Written Assignment #4

Written Assignment #4 - Jason Mallette 12/8/2010 Astronomy...

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Jason Mallette 12/8/2010 Astronomy Written Assignment #4 1. Describe how Harlow Shapley determined that the sun was not at the center of our galaxy. Harlow Shapley determined that the sun was not at the center of our galaxy by studying Cepheid’s in globular clusters, which are huge spherical groups of closely packed stars. Shapley used the relation between the period of Cepheid’s and their observed brightness to map the relative distances of clusters from us and from each other. The clusters were widely and randomly distributed both below and above the plane of the Milky Way. They also appeared to be concentrated in one small area that was in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Shapley argued that such a distribution would make sense if the Galaxy had the shape of a flattened disk with the clusters grouped around the galactic center. This proved that the solar system was displaced from its accepted central position by a considerable distance. 2. Compare the difference between galactic and globular clusters. A galactic cluster is a fairly young, irregularly shaped group of stars.
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Written Assignment #4 - Jason Mallette 12/8/2010 Astronomy...

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