Humans have looked to the sky for millennia. Whether it be to devise stories and mythology, note the change of seasons, or navigate around the world’s oceans, the celestial sphere has been one of the most important human aides in history. In this list, we bring out the 25 brightest objects in space that you should be able to see (depending on the light pollution in your area) by just looking up to the heavens.
Objects in our sky are ranked by how bright they appear to the average person on Earth – a measure known as apparent visual magnitude. Over the course of a year, the apparent magnitude of a celestial body changes, due to two primary factors: firstly, we see a different sky throughout the course of the year, so a celestial body may not always be visible in our night sky; secondly, since the universe is constantly in motion, some bodies move further away from us with time. Though some objects are easy to spot in the sky, such as our beloved Moon, some are harder to spot unless you know where (or in which constellation) to look. For stargazers and amateur astronomers alike, read this list and see if you can find the 25 Brightest Objects in Space That You Can See With Your Naked Eye.
We start off our list of the “25 Brightest Objects In Space That You Can See With Your Naked Eye” with the only nebula on our list: the Carina Nebula. A nebula is an interstellar cloud filled with dust and ionized gases. The Carina Nebula is especially notable for hosting the brightest star in the Milky Way Galaxy – WR25. Though it’s 6,300,000 times brighter than our sun, the star doesn’t make it onto our top 25 list due to its distance from Earth – about 7,500 light years. (In contrast, the sun is .000016 light years away from us.)
Though we can see other galaxies and nebulae in the night sky – such as our own Milky Way Galaxy and the Orion Nebula, Pleiades, and Andromeda Galaxy – in terms of apparent magnitude, they’re dimmer than the other celestial objects on this list. The first star on our list, Spica is the brightest star in the Virgo constellation. Well, technically, it’s two stars so close together they look like an egg-shaped star.
The third furthest star on our list at a distance of 600 light years, Antares is often called the “heart of the scorpion” as it’s the brightest star in the Scorpius constellation. Antares is most visible around May 31st when it is completely opposed to the sun, rising at dusk and setting at dawn.
The star Aldebaran (not to be confused with the Star Wars planet of Princess Leia, Alderaan) is the brightest star in the Taurus constellation. Its name comes from the Arabic words for “the Follower”. Aldebaran is remarkably easy to find in the night sky – just find Orion’s belt and follow the three stars from left to right (or right to left if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) to find the next brightest star. Humanity will have a closer look at Aldebaran when the Pioneer 10 probe passes by in two million years. Yippee. Can’t wait.
Alpha Crucis (Acrux)
One of the most recognizable figures in the night sky is the Southern Cross, also known as the constellation Crux. Its brightest star, Alpha Crucis (Acrux, for short) can be found on the flags of five countries: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, New Zealand, and Brazil. To find it, look for the “bottom” of the Southern Cross.