If the Moon Were Only One Pixel: a Scale Model of the Solar System

by Jason Major March 6, 2014

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter One of my favorite pet peeves is the inability of conventional models to accurately convey the gigantic scale of the Solar System. Most of us grew up with models of the planets made of wood or plastic or spray painted styrofoam […]

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Orion Revisited: Astronomers Find New Star Cluster in Front of the Orion Nebula

by Jason Major November 25, 2012

The well-known star-forming region of the Orion Nebula. ¬†Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope / Coelum (J.-C. Cuillandre & G. Anselmi) Precise distances are difficult to gauge in space, especially within the relatively local regions of the Galaxy. Stars which appear close together in the night sky may actually be separated by many hundreds or thousands of light-years, […]

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How To Measure the Universe

by Jason Major May 29, 2012

Measuring distance doesn’t sound like a very challenging thing to do — just pick your standard unit of choice and corresponding tool calibrated to it, and see how the numbers add up. Use a meter stick, a tape measure, or perhaps take a drive, and you can get a fairly accurate answer. But in astronomy, […]

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Distance to Alpha Centauri

by Fraser Cain December 30, 2009

Alpha Centauri is the closest known star system to the Solar System. Also known as Rigil Kentaurus, Alpha Centauri is actually a multiple star system. It’s certainly a binary star, with two sunlike stars orbiting one another. And there’s also a red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri, which astronomers still argue about whether it’s part of […]

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Stellar Parallax

by Jean Tate December 10, 2009

Parallax is the apparent difference in the position (line of sight to) an object, when the object is viewed from different locations. So, when we observe that a star has apparently moved (not to be confused with it actually having moved – proper motion), when we look at it from two different locations on the […]

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