The New Horizons Spacecraft Just Helped Make First Stereoscopic Image Of A Star’s Location

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Much of astronomy is based around measuring the distances to celestial bodies, and the distances are all rooted in a technique called stellar parallax. This has been used since the 19th century to measure the distances to stars, and all measurements of interstellar and intergalactic distances are based on the measurement of the tiny wobble in a star’s apparent position.
The problem is, despite it being a fundamental technique at the core of astronomy, nobody has ever been able to make a simple, obvious demonstration of it, until now.

  1. Wild Bill57

    Did this help increase the accuracy of the measurements of their distances?

  2. Fred Pilcher

    Excellent explanation, Scott! Thank you!

  3. Brad dіe Irriterend III

    0:49 – Infinity? Controversial.

  4. Dan Swinehart

    I accidentally turned on my high pass filter and your voice disappeared. :-)

  5. Cracked Emerald's Variety

    Wow, stars move with such grace and elegance trough the cosmos, like a ballet of mystical fairies over a calm pond…

    Meanwhile, stars: *kazoo noises*

  6. Exalerion

    So, where they also able to achieve a more accurate measurement of the distance, or was it only just a cool thing to note?

  7. EinChris75

    I love that reference to “Best of both Worlds”.

  8. BlackEpyon

    Remember when running those parallax simulations required a supercomputer?

  9. Space Research & Analysis

    Well explained, Scott!

  10. KiwiShoot

    Awesome, thanks Scott. Even though I only understood the beginning and the signoff.

  11. SynthFox

    This is absolutely incredible. Thanks, Scott.

  12. Andrés Mlinar

    I can’t stop to be amazed by how much quality content you keep posting, thanks!

  13. Alexagrigorieff

    At this distance, the bitrate from New Horizons must have fallen down to 500 bps.

  14. AnatoleH1

    Wow this is so impressive?. Thank you Scott!

  15. Powerfred

    wow, i really want to try recreating this in elite dangerous!

  16. KillDie RezRepeat

    Thank you for an explanation of the parsec I can understand.

  17. HalfSpeedMastering

    6:19 Deep Impact (1998)

  18. stephenblair67

    Brilliant Scott. When you mentioned Wolf 359 , you then vocalised my thoughts!

  19. JohnyG29

    5:30 Isn’t Ross 154 where you start in Frontier Elite II?

  20. hardakml

    Great stuff Scott. Thanks for your excellent contribution to making astronomy, science and space flight accessible to the man in the street. Why not come back to UK and host the Sky at Night?

  21. Sean McDonough

    I ♥️ Scott’s videos. Keep up the great work, Scott!


    2:00 if you look at the bottom left on Proxima Centauri from new horizons view you can see that it looks like something dark is in front of the star!!

  23. dhyanais

    Man, I love this video. This is so interesting and so far from what I occupy myself with

  24. VolatileBullfrog

    This is the coolest thing I’ve seen all year!

  25. King Théoden

    6:19 Nice.

  26. Nathanael Ritz

    This has got to be one of the coolest videos about star motion in space I’ve seen. Thanks!

  27. TheLipardi

    I keep forgetting we have effectively sent the New Horizons out there with an 8 inch telescope, and it’s heading into deep space.

  28. Patrick COD

    When Scott Manly tells you to fly safe you better be flying safe!

  29. Jeot97

    Scott Manley, the man with the Manliest voice in the galaxy

  30. Bronek0990

    Note: the “as seen by Gaia” is a hypothetical curve as time series data from Gaia isn’t available yet.

    I’m waiting tho

  31. Caonabo Javier

    This video is amazing! All done with simplicity, clarity and great explanstion.

    Thank you Scott. My younger daughter was amazed and thanks you too!

    Godspeed to you.

  32. Steve C

    I didn’t catch how many AU’s New Horizon was from the Earth. Was it mentioned?

  33. Light on the Inside

    New horizons the VR goggles of Astronomy

  34. Aaron Cederberg

    t=0:50 “On its way out to infinity” …. and beyond! You need to say “and beyond.” Huge missed opportunity.

  35. Andrew Steinhaus

    This explanation helps fill in some really fundamental things that I haven’t heard anywhere else! Thanks so much

    I wish we could patch Hubble up and send it out around Neptune, and use the parallax, to find more exo-planets

  36. Keneron

    OMG I died when you made that Star Trek reference.

  37. mjncad

    Thanks for explaining parsec. I kept forgetting to ‘Duck It Up.”

  38. Benjamin Brooks

    Are the videos of stars moving in ellipses exaggerated? I feel like they must be…

  39. Seth Miesters

    This spacecraft has a massive slug of plutonium powering all the systems into deep space

  40. Peter The_Great

    Is there an appreciable improvement in the accuracy of the measurement of the distance? Or does that only apply when measuring more distant objects?

  41. BitVolt

    Scott you have the Manleys voice i’ve ever heard. I reply your intro sometimes

  42. 6yjjk

    6:55 It looks so sad and lonely out there :(

  43. Liberty Dankmeme

    3:12 – wrong number of arc seconds in a circle
    360 x 60 x 60 = 1,296,000 arc seconds
    – still one of your coolest videos to date

  44. Antonio Maglione

    Thank you very much for this. First time in life I see it on a picture.
    Always drawn with a pencil (or a mouse) but never shown by itself. NASA has a good supply of big brains, as it seems.
    Also, thanks for the allusions to Star Wars, only few days ago I watched the Rise of Sky walker and have been left “stunned”.
    Cheers from the UK…

  45. Ian Maxwell

    So it’s kind of like the retrograde motion effect you see on some planets throughout the year.

  46. Ashish Yadav

    All the stars and our Sun is moving in the space I wonder what are they moving around? Is it the core of the galaxy or another very big star? Or these both are correct?

  47. William Craig

    Amazing! Astronomy is evolving to see movement of stars and exoplanets. Impressive.

  48. Edgar Ryan

    What is with the eclipse of Proxima Centauri on the new horizons image? Is something actually eclipsing it or is it just an effect from the focusing lenses?

  49. Nilu Roy

    I have an idea. What if we place two New Horizon like telescopes completely opposite with respect to our Sun? Then the parallax effect will be much larger I guess.

  50. Omayou

    2:40 vídeo for a wallpaper will amazing 🔥

  51. FlakMagnet

    1:28 It looks as if there is an object in front of Proxima Centauri off to the left of it in the New Horizons picture, is this just due to the quality of the camera or some other optical trick, or is this possibly something blocking it in the Oort cloud?

  52. kodenich

    Heheh, “Not to scale”

  53. Soulife

    “SO FOR PROXIMA CENTAURI” – very smooth and unnoticeable transition, lol. 👍

  54. Robert Vincelli

    Wow, that’s amazing!

  55. Astro_Alphard


  56. Jardel Elias

    1:31 The moment my jaw hit the floor. That’s awesome!

  57. Hendrik Hendrikson

    2:35 I just had an awesome LSD dejavu…

  58. ElectricErik

    Wait.. is “I’m Scott Manley, fly safe” a prerecorded sample??!

  59. John Norris

    If you think that’s a lot of parallax you should try ingesting the spice melange.

  60. georgiemcross

    Ultima Thule, they should have kept this name. I always liked it in my Latin classes.

  61. John Harrington


  62. Cubes

    4:23 I don’t think that the standard orbit matters that much, given that apparently nobody in the star wars universe knows what a parsec actually is

  63. Michael Piz

    Simultaneous? How did they pin that down at such a large distance?

  64. Xaab Xaa

    ah, this should also help in making already established parallax-distances more accurate, no?

  65. Quinton Murdock

    Haha. Love the wolf 359 reference

  66. Dave Crupel

    R.I.P. to all the brave souls that lost their lives at Wolf 359, defending Humanity.

  67. Ivar Brouwer

    That was a fun explanation! (And a Star Wars & Star Trek reference) also nice to see in the Wolf-image there were some other stars moving slightly.

  68. Michael O

    I made it to about the 5 minute mark before my head exploded.

  69. Elvijs Lasis

    When you think that New Horizons already has done amazing job, it still manages to give some amazing additional bonus. Who knows, maybe it even might randomly meet something out there =))

  70. ericsbuds

    incredible. seeing stellar parallax like this is amazing.
    love how basically everything in the background is still too far away to tell with the naked eye. i think i spotted one other star in the background move slightly…

  71. Raphael Brandão

    Imagine a future with a James Webb telescope equivalent orbiting each of the Solar System’s planets…

  72. Oaken Arbor

    I am surprised at my visceral reaction to the simple observation you shared. It is almost as if I never studied astronomy or calculated unending parallax equations in the 70’s . The mind really does thrive on massive data input and pattern parsing. Thanks. Delightful.

  73. tinkmarshino

    Just damn cool stuff… I wish earth wasn’t such a crazy out of control place.. the things we could do if we could just pull together!.. Well it is all your problem now.. I have less future then past left and I am tired.. Good luck to all that stay behind!

  74. Deamon93IT

    At this rate we might be on our way to meet the Borg in 2063, we just need WWIII to happen and a few timetravel shenanigan

  75. Phil Landram

    Way cool!! My brain exploded all over the wall but that was still intriguing

  76. Tau Ceti

    I didn’t know Wolf-359 was an actual star. LOL

  77. Gustavo Gargioni

    Thank you so much for the high quality content once again.

  78. Arcadiy Ivanov

    Should we be also putting an observatory into a martian orbit to have instant large-base parallax observations all the time?

  79. spacetaco1

    Love the Wolf 359 reference 🖖❤

  80. Science And Futurism

    Is New Horizons in an escape trajectory out of solar system or still in orbit?

  81. videolabguy

    You rock! That was the coolest thing I’ve seen so far today!

  82. James Stewart

    In Star Wars the Standard day is based off of Coruscant which just so happens ;) to have extremely similar orbit and rotation period as Earth. Hence where the standard AU almost certainly comes from in that galaxy.

  83. Gerald H

    Now I feel old. Scott mentioned a Spirograph. I got one when it first came out in 1965… for my 6th birthday. :(

  84. stijn louis

    Finally I know where the term parsecs comes from.

  85. RicksGameMisc

    Thank you for the Trek reference, because to this non-astronomer, that’s the ONLY reason I know the name of that star. :D

  86. sparkieT88

    Do they have plans to do this a lot more?

  87. Russ Trotter

    “parallax second”… who knew ole Han Solo was an armchair astronomy buff when he was dodging womprats in his Kessel run

  88. Attila Asztalos

    6:15 “…and because the imaging is happening simultaneously…” – *Einstein joined the chat and started typing*

  89. Tau Ceti

    In other words.
    Why Astronomy is hard,
    And why I can’t do it :(

  90. Simon Turner

    So glad the first thing you mentioned about Wolf 359 was the battle lol
    Cool video by the way! What a cool visual demonstration of our position in the galaxy.

  91. SoaringWombat

    The URL for this video contains the word Cool and I can’t agree more

  92. Joakim Kanon

    Distances in space always blows my mind, and seeing the small difference in position of the stars from earth and new horizon is so cool. Melts my brain.

  93. Jacob Hicks

    This video is incredible! Especially the constellation part. Neat!

  94. Luke Turner

    4:13 I’ve always wondered where the term “Parsec” came from; thank you Scott Manley for an “ah, that makes sense now” moment

  95. Cody'sLab

    Do you think it would be worth sending out two (or more?) space craft out of the solar system in different directions specifically to making parallax measurements?

  96. firefly4f4

    SM: “This is Wolf 359…”
    Please make a reference to…
    SM: “… and no you can’t see any wreckage of Federation starships…”
    You never disappoint! :)

  97. Dingo Nates

    7:09 It’s held together with coloured string?

  98. atkelar

    I lost it at the “combined motion” picture at 5:53… no wonder in Dune (IIRC) they had to use drugs for proper space navigation :D

  99. Steve Pirie

    So if you sent a message by laser aimed to travel many light years to a human colony you’d have to take the movement into account of the home star and planet you’re firing it to?

  100. chaos

    Whoa. This is one of the coolest, most “THE STARS ARE MOVING” things I’ve ever seen.

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