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hwk01 Ast 4001, 2013 Sept 3

Homework set 1 -- Practice exercises with astronomical magnitudes
The only way to become really comfortable with manit!des is by practicin with them"
These e#ercises ha$e two oals% &1' to $is!ali(e what a )!oted manit!de sinifies, and
&2' to become able to calc!late with manit!des easily, )!ickly, and reliably" After some
practice yo! can do a typical manit!de problem in only a few seconds" *on+t t!rn yo!r
res!lts in, b!t try to be confident that yo! ot the riht answers" Try to de$ise the easiest
or )!ickest method for each type of problem" ,n$ent other problems yo!rself"
Three facts to remember """
- The relation between an apparent manit!de m and the correspondin radiation fl!# F %
m . 2"/ lo 10
& F / F
' , F . 10



" & smaller m implies brihter '
1s!ally &b!t not always' F is an enery fl!# with !nits s!ch as 2atts per s)!are meter"
3anit!de m is a dimensionless )!antity, a p!re n!mber with no meas!rement !nits"
- F and m !s!ally refer to some limited rane of wa$elenths or photon fre)!encies "
4or e#ample we miht be !sin a bl!e or red filter" 2a$elenths and fre)!encies aren+t
mentioned in the problems below, beca!se they don+t affect the manit!de calc!lations"
- 1s!ally we don+t need to know the )!antitati$e $al!e of the normali(ation constant F
A few www sites to read or skim &this list may be a little o!t of date'

2ikipedia 6manit!de &astronomy'7, 6photometry &astronomy'7, 7189 photometric
system7, etc" :oole has tro!ble with this topic, beca!se keywords s!ch as 6manit!des7
or 6photometry7 or 6189;7 may lead to a b!nch of speciali(ed research papers that
merely ha$e these words in their titles" 8!t if yo! look aro!nd, yo! may find $ario!s
co!rse notes from other !ni$ersities" &historical notes'!""/#3$.htm &tri$ial f!ssin' &pop!lar<le$el bl!rb'
=ractice problems
1" >1 ?yni is a famo!s do!ble star" 2hen separated with a telescope, its component
stars ha$e apparent $is!al manit!des m . /"22 and >"03 respecti$ely" ?alc!late m
for the total of the two, as seen with the !naided eye"
2" 3 >@ is an important cl!ster of abo!t A0 stars located A30 parsecs from !s" ,ts total
brihtness amo!nts to apparent $is!al manit!de m >"/" Bstimate the a$erae
manit!de for a typical indi$id!al star in 3 >@"
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3" A partic!lar do!ble star system has total absol!te manit!de m . 4"/" ,n terms of
intrinsic enery fl!#, component A is twice as briht as its companion 8" ?alc!late
the indi$id!al manit!des of A and 8"
4" 1:? 4/C1 is a distant ala#y that normally has apparent $is!al manit!de m . 1>"/"
8riefly, howe$er, this manit!de brihtens to 1/"C beca!se a s!perno$a e#plosion has
occ!rred there" *ed!ce the apparent manit!de of the s!perno$a"
/" 2e can et decent spectra of stars as faint as m . 20" The S!n has m 0 2@"
?alc!late the ratio of correspondin brihtnesses F . Try to do this in yo!r headD
&EowF 0 ;ecall that a 2"/<manit!de difference implies a factor of 10 in F .
;emember that 1 manit!de is a factor of abo!t 2"/12, 2 manit!des is a factor
of abo!t &2"/12'

>"3, etc"'
>" Apropos problems like 4, it+s !sef!l to memori(e lo
&2' 0"301, lo
&3' 0"4@@,
&4' 0">02, and lo
&/' 0">CC"
& Eistorical comment% *ecades ao, most technical people a!tomatically knew
these $al!es thro!h e#perience with slide r!les and tables of loarithms"'
@" At $is!al wa$elenths, there are abo!t >000 si#th<manit!de stars in the sky, i"e", in
the manit!de rane /"/ G m G >"/" These are the faintest stars that can be seen
with the !naided eye in fa$orable conditions" ?ompare the total radiation fl!# F
from all of them to the brihtest star, Siri!s, which has m 1"4 "
A" S!ppose, in a i$en set of circ!mstances, yo! can see stars as faint as m . > witho!t
optical aid" Eow faint a star can yo! see with a @ # /0 binoc!larF &6/07 means it has
obHecti$e lenses with diameter /0 mm"' 2ith a 1<meter telescopeF
C" A star+s apparent manit!de ob$io!sly depends on its distance as well as its intrinsic
l!minosity" Absolute manit!de M , a meas!re of H!st the l!minosity, is defined
as the apparent manit!de that a star wo!ld ha$e if it we co!ld $iew it from a standard
distance of 10 parsecs" 1se this definition to ded!ce the relation between M, m,
and distance D . 9erify that it i$es reasonable answers for one or two easy test
cases" &This form!la can be fo!nd in most elementary astronomy te#tbooks" The point
here, howe$er, is that yo! can work it o!t yo!rself, so )!ickly that yo! don+t really need
to memori(e the form!la or look it !p" I!st recall that F 1 / D

10" ,f one star is 0"1 manit!de brihter than another, then they differ by abo!t 10J in
brihtness & meas!red by F '" Kikewise m . 0"0/ implies a /J difference, etc"
This con$enient appro#imation works for differences smaller than, say, 2/J or so"
,n terms of math, fi!re o!t why it+s ro!hly tr!e" & Eint% consider e
" '
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