Results tagged “astronomy”

As galaxies go, our Milky Way is pretty quiet. Active galaxies have cores that glow brightly, powered by supermassive black holes swallowing material, and often spit twin jets in opposite directions.

A Deeper Look at Centaurus A

The strange galaxy Centaurus A is pictured in a new image from the European Southern Observatory. With a total exposure time of more than 50 hours this is probably the deepest view of this peculiar and spectacular object ever created.

Cubesats and Extrasolar Planets

How a Pocket-Size Satellite Could Find Another Earth, Time

What makes ExoplanetSat even more un-NASA-like is that it began as a class project -- although admittedly, the class was at MIT. It was a design-and-build course, which the university's engineering students have to take in order to graduate. In a recent semester, the class was co-taught by Sara Seager, an astrophysicist who has done groundbreaking research studying how the atmospheres of planets orbiting distant stars might look like from earthly telescopes. Seager recruited five science undergrads to join her engineers, on the theory that out in the real world, they'd eventually have to work with engineers anyway.

NASA Is Lending Satellites

NASA Lends Galaxy Evolution Explorer to Caltech

"NASA is lending the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, where the spacecraft will continue its exploration of the cosmos. In a first-of-a-kind move for NASA, a Space Act Agreement was signed May 14 so the university soon can resume spacecraft operations and data management for the mission using private funds."

Keith's note: Wow. Is NASA going to adopt this approach for the reuse of other spacecraft? This could be very interesting.

NASA is lending the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, where the spacecraft will continue its exploration of the cosmos.

Fuel For Black Holes

An international research team led by Gerd Weigelt from the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Radioastronomie in Bonn reports on high-resolution studies of an active galactic nucleus in the near-infrared. The observations were carried out with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Dwarf Galaxy with a Bright Nebula

The starry mist streaking across this image obtained by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the central part of the dwarf galaxy known as NGC 2366.

The exploding stars known as Type Ia supernovae serve an important role in measuring the universe, and were used to discover the existence of dark energy. They're bright enough to see across large distances, and similar enough to act as a "standard candle" -- an object of known luminosity.

Kicking Stars Out of the Galaxy

In fact, the primary mechanism that astronomers have come up with that can give a star the two-million-plus mile-per-hour kick it takes requires a close encounter with the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's core.

Sombrero Galaxy: Split Personality

While some galaxies are rotund and others are slender disks like our spiral Milky Way, new observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that the Sombrero galaxy is both.

NGC 6604: A Cluster Within a Cluster

The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this new image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is often overlooked in favour of its more prominent neighbour, the Eagle Nebula (also known as Messier 16), that lies a mere wingspan away.

Have You Seen This Meteorite?

NASA Asks Public to Provide Videos and Photos of Meteor (with photos of fresh finds)

"NASA and the SETI Institute are asking the public for more information to help find amateur photos and video footage of the daylight meteor that illuminated the sky over the Sierra Nevada mountains and created sonic booms that were heard over a wide area at 7:51 a.m. PDT Sunday, April 22, 2012."

Fireball Over California/Nevada: How Big Was It?

"The object was about the size of a minivan, weighed in at around 154,300 pounds (70 metric tons) and at the time of disintegration released energy equivalent to a 5-kiloton explosion."

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."

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