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!

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