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Astronomy 2e

For Further Exploration

Astronomy 2eFor Further Exploration


Abramson, G. “Placing the Pleiades.” Sky &Telescope (March 2019): 26. How the Gaia mission is determining the distance to the cluster.

Cooper, K. “Meet the Neighbors: The Nearest Stars.” Sky &Telescope (January 2019): 34. How the RECONS Project finds the nearest stars and their distances.

Hirshfeld, A. “The Race to Measure the Cosmos.” Sky &Telescope (November 2001): 38. On parallax.

Rafferty, T. “Mason and Dixon’s Great Venus Adventure.” Sky &Telescope (March 2022): 28. Using the 1761 transit of Venus for parallax measurement.

Sarajedini, A. “How Pulsating Stars Unlock our Universe.” Astronomy (July 2020): 56. On RR Lyrae variable stars and how they help us measure distances.

Schilling, G. “Keep Your Distance.” Sky &Telescope (October 2022): 12. Excellent summary and update of the various distance methods astronomers use, including variable stars.

Schilling, G. “The Gaia Revolution.” Sky &Telescope (February 2023): 34. On the work of the European satellite mapping the sky with unprecedented accuracy in three dimensions.

Sobel, D. “Remembering Henrietta Leavitt.” Sky &Telescope (December 2021): 12. Her life and astronomical work.

Trefil, J. “Puzzling Out Parallax.” Astronomy (September 1998): 46. On the concept and history of parallax.


ABCs of Distance: Astronomer Ned Wright (UCLA) gives a concise primer on many different methods of obtaining distances. This site is at a higher level than our textbook, but is an excellent review for those with some background in astronomy.

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO): This organization of amateur astronomers helps to keep track of variable stars; its site has some background material, observing instructions, and links.

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel: A brief site about the first person to detect stellar parallax, with references and links.

Gaia Satellite: News from the Gaia mission, including images and a blog of the latest findings.

Hipparcos: Background, results, catalogs of data, and educational resources from the Hipparcos mission to observe parallaxes from space. Some sections are technical, but others are accessible to students.

John Goodricke: The Deaf Astronomer: A biographical article from the BBC.

Women in Astronomy: A guide to readings and websites, with more about Henrietta Leavitt’s and other women’s contributions to astronomy and the obstacles they faced.


Astrolympics: Distance: Very basic introduction that uses Olympic images and sports to take a look at distances in space and to define a light-year (4:27).

Gaia’s Astronomical Revolution: Explains the mission to find the position and motion of a huge number of stars (3:57).

Gaia’s Mission: Solving the Celestial Puzzle: Describes the Gaia mission and what scientists hope to learn, from Cambridge University (19:58).

Henrietta Leavitt: Ahead of Her Time: A brief introduction to her life and work, from the HubbleCast series (4:34).

Hipparcos: Route Map to the Stars: This ESA video describes the Hipparcos mission to measure precise parallaxes (14:32).

How Big Is the Universe: Astronomer Pete Edwards from the British Institute of Physics discusses the size of the universe and gives a step-by-step introduction to the methods of astronomical distances (6:22).

Measuring the Universe: Basic explanation of parallax, standard candles, Doppler shift, and Hubble’s Law using animated drawings, narrated by Dr. Olivia Johnson (4:15).

Women in Astronomy: Emily Rice (CUNY) gives a talk on the contributions of women to astronomy, with many historical and contemporary examples, and an analysis of modern trends (52:54).

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