The Nearest Star

Space is a vast place, so vast that humans are not entirely sure how far the universe reaches and we are even more uncertain about what the end of the universe looks like. Even with matters within our own galaxy, there are still uncertainties, such as the total number of stars and planets. Luckily, there are some things that are known for certain. It is well-known that the moon is at an average of 238,855 miles away from earth. But how about the stars, at what distance are most stars from the earth? Which star is the nearest to our planet? The answer is that the stars are so far away that it is very difficult to measure. In the most basic sense, some information about a stars distance can be gathered simply by looking at how bright it is. The brighter a star is in the sky, the closer it is to earth. But even still, stars are so far away that it is difficult to equate in numbers. It can be said however, that if a star is dull or lacking any particular brightness, it is probably hundreds of millions of light years away from Earth.

When trying to calculate exact distances and the time it would take to travel to these stars, it is again important to look at things science does know. For example, a space shuttle can navigate around the earth in an hour and a half. The same space shuttle takes about 15 hours to go from Cape Canaveral to the moon. While we of course can't go to the Sun because of its heat, it would hypothetically take the space shuttle roughly 200 days to reach the sun. So, the Sun is about 320 times further away from earth than the moon is. When one realizes that it would take 200 days to get to one of the closer fixtures in our solar system, they realize that the time it would take to reach a star is almost immeasurable.

The nearest star, called Alpha Centauri, would take the space shuttle 175,000 years to get to. So, the nearest star is 231,000 times farther away from Earth than the Sun is. And this is just the nearest star; other stars are much further away. The North Star, for example, is about 430 light years from Earth.

So, we have been to the moon, and we can never go to the Sun. We have never been to mars, and it is estimated that it would take about 215 days to get there. One day, maybe, man will get to Mars. However, the stars are light years away, so we will never be able to visit them, and we will be left to study them through the great technologies that are offered to us.

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