Tag Archives: Astronomy

Hubble Captures Magnificent Grand Spiral Galaxy Face-On | SciTechDaily

By NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, May 30, 2022

Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 3631, the Grand Design Spiral, located about 53 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Filippenko (University of California – Berkeley), and D. Sand (University of Arizona); Image Processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard/Catholic University of America)

This image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope features the Grand Design Spiral, NGC 3631, located approximately 53 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major.

The “arms” of grand design spirals appear to wind around and into the galaxy’s nucleus.

In contrast to multi-arm and flocculent spirals, which have softer structural elements, a grand design spiral galaxy has obvious and well-defined spiral arms. A grand design galaxy’s spiral arms stretch clearly across the galaxy through many radians and may be seen over a considerable proportion of the galaxy’s radius.

Source: Hubble Captures Magnificent Grand Spiral Galaxy Face-On

Astronomers Gear Up to Grapple with the High-Tension Cosmos – Scientific American

A debate over conflicting measurements of key cosmological properties is set to shape the next decade of astronomy and astrophysics

By Anil Ananthaswamy, April 18, 2022

Atacama Cosmology Telescope at Cerro Toco in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Credit: Giulio Ercolani/Alamy Stock Photo

How fast is the universe expanding? How much does matter clump up in our cosmic neighborhood? Different methods of answering these two questions—either by observing the early cosmos and extrapolating to present times, or by making direct observations of the nearby universe—are yielding consistently different answers.

The simplest explanation for these discrepancies is merely that our measurements are somehow erroneous, but researchers are increasingly entertaining another, more breathtaking possibility: These twin tensions—between expectation and observation, between the early and late universe—may reflect some deep flaw in the standard model of cosmology, which encapsulates our knowledge and assumptions about the universe.

Finding and fixing that flaw, then, could profoundly transform our understanding of the cosmos.

Source: Astronomers Gear Up to Grapple with the High-Tension Cosmos – Scientific American

Largest dark energy map could reveal the fate of the universe | Live Science

This is one big map

By Tom Metcalfe, published 1 day ago

Star trails are seen over the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope on Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. (Image credit: KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Marenfeld)

A modified telescope in Arizona has produced an interim map, which is already the largest three-dimensional map of the universe ever — and the instrument is only about a tenth of the way through its five-year mission.

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), a collaboration between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and scientists around the world, was installed between 2015 and 2019 on the Mayall telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in the Sonoran Desert, about 50 miles (88 kilometers) west of Tucson, and has been conducting a survey for less than a year.

Its purpose is to create an even larger 3D map of the universe, to yield a better understanding of the physics of dark energy, the mysterious force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe.

Source: Largest dark energy map could reveal the fate of the universe | Live Science

Telescopes checked out from the library will let you explore the starry skies | The salt lake tribune

The Salt Lake County Library system has several items available to borrow for free in its Library of Things.

By Kolbie Peterson  | July 24, 2021, 5:00 a.m.

Zach Schierl | National Park Service) In 2017, the night sky is filled with thousands of stars, as seen from Utah’s Cedar Breaks National Monument, an officially designated dark sky park. Telescopes are available to check out from the Salt Lake County Library system for free.

Stars may be very, very far from Earth, but obtaining a telescope to get a good look at them only takes a trip to your local public library — and a library card.

And with the Delta Aquariids hitting their meteor-viewing peak later this week, it’s a perfect time to go stargazing here in Utah.

The Salt Lake County Library system has 48 telescopes available for adult patrons to check out. These sturdy, beginner-friendly models are part of the county library’s growing collection of equipment called the Library of Things, which also includes internet hot spots, Chromebooks, tablets and a variety of other items, all free to borrow.

Spearheaded by Joan Carman with the Salt Lake Astronomical Society, the library system’s telescope program provides access to an instrument that usually costs at least $100 and up to $1,000 or more.

Source: Telescopes checked out from the library will let you explore the starry skies

Perseid meteor shower 2021 on now: How to watch the celestial fireworks | CNET

“The best meteor shower of the year” is just getting warmed up as the Perseids build toward a mid-August peak.

By Amanda Kooser, July 14, 2021 8:53 a.m. PT

A Perseid meteor crosses the sky in 2016. NASA/Bill Ingalls

One of the best shows in the solar system is kicking into gear as the annual Perseid meteor shower lights up the night sky for 2021.

We can thank large comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle for the little pieces of space debris that hit Earth’s atmosphere and turn into the distinctive “shooting stars” of the meteor shower.

According to NASA, the Perseids will be active from July 14 through Aug. 24 with the peak coming in mid-August. The space agency says it’s “considered the best meteor shower of the year.”

Source: Perseid meteor shower 2021 on now: How to watch the celestial fireworks – CNET