V 1503.53.210h 08m+12.0°
22AdharaEps CMa1.50-4.10430B2II 2000010?06h 59m-29.0°
23CastorAlp Gem1.58c0.5951.5A1V+A2V 30/142.2/1.72.3/1.607h 35m+31.9°
24GacruxGam Cru1.59v-0.5687.9M3.5III 1500311312h 31m-57.1°
25ShaulaLam Sco1.62v-5.05700B2IV ?10.46.217h 34m-37.1°
26BellatrixGam Ori1.64-2.72240B2III 2150085.705h 25m+6.3°
27ElnathBet Tau1.65-1.37131B7III 704.55.505h 26m+28.6°
28MiaplacidusBet Car1.67-0.99111A2III 21035.709h 13m-69.7°
29AlnilamEps Ori1.69v-6.381300B0Ia 375000402605h 36m-1.2°
30AlnairAlp Gru1.73-0.73101B7IV 38043.622h 08m-47.0°
31AlnitakZet Ori1.74c-5.26820O9.5Ib+B0I 100000282005h 41m-1.9°
32RegorGam Vel1.75v-5.31840WC8+O9Ib 100000301308h 10m-47.3°
33AliothEps UMa1.76v-0.2180.9A0IV 10833.712h 54m+56.0°
34Kaus Aust.Eps Sgr1.79-1.44145B9.5III 3755718h 24m-34.4°
35MirfakAlp Per1.79-4.50590F5Ib 5400115603h 24m+49.9°
36DubheAlp UMa1.81-1.08124K0III+F0V 30043011h 04m+61.8°
37WezenDel CMa1.83-6.871800F8Ia 500001720007h 08m-26.4°
38AlkaidEta UMa1.85-0.60101B3V 70061.813h 48m+49.3°
39SargasThe Sco1.86c-2.75270F1II 9603.72017h 37m-43.0°
40AviorEps Car1.86v-4.58630K3II+B2V 6/11 K4.6/16153/608h 23m-59.5°
41MenkalinanBet Aur1.90v-0.1082.1A2IV 482.42.806h 00m+44.9°
42AtriaAlp TrA1.91-3.62415K2Ib-II 55007?16h 49m-69.0°
43Koo SheDel Vel1.93-0.0179.7A0V ???08h 45m-54.7°
44AlhenaGam_Gem1.93-0.60105A0IV 1602.84.406h 38m+16.4°
45PeacockAlp Pav1.94-1.81180B0.5V+B2V 210054.420h 26m-56.7°
46PolarisAlp UMi1.97v-3.64430F7Ib-II 22007.53002h 32m+89.3°
47MirzamBet CMa1.98v-3.95500B1III 19000??06h 23m-18.0°
48AlphardAlp Hya1.99-1.69180K3II ?3.050.509h 28m-8.7°
49AlgiebaGam Leo2.01-0.92126K0III+G7II 320/501.233210h 20m+19.8°
50HamalAlp Ari2.010.4865.9K2III 9021502h 07m+23.5°
Additional Stars of Interest
RankStar NameBayer NameVisual Mag.Abs. Mag.Dist. (ly)Spectral TypeLum. (Sol)Mass (Sol)Diam. (Sol)RA
60AlgolBet Per2.09-0.1893B8V 983.62.303h 08m+40.9°
70MizarZet UMa2.230.3378A1V 302.5?13h 24m+54.9°
73MintakaDel Ori2.25-4.99916O9.5II 9000020?05h 32m-00.3°

50 Brightest Stars
Column Descriptions
Heading Description
Rank Brightness Rank Among the 50 Brightest Stars
Star Name Common Star Name (often of Aribic origin)
Bayer Name Bayer Star Name (consists of Greek letter and
IAU Constellation Abbreviation)
Visual Mag. Apparent Visual Magnitude
Abs. Mag. Absolute Magnitude
Dist. (ly) Distance from Solar System in Light Years
Spectral Type Stellar Classification Based on Temperature & Spectrum
Lum. (Sol) Stellar Luminosity in Units Relative to the Sun (Sol)
Mass (Sol) Stellar Mass in Units Relative to the Sun (Sol)
Diam. (Sol) Stellar Diameter in Units Relative to the Sun (Sol)
RA Right Ascension (J2000) in Hours and Minutes
Dec Declination (J2000) in Degrees