Deep Sky Astronomy & Telescopes

Do All Stars Form as Binaries?

June 15, 2017

Interesting news this morning that begins with the Very Large Array in New Mexico, which a team of astronomers has been using to look at star formation. Their target: The Perseus molecular cloud, a stellar nursery about 600 light years from Earth. Clouds like this are sufficiently large (this one is about 50 light years […]

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Best Images Yet of Fomalhaut Debris Disk

May 22, 2017

The ongoing dimming of Boyajian’s Star will result in a flood of new data from a wide variety of instruments worldwide, excellent news for those trying to piece together what is happening here. I hope you saw Tabetha Boyajian’s interview with David Kipping over the weekend, but if not, you can see it archived here. […]

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New Options for Locating Fast Radio Bursts

April 4, 2017

Our catalog of distant, highly energetic events continues to grow. On the Fast Radio Burst (FRB) front, we have the welcome news that the Molonglo radio telescope some 40 kilometers from Canberra, Australia has undergone extensive re-engineering, a project that is paying off with the detection of three new FRBs. The telescope’s collecting area of […]

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Astronomy Rewind: Keeping Our Data Alive

March 24, 2017

When I was growing up, there was a small outbuilding between my house and the stand of woods behind our property. The previous owner had built it as a little house in its own right, everything on a miniature scale, so that while it looked like an actual house — with front door, nice windows, […]

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Runaway Stars in Orion

March 21, 2017

Unexpected things can happen when you’re looking for exoplanets. Ask Kevin Luhman (Penn State), whose search for free-floating planets in the Orion Nebula is now telling us something interesting about star formation in general. In a small region dominated by young stars called the Kleinmann-Low Nebula, some 1300 light years from Earth near the center […]

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Star in Tight Orbit around Black Hole

March 20, 2017

Beyond their obvious value in advancing our knowledge, astronomical discoveries can be thought of as exercises for the imagination, making us think about what we would see if we were actually near the phenomenon being observed. The view from a planet deep in a globular cluster can only be spectacular, and has been the subject […]

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Galactic Interaction: Rivers of Stars

January 16, 2017

Discovered as recently as 1994, the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy is a satellite of the Milky Way, and one with an interesting history. One of the nearest of the dwarf galaxies, the Sagittarius dwarf lies 25 kiloparsecs (roughly 82,000 light years) from the center of the Milky Way, and has passed through the disk of […]

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Pinpointing a Fast Radio Burst

January 5, 2017

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are problematic. Since their discovery about a decade ago, the question has been their place of origin. These transient pulses last no more than milliseconds, yet they emit enormous energies, and we’ve had only the sketchiest idea where they came from. Now we learn, from an announcement at the 229th meeting […]

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Vera Rubin (1928-2016)

December 28, 2016

When Vera Rubin went to Cornell University to earn a master’s degree, she quickly found herself immersed in galaxy dynamics, lured to the topic by Martha Stahr Carpenter. The interest, though, was a natural one; it drew on Rubin’s childhood fascination with the motion of stars across the sky. You could say that motion captivated […]

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PanSTARRS: Digital Sky Survey Data Release

December 20, 2016

A 1.8 meter telescope at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui is the first instrument in use at the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System) observatory. Pan-STARRS recently completed a digital survey of the sky in visible and infrared wavelengths that began in May of 2010, a project that surveyed the entire sky […]

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