Determined by Apparent Magnitude, these are the 20 brightest stars in the sky from brightest to ... less bright. Magnitude measures brightness as seen from inside Earth's atmosphere... not necessarily size or importance. Which stars are the brightest?Planets may be the brightest *things* in the sky, but they don't count as stars. The white and blue stars tend to be the hottest and shiniest... but some red stars are closer to earth, so they will appear brighter, even when they aren't in actuality. If you've ever looked up and wondered what that big mess was all about, here are some names to give to those bright dots... and a few directions for how to find them.