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Johannes Kepler was the first to realize that Ptolemy's estimate must be significantly too low according to Kepler, at least by a factor of three in his Rudolphine Tables Kepler's laws of planetary motion allowed astronomers to calculate the relative distances of the planets from the Sun, and rekindled interest in measuring the absolute value for Earth which could then be applied to the other planets.
The invention of the telescope allowed far more accurate measurements of angles than is possible with the naked eye. Flemish astronomer Godefroy Wendelin repeated Aristarchus' measurements in , and found that Ptolemy's value was too low by a factor of at least eleven.
A somewhat more accurate estimate can be obtained by observing the transit of Venus. Jeremiah Horrocks had attempted to produce an estimate based on his observation of the transit published in , giving a solar parallax of 15 arcseconds , similar to Wendelin's figure. The solar parallax is related to the Earth—Sun distance as measured in Earth radii by. The smaller the solar parallax, the greater the distance between the Sun and Earth: Christiaan Huygens believed that the distance was even greater: Although Huygens' estimate is remarkably close to modern values, it is often discounted by historians of astronomy because of the many unproven and incorrect assumptions he had to make for his method to work; the accuracy of his value seems to be based more on luck than good measurement, with his various errors cancelling each other out.
A better method for observing Venus transits was devised by James Gregory and published in his Optica Promata It was strongly advocated by Edmond Halley  and was applied to the transits of Venus observed in and , and then again in and Transits of Venus occur in pairs, but less than one pair every century, and observing the transits in and was an unprecedented international scientific operation including observations by James Cook and Charles Green from Tahiti.
Despite the Seven Years' War , dozens of astronomers were dispatched to observing points around the world at great expense and personal danger: Another method involved determining the constant of aberration. Simon Newcomb gave great weight to this method when deriving his widely accepted value of 8.
Newcomb also collaborated with A. Michelson to measure the speed of light with Earth-based equipment; combined with the constant of aberration which is related to the light time per unit distance , this gave the first direct measurement of the Earth—Sun distance in kilometres. Newcomb's value for the solar parallax and for the constant of aberration and the Gaussian gravitational constant were incorporated into the first international system of astronomical constants in ,  which remained in place for the calculation of ephemerides until The discovery of the near-Earth asteroid Eros and its passage near Earth in — allowed a considerable improvement in parallax measurement.
Direct radar measurements of the distances to Venus and Mars became available in the early s. Along with improved measurements of the speed of light, these showed that Newcomb's values for the solar parallax and the constant of aberration were inconsistent with one another.
The unit distance A the value of the astronomical unit in metres can be expressed in terms of other astronomical constants:. The Sun is constantly losing mass by radiating away energy,  so the orbits of the planets are steadily expanding outward from the Sun. This has led to calls to abandon the astronomical unit as a unit of measurement. Hence, it is possible to construct ephemerides entirely in SI units, which is increasingly becoming the norm.
The measurements of the secular variations of the astronomical unit are not confirmed by other authors and are quite controversial. Furthermore, since , the astronomical unit has not been estimated by the planetary ephemerides.
The following table contains some distances given in astronomical units. It includes some examples with distances that are normally not given in astronomical units, because they are either too short or far too long.
Distances normally change over time. Examples are listed by increasing distance. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the unit of length. For constants, see astronomical constant. For units in astronomy, see astronomical system of units. Retrieved 20 March Retrieved 29 October Use standard abbreviations for SI Retrieved 3 January The Astronomical Almanac Online.
Archived from the original PDF on 26 July IERS technical note no. Earth—Sun distance changes from slippery equation to single number" , Nature , doi: Cosmic Dimensions from Aristarchus to Halley , Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. C" , Archive for History of Exact Sciences , 37 4: Increase in the astronomical unit", American Astronomical Society , Units of length used in Astronomy. Astronomical system of units.
See also Cosmic distance ladder Orders of magnitude length Conversion of units. Conversion of units Metric prefixes Proposed redefinitions Systems of measurement. Retrieved from " https: Although Australia has no official language, English has always been entrenched as the de facto national language.
According to the census, English is the only language spoken in the home for close to The next most common languages spoken at home are Mandarin 2. Over Indigenous Australian languages are thought to have existed at the time of first European contact,  of which fewer than twenty are still in daily use by all age groups.
Australia has no state religion ; Section of the Australian Constitution prohibits the federal government from making any law to establish any religion, impose any religious observance, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion. Before European settlement, the animist beliefs of Australia's indigenous people had been practised for many thousands of years.
Mainland Aboriginal Australians ' spirituality is known as the Dreamtime and it places a heavy emphasis on belonging to the land. The collection of stories that it contains shaped Aboriginal law and customs. Aboriginal art , story and dance continue to draw on these spiritual traditions.
The spirituality and customs of Torres Strait Islanders , who inhabit the islands between Australia and New Guinea, reflected their Melanesian origins and dependence on the sea. The Australian census counted more than respondents as followers of a traditional Aboriginal religion. Since the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in , Christianity has become the major religion practised in Australia. Christian churches have played an integral role in the development of education, health and welfare services in Australia.
For much of Australian history, the Church of England now known as the Anglican Church of Australia was the largest religious denomination. However, multicultural immigration has contributed to a decline in its relative position, and the Roman Catholic Church has benefitted from recent immigration to become the largest group.
Similarly, Islam , Buddhism , Hinduism and Judaism have all grown in Australia over the past half-century. Australia has one of the lowest levels of religious adherence in the world. Australia's life expectancy is the third highest in the world for males and the seventh highest for females. Ranked second in preventable causes is hypertension at 7.
Total expenditure on health including private sector spending is around 9. School attendance, or registration for home schooling,  is compulsory throughout Australia.
Education is the responsibility of the individual states and territories  so the rules vary between states, but in general children are required to attend school from the age of about 5 until about Catholic education accounts for the largest non-government sector. Australia has 37 government-funded universities and two private universities, as well as a number of other specialist institutions that provide approved courses at the higher education level.
The ratio of international to local students in tertiary education in Australia is the highest in the OECD countries. Since , the primary influence behind Australian culture has been Anglo-Celtic Western culture , with some Indigenous influences.
Traditional designs, patterns and stories infuse contemporary Indigenous Australian art , "the last great art movement of the 20th century";  its exponents include Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
Australian literature grew slowly in the decades following European settlement though Indigenous oral traditions , many of which have since been recorded in writing, are much older. Their works are still popular; Paterson's bush poem " Waltzing Matilda " is regarded as Australia's unofficial national anthem.
Many of Australia's performing arts companies receive funding through the federal government's Australia Council. Each state has a publicly funded theatre company. The Story of the Kelly Gang , the world's first feature length film, spurred a boom in Australian cinema during the silent film era.
Australia has two public broadcasters the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the multicultural Special Broadcasting Service , three commercial television networks, several pay-TV services,  and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations.
Each major city has at least one daily newspaper,  and there are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review. Most Indigenous Australian tribal groups subsisted on a simple hunter-gatherer diet of native fauna and flora, otherwise called bush tucker. Australia is also known for its cafe and coffee culture in urban centres , which has influenced coffee culture abroad, including New York City.
Australia is unique in that it has professional leagues for four football codes. Australian rules football , the world's oldest major football code and Australia's most popular sport in terms of revenue and spectatorship, originated in Melbourne in the late s, and predominates in all states except New South Wales and Queensland, where rugby league holds sway, followed by rugby union. Soccer , while ranked fourth in popularity and resources, has the highest overall participation rates.
The Australian national cricket team have participated in every edition of the Cricket World Cup. Australia have been very successful in the event, winning the tournament five times, the record number. Australia is a powerhouse in water-based sports, such as swimming and surfing.
The annual Melbourne Cup horse race and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race attract intense interest. Australia is one of five nations to have participated in every Summer Olympics of the modern era,  and has hosted the Games twice: Other major international events held in Australia include the Australian Open tennis grand slam tournament, international cricket matches, and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about the country. For the continent, see Australia continent. For other uses, see Australia disambiguation. Commonwealth of Australia, including the Australian territorial claim in the Antarctic.
Australian Aussie colloquial  . European exploration of Australia. Geography of Australia and Environment of Australia. Environmental issues in Australia. Government of Australia and Politics of Australia. Elizabeth II , Queen of Australia. Peter Cosgrove , Governor-General of Australia.
Scott Morrison , Prime Minister of Australia. States and territories of Australia. Foreign relations of Australia. Demography of Australia and List of cities in Australia by population. Largest populated areas in Australia data from Australian Bureau of Statistics  .
Health care in Australia. Australia portal Oceania portal Commonwealth realms portal. In other contexts, the national anthem of Australia, " Advance Australia Fair ", is played.
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