Top 10 Brightest Stars in the Night Sky

In order of apparent visual magnitude, these are the brightest stars as seen from Earth (excluding the Sun, of course). Credit for each star's description goes to Wikipedia.
Created on 8/17/2016, source:

The Top Ten

1 Sirius (Constellation - Canis Major) Sirius (Constellation - Canis Major) V 1 Comment
2 Canopus (Constellation - Carina) Canopus (Constellation - Carina) V 1 Comment
3 Alpha Centauri (Constellation - Centaurus) Alpha Centauri (Constellation - Centaurus) V 1 Comment
4 Arcturus (Constellation - Boötes) Arcturus (Constellation - Boötes)

Arcturus is the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. The name of the star derives from Ancient Greek and means "Guardian of the Bear" or “watcher, guardian". It is a relatively close star at only 36.7 light-years (11.26 parsecs) from Earth and is a red giant about 110 times brighter than the Sun.

In Ancient Rome, the star's celestial activity was supposed to signal tempestuous weather. - eventer51314

5 Vega (Constellation - Lyra) Vega (Constellation - Lyra) V 1 Comment
6 Capella (Constellation - Auriga) Capella (Constellation - Auriga) V 1 Comment
7 Rigel (Constellation - Orion) Rigel (Constellation - Orion)

Also designated Beta Orionis, Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation of Orion, marking the foot of the hunter. The star, as seen from Earth, is actually a triple or quadruple star system, with the primary star (Rigel A) a blue-white supergiant that is estimated to be anywhere from 120,000 to 279,000 times as luminous as the Sun. Rigel B is itself a binary system, consisting of two main sequence blue-white stars that are estimated to be 3.9 and 2.9 times as massive as the Sun. Rigel is 860 light-years (260 parsecs) away.

Rigel is also one of the most important stars used in celestial navigation throughout the history of oceanic sailing. This is due to both the star's relative brightness and its equatorial location, making it visible in most ocean latitudes. - eventer51314

8 Procyon (Canis Minor) Procyon (Canis Minor) V 1 Comment
9 Achernar (Constellation - Eridanus) Achernar (Constellation - Eridanus)

Also designated Alpha Eridani, Achernar is the brightest star in the constellation of Eridanus. Of the ten apparent brightest stars in the night sky, Achernar is the hottest and bluest in color and is about 3,150 times more luminous than the Sun. Like Vega, the star has an unusually rapid rotational velocity, causing it to become oblate in shape. It is part of a binary star system that is approximately 139 light-years (43 pc) away.

As Achernar is in the deep southern sky, the Ancient Greeks and Romans were not able to see this star. - eventer51314

10 Betelgeuse (Constellation - Orion) Betelgeuse (Constellation - Orion) V 1 Comment

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