Traveling to the stars? Don’t pack for
a week or a month. Pack for 70,000
years - the travel time to the nearest star beyond our Sun using
our fastest spaceship!
As the Earth moves around the Sun, our view of nearby stars changes
slightly against the background of other stars that are further
away. Astronomers use this effect, called parallax, to determine
the distance to the nearest stars.
1836. German scientist Friedrich Bessel,
using a specially designed telescope, is the first to see a star’s
position appear to change as the Earth moves around the Sun.
He finds the star to be 700,000 times further away than our Sun!
ABOVE: The Pleiades star cluster is 400 light
years away. One light year is 6 trillion miles. The blue veil is
starlight reflecting off dust that envelops the cluster.