I’ve kept the list shorter this week. But the first (video about Hubble images) and the last (astrophotos) items will knock your socks off.
- The most important image captured by Hubble (video)
All That Is Interesting
“In 1996, scientists took a huge risk when they pointed the Hubble telescope to an inky field that they believed to be void of stars and planets. As images from Hubble are in constant demand, the worry was that devoting so much time to a black space would prove futile. Once the photons finally registered, though, that leap of faith proved fruitful: light from over three thousand galaxies illuminated the image. A few years and missions later, Hubble?s glimpse into what is known as the deep field has revealed that we are just one tiny part of a vast system comprising 100 billion galaxies.”
- Telescopes create 3-D map of Milky Way’s central bulge
“Two groups of astronomers have used data from European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes to make the best three-dimensional map yet of the central parts of the Milky Way. They have found that the inner regions take on a peanut-like, or X-shaped, appearance from some angles. They mapped this odd shape using public data from ESO?s VISTA survey telescope along with measurements of the motions of hundreds of very faint stars in the central bulge.”
- Comet SION may sizzle or fizzle this fall
“The annals of astronomy are streaked by unexpected comet burnouts and breakups. As Comet ISON approaches, astronomers are hoping for a spectacle, but compared with original estimates, ISON is already dimming. Exactly how bright ISON will become, how wide and long it will grow, and whether it will put on a show remain unknowns.”
- Research project to capture infrared view of distant universe
“Astronomers at the University of California, Riverside have received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a very large new survey of galaxies using a new instrument?MOSFIRE?on the Keck I telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawai`i’s Big Island.”
- Astronomers see true shapes of galaxies 11 billion years back in time
“Astronomers have used observations from Hubble?s CANDELS survey to explore the sizes, shapes, and colors of distant galaxies over the last 80 percent of the universe?s history. In the universe today, galaxies come in a variety of different forms and are classified via a system known as the Hubble Sequence ? and it turns out that this sequence was already in place as early as 11 billion years ago.”
- Astrophotos galore: 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards
Bad Astronomy (Slate)
“Every year, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich holds a contest for the best astrophotos. They have several categories, including Deep Space, Earth and Space, and Our Solar System. This year?s winners are, as always, stunning.”
Creative Commons photo: North Moulton Barn Milky Way by David Kingham.