Where to find comprehensive list of absolute magnitudes for stars of different spectral types? I need published paper or web page with data and reference to the source.


VizieR is an online source for all sorts of astronomical data published in scientific papers. As you mentioned, The HIPPARCOS catalogue contains visual magnitude data.

  1. Open the query page for the main HIPPARCOS catalogue
  2. Select the fields you want (defaults are ok for you)
  3. Hit submit to see the results
  4. You can limit the number of results and format under Preferences on the left

This table gives you the measured visual magnitude, i.e. the Apparent Magnitude ($m_V$, V column). To convert that into Absolute Magnitude ($M_V$) you need to know the distance to the star. This can be calculated using the Parallax field (Plx column).

Here's the formula for you:

$$M_V = m_V + 5 * log_{10}( Plx / 100 )$$

You can easily dump the data into Excel or something, put a formula into an extra column and calculate the Absolute Magnitude.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You might also check out the Extended Hipparcos catalog (XHIP). The main.dat file contains luminosities, spectral types, and temperatures, and the photo.dat file contains absolute magnitudes in Johnson bands. References are at the top of the linked page. $\endgroup$ – Scott Griffiths Feb 23 '14 at 21:22

I have found next list based on HIPPARCOS data: http://www.astro.lu.se/~lennart/MVstars.html


For me, the best and most reliable source of absolute magnitudes and spectral types is the book Allen's astrophysical quantities.

Chapter 15, called Normal Stars, contains spectral types, absolute magnitudes, colors and effective temperatures for main sequence, giant and supergiant stars. The references are at the end of the chapter.



  • $\begingroup$ Sure! But this is old data (as I remember around 1970). I tried to find new. $\endgroup$ – user2579566 Dec 11 '14 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ 4th edition of the book is from 2000. If you know anything newer than that, please make me know :) $\endgroup$ – skytux Dec 11 '14 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ 4th edition of the book (2000) also uses old data. It's easy to check. $\endgroup$ – user2579566 Dec 18 '14 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ How do you check then? $\endgroup$ – skytux Dec 18 '14 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ Just read the book ) $\endgroup$ – user2579566 Dec 19 '14 at 18:28

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