Download e-book for kindle: Alpha Centauri - The Nearest Star by Isaac Asimov

By Isaac Asimov

Discusses the constellations and stars, the space, luminosity and measurement, stellar astronomy, starlight, and lifestyles on different planetary structures, with distinct connection with the 3rd brightest and in addition the closest celebrity. Alpha Centauri.

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For instance, Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri magnitude on none of the ancient lists. (They are almost as close together as Castor and Pollux and, on the whole, the two bright stars of Centaurus are brighter than the two bright stars of Gemini. ") Then, too, the two brightest stars of Crux are first magnitude and they were not included on the ancient lists either since they were not seen. The two stars are Alpha Crucis and Beta Crucis. Sometimes they are called, for short, Acrux (AY-kruks) and Becrux (BEE-kruks) but these are not familiar names and this book will use the Bayer names for them.

Nor would you expect them to be if the stars were very much more distant than the planets. ) Proper motions are so small that even the them represent a shift in position of a star in the course of a year that can be measured only in terms of seconds of arc. And remember that one second of arc is 1/60 of a minute of arc, which is in turn 1/60 of a degree. To give you a notion of how large a second of arc is, the width of the full moon is 1865 seconds of arc, or 1865", on the average. ) One greatest of second of arc is therefore 1/1865 the average width of the full moon.

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. " Its proper motion its position as is much such that it will take 181 years to shift as the width of the moon, which is very slow by earthly standards, but very fast indeed by stellar standards. Among the bright stars, only Alpha Centauri has a proper 6l THE PROBLEM OF DISTANCE • we include dim stars as number exceeding that mark.

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