Here is a list of the 10 brightest stars as seen from Earth not including our own star, the sun. The measured brightness of a star is expressed as it’s Apparent Magnitude.
Apparent magnitude simply means how bright the star would be when observed from Earth if our planet had no atmosphere. Generally the lower the number, the brighter the star with particularly bright stars giving minus figures.
Sirius is the brightest star you will see in our night sky, it is found in the constellation of Canis Major and is 8.6 light years from Earth. Sirius has an apparent magnitude (AP) of -1.46. The only natural celestial objects you’ll see appear brighter than Sirius are the sun, moon and some planets.
Canopus is in the Carina constellation and is located 312.7 light years away. Canopus has a measured AP of -0.72.
Arcturus is found in the Bootes constellation, 36.3 light years from Earth. The AP of Arcturus is -0.04.
4 Rigil Kentaurus
You’ll find the star Rigil Kentaurus in the Centaurus constellation 4.4 light years away. Rigil Kentaurus has an AP of -0.01.
The fifth brightest star in our night skies is Vega which is part of the constellation of Lyra. Vega is 25.3 light years from Earth with an AP of 0.03.
Part of the famous and very prominent Orion constellation pictured above. Rigel is the very bright star near the bottom right hand corner of the image. Rigel is found a huge 772.9 light years away but is still shines as the sixth brightest to us here on Earth. Rigel’s apparent magnitude is 0.12.
At number seven is Procyon, located 11.4 light years from Earth in constellation Canis Minor. This star has an AP of 0.34
Another star found in Orion like Rigel, Betelgeuse (the reddish colour star near the top left of the above image) is also a very long distance away at 640.0 light years. It has an AP of 0.42 but could potentially get a lot brighter for a short time in the future. This is due to the fact that Betelgeuse is a Red Giant star and could potentially explode at anytime. If this happens it would be classed as a type 2 supernova which for a while would shine like a second sun in our skies.
Achernar is located in the constellation of Eridanus, 143.8 light years away and has an AP of 0.50.
10 Beta Centauri
Rounding out our top ten of the brightest stars you can see while stargazing is Beta Centauri. This star is found in Centaurus, 525.2 light years away. It’s apparent magnitude is 0.61.