This week, the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) meeting is taking place at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, California. What exactly is HEAD? It is one of the five divisions of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), which is the biggest organization of astronomers in the US (lots of scientists from other countries are members as well.) The AAS has meetings twice a year - in January and then some time in May or June - and then the divisions like HEAD (http://www.aas.org/head) also have their own separate meetings.
Dr. Carles Badenes is a Chandra postdoctoral fellow at Princeton, having spent the previous few years at Rutgers University. His main research focus is on supernova explosions and supernova remnants, particularly the class known as Type Ia.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory is now in its ninth year in orbit around the Earth, and things are sometimes lonely out there. So we've been helping Chandra to use the web to reach out to others who like to network online. Here are a few ways to get in touch with Chandra.
Just as astronomers were getting used to the idea of not knowing what dark matter is, they got a completely different surprise at the end of the 20th century. Instead of slowing down after the Big Bang, the expansion of the Universe was found to be accelerating. Astronomers quickly did what they always do when they come up with something mysterious: they gave it a name. Now, we call whatever it is pushing the Universe apart "dark energy", but the truth is no one knows what it is.
When you look up at the night sky, you see a lot of things glowing like stars, planets, and galaxies. So it might sound strange to hear that most of the Universe is actually dark. The truth is the protons, neutrons and electrons that make up everything we can see - and that means with every telescopes we've got -- accounts for only about 4% of the mass and energy of the Universe. The rest is dark and mysterious. More specifically, about 70% of the Universe is what is known as dark energy; about 26% is so-called dark matter.
Hello! Hopefully by now you'll have read a little about 3C 321, aka the "Death Star Galaxy" from last weekâ€™s blog entry, which was a transcribed from a presentation I gave a few months ago. I wanted to take this opportunity to give you the insider's view on how we came to discover this amazing system, the point when we knew we had a pretty major result on our hands, and the media frenzy that ensued.
* The Discovery
Dr. Dan Evans from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, shares some information on 3c321, as of December 2007 now known as the Death Star Galaxy. Dan Evans has never seen Star Wars, so who came up with the nickname? Read on.
The press and image releases from the Chandra X-ray Center cover only a small fraction of the science results produced by Chandra each year. Some results are clearly not good candidates for publicity because they're obviously incremental - I've written papers like that myself. Or they can be highly esoteric, addressing questions that only the authors knew enough about the subject to ask!
The detectors we use on Chandra are different from detectors on optical telescopes. Most of the Chandra images are taken with what's known as a Charged Coupled Device (CCD). The CCD is the type of detector that's in the camera in your cell phone, or in your digital camera.
Last week, the American Astronomical Society held its bi-annual meeting in Austin, TX. (The AAS, as it's known, always has a winter meeting in early January and then a spring meeting around Memorial Day.) The AAS meetings are important because the AAS is the largest professional group of astronomers in the US and so they often bring some of their most exciting results to share.
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