Video: Correlating Absolute Magnitude to Brightness

The table shows the absolute magnitudes of several nearby stars. Which star is the brightest? Which star is the dimmest?

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Video Transcript

The table shows the absolute magnitudes of several nearby stars. Which star is the brightest? Which star is the dimmest?

Alright, so, in this question, we’ve been given a table that shows the names of certain stars and their absolute magnitudes. And based on this information, we need to figure out which star is brightest and which star is dimmest.

In order to answer this, we need to recall that the absolute magnitude scale is an inverse scale measuring brightness. Now what we mean by this is that if a star’s absolute magnitude is high, then it’s brightness is low. And if the absolute magnitude is low, then the brightness is high. Now this might seem a bit silly but this is mainly done for mathematical convenience. But in our case, in order to be able to answer this question, if we want to find the brightest star, then it must have the lowest value of absolute magnitude.

Now out of the values of 10.9, 6.2, 16.2, and 2.7, the lowest value is 2.7. This corresponds to the star Procyon A. And hence, we’ve found the answer to the first question. Now if you want to find the star that is the dimmest, then we need to find the largest absolute magnitude value. And out of the ones given to us on the table, that value is this one here. The absolute magnitude of 16.2 corresponds to the Star Ross 614. And hence, at this point, we’ve found the answer to both questions. Out of the four stars given to us on the table, the star that is brightest is Procyon A and the star that is dimmest is Ross 614.

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