Latest National Optical Astronomy Observatory Stories

2006-01-12 06:25:00

NOAO -- In a feat resembling an intergalactic autopsy, astronomers have used the Gemini South telescope in Chile to obtain a detailed spectrum of an echo of light from an ancient supernova that enables them to identify the original star's cause of death. Beyond confirming that the team's basic interpretation of the light echo was correct, the spectrum suggests strongly that the explosion was a Type-Ia supernova that originated with a compact white dwarf star in the Large Magellanic Cloud....

2006-01-12 00:20:00

NASA -- Astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a very young star nearly 100 light years away using a relatively small, publicly accessible telescope turbocharged with a new planet-finding instrument. The feat suggests that astronomers have found a way to dramatically accelerate the pace of the hunt for planets outside our solar system. "In the last two decades, astronomers have searched about 3,000 stars for new planets," said Jian Ge, a professor of astronomy at the University of...

2006-01-11 07:25:00

NOAO -- New Spitzer Space Telescope observations of an unusual class of interacting binary stars detected excess amounts of infrared radiation, suggesting that these odd objects are surrounded by large disks of cool dust. The results reported today in Washington, DC, at the 207th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) were produced by one of six teams of professional astronomers and high school teachers participating in a unique program co-sponsored by the Spitzer Science Center...

2006-01-11 07:20:24

NOAO -- Strong darkening observed around the equator of Vega suggests that the fifth brightest star in Earth's sky has a huge temperature difference of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit from its cool equatorial region to its hot poles. Models of the star based on these observations suggest that Vega is rotating at 92 percent of the angular velocity that would cause it to physically break apart, an international team of astronomers announced today in Washington, DC, at the 207th meeting of the...

2006-01-10 06:23:26

NOAO -- The glowing gas of the interstellar medium (ISM) is the breeding ground for the formation of new stars, and the cemetery where the ashes of dead stars ultimately return. A team led by astronomers from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has conducted a new study called the Magellanic Cloud Emission Line Survey (MCELS) that focused expressly on the ISM in the Large Magellanic Cloud and Small Magellanic Cloud"”the nearest major galaxies to the Milky Way. Hundreds of...

2005-12-21 16:45:00

Cambridge, MA -- A team of astronomers has found faint visible echoes of three ancient supernovae by detecting their centuries-old light as it is reflected by clouds of interstellar gas hundreds of light-years removed from the original explosions. Located in a nearby galaxy in the southern skies of Earth, the three exploding stars flashed into short-lived brilliance at least two centuries ago, and probably longer. The oldest one is likely to have occurred more than six hundred years ago....

2005-09-05 20:39:14

The Gemini Observatory released a pair of images today that capture the dynamics of two very different interactions in space. One is a cold, dark dust cloud that resembles an ethereal-looking Chinese dragon. The other shows a distant duo of galaxies locked in a knot-like embrace that could portend the long-term future of our own Milky Way galaxy. The processes shown in these views occur on a tremendous range of size scales. NGC 6559 is a relatively small, nearby dust cloud in our Milky Way...

2005-06-17 14:24:54

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- The National Science Foundation agreed to halt construction of a $13 million mountainside telescope complex after an American Indian tribe filed a federal lawsuit claiming the site is sacred. The foundation said it will work with the Tohono O'odham Nation to assess the environmental and cultural value of the Kitt Peak area before resuming work on what the lead scientist said would be the most advanced system of its kind in the northern hemisphere. "We are being very...

2005-06-14 06:53:08

NASA -- Dr. Mattias (Matt) Mountain has been appointed director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, the science operations center for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the planned James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). He will succeed Dr. Steven V. W. Beckwith, who will end his term Sept. 1. Previously, Dr. Mountain was director of the Gemini Observatory and was based in Hilo, Hawaii. The observatory operates the two 8-meter Gemini Telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii and...

2005-05-27 15:25:51

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A $6.6 million pixel camera for taking detailed research photographs of the night sky is scheduled to be built for the Kitt Peak National Observatory with help from the University of Wisconsin. When it's completed, the camera will be fitted to the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope atop Kitt Peak, located southwest of Tucson. A grant from the National Science Foundation will cover $1.6 million of the camera's cost. WIYN's business partners - the University of Wisconsin, Indiana...

Latest National Optical Astronomy Observatory Reference Libraries

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...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Kitt Peak Observatory -- astronomical observatory located southwest of Tucson, Ariz.; it was founded in 1958 under contract with the National Science Foundation and is administered by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. Its principal instrument is the Mayall 158-in. (4-m) reflector. The observatory's equipment also includes 84-in. (2.1 m), 50-in. (1.3-m), 36-in. (0.9-m), and 16-in. (0.4-m) reflecting telescopes as well as a planned 3.5-m telescope. Used for wide...

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Word of the Day
  • In music, a work for a keyboard-instrument, like the pianoforte or organ, originally intended to utilize and display varieties of touch: but the term has been extended so as to include many irregular works, similar to the prelude, the fantasia, and the improvisation.
This word is Italian in origin, coming from the feminine past participle of 'toccare,' to touch.