A powerful new telescope called VISTA — the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy — just started work at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in the Chilean desert.
In its first five years, the telescope will be used for six major sky surveys, including one of the entire southern sky. Other studies will examine smaller regions in greater detail.
The telescope can detect faint sources and cover wide areas of sky quickly. Each image captures a section of sky about 10 times the area of the full moon.
If the weather holds, NASA's newest space telescope will lift off Friday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, on a mission to map the cosmos.
The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, is unlikely to see the fanfare granted to the more famous orbiting observatories, especially Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra. But the small satellite is expressly designed to make each of them smarter.
So far, the search for extraterrestrial life beyond our solar system has focused on finding Earth-like planets. And sure, planets are great, since we know at least one of them harbors life. But David Kipping of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics thinks that search might be a tad too narrow. In a new paper, Kipping described how current technology can be re-tasked to search for another life-bearing body: moons.
Europe's Euclid space telescope could pick up on distorted light from distant galaxies, and pick up clues on the existence of dark energy.
S. Colombi (IAP), CFHT Team
Dark energy may not have much in common with aliens, unless there's a flotilla of freaky monoliths out there with really weird physical properties. But astrophysicists hope to build a two-in-one space telescope that can search for signs of dark energy along with exoplanets.
While most of the world looked forward to the switch from analog to digital TV for the sharper picture and clearer sound, astronomers around the US anticipated the changeover period for a totally different reason: clarity. In the brief period between the removal of analog television signals and the assignment of those frequencies to other devices like cell phones, astronomers will get their first look at a time in the universe that has been obscured from telescopes since Wally and the Beav roamed the airwaves.
This backyard observatory lets you see more stars than ever before
By Eric AdamsPosted 10.15.2009 at 9:27 pm 0 Comments
What a heavenly year for stargazers. We've had a spectacular solar eclipse in Asia, a clutch rescue of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the surprising crash of a comet into Jupiter—discovered, no less, by an amateur astronomer. Try the gear below to find the next marvel yourself.
If it were up to us, everything would be faster by at least one order of magnitude, but the laws of physics often get in the way of unlimited speed and efficiency. Take fiber optic data transfer: the pulses of light carrying data through the worldwide network of fiber optics move really fast, but alas, cannot go any faster than they do. However, scientists at Cornell University have figured out a way to pack more data into those pulses of light, using a system they're calling a "time telescope," which has the potential to increase fiber optic data speeds by 27 times.
Neutrinos, the infinitesimally small particles so faint physicists used to call them "the ghost particle," have driven scientists to construct immense underground facilities simply to catch a glimpse of a single one. Now, with even the most massive detectors failing to trap certain high-energy neutrinos, astronomers have turned to a larger filter: the Moon.
Hawaii's cluster of telescopes on the dormant volcano of Mauna Kea will have to make room for a new big sibling. The world's largest optical telescope is designed to have nine times the collecting area of any existing optical telescope, upon its completion in 2018.
When it comes to space, what goes up must be sturdy, safe and secure if it's to live very long. Satellites must survive the bone-rattling jostle and pressure of launch, and once they reach orbit, they've got to weather the vast temperature changes they experience with every sunrise and sunset. Their skins must be thick enough to survive pummeling by micro-debris, and they'd better have trusty gyroscopes to be able to change directions or keep their balance.