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

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid