Parallax is the most reliable method for directly measuring distances to stars within our galaxy. It uses the geometry of the Earth's orbit around the Sun to see tiny, almost imperceptible shifts of background stars behind the object being measured.
Previously this technique was only effective for distances up to 750 light years. Anything further away and we couldn't see the background stars shift; the change was too small.
This new capability allows astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to measure parallax distances up to 7,500 light years away - an astonishing increase in precision of a factor of 10!
Please join us as and discuss this new technique with Dr. Adam Riess, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics and Dr. Stefano Casertano, the developers of this new ability for #Hubble .
Image info here: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/12/
The image captures the top of a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being pushed apart from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.
We'll make something for everyone out of the image -- return Wednesday at noon for your championship swag. (UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be delayed until late afternoon.)
Visit the Hubble Madness contest here: http://www.facebook.com/HubbleTelescope/app_432387213452269.
Image info here: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2010/13/
HubbleSite.org is the online home of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. HubbleSite is produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD, which conducts Hubble's science mission.
Nearly 400 years after Galileo first observed the heavens through a telescope, we continue to seek answers to age-old questions about the universe. And while the technology has evolved over the centuries, the inquiry remains essentially the same: What's out there, where did it come from, and what does it mean?
At the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), we're working hard to study and explain the once-unimaginable celestial phenomena now made visible by the Hubble Space Telescope's cutting-edge technology.
HubbleSite is produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute's Office of Public Outreach.