Latest Observational astronomy Stories

2010-07-02 06:25:00

For decades, X-ray astronomers have studied the complex behavior of binary systems pairing a normal star with a black hole. In these systems, gas from the normal star streams toward the black hole and forms a disk around it. Friction within the disk heats the gas to millions of degrees -- hot enough to produce X-rays. At the disk's inner edge, near the black hole, strong magnetic fields eject some of the gas into dual, oppositely directed jets that blast outward at about half the speed of...

2010-06-29 14:17:00

Tiny little shutters as small as the width of a human hair are a key component in the James Webb Space Telescope's ability to see huge distances in the cosmos, and they have now arrived at the European Space Agency. Those little "shutters" are actually called "microshutters" and they are tiny doorways that focus the attention of the infrared camera on specific targets to the exclusion of others. They will focus in on objects like very distant stars and galaxies. The microshutters were...

2010-06-24 13:05:00

Using two of the world's largest telescopes, an international team of astronomers have found evidence of a collision between galaxies driving intense activity in a highly luminous quasar. The scientists, led by Montserrat Villar Martin of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucía-CSIC in Spain, used the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) on La Palma in the Canary Islands, to study activity from the quasar SDSS J0123+00. They publish...

2010-06-24 06:45:00

Many scientists speculate that our galaxy could be full of places like Pandora from the movie "Avatar" -- Earth-like worlds in solar systems besides our own. That doesn't mean such worlds have been easy to find, however. Of the 400-plus planets so far discovered, none could support life as we know it on Earth. "The problem with finding Earth-like planets," said Stefan Martin, an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., "is that their host stars can emit 10 million times...

2010-06-16 14:31:04

Occultation provided enough data to determine the KBO's size and albedo Until now, astronomers have used telescopes to find Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), moon-sized bodies, and obtain their spectra to determine what types of ices are on their surface. They have also used thermal-imaging techniques to get a rough idea of the size of KBOs, but other details have been difficult to glean. While astronomers think there are about 70,000 KBOs that are larger than 100 kilometers in diameter, the...

2010-06-04 08:01:38

Raymond Wilson, whose pioneering optics research at ESO made today's giant telescopes possible thanks to "active optics" technology, has been awarded the 2010 Kavli Prize in astrophysics. The founder and original leader of the Optics and Telescopes Group at ESO, Wilson shares the million-dollar prize with two American scientists, Jerry Nelson and Roger Angel. The biennial prize, presented by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Kavli Foundation, and the Norwegian Ministry of...

2010-06-03 12:40:00

People living in the northern hemisphere will be able to go out any night this week an hour after sunset and see Venus, Saturn and Mars. The planet Venus will be located slightly north of west, in the constellation Gemini.  To the left of Venus appearing in the constellation Leo, skywatchers will be able to spot Mars.  Then, further to the left of Mars will be Saturn shining in the western part of the constellation Virgo. All three planets will appear across a 71-degree angle in...

2010-06-03 08:00:00

COLUMBIA, Md., June 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University Space Research Association (USRA) is extremely proud to announce the achievement of "first science light" by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) with the observatory's initial in-flight observations. With this major milestone, completed on May 26, 2010, SOFIA embarks on an anticipated 20 year career that promises to provide extraordinary insight into the solar system, our galaxy and the universe, and a...

2010-05-28 08:45:00

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif., May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a joint program by NASA and the German Aerospace Center, achieved a major milestone May 26, with its first in-flight night observations. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO ) "With this flight, SOFIA begins a 20-year journey that will enable a wide variety of astronomical science observations not possible from other Earth and space-borne...

2010-05-28 09:35:00

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a joint program by NASA and the German Aerospace Center, achieved a major milestone May 26, with its first in-flight night observations. "With this flight, SOFIA begins a 20-year journey that will enable a wide variety of astronomical science observations not possible from other Earth and space-borne observatories," said Jon Morse, Astrophysics Division director in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington....

Latest Observational astronomy Reference Libraries

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light-years in diameter and approximately 60 million light-years distant. Credit: NASA/ESA/Wikipedia What is Astrophysics? For much of the modern age the term Astrophysics has been used synonymously with Astronomy. This interchange is so common that many textbooks even offer the two as having the same meaning. However, from a strictly historical perspective there are differences...

2010-10-08 17:45:24

Radio telescopes, used in tracking and collecting data from satellites and space probes, are a form of directional radio antenna used in radio astronomy. They operate on the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum where they detect radio sources. Radio telescopes are large parabolic antennas used singly or in an array and are located far from major centers of population in order to avoid electromagnetic interference. Karl Guthe Jansky built the first radio antenna used to...

2010-09-24 17:50:57

A telescope, designed to aid the observation of remote objects, collects some form of electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light). The Netherlands developed the first known practical telescope in the 17th century. The term "telescope" was termed in order to describe Galileo's instruments in 1611. However, Galileo was not the inventor of the telescope. It was Hans Lippershey, Zacharias Janssen, and Jacob Metius who are credited with the creation of the telescope. In 1668, Isaac Newton...

2014-01-12 00:00:00

Sample Entry: Astronomy is the scientific study of stars, planets, comets, galaxies, and other phenomena that occur outside Earth's atmosphere (e.g. cosmic radiation). Astronomy deals with the evolution, physics, chemical makeup, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, and also the formation of the universe. The word Astronomy comes from the Greek words astron (meaning "star") and nomos (meaning "law"). Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Since the dawn of man, people always...

2009-04-28 11:47:36

The Reverend Thomas William Webb (December 14, 1807 "“ May 19, 1885) was a British astronomer and faithful clergyman. The lone son of a clergyman, the Rev. John Webb was raised and educated by his father in absence of his mother who died in Webb's early childhood. He travelled to Oxford to attend Magdalen College. Soon after, he was ordained a minister by the Anglican Church in 1829. In 1843, he married Henrietta Montague. Mrs. Webb died on September 7, 1884. Webb followed shortly...

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Word of the Day
  • The hard inner (usually woody) layer of the pericarp of some fruits (as peaches or plums or cherries or olives) that contains the seed.
This word comes from the Greek 'endon,' in, within, plus the Greek 'kardia,' heart.