Excerpt from Library of Universal History and Popular Science: Containing a Record of the Human Race From the Earliest Historical Period to the Present Time. Embracing a General Survey of the Progress of Mankind in National and Social Life, Civil Government, Religion, Literature, Science and Art
The answer is, in the immense majority of cases, no difference at all; their distance is so vastly greater than miles that a change of base to this extent makes no change perceptible to the most refined instruments in their bearings as seen from the earth. But the perfection of modern instruments is such, that a change of even one second, or 8300th part of one degree, in the annual parallax, as it is called, of any fixed star, would certainly be detected.
This corresponds to a distance of times the length of the base of miles, or of miles, a dis tance which it would take light moving at the rate of miles per second, three years and eighty-three day to traverse. There is only one star in the whole heavens, a bright star called Alpha, in the constellation of the Centaur, which is known to be as near as this. Its annual parallax is or very nearly and therefore its distance very nearly 20 millions of millions of miles. All the other stars, of which many millions are visible through powerful telescopes, are further 011' than this.
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