Toward an Internally Consistent Astronomical Distance Scale

Richard de Grijs, Frédéric Courbin, Clara E. Martínez-Vázquez, Matteo Monelli, Masamune Oguri, Sherry H. Suyu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Accurate astronomical distance determination is crucial for all fields in astrophysics, from Galactic to cosmological scales. Despite, or perhaps because of, significant efforts to determine accurate distances, using a wide range of methods, tracers, and techniques, an internally consistent astronomical distance framework has not yet been established. We review current efforts to homogenize the Local Group’s distance framework, with particular emphasis on the potential of RR Lyrae stars as distance indicators, and attempt to extend this in an internally consistent manner to cosmological distances. Calibration based on Type Ia supernovae and distance determinations based on gravitational lensing represent particularly promising approaches. We provide a positive outlook to improvements to the status quo expected from future surveys, missions, and facilities. Astronomical distance determination has clearly reached maturity and near-consistency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1743-1785
Number of pages43
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Distance scale
  • Galaxies: distances and redshifts
  • Galaxy: center
  • Galaxy: fundamental parameters
  • Gravitational lensing: strong
  • Local Group
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Stars: distances
  • Stars: variables: RR Lyrae


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