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That thing the sun does that makes it so hot

GLaDOS teaches fusion and fission for NASA. Ellen McLain lends her autotuned voice to IRrelevant Astronomy, a video series produced as part of the education & public outreach mandate of the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. [via]
posted by figurant on Feb 27, 2014 - 6 comments

 

Hope your holiday is [sunglasses] out of this world!

Like sending out Christmas cards but prefer something light on the Santas and Jesuses? The Hubble Telescope is here to help you out with a whole line of free-to-download-and-print holiday-themed greeting cards!
posted by phunniemee on Dec 18, 2013 - 7 comments

Target: 1 billion stars

The European Space Agency will be launching the Gaia Mission on December 12 It's mission? To get high res pics of 100 billion stars. But that is only the beginning of the coolness of the Gaia mission. It will have two telescopes projecting onto a single camera's CCD. The heat shield that protects the instruments will also generate power for the telescope. And it's destination is L2. But is that an American billion or a European billion? What? I don't know that! ...ahhh!
posted by BillW on Oct 29, 2013 - 30 comments

Portals to the universe

"A mission scientist with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, Natalie Batalha hunts for exoplanets — Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system that might harbor life. She speaks about unexpected connections between things like love and dark energy, science and gratitude, and how "exploring the heavens" brings the beauty of the cosmos and the exuberance of scientific discovery closer to us all". (Audio link of interview at top left corner of page, other relevant links at bottom of page)
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 17, 2013 - 10 comments

The Sound of a Fermi Gamma-ray Burst

A gamma-ray burst, the most energetic explosions in the universe, converted to music. What does the universe look like at high energies? Thanks to the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), we can extend our sense of sight to "see" the universe in gamma rays. But humans not only have a sense of sight, we also have a sense of sound. If we could listen to the high-energy universe, what would we hear? What does the universe sound like?
posted by netbros on Jun 22, 2012 - 21 comments

Christmas in June

The United States Department of Defense has generously "decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope." They apparently had some antiquated spy satellite hardware sitting around unused and unwanted. NASA still needs to find money to outfit them with recording instruments and pay a team to manage them, which may take 8 years
posted by crayz on Jun 4, 2012 - 69 comments

VLA no more

Rename the VLA (Very Large Array)! The famous desert radio telescope, made of a bunch of independently movable giant satellite dishes, has just finished a ten-year upgrade and they're holding a contest to pick a new name in celebration. Deadline December 1. (via Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy, which mentions another naming contest, for schoolkids in the US to pick a name for the GRAIL satellites)
posted by LobsterMitten on Oct 18, 2011 - 70 comments

Supernova Sonata

Supernova Sonata by Alex Parker From April, 2003 until August, 2006, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope watched four parts of the sky as often as possible. Armed with the largest digital camera in the known universe, CFHT monitored these four fields for a special type of supernova (called Type Ia) which are created by the thermonuclear detonation of one or more white-dwarf stars. Each supernova is assigned a note to be played: The volume of the note is determined by the distance to the supernova, with more distant supernova being quieter and fainter. The pitch of the note was determined by the supernova’s “stretch,” a property of how the supernova brightens and fades. Higher stretch values played higher notes. The pitches were drawn from a Phrygian dominant scale. The instrument the note was played on was determined by the properties of the galaxy which hosted each supernova. Supernovae hosted by massive galaxies are played with a stand-up bass, while supernovae hosted by less massive galaxies are played with a grand piano.
posted by ThenCameNow on May 26, 2011 - 10 comments

space, from the ground

Passage of the International Space Station and Discovery, taken on February 28th 2011 at 17:58UT from the area of Weimar, Germany. The shooting equipment is described in detail in this page. (Flash 10 required)
posted by DU on Mar 3, 2011 - 22 comments

Imagine as basket filled with billions and billions and billions of eggs

We are nearing the end of a golden age of astronomy as more than a dozen space observatories reach their end of life in a few years. The only replacement on the horizon is the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2014. Due to its enormous complexity and ever-rising costs, the JWST has starved other projects of funding. The fate of an entire generation of cosmologists and astrophysicists rests on its success.
posted by Rhomboid on Oct 28, 2010 - 33 comments

Gamma rays from novae detected

Astronomers using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have detected gamma-rays from a nova for the first time, a finding that stunned observers and theorists alike. (via)
posted by Joe Beese on Aug 12, 2010 - 18 comments

WISE: Beyond Hubble

On July 17th, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite completed its first survey of the entire sky viewable from Earth. After just seven months in orbit, WISE -- a precursor to the planned James Webb Space Telescope -- has returned more than a million images that provide a close look at celestial objects ranging from distant galaxies to asteroids. The first release of WISE data, covering about 80 percent of the sky, will be delivered to the astronomical community in May of next year, but in the meantime we can see some of the images and animations that NASA has released to date: Galleries (containing just a small selection of images): 1, 2, 3, 4. Videos and Animations: 1, 2 [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 24, 2010 - 11 comments

Planck unveils the Universe

Planck telescope reveals ancient cosmic light. "The picture is the first full-sky image from Europe's Planck telescope which was sent into space last year to survey the oldest light in the cosmos. It took the 600m-euro observatory just over six months to assemble the map. It shows what is visible beyond the Earth to instruments that are sensitive to light at very long wavelengths - much longer than what we can sense with our eyes." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jul 5, 2010 - 30 comments

Hubble Space Telescope, this is your life

On April 24, 1990, the Discovery shuttle launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit around Earth, where it's been for 20 years. This spring, NASA has been rolling out more pretty pictures, videos and even an IMAX movie in its honor. The Hubble has contributed to hundreds of studies about our universe. As we celebrate its legacy, let's reflect on a bit on its past and future. [more inside]
posted by i8ny3x on Apr 23, 2010 - 22 comments

Much Cooler Than Ceiling Cat!

There's ceiling cat, then there is this! Be sure to watch the video. (via.)
posted by cjorgensen on Sep 10, 2009 - 29 comments

BLAST

A "Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope" ( BLAST) has made 2 science flights. The documentry Blast! is as much about science as it is about the crazy life of scientists. [more inside]
posted by kudzu on Jul 20, 2009 - 5 comments

Jupiter under fire

Sunday morning amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley captured a photo of an apparent asteroid or comet strike on Jupiter. Alerted by the announcement on the ALPO-Jupiter email list, other amateurs soon posted follow-up images. [more inside]
posted by flug on Jul 20, 2009 - 39 comments

Liquid mirror telescopes

A liquid mirror telescope is made by spinning a reflective fluid, such as mercury, at a constant rate. This rotation produces a parabolic surface, which is an ideal shape for a telescope mirror. (You can try this yourself.) While these mirrors can be built to be large and orders of magnitude cheaper than solid mirrors, they have the disadvantage that they can only look straight up. Creating mirrors this way is not new; they have a history [.ps] that dates back to Newton. However, they have recently regained attention as the technology behind proposals to build an enormous (20m+) telescope on the moon. (A less technical treatment here.)
posted by Upton O'Good on Jul 1, 2008 - 36 comments

Telescope making

Mark VandeWettering makes telescopes, and has written a set of guides for those who would like to build their own. Francis O'Reilly has made a similar set of guides, except as a series of videos.
posted by Upton O'Good on Jun 4, 2008 - 13 comments

A Star is Unborn

“Here was an object brand new. At first we didn’t recognize it.” Dr. Alicia Soderberg on the discovery of Supernova 2008D, using the Swift satellite telescope....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on May 21, 2008 - 15 comments

Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope

Microsoft's much anticipated WorldWide Telescope was released today (in the past hour actually). Article in New York Times and TED speech.
posted by stbalbach on May 12, 2008 - 136 comments

Stars In Your Eyes

See Saturn this Saturday April 12 is the second annual International Sidewalk Astronomy Night, a worldwide event coordinated by the Sidewalk Astronomers. The group, founded in 1968 by John Dobson (subject of this documentary), is dedicated to a sort of guerrilla astronomy -- experienced stargeeks bringing their really good telescopes out to places where people are. So even on your way to the bars, the shows, and the honky-tonk you can see stuff like this and this - like these people did.
posted by Miko on Apr 10, 2008 - 16 comments

Searching for Dark Matter

Scientists at Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole have begun searching for the elusive dark matter using the South Pole Telescope. [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Mar 30, 2008 - 31 comments

HobbySpace

HobbySpace hosts an exhaustive collection of information and links about space-related hobbies, including amateur astronomy, satellite design, and rocketry for both beginners and experts.
posted by Upton O'Good on Dec 2, 2007 - 3 comments

Porter Garden Telescopes

In addition to his work on the design of the 200-inch Hale telescope, amateur astronomer Russell W. Porter (1871-1949) designed and produced a remarkable, bronze-cast garden telescope in the 1920s. Fewer than 60 of these unusual Newtonian reflectors were ever made, and they're even harder to find now: earlier this year, one went for $18,000 at auction. But a reproduction of the Porter Garden Telescope is now available, for a mere $59,000 (it's cast bronze on a marble pedestal); a local cable station has a profile of the people behind it. Via Sky and Telescope.
posted by mcwetboy on Nov 22, 2007 - 8 comments

Billions and Billions

Billions and Billions astrophotography CCD gallery / film gallery / equipment / tutorials
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 14, 2007 - 7 comments

Best of the Webb

"Clearly we need a much bigger telescope to go back much further in time to see the very birth of the Universe." The venerable Hubble space telescope is going to be replaced by what looks like a honeycomb on a box of chocolates. Of course, if it takes more pictures like this (XL), nobody is going to complain about its looks.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on May 11, 2007 - 39 comments

Cake to person ratio = infinite

To celebrate the 17th birthday of the Hubble Space Telescope, please feast your eyes on a very detailed (Flash) picture of the Carina Nebula.
posted by WolfDaddy on Apr 30, 2007 - 27 comments

Big Science, Cold Science, Blog Science

Welcome to the South Pole Telescope blog.
posted by geos on Mar 8, 2007 - 7 comments

Planet-hunter probe "Corot"

France launches planet-hunting probe "Corot", the first spacecraft able to detect rocky planets down to about twice Earth's size. Its 2.5 year mission will be to seek out new planets from a field of about 200,000 nearby stars.
posted by stbalbach on Dec 27, 2006 - 21 comments

Oh my god, it's full of stars...

Pictures from the Hubble telescope
posted by Orange Goblin on Aug 13, 2006 - 23 comments

telescope worthless by 2050

via BBC Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says.
posted by goldism on Mar 2, 2006 - 17 comments

SLOOH - Access a high powered telescope from your desktop

Play with the big boys of astronomy by accessing a high powered telescope online.
posted by Fozzie on Jun 21, 2005 - 2 comments

Hubble Birthday Gallery

Hubble's 15th Birthday Image Gallery
Reports about birthday.
NASA Hubble site.
(previous) via
posted by peacay on Apr 25, 2005 - 12 comments

Lifehacker

Lifehacker is a fairly new addition to the Gawker Media family of blogs, publishers of another personal favorite in the Gizmodo gadget blog. Lifehacker posts articles on how to do all sorts of things better/quicker/cooler/cheaper: In its three short weeks of life, Lifehacker has given me good tips at a shockingly high frequency. Of course, the whole thing comes full circle with their frequent Ask Metafilter Roundup posts.
posted by mcstayinskool on Feb 23, 2005 - 65 comments

The Hubble gets a reprieve...maybe.

They're going to try to save the Hubble telescope after all! Yea!
Nasa chief Sean O'Keefe has asked for a firm mission proposal to be worked up in a year, after which a decision whether to proceed will be made.

As discussed previously in this thread, it looked like NASA didn't want to devote the resourses necessary to maintain the 14 year old telescope.
posted by wsg on Aug 11, 2004 - 9 comments

Hubble harvest 100 new planets

Hubble harvests 100 new planets during a 7-day sweep of the bulge of the Milky Way.. If confirmed it would almost double the number of known planets to about 230. "I think this work has the potential to be the most significant advance in discovering extra-solar planetary systems since the first planets were discovered in the mid-1990s."
posted by stbalbach on Jul 1, 2004 - 17 comments

The Hubble Space Telescope is no more.

"The end of an era in deep space exploration draws to a close. The era of the total militarization of space dawns," says the blog of Bruce Garrett, a software engineer for the Space Telescope Science Institute (home of the Hubble). Although I haven't been able to corroborate it at a news source yet, Garrett reports that the word came today from NASA director Sean O'Keefe that servicing missions to Hubble are over.

The President made his announcement on Wednesday, and NASA announced their reorganization in order to fall in line with Bush's plan today. Interestingly, this "reorganization" including support to only manned missions began over a year ago, but O'Keefe still testified to the US Senate in May 2003 that the Hubble would be serviced next in November 2004. Wonder what changed.

We marveled at The Best of Hubble in December 2003. Might be the Last, as well.
posted by pineapple on Jan 16, 2004 - 19 comments

Spitzer Space Telescope

The first images from the Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility and renamed after astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr., were released on Thursday. Launched on August 25, it obtains images by detecting the infrared energy radiated by objects in space, and it will drift behind the Earth as the planet orbits the sun.
posted by homunculus on Dec 20, 2003 - 3 comments

The Best of Hubble

The Best of Hubble Its mission will end in 2010. Four years later it will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. Many astronomers are calling for Hubble to be refurbished and its mission extended to 2020. Here are some of it's best pictures.
posted by reverendX on Dec 10, 2003 - 14 comments

My God, it's full of stars!

Breathtaking Hubble picture of the Sombrero Galaxy (also identified as M104). The Hubble Heritage team took the original images during May and June of this year using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and multiple color filters. They then stitched 6 images together to make the final composite image.
posted by Irontom on Oct 10, 2003 - 39 comments

The biggest subwoofer in the universe

Listening through a telescope the Chandra X-ray observatory hears a black hole.
posted by wobh on Sep 11, 2003 - 12 comments

Deep impact

Deep impact. NASA scientists want to know what the pristine inside of a comet looks like. What better way, then, than by blowing a 25-meter crater in one? Comet Tempel 1, to be specific. Even better, send them your name and they'll put it on a disc attached to the impactor spacecraft, which will be launched on December 30, 2004. It'll hit on the 4th of July, 2005.
posted by gottabefunky on May 13, 2003 - 9 comments

It's nice to know that people can still have big dreams.

It's nice to know that people can still have big dreams. This is not hallucination; these guys are very serious and very practical and their credentials suggest that they know exactly what they're doing. It's the same team which is just finishing the Very Large Telescope project, which when complete will be the biggest scope in the world, and will be more sensitive and get better pictures than the Hubble. Scopes #1 and #2 are now online, #3 is in engineering shakeout, and first light for #4 is coming shortly. All four scopes will work together to generate images using interferometry.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jun 17, 2000 - 2 comments

Hubble Upgraded to 486

Speaking of retrotech, the latest group of space shuttle jockies just upgraded the Hubble to a rockin' Intel 486 chip, replacing the apparently inadequate 386 that previously provided the brains to the wobbly eye in the sky.
posted by grant on Dec 28, 1999 - 0 comments

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