Definition and Illustration of Apparent Magnitude

Word of the Week: Apparent Magnitude

A measure of how bright a Solar System object appears in the sky to an observer. The brighter an object, the lower its magnitude. The brightest object visible from Earth – the Sun – has an apparent magnitude of -26.7. Objects with apparent magnitudes of around 6 are the dimmest objects visible to the naked eye in a dark sky.

Depending on its location (and thus its distance from Earth and the Sun), Bennu has an apparent magnitude ranging between 14 and 24 when viewed from Earth.

Credit: University of Arizona


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