17 In which year (20 either way) did Friedrich Bessel
determine that 61 Cygni was 11 light years away - the first star (other than the Sun) to have its distance measured?
This nondescript dot, 61 Cygni, gleams in the annals of science history: in 1838, astronomer Friedrich Bessel
measured 61 Cygni's distance, making it the first star outside the solar system to be pinpointed in space.
But their example regarding the first measurement of stellar parallax might inadvertently leave readers with the impression that Friedrich Bessel
, who measured the parallax of 61 Cygni in 1838, was scooped by both Thomas Henderson and Wilhelm Struve, who had previously measured the parallaxes of Alpha Centauri and Vega, respectively.
The story of the companion of Sirius begins in 1844, when Wilhelm Friedrich Bessel
noticed that two of the brightest stars in the sky, Sirius and Procyon, both showed slow, periodic position shifts with respect to other stars.
It's a matter of record that the first published distance to a star outside of our solar system was that of 61 Cygni, announced by the German astronomer Friedrich Bessel