For Further Exploration: Celestial Distances

Articles

Adams, A. "The Triumph of Hipparcos." Astronomy (December 1997): 60. Brief introduction.

Dambeck, T. "Gaia’s Mission to the Milky Way." Sky & Telescope (March 2008): 36–39. An introduction to the mission to measure distances and positions of stars with unprecedented accuracy.

Hirshfeld, A. "The Absolute Magnitude of Stars." Sky & Telescope (September 1994): 35. Good review of how we measure luminosity, with charts.

Hirshfeld, A. "The Race to Measure the Cosmos." Sky & Telescope (November 2001): 38. On parallax.

Trefil, J. Puzzling Out Parallax." Astronomy (September 1998): 46. On the concept and history of parallax.

Turon, C. "Measuring the Universe." Sky & Telescope (July 1997): 28. On the Hipparcos mission and its results.

Zimmerman, R. "Polaris: The Code-Blue Star." Astronomy (March 1995): 45. On the famous cepheid variable and how it is changing.

Websites

  • ABCs of Distance: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/distance.htm. Astronomer Ned Wright (UCLA) gives a concise primer on many different methods of obtaining distances. This site is at a higher level than our textbook, but is an excellent review for those with some background in astronomy.
  • American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO): https://www.aavso.org/. This organization of amateur astronomers helps to keep track of variable stars; its site has some background material, observing instructions, and links.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel: http://messier.seds.org/xtra/Bios/bessel.html. A brief site about the first person to detect stellar parallax, with references and links.
  • Gaia: http://sci.esa.int/gaia/. News from the Gaia mission, including images and a blog of the latest findings.
  • Hipparchos: http://sci.esa.int/hipparcos/. Background, results, catalogs of data, and educational resources from the Hipparchos mission to observe parallaxes from space. Some sections are technical, but others are accessible to students.
  • John Goodricke: The Deaf Astronomer: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20725639. A biographical article from the BBC.
  • Women in Astronomy: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/astronomy-resource-guides/women-in-astronomy-an-introductory-resource-guide/. More about Henrietta Leavitt’s and other women’s contributions to astronomy and the obstacles they faced.


Videos

Search for Miss Leavitt: Video of talk by George Johnson on his search for Miss Leavitt (55:09)

Hipparcos: Route Map to the Stars: This ESA video describes the mission to measure parallax and its results (14:32)

Gaia’s Mission: Solving the Celestial Puzzle: Describes the Gaia mission and what scientists hope to learn, from Cambridge University (19:58)



How Big Is the Universe: Astronomer Pete Edwards from the British Institute of Physics discusses the size of the universe and gives a step-by-step introduction to the concepts of distances (6:22)



Women in Astronomy: Emily Rice (CUNY) gives a talk on the contributions of women to astronomy, with many historical and contemporary examples, and an analysis of modern trends (52:54)



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