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Barnard's Star

Name : Barnard's Star

Description :

This activity is a Keystage 4/5 activity to determine the distance of a nearby star using the parallax effect, before calculating its transverse velocity. The task involves measuring the movement of Barnard's Star in relation to two adjacent fixed stars, and then uses simple algebra and trigonometry to discover more about its motion. The measurements are done on Liverpool Telescope images of Barnard's Star taken over the past 6 years.

Age Range : 14 - 18 years

Workshop Time : 1 hour (whole class), 2-3 hours (individual student)

Image of Barnard's Star (top right)


For this activity you will need to download an activity PowerPoint Presentation, an EXCEL Calculations Worksheet, a measurement recording template, and the 21 telescope images that we'll be analysing using the NSO's LTImage software.

Barnard's Star Presentation : MS PowerPoint

Barnard's Star Worksheet : MS Excel - Updated Version

Measurement Recording Template : MS Word

Video Tutorial

Before starting, workshop participants might find it useful to watch the following:

LTImage Screencast : Task 4 : Open Multiple Images, Scale and Blink
LTImage Screencast : Task 5 : Image Properties, Measure Size and Distance

Data Files :

The following image files were taken between 2005 and 2011. The following ZIP file contains everything you need.

Download Barnard's Star Data ZIP file [18.7 MB]

However, if you are unable to download or unpack ZIP files on your system, you will need all of the following:

c_e_20050914.fits c_e_20060217.fits c_e_20060630.fits c_e_20060824.fits
c_e_20060924.fits c_e_20070328.fits c_e_20070620.fits c_e_20070816.fits
c_e_20080328.fits c_e_20080521.fits c_e_20080726.fits c_e_20090315.fits
c_e_20090522.fits c_e_20090731.fits c_e_20091008.fits c_e_20100124.fits
c_e_20100323.fits c_e_20100605.fits c_e_20121012.fits c_e_20110218.fits