Alberta Free Tutoring And Homework Help For Math 20-2

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As the earth revolves around the sun, distant objects can be seen from different locations. This idea can be used to measure the distance between earth and nearby stars and is called stellar parallax. To see how this process works, consider the simplified scenario below.

A distance object is observed on earth from location 1 and again six months later at location 2. The angle at both location 1 and 2 is 89.9 degrees. How many astronomical units is the distant object from location 1?

1 year ago

Answered By John Luke W

Here you have an isosceles triangle with both base angles 89.9° (almost parallel!). The base of the triangle is the diameter of earth's orbit. Knowing that, you can find the altitude of the triangle (the distance to the object).

Try to draw out the (really skinny) picture, and find the diameter of Earth's orbit online. You can do it!