Mike McCann Science Report
Science Report P.d. 4
The magnitude scale was invented by an ancient Greek astronomer named Hipparchus in about 150 BC He ranked the stars he could see in terms of their brightness, with 1 representing the brightest down to 6 representing the faintest. Modern astronomy has extended this system to stars brighter than Hipparchus' 1st magnitude stars and ones much, much fainter than 6.
As it turns out, the eye senses brightness logarithmically, so each increase in 5 magnitudes corresponds to a decrease in brightness by a factor 100. The absolute magnitude is the magnitude the stars would have if viewed from a distance of 10 parsecs or some 32.6 light years. Obviously, Deneb is intrinsically very bright to make this list from its greater distance. Rigel, of nearly the same absolute magnitude, but closer, stands even higher in the list. Note that most of these distances are really nearby, on a cosmic scale, and that they are gener...