Home > Amateur Astronomy, Astronomy, Black Holes, General Astronomy, Stars > Astronomers Team Up With The Public To Solve Decade Old Puzzle

Astronomers Team Up With The Public To Solve Decade Old Puzzle


An extremely precise measurement of the distance to a star system has finally allowed astronomers to solve a decade-old puzzle, confirming understanding of the way exotic objects like black holes interact with nearby stars.

Published today in prestigious journal Science, a team of astronomers headed by Dr James Miller-Jones from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), have measured the distance to star system SS Cygni to be 372 light years, much closer than a previous measurement made by the Hubble Space Telescope in the 1990s.

The measurement was made possible by amateur astronomers from the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) who alerted the team to changes in the compact star system, triggering the team to start observations with two of the world’s most accurate radio telescopes.

If you hold your finger out at arm’s length and move your head from side to side, you should see your finger appear to wobble against the background. If you move your finger closer to your head, you’ll see it starts to wobble more. We did the exact same thing with SS Cygni – we measured how far it moved against some very distant galaxies as the Earth moved around the Sun,” Dr James Miller-Jones said.

Full Story: http://www.icrar.org/home/astronomers-team-up-with-the-public-to-solve-decade-old-puzzle
Also: http://www.nrao.edu/pr/2013/sscyg/
Also: http://news.ualberta.ca/newsarticles/2013/may/ualberta-teams-with-citizen-scientists-to-solve-space-mystery

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