Archive for the ‘Observational Astronomy’ Category

Elliptical Galaxies Still Producing Stars

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Astronomers at the University of Michigan using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that elliptical galaxies previously though to be dead are still producing stars, relatively slowly but apparently steadily.

Telescope debacle devours NASA funds

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

NASA’s next great space telescope will cost taxpayers at least four times more than planned and launch at least seven years late.
Considered by scientists the most important space mission of the decade, the James Webb Space Telescope project is being overhauled for the second time in five years because of skyrocketing costs and cascading schedule delays.

Four Planets Align Near Moon on Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The unusual month-long convergence of four planets in the pre-dawn sky is nearing an end, as the planets begin separating from each other and going their separate ways. But one final series of meetings is on tap for this Memorial Day weekend.

Astronomical Deficit Forces Downsizing of U.S. Telescope Projects

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The federal fiscal crisis is pushing NASA and National Science Foundation officials to make painful choices between present and proposed astronomy programs

NASA’S Spitzer Sees Crystal “Rain” In Outer Clouds Of Infant Star

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Tiny crystals of a green mineral called olivine are falling down like rain on a burgeoning star, according to observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

A gathering of glorious galaxies

Friday, May 27th, 2011

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, is best-known for making an all-sky survey in search of asteroids, brown dwarfs and perhaps even planets on the edge of our solar system and beyond.

Saturn Forms Triangle With Moon and Star This Weekend

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

If you’ve been watching the night sky these past few weeks and gazed almost due south and about halfway up in the sky, you likely noticed two bright “stars” even from brightly lit cities. The brighter of the two is not really a star at all, but a planet: Saturn.


Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Could NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting space telescope stumble upon E.T.’s attempt at interstellar communication via a giant orbiting billboard?
SETI veteran scientist Jill Tarter pointed me to this imaginative prospect after reading my recent posting about Kepler’s potential to detect rings around extrasolar planets.


Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Astronomer Mark Thompson explores how amateur astronomy has benefited from the unrelenting advance of technology.

NASA Sun-Watching Probe Sees Moon Mountains

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

When NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in February 2010, engineers placed it in what’s called a geosynchronous orbit over Earth.
The idea is that the craft circles our planet at the same speed as Earth’s rotation about its axis. To an observer on the planet’s surface, the satellite seems to return to the same place in the sky at exactly the same time every day.

Marcy the Clyde Tombaugh of exoplanet searchers

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Astronomer Geoff Marcy has been called a modern-day Clyde Tombaugh, the Lowell researcher who discovered Pluto. Marcy helped discover 70 out of the first 100 planets detected, and he has found more planets to date than anyone else. He also helped discover the first planetary system other than our own and pioneered techniques that allowed for hundreds of other planets to be found.

Meteors from Halley’s Comet

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Looking for an adventure? Get up in the wee hours of the morning May 6th and head out into the country, far from the city lights. You won’t be alone. The birds will be up and singing about the coming dawn, and, of course, about the eta Aquarid meteor shower.

The life cycle of Andromeda’s stars

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

No doubt, naked-eye views of the universe are spectacular, but there’s much more going on out there than appears in visible light. That’s why astronomers routinely observe with a variety of telescopes equipped to capture multiple wavelengths of light across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Alien finding institute Seti runs out of cash to operate telescope

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The Organisation’s brand new $50m array put in hibernation, reducing chances of finding elusive extraterrestrial signal.
The Seti Institute has spent five decades hunting the skies for radio signals from deep space, possible communications which may indicate we are not alone in the universe.

To boldly go… online: New frontier as Nasa posts thousands of incredible space images on the internet

Monday, April 18th, 2011

You’ll go starry-eyed at Nasa’s latest mission success – because the space agency has uploaded thousands of amazing space snaps onto the internet, including shots of previously unseen galaxies, stars and asteroids.

Alien Life Found in Meteorites? Scientist’s Claim Stirs Debate

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, start your ET debate engines. A NASA biologist has claimed he discovered microfossil organisms — ancient bacteria — inside slices of rare meteorites that fell to Earth and were found in France, Tanzania, India, Canada and the icy Yamato Mountains of Antarctica.

Earthling Scientists Work on Plan to Call ETs

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

It’s been nearly 40 years since humans first tried contacting extraterrestrials with radio telescope technology, and as far as we know, nobody has said “hello” back to us.


Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Let’s face it. We astronomers like our telescopes BIG. A large telescope usually means that you can see fainter astronomical objects and get clearer pictures. We also like to explore the unknown, such as relatively untouched regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. So what happens when you put these together?

NRL Researchers View the Sun in 3-D

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Beginning on February 6, 2011, the two STEREO spacecraft are 180 degrees apart providing Naval Research Laboratory scientists with a 360-degree view of the Sun. NASA’s STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft were launched on October 25, 2006, and have been gathering spectacular images of solar activity, especially solar storms, since the mission began.

Researchers Call For Creation of Standardized METI Protocol For Talking To Extraterrestrials

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

The Allen Telescope Array is designed to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Wikimedia Commons
Since the first binary code sent from Puerto Rico in 1974, our messages to aliens have been increasingly complicated and cryptic, possibly so much that extraterrestrials won’t get what we’re saying.