A star in Pleiades cluster has apparent magnitude of +12 ($m_{star} = +12$) determine it's distance from the sun? (We know the Sun properties such apparent and absolute magnitudes, distance from earth, luminosity, brightness (energy flux) and others but nothing is given about the other star expect that apparent magnitude).

My problem is that we don't have luminosity of the star. We can say:

$m_{sun} - m_{star} = -2.5 * \log_{10}{\frac{b_{sun}} {b_{star}}} \Rightarrow 10^{(-26.8 - 12)/(-2.5)} \approx 3.31131 * 10^{15} = \frac{b_{sun}} {b_{star}} \approx \frac{1370 Wm^-2}{L_{star} / (4 \pi d^2)} $

As we can see, we don't have luminosity of the star. Can this question be solved with this information?

  • $\begingroup$ As Peter said, "no." You'd need at least the star classification to get an idea of its spectral power output curve. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Peter says, "you already know its distance". It's 444 ly or 136pc. Perhaps you misread the question. You can determine the brightness of the star from this information. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


Short answer: no, you can't solve the question if all you know is its apparent magnitude. It could be a faint star that's nearby, or a very luminous star that's far away. (The Sun's parameters are irrelevant.)

(I'm ignoring the bit about it being "a star in the Pleiades", which implies that it's a physical member of the Pleiades cluster, in which you already know its distance: it's the same as the distance of the Pleiades cluster. Maybe you just meant "it's in the same part of the sky".)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .