Results tagged “astronomy”

A new NASA outreach project will enlist the help of amateur astronomers to discover near-Earth objects (NEOs) and study their characteristics. NEOs are asteroids with orbits that occasionally bring them close to the Earth.

NASA has selected a science instrument upgrade to the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne observatory. The instrument, the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera (HAWC), will provide a sensitive, versatile and reliable imaging capability to the SOFIA user community.

Image: Chaos in the Orion Nebula

Baby stars are creating chaos 1,500 light-years away in the cosmic cloud of the Orion Nebula. Four massive stars make up the bright yellow area in the center of this false-color image for NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

ESA and JAXA Sign Astro-H Agreement

ESA: An agreement was signed by ESA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for cooperation on Astro-H, an important mission that will provide a unique opportunity for probing extreme phenomena in the Universe. Astro-H will study astrophysical objects including black holes and neutron stars, explore the non-thermal Universe, and investigate the large-scale structure of the Universe and its evolution.

Citizen Scientists Reveal a Bubbly Milky Way

"A team of volunteers has pored over observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and discovered more than 5,000 "bubbles" in the disk of our Milky Way galaxy. Young, hot stars blow these bubbles into surrounding gas and dust, indicating areas of brand new star formation. Upwards of 35,000 "citizen scientists" sifted through the Spitzer infrared data as part of the online Milky Way Project to find these telltale bubbles. The volunteers have turned up 10 times as many bubbles as previous surveys so far."

An annotated overview of 98 astronomy applications for smart phones and tablets has been published in the on-line journal "Astronomy Education Review." Compiled by Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College), the list features a brief description and a direct URL for each app.

The listing includes a variety of apps for displaying and explaining the sky above you (some using the GPS function in your device); a series of astronomical clocks, calculators, and calendars; sky catalogs and observing planners; planet atlases and globes; citizens science tools and image displays; a directory of astronomy clubs in the U.S.; and even a graphic simulator for making galaxies collide. A number of the apps are free, and others cost just a dollar or two. A brief list of articles featuring astronomy app reviews is also included.

You can access the article free of charge at: http://aer.aas.org/resource/1/aerscz/v10/i1/p010302_s1

Astronomy Education Review is on-line journal about astronomy education and outreach, published by the American Astronomical Society, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this fall. You can find it at: http://aer.aas.org (Via Planetary Science Newsletter)

The Virtual Observatory and its Benefits for Amateur Astronomers

"The contemporary astronomical instruments have been producing the unprecedented amount of data. The largest part of this "data avalanche" is being produced by deep all-sky surveys yielding terabytes of raw data per night. Such a great data volumes can hardly even been reduced by automatic pipelines running on supercomputer grids but it is impossible to exploit fully their content by a small group of professional astronomers in the interested research teams. New tools for collaborative work with heterogeneous data sets spread over distant servers are being developed in the framework of the Virtual Observatory (VO)."

Data Mining The Cosmos

The DAME/VO-Neural Infrastructure: an Integrated Data Mining System Support for the Science Community

"The DAME/VONeural project, run jointly by the University Federico II, INAF (National Institute of Astrophysics) Astronomical Observatories of Napoli and the California Institute of Technology, aims at creating a single, sustainable, distributed e-infrastructure for data mining and exploration in massive data sets, to be offered to the astronomical (but not only) community as a web application. The framework makes use of distributed computing environments (e.g. S.Co.P.E.) and matches the international IVOA standards and requirements."

DAME: A Distributed Data Mining & Exploration Framework within the Virtual Observatory

"Originally designed to deal with astrophysical use cases, where first scientific application examples have demonstrated its effectiveness, the DAME Suite results as a multi-disciplinary platform-independent tool perfectly compliant with modern KDD (Knowledge Discovery in Databases) requirements and Information & Communication Technology trends."

Scientists study the 'galaxy zoo' using Google Maps and thousands of volunteers, FECYT

"More than two thirds of spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, display a central bar that can extend for thousands of light years. These colossal elongated structures are made up of collections of stars and dark matter which are held together by gravity. Now a team of researchers from Europe and the USA have measured the bar length of some 5000 galaxies with the help of amateur astronomers. The most precise results (those obtained for 3150 galaxies) have been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal."

How Will Astronomy Archives Survive The Data Tsunami?

"Astronomy is already awash with data: currently 1 PB (petabyte) of public data is electronically accessible, and this volume is growing at 0.5 PB per year. The availability of this data has already transformed research in astronomy, and the STScI (Space Telescope Science Institute) now reports that more papers are published with archived data sets than with newly acquired data. This growth in data size and anticipated usage will accelerate in the coming few years as new projects such as the LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope), ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), and SKA (Square Kilometer Array) move into operation."

You Can Help Name The Very Large Array

Seeking a New Name for Transformed Scientific Icon - The Very Large Array

"The most famous radio telescope in the world is about to get a new name. The Very Large Array, known around the world, isn't what it used to be. The iconic radio telescope, known around the world through movies, documentaries, music videos, newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, textbooks, and thousands of scientific papers, is nearing the completion of an amazing transformation. More than a decade of effort has replaced the VLA's original, 1970s-vintage electronics with modern, state-of-the-art equipment. And so it's time, the Observatory has decided, to give this transformed scientific facility a new name to reflect its new capabilities."

Keith's note: The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) has recently release a large number of standards designed to structure the creation of a "vrtual observatory" that spans efforts by many individuals and organzations across the world. According to their website: "The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) was formed in June 2002 with a mission to "facilitate the international coordination and collaboration necessary for the development and deployment of the tools, systems and organizational structures necessary to enable the international utilization of astronomical archives as an integrated and interoperating virtual observatory." The IVOA now comprises 19 VO programs from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States and inter-governmental organizations (ESA and ESO). Membership is open to other national and international programs according to the IVOA Guidelines for Participation."

A large number of updated standards were posted today at astro-ph (listed below):

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