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19
votes
4answers
10k views

How do astronomers measure the distance to a star or other celestial object?

How do scientists measure the distance between objects in space? For example, Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away.
42
votes
7answers
2k views

Photons from stars--how do they fill in such large angular distances?

It would seem that far-away stars are at such a distance that I should be able to take a step to the side and not have the star's photons hit my eye. How do stars release so many photons to fill in ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are so many forces explainable using inverse squares when space is three dimensional?

It seems paradoxical that the strength of so many phenomena (Newtonian gravity, Coulomb force) are calculable by the inverse square of distance. However, since volume is determined by three ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does one get an illusion as moon following him?

When you run or ride bike at night if you observe the moon you feel like he moves along with you as the same speed you are going. Why?
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you measure distance to stars within the galaxy?

I know that for close by stars (<50 LY) we can use the parallax effect. And for distant galaxies we use red-shift (& hubble's constant). So how do we measure how far is a star lets say 50,000 ...
0
votes
2answers
300 views

Observer looking out through the window of a train [duplicate]

When travelling by a train, it seems that the nearby objects move in the opposite direction(which I can explain) but the distant objects appear stationary. I can't explain this. By the concept of ...
0
votes
1answer
204 views

Why do we observe opposite motion of trees (nearer) and trees (distant) when seen from a moving frame? [duplicate]

If you are in a moving train or in a bus, what you observe is that the trees which are nearer to you move opposite to the direction of your motion. But the trees which are very far away from you, ...
6
votes
5answers
797 views

How is distance measured to far away stars and galaxies?

What I need is an accurate description of the methods used to determine the distance to Andromeda. The Parallax method is for nearby objects as I presume. The red shift method applies, but how do you ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Force when distance between charge is zero

According to coulomb law $$ F = \frac{q_1q_2}{r^2} $$ I want to know what happens to force when $r=0$. If $F \to \infty$ then the charges can't be separated! But if an unlike charge of higher ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Calculate the distance between two points from iPhone Camera

I want to calculate the distance between two objects using an iPhone camera. Suppose I'm standing with my iPhone 10 feet away from the objects. Now, I want to calculate the distance between those ...
8
votes
8answers
4k views

Can you completely explain acceleration to me?

I understand what acceleration is, and I know the formula, and I understand it's a vector. I just don't understand how the equation works exactly. I'm kind of picky, I know, but bear with me. ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Is there a finite unit of distance that we cannot divide past?

If distance could be divided into an infinite no of units or points, then it seems to me that motion would be impossible since a meter for instance, having an infinite no of points within it (and the ...
2
votes
2answers
146 views

How is time distributed through space?

I was greatly confused when I saw video saying that if two wormholes were separated by time instead of distance, it would allow time travel. My question is what did they mean by this statement? What ...
3
votes
1answer
573 views

How far do air particles move when a sound wave passes through them?

How far do air particles move when a sound wave passes through them? I know that they don't actually travel, the question is how far do they oscillate or what is the physical amplitude of the ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Measuring more accurately the distance of remote galaxies

From what I read in Wikipedia, the velocity of a Galaxy has two components: one is due to Hubble's law for cosmic expansion, and the other is the peculiar velocity of the galaxy. Since the peculiar ...
1
vote
2answers
40 views

Is it possible to calculate the dimensions of ANY object in a picture having at some known distance an object on know dimensions?

Is it possible to calculate the dimensions of ANY object in a picture having at some known distance an object on know dimensions? I'm thinking about the scenario where someone is holding a smartphone ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

How can we see objects that are so far away? [duplicate]

The HUDF used to be the deepest image of the universe ever taken by the Hubble telescope, the furthest star in this image is 59000 light years away. The star in question: Now Imagine a light ...
1
vote
1answer
113 views

How do I graph acceleration?

I have written some java code for the calculation of some various acceleration and etc. type data. I am now trying to graph that data so I can pull specific data over a time line. The values I have ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Relation between comoving distance and conformal time?

In cosmology, we have two quantities and I want to understand the physical relation between these two : $\chi = \int_{t_e}^{t_0}c\frac{dt'}{a(t')}$ : the comoving distance with $t_e$ the time at ...
-1
votes
2answers
191 views

What is the difference between the actual distance covered by a projected object and the displacement?

What is the difference between the actual distance covered by a projected object and the displacement? A stone was projected with an angle of projection of 30 and it covered a horizontal distance ...