What Are the Brightest Stars?
The brightest stars for an observer on Earth are located in the nearest galactic environs, at distances of up to several hundred light-years. The distribution of such stars is not entirely random and is due to local galactic structures of the same scale, for example, tied to the plane of the Milky Way or the "Gould Belt". Also, the regions of the appearance of the brightest stars correlate with clouds of interstellar gas, as can be seen from the example of the Orion nebula, therefore, it is not very logical to study the stars by themselves, especially in terms of brightness. Such a list is best viewed as a mnemonic gimmick in the selection of information, as was done in another article in this series, where "strange space objects" were selected based on the principle of being in the constellations of the zodiac.
Rigel, or Beta Orionis , is the brightest in the constellation Orionis and the seventh brightest star in the night sky at a distance of 860 light-years. In the sky, it looks like a blue supergiant of spectral class B, but its paired component can be distinguished with a small telescope or binoculars. It is assumed that the system is quadruple, or at least triple.
Betelgeuse is a star with variable brightness (apparent stellar magnitude varies from 0m to + 1.6m) in the constellation Orion (Alpha Orion) at a distance of about 700 light-years. It closes the top ten brightest stars, and stands out in the sky with a reddish tint, in contrast to the hot blue-white stars of Orion. This is the largest star visible to the naked eye: in the solar system, its radius would reach somewhere in the orbit of Jupiter. Accordingly, it became the first star after the Sun, whose lateral dimensions began to be measured at the beginning of the 20th century, and in general to perceive a star not only as a point object. Betelgeuse is a red supergiant in the last stage of evolution, which should end in a supernova explosion.
Sirius is the brightest star in the sky after the Sun and one of the closest stars at a distance of 9 light-years in the constellation Canis Major (α CMA). Sirius is so bright that under certain conditions it can be observed during the day. In the middle of the 19th century, it was discovered that it is a double star. The main component visible to the naked eye, or Sirius A, is a star with a mass twice the mass of the Sun, and the twin star is a white dwarf.
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