Trigonometric parallax

Trigonometric parallax - in the sky parallel to the...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Trigonometric parallax. This is useful out to a few hundred pc for individual stars if we have milliarcsecond precision, which Hipparcos delivered for tens of thousands of stars. This is the only (almost) completely foolproof technique for distances, since we know the size of the Earth's orbit well. Statistical applications can be applied to whole groups of stars, using (for example) the solar motion through the galactic disk to generate secular parallax . These still sample only a tiny region of the galaxy, and in particular do not reach to either very luminous stars or Cepheid variables (though Hipparcos delivered statistically useful parallaxes for some Cepheids). Cluster convergent points. For nearby clusters of appreciable angular extent (like the Hyades) perspective makes the proper motions of individual stars not parallel, but directed toward a point
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: in the sky parallel to the cluster's mean motion relative to the Sun. This gives the angle between our line of sight and the cluster's motion, and thus what fraction of the cluster's space motion is seen as proper motion and what as radial velocity. Measuring the average radial velocity then allows a distance determination, as the distance for which the radial velocity and proper motion are consistent with the angle between line-of-sight and space motion. This lets us calibrate absolute magnitudes for all the cluster members - including upper main-sequence and red giant stars. The classic example is the Hyades cluster, seen here using Hipparcos proper motions from Perryman et al. (1998 A&A 331, 81):...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online