Wishes and Stars

Proxima Centauri

The song “When You Wish Upon a Star,” made famous by Disney’s movie adaptation of Pinocchio, begins:

“When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires

Will come to you”


Assuming wishes travel at the speed of light

and assuming wishes can’t traverse wormholes

and assuming it’s the star itself which grants the wish

(and not some huckster or philanthropist)

and assuming the wish-granting thing returns at the speed of light

(or close to it).

Chances are you’ll be long dead by the time your wish gets granted.

Unless you had the good sense to wish on a nearby star

but even the nearest star is 4.2 light years away

so it would take at least 8.4 years for you to get your wish.

But there’s hope:

The Sun is a star.

Wish on it!

(But don’t look directly at it

unless you’re wishing for new eyes.)

Then you’ll only have to wait about 17 minutes

but don’t get your hopes up.

There’s not much evidence for this working

but feel free to do the experiment.

Photo credit: The photo of Proxima Centauri (and lots of other stars) is public domain.

A friendly human.