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Absorbing Astronomy Data That You May Not Know.

Author: Greg Dutch

There must be a lot of astronomy facts right? Realize that the universe contains one times 10 to the 22nd stars, that's a one followed by a string of 22 zeros. Think about this, there are planets orbiting many of those stars. Now think about all the moons that orbit the planets, and the comets, and the asteroids, and everything else in the universe. It's a lot to consider. This short discussion won't cover everything. But these are interesting facts.

The data on the brightest star as seen from Earth are good astronomy facts. That's discounting the Sun which is about 250,000 times closer than the next nearest star. The sun is so bright that it washes out all of the other stars in the daylight sky. In a the brightness scale we'll use, lower numbers are brighter. The sun would be about -26.73, while the full moon is -12.6. With that in mind, here are the top 5.

#5 goes to Vega, Arabic for vulture. It's about 25 light years away from the Earth, with a magnitude of .03. When looking at these astronomy facts remember that brightest from Earth doesn't mean largest or brightest. The sun is only a moderately bright star, but because of its proximity to the Earth it appears to be so bright.

#4 is the Arabic foot of the centaur, Rigel Kentaurus. It scores a magnitude of -.01, and is only 4 light-years from Earth.

At #3, is Arcturus, according to the astronomy facts we know. That's the Greek word for Guardian on the bear. This star is 37 light years from us.

Canopus comes in at #2. In reality it's the brightest of all of these top five stars. However, it's 313 light-years away from Earth, so it looks second brightest as seen from this planet. -.62 is its magnitude is seen from the planet Earth.

#1 is the Greek word for scorching, Sirius. Because it's the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, it's also called the Dog Star.. Only 9 light-years separate Sirius and the earth, that's the second nearest in this top five list. At -1.44 magnitude it's the brightest star we can see from Earth.

Astronomy facts go way beyond this. But it's something to consider next time you look into the sky.
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