New Record for Directly Measuring Astronomical Distances beyond our Local Supercluster – 450 million light years – with only 9% uncertainty

The new record for the farthest object whose distance was directly measured is 450 million light years with an uncertainty of no more than 9 percent.

Our Milky Way galaxy is only 100,000 light years across. 450 million light years is more than four thousand times the diameter of our galaxy. Our “local” Supercluster centered on Virgo is only 150 million light years across – one-third of the new distance measurement record.

This was set by the world’s largest telescope, the Very Large Baseline Array telescope (VLBA) which extends from Hawaii to New Hampshire, and boasts a resolution a hundred times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA’s Press Release and this marvelous article “Super-sharp radio ‘eye’ remeasuring the universe” on PhysOrg.com, detail how the farthest distance was directly measured. It also explains how many objects in our own galaxy now have newly increased distance accuracies and the rate of our galaxy’s spin is measured moving 20 percent faster.

The VLBA telescope can detect features with mili-arc-second resolution (one thousandth of an arc-second) compared to the Hubble’s best lens which can only discern about a tenth of an arc-second.

This distance measuring method is most highly valued because it measures distance directly using trigonometry, rather than interpreting distance using indirect indicators such as brightness or multiple logic steps as with redshift.

Higher distance measuring accuracy allows independent verification of redshift distance estimates and provides a clearer understanding of galaxy rotation curves.

Previous work with VLBA had revealed how our home Milky Way galaxy has four arms, rather than just two. This also illuminated the evidence that our oldest stars are in only two of the spiral arms.

 

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