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Absolute magnitude

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default Absolute magnitude

Post by taixyz1992 on Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:24 am


In astronomy, absolute magnitude (also known as absolute visual magnitude when measured in the standard V photometric band) measures a celestial object's intrinsic brightness. To derive absolute magnitude from the observed apparent magnitude of a celestial object its value is corrected from distance to its observer. The absolute magnitude then equals the apparent magnitude an object would have if it were at a standard luminosity distance (10 parsecs, or 1 AU, depending on object type) away from the observer, in the absence of astronomical extinction. It allows the true brightnesses of objects to be compared without regard to distance. Bolometric magnitude is luminosity expressed in magnitude units; it takes into account energy radiated at all wavelengths, whether observed or not.

The absolute magnitude uses the same convention as the visual magnitude: a factor of 100.4 (≈2.512) ratio of brightness corresponds to a difference of 1.0 in magnitude. The Milky Way, for example, has an absolute magnitude of about −20.5. So a quasar at an absolute magnitude of −25.5 is 100 times brighter than our galaxy (because (100.4)(-20.5-(-25.5)) = (100.4)5 = 100). If this particular quasar and our galaxy could be seen side by side at the same distance, the quasar would be 5 magnitudes (or 100 times) brighter than our galaxy.

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