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.