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Astronomy: Track 7

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Thanks to cutting-edge radio and infra-red astronomy, our understanding of the universe is moving very fast. Ideas about black holes and cosmic jets are constantly being refined as new discoveries are made using new, more powerful telescopes. This album explores the incredible discoveries and theories developed in recent years and introduces the astronomical observatories, space missions and satellites that have made it possible. The 12 video tracks reveal that our sun, though essential for our existence, is an unremarkable member of the stellar menagerie. They describe how astronomers study the structure and dynamics of our galaxy, the Milky Way and they introduce the challenges inherent in mapping the geometry and expansion of the universe. This material forms part of the course S282 Astronomy.

By: The OpenLearn team (The Open University,)

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Track 7: The Scale of Our Galaxy

A route map to the stars. The Hipparcos satellite measured the position of stars with better precision than ever before.

© The Open University 2008

Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Astronomy    A short introduction to this album. Play now Astronomy
2 Our Invisible Sun    Scientists investigate sun spots, solar flares and arcs using x-ray telescopes, featuring the Big Bear Observatory in LA. Play now Our Invisible Sun
3 VLA, HEIDI    What would the sun look like if we had magnetically sensitive eyes? How the most sensitive radio telescopes on earth work. Play now VLA, HEIDI
4 Is Our Sun Normal?    Astronomers compare events on other stars to helps us better understand our sun. Play now Is Our Sun Normal?
5 Mapping the Milky Way    The discovery of radio emissions from the Milky Way, and the theory of dark-matter. Play now Mapping the Milky Way
6 The Shape of Our Galaxy    Infra-red satellites. The DIRBE experiment on NASA's Cosmic Explorer opened a new window into the Milky Way. Play now The Shape of Our Galaxy
7 The Scale of Our Galaxy    A route map to the stars. The Hipparcos satellite measured the position of stars with better precision than ever before. Play now The Scale of Our Galaxy
8 Radio Telescopes and Stellar Jets    The advent of radio astronomy. How radio telescopes like the Maxwell telescope in Hawaii work and what they can tell us about cosmic jets. Play now Radio Telescopes and Stellar Jets
9 Detecting Galactic Jets    How do radio astronomers see jets far outside our galaxy? Introducing the MERLIN array in the UK and the VLA in New Mexico. Play now Detecting Galactic Jets
10 Measuring Black Holes    What is the connection between black holes and cosmic jets? Scientists measure the mass and gravitational energy of black holes. Play now Measuring Black Holes
11 What Causes Jets?    What goes on deep in the centre of galaxies? Revealing the power source for stars and galactic jets. Play now What Causes Jets?
12 The Expanding Universe    Russell Stannard uses simple analogies to explain difficult concepts. The expansion of space, and the cosmological red-shift, or doppler shift. Play now The Expanding Universe
13 Geometry of the Universe    Russell Stannard explains why standard Euclidean geometry doesn't apply when considering the geometry of outer space. Play now Geometry of the Universe




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