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Measuring parallax. (Image: Christine Guy Schnittka, Murphy & Bell)) To measure the distance of a star, astronomers use the same method as surveyors on Earth - triangulation. Stars show a slight change in position when viewed from two widely separated locations, usually opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit. This change in position is known as a parallax. The amount of parallax tells us the distance. Mona Evans, "Distances in Space" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art29665.asp

Measuring parallax. (Image: Christine Guy Schnittka, Murphy & Bell)) To measure the distance of a star, astronomers use the same method as surveyors on Earth - triangulation. Stars show a slight change in position when viewed from two widely separated locations, usually opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit. This change in position is known as a parallax. The amount of parallax tells us the distance. Mona Evans, "Distances in Space" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art29665.asp

With parallax technique, astronomers observe object at opposite ends of Earth’s orbit around the Sun to precisely measure its distance. CREDIT: Alexandra Angelich, NRAO/AUI/NSF.

With parallax technique, astronomers observe object at opposite ends of Earth’s orbit around the Sun to precisely measure its distance. CREDIT: Alexandra Angelich, NRAO/AUI/NSF.

NASA is studying Comet Siding Spring. The missions  orbiting & roving Mars have front row seats to image and study a once-in-a-lifetime comet flyby on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. The comet will pass within about 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of the Red Planet -- less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth. (Image Credit: NASA)

NASA is studying Comet Siding Spring. The missions orbiting & roving Mars have front row seats to image and study a once-in-a-lifetime comet flyby on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. The comet will pass within about 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of the Red Planet -- less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth. (Image Credit: NASA)

Monument to Hevelius in front of the Town Hall in Gdansk. The statue shows him with a quadrant and alidade which he used to measure star positions when he observed.  (Image: Januszajtis, Andrzej) http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art179513.asp

Monument to Hevelius in front of the Town Hall in Gdansk. The statue shows him with a quadrant and alidade which he used to measure star positions when he observed. (Image: Januszajtis, Andrzej) http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art179513.asp

ESA's Malargüe tracking station, Argentina. It's also known as Deep Space Antenna 3 (DSA 3), as it's one of three antenna ESA uses to track its deep space missions, including Rosetta. The other two antennae are in Spain and Australia. Mona Evans, "Rosetta the Comet Chaser" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182574.asp

ESA's Malargüe tracking station, Argentina. It's also known as Deep Space Antenna 3 (DSA 3), as it's one of three antenna ESA uses to track its deep space missions, including Rosetta. The other two antennae are in Spain and Australia. Mona Evans, "Rosetta the Comet Chaser" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182574.asp

Spiral galaxy M81. In visible light the nucleus is a pale yellow, showing it's made up of older stars, and the bluish tinge to the arms shows active star formation there. UV emphasizes the spiral arms, but this GALEX image is stunning. Not only are the spiral arms well defined, but off to the left a small galaxy which is almost invisible in the optical - and it's also showing active star formation. ©Mona Evans, "Astrofest 2013" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art179665.asp

Spiral galaxy M81. In visible light the nucleus is a pale yellow, showing it's made up of older stars, and the bluish tinge to the arms shows active star formation there. UV emphasizes the spiral arms, but this GALEX image is stunning. Not only are the spiral arms well defined, but off to the left a small galaxy which is almost invisible in the optical - and it's also showing active star formation. ©Mona Evans, "Astrofest 2013" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art179665.asp

Rosetta and Philae - infographic. (Credit: European Space Agency) Mona Evans, "Rosetta the Comet Chaser" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182574.asp

Rosetta and Philae - infographic. (Credit: European Space Agency) Mona Evans, "Rosetta the Comet Chaser" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182574.asp

The Moon, near the south pole. LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) determined the slopes. Bright red to white areas have the steepest slopes (25 degrees or more) - these are impact crater rims, which appear as brightly colored circles. The dark blue to purple areas have the shallowest slopes (5 degrees or less).  Mona Evans, "The Moon - Earth's Daughter" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art32833.asp

The Moon, near the south pole. LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) determined the slopes. Bright red to white areas have the steepest slopes (25 degrees or more) - these are impact crater rims, which appear as brightly colored circles. The dark blue to purple areas have the shallowest slopes (5 degrees or less). Mona Evans, "The Moon - Earth's Daughter" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art32833.asp

Trail of Stars | Tariq Shaar, made this digital painting inspired by Hubble's discoveries in space! All part of the 25th anniversary celebration.

Trail of Stars | Tariq Shaar, made this digital painting inspired by Hubble's discoveries in space! All part of the 25th anniversary celebration.

The Kepler Space Telescope. Precision Pointing: It's a Matter of Scale. (Image credit: NASA Ames/Wendy Stenzel.) The next time you're asked to pass the salt think of the Kepler space telescope, and share its story. Mona Evans, "Searching for Extrasolar Planets" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art66984.asp

[INFOGRAPHIC] Precision Pointing: It's a Matter of Scale

The Kepler Space Telescope. Precision Pointing: It's a Matter of Scale. (Image credit: NASA Ames/Wendy Stenzel.) The next time you're asked to pass the salt think of the Kepler space telescope, and share its story. Mona Evans, "Searching for Extrasolar Planets" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art66984.asp

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