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Brightness is an attribute of visual perception in which a source appears to emit a given amount of light.

"Brightness" was formerly used as a synonym for the photometric term luminance and (incorrectly) for the radiometric term radiance. "Brightness" should now be used only for nonquantitative references to physiological sensations and perceptions of light.

Source: from Federal Standard 1037C

With regard to stars etc. see apparent magnitude, absolute magnitude.

See also