The solar system, let alone the Universe, is too big to measure by any conventional means. So how the hell did early astronomers manage to do it without all the fancy kit scientists now have at their disposal?
Space is expansive: looking up to the stars, it can sometimes feel like everything sits on a single, two-dimensional sheet held up above us. It doesn't, of course—so how do we measure how far away things are?
Ever try measuring the straight-line distance between two points on Google Maps? You had to hold some object or appendage up to the little scale, then eyeball-measure the distance on your screen. What a mess. No more—a new update puts the task a right-click away. Also, you can doodle with it.
Scientists have found a way to use the Hubble Space Telescope as an extremely precise galactic tape measure, multiplying our previous capabilities by 10. This increase will result in a more accurate understanding of the size of the observable Universe. plus new insight into the mysterious force known as dark energy.
While watching sports, have you ever stopped (midway through a bowl of Cheetos) to wonder, "How far are those guys actually running?" It's a common question, one that's historically been subject mostly to guesswork, Thanks to some recent technological developments, though, we can now actually apply some data to it.
The other day I posed a simple question: How far do you sit from your TV? The results show that many of you are not getting all the definition out of your HDTV.
Want to know how far you threw that ball? The virtual distance football can let you know how far it was thrown with an accuracy that's supposedly within 1 yard, showing you the distance on its LCD readout. Somehow its sensor is able to tell how far the ball has traveled by measuring the ball's impact at the end of its…