Astrophysics (Index)About

distance modulus

(apparent magnitude minus absolute magnitude)

A star or other astronomical body's distance modulus (μ) is an indication of its distance consisting of the difference between its apparent magnitude and its absolute magnitude. It is directly related to the distance to the star if there is no absorption.

μ = 5 log10d - 5

An object's luminosity distance (DL) is the distance implied by the distance modulus, i.e., a distance to the object implied by the object's actual absolute magnitude and its apparent magnitude. The term luminosity distance is basically just the actual distance for distances to Milky Way stars if reddening is not a big issue, but for objects at cosmological distances (high redshift), curvature can make the actual distance diverge from that implied by the above relation. Straight-forward determination of this luminosity distance using the above equation is possible if the actual absolute magnitude is known by some other means, such as if it is a standard candle.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
planetary nebula luminosity function (PNLF)
pulsar timing array (PTA)
redshift-magnitude relation