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 Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora