For a series of supernovae I have the observed magnitude and I want to convert these values to flux.

I understand that I need to apply:

$m - M_r = -2.5\log_{10} \frac{F}{F_r}$

where $M_r$ is a 'reference magnitude' with corresponding known 'reference flux'.

What exactly should I use as my reference values?

  • $\begingroup$ Very similar: astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/13709/… $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2017 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ Cheers buddy!!!! $\endgroup$
    – Matt Hill
    Oct 29, 2017 at 19:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SirCumference Yet that original question does not use the term flux, which others may search for as a key term. Perhaps an answer is worthwhile here. $\endgroup$
    – Cam_Aust
    Nov 2, 2017 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ As I understand the question, it sounds backwards. Usually one takes the flux measurements and uses a reference to determine the magnitude. $\endgroup$
    – Mick
    Dec 1, 2017 at 9:18

1 Answer 1


The reference magnitude and flux really depends on what filter (i.e. range of wavelengths) the observation was made at (e.g., see the UBV system, or a more complete set of photometric passbands here). If you know the filter, and it is in one of the common ultraviolet, optical, or near infrared filters, then this website and this website provide useful reference fluxes. Using the common AB magnitude system then a source with a measured magnitude of zero in any band by definition has a reference flux of 3631 Jy (where 1 Jansky = 10-26 W Hz-1 m-2).


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