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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Wolfram|Alpha for Stargazers

August 13, 2009 —
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Whether you are an astronomy student or just interested in learning more about those points of light in our sky, Wolfram|Alpha contains star data that will help you get started and understand what you’re seeing up there. Wolfram|Alpha not only charts the stars from your location, but offers detailed information including their distance from Earth, color, size, and much more.

To figure out which stars are the most visible to you, simply enter “10 brightest stars“. The query’s results indicate that the brightest stars as seen from Earth are the Sun, Sirius, Canopus, Arcturus, Rigel Kentaurus A, Vega, Capella, Rigel, Procyon, and Betelgeuse. Pods show comparisons of the stars’ size, their equilateral locations, and their locations in the current sky (not necessarily the night sky—unless you specify a time/location, Wolfram|Alpha assumes the current time from your current location).


The bright stars Capella, Betelgeuse, and Arcturus are all visible at night or before sunrise from Champaign, Illinois, USA, depending on the season. If you enter “Capella, Betelgeuse, Arcturus” into Wolfram|Alpha you’ll get a comparison of the three stars. It can tell you, for instance, that Betelgeuse, a super giant, is the largest of the three, and that Arcturus, which is found in the constellation of Boötes, is much closer to Earth than either Betelgeuse or Rigel. Capella and Betelguese are most easily seen on winter nights, whereas Arcturus is most easily seen on a spring night in the Northern Hemisphere. So repeat your query as time progresses to get current information. You can also add a date to your query to see where a star was, or will be, on a specific date.


Wolfram|Alpha is a fast and simple tool on your computer or mobile device to help you become more familiar with astronomy and stargazing . Enthusiasts have been discussing stargazing and other astronomy topics in the Wolfram|Alpha Community—please join the conversation there, and stay tuned for future blog posts about Wolfram|Alpha astronomical data.


“and other astrological topics”
Way to kill your credibility as a source for astronomical information. I certainly wouldn’t boast about Astrological data on anything which purports to have scientific value.

Posted by SpecKK August 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    We will be covering other “astronomical data”. It has been updated. Thank you for catching that.

    Posted by The PR Team August 13, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    no, i dont think thats true, maybe you should research b4 u say anything next time

    Posted by Adrian September 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Actually, the typo is still there..

Posted by Ramon August 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I think that the current WA astronomy section is very useful and that perhaps its strongest point is the way that the information is presented and also that you can easily preview a star chart at a different time and place (the computational aspect that is)

More data (that in fact is freely available) could be added or linked for a relevant subject anyway. Orbital Elements are an example (

I was wondering if it would be possible to add a function so that the whole page is presented in a deep red shade? (This could be a button altering the appropriate CSS property through javascript or a whole page resubmission if you would like to slightly re-arrange the view)

The red shade is less annoying to the eyes when you have to switch between the darkness of the telescope, or binoculars, to a brightly lit computer screen.

Posted by AA August 14, 2009 at 5:08 am

The skymap doesn’t appear for me, I only get the members, size comparison and equatorial location panels. This is really disappointing, as the sky map is just what I am looking for. I will be getting a telescope in a few weeks and wolfram alpha could have been very helpful.

Posted by Luke August 16, 2009 at 7:41 pm


    Where are you located? We will have a member of our team look into this.

    Thank you!

    Posted by The PR Team August 17, 2009 at 11:20 am

Those are not the ten brightest stars… those are the ten brightest stars AS SEEN from EARTH, you know? Maybe you should clarify that in your input interpretation. I mean, nobody knows what the ten brightest stars in the universe are, lolz.

Posted by Eric Parfitt August 17, 2009 at 2:04 pm