Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dear Mr. Brown

As a science fiction writer, I grant you a lot of latitude, but really. You have your spaceship jump nine light years and the captain/pilot/navigator sees only an imperceptible change in the positions of the stars? Pulleeze! The night sky would be nearly unrecognizable nine light years from Earth in any direction. Many of the brightest stars are less than twenty light years away and nearly all are less than 100 light years away.

Of the twenty-six brightest stars, only Deneb, Betelgeuse, and Rigel are far enough away (1500 and 1400 light years) that they would be shifted by only a couple of degrees.

If you were writing about pirates on the Spanish Main I would expect you to know that Cuba was farther from Madrid than Barcelona is. Since you write about interstellar adventure, you ought to have some clue as to how stars are distributed.

Distances to brightest stars.