Alpha Centauri - The Nearest Star by Isaac Asimov

By Isaac Asimov

Discusses the constellations and stars, the gap, luminosity and measurement, stellar astronomy, starlight, and existence on different planetary platforms, with detailed connection with the 3rd brightest and likewise the closest superstar. Alpha Centauri.

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Extra resources for Alpha Centauri - The Nearest Star

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As you move north you pass the one-degree parallel, the two-degree parallel and so on. " i"" N and 1° S. on Earth could be 10° N or 25° N or 77° N, or any number of degrees up to the north pole which is 90° N. It A spot could also be 10° S or 25° S or 77° S, all the way down to 90° S at the South Pole. Most spots on Earth are not, of course, exactly on a parallel of latitude, but rather between parallels. " A simpler method is to use decimals. 5° N. Every spot way on Earth has some latitude. 0000045° N.

And Edward Emerson Barnard noted the still more rapid proper motion of a star still dimmer than 61 Cygni, a star in fact that was of the ninth magnitude and was far too dim to see without a telescope. Yet, despite its dimness, its proper motion was nearly twice that of 61 Cygni and nearly in 1916 three times that of Alpha Centauri. Although the star before, motion and So rapid it it is is was Barnard who first many had pointed out its noted proper therefore called "Barnard's star" in his honor.

All It is is, it might be that Alpha Centauri is the stars. not a safe assumption that any dim star must be farther away than any bright star. Once astronomers were alerted to the existence of proper motion, they began to compare the positions of all stars to those recorded by the Greeks. They also began to compare the positions of dim stars (which the Greeks did not see, or if they did, did not bother to pinpoint) from year to year. They found that, indeed, almost all dim stars had no detectable proper motion, but that some dim stars, even some very dim stars, had considerable proper motion.

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