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The 10 Brightest Stars within 10 Parsecs

The brightest star in the sky, Sirius, happens to be rather close to the Sun at only 2.6 parsecs.  This is an oddity, because most of the bright stars in the sky are very distant.  Out of the 357 known stars within 10 parsecs of the Sun, only 8 are close enough and luminous enough to have an apparent visual magnitude less than 2.  If one were to construct such a table for stars with apparent visual magnitudes less than or equal to 6, one would only find 53 stars.  These characteristics of the closest stars underlie the points that most stars are much less luminous than the Sun and most bright stars in the night sky are very distant.

The table shows the 10 brightest stars within 10 parsecs of the Sun.  This table is derived from the Preliminary Version of the Third Catalog of Nearby Stars of Gliese and Jahreiss (1991),[1] which contains all known stars within 25 parsecs of the Sun.  Of the stars within 10 parsecs, the table shows all that have an apparent visual magnitude less than 3 and all four A type stars (A is the spectral classification), which are the four brightest main-sequence stars.  The table also contains the sole red giant within 10 parsecs, the star Pollux.  That this star is a red giant is indicated by the roman numeral III in the spectral classification of the star.  All stars in the table but Pollux are main sequence stars.  Several of these stars are marked on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram for the nearest stars.

Several stars in this list are members of binary star systems, but only Rigil Kentaurus has both stars in the table.  The brighter star in a binary is labeled with an A, and the companions star is labeled with a B.

The first column in the table gives the common names of each star.  The second column gives the catalog number from the Catalog of Nearby Stars.  The third column gives the distance based on a star's annual parallax.  The fourth column gives the apparent visual magnitude (V) of each star.  The absolute visual magnitude (MV) is given in the fifth column.  The color index (B-V), which is the difference of the B (blue) apparent magnitude and the V apparent magnitude, is given in the sixth column.  The final column gives the spectral type and luminosity class of each star. Go to table of 10 Brightest Stars within 10 Parsecs.

10 Brightest Stars within 10 Parsecs

Name

Catalog Number

Distance (pc)

V

MV

B−V

Stellar Type

Sirius A
α Canis Majoris A

Gl 244

2.63

−1.43

1.47

0.00

A1 V

Rigil Kentaurus A
α Centauri A

Gl 559

1.34

0.01

4.38

0.64

G2 V

Vega
α Lyrae

Gl 721

7.72

0.03

0.59

0.00

A0 V

Procyon A
α Canis Minoris

Gl 280

3.50

0.38

2.66

0.42

F5 IV–V

Altair
α Aquilae

Gl 768

5.00

0.77

2.29

0.22

A7 IV–V

Pollux
β Geminorum

Gl 286

9.97

1.14

1.15

1.00

K0 IIIb

Fomalhaut
α Piscis Austrini

Gl 881

6.51

1.16

2.09

0.09

A3 V

Rigil Kentaurus B
α Centauri B

Gl 559

1.34

1.34

5.71

0.84

K0 V

η Boötis

Gl 534

9.55

2.68

2.78

0.58

G0 IV

β Hydrae

Gl 19

6.45

2.80

3.76

0.62

G2 IV

[1]Gliese, W., and Jahreiss, H.  Preliminary Version of the Third Catalogue of Nearby Stars.  Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI), Heidelberg (1991).  The catalog is available through the home page of ARI or through the VizieR service as catalog V/70A.

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