Show Me Science: Astronomy & Space - Far Out - Measuring the Universe
Earth Science Educational Materials
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How far is a star or a galaxy? Scaling and measuring the cosmos is a complex problem. Scientists are integrating mathematical applications and scientific technology to create standards. Distances are so vast they are described in light years – the distance light travels in a year. Nearby stars are measured by trigonometry – the technique of parallax. Farther out, astronomers use so-called "standard candles", the ‘Type Ia supernovae’ is the standard candle basis. Beyond that the electromagnetic "redshift" of galaxies reveals their distances.