Russia set to launch the brightest star in the sky

Russia may soon launch an artificial satellite into space which will become the brightest object in the night sky after the moon. The satellite is named Mayak, it is a Russian CubeSat and will be fitted with multiple solar reflectors.

For celestial bodies brightness is measured in apparent magnitude (less the value, more the brightness), and it is supposed that this miniature satellite will have an apparent magnitude of -10. For comparison Moon ranks between -13 and -12, whereas Sun has an apparent magnitude of -27. Clearly, this object will be brighter than other objects in the sky such as International Space Station and Venus having an apparent magnitude of -6 and -5 respectively.

Issue for researchers

Not every astronomer is inclined to the idea of sending such an object to space, the main issue is that light of this satellite will disrupt their research.


Nick Howes, an astronomer and former deputy director of the Kielder Observatory in Northumberland said in an interview with IFLScience:

We fight so hard for dark skies in and around our planet. To see this being potentially ruined by some ridiculous crowd-funded nonsense makes my heart simply despair.

Mayak will be visible in different part of the world. This is a crowd-funded project created by students of Moscow Polytechnics and it weighs only 8 pounds.

The project was funded on Boomstarter a crowd funding site of Russia and raised approximately $30,000.


The CubeSat is set to be launched on 14 July. The team wants to showcase that space can be accessible to small scientific teams at a very low cost. They also plan to showcase aerodynamic braking at the end of CubeSat’s run.