Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Determing distances on the fly

  1. Sep 23, 2005 #1
    Atronomy and Cosmology aren't quite my thing. Anyone think/know of a way to calculate distances from stellar objects, particularly stars, on the fly (ie. from 1 to 5 sec) that doesn't require two telescopes a kilometer apart? I don't much care for parallax (please ignore my spelling). Thank you so much in adnvance to whom ever replies.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2005 #2
    Anyone have any suggestions? Anything would be appreciated... thanks again
  4. Sep 27, 2005 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    'Standard candles' are usually relied upon for determining distances, especially those beyond the sensititivity of the parallax method [which is quite accurate but severely limited in range]. The first 'standard candles' [objects that have the same absolute brightness] were Cepheid variables. These, however, are too faint to be resolved beyond local galaxies. Certain, very bright types of supernova [SNe 1a in particular] are currently the most useful standard candles. We can approximate fairly distant objects [up to z~1.7] by this method. Gamma ray bursters appear to be the best candidate for the next generation of standard candles. They have been observed at distances up to z~6.5 - which is a quite a chunk of real estate.
  5. Sep 28, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    So, no, there is no simple, 5-second method to calculate the distance to stars. It requires precise measurements.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Determing distances on the fly
  1. Voyager: Flying blind? (Replies: 7)

  2. Want to fly over Mars? (Replies: 0)

  3. Parallax and distance (Replies: 3)