Feb 11

VLBA measures farther than ever before

Credit: Universe Today

Artist's conception of Milky Way, showing locations of star-forming regions whose distances were recently measured.
Image credit: M. Reid, Harvard-Smithsonian CfA; R. Hurt, SSC/JPL/Caltech, NRAO/AUI/NSF,Kitt Peak.

Los Alamos. St. Croix. Pie Town.

What do these places have in common? They each house one of 10 giant telescopes in the Very Large Baseline Array, a continent-spanning collection of telescopes that’s flexing its optical muscles, reaching farther into space — with more precision — than any other telescope in the world.

And yesterday, at the 177th annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC, VLBA researchers announced an amazing feat: They’ve used the VLBA to peer, with stunning accuracy, three times as far into the universe as they had just two years ago. New measurements with the VLBA have placed a galaxy called NGC 6264 (coordinates below) at a distance of 450 million light-years from Earth, with an uncertainty of no more than 9 percent. This is the farthest distance ever directly measured, surpassing a measurement of 160 million light-years to another galaxy in 2009.(read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon