AAA Winter Astronomy Class: Measuring Distances in Space – Dec 2015 – Feb 2016

This course focuses on the special topic of astrometrics. We will explore eight different methods used by astronomers to estimate the vast distances in space.

Please note that this is an advanced course. An understanding of basic astronomical concepts is assumed.  A calculator is required.


Wednesday, Dec 2  Radar / Transits of Venus: measuring the distance to the Sun and estimating the size of the solar system

Wednesday, Dec 9 Parallax: estimating distances to “nearby” stars using trigonometry

Wednesday, Dec 16 – Spectroscopic Parallax: apparent magnitude, absolute magnitude, and luminosity, using spectra, magnitude, and the H-R diagram to estimate distances to stars

Wednesday, Jan 27– Cepheid Variable Stars: using the period and apparent magnitude to estimate distances to far away stars in the Milky Way and distant galaxies

Wednesday, Feb 3– Standard Candles: star deaths leading to supernovas, Tully-Fisher relationship

Wednesday, Feb 10– Hubble’s Law: basis for understanding that the universe is expanding and for the Big Bang theory, also a method for estimating galaxy distances


Time:  classes start at 6:30 PM and go until 8:30 PM.

Location: all classes are held at Cicatelli Center, 505 8th Ave, at 35th St. in Manhattan, 19th Floor.

Instructor: David Kiefer
David Kiefer holds various Masters degrees, including a M.S. in astronomy from the Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia. He has taught physics and astronomy at colleges in New York and New Jersey, and is presently a lecturer at City College and at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York. A member of the AAA, Mr. Kiefer observes regularly at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

Registration:  Closed.

Registration Fee: $60, members only. If you are not an AAA member yet, please become a member first.