All hail the occulter: an orbiting starshade for ground-based telescopes.Continue reading “Ground-Based Observatories Could use Starshades to see Planets too”
In this series we are exploring the weird and wonderful world of astronomy jargon! Adjust your eyeglasses to read about today’s topic: adaptive optics!Continue reading “Astronomy Jargon 101: Adaptive Optics”
Ever wonder how modern astronomical observatories take such clear images of distant objects? Advances in mirror design have allowed for larger and larger primary mirrors. But adaptive optics play a huge role, too.Continue reading “The Carina Nebula. Seen With and Without Adaptive Optics”
Modern astronomical telescopes are extraordinarly powerful. And we keep making them more powerful. With telescopes like the Extremely Large Telescope and the Giant Magellan Telescope seeing first light in the coming years, our astronomical observing power will be greater than ever.
But a new commentary says that climate change could limit the power of our astronomical observatories.Continue reading “Climate Change is Making the Atmosphere Worse for Astronomy”
Japan has suspended its funding contribution to the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii. An international consortium is behind the TMT, which was proposed for the summit of Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is one of the most desirable observing locations on Earth. It’s already host to several observatories, including the Subaru Telescope and the Keck Observatory. The $1.4 billion TMT would be the most powerful telescope there.Continue reading “Japan Suspends its Funding for the 30-Meter Telescope”
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has reached the end of its life. Its mission was to study objects in the infrared, and it excelled at that since it was launched in 2003. But every mission has an end, and on January 30th 2020, Spitzer shut down.Continue reading “Good-bye Spitzer. We’ll Miss You But We Won’t Forget You.”
The U.S. House of Representatives have passed a bill to change the name of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST.) Instead of that explanatory yet cumbersome name, it will be named after American astronomer Vera Rubin. Rubin is well-known for her pioneering work in discovering dark matter.Continue reading “Great News! The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Might be Named for Vera Rubin”
You know the drill now. Last week we talked about ancient south African astronomy, and so this week we’ll talk about the modern state of astronomy in the southern part of Africa, which happens to be a great place with nice dark skies and a perfect view into the heart of the galaxy.
Continue reading “Ep. 534: Modern South African Astronomy”
Last week we talked about the ancient astronomy of the American Southwest. But this is actually Pamela’s stomping grounds, and she’s spent many a night perched atop mountains in this region staring in the night sky with gigantic telescopes. How does astronomy get done in this region today?
Continue reading “Ep. 528: Modern Astronomy of the American Southwest”
About 130 million years ago, in a galaxy far away, two neutron stars collided. The cataclysmic crash produced gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time. This event is now the 5th observation of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo collaboration, and the first detected that was not caused by the collision of two black holes.
But this event — called a kilonova — produced something else too: light, across multiple wavelengths.