Here are the first batch of processed images returned by NASA's WISE satellite, which over the next few months will image the entire sky in the mid-infrared. Pretty, isn't it? And so much science in there too....
Sunday, February 28, 2010
.. so far. And stellar mass black hole (the ones produced during the death of the most massive stars), not the supermassive black holes believed to be at the center of practically every massive galaxy (in which case, the most distant one is just the most distant galaxy). Go here to learn how it was discovered...
Saturday, February 27, 2010
NASA and JPL will be hosting a Climate Educator Conference May 1-2, 2010, not surprisingly, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. In this conference, JPL and local scientists, geographers and planners will address the current climate, the historical record, long range trends and future forecasts in context. Special attention will be paid to the California science standards, especially key areas like fourth grade where California is a year-long theme. This is intended for all educators (including museum staff) and students (high school and above) interested in earth and space science and exploration. The objective of the conference is to tell the exciting tale of real-life exploration and new discovery in a way that will excite and inspire students. Students under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a registered adult. The bulk of the conference is presentations, not workshop-type activities, but instructional materials and resources will be shared.
Pre-registration is required. Walk-up registration will not be possible for this conference. To register for this conference please send a check postmarked by April 26, 2010, for $45.00 payable to "Jet Propulsion Laboratory" to:
California Educator Conference
Attn: Mary Kay Kuehn
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
Please provide the following information:
Address________________________________ State___ Zip______
Citizenship_________________________ (Please bring a photo ID)
Contact info for confirmation & last minute changes:
Please register by Monday, April 26, 2010. The $45 registration fee includes continental breakfast and breaks both days and a box lunch on Saturday. For registration questions please call the JPL Education Office at 818-393-0561. For other questions please call the JPL Educator Resource Center at 909-397-4420.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
... is easy using current technology - if the planet is in our Solar System. Around another star, well, that is something else entirely. Go here to read how this was recently accomplished for a planet orbiting a nearby star. Impressive.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
NASA is currently working on a telescope called SOFIA designed to operate inside a flying Boeing 747. Why? To get above as much of the atmosphere as possible to detect mid-infrared light, which is absorbed by water. How? With great difficulty, as you can read about here.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
NuStar is (hopefully) going to do something no satellite has ever done before - focus very high-energy photons. By doing so, it might be able to shed important light (pun quasi-intended) on how massive stars explode. Read this article for more information. Enjoy!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I (somewhat) apologize for the bad pun, but here is the first-light image from WISE telescope, recently launched to survey the sky in the mid-infrared for the first time in 20 years. Definitely a promising start to an important mission.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Go here to see the result of a deep, multi-wavelength survey of one patch of sky designed to study how galaxies evolve with time. It is more than just a very pretty picture, honest.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The Global Positioning System, GPS, works by comparing the delay in signals received from clocks located in different places - specifically on satellites orbiting the Earth. The most accurate clocks in the universe are these, but millisecond pulsars - notable for the regular pulses of radio emission ~1 ms apart and their gamma-ray emission. Using data from the Fermi telescope, astronomer identified some possible milli-second pulsars which were then confirmed using radio observations. Now, they are being monitored not to determine the location of Earth in the Milky Way, but to see if they are correlated changes in the arrival time of their radio pulsars which might indicate the passage of a gravitational wave passing between us and them. Go here for more information. Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
One of the largest galaxies which orbit the Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud is a great place - in many ways better than the Milky Way - to study how stars form and die inside galaxies. Go here to read about some recent results courtesy of data from the Spitzer space telescope.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I never knew this, but apparently one of the brighter stars in the sky, Epsilon Aurigae, had a peculiar habit of fading for a short period of time every 27 years. While changes in a star's brightness are normal, regular 27 year variations are peculiar. Go here to read how, using Spitzer observations, astronomers might have just been able to figure out what is going on. Enjoy!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I definitely plan to have a future show on this (yes, I still plan on doing those. One day. Hopefully soon. When I get a chance. Sorry) but, until then, read this article about five!! new extra-solar planets discovered already by Kepler. These are not the Earth-sized planets in Earth-like orbits that Kepler was designed to discover (those, by definition, orbit their star once a year so Kepler hasn't been in space long enough to detect those - yet) but still very interesting. Enjoy!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the NSF-funded organization responsible for running some of the largest radio telescopes in the World (e.g. the Very Large Array, Very Long Baseline Array, the Green Bank Telescope, and the upcoming Atacama Large Millimeter Array) has a new snazzy-looking website. Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Courtesy of JPL, the NASA facility responsible operating many of its astronomy spacecraft (especially the ones which study the Solar System), here is a collection of gorgeous astronomy pictures suitable for computer desktops. Enjoy!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I strongly encourage you to read this article about maybe the best living Astronomer you never (but should have) heard of, Rashid Sunyaev. In addition to being REALLY smart, he is also REALLY friendly. Okay, I know this is a little fanboy-ish of me, but it is true.
Posted by You'd Prefer an Astronaut at 7:19 PM
That's right. Colliding aurorae. As in, stream of charged particles trapped in the Earth's atmosphere colliding together. And people caught it on video. Watch here! I personally think that is really awesome.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Herschel, ESA's new mid-infrared mission (similar wavelengths as Spitzer but more sensitive) has made its first images. Go here to check out its view of the famous Eagle Nebula. Enjoy!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
NASA is currently working on the James Webb Space Telescope, the "successor" to the Hubble Space Telescope (I use the quotes because JWST will NOT be able to reproduce everything that Hubble can do now). To follow their progress, go here. Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Just over 5 years ago, the Cassini spacecraft
deposited the Huygens probe in the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, which transmitted precious data as it fell through Titan's atmosphere and landed on the surface. Go here to read more about what astronomers are learning from this data more than 5 years after it was recorded. Enjoy!