Latest Astronomical surveys Stories

2011-04-15 09:15:01

Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. "Starting today thousands of new eyes will be looking at WISE data, and I expect many surprises," said Edward (Ned) Wright of UCLA, the mission's principal investigator. WISE launched into space on Dec. 14, 2009 on a mission to map the entire sky in infrared light with greatly improved...

2011-01-13 10:25:00

In the outer reaches of our solar system lies a mysterious region far more remote and difficult to explore than the Australian outback. It remains the only part of our solar system not visited by spacecraft. Called the Kuiper Belt, this area beyond Neptune is home to the dwarf planets Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea. It also harbors thousands of smaller objects that form a second, icy asteroid belt (or more appropriately, comet belt). In this realm of perpetual twilight, the distant sun...

2011-01-12 08:45:00

Astronomers have released the largest digital, color image of the universe ever recorded--a mosaic created from millions of 2.8 megapixel images recorded over the past decade. The image, which was unveiled during the 217th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, was captured and assembled by researchers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). SDSS-III, as it has been dubbed, is a full color representation of the night sky that has a...

2011-01-06 14:49:30

Is the expansion of the universe accelerating for some unknown reason? This is one of the mysteries plaguing astrophysics, and somewhere in distant galaxies are yet-unseen supernovae that may hold the key. Now, thanks to a telescope calibrated by scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Harvard University and the University of Hawaii, astrophysicists can be more certain of one day obtaining an accurate answer. The NIST scientists traveled to the summit of...

2010-09-28 06:15:00

The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) PS1 telescope has discovered an asteroid that will come within 4 million miles of Earth in mid-October. The object is about 150 feet in diameter and was discovered in images acquired on September 16, when it was about 20 million miles away. It is the first "potentially hazardous object" (PHO) to be discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey and has been given the designation "2010 ST3." "Although this particular object won't hit...

2010-08-23 14:55:00

Tight double-star systems might not be the best places for life to spring up, according to a new study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The infrared observatory spotted a surprisingly large amount of dust around three mature, close-orbiting star pairs. Where did the dust come from? Astronomers say it might be the aftermath of tremendous planetary collisions. "This is real-life science fiction," said Jeremy Drake of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge,...

2010-07-14 12:30:00

Astronomers have obtained the first image of a dusty disc closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars form in the same way as their smaller brethren. This discovery, made thanks to a combination of ESO's telescopes, is described in an article in this week's issue of Nature. "Our observations show a disc surrounding an embryonic young, massive star, which is now fully formed," says Stefan Kraus, who led the study. "One can say that the baby is about to...

2010-06-16 14:55:00

Astronomers announced today that the first Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System) telescope, PS1, is fully operational. This innovative facility will be at the front line of Earth defense by searching for "killer" asteroids and comets. It will map large portions of the sky nightly, making it an efficient sleuth for not just asteroids but also supernovae and other variable objects. "Pan-STARRS is an all-purpose machine," said Harvard astronomer Edo Berger. "Having...

2010-04-29 07:35:00

Scientists using a NASA funded telescope have detected water-ice and carbon-based organic compounds on the surface of an asteroid. The cold hard facts of the discovery of the frosty mixture on one of the asteroid belt's largest occupants, suggests that some asteroids, along with their celestial brethren, comets, were the water carriers for a primordial Earth. The research is published in the April 28 issue of the journal Nature. "For a long time the thinking was that you couldn't find a cup's...

2010-04-17 12:17:22

A free application using data from the UA's Catalina Sky Survey reveals a night sky that is surprisingly busy You're at a party on the patio where everyone is marveling at the clear, star-studded night sky. With a new application for the iPhone or iPod Touch, you can impress them with pictures of a supernova exploding in Orion, a star moving through Cassiopeia, or a cloud of interstellar dust flaring up while being gobbled by a black hole. The application, called Transient Events, uses...

Latest Astronomical surveys Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Near-Earth Object -- Near-Earth Objects (NEO) are asteroids, comets and large meteoroids whose orbit intersects Earth's orbit and which may therefore pose a collision danger. Due to their size and proximity, NEO's are also more easily accessible for spacecraft from Earth and are important for future scientific investigation and commercial development. In fact, some near-Earth asteroids can be reached with much less ΔV (change in velocity) than the Moon. In the United States, NASA...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Cerro Tololo Observatory -- astronomical observatory located on Cerro Tololo peak, Chile, with offices in La Serena, about 40 mi (64 km) to the west. Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), it is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), which also operates such other major national observatories as the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. The principal instrument is a 158-in. (4-m) reflecting telescope, the largest in the...

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Word of the Day
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'