Magnitude System

Magnitude System - Magnitude System The brightness of stars...

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Magnitude System The brightness of stars are specified with the magnitude system. The Greek astronomer Hipparchus devised this system around 150 B.C.E. He put the brightest stars into the first magnitude class, the next brightest stars into second magnitude class, and so on until he had all of the visible stars grouped into six magnitude classes. The dimmest stars were of sixth magnitude. The magnitude system was based on how bright a star appeared to the unaided eye. By the 19th century astronomers had developed the technology to objectively measure a star's brightness. Instead of abandoning the long-used magnitude system, astronomers refined it and quantified it. They established that a difference of 5 magnitudes corresponds to a factor of exactly 100 times in intensity. The other intervals of magnitude were based on the 19th century belief of how the human eye perceives differences in brightnesses. It was thought that the eye sensed differences in brightness on a logarithmic scale so a star's magnitude is not directly
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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