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Measurement of Stellar Brightness

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Relate how the magnitude scale was originally organized by Hipparchus and how today's astronomers have modified it.

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This solution helps with a problem about physics. It discusses how the magnitude scale was originally organized by Hipparchus and how today's astronomers had modified it. References are included in the solution.

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The concept of measuring and comparing the brightness of stars was first developed by the Greek mathematician Hipparchus (190 - 120 BC). He produced a catalogue of 850 stars with positions and comparative brightness. In this system, the brightest stars were assigned a magnitude of 1, the next brightest magnitude 2 and so on. The faintest stars, which are just visible to the unaided eye, were assigned magnitude 6. This six-point scale acted as a ranking of the brightness of the stars.

This is a relative measurement and this scale doesn't correspond very well to how bright the stars actually are. The human eye tends to take very big differences in brightness and make these differences look much ...

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  • MSc, Osmania University
  • MSc, Indian Institute of Technology - Roorkee (I.I.T.-ROORKEE)
  • BSc, Banaras Hindu University
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