Twelve Brightest Stars

January 16, 2014

Thebig12

Photographer: Greg Parker 
Summary Authors: Greg Parker; Jim Foster

The montage above shows the twelve brightest stars visible from locations in the Northern Hemisphere, as observed from my home near Hampshire, England. In addition, all but Capella, Vega and Deneb can be seen from the middle and low latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. Sirius, having a -1.46 apparent magnitude, is the brightest star visible in either hemisphere. The dimmest of the twelve stars featured here is Deneb, having a magnitude +1.25. Whether you live in Spain or South Africa, Canada or central Chile, if you step outside tonight a few hours after sunset, you should be able to see six of these brilliant stars (with a clear sky, of course): Sirius, Rigel, Procyon, Betelgeuse, Aldebaran, and Pollux. It's interesting that the brightest stars aren't all hot blue-white stars. Red/orange colored Arcturus, Betelgeuse and Aldebaran are among the top 12 brightest, as is the distinctly yellow Capella.