Posted: October 18th, 2012 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler Science News, Favorite New Thought, From The Web | Tags: 55 Cancri e, American Astronomical Society, astronomy, Diamonds in the Sky, ESO HARP, European Southern Observatory, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, La Silla Chile, Martian Weather, NASA, PH1, planet hunters, Planetary Science Institute, PSI, Rihanna's Latest Single Diamonds, University of California, Yale University | Comments Off on Our Backyard and Beyond, A Month of Astronomicaly Rich Discoveries
WOW, isn’t really a word, it’s more like a thoughtfilled sound, in this case it’s the one I made looking back over this past month of astronomical discoveries. From a diamond encrusted jewel to a new earth sized planet a stones throw from our own blue planet.
News from skywatchers has boomed out through September and October this year, with clever astronomers and planetary scientists pushing the boundaries of computer climate modelling, forecasting weather, climatic change and glacial movements on Mars that just might have valid predictors for climate change on Earth.
A new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone’s throw away at four light years,and according to scientists, seriously raising the chances of finding a habitable planet in Earth’s neighbourhood. Researchers say the new planet is too close to its sun to support any known forms of life, with a surface temperature estimated at 1,200 degrees Celsius.
Previous studies suggest that when one planet is discovered orbiting a sun, there are usually others in the same system. The new Earth-sized planet, announced in science journal Nature by Stephane Udry and Xavier Dumusque at the Geneva Observatory, orbits one of the suns in Alpha Centauri, only 40 trillion kilometres away, visible to the naked eye – though we’d suggest you wear clothes while backyard stargazing – The planet was discovered using the HARPS instrument on a telescope at the ESO’s – European Southern Observatory – La Silla site in Chile. :: Read the full article »»»»
Posted: February 12th, 2012 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Applied Science, Astronomy, Cankler Science News | Tags: astronomy, Chile, ESO, European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Very Large Telescope, Virtual Telescope, VLT | Comments Off on ESO’s VLT Team Create Worlds Largest Virtual Telescope
ESO – European Southern Observatory – astronomers in Chile have created the world’s largest virtual optical telescope by using a special technique to combine images from the four most powerful devices as if they were one. “This weekend we managed to finish the process (of merging the images) after almost a year,” says Jean-Philippe Berger, a scientist at the European Southern Observatory which operates the Very Large Telescope array – VLT – in Chile’s high northern desert. For the first time, we made scientific observations through this new instrument, and we can say that it can be used.”
The ESO’s VLT complex in Paranal includes four large optical telescopes, each of which are about 30 metres high and have mirrors eight metres in diameter. The astronomers brought together the signals received by the four telescopes thanks to a technique known as interferometry, which combines the images from the four to achieve a higher resolution image. This creates a virtual mirror which is the equivalent of 130 metres in diameter and, according to Berger, improves the resolution and the ability to “zoom” in on the cosmos. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: December 15th, 2011 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler Science News | Tags: Chile, ESO, European Organisation for Astronomical Research, European Southern Observatory, NGC 253, Paranal, The Silver Coin Galaxy, Very Large Survey Telescope, VST | Comments Off on NGC253: Europes New Southern Hemisphere Telescope Captures Silver Coin Galaxy
Europe’s state-of-the-art Very Large Survey Telescope – VST – in Paranal, Chile, has captured some of the most detailed images ever taken of a spiral galaxy. The Silver Coin Galaxy, known to scientists as NGC 253, gleams about 11.5 million light years away in the southern constellation of Sculptor.
One light year is the distance that light travels in 365 Earth days, about 9.46 trillion kilometres or 5.87 trillion miles. NGC 253 is labelled a “starbust” galaxy because it is a stellar nursery where super-hot young stars have ignited, forming what look like bright clumps dotting its spiral.
The radiation streaming from these giant blue-white babies makes the surrounding hydrogen gas clouds glow green in the images captured by the telescope, the European Southern Observatory – ESO – said in a statement. Read the full article »»»»