Tag Archives: mauna kea

Stunning images of Andromeda demonstrate the world’s most powerful astronomical camera

Stunning images of the Andromeda Galaxy are among the first to emerge from a new wide-field camera installed on the enormous Subaru Telescope atop the Hawaiian mountain Mauna Kea. The camera, called the Hyper-Suprime Cam (HSC), is the result of an international collaboration between Princeton University astrophysicists and Japanese and Taiwanese scientists.

With this new camera, researchers will be able to conduct a “cosmic census” of hundreds of millions of galaxies in a wide swath of sky in sufficient depth to probe mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy, while searching for baby galaxies in the early universe. The images of the Andromeda Galaxy demonstrate the new camera’s ability to capture images for a large-scale survey that will help scientists understand the evolutionary history and fate of the expanding universe. The camera’s enormous field of view allowed the entire Andromeda Galaxy, which is some 60,000 light years across, to be captured in a single shot. (more…)

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Armchair Astronomers Find Planet in Four-Star System

A joint effort of citizen scientists and professional astronomers has led to the first reported case of a planet orbiting twin suns that in turn is orbited by a second distant pair of stars.

Aided by volunteers using the Planethunters.org website, a Yale-led international team of astronomers identified and confirmed discovery of the phenomenon, called a circumbinary planet in a four-star system.

Only six planets are known to orbit two stars, according to researchers, and none of these are orbited by distant stellar companions. (more…)

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UCLA Astronomers Discover Star Racing Around Black Hole at Center of Our Galaxy

Discovery crucial to revealing fabric of space and time around black hole

UCLA astronomers report the discovery of a remarkable star that orbits the enormous black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy in a blistering 11-and-a-half years — the shortest known orbit of any star near this black hole.

The star, known as S0-102, may help astronomers discover whether Albert Einstein was right in his fundamental prediction of how black holes warp space and time, said research co-author Andrea Ghez, leader of the discovery team and a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy who holds the Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Chair in Astrophysics.

The research is published Oct. 5 in the journal Science. (more…)

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Meet a Face Behind the MIRI

This summer welcomed the delivery of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first flight instrument, the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). The instrument will peer out into the farthest depths of the cosmos and capture light showcasing star and galaxy formation.

MIRI’s design, assembly and journey were made possible because of a collaboration between a European consortium of institutes that developed the instrument in a partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., working with the European Space Agency, University of Arizona and NASA. (more…)

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New Findings of Endangered Birds at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Give Hope to Recovery Efforts

HAWAI’I ISLAND, Hawai‘’— Three of Hawai’i Island’s rarest endangered forest birds have been detected at lower elevations of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in 30 years.

The rediscovery of the three endangered species at lower elevations than expected was part of a joint U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey project on the potential impact of climate change on avian disease. All three species are believed to be highly susceptible to mosquito-transmitted diseases, limiting their distribution to the cooler, higher elevations of the refuge. These new observations significantly extend the current known range of these species at the refuge. (more…)

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‘Time Machine’ Will Study the Early Universe

UCLA’s Ian McLean, colleagues build most advanced instrument of its kind

A new scientific instrument, a “time machine” of sorts, built by UCLA astronomers and colleagues, will allow scientists to study the earliest galaxies in the universe, which could never be studied before.

The five-ton instrument, the most advanced and sophisticated of its kind in the world, goes by the name MOSFIRE (Multi-Object Spectrometer for Infra-Red Exploration) and has been installed in the Keck I Telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. (more…)

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Scientists Prepare to Take First-Ever Picture of a Black Hole

*The Event Horizon Telescope is an Earth-sized virtual telescope powerful enough to see all the way to the center of our Milky Way, where a supermassive black hole will allow astrophysicists to put Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to the test.*

Astronomers, physicists and scientists from related fields across the world will convene in Tucson, Ariz. on Jan. 18 to discuss an endeavor that only a few years ago would have been regarded as nothing less than outrageous.

The conference is organized by Dimitrios Psaltis, an associate professor of astrophysics at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, and Dan Marrone, an assistant professor of astronomy at Steward Observatory. (more…)

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NASA’s Kepler Mission Finds Three Smallest Exoplanets

PASADENA, Calif. – Astronomers using data from NASA’s Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars.

All three planets are thought to be rocky like Earth but orbit close to their star, making them too hot to be in the habitable zone, which is the region where liquid water could exist. Of the more than 700 planets confirmed to orbit other stars, called exoplanets, only a handful are known to be rocky. (more…)

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