News / Science & Technology

Galactic Neighbor Closer Than Previously Thought

The Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy.
The Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy.
VOA News
An international team of astronomers has discovered that one of our closest galactic neighbors is about 40,000 light years closer than previously thought.

The discovery that the Large Magellanic Cloud is a mere 163,000 light years away also sheds light on how the universe is expanding and furthers understanding of dark matter that is believed to accelerate expansion.

A light year is the distance light travels in a year, or just under 10 trillion kilometers.

“I am very excited because astronomers have been trying for a hundred years to accurately measure the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud, and it has proved to be extremely difficult,” says Wolfgang Gieren of the Universidad de Concepción in Chile and one of the leaders of the team. “Now we have solved this problem by demonstrably having a result accurate to two percent.”

Pairs of rare eclipsing stars provided the key to narrowing down the galaxy’s distance. By measuring differences in brightness of the stars as they passed in front of one another, astronomers were able to deduce the stars’ size, mass and orbital speeds. This information can then be used to determine distances.

Just over a month ago, the Large Magellanic Cloud was thought to be as many as 200,000 light years away.

The Large Magellanic Cloud contains vast clouds of gas, which serve as incubators for new stars. When a star is born, the gas clouds are colorfully illuminated.

The findings were published in the March 7 issue of the journal Nature.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ciaran Mulcahy. from: Dublin, Ireland.
March 09, 2013 5:02 PM
With increasing percentages of scientists tending to become increasingly dogmatic about their views, and the views, even within the scientific profession which should be accepted, as opposed to those albeit 'also' scientific views, which the scientific elite are increasingly anxious to 'reject' (at the very 'least'), if not, also, to silence, one increasingly wonders whether science followers are tending to deleate the 'apparent' difference between 'science', and 'religion', which 'has' hitherto, been illustrated by the term's: 'theory', or, 'scientific-theory', being ascribed to scientific concepts; while 'dogma' has been the word which 'has' mainly been ascribed to religious beliefs. But with 'some' scientists having dogmatic-like views of their own 'beliefs' (hitherto, 'supposed' to be defined as 'theories'), is 'science' turning itself into a 'religion' of some kind?

by: NVO from: USA
March 08, 2013 2:22 PM
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handy work.>Psalm 19:1

by: fkgaza
March 07, 2013 10:43 PM
So let me get this straight, they missed the distance by 20% (40,000 err/200,000 orig)---and these scientists are the same folks telling us they know when the universe began? Well with this kind of error rate maybe the theologians aren't the whacked out goofs these scientists say they are!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More