Are you one of those wondering what is the farthest star visible with the naked eye? Well, this is the right page for you!
Humans watch planets dance in the evening, stars explode as supernovae, and new meteors rain down on Earth.
The night sky is continuously changing. The constellations that we see today will be different than they were 50,000 years ago or 50,000 years from now.
While there are between 100 billion and 400 billion stars in our galaxy, our eyes can only see stars brighter than magnitude 6 to 6.5.
So, the number of stars you can observe on a clear, moonless, night in a dark area far away from city lights is over 3000. But the darker the sky, the more stars you can see.
It takes up to 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the dark.
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But have you ever wondered what is the farthest star you can see with the unaided eye?
The stars we see are rarely single objects, but rather binary and multiple star systems.
But what if we exclude multiple stellar systems?
The most distant known individual star visible to the unaided eye is V762 Cassiopeiae which is about 16,308 light-years away, in the constellation Cassiopeia.
The galactic center is 26,000 light-years away from us, putting this star more than halfway there.
One light-year is nearly six trillion miles, now multiply that by 16,000. Don’t worry you go take your time, I’ll wait here.
Even though we see it as a fairly faint star, it is in reality a supergiant star over 100,000 times more luminous than the Sun.
Overwhelmingly, most stars in existence are the lower-mass, longer-lived stars. But the brightest ones are the easiest to see: the giants and supergiants.
Giant stars are late-stage stars, destined to die shortly in supernovae or planetary nebulae. The supergiants, on the other hand, are the shortest-lived stars, with total lifetimes under 10 million years.
V762 Cas is a Variable Star, meaning it periodically changes in brightness. It’s most likely doing that because it is in a red supergiant phase, and it’s begun to swell and shrink.
A red supergiant has burned up all its hydrogen fuel, has begun burning other elements, and is approaching the end of its life. This causes rather dramatic changes in the star’s size, temperature, and “behavior.”
The apparent magnitude of V762 Cas is 5.87, just slightly brighter than the maximum 6.0 magnitude that we can see with the naked eye. The largest star in the galaxy so far discovered Stephenson 2-18 is has a large magnitude of 15.26 which is why we can’t see without a telescope.
However, keep in mind that V762 Cassiopeiae is the most distant star visible to the naked eye and not the most distant object.
The farthest object visible to our eyes is the Andromeda galaxy which is about 2.5 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda.
This sounds pretty far away but put into perspective if the entire visible Universe were represented by a full-sized football stadium, then the distance to the Andromeda galaxy would be about three inches away.