Stellar parallax is a measurement technique developed by Friedrich Bessel to measure far away objects in deep space. The process of stellar parallax involves measuring an object from two separate vantage points hinging upon the fact that the object being observed will appear to move a lot more than objects further behind it (e.g. if an observer closes one eye and views their finger in front of a building, and then repeats this act with their second eye closed and the first eye open, the observers finger will appear as though it has moved much further left or right, relative to the other objects behind it). Because Bessel developed a method of calculation to take advantage of this phenomena, astronomers now have the ability to map grand distances with relative accuracy. Bessel worked out that if an observer took an image of a star when the Earth was at either side of its orbit around the sun, it would be possible to observe the star shifting in its position. By knowing how much a star shifts, it is possible to calculate the distance the star is from its observation point on Earth. Bessel surmised that the relatively close star 61 Cygni must be 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) kilometers away from the Earth because of his parallax distance method. This technique unfortunately is severely limited as the diameter of the Earth’s orbit is only 300,000,000 (300 million) kilometers which means that the parallax method can only measure objects up to a factor of 1,000,000x (1 million) the Earths orbital rotation, allowing for a maximum distance of 300,000,000,000,000 (300 trillion) kilometers which is only a tiny fraction of the size of the Milky Way Galaxy or the universe as a whole

# Category: Mathematics

# The Odds of Hitting a Hole in One During a Game of Golf

The odds of hitting a hole in one during a game of golf are 1 in 12,000

# The Mathematical Inventions of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi

The mathematical concept of algorithms were developed by and subsequently named after Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (pronounced “moo-ham-mad ih-bin moo-sah al kwar-iz-me”), an Islamic scholar who lived during the 8th century. The concept of algorithms arrived in Europe in the 12th century and al-Khwarizmi’s name was translated to Latin which is where the term “algorithm” is derived. al-Khwarizmi also introduced the western world to the decimal system and introduced reduction and balancing methods (e.g. like and unlike terms) causing al-Khwarizmi to become referred to as the ”father and founder of algebra”. The term “algebra” is derived from the Arabic term “al-jabr” which means “reunion of broken parts”. al-Khwarizmi invented and used algebra to solve quadratic equations and it has been stated throughout history that the ideas that al-Khwarizmi developed, helped usher in the European Renaissance during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries

# The End of the Universe and the Big Crunch Theory

The likelihood of a Big Crunch in which the universe expands to the point that it then collapses inward upon itself is not very probable as mathematical calculations demonstrate that there simply isn’t enough mass in the entire universe to be able to revert into into an enormous compaction. The idea of the universe folding in upon itself can be visualized by imagining a person throwing a ball in the air. The Earth has enough mass to bring a thrown ball back down to the ground but if thrown faster than the speed of escape velocity which is 11.186 kilometers per second, a thrown ball would never come back down, in fact, it would travel an infinite distance over an infinite timespan before the Earth mathematically had enough time and mass to pull the ball back to its starting position. The universe is represented by the Earth in that it acts as a force upon other objects and the ball represents all matter throughout the universe in this thought experiment

# The Illusion of Fibonacci’s True Name

Fibonacci’s name was created in 1838 by the Franco-Italian historian Guillaume Libri, and is short for “filius Bonacci” which means “son of Bonacci” in Italian. Fibonacci is also referred to as “Leonardo Bonacci”, “Leonardo of Pisa” where he was born, and “Leonardo Bigollo Pisano” which means “Leonardo, traveler from Pisa” in Italian, a name which Fibonacci actually used himself

# The Physics of the Pac-Man Universe

The game of Pac-Man allows players to exit the world on one side, and re-enter upon a completely different side without delay. Pac-Man’s universe appears to be a flat, two dimensional, rectangular shape, but in reality it must be cylindrical like a pipe, only with the 2 ends of the pipe touching, making Pac-Man’s universe actually in the shape of a donut

# The Advent of the Imaginary Number Concept

The value of “i” which represents an imaginary number is quite useful for balancing seemingly impossible tasks like when resolving problems with electricity or wireless technologies. Working with wave functions involves working with the value of an imaginary number because of its ability to resolve mathematical problems. If numbers are thought of as a straight horizontal line on an X axis, with 0 in the middle, with all negative numbers on the left hand side of zero (e.g. -1, -2, -3 etc.) and all positive numbers on the right hand side of zero (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc.), then imaginary numbers would be plotted upon the Y coordinate axis, displayed vertically (e.g. +1i, +2i, +3i going up or -1i, -2i, -3i going down etc.). This allows imaginary numbers to be treated the same as regular numbers, just upon a different plane of axis. Imaginary numbers are essential to certain tasks like aircraft radio tower control as imaginary numbers allow for technologies like Radio Detection And Ranging (RADAR)