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!