Monday, December 6, 2010

Recap: Nov 24 and Dec 1

hello all.  A double post today to catch up the last couple of weeks!

On Nov. 24 Laura was kind enough to host journal club.  here is a list of things we talked about!

Penrose claims to have glimpsed the universe before the big bang.  you know you want to read more.

the first methane dwarf obriting a dead star.

Europe maintains its presence on frontier

Astronomers confirm the first exo-planet that originated OUTSIDE the milky way.  really cool article.

York's Scott Menary and his team at CERN trap anti-hydrogen for the first time!

On Dec 1 both Lianne and Jesse brought some cool stories to talk about:

Astronomers at UPenn have found a way to test for higher spatial dimensions in space.  By observing the lensing effects of a black hole.

More from Cassini: Rhea has an oxygen atmosphere.....that is 5 trillion times less dense than Earth's.
More from Cassini: Enceladus (see Dr. John for pronunciation) has warm cracks that seem to change frequently.

Jupiter's belt is on its way back!  exciting....

NASA to hold press conference on some astro-biology.

thanks everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recap: Nov. 17th

thanks to Jesse for bringing some stories.  here is a list of talking points

Eris has performed a stellar occultation, find that it's actually smaller than pluto.

A cosmologists wish list: here.

Supernova 1979C may have been the birth of a new black hole!

Has a nearby quasar just turned off?

Allan Sandage has passed away.  He was a prolific astronomer, and contributed much to the community.  He will be missed.

Gemini South has refurbished their mirror.

Recap: Nov. 10th

Thanks to stu for handling the stories this week!  some of the things we covered.

There may be a link between barred spirals and the size of the galaxy.  read more here.

the sun is ramping up!  SDO is going to get its money's worth.

The Large Hadron Collider has made its first lead ion collisions.

The leonids are ramping up!

Close up on comet hartley by EPOXI.

Climate change in the cosmic past?

The Fermi telescope has found two giant spheres of Gamma-ray emitting bubbles roughly half the size of the galaxy.  very interesting...not well understood.

thanks to all for coming

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recap: Nov. 3rd - Host: Ted Rudyk

Thanks to Ted for bringing the stories this week, and thanks for everyone who came out!  Here are some of the things that were covered.

The Kepler spacecraft can 'hear' a red giant singing in space.

Saturn's B ring has a lot more to say, and we've translated it.

The gullies on mars can be created by carbon dioxide, not water.

How common is a planetary system like ours?  The keck observatory has an answer.

Amateur astronomer Mike Lynch's telescope blew up!  The telescope happened to be cover-less during the day, and the sun crossed the mirror concentrating the light on the secondary mirror.

Robonaut 2 is heading skyward in december aboard discovery, check out its jobs here.

thanks to all for coming,  see you next week!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Recap: Oct 13

While it is reading week at York University, we were still able to draw few hard core astronomers/planetary scientists.  Lots of fun was had, here is a list of the topics of discussion:

A Russian company is planning on launching a private space hotel in 2016.  Should we get our cheque books ready?

Congress finally approves a NASA funding package.  FYI: there will be 3 more shuttle launches.

Gliese 581g still has to make it through a lot more scrutiny before anything is really known about it.  For instance, a group out of europe were unable to find the planet that Vogt et al did.

China has launched Chang'e 2 which is now orbiting the moon 100 km up.  look for some high definition images of the surface in the future.

Enceladus has been quite active in the news and on its surface due to a really awesome cassini picture of some geysers.

thanks to all for participating, we'll see you next week!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Research Jamboree: Oct 6t

On Wednesday Oct 6th 2010 the Astronomy Journal Club will be hosting a research jamboree.  Our jamboree will feature short presentations by the actively researching faculty and graduate students in the departments of physics and astronomy and ESSE.  Each presenter will be given 2 minutes to describe the nature of their research and its impacts on their field.

All faculty, graduates, and undergraduates are encouraged to attend the event.  As a faculty or graduate, it is an excellent way to stay current on your department's research.  As an undergraduate, it provides you with the opportunity to see what research is occurring here at York, and helps you make the decision of what direction to take in your academic career.

The jamboree will take place on Wednesday Oct 6th at 12:30pm.  Tea and Coffee will be provided.

For Presenters:
Should you wish to participate, please email Jesse Rogerson (  Each presenter is given 2 minutes, which will be strictly enforced.  Should you go over the 2 min limit, an alarm will sound continuously.  You may use as many slides as you like in the time frame. Please submit the slides to Jesse in PDF format only by Monday October 4th at midnight.

thank you to all those participating!  

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recap: Sept 29

Thanks to all for coming out, here is a list of the things we talked about.

The US House of Representatives voted on the Senate version of the NASA funding bill on wednesday.  It has been passed.  Check out phil plait's blog for details.

Gemini North has used its Near Infrared Imager and Spectrometer to look at one of the coldest brown dwarfs ever known, and it's in our own backyard (just 13 ly away).

The STEREO satellites have take some images of Mercury's 'comet-like' tail.  The tail was observed previously during one of MESSENGER's flybys in 2008.  Check out here for details.

JWST has passed a pivotal test, the freezing vacuum of space.  In order to perform properly, JWST must not change shape when it cools down to 27 K in space.  It passed the test!

The LRO has taken a very cool mosaic of the south pole of the moon.  In it you can see the places where LCROSS impacted, and the craters where no sunlight has been seen for billions of years.

Cassini continues to awe its followers, it has put together a video tracking aurorae in the poles of saturn.  check out the video here.

Weather report on titan, planning a vacation?

Weekly Brain Teaser: Answer

QUESTION: If you were to scoop up a 10 cm cube of material from an average neutron star, how much mass would the cube have?

ANSWER: at a rough average density of 10^17 kg/m^3,  if you scooped up a 0.10 m cube of material from a neutron star, it would weigh roughly 10^14 kg

This is roughly the mass of Halley's Comet, which has a mean diameter of 11 km.  All that mass packed into a 10cm x 10cm x 10cm cube.  Neutron stars are dense!  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recap: Sept 22 meeting

while the journal club future is in confusion at the moment we were still able to have a very interesting discussion.

Patrick Hall broke down the future of Gemini North.  As of roughy 2012 the UK will be pulling its funding in the project leaving a sizeable portion of the operation costs un accounted for.  While Gemini is open to new partnerships, expect all existing partners to scale their participation up according to the ratios at the moment, to make up the full 100%.  Both the U.S. and Canada seem to be in the position of putting more money into the project.  Gemini is also prepared to work with a skeleton staff and mostly queue observing mode to keep costs down and allow operations to continue uninterrupted.  We'll all be following this closely as the transition period begins to loom.

Laura Chajet had a few announcements.  There will be a two-day Slitless Spectroscopy Workshop organized by the Space Telescope Institute running Nov 15-16.

Dark matter awareness week running 1-8 Dec 2010 will provide each institute the opportunity to give a 45 min talk to their respective journal clubs on the basics of dark matter, and where it stands today.  See here for more details.

There is a workshop on Narrow line Seyfert 1 Galaxies and their place in the universe running 4-6 April 2011 in Italy, check the website for more details.

Stu Dack regailed us with the astronomy news of the week.

thanks to all for participating, we'll see you next wednesday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Brain Teaser: Space Observatory

What was the first astronomical observatory in space?

ANSWER: Ares 1 - launched by the UK via Cape Canaveral in April of 1962. Launched to observe the Sun's UV and X-ray spectrums.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Recap Sept 8: String Theory, Cosmic Spirals, and Chris Hadfield

Another week, another set of astronomy news.  Thanks to all for the great discussion this week.  Here is what we talked about:

Two asteroids have come within the 0.5 lunar distances from Earth.  Luckily they won't be hitting us!

NASA has chosen the proposals made for the new solar probe to be launched by 2018.  Solar Probe Plus will be sent closer to the sun than we have ever been.

String theorists say that they can predict the properties of quantum entanglement using their theory.  Perhaps the first possible way to test string theory.  Look for this experiment in the coming years.

Herschel has found a dying red giant that has water vapor near the surface of the star.   An odd place to find it, but the principal investigator thinks they know why.

Chris Hadfield has been named the ISS commander for Expedition 35 in 2012.  He'll go up on a Soyuz before taking over.

A cosmic spiral that is not a galaxy.  Yes, take a look at THIS image.  Hubble GOTCHU.

thanks again to everyone for coming, NOTE:  next week's meeting is cancelled.   See you all in two weeks!


0.2, 0.6, 1.0, 1.9, ..... , 29.4, 84.3, 164.8

what number is missing?

ANSWER: 11.9 ... the sequence is the orbital period in Earth years from Mercury to Neptune

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recap Sept. 1: Kepler,Massive Magnetars, and Exoplanet Spectrum

Another week, another journal club.  Here is a list of the news topics covered by Jesse Rogerson:

A cool time lapse video of all the asteroids we've discovered since 1980 has been put together, scary how many things are out there!

Check out this video of Titan occulting a binary star system.  Using the data, the researchers were able to determine Titan has high velocity high altitude clouds!

India/Russia plan to send a second Chandrayaan to the moon, here are the specs of the instruments to be onboard the rover and orbiter.

The new Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer that will be going up on the last shuttle mission has arrive at cape canaveral!

A weird crater on mars has scientists stumped.  Check it out and see what you think.  How could a crater of this shape be made?

Kepler astounds us once again by finding a star with a possible 3 planets orbiting it.  All found through the transit method.  Interesting enough, one planet is moving inward, and one is moving outward at non-negligible amounts!  Check out the article.

KeckII has taken a spectrum of an exosolar planet!  Wow, that's pretty awesome.  Check out the press release here to find out the temperature on a world outside our solar system.

How do you form powerful radio galaxies?  Gemini has a press release blaming galaxy-galaxy interactions.

The VLT has found evidence of a Magnetar who's progenitor star topped the scales at 40 solar masses (or more).  How is it not a black hole?

To cap things off, enjoy this time lapse video of earth from space.  

thanks everyone, see you next week!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Strange Stars and the ISS: Recap Aug 11

hey everyone!

here's a list of the talking points from the august 11th meeting

The perseids ramped up august 12th and 13th to their peek.  hopefully you caught them, you could watch the action here.

We know of neutron stars, but what about quark stars?  Theoretically there is a sweet spot of mass will push a star into a configuration where the neutrons dissemble into an up, down, and strange quark.

The future ESA/NASA joint mission to mars has chosen its instruments, check out the list here.

Chandra has taken some new images of the Antennae collision galaxy and mixed it up with some spitzer and hubble data.  Interact here!

When the ISS funding is cut short in 2020 what will happen to it?  There have been a few ideas put forth at the ExploreNOW workshop in DC.

The infamous bucky ball, or Carbon-60 molecule has now been directly observed around a white dwarf. Check out the NASA article.

The WISE space station is on its last legs.  The coolant is running out, and most likely will kill the observing capabilities within the next 6 months.

The ISS coolant system broke down sparking a few new EVAs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Decadal Survey 2010

Here are links to last week's Decadal Survey 2010 report in the US:

PDF of report

AAS information, including slideshow

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Aurora, Tweeting Robots, and losing Spirit

Thanks to all for coming to this week's AJC meeting!

Random Astronomy Fact of the Week:  CCDs have been the corner stone of modern astronomy, ever wonder what the FIRST astronomical object was to be imaged by a CCD?  the answer: the moon.  In 1974 Fairchild Imaging used a 20cm telescope and its recently developed 100x100 pix CCD to image the moon.  

The Near-Infrared Coronograph and Imager (NICI) on Gemini South has been busy!  It's found a brown dwarf orbiting a sun-type star, determined ages of stars in other galaxies, and found companions to other stars.

The sun is waking up!  4 individual Coronal Mass Ejections happened whithin the last week, prompting some good aurora forecasts.  check out some cool SDO footage of the events here.

Don't lose spirit yet!  The mars rover Spirit has been permanently trapped in sand for the better part of a year now, and was unable to properly position itself for the martian winter.  Prepare for the worst as NASA pings it over the next couple months.

Staying on mars,  a REALLY interesting crater has been imaged, showing what looks like a double impact.  Check out the image, determine for yourself!

UofT has hired a new director for its Dunlap Institute.  Welcome to Canada James Graham!  Graham has been involved in the discovery of Formalhaut B, an exoplanet.  Also is one of the people behind the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

Lopsided Comsic Rays in the allsky image from IceCube, the antarctic neutrino obsevatory.

Robonaut2, or R2 to his friends now has a twitter feed!  Wanna ask him a question?  go for it, it should answer eventually.  I'm still waiting for my response.

that's all for this week, see you at the next meeting!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recap: 28 July 2010

This week the news stories were brought by Jesse Rogerson. Be sure to check out all the links this time there were a few really cool videos!

Top of the list is the recent media surge on the kepler data. The local media reported a 'leak' of new kepler data, based on a TED talk by Dimitar Sasselov. In the talk Dimitar discussed that we have many good candidates for earth-size planets. Good work Kepler!

Asteroid 1999 RQ36 might have a close encounter with earth in 2182, and there's a roughly 1 in 1000 chance it could hit us. While that probably isn't true, near-earth objects and flybys provide a good opportunity for sample return missions. Check the universetoday article.

The H-R diagram OF Astronomers. (keyword here is 'of' know you want to click that)

Check out this video of Curiosity Mars Rover taking its first test drive.

The Mars Odyssey spacecraft has dropped into safe-mode due to a glitch in the electronic encoder. Back to full operations soon.

Saturn's moon Prometheus has been wreaking havoc on the F ring of the planet. Check out this article and video of trails being left behind.

Having a little fun at the expense of 'moon hoax enthusiasts.' Why the moon landings weren't faked.

The second reading of the bill 'put AJC on hiatus' occurred and the democratic decision from last week was overruled by another democratic decision. AJC will continue to operate throughout the month of august! see you all next week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recap: 21 July 2010

This weeks news stories came from Jesse Rogerson.

NASA's WISE spacecraft has released its first all-sky image in the mid-infrared. Data to be crunched in the coming months. Also took a great shot of the Pleiades.

The next mars rover, Curiosity, will provide us with a 2 min long high-definition video of its decent through the martian atmosphere. It will also use a 'Sky-Crane' to get to the surface. Read up on the details here.

Like Space Elevators? well, one from Earth might be far fetched at the moment, but it MAY be possible to build one from the surface of the Moon with current technology.

The brightest Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) ever has been observed by the SWIFT satellite. It beats the last record holder by a factor of 5, and is located 5 BILLION light years away. This was a monster.

Speaking of records, a star in 30 Doradus (Tarantula Nebula in LMC) has been measured to have a mass of 265 solar masses. If it's correct, that's one heck of a mass.

Finally, the battle for NASA's future plans continues. The Senate has made some tweaks to Obama's plan, focusing more on a new heavy-lift rocket, and less on private industry initiatives. Check out the major changes here.

That ends another week. Next week will be the last meeting of the summer. We'll pick back up again in September.

Recap: 14 July 2010

Rob Berthiaum was kind enough to bring is this weeks astronomy related news.

On its way out to randevous with a comet, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft flew by a rather large asteroid dubbed 'Lutetia.' Check out the images!

Radio astronomers will have more competition in their bandwidth due to increase usage by cell phones.

The National Research Council says NASA is spending too much money. Read up here.

Middle school students across America have the chance to get their own experiment aboard the ISS, as part of a NASA outreach and education program.

NASA and Microsoft team up to create a high resolution 3D map of the martian surface. A really fun tool to play with. Sort of like Google Mars.

Curiosity, the next martian rover, is moving along in its testing. Recently it began moving its wheels! Scheduled touch down sometime in 2012. Check out three generations of mars rovers.

Another case of science fiction becomes science fact: JAXA's solar sail has been deployed and has officially caught wind of the Sun, accelerating itself very slowly. I suppose tacking on this thing might be somewhat more difficult.

From Rob: 'Supernovae may not make the heaviest atoms. But they probably do.'

The Transit Timing Variation (an indirect, indirect way of detecting exo-planets) method has found its first exoplanet!

Last but not least, the solar eclipse of July 11, 2010 was perhaps one of the least viewed ever, due to its horrible path on Earth, but many good images were taken. here's a taste.

thanks rob!

see ya all next week!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Recap: 7 July 2010

This weeks news stories came to you from Jesse Rogerson, here is a list:

the 'Where in the universe' contest hosted by universetoday had a image of Pingualuit Crater.

The Gemini observatory seems to have observed a white dwarf shortly after swallowing a Ceres sized object, check out the press release here.

A mysterious ring of gas in the Leo group has been explained thanks to CFHT.

The CMB observing plank telescope has released an AMAZING all sky image.

SDSS helps cosmologists constrain the mass of the neutrino.

Hayabusa has 12 grains of dust 0.01 mm is size. Something is better than nothing people.

June Round Up

The month of June has been a little slow getting to the blog, so I've condensed it into one post for your reading pleasure.

On June 16th 2010, Prof. Michael DeRobertis lead us through the workshop he went to in Ottawa titled "A Workshop on the Governance of National Astronomical Facilities." The workshop was Canada-centric, discussing what the future looks like for Canadian astronomy. The report PDF will be sent around to everyone, if you're interested in looking at it.

On June 30th, Stu Dack brought us some of the past week's astronomy news stories.
Climate change may be increasing the amount of space junk we have hanging around our planet. Go to the story here to find out how!

NASA has listed the top ten cool things that LRO did in its first year.

Was venus a habitable planet at some point. Check out this article from ESA.

Brown University adds to the ever increasing evidence of liquid water on mars in the past.

The GoogleX prize is still up for grabs, but who's in contention?

Check out this wicked cool Earth gravity map.

Hayabusa has much to tell us, hopefully we'll talk to it soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recap: Jun 9th

Another week of interesting discussion, here is a list of the talking points:

A study on retrograde blackholes show that these backwards spinning blackholes seem to have much more energetic jets.

Another Jupiter impact! Comes almost exactly one year since the last impact of Jupiter, both observed by the same amateur astronomer.

The NASA rover Spirit has found very high concentrations of carbonates in its area, indicating a very wet and relatively neutral environment.

A recent story about life on Titan has been more thoroughly explained, read it all here. But let's be clear, there is NO life on Titan.

More on titan, the largest methan/ethane lake is roughly 4 times the size of lake superior.

An old russian lunar rover has been found again, will spark new laser/orbit research.

SpaceX had a successful launch of its Falcon9 into orbit of approx the height of the ISS! good news for private space industry.

A mars crew is embarking on a grounded 520-day mock-mission to mars. Check it out

see you all next week!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 2 Recap

Another succesful summer addition of the astronomy journal club. Jesse Rogerson hosted, here are a list of the various talking points.

First off, if you've ever been interested in seeing a full video of the inside of the ISS, check out this youtube video.

Marshall also provided video of one entire night time-lapse video of the sky above the volcano Cotopaxi, it's quite impressive.

During the years of the moon landings, President Nixon provided each of the 50 states with a commerative chunk of moon rock (approx the size of a golf ball) attached to a plaque. Unfortunately the governors of the states at the time seem to have found these trinkets unimportant as many of them have been lost. Just recently, Colorado both lost and found there little piece of moon history. Check out the story here.

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has seen first light! Jupiter never looked so good in IR.

With NASA seemingly out of the race, other countries seem to be stepping up to aim for the moon. JAXA has a plan to have a moon base operational 2020...for robots.

A small chunk of space something went whizzing by Earth recently, although it seems to be manmade.

Herchel has released an image probing to z~5. This galaxy-studded image is impressive to say the least.

The blackhole at the centre of M87 seems to be slightly off-centre (to the tune of 0.1"). A number of reasons have been hypothesized for this difference, though we're not sure why.

Andromeda's black hole seems to be accreting as we speak, over the past 10 years adromeda has brightened over 100 times.

Gemini has observed one of the most massive galaxies in the local universe!

Ever wondered why the martian polar ice caps look the way they do? have no fear, katabatic winds are the reason!

Thanks for coming everyone, see you next week!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26 Recap

Laura Chajet was kind enough to take us through the latest astronomy news. Here are a list of some of the articles we talked about.

CITA celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, a number of talks were recounted. Check out the latest Millenium II simulation here and the Aquarius Project here. Also, check out the Canadian Cluster Comparison Project here.

An overluminous supernovae that possibly tips the scales of the Chandrasekhar limit was observed, see the Physics Today article here.

Could galaxy mergers be the reason for type 1 and type 2 quasars? Obscuration is studied in mergers in this article in science.

Unique supernovae require careful consideration as described in this nature article.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19 Recap

Paul Delaney regaled us with this weeks astronomy news, and was also the recipient of the Sandford Fleming Medal of the Royal Canadian Institute. He was awarded this for his outstanding contribution to the public understanding of science. Here is a list of talking points of this weeks meeting:

Voyager 2 has been diagnosed! click here to see the prognosis.

Cassini continues its studies of Saturn and its satellites. Specifically Enceladus and Titan, see the latest results.

Astronomers think they have solved the missing baryon problem, it's all tied up in hot gas located in between galaxies in the Sculptor wall. Check out the article.

Jupiter surprised us all recently when its southern equatorial band suddenly disappeared. We'll keep a watchful eye in the next couple months.

Japan is launching a Venus orbiter and something that comes right out science fiction!

A in depth analysis of SOHO's data over the last 13 years has shown the sun to be roughly static in size.

The space station is currently getting one of its last upgrades before the shuttles stop running. check out the article here.

Finally, BBC reports a US-based might have found clues as to why there is the lopsided matter-antimatter ratio.

Enjoy the reading. See you all next week!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 10 Recap

Thanks everyone for the stimulating conversation. Here is a list of the talking points covered at this past meeting.

In a press release from the Max-Planck Institute, astronomers have spectroscopically confirmed the highest redshift galaxy cluster at z=1.62. Click here for the press release and here for the arXiv manuscript.

The Large Magellanic Cloud has provided astronomers with the first direct observation of a runaway star. Kicked out of its stellar nursery, the star has traveled roughly 120pc. Here is the universe today, which has links to the published article.

A candidate for the 'recoiling blackhole' theory has been discovered using a combination of X-ray and optical observations. Find the article here.

NASA's Voyager 2 (out at 13 billion km from earth) has run into some technical glitches with its science data. Let's stay vigilant.

ESA's Herchel Infrared Space Telescope has begun officially releasing data, find many new press releases here.

See you all at the next meeting!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5 Recap

Kicking off the summer term for the astro journal club, we talked about everything from NASA robots to planetary migration theory. Jesse Rogerson hosted, below is a list of talking points.

Challenge your brain with the universe today puzzle, check out the question and the answer here.

NASA intends to launch a 'humanoid robot' to the ISS to help out with the mundane tasks. Dubbed 'R2,' read the press release here.

The Keck Observatory recently observed the light echoes of the supernova remnant of Cassiopeia A, producing a 3 dimensional view of the, now confirmed, lopsided supernova. Read about it here.

ESO has decided the location for the E-ELT. The mountain Cerro Armazones in the Atacama desert will one day house the largest optical telescope on Earth.

Turning planetary formation models on their heads was the Gemini Observatory with its observations of a brown dwarf/planetary-mass binary.

Asteroids between Mars and Jupiter have been shown to have icy surfaces, and potential ice reservoirs below the surface. Read the nature article here.

Finally, observations of exoplanets from WASP show there is planets out there that are in retrograde motion around their parent stars, lending credence to some new planetary migration theories. Read the Science Daily article here.

That's it for this week!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mar 31 Recap

It was the last meeting of this term. Prof. Marshall McCall was our host. He mainly discussed about the left-handed chiralities of the amino acids and some attempted explanations. One possible solution was mentioned in Nature's 'News and Views' here (the actually link to the Nature paper is broken). Another more recent explanation involved a supernova explosion, a magnetic field and molecular clouds. The paper can be found here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mar 24 Recap

This week's meeting was hosted by Laura Chajet. Some topics we talked about were:

1. Astronomers use APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment) telescope have been able to study the size and brightness of regions of star-birth in a very distant (z~2.3) galaxy via a cosmic "gravitational lens". Read the news release at ESO here, and the Nature paper here.

2. "Imaging the surface of massive stars", Andrea Chiavassa leads a group of internatinal astronomers study the surface of red supergiants using both 3-D simulation and interferometric observations with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer. Read more here.

3. The Corot satellite found a gas giant planet that may resembles the interior of Jupiter and Saturn. Is is the first transiting planets to have both a longer period and a near-circular orbit. Its temperature is between 250K and 430K. Read the ESA news here, or read the Nature letter here.

4. "Dust-free quasars in the early Universe", two hot-dust-free quasars (at z~6) are believed to be first generate quasars born in dust-free environments and are too young to have formed a detectable amount of hot dust around them. Read the Nature letter here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mar10 Recap

This week's journal club is hosted by Jesse Rogerson. Some topics were:

1. "Spirits' Journey to the Center of Mars", read the news about Mars rover Spirit, on NASA here.

2. New results show that the channels on Mars might be formed from lava flow instead of the water flow. Read more here.

3. 2010 Hubble Fellows Symposium. Watch fascinating presentations through Webcast here.

4. "Globe at Night" is on going from Mar 3rd to 16th. An annual 2-week campaign to help address the light pollution issue locally and globally. Read how you can participate here.

5. You can rent a telescope through the web. In March issue of Sky & Telescope Andy Macica told you how well it works.

6. "Keck telescope confirms smallest known star duo". HM Cancri, a binary system consists two white dwarfs,  their rotation period around each other has been confirmed as 5.4 minutes. Read the news here.

7. "Underground detector yields tantalizing hint of dark matter", an article in Physics Today February issue talks about the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search and their two "tantalizing but inconclusive" findings. Read the article here.

8. Iapetus, one of Saturn's moons, has extreme albedo. One of the explanation, given as early as 1974, that  Iapetus is a very dusty ice ball is supported by Cassini's visible and IR data. Read the article here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mar 3 Recap

This meeting was hosted by Dr. Chris Ryan. Some highlights were:

1. Chilean quake may have shortened Earth days. Read the NASA news here.

2. NASA still cannot get contact with Phoenix on Mars. Read the article here.

3. NASA Mini-Sar experiment on board India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar spacecraft has identified thick deposits of water-ice near the Moon's north pole. Read the news here.

4. "Zooniverse" newest attraction, "Solar Storm Watch". Spot and track solar storms online using real data from NASA's STEREO spacecraft. Try your hand here.

5. Nature invited seven astronomers gave ranks to future missions during a dinner. Read what and why they think are important here.

6. Exoplanet, WASP-12b, is being swallowed by its Sun. Read the story here or the Nature letter here.

7. A group of Argentina astronomers show evidence that contrary to the general belief, more than half of the cosmic rays are not from AGNs at all. Read the news at Nature or their journal paper here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb 24 Recap

Some topics we talked about:

1. Astronomers found Type Ia SNe born differently in some elliptical galaxies than we originally thought. Read the Nature paper here.

2. Four dwarf galaxies relatively nearby (few hundred million light-years away), are in the process of merging, which usually happened billions of light-years away. Read the story here.

3. By studying the age and chemical properties of globular star clusters in our galaxy, astronomers believe at least a quart of star clusters are invaders from other galaxies. Read the story here.

4. Primitive stars have been found outside Milky Way galaxy. Read the news release here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb 10 Recap

This week's journal club was hosted by Michael Bietenholz. Some highlights were:

1. A numerical simulation shows that, even a galaxy like ours should host hundreds of intelligent civilizations, the civilizations like us are likely exist one at a time. Read the article here. If you like to know about the Rare Earth hypothesis mentioned in the article read the paper here.

2. "Seven-Year WMAP Results: No, They're NOT Anomalies", read the article here, or try your hand to find interesting patterns in WMAP here.

3. Radio astronomers have found a supernova explosion with properties similar to a gamma-ray burst, but without seeing any gamma rays from it. Read the press release here.

4. Astronomers in the Netherlands catch supernova, observe relativistic expansion. Read Nature paper here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feb 3 Recap

This week's journal club was hosted by Prof. Paul Delaney. Some of the topics we discussed were:

1. This week NASA announced their new budget plan. News stories about Constellation has been cancelled, and NASA gave the human spaceflight to 5 commercial companies. Read the details of NASA budget at its homepage.

2. Hubble Space Telescope caught a head-on collision between two asteroids. Read the news here.

3. "What else is out there?" appears in the March edition of Sky & Telescope, discussed about whether earth-size objects exist in the Kuiper Belt, and the detection of interstellar comets.

4. Study of W33A, a Massive Young Stellar Object (MYSO), shows that massive stars form in much the same way as in smaller stars. But planets is less likely to be formed  around massive stars. Read the story here.

5. A stellar-mass black hole is found in a binary system in NGC300. It is the second most massive (15 solar masses), and the most far-away (outside the Local Group) stellar-mass black hole ever found. Its company is a Wolf-Rayet star. Read the story here.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jan 27 Recap

This week's journal club was led by Prof. Pat Hall. Some highlights are

1. Gamma-ray telescopes show origins of cosmic rays. Fermi's first year observation shows evidence of the connection between SNe remnants and the acceleration of CR hadrons. Read the article here.

2. HARPS search for extra-solar planets around dwarf star GJ876, the radial velocity measurements indicate an Earth-mass size planet or smaller. Read the paper here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jan 20 Recap

This week's journal club was host by Michael De Robertis. Some highlights are following:

1. IYA 2009 officially came to a close on Jan 9th and 10th in Padua, Italy. Read the event here.

2. Pulsar watchers race for gravity waves. Radio telescopes use pulsars looking for massive cosmic collisions. Read the article here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recap: Jan 13, 2010

The first astronomy journal club of this year was hosted by Alireza Rafiee. Some highlights are following:

1. A complex form of mathematical symmetry (E8) linked to string theory has been spot first time in laboratory experiments on exotic crystals. Read more here.

2. Kepler mission news: five new planets have been identified just using the first six week's science data. Read it here. Want to know the science of Kepler mission visit here.