The 20 Brightest Stars of Spring

Science

Astronomy 101

City College of San Francisco

Question Description

This handout is a list of the 50 brightest stars, you will be looking for the 20 brightest stars. All of the stars are listed by their proper names, as well as by their Bayer designations.

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Name:___________________________ Date:_____________ THE 20 BRIGHTEST STARS OF SPRING Today, you are going to use a handout from the site, Astropixels.com and your star wheel. This handout is a list of the 50 brightest stars, although in today’s lab, you will be looking for the 20 brightest stars. All of the stars are listed by their proper names, as well as by their Bayer designations. Here is how that goes: Bayer Names: A way of naming stars is to designate the brightest star in a constellation with the Greek letter alpha and the first 3 letters of the constellation name, the 2nd brightest star in a constellation beta and the first 3 letters of the constellation name, etc. Look at p. 9 of the Star Atlas to review your Greek letters. Arcturus is also known as  Boo. Using this handout and your star finder, see which stars would be visible in the sky at 9:00 PM May 5. The easiest way to do this, is to set your star finders for 9:00 PM on May 5 and look at the span of right ascension numbers on the south side. See what the range is. Then, look at the handout and see which stars fit within that RA range. Note 1: Remember, RA increases from west to east. You want to include the stars, whose RAs range from your westernmost RA to your easternmost RA. Eliminate any star, whose declination is <-500, since it would be below our horizon. Note 2: The lower the visual magnitude, the brighter the star. To find the constellations the stars belong to, just look at the 3 letters making up the Bayer name. When you have your list, which should total ~ 20, fill out the data below. My RA range: western most RA ________ Star Name Visual Mag Dist (ly) Lum (Sol) eastern most RA __________ Mass (Sol) Diam (Sol) Constellation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 Star Name Visual Mag Dist (ly) Lum (Sol) Mass Diam (Sol) (Sol) Constellation 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1. From your list, which star is the brightest in the spring sky? 2. From your list, which star is the faintest in the spring sky? 3. From your list, which star is the farthest? 2 4. From your list, which star is the closest? 5. Take the 5 brightest stars from your list and write their star names as well as their Bayer names in order from brightest to faintest, according to the directions above. Use the Greek letters, rather than the English letters in the Bayer names. For example, Arcturus is  Boo not alpha Boo. Star Name Bayer Name Visual Mag 1 2 3 4 5 6. On what dates will the above 5 brightest stars, be on the meridian at 10:00 PM? Star Name Date on meridian at 10:00 PM 1 2 3 4 5 3 7. Write down the five most luminous stars from your large list in order from most luminous to the least luminous. Star Name Lum (Sol) Constellation 1 2 3 4 5 8. From this list, which star is the most luminous in the spring sky? 9. Write down the five most massive stars from your large list in order from most massive to the least massive. Star Name Mass (Sol) Constellation 1 2 3 4 5 10. From this list, which star is the most massive in the spring sky? 4 11. Write down the five largest stars from your large list in order from the largest to the smallest. Star Name Constellation Diam (Sol) 1 2 3 4 5 12. From this list, which star is the largest in the spring sky? 13. Let’s go back to your five brightest stars list again. List them in order of visual magnitude, from brightest to faintest, just as you did on #5. Then, fill in the remainder of the columns, with their respective distance, luminosity, mass and diameter. Use this data to answer #17. Star Name Visual mag Dist (ly) Lum (Sol) Mass (Sol) Diam (Sol) Constellation 1 2 3 4 5 14. Are any of the most luminous stars among your 5 brightest? If so, what is the name? 5 15. Are any of the most massive stars among your 5 brightest? 16. Are any of the largest stars among your 5 brightest? If so, what is the name? If so, what is the name? 17. Looking at all of the data, what can you say about the brightest stars. Are they bright because they are very near, luminous, massive, and/or big? Take each star in turn. That is, take your brightest star and determine from your data why it is so bright. Is the brightness due to its distance, mass, or luminosity or a combination and explain your answer? Then, take your second brightest star and do the same. Star 1 Name - Star 2 Name - Star 3 Name - Star 4 Name - Star 5 Name - What did you learn in this experiment? 6 ...
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