Thursday, January 23, 2014

John Dobson, evangelist for amateur astronomy, dies at 98




John Dobson, a former Hindu monk and a self-taught stargazer who developed a powerful, inexpensive telescope that almost anyone could build and became one of amateur astronomy's most influential evangelists, died Jan. 15 at a hospital in Burbank, Calif. He was 98.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ALMA Discovers Giant Protoplanetary Disk around HD 142527






Validating the Planetary Formation Model


ALMA Discovers Giant Protoplanetary Disk around HD 142527 Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, Japanese astronomers have spotted strong evidence of a massive planet-forming disk around a young star known as HD 142527. HD 142527 lies in the constellation Lupus at a distance of about 457 light-years from Earth. The astronomers have used ALMA to detect the submillimeter emission from the emission from the dust ring around this baby star. The emission has a non-uniform distribution and the northern side is 30 times brighter than the faint southern side, according to the team.
Recent near-infrared observations with the NAOJ Subaru Telescope revealed that protoplanetary disks have structures that are far more complex than astronomers expected. Spiral or gap structures are thought to be associated with hidden planets in the disk.
However, it is impossible to measure the amount of dust and gas in the densest part of the disk by near-infrared observations. Since near-infrared light is easily absorbed or scattered by a large amount of dust, it isn’t suitable for observing the innermost part of the dense region of the disk. Then, the key to the solution will be millimeter and submillimeter wave.
The new image of HD 142527, which was taken with ALMA, shows that cosmic dust is circling around the star in a form of asymmetric ring.
By measuring the density of dust in the densest part of the ring, the astronomers found that it is highly possible that Jupiter-like giant gaseous exoplanets or Earth-like rocky planets are now being formed in that region. This region is far from the central star, about 5 times larger than the distance between the Sun and the Neptune.
“We are very surprised at the brightness of the northern side,” said Dr Misato Fukagawa of Osaka University, who is the lead author of the paper appearing in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (full paper in .pdf / arXiv.org version).
“The brightest part in submillimeter wave is located far from the central star, and the distance is comparable to five times the distance between the Sun and the Neptune. I have never seen such a bright knot in such a distant position.”
[...]




Sunday, January 19, 2014

Phys.org : Distant quasar illuminates a filament of the cosmic web



Distant quasar illuminates a filament of the cosmic web 
 
http://phys.org/news/2014-01-distant-quasar-illuminates-filament-cosmic.html

  Work done using the 10-meter W.M. Keck telescope in Hawaii
Using the 10-meter Keck I Telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the researchers detected a very large, luminous nebula of extending about 2 million light-years across intergalactic space.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-distant-quasar-illuminates-filament-cosmic.html#jCp
Using the 10-meter Keck I Telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the researchers detected a very large, luminous nebula of extending about 2 million light-years across intergalactic space.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-distant-quasar-illuminates-filament-cosmic.html#jCp

http://media.web.britannica.com/eb-media/54/94854-004-F7B167C4.jpg

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Pulsar in stellar triple system makes unique gravitational laboratory

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have discovered a unique stellar system of two white dwarf stars and a superdense neutron star, all packed within a space smaller than Earth's orbit around the Sun. The closeness of the stars, combined with their nature, has allowed the scientists to make the best measurements yet of the complex gravitational interactions in such a system.

For more info, look here

Thursday, January 02, 2014

"He didn't think of himself as a genius.  He thought of himself as incredibly persistent"  -- Susan Cray-Borman on her father, Seymour Cray


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

 

Narlikar pitches for astronomy in school education



PUNE, India: Make astronomy part of school education and include it in the science curriculum, eminent astro- physicist Jayant Narlikar said on Sunday.

He was speaking at the25th foundation day lecture of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) on 'Building scientific institutions: The IUCAA story.'
He said, "In order to spread the astronomy culture in the country, astronomy content must be included in schools in an effective way. Today, astronomy as a topic is covered in geography. Ideally, it should be a part of science and in a more elaborate manner."

We agree and submit our vSpace web application as one tool to aid in accomplishing this task.

For more on this story follow the link: 
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-30/pune/45708797_1_astronomy-iucaa-inter-university-centre

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