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Joined:5. Jun 2018
Last seen:20. Sep 2019
Puzzles solved:2104 puzzles (4.5 daily)
Pieces joined:101990 pieces (216.3 daily)
Soundtrack to my profile picture: listen to this while you read :)

'Bright clusters of stars form and disperse near the center of our Galaxy. Four million years ago the Quintuplet Cluster, pictured above, formed and is now slowly dispersing. The Quintuplet Cluster is located within 100 light-years of the Galactic center, and is home to the brightest star yet cataloged in our Galaxy: the Pistol Star. Objects near our Galactic center are usually hidden from view by opaque dust. This recently-released picture was able to capture the cluster in infrared light, though, with the NICMOS camera onboard the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The young Quintuplet Cluster is one of the most massive open clusters yet discovered, but still much less massive than the ancient globular clusters that orbit in the distant halo. Some of the bright white stars visible above may be on the verge of blowing themselves up in a spectacular supernova.'

That is the Pistol Star on the lower left, a massive young blue hypergiant, one of the most luminous stars known in the Milky Way. It is located approximately 25,000 light years from Earth in the direction of Sagittarius. It would be visible to the naked eye as a fourth magnitude star if it were not for the interstellar dust that completely hides it from view.

The absolute magnitude of the Pistol Star is -10.75. Let's compare this to some of the other stars we CAN see. (The human eye can see stars as dim as +6.5 but not as dim or dimmer than +7.0)

"Apparent magnitude" is how bright the star appears to us on Earth, as seen through our atmosphere.
"Absolute magnitude" is the magnitude (brightness) of a celestial object as it would be seen at a standard distance of 10 parsecs (32.6 light-years).

In both cases, the brighter an object, the LOWER its magnitude. The scale is logarithmic and defined such that each step of one magnitude changes the brightness by a factor of the fifth root of 100, or approximately 2.512. For example, a magnitude 1 star is exactly 100 times brighter than a magnitude 6 star. The brighter an object appears, the lower the value of its magnitude, with the brightest objects reaching negative values.

Sirius (the brightest star in the heavens)
*apparent magnitude -1.44
*absolute magnitude +1.45
*8.6 light years away

Vega (the brightest star in the sky in summer in the N Hemisphere and winter in the S Hemisphere, and the second brightest star visible from the N Hemisphere after Sirius)
*apparent magnitude +0.03
*absolute magnitude +0.58
*25 light years away

Canopus (the 2nd brightest star in the sky in summer in the S Hemisphere, after Sirius)
*apparent magnitude -0.74
*absolute magnitude -5.71
*310 light years away or 95 parsecs

Polaris (the Pole Star)
*apparent magnitude +1.98
*absolute magnitude -3.6
* 433 light-years (133 parsecs)

Sol (The Sun)
* apparent magnitude -26.74
* absolute magnitude +4.83
*8 light minutes away or 1/65700th of a light year or 0.000015220700152% of one light year

The Pistol Star
*apparent magnitude higher than +28.0 (but it would be visible to the naked eye as +4.0 if it were not for the interstellar dust between it and Earth. At +4.0 it would be the 514th brightest star we could see, out of ALL the stars we can see, N and S Hemispheres.)
*absolute magnitude -10.75
*26,090 light years away or 800 Parsecs

That's a bright star hiding it's light from us!! it radiates about as much energy in 20 seconds as Sol, the Sun, does in a year. If it were our sun, it would be so big it would swallow up our orbit, as well as that of Mars.

Puzzles created by this user:

7. Aug 2019 - 22. Jul 2019