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Telescope

Science

Lockheed Martin shrinks the telescope

After 400 years, the original telescope design is getting a major upgrade. Part of a DARPA funded project, Lockheed Martin's Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-optical Reconnaissance (SPIDER) telescope replaces the large primary lenses used in refracting telescopes with an array of tiny ones that allow the instruments to shrink by a factor of 10 to 100.Read More

Space

World's largest connected radio telescope expands into Ireland

Ireland has been chosen as the site for latest expansion of the world's largest connected radio telescope. The Ireland-LOFAR consortium (I-LOFAR) has been awarded grants totaling €1.9 million (US$2 million) to extend the network for the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT), in hope of providing it with a resolution rivaling that of the Hubble Space Telescope.Read More

Space

Astronomers trace the magnetic field of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy

A team of astronomers has successfully detected magnetic fields present around the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. It is thought that these magnetic fields are the driving factor behind a mechanism that sends intense pulses of galaxy sculpting radiation blasting thousands of light-years into space from the event horizon of a spinning black hole.Read More

Space

First images ever taken of a planet being formed, 450 light-years from Earth

Of the many new exoplanets discovered over the past two decades, all have been identified as established, older planets. Some with incredible winds raging across their surfaceand others that may be able to support life because of their position in the habitable zone, but none have been acknowledged as newly-forming protoplanets. Now scientists working at the Keck observatory have spied just such a planet in the constellation of Taurus, some 450 light-years from Earth, that is only just beginning its life, collecting matter and spinning into a brand new world.Read More

Space

First observations made with deep-space water-hunting instrument

A team of astronomers has made the first observations with a cutting-edge water-hunting instrument. The instrument, known as the Swedish–ESO PI receiver for APEX (SEPIA), is not only suited for identifying signatures of water and other molecules in the Milky Way but also in other galaxies, and it may even be capable of detecting ancient water dating back to the early Universe.Read More

Space

ESO's VISTA telescope spies hidden Milky Way component

An international team of astronomers has discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way – a thin disk of variable stars hidden in the galactic bulge. The observations, made using the ESO's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) telescope conflict with current theories regarding the composition of the center of our galaxy.Read More

Space

World's most powerful digital camera gets the go-ahead

A smartphone with a 16-megapixel camera may seem cutting edge, but it won't impress astronomers now that the US Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has given the green light to start construction of the world's largest digital camera. With a resolution of 3.2-gigapixels (enough to need 1,500 high-definition television screens to display one image), the new camera is at the heart of the 8.4-meter (27.5-ft) Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) now under construction atop Cerro Pachón in Chile.Read More

Space

New study tracks the death of our Universe

A new study has measured 200,000 galaxies in an effort to chart the rate at which our Universe is outputting energy, and effectively dying. The study is part of the larger Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, a comprehensive spectroscopic survey seeking to create a model of energy production by the Universe, both in the present day and in times past.Read More

Space

All systems go for construction of world's largest optical telescope

The construction of the largest optical telescope ever built has moved one step closer today, with US$500 million in funding now committed from 11 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.Read More

Space

DARPA wants ideas for imaging distant satellites from Earth

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.Read More

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