Spacecraft Snaps Pictures Space From So Far Away Stars Appear to be in Different Positions
NASA’s New Horizons is now so far out that it has a truly alien view of the stars. Scientists are taking this distant view to use parallax effect to to measure the distances between stars. More from Phys.Org:
On April 22-23, the spacecraft turned its long-range telescopic camera to a pair of the “closest” stars, Proxima Centauri and Wolf 359, showing just how they appear in different places than we see from Earth. Scientists have long used this “parallax effect”—how a star appears to shift against its background when seen from different locations—to measure distances to stars.
An easy way to see parallax is to place one finger at arm’s length and watch it jump back and forth when you view it successively with each eye. Similarly, as Earth makes it way around the Sun, the stars shift their positions. But because even the nearest stars are hundreds of thousands of times farther away than the diameter of Earth’s orbit, the parallax shifts are tiny, and can only be measured with precise instrumentation.
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