Sep 17, 2018

Where Are We in Space? Astronomers Update Their Celestial Frame of Reference

Posted by in category: cosmology

How do you know where anything is in space? Sure, you can say, “Oh, that star, it’s the one in the middle of the Big Dipper,” but that’s not very useful in an era of incredible telescopes peeping at galaxies billions of light-years away. On January 1, 2019, scientists will adopt the newest, internationally standardized frame of reference to help locate things in space.

The third edition of the International Celestial Reference Frame, or ICRF-3, is the most up-to-date version of the International Astronomy Union’s standardized reference frame. Imagine the universe as a graph from geometry—scientists need a place to put the origin and axes.

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