2. Astronomer's Tools

2021-07-16. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/07/hubble-back-famed-space-telescope-has-new-lease-life-after-computer-swap-appears-fix] - ‘Hubble is back!’ Famed space telescope has new lease on life after computer swap appears to fix glitch. Source: By Daniel Clery. Excerpt: The iconic but elderly Hubble Space Telescope appears to have been resurrected again after a shutdown of more than a month following a computer glitch. Science has learned that following a switch from the operating payload control computer to a backup device over the past 24 hours, Hubble’s operators have re-established communications with all the telescope’s instruments and plan to return them to normal operations today.... 

2020-06-19. This is what our universe looks like to x-ray eyes. By Daniel Clery, Science Magazine. Excerpt: A telescope designed to study the universe’s mysterious dark energy released its first all-sky image today (pictured), showing what we would see if we had x-ray eyes. After half a year of observing, the scope—known as eROSITA (extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array)—has already logged more than 1 million objects that shine in the x-ray spectrum, including black holes gobbling matter, compact burned-out stars like white dwarfs and neutron stars, and gas between stars so hot that it gives off an x-ray glow. The eROSITA team says this first image identifies twice as many x-ray sources as have previously been detected in 60 years of x-ray astronomy, and stretches four times farther out than the previous x-ray survey 3 decades ago. Most of the dots in the image—and eROSITA’s primary targets—are supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies gorging on gas that, in the process, gets so hot that its glow can be seen across the universe.... [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/what-our-universe-looks-x-ray-eyes


2020-04-24. Hubble Marks 30 Years of Seeing a Universe Being Born and Dying. By Dennis Overbye, The New York Times. Excerpt: As shown in a new picture of stormy star birth in a nearby galaxy, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, the cosmos is keeping up the tradition of both birth and death. Stars are being born out of the ashes of old ones, forever refreshing the universe. The picture was released Friday by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, keepers of the Hubble, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the launch of that telescope on April 24, 1990.... [https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/science/hubble-telescope-30th-birthday.html]  


2020-03-06. No Cell Signal, No Wi-Fi, No Problem. Growing Up Inside America’s ‘Quiet Zone’. By Dan Levin, The New York Times; Photographs by Annie Flanagan. Excerpt: GREEN BANK, W.Va. ...when a Facebook fad had people all over the globe dumping ice water on their heads a few summers ago, Charity Warder, now a senior at Pocahontas County High School, was late to the game. Sure, Charity has an iPhone, but she uses it mostly as a clock and a calculator. She makes phone calls from a landline, and she rarely texts her friends. Texting and driving? “It’s not a thing here,” she said. When Charity wants to get online at home, she sits at her family’s desktop computer, which has a broadband connection that is so sluggish, it takes minutes to load a YouTube video. 

...Welcome to Green Bank, population 143, where Wi-Fi is both unavailable and banned and where cellphone signals are nonexistent. The near radio silence is a requirement for those living close to the town’s most prominent and demanding resident, the Green Bank Observatory, home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. To protect the sensitive equipment from interference, the federal government in 1958 established the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area near the state’s border with Virginia.

...The observatory’s telescope “could detect your phone on Saturn in airplane mode,” states a sign outside its science center building, but is rendered much weaker if anyone uses electronics that emit radio waves. For those who live within 10 miles of the observatory, the limitations also include a ban on Bluetooth devices and microwaves, unless they are contained in a metal box, known as a Faraday cage, which blocks electromagnetic fields.... [https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/us/green-bank-west-virginia-quiet-zone.html

2018-08-23. Tiny spacecraft are breaking out of Earth’s orbit. By Eric Hand, Science Magazine.

2017-09-22. Oldest Lunar Calendars. By NASA Solar System Exploration Research.

2009 October 28. Gallery: Images of space transformed by chips. NewScientist. Excerpt: This year's Nobel prize for physics was partly awarded to Willard Boyle and George Smith for inventing the charge-coupled device (CCD), the sensor that acts as the retina of digital cameras. But long before it reached consumers, the technology was used in astronomy. Explore these images to see how CCDs showed us space as never before....

2009 October 7. NASA Telescope Discovers Giant Ring Around Saturn. NY Times. Excerpt: PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered the biggest but never-before-seen ring around the planet Saturn, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced late Tuesday.
The thin array of ice and dust particles lies at the far reaches of the Saturnian system and its orbit is tilted 27 degrees from the planet's main ring plane, the laboratory said.
JPL spokeswoman Whitney Clavin said the ring is very diffuse and doesn't reflect much visible light but the infrared Spitzer telescope was able to detect it.
Although the ring dust is very cold -- minus 316 degrees Fahrenheit -- it shines with thermal radiation.
No one had looked at its location with an infrared instrument until now, Clavin said....

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