The construction of the largest optical telescope ever built has moved
one step closer today, with US$500 million in funding now committed from
international partners. Set to be the world's biggest and most
powerful, the Giant Magellan Telescope
is constructed from seven huge
mirrors that will span a total of 25.4 meters,
bringing in six times more light than any other large telescope. It is
also claimed that the instrument will be able to resolve images up to
ten times more clearly than the space-based Hubble telescope.
If you browse the internet, it's easy to find an image of the International Space Station taken by an amateur astronomer that looks as if it was taken only a mile away. DARPA wants to go several magnitudes better with a telescopic system that can take detailed images of satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The research agency is seeking ideas on how to achieve this from an unorthodox mix of small businesses, academic and research institutions, and first-time government contractors.
After the Big Bang, it took several hundred million years for all the hydrogen and helium and some other gases floating around to start to coalesce into the first stars to light up the universe
. New research shows these ancient suns would have clustered together to form extraordinarily bright groupings of stars.
In astronomy, much like many other other aspects of life, bigger is better. Taking this adage to heart, astronomers at the University of Arizona are helping to build a virtual radio telescope the size of the Earth itself. With a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, the new Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will be used to study in fine detail the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way.
On this day 25 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope
launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in what marked the beginning of an incredible journey, and the start of a new golden age in the exploration of our Universe. In celebration of this auspicious occasion, NASA has released the official image for Hubble's 25th anniversary in low-Earth orbit. The focus of the image is the Westerlund 2 cluster, which contains roughly 3,000 stars in the scope of its glittering expanse.
A team of ESO astronomers working from the La Silla Observatory, Chile, has detected the first direct reflection of light from an exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. The exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b, is what is known as a hot Jupiter, a prevalent form of gas giant that sits much closer to its parent star than our own Jovian neighbor.
Orbital debris is increasingly becoming a hazard to satellites and other spacecraft, which is why various groups have proposed concepts such as gas clouds
for collecting it. While those approaches could capture larger objects, the problem of smaller pieces of debris – which whiz around the Earth like bullets – would remain. That's why an international group of scientists is developing a system that could shoot those bits down with a laser.
April 24 will mark a significant milestone in the life of one of mankind's greatest scientific instruments – the 25-year anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. This bus-sized piece of scientific equipment has become a household name, thanks to the incredible scientific insights and iconic images it has returned over the course of a quarter-century in low-Earth orbit. Join us as we celebrate the history and achievements of NASA's flagship space telescope.
New studies by astronomers are slowly throwing some light on dark matter, the invisible and mysterious stuff that scientists believe makes up much of the universe. For the first time, astronomers believe they've observed the interactions of dark matter via a factor other than the force of gravity.
The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope
has teamed up with the Polish Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE)'s Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile to observe a distant gas giant located some 13,000 light-years away. The discovery will help improve our understanding of the distribution of planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy.