2 mins read 26 Apr 2020

Star Stuff: Measuring the distance to nearby stars

Citizen scientists and astrophotographers, join a world-first science project - working in conjunction with a distant spacecraft to photograph nearby stars and measure their distance. 

Dylan participated in the NASA New Horizons Citizen Science project to measure the parallax of two nearby stars (Wolf 359 & Proxima Centauri) - by simultaneously imaging the targets at the same time as the spacecraft did, from the other side of the Solar System. 

Goals of the project included:

  • Image nearby stars to show the parallactic shift with respect to background stars
  • Provide the first-ever demonstration of large and "pure" stellar parallaxes
  • Provide a first-ever demonstration of using stars for interstellar navigation of a spacecraft
  • Engage interested amateur astronomers around the world in the parallax observations

About Star Stuff

Astrophotographer Dylan O'Donnell shares his knowledge, tips, and tricks in his Star Stuff video series, helping amateur astronomers around the world capture the cosmos using their home set up, in addition to discussing and reviewing astrophotography gear.

Dylan writes for Celestron & Photographing Space, shoots for Deography photo blog from Australia's most eastern observatory in Byron Bay, and provides science outreach for schools and students.

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