Age range: > 14
Resource type: enquiry-oriented activity, experiment, guide, lesson plan, project
Author: Markus Pössel
Street lights of the same type will look brighter when they are close to you, and less bright when they are farther away. The same applies to astronomical objects: a given star will look brighter to a nearby observer than to an observer far away. In both cases, the difference in brightness can be used to deduce the relative distances of suitable objects. Standard candles, objects of constant intrinsic brightness or whose intrinsic brightness can be determined by careful measurements, are a key tool for astronomical distance determination. In this exploration, you will explore standard candles (and also effects that complicate distance measurements) in a simple everyday setting, namely that of street lights, using a digital camera and freely available software.
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