Measure the Distance Between You and the Stars




So, when I was 7 my dad gave me a telescope and, since then, I inherited an interest in the universe. My dad would tell me that the stars are suns that are very far away. I always wanted to know how far are they and today I'm going to teach how to make a device able to measure that distance.

Step 1: Materials

-Any wood board

-Wood glue/ screws

-4 ringed screws, one a bit smaller than the other three

-Tailor's measure tape

Step 2: Cutting

So, this step depends on the size that you want to make this tool. The only rule is that you need to cut the material you're using (I said wood because thats what I'm using but it can be any straight meterial, like PVC pipes) to form a square a little bit larger that what you want. Furthermore, one of the sides must go half the lenght of the square of (see Picture), I'm doing a 50cm x 50cm x 50cm x 75cm, so I'll need to cut the planks a couple of centimeters longer. After all that, sand it all down to make it smooth (optional).

Step 3: Assembling

Now that you have your sides you will put two of the small ones below the other two, in a way that it forms a square with the end of the longer one sticking out. I cutted them so I could get them at the same height, but if you do as i said it will work just fine. Glue them with wood glue or use screws. the little rectangles you see are just to mantain the shape, so you don't need to do them.

Step 4: Marking the Square

Now you will need to draw some dots in a way that it forms the desired square. My planks are cut 52x52cm because i wanted to make a 50x50cm square. To know if the square is perfect, you're going to make some simple calculations. The diagonal squared must be equal to the sum of the sides squared (in my case, 50 squared plus 50 squared equals the squared root of 5000, wich is 70,71cm).

Step 5: Making the Measuring Device

You'll need to make a movable thing that's less than 3/4 the width of the sides of the object and like 5-10cm in lenght. Find the middle and draw a line in the lateral (see picture). this piece will be used as the measurer.

Step 6: Putting the Ringed Screws and Levelling It

Now you will put the larger screws where you made the marks, except the one at the bigger end. the small one will be put in the measurer. you will need to level them, so that all are at the same height. As you can see in the image, the ark where i didn't put the screw there is a nail, but it's optional for you to put it there.

Step 7: Glue the Tailor's Tape

Glue the beginning of the tailor's tape at the point that you didn't put a screw on. Then stretch the tape to the end that's sticking out and glue it. After the glue dried, cut the end of the tape.

Step 8: Measuring Distances

Now that you have the tool made, you need to know how to measure distances with it. First, you have to see the star trough the two holes in the side with tape and the one in front of it. Youcan move the object as musch as you need to. When you see the star trough the holes, you can't move it anymore. Then, you're going to see the same star trough the other hole and the measurer. You have to move the measurer trough the tape. See the distance that the measurer indicates and make another measurement 6 hours or 6 month after the first. You will now see that the measurer says the same, but you have to make the two so it forms a triangle. If you made the six hour measure, you will multiply 9009955m the by the lenght of the side of your tool and, after that, divide by the lenght the measurer gave. If you use the 6 month metod, you do exactly the same but instead of that big number (9009955m) you use an even bigger one, 150 million kilometers (distance of the earth to the sun).



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    7 Discussions


    11 months ago

    graet job,

    plz could you explain the math behind? ok give some links?

    1 reply

    11 months ago


    It seems so simple, just accurate and important to achieve something like that.

    Well, it's a simple thing here, it's the materials.

    Loved it.

    1 reply

    11 months ago

    This is awesome! I'm always impressed with homemade tools like this. Great job!

    1 reply