Nearby Stars


Do you know our nearest stars?


How much do you know about astronomy? How about our nearest stars?

Of course, the star closest to us is the Sun, but how about the others?

Today we have challenging questions about our stellar neighbors based IMG_3761on the article “The Nearest Stars” by Todd J. Henry in the Observer’s Handbook 2019.

I created five questions that could be answered without reading this chapter.

You have up to five minutes to complete the challenge today.

Begin now. Do your best.

  1. The distances to the nearest stars are determined by what technique?

  1. What spacecraft as given us the distances to millions of stars to better than 1 % accuracy?

  1. Including the Sun, how many known systems are there within 5 parsecs ?

  1. In those 53 systems, how many planets have been detected?

  1. Of the 53 nearest systems, which spectral type has the most stars at 73%?

OK, pencils down. Scroll down for directions for checking your answers.

Please read directions below:

Step 1: Please contribute to one of these charities linked below. If you are a winner and contribute, please ask recipient to notify me of the amount so I might match the first $100.

  1. Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Researchfullsizeoutput_13f0

Click on “Get Involved”

  1. Guilford County Animal Shelter

               Look under “Donate to the Animal Shelter.”

  1. Guilford Senior Resources

Look under “You Can Help”

  1. Jo Cline Memorial Endowment

Step 2: Check your written answers to the answers below. If your answer is correct, give it a check mark.

Step 3: If your answer is wrong, put a small X.

Step 4: If you think my answer is questionable, write yourself a note, do the research and let me know if I’ve erred. Thanks in advance,

You are welcome to play with us during the next live broadcast of

“Let’s talk astronomy” this coming Monday beginning at 8 am eastern US time on Periscope.

Periscope is a live video streaming app for Android and iOS available in the App Store.

On Monday, April 8, 2019, our Astronomy Challenge was about nearby stars.

The questions are given above, the correct answers and the winners are given below.

Congratulations to all winners and thank-you to all participants.

Play the Astronomy Challenge live on Periscope’s “ Let’s talk astronomy” 8 am (Eastern US time) on Mondays.

Correct Answers……..Periscope Winners:


  1. Trigonometric parallax…@Pircano:  Parallax is the most reliable method but a star has to be close enough for us to detect any parallax shift.

  1. Gaia….…mc4374: This ESA spacecraft was launched in 2013 to do astrometry.

  1. 53……….@Pircano: with 66 stars and nine brown dwarfs

  1. 21………….@Pircano: 13 of them are exoplanets.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 3.54.42 PM

  1. M type stars (red dwarf)………….@Pircano: These are the least massive type stars.




If you find a mistake, please let me know.

Thanks goes out to all participants,


Congratulations to everyone who got one right.

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