From: LARRY KLAES (ljk4_at_msn.com)
Date: Sat Jul 22 2006 - 23:34:09 PDT
Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel
Born this day (July 22) in 1784, German astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel
made the first measurement of the distance of a star other than the Sun, and
his work allowed the first accurate determination of interstellar distances.
"As well as helping determine the parallax of 61 Cygni, Bessel's precise
measurements allowed him to notice deviations in the motions of Sirius and
Procyon, which he deduced must be caused by the gravitational attraction of
unseen companions. His announcement of Sirius' "dark companion" in 1844 was
the first correct claim of a previously unobserved companion by positional
measurement, and eventually led to the discovery of Sirius B."
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