Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nov 25 Recap

This week's host is Sunne Dong. Few things we talked about:

1. Rings of stars found in the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A, results of "a violent event" of merging galaxies. Read the story here.

2. Looking cosmic rays in starburst galaxies, read the papers here and here.

3. A nova, V445, might become a SNa I in the future. Read more here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nov 18 Recap

This week's astronomy journal club was hosted by Prof. Pat Hall. Something we discussed about were:

1. The LCROSS team announced the mission successfully uncovered water during the Oct. 9, 2009 impacts near the moon's south pole. Read more here.

2. On Nov. 6, an asteroid, 2009 VA, came only about 2 Earth radii from impacting the Earth. It is the third-closed known non-impacting asteroid, only noticed by astronomers 15 hours before its closest approach. Read about it here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nov 11 Recap

Today's host was Alireza Rafiee.

1. NASA plans to launch Atlantis on November 16 for an 11-day flight to the International Space Station. Read the mission's details here.

2. Many observations have been planed this week around Rosetta's Earth swing-by. Read more here.

3. An unusual rapid supernova SN 2002bj, originally identified as a Type II supernova 7 years ago, has been rediscovered as a new type of exploding star. The explosion is believed to be caused by helium flows from one white dwarf onto another in a binary star system. Read here.

4. How many universes are there? String theory says 10 to the power of 500, quantum fluctuations produce 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 10 million. But does it really matter in a world ruled by quantum physics, where an observer's brain can only tell 10 to the power of 10 to the power 16 universes apart? Read more here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nov 4 Recap

Today's journal club was hosted by Prof. Michael De Robertis.

1. GRB 090423, redshift about 8.2, is the most distant astronomical object ever detect in the Universe. Read it at Nature News & Views here. Bursted just about 600 Myrs after the big bang, it might shed some light on the cosmic 'dark ages'. Two individual groups studied the mechanisms and progenitors of this burst. Their papers are published in the same issue of Nature at page1254 and page 1258.