To read the rest of my launch pad posts, click here.
We spent the morning playing with images in an astronomy program that you can download for free if you, also, would like to spend your morning playing with images — SAOImage DS9.
Is Anyone Out There? by Frank Drake and Dava Sobel
The Space Environment: Implications for Spaceship Design by Alan C. Tribble
Distance measurements to other galaxies:
a) Cepheid method: using period/luminosity relationship for classical Cepheids. This is what’s classically done, but it’s hard to do outside the local group of galaxies.
b) More recently, we’ve been able to categorize Type Ia supernovae (collapse of accreting white dwarves in binary systems) to get distances to much more distant galaxies, but these don’t let you calculate within galaxies well.
These are standard candle methods. If you know the brightness of a standard candle, then you can calculate the distance. (more…)