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Picture 18

18. For the first time we now show just one star besides the sun; there is no longer fear of confusion, as the whole solar system has been reduced to a point (1). The star marked (2) is the double star called Alpha in the constellation Centaurus. This star, Alpha Centauri, is the star nearest to the earth, if we do not reckon the very faint Proxima Centauri, which may be slightly nearer. Its distance from the earth is about 4 light years, which means that light needs about 4 years to cover that distance. On the scale of this drawing, 1 light year would be 0.946 centimeters, that is, about 1 centimeter. Alpha Centauri is therefore at a distance of about 4 centimeters from the sun. In the drawing it seems nearer. The explanation of this seeming discrepancy is that Alpha Centauri is farther away than the sun from our faraway point of observation.

1 cm. in picture = 1018 cm. = about 1 light-year.
Scale = 1:1018