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Astronomy

2022A: Origin of the Universe


Measuring the Universe

Pearson Educa-on

Todays agenda:
What units are used to measure astronomical
distances?
What methods are used to measure
astronomical distances?
How do these compare to the everyday world?

hBp://today.io/qjpr
TwiBer: #Astro2022

Theres a reason big numbers are called


astronomical
Earths diameter:
12756 km

Earth-Sun:
150 000 000 km

Earth-Pluto
6 000 000 000 km

Earth-nearest stars
10 000 000 000 000 km

Earth-centre of our Milky Way galaxy


200 000 000 000 000 000 km

Earth-Andromeda Galaxy (M31)


20 000 000 000 000 000 000 km

Earth-edge of observable Universe


100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 km

We use scienXc (aka exponenXal) notaXon to


write big and small numbers
50 000 000 000 000 = 5 x 1013

exponent

0.0000000082 = 8.2 x 10-9

To mulXply or divide, mulXply or divide rst part,


then add or subtract exponents
(5 x 1013)/ (4 x 1016 )=
(5/4) x 1013-16 =
1.25 x 10-3

The Earth-Sun distance is called an astronomical


unit (AU); 1 AU is 150 million km

Note the scale: Jupiter is about 5 AU from Sun, Neptune 30

1 light-year is about 1013 km


1 light - year = (speed of light) (1 year)

km 365 days 24 hr 60 min 60 s


= 300,000

s 1 yr
1 day
1 hr
1 min
= 9,460,000,000,000 km

Pearson Educa-on

Wikipedia, Pearson Educa-on

Distances within our galaxy are measured in light-years

Distances within the solar system can be measured using


light travel Xme

Know speed of light


Measure travel Xme
Compute distance

Pearson Educa-on

We measure distances within the Milky Way


using parallax

Brightness alone does not provide enough informaXon


to measure distances in astronomy

Luminosity
Brightness =
4 (distance)2

Cepheid variable stars vary in luminosity over a Xme


proporXonal to their average luminosity

Astronomyinyourhands.com,
Pearson Educa-on, STScI

Other techniques are used to measure distances to


galaxies further away

Pearson Educa-on

The Cosmic Calendar compresses the history of


the universe into 1 year

Pearson Educa-on

Timescales in cosmology are (millions or billions) of years


3 x 1010

NB:
Logarithmic
scale!

3 x 105

3 x 100

Ordero>ime.com hBp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_Xmeline_of_the_universe

End of class.
For next week: please read
State of the Universe, Chapter 3