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Thread: What is the limited magnitude of stars visible with unaided eyes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    What is the limited magnitude of stars visible with unaided eyes?

    What is the visible limit of magnitude for stars that you can see on earth with the naked eye? The most astronomy books are saying that the faintest stars yoy can see without binoculairs,fieldglasses and telescopes ,i mean with the naked eye are about magnitude 6 with a limit at magnitude 6,5. Is that true? Can somebody explain that? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    The standard answer is magintude 6 to 6.5. However, there are anecdotal reports of people seeing Messier 81 with the naked eye under exceptional conditions, and that's about seventh magnitude. There are even reports by experienced observers, such as Steven James O'Meara, of limiting magnitudes down to 8.5 on Mauna Kea, but I haven't seen that outside of any source besides his own. I think a ballpark figure for the average Joe or Jane is magnitude 6.

    Keep in mind that limiting magnitude also depends a great deal on light pollution and age (pupils can't open as wide with increasing age), nutrition (like vitamin A), as well as just individual variation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    True, and isn't it amazing that M13, which is visible to our eyes and one of the finest clusters, was not seen or recorded until 1714 AD by Halley, and he thought it ws a nebula?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Not to mention Uranus, which was unknown to the ancients and yet is visible naked eye.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    As are Ganymede and Callisto (and were, apparently, recorded by some Arab astronomers of antiquity).

    There are also, apparently, considerably more novae that were visible than were recorded, historically (even after the Galilean/Copernican revolution).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Where on the earth can you view the clearest and brightest nightsky in the world? Is that on the top of Mauna kea Hawaii,or elsewhere in the world.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    try one of these sites: They got to be good.

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