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Latest Henrietta Swan Leavitt Stories

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2010-11-24 12:50:00

By discovering the first double star where a pulsating Cepheid variable and another star pass in front of one another, an international team of astronomers has solved a decades-old mystery. The rare alignment of the orbits of the two stars in the double star system has allowed a measurement of the Cepheid mass with unprecedented accuracy. Up to now astronomers had two incompatible theoretical predictions of Cepheid masses. The new result shows that the prediction from stellar pulsation theory...

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2008-09-22 08:00:00

Pulsating stars enable a new precise determination of the rotation of our Galaxy New, very precise measurements have shown that the rotation of the Milky Way is simpler than previously thought. A remarkable result from the most successful ESO instrument HARPS, shows that a much debated, apparent 'fall' of neighborhood Cepheid stars towards our Sun stems from an intrinsic property of the Cepheids themselves. The result, obtained by a group of astrophysicists led by Nicolas Nardetto, will soon...

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2008-02-11 08:30:00

Astronomers calibrate the distance scale of the Universe Taking advantage of the presence of light echoes, a team of astronomers have used an ESO telescope to measure, at the 1% precision level, the distance of a Cepheid - a class of variable stars that constitutes one of the first steps in the cosmic distance "Our measurements with ESO's New Technology Telescope at La Silla allow us to obtain the most accurate distance to a Cepheid," says Pierre Kervella, lead-author of the paper reporting...


Word of the Day
vermicular
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.
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