Stellar paralax

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:56 PM GMT

Question

I am looking for a simple explanation of calculating the distance of a star using stellar parallax. Most of the web sites I have found, even Wikipedia, seem to be college level explanations. I need to explain it to a middle school student. Can you either give me a simple explanation or a link to a site that may help. Thank you.

Answer

Dan, do you need to explain the math, or do you just want to show the student the basic concept? This flash depiction shows what it's all about: http://sci2.esa.int/interactive/media/flashes/2_1_1.htm

this NASA explanation walks through the idea in a way that your student might be able to follow: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970415c.html

also, do you know about this NASA website for students? I am not seeing exactly what you need, but it's good to be aware of for future reference. http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html

I hope this is helpful. I'm sorry, I have to go, I have tons of questions backed up, I forgot to tell allExperts I went on vacation. --Ed

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