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Which Is That Bright Star in the Sky Tonight?

What is that bright star in the sky tonight? Our Bright Stars Calculator tells you all about the visible stars in the night sky—tonight or a date in the future—all customized to the location that you select! We cover every day from 1970 through 2036.

What Our Bright Stars Calculator Lists

  • The time of a star's rising on any date
  • The time and altitude of a star as it crosses the meridian (i.e., the highest point in the sky)
  • The time of a star's setting on any date
  • The magnitude of the star, i.e., its brightness!

Bright Star Terminology and Definitions

Most visible stars will rise and set in the night sky, just as the full Moon or the planets do. However, note that Deneb, Algol, Capella, and Vega are circumpolar stars—they never set but instead appear to circle the celestial north pole.

When a star crosses or transits the meridian, we show the time and altitude of a star when it reaches its highest elevation while passing over the horizon's southern point on the date shown. This is often the best time to see a star across the field of view of a telescope eyepiece.

Objects with an apparent magnitude of 6 or less are observable to the naked eye. The lower the magnitude, the greater the brightness; a star with a magnitude of -1, for example, is brighter than a star with a magnitude of +1.

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