Chapter 23: Are the stars much closer than believed?
The most indigestible aspect of the heliocentric theory is, undoubtedly, its implications for the extravagant remoteness and sizes of the stars. In any event, the idea that some of the visible stars in our skies would be located several thousands of light years away is, on the face of it, simply outlandish. Let's pause for a moment to consider what exactly the distance known as "1 LIGHT YEAR" implies - and how it translates in units of kilometers:
1 AU (average Earth-Sun distance) = 149 597 870.7 km (or roughly 149.6 Mkm)
1 LIGHT YEAR = 63241.1 AU = 9 460 730 472 580.8 km (or roughly 9.46 TRILLION kilometers!)
Ever since the Copernican theory came along, the apparent angular diameter of the stars as perceived from Earth by the human eye has been one of the most controversial issues of astronomy. Since the theory implied that the stars were hugely more distant than previously thought, it became imperative for the Copernican advocates to find some justification for the apparent size of the stars. This, because the stars in our skies (especially the largest or closest “first-magnitude stars”) appear to our naked eye to be far too large, if they were to be as formidably distant as currently claimed. So can the TYCHOS model provide rational arguments in support of the notion that the stars are much closer than currently believed? The answer to this question is firmly in the affirmative. Here follow the hows and whys of this confident assertion.
As we have seen, in the TYCHOS model, Earth only moves by 14036 km every year - or by 7018 km every 6 months.
Of course, star distances have always been measured and computed by astronomers under the assumption that Earth moves around the Sun. They assume that Earth's orbital diameter is 299 200 000 km (or almost 300 million kilometers). Hence, they will 'take a picture' of a nearby star "X" (say, on June 21). Then, after six months (December 21) they 'take another picture' of star "X". They then look at how much star "X" has moved in relation to the 'fixed stars' (i.e. the far more distant background stars) and, with a simple trigonometry calculus, they compute the distance between the Earth and the nearby star "X".
Now, if Earth does NOT move laterally every six months by 299.2 million km - but only by 7018 km (as stipulated in the TYCHOS model) - it follows that the currently-accepted star distances are ALL inflated by a factor of:
299 200 000 / 7018 ≈ 42633
This will be our reduction factor for all the stellar distances listed in the official star catalogues.
This also means that, in the TYCHOS, the distance unit known as “1 Light Year” corresponds to less than 1.5 AU :
9 460 730 472 580.8 km (i.e. one “light year”) / 42633 ≈ 1.4834 AU
Let's now put our TYCHOS reduction factor to the test - and see how close Proxima Centauri (our very nearmost star) would be; officially, Proxima is said to be about 4.25 LY away. In the TYCHOS, Proxima would thus be located about 6.3 AU away from Earth, because: 4.25LY X 1.4834 ≈ 6.3 AU
This is rather interesting, for this TYCHOS-computed distance (6.3 AU) to Proxima would place our nearmost star at a distance roughly 'midway between' Jupiter (4.2 AU) and Saturn (8.5 AU). Note however that Proxima is not located in the same plane as our solar system – but some 62° ‘below’ it. Also, consider that Proxima is reckoned to be a 'red dwarf' (by far the most common star type in our universe) which are notoriously quite dim - due to their intrinsically low luminosity.
Undoubtedly, Tycho Brahe would be most satisfied with that, since his primary objection to the Copernican model was that the stars would have to be absurdly large and distant - and that there would have to be a most improbable, enormous void between Saturn and our nearmost stars. In fact, Tycho Brahe’s expert opinion was that the stars were “located just beyond Saturn and of reasonable size”.
“It was one of Tycho Brahe’s principal objections to Copernican heliocentrism that in order for it to be compatible with the lack of observable stellar parallax, there would have to be an enormous and unlikely void between the orbit of Saturn (then the most distant known planet) and the eighth sphere (the fixed stars).” "Parallax" - on Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
We shall now further use star Proxima as a 'test bed' for another important aspect of the present discourse; namely, that of the perceived telescopic size of stellar disks. As all astronomers will know, it is believed today that the perceived angular diameters of the stars (as viewed telescopically) are spurious, due to assorted diffraction phenomena which would cause the stars to appear (to our naked eyes) far larger than they are in actuality (see "Airy Disk" on Wikipedia).
Proxima’s officially-estimated “true” angular diameter is 0.001” arcseconds (although it appears to be MUCH larger in our telescopes). Since the Sun’s observed angular diameter is 1920" arcseconds, this means that Proxima's "actual" angular diameter is reckoned to be 1 920 000 times (or almost 2 MILLION times) smaller than the Sun's! To put this into perspective, my below graphic shows how an object only 100 X smaller than the Sun would look like - in our skies. Well, imagine if that little dot wasn’t just 100 times – but as much as 2 MILLION times smaller. Give it a good thought - and let it sink in.
Proxima's actual diameter is estimated - by today's astronomers - to be 1/7th that of our Sun; its distance from our Solar System, as we saw earlier, is officially reckoned to be ca. 4.25 light years - or 268775 AU (i.e. 268775 X further away than our Sun). This, because - as their reasoning goes: 1920” / 268775 ≈ 0.007” / 7 ≈ 0.001" (which, of course, is an absurdly small value - whichever way you look at it!)
Now, is Proxima perhaps an exceptionally bright / luminous star? Well, no - not according to officialdom. Here’s what we may read on the Wikipedia with regards to Proxima's luminosity:
“(Proxima’s) total luminosity over all wavelengths is 0.17% that of the Sun, although when observed in the wavelengths of visible light the eye is most sensitive to, it is only 0.0056% as luminous as the Sun.” "Proxima Centauri" - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
In other words, the official data is telling us that Proxima, our very nearmost star…
- Is about 7 X smaller than our Sun
- Is located 268775 X further away than our Sun
- Is FAR, FAR dimmer (less luminous) than our Sun
- Has a “true” angular diameter almost 2 MILLION X smaller than our Sun
You may thus rightly wonder how Proxima, our very nearmost star, could then possibly be visible at all!
On the other hand, if the TYCHOS' 42633 reduction factor for star distances is correct, we see that Proxima's true angular diameter would amount to a more reasonable 42.633" arcseconds (42633 X 0.001 = 42.633) - which would make its angular diameter only 45 times smaller than the Sun's mean angular diameter of 1920" (1920" / 42.633" ≈ 45). Note that 42.6332” is well below the angular resolution of the human eye (60”), so this would explain why Proxima is invisible to the unaided eye. Now, the TYCHOS' proposed Earth-Proxima distance is 6.3AU; thus, if we hypothetically could move Proxima to a distance of 1AU, this would indeed make Proxima only about 7 times smaller than the Sun (45 / 6.3 ≈ 7.1). Let's now see how this same line of reasoning works out, as applied to Sirius, the brightest (and visually largest) star in our skies.
"At just 8.7 light years away, Sirius is the seventh closest star to Earth." "What is the brightest star in our skies?" - Sky & Telescope (opens in a new tab)
As we apply our 42633 reduction factor (1LY = 1.4834AU), we see that the Earth-Sirius distance - in the TYCHOS model - would be about 12.9AU (8.7 X 1.4834 ≈ 12.9). Officially, the "true" angular diameter of Sirius is reported to be a mere 0.005936″; again, this is an incredibly small value, for it would mean that the "actual" size of the disk of light that we call Sirius - the most prominent star in our skies - would be as many as 323450 X smaller than the Sun (1920 / 0.005936 = 323450)! Now, Sirius is estimated to be 1.7 times larger than the Sun; so let's try and divide that 323450 figure by our 42633 reduction factor - and then multiply it by 1.7; by doing so, we should obtain the true Sun-Sirius distance (assuming that the TYCHOS 42633 reduction factor is correct - and that the intrinsic luminosities of the Sun and Sirius are identical, for why wouldn't they?):
323450 / 42633 = 7.5868 X 1.7 = 12.8975 (or just about 12.9!)
In other words, Sirius may well be located at only 12.9 AU - yet still be 1.7 X larger (as of current estimates) than the Sun. In any event, the notion that atmospheric diffraction would only alter (and hugely inflate) the apparent sizes of the stars - yet leave our planets' apparent sizes unaffected - has to be the most bizarre axiom of heliocentrism.
Let me now use a real snapshot of our night skies to further illustrate the issue at hand. Note how the apparent size of Sirius seems to be roughly the same as Jupiter as viewed (and captured on a single photograph) from the Earth:
Image source and date: Tom Wildoner - October 8, 2015 (opens in a new tab)
That’s right: if we were to trust our own eyes, we would have to conclude that Sirius is about 8834 times larger than the Sun. That is, assuming that Sirius is truly as distant as currently claimed - i.e. 8.7 light years (or about 550000 times further away than the Sun). Yes, that's more than HALF A MILLION times more distant than our Sun (which subtends only about 0.5°/or 1920" in our sky)! Our Moon also subtends about 0.5° in our sky. Now, take a good look at the above photograph - and compare the visible sizes of the Moon and Sirius. Does Sirius conceivably appear to be several hundred thousands times smaller than the Moon (the angular diameter of which is similar to our Sun)?
During the last few centuries, astronomers have kept debating the thorny subject of the observed star sizes. Ironically, it was that epochal technological advancement, the telescope, that provided the Copernicans with some "optical justification” (or, if you will, another sort of 'aberration of light excuse') for this seemingly intractable issue - courtesy of Astronomer Royal George Airy (yes, the very same fellow who debunked James Bradley's "aberration of starlight"!) Here’s an extract from the Wikipedia regarding the so-called “Airy disk” diffraction phenomenon:
"AIRY DISK : The resolution of optical devices is limited by diffraction. So even the most perfect lens can’t quite generate a point image at its focus, but instead there is a bright central pattern now called the Airy disk, surrounded by concentric rings comprising an Airy pattern. The size of the Airy disk depends on the light wavelength and the size of the aperture. John Herschel had previously described the phenomenon, but Airy was the first to explain it theoretically. This was a key argument in refuting one of the last remaining arguments for absolute geocentrism: the giant star argument. Tycho Brahe and Giovanni Battista Riccioli pointed out that the lack of stellar parallax detectable at the time entailed that stars were a huge distance away. But the naked eye and the early telescopes with small apertures seemed to show that stars were disks of a certain size. This would imply that the stars were many times larger than our sun (they were not aware of supergiant or hypergiant stars, but some were calculated to be even larger than the size of the whole universe estimated at the time). However, the disk appearances of the stars were spurious: they were not actually seeing stellar images, but Airy disks. With modern telescopes, even with those having the largest magnification, the images of almost all stars correctly appear as mere points of light.”
In short, Airy proclaimed that we cannot trust our eyes (or telescopes) when it comes to gauging the angular diameters of the stars, since "the resolution of optical devices is limited by diffraction". Moreover, naked-eye assessments of star sizes would also be entirely spurious (and utterly useless) because starlight would be greatly inflated by 'atmospheric diffraction' as it traverses Earth’s atmosphere. However, there’s an obvious problem with this theory: why then wouldn’t the light emanating from the Sun and our planets (e.g. Venus, Mars or Jupiter) be similarly affected? Doesn’t their emitted light also traverse our atmosphere - much like that irradiated by the stars? Of course it does.
Tycho Brahe’s estimate of the angular diameter of Vega (a so-called “first-magnitude" star) was 120 arcseconds, or just 16 times smaller than the angular diameter subtended by the Sun (1920 arcseconds). Now, before you start scoffing at Brahe's “generous” estimate of the angular size of Vega, consider the following facts - that anyone can verify for themselves: if you own an old LP vinyl record, hold it up at arm's length towards the Sun. You will see that the Sun's disc will just about fit into the central, 7-mm-hole of your LP. Ergo, the Sun's angular diameter subtends about 7 millimeters (at arm's length) from our eyes. According to Tycho Brahe's expert judgment, Vega's angular diameter is only 1/16th that of our Sun. Was his reckoning completely preposterous? Judge for yourselves:
Indeed, the tiny dot in my above graphic is only 16 times smaller than the big dot (representing the Sun). All in all, it doesn’t look too different from what we can see in reality, does it? In light of this, Tycho Brahe's estimate of Vega's angular diameter would seem quite reasonable. Instead, we are told today that it is, "in reality", 622000 times smaller than the Sun's...
Next, consider this: Vega is currently believed to be 25 light years away, i.e. 1 583 000 X (or more than 1.5 million times!) more distant than our Sun. Yet, Vega’s physical diameter is estimated to be only about 2.3 times larger than the solar diameter. Now, if I enlarged the big dot in my above comparative graphic 2.3 times, then scaled it down 1.5 million times, would it possibly be visible from Earth with any sort of telescope - let alone with our naked eyes?
Vega’s intrinsic luminosity (or ‘wattage’, if you will) is officially estimated to be 37 times stronger than our Sun’s. This is most interesting because Vega—considered by astronomers to be “the next most important star in the sky after the Sun”—is probably the most studied of all stars and has been used as a baseline for calibrating the photometric brightness scale. Now, according to the TYCHOS model, Vega is about 37 times more distant than the Sun. It may thus be reasonably inferred that the luminosities of the Sun and Vega are, in actuality, alike: what astronomers interpret as a 1:37 luminosity ratio between the two stars may only be due to their different remoteness from the Earth. In any event, the problems posed by the alleged ginormous stellar distances implied by the Copernican model should now have become painfully clear.
In fact, Tycho Brahe's main objection to the Copernican model was that the stars could not be so formidably distant - or else they would ALL have to be hugely larger than our Sun. Brahe reckoned instead that the respective diameters of the visible stars were more homogeneous, i.e. only somewhat larger or smaller than our Sun (as opposed to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of times larger). One must admit that, from a purely statistical viewpoint, this makes perfect sense - for why would there be so many "giant and supergiant" stars in our 'cosmic neighbourhood'? To be sure, the Wikipedia tells us that "giant stars have radii up to a few hundred times the Sun and luminosities between 10 and a few thousand times that of the Sun", whereas the radii of supergiant stars can be "in excess of 1,000 solar radii and (can have) luminosities from about 1,000 to over a million times the Sun."
As we saw above, Vega is reckoned today to be 2.3X larger than the Sun - and to be located 25.04 light years away from the Earth. You will thus probably be asking yourselves this question: "if Vega is 42633X closer than currently believed, does this mean that it is also 42633X smaller?"
No! Vega may still be about 2.3 times larger than the Sun. Let's see why:
TYCHO BRAHE's estimate of VEGA's angular diameter: 120" arcseconds
MODERN ASTRONOMERS' estimate of VEGA's angular diameter: 0.0029" arcseconds
We see that 120 / 0.0029 ≈ 41380 (or quite close to the TYCHOS' 42633 reduction factor).
In the TYCHOS model, 1 light year = 1.4834 AU (i.e. 42633X less than 1 light year). This would put the Earth-Vega distance at about 37AU (25.04 X 1.4834 = 37.144 AU). Remember: Tycho Brahe estimated VEGA's angular diameter to be about 16X smaller than our Sun. Thus, if Vega is truly 37.144X more distant than the Sun (and appears to be 16X smaller), it would indeed be about 2.3X larger than the sun :
37.144/16 = 2.3215 (as the Latin saying goes: "quod erat demonstrandum" - or "Q.E.D.")
In summary :
Tycho Brahe may well have been right all along about the distances and angular diameters of our stars.
My proposed reduction factor of 42633 (for the currently-reckoned star distances) would seem to agree with Brahe's observations.
If the stars are 42633 X closer than thought, it doesn't necessarily follow that their diameters are 42633 X smaller than currently estimated.
An inescapable question that our world's astronomers must answer: how can so many stars (reputedly hundreds or thousands of light years away) possibly be visible to our unaided eyes - and how large would they all have to be?
“In the absence of any observed stellar parallax, Tycho scoffed for example at the absurdity of the distance and the sizes of the fixed stars that the Copernican system required: Then the stars of the third magnitude which are one minute in diameter will necessarily be equal to the entire annual orb (of the earth), that is, they would comprise in their diameter 2284 semidiameters of the earth. They will be distant by about 7850000 of the same semidiameters. What will we say of the stars of first magnitude, of which some reach two, some almost three minutes of visible diameter? And what if, in addition, the eighth sphere were removed higher, so that the annual motion of the earth vanished entirely (and was no longer perceptible) from there? Deduce these things geometrically if you like, and you will see how many absurdities (not to mention others) accompany this assumption of the motion of the earth by inference.” "Tycho Brahe’s Critique of Copernicus and the Copernican System" - by Ann Blair (1990) (opens in a new tab)
Let's consider the distance currently claimed for one of our brighter stars, Deneb (a.k.a. Alpha Cygni): Deneb is said to be a good 200 times larger than our Sun - but we are also told that it is a whopping 2600 LY away from our eyes - or about 164 426 800 AU! Yes, that's over 164 MILLION times further away than the Sun - or if you prefer, 24 598 249 280 000 000 km. And yet:
"Deneb is one of the brightest stars we can see with the naked eye." "Night Sky: Look Northeast For Deneb" - by Steven Glazier (opens in a new tab)
“A blue-white supergiant, Deneb is also one of the most luminous stars. However, its exact distance (and hence luminosity) has been difficult to calculate; it is estimated to be somewhere between 55,000 and 196,000 times as luminous as the Sun.” “Deneb” - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
Pardon me? "Between 55000 and 196000 times as luminous as the Sun"?... With such a vast range of estimates and 'error margins', one may suspect that they are no more than wild guesses. Besides, could these formidable luminosity estimates just be a way of "justifying" the untinkable stellar distances that the Copernican model requires? And what sort of otherworldly physics would cause a star to shine 196000 X brighter than our Sun? Didn't Sir Isaac tell us that the laws of physics are the same throughout the universe? The above Wikipedia page for star Deneb goes on to say that...
“One 2008 calculation using the Hipparcos data (gathered by ESA’s Hipparcos satellite) puts the most likely distance (to Deneb) at 1550 light-years, with an uncertainty of only around 10%.”
Yet, some modern planetariums have Deneb at a distance of 3227 light years, i.e. over twice as distant! Do the stellar distance estimates of our world’s astronomers ever agree with each other? Is star Deneb 1550, or 2600 - or 3227 light years away? Evidently, no one seems to know with any decent degree of precision! I, for one, grew up with the notion that astronomy was far more exacting than this. Virtually nothing adds up with these claimed star distances and luminosities - or the grossly discordant estimates of the same. They are all, as TV-celebrity Carl Sagan liked to say, “extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence”. It should thus come as no surprise that - as we shall see further on - several independent astronomers have, in later years, vigorously questioned NASA and ESA (the European Space Agency) over their claimed star distances published in their official catalogues.
In any event, should the stars be much closer than currently believed, this would certainly help explain why we can see very distant stars with our naked eyes (e.g. Deneb) - and why first magnitude stars (e.g. Sirius or Vega) can appear to be of roughly similar size as Jupiter. To be sure, further study is needed in the field of optical astronomy, a branch of human knowledge rife with controversy still today. The long-debated question of the perceived telescopic star disk sizes and how they would be affected by assorted optical phenomena is far from being a settled matter. The same goes for the notion of redshift and blueshift being 'visual' doppler effects (currently used to determine whether stars are receding from or approaching our Solar System), but more about that in Chapter 26.
The velocity value of ≈20 km/s (or more precisely, 19.4 km/s) keeps popping up all over astronomy literature. As shown in the below-quoted papers, there appears to be some sort of general consensus regarding this velocity value, although its actual meaning is rather nebulous. “A 20 km/s speed in relation to what?”
Nonetheless, it appears this value is meant to represent the “perceived average relative speed” between our solar system and the stars (as computed under the tenets of the Copernican theory and its implied Earth > Stars distances).
“…The solar system itself has a velocity of 20km/s with respect to the local standard of rest of nearby stars…”
“The average radial velocity of the stars is of the order of 20 km per second”.
“The Sun’s peculiar velocity is 20 km/s at an angle of about 45 degrees from the galactic centre towards the constellation Hercules.”
“The Sun is moving towards Lambda Herculis at 20km/s. This speed is in a frame of rest if the other stars were all standing still.”
“The speed of the Sun towards the solar apex is about 20 km/s. This speed is not to be confused with the orbital speed of the Sun around the Galactic center, which is about 220 km/s [or 800.000 km/h] and is included in the movement of the Local Standard of Rest.”
Here we have a more detailed account as to exactly how a ca. 20 km/s motion between the Sun and the stars was determined:
The Paris Observatory provides the more exacting figure of 19.4 km/s - or a displacement of "about 4 AU/year":
“Solar apex: The point on the celestial sphere toward which the Sun is apparently moving relative to the Local Standard of Rest. Its position, in the constellation Hercules is approximately R.A. 18h, Dec. +30°, close to the star Vega. The velocity of this motion is estimated to be about 19.4 km/sec (or about 4 AU/year). As a result of this motion, stars seem to be converging toward a point in the opposite direction, the solar antapex.”
“Antapex: The direction in the sky away from which the Sun seems to be moving (at a speed of 19.4 km/s) relative to general field stars in the Galaxy.”
In the interest of accuracy, we should probably use this 19.4 km/s value, as it appears to be our modern-day, currently-accepted estimate. So let us convert this value from km/s to km/h.
19.4 km/s X 3600 = 69840 km/h (This velocity is essentially described as representing the motion of the Solar system relative to the stars).
Now, remember that in the TYCHOS, Earth’s orbital velocity is deemed to be 1.6 km/h. This would constitute, of course, our 'proper motion' in relation to the stars. Hence, if the stars are much closer to us than currently believed, their perceived velocity should be divided by our 42633 reduction factor. So let us do just that - and see what we obtain:
69840 km/h / 42633 ≈ 1.638 km/h
This is very close to 1.601169 km/h – i.e. Earth’s orbital speed as proposed by the TYCHOS model!
Next, let us apply our 42633 reduction factor on that "4 AU/year" displacement estimate - as provided by the Paris Observatory:
4 AU = 149 600 000 km X 4 = 598 400 000 km
598 400 000 km / 42633 = 14036 km
Good Heavens! This is exactly our EAM, i.e. Earth's Annual Motion as estimated in the TYCHOS model!
In conclusion, the general velocity perceived to exist between the stars and our Solar System (ca. 19.4 km/s) would seem to support both of the TYCHOS model’s "boldest" - yet most fundamental assertions:
• Earth moves around space at the very tranquil speed of 1.6 km/h.
• The stars are about 42633 X closer than currently estimated.
In the last few centuries, astronomers have dedicated humongous efforts to determine the spatial progression & direction of the Sun - in relation to our surrounding stars. What they call the "solar antapex" is the point in the sky from which the Sun appears to be receding - whereas the "solar apex" is the point in the sky towards which the Sun appears to be approaching. In short, it has now finally been determined that the Sun is receding from the celestial 'longitude point' of RA 6h28m (roughly in the direction of star Sirius) and approaching the celestial 'longitude point' of RA 18h28m (roughly in the direction of star Vega). Source: "Solar Apex" - Wikiwand (opens in a new tab)
Well, this would be in most excellent accordance with the TYCHOS model. The below screenshots from the Tychosium show that the Sun will indeed be moving in such manner in the next 12672 years (i.e. half a TGY of 25344 years). In this respect, the TYCHOS model is fully consistent with the observed / computed spatial progression and direction of the Sun's secular motion, as it proceeds away from the solar antapex and towards the solar apex.
In the next chapter, we shall see how Earth's claimed translational velocity (i.e. its supposed hypersonic orbital speed of ca. 30km/s - or 107226km/h - as of Copernican theory) has never been experimentally verified nor confirmed. This is a hard fact which no earnest astronomer can deny - yet relativists will unfailingly roll their eyes and tell you that "Einstein has long explained why the Earth's translational velocity is impossible to measure!"...