* Apparent Magnitude of brighter star.|
Perhaps you have heard that there are about 6,000 stars visible at night with the unaided eye. Did you ever wonder how many of these stars are brighter than the Sun?
Well, the 42 stars listed above, are the only ones you can see with the unaided eye that are dimmer than the Sun. (That is to say, these 42 stars are the only ones visible at night that have an absolute magnitude greater than 4.85).
So, on any clear night, the odds are 99.3% (or 5,958 ÷ 6,000), that any star you can see is brighter than the Sun.
You may not have heard of any of these stars because they are so dim, they don't have special names (such as "Sirus" or "Rigel") and they are seldom (if ever) mentioned in any science fiction movies or books.
The star 61 Cygni is significantly important in astronomical history. In 1838, the German astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm
Bessel announced that he had calculated the parallax of 61 Cygni. It was the first star to have its stellar parallax and therefore its distance measured.