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Planetary Science
Length and Distance

Who is the first person to measure the distance to a star successfully?


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August 07, 2014 5:04PM

The star 61 Cygni had its distance measured by Friedrich Bessel in 1838. He found a distance of 10.3 light years, close to the modern value of 11.4 light years. This was the first time a star's distance was measured.

The method used was to measure the star's parallax, the slight movement seen against the background of more distant stars caused by the Earth's motion around the Sun.