Q:

What is the difference between absolute and apparent magnitude?

A:

Quick Answer

Apparent magnitude is the magnitude a star seems to have as it is observed from the earth at night, while absolute magnitude refers to the magnitude a star would have if it was relocated to a distance of 10 parsecs from the sun. The magnitude of a star is its measure of brightness.

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Full Answer

Some stars in the night sky appear bright while others appear faint. The brightness of a star or astronomical object depends on its distance from Earth and the amount of light it emits. Astronomical objects of a similar luminosity found at varying distances from earth typically have varying apparent magnitudes. Fainter stars usually have larger magnitudes.

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