Sample records for astronomical instrumentation

  1. Astronomical Instrumentation System Markup Language (United States)

    Goldbaum, Jesse M.


    The Astronomical Instrumentation System Markup Language (AISML) is an Extensible Markup Language (XML) based file format for maintaining and exchanging information about astronomical instrumentation. The factors behind the need for an AISML are first discussed followed by the reasons why XML was chosen as the format. Next it's shown how XML also provides the framework for a more precise definition of an astronomical instrument and how these instruments can be combined to form an Astronomical Instrumentation System (AIS). AISML files for several instruments as well as one for a sample AIS are provided. The files demonstrate how AISML can be utilized for various tasks from web page generation and programming interface to instrument maintenance and quality management. The advantages of widespread adoption of AISML are discussed.

  2. Islamic Astronomical Instruments and Observatories (United States)

    Heidarzadeh, Tofigh

    This chapter is a brief survey of astronomical instruments being used and developed in Islamic territories from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries as well as a concise account of major observatories and observational programs in this period.

  3. Astronomical Polarimetry : new concepts, new instruments, new measurements & observations

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Snik, F.


    All astronomical sources are polarized to some degree. Polarimetry is therefore a powerful astronomical technique. It furnishes unique diagnostics of e.g. magnetic fields and scattering media. This thesis presents new polarimetric concepts, instruments, and measurements targeting astronomical scienc

  4. Astrophotonics: a new era for astronomical instruments

    CERN Document Server

    Bland-Hawthorn, J


    Astrophotonics lies at the interface of astronomy and photonics. This burgeoning field -- now formally recognized by the optics community -- has emerged over the past decade in response to the increasing demands of astronomical instrumentation. Early successes include: (i) planar waveguides to combine signals from widely spaced telescopes in stellar interferometry; (ii) frequency combs for ultra-high precision spectroscopy to detect planets around nearby stars; (iii) ultra-broadband fibre Bragg gratings to suppress unwanted background; (iv) photonic lanterns that allow single-mode behaviour within a multimode fibre; (v) planar waveguides to miniaturize astronomical spectrographs; (vi) large mode area fibres to generate artificial stars in the upper atmosphere for adaptive optics correction; (vii) liquid crystal polymers in optical vortex coronographs and adaptive optics systems. Astrophotonics, a field that has already created new photonic capabilities, is now extending its reach down to the Rayleigh scatteri...

  5. Astrophotonics: a new era for astronomical instruments. (United States)

    Bland-Hawthorn, Joss; Kern, Pierre


    Astrophotonics lies at the interface of astronomy and photonics. This burgeoning field has emerged over the past decade in response to the increasing demands of astronomical instrumentation. Early successes include: (i) planar waveguides to combine signals from widely spaced telescopes in stellar interferometry; (ii) frequency combs for ultra-high precision spectroscopy to detect planets around nearby stars; (iii) ultra-broadband fibre Bragg gratings to suppress unwanted background; (iv) photonic lanterns that allow single-mode behaviour within a multimode fibre; (v) planar waveguides to miniaturize astronomical spectrographs; (vi) large mode area fibres to generate artificial stars in the upper atmosphere for adaptive optics correction; (vii) liquid crystal polymers in optical vortex coronographs and adaptive optics systems. Astrophotonics, a field that has already created new photonic capabilities, is now extending its reach down to the Rayleigh scattering limit at ultraviolet wavelengths, and out to mid infrared wavelengths beyond 2500 nm.

  6. An optical toolbox for astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Sutin, Brian M.


    The author has open-sourced a program for optical modeling of astronomical instrumentation. The code allows for optical systems to be described in a programming language. An optical prescription may contain coordinate systems and transformations, arbitrary polynomial aspheric surfaces and complex volumes. Rather than using a plethora of rays to evaluate performance, all the derivatives along a ray are computed by automatic differentiation. By adaptively controlling the patches around each ray, the system can be modeled to a guaranteed known precision. The code currently consists of less than 10,000 lines of C++/stdlib code.

  7. Harvey Butcher: a passion for astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Bhathal, Ragbir


    This paper covers some aspects of the scientific life of Harvey Butcher who was the Director of the Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University in Canberra from September 2007 to January 2013. He has made significant contributions to research on the evolution of galaxies, nucleosynthesis, and on the design and implementation of advanced astronomical instrumentation including LOFAR (Low Frequency Array Radio telescope). He is well known for his discovery of the Butcher-Oemler effect. Before coming to Australia he was the Director of the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy from September 1991 to January 2007. In 2005 he was awarded a Knighthood in the Order of the Netherlands Lion for contributions to interdisciplinary science, innovation and public outreach.This paper is based on an interview conducted by the author with Harvey Butcher for the National Project on Significant Australian Astronomers sponsored by the National Library of Australia. Except otherwise stated, all quotations used in this paper are from the Butcher interview which has been deposited in the Oral History Archives of the National Library.

  8. An embeddable control system for astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Cirami, Roberto; Comari, Maurizio; Corte, Claudio; Golob, Damjan; Di Marcantonio, Paolo; Plesko, Mark; Pucillo, Mauro; Santin, Paolo; Sekoranja, Matej; Vuerli, Claudio


    Large experimental facilities, like telescopes and focal plane instrumentation in the astronomical domain, are becoming more and more complex and expensive, as well as control systems for managing such instruments. The general trend, as can be learned by realizations carried out in the most recent years, clearly drives to most cost-effective solutions: widespread, stable standards in the software field, COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) components and industry standards in the hardware field. Therefore a new generation of control system products needs to be developed, in order to help the scientific community to minimize the cost and efforts required for maintenance and control of their facilities. In the spirit of the aforementioned requirements and to provide a low-cost software and hardware environment we present a working prototype of a control system, based on RTAI Linux and on ACS (Advanced Control System) framework ported to an embedded platform. The hardware has been chosen among COTS components: a PC/104+ platform equipped with a PMAC2A motion controller card and a commercial StrongARM single board controller. In this way we achieved a very powerful, inexpensive and robust real-time control system which can be used as a general purpose building block in the design of new instruments and could also be proposed as a standard in the field.

  9. Spectroscopic instrumentation fundamentals and guidelines for astronomers

    CERN Document Server

    Eversberg, Thomas


    In order to analyze the light of cosmic objects, particularly at extremely great distances, spectroscopy is the workhorse of astronomy. In the era of very large telescopes, long-term investigations are mainly performed with small professional instruments. Today they can be done using self-designed spectrographs and highly efficient CCD cameras, without the need for large financial investments.   This book explains the basic principles of spectroscopy, including the fundamental optical constraints and all mathematical aspects needed to understand the working principles in detail. It covers the complete theoretical and practical design of standard and Echelle spectrographs. Readers are guided through all necessary calculations, enabling them to engage in spectrograph design. The book also examines data acquisition with CCD cameras and fiber optics, as well as the constraints of specific data reduction and possible sources of error. In closing it briefly highlights some main aspects of the research on massive s...

  10. Mid-infrared guided optics: a perspective for astronomical instruments. (United States)

    Labadie, Lucas; Wallner, Oswald


    Research activities during the last decade have shown the strong potential of photonic devices to greatly simplify ground based and space borne astronomical instruments and to improve their performance. We focus specifically on the mid-infrared wavelength regime (about 5-20 microm), a spectral range offering access to warm objects (about 300 K) and to spectral features that can be interpreted as signatures for biological activity (e.g. water, ozone, carbon dioxide). We review the relevant research activities aiming at the development of single-mode guided optics and the corresponding manufacturing technologies. We evaluate the experimentally achieved performance and compare it with the performance requirements for applications in various fields of astronomy. Our goal is to show a perspective for future astronomical instruments based on mid-infrared photonic devices.

  11. Mid-infrared guided optics: a perspective for astronomical instruments

    CERN Document Server

    Labadie, L; 10.1364/OE.17.001947


    Research activities during the last decade have shown the strong potential of photonic devices to greatly simplify ground based and space borne astronomical instruments and to improve their performance. We focus specifically on the mid-infrared wavelength regime (about 5-20 microns), a spectral range offering access to warm objects (about 300 K) and to spectral features that can be interpreted as signatures for biological activity (e.g. water, ozone, carbon dioxide). We review the relevant research activities aiming at the development of single-mode guided optics and the corresponding manufacturing technologies. We evaluate the experimentally achieved performance and compare it with the performance requirements for applications in various fields of astronomy. Our goal is to show a perspective for future astronomical instruments based on mid-infrared photonic devices.

  12. Ground-based astronomical instrument for planetary protection (United States)

    Kendrick, Richard L.; Bennett, Dave; Bold, Matthew


    Planetary protection consists of the measurement and characterization of near-earth objects including earth threatening asteroids and earth orbiting debris. The Lockheed Martin STAR Labs in Palo Alto California is developing new astronomical instruments for use in planetary protection. The observation of asteroids is standard for astronomical facilities and there are available instruments designed with this specific science mission in mind. Orbital debris observation and characterization has a somewhat different set of requirements and includes large fields of view with simultaneous spectro-polarimetric data on multiple closely spaced objects. Orbital debris is comprised of spent rocket bodies, rocket fairing covers, paint chips, various satellite components, debris from satellite collisions and explosions and nonoperational satellites. The debris is present in all orbital planes from Low Earth orbit out to the geosynchronous graveyard orbit. We concentrate our effort on the geosynchronous and nearby orbits. This is because typical groundbased astronomical telescopes are built to track at sidereal rates and not at the 1 degree per second rates that are required to track low earth orbiting objects. The orbital debris materials include aluminum, mylar, solar cell materials, composite matrix material and other materials that are used in the fabrication of satellites and launch vehicles. These materials typically have spectral features in different wavebands than asteroids which are mostly composed of materials with molecular absorption bands such as in H2O. This will drive an orbital debris material identification instrument to wavebands and resolutions that are typically not used in asteroid observations.

  13. GUAIX: The UCM Group of Extragalactic Astrophysics and Astronomical Instrumentation (United States)

    Gallego, J.; Cardiel, N.; Zamorano, J.; Gorgas, J.; Castillo-Morales, A.; Eliche-Moral, M. C.; Gil de Paz, A.; Pascual, S.; Pérez-González, P. G.; Guzmán, R.; Barro, G.; Díaz, C.; Espino, N.; Izquierdo, J.; Mármol-Queraltó, E.; Muñoz-Mateos, J. C.; Rodriguez, L.; Sánchez de Miguel, A.; Toloba, E.; Villar, V.; Abelleira, M.

    We present a short summary of the activities developed by GUAIX, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) Group of Extragalactic Astrophysics and Astronomical Instrumentation. At present we are focused in the development of data reduction pipelines for several future instruments for the Spanish 10m GTC (Gran Telescopio Canarias). The careful treatment of the random error propagation throughout the data reduction is one of the main improvements of those pipelines. The first hardware development leaded by the GUAIX group will be FISIR, a fully-cryogenic (optimized for the K band) tunable filter in the near-infrared, to be installed within CIRCE, a near-IR camera for GTC.

  14. Temperature control system for optical elements in astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Verducci, Orlando; de Oliveira, Antonio C.; Ribeiro, Flávio F.; Vital de Arruda, Márcio; Gneiding, Clemens D.; Fraga, Luciano


    Extremely low temperatures may damage the optical components assembled inside of an astronomical instrument due to the crack in the resin or glue used to attach lenses and mirrors. The environment, very cold and dry, in most of the astronomical observatories contributes to this problem. This paper describes the solution implemented at SOAR for remotely monitoring and controlling temperatures inside of a spectrograph, in order to prevent a possible damage of the optical parts. The system automatically switches on and off some heat dissipation elements, located near the optics, as the measured temperature reaches a trigger value. This value is set to a temperature at which the instrument is not operational to prevent malfunction and only to protect the optics. The software was developed with LabVIEWTM and based on an object-oriented design that offers flexibility and ease of maintenance. As result, the system is able to keep the internal temperature of the instrument above a chosen limit, except perhaps during the response time, due to inertia of the temperature. This inertia can be controlled and even avoided by choosing the correct amount of heat dissipation and location of the thermal elements. A log file records the measured temperature values by the system for operation analysis.

  15. Advances in infrared and imaging fibres for astronomical instrumentation

    CERN Document Server

    Haynes, R; Marcel, J; Jovanovic, N; Haynes, Roger; Namara, Pam Mc; Marcel, Jackie; Jovanovic, Nemanja


    Optical fibres have already played a huge part in ground based astronomical instrumentation, however, with the revolution in photonics currently taking place new fibre technologies and integrated optical devices are likely to have a profound impact on the way we manipulate light in the future. The Anglo-Australian Observatory, along with partners at the Optical Fibre Technology Centre of the University of Sydney, is investigating some of the developing technologies as part of our Astrophotonics programme. In this paper we discuss the advances that have been made with infrared transmitting fibre, both conventional and microstructured, in particular those based on flouride glasses. Flouride glasses have a particularly wide transparent region from the UV through to around 7um, whereas silica fibres, commonly used in astronomy, only transmit out to about 2um. We discuss the impact of advances in fibre manufacture that have greatly improved the optical, chemical resistance and physical properties of the flouride f...

  16. The South African Astronomical Observatory instrumentation software architecture and the SHOC instruments (United States)

    van Gend, Carel; Lombaard, Briehan; Sickafoose, Amanda; Whittal, Hamish


    Until recently, software for instruments on the smaller telescopes at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) has not been designed for remote accessibility and frequently has not been developed using modern software best-practice. We describe a software architecture we have implemented for use with new and upgraded instruments at the SAAO. The architecture was designed to allow for multiple components and to be fast, reliable, remotely- operable, support different user interfaces, employ as much non-proprietary software as possible, and to take future-proofing into consideration. Individual component drivers exist as standalone processes, communicating over a network. A controller layer coordinates the various components, and allows a variety of user interfaces to be used. The Sutherland High-speed Optical Cameras (SHOC) instruments incorporate an Andor electron-multiplying CCD camera, a GPS unit for accurate timing and a pair of filter wheels. We have applied the new architecture to the SHOC instruments, with the camera driver developed using Andor's software development kit. We have used this to develop an innovative web-based user-interface to the instrument.

  17. Builders Instead of Consumers: Training Astronomers in Instrumentation & Observation

    CERN Document Server

    Tuttle, Sarah; Froning, Cynthia; Montgomery, Mike


    The astronomy community has made clear our shared scientific vision in the Astro2010 decadal survey. Who will build this future? The cost and scarcity of telescope resources makes vital learning through doing extremely difficult for students and early career researchers. What is needed now and in the future to provide a depth of knowledge, creativity, and experience in our field? At McDonald Observatory we have a clear model in answer to that question, and a long history of successfully training the next generation of instrument builders and observers. We must support and sustain small to medium range local resources such as McDonald to foster the successful growth of our field.

  18. Scientific and technological Challenges in the development of astronomical instrumentation: E-ELT & ALMA (United States)

    Barrado, David; Gallego, Jesús


    The answers to the present astrophysical questions require the development of highly sophisticated instrumentation, which needs long-term scheduling and large assets of human and material resources, managed by consortia of several institutions. Spain has carried in the last years serious efforts in this direction (GTC, ESO, ESA), but there is still a notable offset between astronomical research at the theoretical and observational levels and the development of instrumentation. Now, the incorporation of new countries to ESO (in particular Spain) to ESO and several future big projects (ALMA, E-ELT, Cosmic Vision), raise the level of exigency. The goal of this workshop is to gather the scientific teams and the industries of the sector to expose their needs and projects, and share experiences. The workshop is aimed as well at serving as an echo to convince financing agencies and the astronomical community in general of the need to promote with decision the development of astrophysical instrumentation and the tools for the analysis of related data. The formation and acknowledgement of instrumentation astronomers will be a key factor for Spain to meet the requirements of its position in Astronomy in the next decades. Here, we present the contributions most closely related to the development of E-ELT, ALMA and ESA missions.

  19. A new generation active arrays for optical flexibility in astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Kroes, G.; Jaskó, A.; Pragt, J. H.; Venema, L.; De Haan, M.


    Throughout the history of telescopes and astronomical instrumentation, new ways were found to open up unexplored possibilities in fundamental astronomical research by increasing the telescope size and instrumentation complexity. The ever demanding requirements on instrument performance pushes instrument complexity to the edge. In order to take the next leap forward in instrument development the optical design freedom needs to be increased drastically. The use of more complex and more accurate optics allows for shorter optical trains with smaller sizes, smaller number of components and reduced fabrication and alignment verification time and costs. Current optics fabrication is limited in surface form complexity and/or accuracy. Traditional active and adaptive optics lack the needed intrinsic long term stability and simplicity in design, manufacturing, verification and control. This paper explains how and why active arrays literally provide a flexible but stable basis for the next generation optical instruments. Combing active arrays with optically high quality face sheets more complex and accurate optical surface forms can be provided including extreme a-spherical (freeform) surfaces and thus allow for optical train optimization and even instrument reconfiguration. A zero based design strategy is adopted for the development of the active arrays addressing fundamental issues in opto-mechanical engineering. The various choices are investigated by prototypes and Finite Element Analysis. Finally an engineering concept will be presented following a highly stable adjustment strategy allowing simple verification and control. The Optimization metrology is described in an additional paper for this conference by T. Agócs et al.

  20. The 2006 SPIE Symposium on Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation ? Observing the Universe from Ground and Space (United States)

    Moorwood, A.


    The most recent of these biennial SPIE (The International Society for Optical Engineering) Symposia was held from 24-31 May in the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center in Florida, USA. Over the last decade, these meetings have grown to become the main forum for presenting and discussing all aspects of ground-based, airborne and space telescopes and their instrumentation, including associated advances in technology, software, operations and even astronomical results. As a consequence the meetings are large and well attended by people at all levels in the process of initiating, approving, implementing and operating astronomical projects and facilities. This year there were ~ 1700 registered participants who presented ~ 1600 papers and posters in the following 12 parallel conferences which formed the heart of the meeting.

  1. The use of object-oriented techniques and CORBA in astronomical instrumentation control systems (United States)

    Dipper, Nigel A.; Blackburn, Colin


    Control software for astronomy matches the ever increasing complexity of new large instrumentation projects. In order to speed the development cycle, object-oriented techniques have been used to generate loosely coupled software objects and larger scale components that can be reused in future projects. Such object-oriented systems provide for short development cycles which can respond to changing requirements and allow for extension. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) has been used for the analysis, design and implementation of this software. A distributed system is supported by the use of an object broker such as CORBA. These techniques are being applied to the development of an instrument control system for the UK spectrograph within FMOS (Fiber-fed Multi-Object Spectrograph). This is a second generation instrument for the Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

  2. Property and instrumental heritage of the Bordeaux Astronomical Observatory; What future? (United States)

    de La Noë, J.; Charlot, P.; Grousset, F.


    In the years 1870, the Government of the Third Republic decided to develop scientific and technical research. Such an effort contributed to supporting and creating universities and other institutes such as astronomical observatories. The dual wish of the Bordeaux council and professors at the Faculté des Sciences de Bordeaux led to the foundation of the astronomical Observatory of Bordeaux. It was set up by Georges Rayet in the years 1880's. The observatory owns a property of 12 hectares with a dozen of buildings, five domes housing an instrument, a Würzburg radiotelescope, a 2.5 meter radiotelescope, and a large collection of about 250 instruments, 4 500 photographic plates, drawings, slides for teaching astronomy, maps of the Carte du Ciel and 200 files of archives. In addition, the library contains about a thousand books for the period 1600-1950. The future of the observatory is not clear at the present time, when the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique will leave to the campus in a few years.

  3. TELICS—A Telescope Instrument Control System for Small/Medium Sized Astronomical Observatories (United States)

    Srivastava, Mudit K.; Ramaprakash, A. N.; Burse, Mahesh P.; Chordia, Pravin A.; Chillal, Kalpesh S.; Mestry, Vilas B.; Das, Hillol K.; Kohok, Abhay A.


    For any modern astronomical observatory, it is essential to have an efficient interface between the telescope and its back-end instruments. However, for small and medium-sized observatories, this requirement is often limited by tight financial constraints. Therefore a simple yet versatile and low-cost control system is required for such observatories to minimize cost and effort. Here we report the development of a modern, multipurpose instrument control system TELICS (Telescope Instrument Control System) to integrate the controls of various instruments and devices mounted on the telescope. TELICS consists of an embedded hardware unit known as a common control unit (CCU) in combination with Linux-based data acquisition and user interface. The hardware of the CCU is built around the ATmega 128 microcontroller (Atmel Corp.) and is designed with a backplane, master-slave architecture. A Qt-based graphical user interface (GUI) has been developed and the back-end application software is based on C/C++. TELICS provides feedback mechanisms that give the operator good visibility and a quick-look display of the status and modes of instruments as well as data. TELICS has been used for regular science observations since 2008 March on the 2 m, f/10 IUCAA Telescope located at Girawali in Pune, India.

  4. Design of a Micro-Autonomous Robot for Use in Astronomical Instruments (United States)

    Cochrane, W. A.; Luo, X.; Lim, T.; Taylor, W. D.; Schnetler, H.


    A Micro-Autonomous Positioning System (MAPS) has been developed using micro-autonomous robots for the deployment of small mirrors within multi-object astronomical instruments for use on the next generation ground-based telescopes. The micro-autonomous robot is a two-wheel differential drive robot with a footprint of approximately 20 × 20 mm. The robot uses two brushless DC Smoovy motors with 125:1 planetary gearheads for positioning the mirror. This article describes the various elements of the overall system and in more detail the various robot designs. Also described in this article is the build and test of the most promising design, proving that micro-autonomous robot technology can be used in precision controlled applications.

  5. New Platforms for Suborbital Astronomical Observations and In Situ Atmospheric Measurements: Spacecraft, Instruments, and Facilities (United States)

    Rodway, K.; DeForest, C. E.; Diller, J.; Vilas, F.; Sollitt, L. S.; Reyes, M. F.; Filo, A. S.; Anderson, E.


    Suborbital astronomical observations have over 50 years' history using NASA's sounding rockets and experimental space planes. The new commercial space industry is developing suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLV's) to provide low-cost, flexible, and frequent access to space at ~100 km altitude. In the case of XCOR Aerospace's Lynx spacecraft, the vehicle design and capabilities work well for hosting specially designed experiments that can be flown with a human-tended researcher or alone with the pilot on a customized mission. Some of the first-generation instruments and facilities that will conduct solar observations on dedicated Lynx science missions include the SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP) and Atsa Suborbital Observatory, as well as KickSat sprites, which are picosatellites for in situ atmospheric and solar phenomena measurements. The SSIPP is a demonstration two-stage pointed solar observatory that operates inside the Lynx cockpit. The coarse pointing stage includes the pilot in the feedback loop, and the fine stage stabilizes the solar image to achieve arcsecond class pointing. SSIPP is a stepping-stone to future external instruments that can operate with larger apertures and shorter wavelengths in the solar atmosphere. The Planetary Science Institute's Atsa Suborbital Observatory combines the strengths of ground-based observatories and space-based observing to create a facility where a telescope is maintained and used interchangeably with either in-house facility instruments or user-provided instruments. The Atsa prototype is a proof of concept, hand-guided camera that mounts on the interior of the Lynx cockpit to test target acquisition and tracking for human-operated suborbital astronomy. KickSat sprites are mass-producible, one inch printed circuit boards (PCBs) populated by programmable off the shelf microprocessors and radios for real time data transmission. The sprite PCBs can integrate chip-based radiometers, magnetometers

  6. Integrated finite element analysis and raytracing oriented to structural optimization for astronomical instrument design (United States)

    Riva, M.; De Caprio, V.; Spanó, P.; Tintori, M.


    The design of astronomical instrument is growing in dimension and complexity, following the new requirements imposed by ELT class telescopes. The availability of new structural material like composite ones is asking for more robust and reliable designing numerical tools. This paper wants to show a possible integrated design framework. The procedure starts from the developing of a raw structure consisting in an assembly of plates and beams directly from the optical design. The basic Finite Element Model is then prepared joining together plate and beam elements for the structure and mass and semi-rigid element for the the opto-mechanical subsystems. The technique developed is based onto Matlab® commands and run the FEA, extrapolate the optical displacements, implement them into the optical design and evaluates the image quality in terms of displacement and spot size. Thanks to a simplified procedure the routine is able to derive the full field of displacements from a reduced sequence of three different load sets. The automatic optimization routine modifies the properties of plates and beams considering also different materials and, in case of composites different lamination sequences. The algorithm is oriented to find the best compromise in terms of overall weights w.r.t. eigen-frequencies, image stability and quality.

  7. Integrated photonic building blocks for next-generation astronomical instrumentation II: the multimode to single mode transition

    CERN Document Server

    Spaleniak, Izabela; Gross, Simon; Ireland, Michael J; Lawrence, Jon S; Withford, Michael J


    There are numerous advantages to exploiting diffraction-limited instrumentation at astronomical observatories, which include smaller footprints, less mechanical and thermal instabilities and high levels of performance. To realize such instrumentation it is imperative to convert the atmospheric seeing-limited signal that is captured by the telescope into a diffraction-limited signal. This process can be achieved photonically by using a mode reformatting device known as a photonic lantern that performs a multimode to single-mode transition. With the aim of developing an optimized integrated photonic lantern, we undertook a systematic parameter scan of devices fabricated by the femtosecond laser direct-write technique. The devices were designed for operation around 1.55 {\\mu}m. The devices showed (coupling and transition) losses of less than 5% for F/# $\\geq$ 12 injection and the total device throughput (including substrate absorption) as high as 75-80%. Such devices show great promise for future use in astronom...

  8. Operational challenges for astronomical instrumentation in Antarctica: results from five years of environmental monitoring of AMICA at Dome C (United States)

    Dolci, Mauro; Valentini, Angelo; Tavagnacco, Daniele; Di Cianno, Amico; Straniero, Oscar


    The Antarctic Plateau is one of the best observing sites on Earth, especially for infrared astronomy. The extremely low temperatures (down to -80°C), the low pressure (around 650 mbar) and the very dry atmosphere (PWV less than 1 mm) allow for a very clear and dark sky, as well as for a very low instrumental background. These unique properties, however, make it also very difficult to install and operate astronomical instrumentation. AMICA (Antarctic Multiband Infrared CAmera) is an instrument especially designed for Antarctic operation, whose installation at Dome C has been completed in 2013. Since then it has been continuously working over the last five years, monitoring and controlling in particular the environmental and operating conditions through a dedicated application, its Environmental Control System (ECS). The recorded behavior of AMICA highlighted a set of peculiar aspects of the site that are hard to consider a priori. Although mechanical and electronic COTS components can reliably work in thermally insulated and controlled boxes, simple insulation causes their overheating because of the air dryness and rarefaction which make the heat transfer extremely inefficient. Heat removal is also a real problem when managing heavy-duty devices like cryocoolers, whose excess power removal needs to be fast and efficient. Finally, the lack of an electrical ground generates a wide variety of transient electrical and electromagnetic phenomena which often make electronic instrumentation very unstable. A list of new recommendations is therefore presented, as a guideline for future astronomical instruments operating in Antarctica.

  9. Searching for remains of a observation platform (pavimentum) of Nicolas Copernicus's astronomical instruments (United States)

    Lamparski, Piotr


    St. Stanislas's canonry in Frombork (northern Poland) was the last place of residence of the famous astronomer Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543). It is very probable that he conducted his astronomical observations from the garden using so-called pavimentum to arrange his instruments. Copernicus's pavimentum was a 2 by 1.5m pedestal, probably a floor based on a brick foundation with a rail. Ground penetrating radar examinations were carried out in the canonry's garden in January 2009 to obtain 3-D model of the 2 meter thick upper part of sediments and resulted in recognition of stratigraphy of the site and allowed to find some anomalies which are suspected to be a human origin. The analysis of historical sources enabled the researchers to limit the study area to a plot of land at the back of the St. Stanislaw's canonry building. As a result, the GPR probing was undertaken on the rectangular plot of ground of 43 m by 95 m, located to the south west of the canonry building. The searched object was a kind of a pavement, possibly made of bricks or stone and bricks, and the size from 1.5 m by 2 m, to 4 m by 4 m, or even 7 m by 3 m. During the field research the impulse GPR SIR SYSTEM-2000 GSSI™ was used. For the profiling a monostatic 400MHz central frequency antenna was used. The selected value of the dielectric constant was 15, which represents the velocity of 7.7 cm/ns of the electromagnetic wave propagation in the deposit. In practice this means that in the study area the vertical scale of the returning electromagnetic wave includes about 2.3 m (60 ns) of the deposit of diverse graining with a large content of humus and debris. The horizontal scale was measured in the real time with the use of the GSSI survey wheel. The construction of the three-dimensional block of the deposit was based on 95 vertical cross-sections at one-meter spaces and the SE-NW course. As a result, the 3-D model showed the horizontal extends of the geophysical anomalies. The GPR studies have

  10. Integrated photonic building blocks for next-generation astronomical instrumentation II: the multimode to single mode transition. (United States)

    Spaleniak, Izabela; Jovanovic, Nemanja; Gross, Simon; Ireland, Michael J; Lawrence, Jon S; Withford, Michael J


    There are numerous advantages to exploiting diffraction-limited instrumentation at astronomical observatories, which include smaller footprints, less mechanical and thermal instabilities and high levels of performance. To realize such instrumentation it is imperative to convert the atmospheric seeing-limited signal that is captured by the telescope into a diffraction-limited signal. This process can be achieved photonically by using a mode reformatting device known as a photonic lantern that performs a multimode to single-mode transition. With the aim of developing an optimized integrated photonic lantern, we undertook a systematic parameter scan of devices fabricated by the femtosecond laser direct-write technique. The devices were designed for operation around 1.55 μm. The devices showed (coupling and transition) losses of less than 5% for F/# ≥ 12 injection and the total device throughput (including substrate absorption) as high as 75-80%. Such devices show great promise for future use in astronomy.

  11. Ancient astronomical instrument from Srubna burial of kurgan field Tavriya-1 (Northern Black Sea Coast)

    CERN Document Server

    Vodolazhskaya, Larisa; Nevskiy, Mikhail


    The article presents the results of analysis of the spatial arrangement of the wells on the unique slab from Srubna burial of kurgan field Tavriya-1 (Rostov region, Russia) by astronomical methods. At the slab revealed two interrelated groups of wells, one of which - in the form of a circle, is proposed to interpret how analemmatic sundial, and second group, consisting of disparate wells, as auxiliary astronomical markers of rising luminaries directions, to correct the position of the gnomon. Simultaneous location of both groups of wells on the same slab is a possible indication of one of the stages of development of the design features analemmatic sundial - setting movable gnomon and technology of measuring time with it. It may point to local origin, as the very idea of analemmatic sundial as well technology measurement of time with them. The article also describes the model analemmatic sundial, hour marks which in many cases coincide with the wells arranged in a circle, particularly in a working range from ...

  12. Generic control software connecting astronomical instruments to the reflective memory data recording system of VLTI - bossvlti (United States)

    Pozna, E.; Ramirez, A.; Mérand, A.; Mueller, A.; Abuter, R.; Frahm, R.; Morel, S.; Schmid, C.; Duc, T. Phan; Delplancke-Ströbele, F.


    The quality of data obtained by VLTI instruments may be refined by analyzing the continuous data supplied by the Reflective Memory Network (RMN). Based on 5 years experience providing VLTI instruments (PACMAN, AMBER, MIDI) with RMN data, the procedure has been generalized to make the synchronization with observation trouble-free. The present software interface saves not only months of efforts for each instrument but also provides the benefits of software frameworks. Recent applications (GRAVITY, MATISSE) supply feedback for the software to evolve. The paper highlights the way common features been identified to be able to offer reusable code in due course.

  13. UNICS - An Unified Instrument Control System for Small/Medium Sized Astronomical Observatories

    CERN Document Server

    Srivastava, Mudit K; Burse, Mahesh P; Chordia, Pravin A; Chillal, Kalpesh S; Mestry, Vilas B; Das, Hillol K; Kohok, Abhay A


    Although the astronomy community is witnessing an era of large telescopes, smaller and medium sized telescopes still maintain their utility being larger in numbers. In order to obtain better scientific outputs it is necessary to incorporate modern and advanced technologies to the back-end instruments and to their interfaces with the telescopes through various control processes. However often tight financial constraints on the smaller and medium size observatories limit the scope and utility of these systems. Most of the time for every new development on the telescope the back-end control systems are required to be built from scratch leading to high costs and efforts. Therefore a simple, low cost control system for small and medium size observatory needs to be developed to minimize the cost and efforts while going for the expansion of the observatory. Here we report on the development of a modern, multipurpose instrument control system UNICS (Unified Instrument Control System) to integrate the controls of vari...

  14. The Effectiveness of Internet-Controlled Astronomical Research Instrumentation for Education (United States)

    Pratap, Preethi; Salah, Joseph


    Over the last decade, remote instruments have become widely used in astronomy. Educational applications are more recent. This paper describes a program to bring radio astronomy into the undergraduate classroom through the use of a remote research-grade radio telescope, the MIT Haystack Observatory 37 m telescope. We examine the effectiveness of…

  15. Astronomical optics

    CERN Document Server

    Schroeder, Daniel J


    Written by a recognized expert in the field, this clearly presented, well-illustrated book provides both advanced level students and professionals with an authoritative, thorough presentation of the characteristics, including advantages and limitations, of telescopes and spectrographic instruments used by astronomers of today.Key Features* Written by a recognized expert in the field* Provides both advanced level students and professionals with an authoritative, thorough presentation of the characteristics, including advantages and limitations, of telescopes and spectrographic i

  16. A practical approach to ontology-enabled control systems for astronomical instrumentation

    CERN Document Server

    Pessemier, Wim; Van Winckel, Hans; Deconinck, Geert; Saey, Philippe


    Even though modern service-oriented and data-oriented architectures promise to deliver loosely coupled control systems, they are inherently brittle as they commonly depend on a priori agreed interfaces and data models. At the same time, the Semantic Web and a whole set of accompanying standards and tools are emerging, advocating ontologies as the basis for knowledge exchange. In this paper we aim to identify a number of key ideas from the myriad of knowledge-based practices that can readily be implemented by control systems today. We demonstrate with a practical example (a three-channel imager for the Mercator Telescope) how ontologies developed in the Web Ontology Language (OWL) can serve as a meta-model for our instrument, covering as many engineering aspects of the project as needed. We show how a concrete system model can be built on top of this meta-model via a set of Domain Specific Languages (DSLs), supporting both formal verification and the generation of software and documentation artifacts. Finally ...

  17. Modeling multimode feed-horn coupled bolometers for millimeter-wave and terahertz astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Kalinauskaite, Eimante; Murphy, Anthony; McAuley, Ian; Trappe, Neil A.; Bracken, Colm P.; McCarthy, Darragh N.; Doherty, Stephen; Gradziel, Marcin L.; O'Sullivan, Creidhe; Maffei, Bruno; Lamarre, Jean-Michel A.; Ade, Peter A. R.; Savini, Giorgio


    Multimode horn antennas can be utilized as high efficiency feeds for bolometric detectors, providing increased throughput and sensitivity over single mode feeds, while also ensuring good control of beam pattern characteristics. Multimode horns were employed in the highest frequency channels of the European Space Agency Planck Telescope, and have been proposed for future terahertz instrumentation, such as SAFARI for SPICA. The radiation pattern of a multimode horn is affected by the details of the coupling of the higher order waveguide modes to the bolometer making the modeling more complicated than in the case of a single mode system. A typical cavity coupled bolometer system can be most efficiently simulated using mode matching, typically with smooth walled waveguide modes as the basis and computing an overall scattering matrix for the horn-waveguide-cavity system that includes the power absorption by the absorber. In this paper we present how to include a cavity coupled bolometer, modelled as a thin absorbing film with particular interest in investigating the cavity configuration for optimizing power absorption. As an example, the possible improvements from offsetting the axis of a cylindrically symmetric absorbing cavity from that of a circular waveguide feeding it (thus trapping more power in the cavity) are discussed. Another issue is the effect on the optical efficiency of the detectors of the presence of any gaps, through which power can escape. To model these effects required that existing in-house mode matching software, which calculates the scattering matrices for axially symmetric waveguide structures, be extended to be able to handle offset junctions and free space gaps. As part of this process the complete software code 'PySCATTER' was developed in Python. The approach can be applied to proposed terahertz systems, such as SPICASAFARI.

  18. Development of non-hybridised HgCdTe detectors for the next generation of astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Dalton, Gavin B.; Dennis, Peter N.; Lees, David J.; Hall, David J.; Cairns, John W.; Gordon, Neil T.; Hails, Janet E.; Giess, Jean


    The superb image quality that is predicted, and even demanded, for the next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes (ELT) presents a potential crisis in terms of the sheer number of detectors that may be required. Developments in infrared technology have progressed dramatically in recent years, but a substantial reduction in the cost per pixel of these IR arrays will be necessary to permit full exploitation of the capabilities of these telescopes. Here we present an outline and progress report of an initiative to develop a new generation of astronomical grade Cadmium Mercury Telluride (HgCdTe) array detectors using a novel technique which enables direct growth of the sensor diodes onto the Read Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC). This technique removes the need to hybridise the detector material to a separate Silicon readout circuit and provides a route to very large monolithic arrays. We present preliminary growth and design simulation results for devices based on this technique, and discuss the prospects for deployment of this technology in the era of extremely large telescopes.

  19. Astronomical Cybersketching

    CERN Document Server

    Grego, Peter


    Outlines the techniques involved in making observational sketches and more detailed 'scientific' drawings of a wide variety of astronomical subjects using modern digital equipment; primarily PDAs and tablet PCs. This book also discusses about choosing hardware and software

  20. Astronomical Ecosystems (United States)

    Neuenschwander, D. E.; Finkenbinder, L. R.


    Just as quetzals and jaguars require specific ecological habitats to survive, so too must planets occupy a tightly constrained astronomical habitat to support life as we know it. With this theme in mind we relate the transferable features of our elementary astronomy course, "The Astronomical Basis of Life on Earth." Over the last five years, in a team-taught course that features a spring break field trip to Costa Rica, we have introduced astronomy through "astronomical ecosystems," emphasizing astronomical constraints on the prospects for life on Earth. Life requires energy, chemical elements, and long timescales, and we emphasize how cosmological, astrophysical, and geological realities, through stabilities and catastrophes, create and eliminate niches for biological life. The linkage between astronomy and biology gets immediate and personal: for example, studies in solar energy production are followed by hikes in the forest to examine the light-gathering strategies of photosynthetic organisms; a lesson on tides is conducted while standing up to our necks in one on a Pacific beach. Further linkages between astronomy and the human timescale concerns of biological diversity, cultural diversity, and environmental sustainability are natural and direct. Our experience of teaching "astronomy as habitat" strongly influences our "Astronomy 101" course in Oklahoma as well. This "inverted astrobiology" seems to transform our student's outlook, from the universe being something "out there" into something "we're in!" We thank the SNU Science Alumni support group "The Catalysts," and the SNU Quetzal Education and Research Center, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica, for their support.

  1. Instrumentation

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    Journal Scope:Instrumentation is a high quality open access peer reviewed research journal.Authors are solicited to contribute to these journals by submitting articles that illustrate most up-to-date research results,projects,surveying works and industrial experiences that describe significant advances in the instrumental science.The mission of the Instrumentation is

  2. Astronomical Spectroscopy

    CERN Document Server

    Massey, Philip


    Spectroscopy is one of the most important tools that an astronomer has for studying the universe. This chapter begins by discussing the basics, including the different types of optical spectrographs, with extension to the ultraviolet and the near-infrared. Emphasis is given to the fundamentals of how spectrographs are used, and the trade-offs involved in designing an observational experiment. It then covers observing and reduction techniques, noting that some of the standard practices of flat-fielding often actually degrade the quality of the data rather than improve it. Although the focus is on point sources, spatially resolved spectroscopy of extended sources is also briefly discussed. Discussion of differential extinction, the impact of crowding, multi-object techniques, optimal extractions, flat-fielding considerations, and determining radial velocities and velocity dispersions provide the spectroscopist with the fundamentals needed to obtain the best data. Finally the chapter combines the previous materi...

  3. Astronomical chemistry. (United States)

    Klemperer, William


    The discovery of polar polyatomic molecules in higher-density regions of the interstellar medium by means of their rotational emission detected by radioastronomy has changed our conception of the universe from essentially atomic to highly molecular. We discuss models for molecule formation, emphasizing the general lack of thermodynamic equilibrium. Detailed chemical kinetics is needed to understand molecule formation as well as destruction. Ion molecule reactions appear to be an important class for the generally low temperatures of the interstellar medium. The need for the intrinsically high-quality factor of rotational transitions to definitively pin down molecular emitters has been well established by radioastronomy. The observation of abundant molecular ions both positive and, as recently observed, negative provides benchmarks for chemical kinetic schemes. Of considerable importance in guiding our understanding of astronomical chemistry is the fact that the larger molecules (with more than five atoms) are all organic.

  4. Instrumentation

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    Journal Scope:Instrumentation is a high quality open access peer reviewed research journal.Authors are solicited to contribute to these journals by submitting articles that illustrate most up-to-date research results,projects,surveying works and industrial experiences that describe significant advances in the instrumental science.The mission of the Instrumentation is to provide a platform for the researchers,academicians,

  5. Instrumentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Decreton, M


    SCK-CEN's research and development programme on instrumentation involves the assessment and the development of sensitive measurement systems used within a radiation environment. Particular emphasis is on the assessment of optical fibre components and their adaptability to radiation environments. The evaluation of ageing processes of instrumentation in fission plants, the development of specific data evaluation strategies to compensate for ageing induced degradation of sensors and cable performance form part of these activities. In 2000, particular emphasis was on in-core reactor instrumentation applied to fusion, accelerator driven and water-cooled fission reactors. This involved the development of high performance instrumentation for irradiation experiments in the BR2 reactor in support of new instrumentation needs for MYRRHA, and for diagnostic systems for the ITER reactor.

  6. Instrumentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Decreton, M


    SCK-CEN's R and D programme on instrumentation involves the development of advanced instrumentation systems for nuclear applications as well as the assessment of the performance of these instruments in a radiation environment. Particular emphasis is on the use of optical fibres as umbilincal links of a remote handling unit for use during maintanance of a fusion reacor, studies on the radiation hardening of plasma diagnostic systems; investigations on new instrumentation for the future MYRRHA accelerator driven system; space applications related to radiation-hardened lenses; the development of new approaches for dose, temperature and strain measurements; the assessment of radiation-hardened sensors and motors for remote handling tasks and studies of dose measurement systems including the use of optical fibres. Progress and achievements in these areas for 2001 are described.

  7. Developing an astronomical observatory in Paraguay (United States)

    Troche-Boggino, Alexis E.

    Background: Paraguay has some heritage from the astronomy of the Guarani Indians. Buenaventura Suarez S.J. was a pioneer astronomer in the country in the XVIII century. He built various astronomical instruments and imported others from England. He observed eclipses of Jupiter's satellites and of the Sun and Moon. He published his data in a book and through letters. The Japanese O.D.A. has collaborated in obtaining equipment and advised their government to assist Paraguay in building an astronomical observatory, constructing a moving-roof observatory and training astronomers as observatory operators. Future: An astronomical center is on the horizon and some possible fields of research are being considered. Goal: To improve education at all possible levels by not only observing sky wonders, but also showing how instruments work and teaching about data and image processing, saving data and building a data base. Students must learn how a modern scientist works.

  8. Instrumentation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Decreton, M


    SCK-CEN's research and development programme on instrumentation aims at evaluating the potentials of new instrumentation technologies under the severe constraints of a nuclear application. It focuses on the tolerance of sensors to high radiation doses, including optical fibre sensors, and on the related intelligent data processing needed to cope with the nuclear constraints. Main achievements in these domains in 1999 are summarised.

  9. Astronomical Software Directory Service (United States)

    Hanisch, Robert J.; Payne, Harry; Hayes, Jeffrey


    With the support of NASA's Astrophysics Data Program (NRA 92-OSSA-15), we have developed the Astronomical Software Directory Service (ASDS): a distributed, searchable, WWW-based database of software packages and their related documentation. ASDS provides integrated access to 56 astronomical software packages, with more than 16,000 URLs indexed for full-text searching. Users are performing about 400 searches per month. A new aspect of our service is the inclusion of telescope and instrumentation manuals, which prompted us to change the name to the Astronomical Software and Documentation Service. ASDS was originally conceived to serve two purposes: to provide a useful Internet service in an area of expertise of the investigators (astronomical software), and as a research project to investigate various architectures for searching through a set of documents distributed across the Internet. Two of the co-investigators were then installing and maintaining astronomical software as their primary job responsibility. We felt that a service which incorporated our experience in this area would be more useful than a straightforward listing of software packages. The original concept was for a service based on the client/server model, which would function as a directory/referral service rather than as an archive. For performing the searches, we began our investigation with a decision to evaluate the Isite software from the Center for Networked Information Discovery and Retrieval (CNIDR). This software was intended as a replacement for Wide-Area Information Service (WAIS), a client/server technology for performing full-text searches through a set of documents. Isite had some additional features that we considered attractive, and we enjoyed the cooperation of the Isite developers, who were happy to have ASDS as a demonstration project. We ended up staying with the software throughout the project, making modifications to take advantage of new features as they came along, as well as

  10. Instruments

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Buehrer, W. [Paul Scherrer Inst. (PSI), Villigen (Switzerland)


    The present paper mediates a basic knowledge of the most commonly used experimental techniques. We discuss the principles and concepts necessary to understand what one is doing if one performs an experiment on a certain instrument. (author) 29 figs., 1 tab., refs.

  11. Instrumentation

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    Journal Scope:Instrumentation is a high quality open access peer reviewed research journal,Authors are solicited to contribute to these journals by submitting articles that illustrate most up-to-date research results,projects,surveying works and industrial

  12. F.W. Longbottom: astronomical photographer and founder of the Chester Astronomical Society

    CERN Document Server

    Shears, Jeremy


    Frederick William Longbottom FRAS (1850-1933) was an original member of the British Astronomical Association and served as Director of its Photographic Section between 1906 and 1926. A hop merchant by trade, he spent much of his life in Chester where he was instrumental in founding the City's first astronomical society in 1892.

  13. How to achieve ultra-clean detectors and cryostats at astronomical instruments: measures to avoid contamination and dust on CCD detectors (United States)

    Deiries, S.; Lizon, Jean Louis; Iwert, Olaf


    ESO developed in its detector laboratory a complete routine to achieve ultra-clean detectors with lasting effect with special materials and surface treatments. All components of the detector cryostats are washed in ultrasonic baths, then baked to its maximum temperature in vacuum ovens. As final step plasma cleaning is used of individual and integrated systems. All handlings and the complete integrations are done in the clean room before its integration the detectors are dust cleaned with new methods e.g.: vapor cleaning. At observatory operation the detectors can be monitored by new methods (e.g.: pseudo FF dust evaluation, UV QE test) as a long term contamination control. The always unavoidable moisture in the ready installed instrument can even be cured by UV flashing in dry synthetic air without removing anything from the telescope. Such ESO provides ultra-clean detectors and instruments, which also do not degrade even after years of operation at their telescope sites.

  14. Biographical encyclopedia of astronomers

    CERN Document Server

    Trimble, Virginia; Williams, Thomas; Bracher, Katherine; Jarrell, Richard; Marché, Jordan; Palmeri, JoAnn; Green, Daniel


    The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers is a unique and valuable resource for historians and astronomers alike. It includes approx. 1850 biographical sketches on astronomers from antiquity to modern times. It is the collective work of 430 authors edited by an editorial board of 8 historians and astronomers. This reference provides biographical information on astronomers and cosmologists by utilizing contemporary historical scholarship. The fully corrected and updated second edition adds approximately 300 biographical sketches. Based on ongoing research and feedback from the community, the new entries will fill gaps and provide expansions. In addition, greater emphasis on Russo phone astronomers and radio astronomers is given. Individual entries vary from 100 to 1500 words, including the likes of the super luminaries such as Newton and Einstein, as well as lesser-known astronomers like Galileo's acolyte, Mario Guiducci.

  15. Auto Adjusting Astronomical Telescope

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rohit R. Ghalsasi


    Full Text Available Astronomical telescope is powerful and basic tool for star or celestial observation. Here we proposed integrated system using Raspberry Pi for auto adjusting astronomical telescope. This integrated circuit helps to control stellar monitoring, stellar targeting, and tracking functions of telescope. Astro compass gives the direction of the celestial objects.

  16. The Astronomical League (United States)

    Stevens, J. A.; Stevens, B. L.


    Founded over fifty years ago, the League is the largest general astronomy society in the world. It is a recognized non-profit, educational organization, promoting the science of astronomy. This includes astronomical education, research, individual observing of the heavens and coordination between the amateur and professional astronomy communities. The Astronomical League publishes a quarterly newsletter, the "Reflector", which details amateur activities and amateur collaboration with professional astronomers. The League's Observing Clubs hone the skills of the amateur astronomer in using their telescopes. These clubs provide awards to encourge observing and learning the sky. More general awards are presented to encourage amateur astronomy and the science of astronomy. These include the National Young Astronomer Award, amd the Horkheimer Planetary Imaging Award. They also sponsor conventions on both the National and Regional levels. This year's national is in Ventura, California, next year, near Washington, D.C.

  17. Integrated optics for astronomical interferometry; 1, Concept and astronomical applications

    CERN Document Server

    Malbet, M; Schanen-Duport, J P; Berger, J P; Rousselet-Perraut, K; Benech, P


    We propose a new instrumental concept for long-baseline optical single-mode interferometry using integrated optics which were developed for telecommunication. Visible and infrared multi-aperture interferometry requires many optical functions (spatial filtering, beam combination, photometric calibration, polarization control) to detect astronomical signals at very high angular resolution. Since the 80's, integrated optics on planar substrate have become available for telecommunication applications with multiple optical functions like power dividing, coupling, multiplexing, etc. We present the concept of an optical / infrared interferometric instrument based on this new technology. The main advantage is to provide an interferometric combination unit on a single optical chip. Integrated optics are compact, provide stability, low sensitivity to external constrains like temperature, pressure or mechanical stresses, no optical alignment except for coupling, simplicity and intrinsic polarization control. The integra...

  18. Advanced optical coatings for astronomical instrumentation (United States)

    Pradal, Fabien; Leplan, Hervé; Vayssade, Hervé; Geyl, Roland


    Recently Safran Reosc worked and progressed on various thin film technology for: Large mirrors with low stress and stable coatings. Large lens elements with strong curvature and precise layer specifications. Large filters with high spectral response uniformity specifications. IR coatings with low stress and excellent resistance to cryogenic environment for NIR to LWIR domains. Pixelated coatings. Results will be presented and discussed on the basis of several examples.

  19. Astronomical Optical Interferometry. I. Methods and Instrumentation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jankov, S.


    Full Text Available Previous decade has seen an achievement of large interferometricprojects including 8-10m telescopes and 100m class baselines. Modern computerand control technology has enabled the interferometric combination of lightfrom separate telescopes also in the visible and infrared regimes. Imagingwith milli-arcsecond (mas resolution and astrometry with micro-arcsecond($mu$as precision have thus become reality. Here, I review the methods andinstrumentation corresponding to the current state in the field ofastronomical optical interferometry. First, this review summarizes thedevelopment from the pioneering works of Fizeau and Michelson. Next, thefundamental observables are described, followed by the discussion of the basicdesign principles of modern interferometers. The basic interferometrictechniques such as speckle and aperture masking interferometry, aperture synthesisand nulling interferometry are disscused as well. Using the experience ofpast and existing facilities to illustrate important points, I considerparticularly the new generation of large interferometers that has beenrecently commissioned (most notably, the CHARA, Keck, VLT and LBTInterferometers. Finally, I discuss the longer-term future of opticalinterferometry, including the possibilities of new large-scale ground-based projects and prospects for space interferometry.

  20. The Infrared Astronomical Mission AKARI

    CERN Document Server

    Murakami, H; Barthel, P; Clements, D L; Cohen, M; Doi, Y; Enya, K; Figueredo, E; Fujishiro, N; Fujiwara, H; Fujiwara, M; García-Lario, P; Goto, T; Hasegawa, S; Hibi, Y; Hirao, T; Hiromoto, N; Hong, S S; Imai, K; Ishigaki, M; Ishiguro, M; Ishihara, D; Ita, Y; Jeong, W -S; Jeong, K S; Kaneda, H; Kataza, H; Kawada, M; Kawai, T; Kawamura, A; Kessler, M F; Kester, Do; Kii, T; Kim, D C; Kim, W; Kobayashi, H; Koo, B C; Kwon, S M; Lee, H M; Lorente, R; Makiuti, S; Matsuhara, H; Matsumoto, T; Matsuo, H; Matsuura, S; Müller, T G; Murakami, N; Nagata, H; Nakagawa, T; Naoi, T; Narita, M; Noda, M; Oh, S H; Ohnishi, A; Ohyama, Y; Okada, Y; Okuda, H; Oliver, S; Onaka, T; Ootsubo, T; Oyabu, S; Pak, S; Park, Y S; Pearson, C P; Rowan-Robinson, M; Saitô, T; Sakon, I; Salama, A; Sato, S; Savage, R S; Serjeant, S; Shibai, H; Shirahata, M; Sohn, J J; Suzuki, T; Takagi, T; Takahashi, H; Tanabé, T; Takeuchi, T T; Takita, S; Thomson, M; Uemizu, K; Ueno, M; Usui, F; Verdugo, E; Wada, T; Wang, L; Watabe, T; Watarai, H; White, G J; Yamamura, I; Yamauchi, C; Yasuda, A


    AKARI, the first Japanese satellite dedicated to infrared astronomy, was launched on 2006 February 21, and started observations in May of the same year. AKARI has a 68.5 cm cooled telescope, together with two focal-plane instruments, which survey the sky in six wavelength bands from the mid- to far-infrared. The instruments also have the capability for imaging and spectroscopy in the wavelength range 2 - 180 micron in the pointed observation mode, occasionally inserted into the continuous survey operation. The in-orbit cryogen lifetime is expected to be one and a half years. The All-Sky Survey will cover more than 90 percent of the whole sky with higher spatial resolution and wider wavelength coverage than that of the previous IRAS all-sky survey. Point source catalogues of the All-Sky Survey will be released to the astronomical community. The pointed observations will be used for deep surveys of selected sky areas and systematic observations of important astronomical targets. These will become an additional ...

  1. Coronagraph for astronomical imaging and spectrophotometry (United States)

    Vilas, Faith; Smith, Bradford A.


    A coronagraph designed to minimize scattered light in astronomical observations caused by the structure of the primary mirror, secondary mirror, and secondary support structure of a Cassegrainian telescope is described. Direct (1:1) and reducing (2.7:1) imaging of astronomical fields are possible. High-quality images are produced. The coronagraph can be used with either a two-dimensional charge-coupled device or photographic film camera. The addition of transmission dispersing optics converts the coronagraph into a low-resolution spectrograph. The instrument is modular and portable for transport to different observatories.

  2. An astronomical murder? (United States)

    Belenkiy, Ari


    Ari Belenkiy examines the murder of Hypatia of Alexandria, wondering whether problems with astronomical observations and the date of Easter led to her becoming a casualty of fifth-century political intrigue.

  3. Decoding Astronomical Concepts (United States)

    Durisen, Richard H.; Pilachowski, Catherine A.


    Two astronomy professors, using the Decoding the Disciplines process, help their students use abstract theories to analyze light and to visualize the enormous scale of astronomical concepts. (Contains 5 figures.)

  4. Thirteenth Joint European and National Astronomical Meeting

    CERN Document Server

    Iniesta, J C


    The book gathers the invited talks to the XIII JENAM conference, organized this time by the European Astronomical Society (EAS) and the Spanish Astronomical Society (SEA), and hosted by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC). All branches of astrophysics are encompassed from the largest scales and cosmology to the solar system and the Sun, through the galaxies and the stars, including a section on astronomical instrumentation. Very relevant experts from all over the world speak in a single book about the most recent, exciting results from their fields in a way which is useful for both researchers in these fields and colleagues working in other disciplines. The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM including the remaining contributions of the meeting in PDF format, hence opening a wide panorama of what is going on in astrophysics nowadays.

  5. Decoding the mechanisms of Antikythera astronomical device

    CERN Document Server

    Lin, Jian-Liang


    This book presents a systematic design methodology for decoding the interior structure of the Antikythera mechanism, an astronomical device from ancient Greece. The historical background, surviving evidence and reconstructions of the mechanism are introduced, and the historical development of astronomical achievements and various astronomical instruments are investigated. Pursuing an approach based on the conceptual design of modern mechanisms and bearing in mind the standards of science and technology at the time, all feasible designs of the six lost/incomplete/unclear subsystems are synthesized as illustrated examples, and 48 feasible designs of the complete interior structure are presented. This approach provides not only a logical tool for applying modern mechanical engineering knowledge to the reconstruction of the Antikythera mechanism, but also an innovative research direction for identifying the original structures of the mechanism in the future. In short, the book offers valuable new insights for all...

  6. Atlas of Astronomical Discoveries

    CERN Document Server

    Schilling, Govert


    Four hundred years ago in Middelburg, in the Netherlands, the telescope was invented. The invention unleashed a revolution in the exploration of the universe. Galileo Galilei discovered mountains on the Moon, spots on the Sun, and moons around Jupiter. Christiaan Huygens saw details on Mars and rings around Saturn. William Herschel discovered a new planet and mapped binary stars and nebulae. Other astronomers determined the distances to stars, unraveled the structure of the Milky Way, and discovered the expansion of the universe. And, as telescopes became bigger and more powerful, astronomers delved deeper into the mysteries of the cosmos. In his Atlas of Astronomical Discoveries, astronomy journalist Govert Schilling tells the story of 400 years of telescopic astronomy. He looks at the 100 most important discoveries since the invention of the telescope. In his direct and accessible style, the author takes his readers on an exciting journey encompassing the highlights of four centuries of astronomy. Spectacul...

  7. Alternative Astronomical FITS imaging

    CERN Document Server

    Varsaki, Eleni E; Fotopoulos, Vassilis; Skodras, Athanassios N


    Astronomical radio maps are presented mainly in FITS format. Astronomical Image Processing Software (AIPS) uses a set of tables attached to the output map to include all sorts of information concerning the production of the image. However this information together with information on the flux and noise of the map is lost as soon as the image of the radio source in fits or other format is extracted from AIPS. This information would have been valuable to another astronomer who just uses NED, for example, to download the map. In the current work, we show a method of data hiding inside the radio map, which can be preserved under transformations, even for example while the format of the map is changed from fits to other lossless available image formats.

  8. Astrobiology: An Astronomer's Perspective


    Bergin, Edwin A.


    In this review we explore aspects of the field of astrobiology from an astronomical viewpoint. We therefore focus on the origin of life in the context of planetary formation, with additional emphasis on tracing the most abundant volatile elements, C, H, O, and N that are used by life on Earth. We first explore the history of life on our planet and outline the current state of our knowledge regarding the delivery of the C, H, O, N elements to the Earth. We then discuss how astronomers track th...

  9. Methods in Astronomical Image Processing (United States)

    Jörsäter, S.

    A Brief Introductory Note History of Astronomical Imaging Astronomical Image Data Images in Various Formats Digitized Image Data Digital Image Data Philosophy of Astronomical Image Processing Properties of Digital Astronomical Images Human Image Processing Astronomical vs. Computer Science Image Processing Basic Tools of Astronomical Image Processing Display Applications Calibration of Intensity Scales Calibration of Length Scales Image Re-shaping Feature Enhancement Noise Suppression Noise and Error Analysis Image Processing Packages: Design of AIPS and MIDAS AIPS MIDAS Reduction of CCD Data Bias Subtraction Clipping Preflash Subtraction Dark Subtraction Flat Fielding Sky Subtraction Extinction Correction Deconvolution Methods Rebinning/Combining Summary and Prospects for the Future

  10. Misconceptions of Astronomical Distances (United States)

    Miller, Brian W.; Brewer, William F.


    Previous empirical studies using multiple-choice procedures have suggested that there are misconceptions about the scale of astronomical distances. The present study provides a quantitative estimate of the nature of this misconception among US university students by asking them, in an open-ended response format, to make estimates of the distances…

  11. Svetloe Radio Astronomical Observatory (United States)

    Smolentsev, Sergey; Rahimov, Ismail


    This report summarizes information about the Svetloe Radio Astronomical Observatory activities in 2012. Last year, a number of changes took place in the observatory to improve some technical characteristics and to upgrade some units to their required status. The report provides an overview of current geodetic VLBI activities and gives an outlook for the future.

  12. Zelenchukskaya Radio Astronomical Observatory (United States)

    Smolentsev, Sergey; Dyakov, Andrei


    This report summarizes information about Zelenchukskaya Radio Astronomical Observatory activities in 2012. Last year a number of changes took place in the observatory to improve some technical characteristics and to upgrade some units to the required status. The report provides an overview of current geodetic VLBI activities and gives an outlook for the future.

  13. Thomas Kuhn's Influence on Astronomers. (United States)

    Shipman, Harry L.


    Surveys the astronomical community on their familiarity with the work of Thomas Kuhn. Finds that for some astronomers, Kuhn's thought resonated well with their picture of how science is done and provided perspectives on their scientific careers. (Author/CCM)

  14. BAA instrument no. 93 (United States)

    Marriott, R. A.


    Instrument no. 93 has been in almost continual use for more than a hundred years. Since it left the workshop of its maker, George Calver, it has kept company with several other notable instruments and has been used by many eminent astronomers. It was added to the Association's collection in 1945.

  15. Kepler as astronomical observer in Prague (United States)

    Bialas, Volker

    Official histories of science have consistently perpetuated the rumour that Kepler's poor eyesight prevented him from undertaking astronomical observations. However the condition of his eyesight could not have been so serious for in 1582, when his father made it possible for him to see a lunar eclipse, Kepler saw the moon emerge clearly. We find quite a lot of his astronomical observations especially of the years in Prague, mostly left in his manuscripts and unpublished until now. They will be edited in Vol. XXI.1 of the Kepler-Edition in the next future. Kepler's astronomical observations in Prague were mostly initiated by spectacular phenomena in the sky. He was self-critical enough to know, that his observations could not compete with those of the best observers of his time. It was not necessary for him to come up to highest standard of accuracy, and it was not possible to do so because he did not possess proper astronomical instruments. But nevertheless it was important for him as a theorist of astronomy and as a philosopher of nature to take a view of the phenomena which he wished to study carefully.

  16. Astronomers as Software Developers (United States)

    Pildis, Rachel A.


    Astronomers know that their research requires writing, adapting, and documenting computer software. Furthermore, they often have to learn new computer languages and figure out how existing programs work without much documentation or guidance and with extreme time pressure. These are all skills that can lead to a software development job, but recruiters and employers probably won't know that. I will discuss all the highly useful experience that astronomers may not know that they already have, and how to explain that knowledge to others when looking for non-academic software positions. I will also talk about some of the pitfalls I have run into while interviewing for jobs and working as a developer, and encourage you to embrace the curiosity employers might have about your non-standard background.

  17. Astronomical Research Using Virtual Observatories

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M Tanaka


    Full Text Available The Virtual Observatory (VO for Astronomy is a framework that empowers astronomical research by providing standard methods to find, access, and utilize astronomical data archives distributed around the world. VO projects in the world have been strenuously developing VO software tools and/or portal systems. Interoperability among VO projects has been achieved with the VO standard protocols defined by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA. As a result, VO technologies are now used in obtaining astronomical research results from a huge amount of data. We describe typical examples of astronomical research enabled by the astronomical VO, and describe how the VO technologies are used in the research.

  18. Digitizer of astronomical plates at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory and its performance test (United States)

    Yu, Yong; Zhao, Jian-Hai; Tang, Zheng-Hong; Shang, Zheng-Jun


    Before CCD detectors were widely employed in observational astronomy, the main method of detection was the use of glass astrophotographic plates. Astronomical plates have been used to record information on the position and activity of celestial bodies for more than 100 years. There are about 30 000 astronomical plates in China, and the digitization of astronomical plates is of great significance for permanent preservation and to make full use of these valuable observation data. A digitizer with high precision and high measuring speed is a key piece of equipment for carrying out the task of digitizing these astronomical plates. A digitizer for glass astrophotographic plates was developed jointly by Shanghai Astronomical Observatory and Nishimura Co., Ltd of Japan. The digitizer’s hardware was manufactured by Nishimura Co., Ltd, and the performance test, error corrections as well as image processing of the digitizer were carried out by Shanghai Astronomical Observatory. The main structure and working mode of the digitizer are introduced in this paper. A performance test shows that brightness uniformity of illumination within the measuring area is better than 0.15%, the repeatability of digitized positions is better than 0.2 µm and the repeatability of digitized brightness is better than 0.01 instrumental magnitude. The systematic factors affecting digitized positions, such as lens distortion, the actual optical resolution, non-linearity of guide rails, non-uniformity of linear motors in the mobile platform, deviation of the image mosaic, and non-orthogonality between the direction of scanning and camera linear array, are calibrated and evaluated. Based on an astronomical plate with a size of 300mm × 300mm, which was digitized at different angles, the conversion residuals of positions of common stars on different images were investigated. The results show that the standard deviations of the residuals are better than 0.9 µm and the residual distribution is almost

  19. On astronomical drawing [1846 (United States)

    Smyth, Charles Piazzi

    Reprinted from the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society 15, 1846, pp. 71-82. With annotations and illustrations added by Klaus Hentschel. The activities of the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900), include the triangulation of South African districts, landscape painting, day-to-day or tourist sketching, the engraving and lithographing of prominent architectural sites, the documentary photography of the Egyptian pyramids or the Tenerife Dragon tree, and `instant photographs' of the clouds above his retirement home in Clova, Ripon. His colorful records of the aurora polaris, and solar and terrestrial spectra all profited from his trained eye and his subtle mastery of the pen and the brush. As his paper on astronomical drawing, which we chose to reproduce in this volume, amply demonstrates, he was conversant in most of the print technology repertoire that the 19th century had to offer, and carefully selected the one most appropriate to each sujet. For instance, he chose mezzotint for the plates illustrating Maclear's observations of Halley's comet in 1835/36, so as to achieve a ``rich profundity of shadows, the deep obscurity of which is admirably adapted to reproduce those fine effects of chiaroscuro frequently found in works where the quantity of dark greatly predominates.'' The same expertise with which he tried to emulate Rembrandt's chiaroscuro effects he applied to assessing William and John Herschel's illustrations of nebulae, which appeared in print between 1811 and 1834. William Herschel's positive engraving, made partly by stippling and partly by a coarse mezzotint, receives sharp admonishment because of the visible ruled crossed lines in the background and the fact that ``the objects, which are also generally too light, [have] a much better definition than they really possess.'' On the other hand, John Herschel's illustration of nebulae and star clusters, given in negative, ``in which the lights are the darkest part of the

  20. Astronomy Legacy Project - Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (United States)

    Barker, Thurburn; Castelaz, Michael W.; Rottler, Lee; Cline, J. Donald


    Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) is a not-for-profit public foundation in North Carolina dedicated to providing hands-on educational and research opportunities for a broad cross-section of users in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. In November 2007 a Workshop on a National Plan for Preserving Astronomical Photographic Data (2009ASPC,410,33O, Osborn, W. & Robbins, L) was held at PARI. The result was the establishment of the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive (APDA) at PARI. In late 2013 PARI began ALP (Astronomy Legacy Project). ALP's purpose is to digitize an extensive set of twentieth century photographic astronomical data housed in APDA. Because of the wide range of types of plates, plate dimensions and emulsions found among the 40+ collections, plate digitization will require a versatile set of scanners and digitizing instruments. Internet crowdfunding was used to assist in the purchase of additional digitization equipment that were described at AstroPlate2014 Plate Preservation Workshop ( held in Prague, CZ, March, 2014. Equipment purchased included an Epson Expression 11000XL scanner and two Nikon D800E cameras. These digital instruments will compliment a STScI GAMMA scanner now located in APDA. GAMMA will be adapted to use an electroluminescence light source and a digital camera with a telecentric lens to achieve high-speed high-resolution scanning. The 1μm precision XY stage of GAMMA will allow very precise positioning of the plate stage. Multiple overlapping CCD images of small sections of each plate, tiles, will be combined using a photo-mosaic process similar to one used in Harvard's DASCH project. Implementation of a software pipeline for the creation of a SQL database containing plate images and metadata will be based upon APPLAUSE as described by Tuvikene at AstroPlate2014 (

  1. Astrobiology: An Astronomer's Perspective

    CERN Document Server

    Bergin, Edwin A


    In this review we explore aspects of the field of astrobiology from an astronomical viewpoint. We therefore focus on the origin of life in the context of planetary formation, with additional emphasis on tracing the most abundant volatile elements, C, H, O, and N that are used by life on Earth. We first explore the history of life on our planet and outline the current state of our knowledge regarding the delivery of the C, H, O, N elements to the Earth. We then discuss how astronomers track the gaseous and solid molecular carriers of these volatiles throughout the process of star and planet formation. It is now clear that the early stages of star formation fosters the creation of water and simple organic molecules with enrichments of heavy isotopes. These molecules are found as ice coatings on the solid materials that represent microscopic beginnings of terrestrial worlds. Based on the meteoritic and cometary record, the process of planet formation, and the local environment, lead to additional increases in or...

  2. Professional Ethics for Astronomers (United States)

    Marvel, K. B.


    There is a growing recognition that professional ethics is an important topic for all professional scientists, especially physical scientists. Situations at the National Laboratories have dramatically proven this point. Professional ethics is usually only considered important for the health sciences and the legal and medical professions. However, certain aspects of the day to day work of professional astronomers can be impacted by ethical issues. Examples include refereeing scientific papers, serving on grant panels or telescope allocation committees, submitting grant proposals, providing proper references in publications, proposals or talks and even writing recommendation letters for job candidates or serving on search committees. This session will feature several speakers on a variety of topics and provide time for questions and answers from the audience. Confirmed speakers include: Kate Kirby, Director Institute for Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics - Professional Ethics in the Physical Sciences: An Overview Rob Kennicutt, Astrophysical Journal Editor - Ethical Issues for Publishing Astronomers Peggy Fischer, Office of the NSF Inspector General - Professional Ethics from the NSF Inspector General's Point of View

  3. Astronomical Studies at Infrared Wavelengths (United States)

    Rinehart, Stephen A.


    Astronomical studies at infrared wavelengths have dramatically improved our understanding of the universe, and observations with Spitzer, Herschel, and SOFIA will continue to provide exciting new discoveries. The relatively low angular resolution of these missions, however, is insufficient to resolve the physical scale on which mid-to far-infrared emission arises, resulting in source and structure ambiguities that limit our ability to answer key science questions. Interferometry enables high angular resolution at these wavelengths - a powerful tool for scientific discovery. We will build the Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry (BETTII), an eight-meter baseline Michelson stellar interferometer to fly on a high-altitude balloon. BETTII's spectral-spatial capability, provided by an instrument using double-Fourier techniques, will address key questions about the nature of disks in young star clusters and active galactic nuclei and the envelopes of evolved stars. BETTII will also lay the technological groundwork for future balloon programs, paving the way for interferometric observations of exoplanets.

  4. VEGAS: VErsatile GBT Astronomical Spectrometer (United States)

    Bussa, Srikanth; VEGAS Development Team


    The National Science Foundation Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation (NSF-ATI) program is funding a new spectrometer backend for the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). This spectrometer is being built by the CICADA collaboration - collaboration between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the Center for Astronomy Signal Processing and Electronics Research (CASPER) at the University of California Berkeley.The backend is named as VErsatile GBT Astronomical Spectrometer (VEGAS) and will replace the capabilities of the existing spectrometers. This backend supports data processing from focal plane array systems. The spectrometer will be capable of processing up to 1.25 GHz bandwidth from 8 dual polarized beams or a bandwidth up to 10 GHz from a dual polarized beam.The spectrometer will be using 8-bit analog to digital converters (ADC), which gives a better dynamic range than existing GBT spectrometers. There will be 8 tunable digital sub-bands within the 1.25 GHz bandwidth, which will enhance the capability of simultaneous observation of multiple spectral transitions. The maximum spectral dump rate to disk will be about 0.5 msec. The vastly enhanced backend capabilities will support several science projects with the GBT. The projects include mapping temperature and density structure of molecular clouds; searches for organic molecules in the interstellar medium; determination of the fundamental constants of our evolving Universe; red-shifted spectral features from galaxies across cosmic time and survey for pulsars in the extreme gravitational environment of the Galactic Center.

  5. UNI Astronomical Observatory - OAUNI: First light

    CERN Document Server

    Pereyra, Antonio; Meza, Erick; Cori, William; Ricra, José; Zevallos, Maria Isela


    We show the actual status of the project to implement the Astronomical Observatory of the National University of Engineering (OAUNI), including its first light. The OAUNI was installed with success at the site of the Huancayo Observatory on the peruvian central Andes. At this time, we are finishing the commissioning phase which includes the testing of all the instruments: optical tube, robotic mount, CCD camera, filter wheel, remote access system, etc. The first light gathered from a stellar field was very promissory. The next step will be to start the scientific programs and to bring support to the undergraduate courses in observational astronomy at the Faculty of Sciences of UNI.

  6. TMT in the Astronomical Landscape of the 2020s (United States)

    Dickinson, Mark; Inami, Hanae


    Thirty Meter Telescope Observatory and NOAO will host the second TMT Science Forum at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona. The TMT Science Forum is an an annual gathering of astronomers, educators, and observatory staff, who meet to explore TMT science, instrumentation, observatory operations, archiving and data processing, astronomy education, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) issues. It is an opportunity for astronomers from the international TMT partners and from the US-at-large community to learn about the observatory status, discuss and plan cutting-edge science, establish collaborations, and to help shape the future of TMT. One important theme for this year's Forum will be the synergy between TMT and other facilities in the post-2020 astronomical landscape. There will be plenary sessions, an instrumentation workshop, topical science sessions and meetings of the TMT International Science Development Teams (ISDTs).

  7. Studies in the Greek Astronomers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Huxley


    Full Text Available (1 Eudoxus’ life and writings, especially his visit to Egypt and his astronomical research, can in part be clarified; (2 a fragment of Cleostratus of Tenedos shows him calculating celestial events in relation to the solstice; (3 the chronology and interrelations of several of the Hellenistic astronomers can be reconstructed.

  8. The Sensitization of French Observatory Directors to Astronomical Heritage (United States)

    Le Guet Tully, Françoise; Davoigneau, Jean


    An inventory of the heritage of historical astronomical observatories was launched in the mid 1990s as part of a collaboration between the Ministry of Research and the Ministry of Culture. This has produced a significant body of knowledge not only on astronomical instruments, but also on the specificities of astronomical sites and on the architecture of observatories. Other major results of this operation are (i) the development of numerous works on the institutional history of observatories and (ii), at the request of a few directors, the protection as "historical monuments" of some buildings and of collections of instruments. Given that knowledge about astronomical heritage is a prerequisite for proper conservation and intelligent outreach, and given also that the protection of such heritage (as historical monuments) is a major asset that bolsters its cultural value, the long term sustainability of such heritage depends on political decisions and the search for financial support. We shall describe the complex administrative situation of French observatories and outline the various actions undertaken recently to sensitize their directors to astronomical heritage issues.

  9. UV and EUV Instruments

    CERN Document Server

    Werner, K


    We describe telescopes and instruments that were developed and used for astronomical research in the ultraviolet (UV) and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelength ranges covered by these bands are not uniquely defined. We use the following convention here: The EUV and UV span the regions ~100-912 and 912-3000 Angstroem respectively. The limitation between both ranges is a natural choice, because the hydrogen Lyman absorption edge is located at 912 Angstroem. At smaller wavelengths, astronomical sources are strongly absorbed by the interstellar medium. It also marks a technical limit, because telescopes and instruments are of different design. In the EUV range, the technology is strongly related to that utilized in X-ray astronomy, while in the UV range the instruments in many cases have their roots in optical astronomy. We will, therefore, describe the UV and EUV instruments in appropriate conciseness and refer to the respective chapters of this volume for more technic...

  10. Thirty years of astronomical discovery with UKIRT

    CERN Document Server

    Davies, John; Robson, Ian; The Scientific Achievement of the United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope


    These are the proceedings of an international meeting hosted by the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the UKIRT, the United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope. The volume comprises 31 professional level papers. The first part of the book has 10 thorough reviews of the conception, design and build of the telescope, as well as accounts of some its key instruments such as IRCAM (the common-user infrared camera), CGS4 (the fourth Cooled Grating Spectrometer) and the Wide Field Camera. The second part of the book comprises 14 reviews of scientific achievements during its twenty years of visitor mode operations. The final part of the book is a series of 7 reviews of the results from the multiple surveys being done as part of UKIDSS (UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey). The authors are all experts in their respective fields, for example instrument scientists, operations staff and leading astronomers.

  11. Astronomical Significance of Ancient Monuments (United States)

    Simonia, I.


    Astronomical significance of Gokhnari megalithic monument (eastern Georgia) is considered. Possible connection of Amirani ancient legend with Gokhnari monument is discussed. Concepts of starry practicality and solar stations are proposed.

  12. Using commercial amateur astronomical spectrographs

    CERN Document Server

    Hopkins, Jeffrey L


    Amateur astronomers interested in learning more about astronomical spectroscopy now have the guide they need. It provides detailed information about how to get started inexpensively with low-resolution spectroscopy, and then how to move on to more advanced  high-resolution spectroscopy. Uniquely, the instructions concentrate very much on the practical aspects of using commercially-available spectroscopes, rather than simply explaining how spectroscopes work. The book includes a clear explanation of the laboratory theory behind astronomical spectrographs, and goes on to extensively cover the practical application of astronomical spectroscopy in detail. Four popular and reasonably-priced commercially available diffraction grating spectrographs are used as examples. The first is a low-resolution transmission diffraction grating, the Star Analyser spectrograph. The second is an inexpensive fiber optic coupled bench spectrograph that can be used to learn more about spectroscopy. The third is a newcomer, the ALPY ...

  13. Enthusiastic Little Astronomers (United States)

    Novak, Ines


    Younger primary school students often show great interest in the vast Universe hiding behind the starry night's sky, but don't have a way of learning about it and exploring it in regular classes. Some of them would search children's books, Internet or encyclopedias for information or facts they are interested in, but there are those whose hunger for knowledge would go unfulfilled. Such students were the real initiators of our extracurricular activity called Little Astronomers. With great enthusiasm they would name everything that interests them about the Universe that we live in and I would provide the information in a fun and interactive yet acceptable way for their level of understanding. In our class we learn about Earth and its place in the Solar System, we learn about the planets and other objects of our Solar System and about the Sun itself. We also explore the night sky using programs such as Stellarium, learning to recognize constellations and name them. Most of our activities are done using a PowerPoint presentation, YouTube videos, and Internet simulations followed by some practical work the students do themselves. Because of the lack of available materials and funds, most of materials are hand made by the teacher leading the class. We also use the school's galileoscope as often as possible. Every year the students are given the opportunity to go to an observatory in a town 90 km away so that they could gaze at the sky through the real telescope for the first time. Our goal is to start stepping into the world of astronomy by exploring the secrets of the Universe and understanding the process of rotation and revolution of our planet and its effects on our everyday lives and also to become more aware of our own role in our part of the Universe. The hunger for knowledge and enthusiasm these students have is contagious. They are becoming more aware of their surroundings and also understanding their place in the Universe that helps them remain humble and helps

  14. Choosing and using astronomical eyepieces

    CERN Document Server

    Paolini, William


    This valuable reference fills a number of needs in the field of astronomical eyepieces, including that of a buyer's guide, observer's field guide and technical desk reference. It documents the past market for eyepieces and its evolution right up to the present day. In addition to appealing to practical astronomers - and potentially saving them money - it is useful both as a historical reference and as a detailed review of the current market place for this bustling astronomical consumer product. What distinguishes this book from other publications on astronomy is the involvement of observers from all aspects of the astronomical community, and also the major manufacturers of equipment. It not only catalogs the technical aspects of the many modern eyepieces but also documents amateur observer reactions and impressions of their utility over the years, using many different eyepieces. Eyepieces are the most talked-about accessories and collectible items available to the amateur astronomer. No other item of equi...

  15. Astronomical Image and Data Analysis

    CERN Document Server

    Starck, J.-L


    With information and scale as central themes, this comprehensive survey explains how to handle real problems in astronomical data analysis using a modern arsenal of powerful techniques. It treats those innovative methods of image, signal, and data processing that are proving to be both effective and widely relevant. The authors are leaders in this rapidly developing field and draw upon decades of experience. They have been playing leading roles in international projects such as the Virtual Observatory and the Grid. The book addresses not only students and professional astronomers and astrophysicists, but also serious amateur astronomers and specialists in earth observation, medical imaging, and data mining. The coverage includes chapters or appendices on: detection and filtering; image compression; multichannel, multiscale, and catalog data analytical methods; wavelets transforms, Picard iteration, and software tools. This second edition of Starck and Murtagh's highly appreciated reference again deals with to...

  16. Choosing and using astronomical filters

    CERN Document Server

    Griffiths, Martin


    As a casual read through any of the major amateur astronomical magazines will demonstrate, there are filters available for all aspects of optical astronomy. This book provides a ready resource on the use of the following filters, among others, for observational astronomy or for imaging: Light pollution filters Planetary filters Solar filters Neutral density filters for Moon observation Deep-sky filters, for such objects as galaxies, nebulae and more Deep-sky objects can be imaged in much greater detail than was possible many years ago. Amateur astronomers can take

  17. Two amateur astronomers at Berkeley

    CERN Document Server

    Sparavigna, Amelia Carolina


    The book on Mechanics of the Physics at Berkeley, by C. Kittel, W.D. Knight and M.A. Ruderman, is proposing at the end of its first chapter some problems of simple astronomy within the solar system. The discussion begins with two amateur astronomers who set for themselves the goal of determining the diameter and mass of the Sun. Here we discuss the problems proposed by the book and some other matters on ancient and modern astronomical studies of the solar system.

  18. Multinational History of Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory

    CERN Document Server

    Heck, André


    Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory is quite an interesting place for historians: several changes of nationality between France and Germany, high-profile scientists having been based there, big projects born or installed in its walls, and so on. Most of the documents circulating on the history of the Observatory and on related matters have however been so far poorly referenced, if at all. This made necessary the compilation of a volume such as this one, offering fully-documented historical facts and references on the first decades of the Observatory history, authored by both French and German specialists. The experts contributing to this book have done their best to write in a way understandable to readers not necessarily hyperspecialized in astronomy nor in the details of European history. After an introductory chapter by the Editor, contributions by Wolfschmidt and by Duerbeck respectively deal extensively with the German periods and review people and instrumentation, while another paper by Duerbeck is more...

  19. Astronomical Observations of Volatiles on Asteroids

    CERN Document Server

    Rivkin, Andrew S; Emery, Joshua P; Howell, Ellen S; Licandro, Javier; Takir, Driss; Vilas, Faith


    We have long known that water and hydroxyl are important components in meteorites and asteroids. However, in the time since the publication of Asteroids III, evolution of astronomical instrumentation, laboratory capabilities, and theoretical models have led to great advances in our understanding of H2O/OH on small bodies, and spacecraft observations of the Moon and Vesta have important implications for our interpretations of the asteroidal population. We begin this chapter with the importance of water/OH in asteroids, after which we will discuss their spectral features throughout the visible and near-infrared. We continue with an overview of the findings in meteorites and asteroids, closing with a discussion of future opportunities, the results from which we can anticipate finding in Asteroids V. Because this topic is of broad importance to asteroids, we also point to relevant in-depth discussions elsewhere in this volume.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Tignanelli


    Full Text Available We discuss the development and optimization of an ongoing educational project involving the whole population of the province of San Luis, Argentina. The core of the project includes activities and resources that capture formal curricular aspects directed towards all levels of teaching. The educational activities r elated to this projecthave been bene ted by the acquisition of two planetariums made in Argentina, a MEADE 1600 telescope to be operated by remote control from any school-room in San Luis, and a naked-eye observatory with more than 30 pre-telescopic instruments, and other didactic tools specially designed for the teaching of Astronomy. Furthermore, an Internet site to upload all the astronomical activities suggested that has been developed along with a number of didactic and general-interest publications.

  1. Integral Programme of Basic Astronomic Literacy Development (United States)

    Tignanelli, H.


    We discuss the development and optimization of an ongoing educational project involving the whole population of the province of San Luis, Argentina. The core of the project includes activities and resources that capture formal curricular aspects directed towards all levels of teaching. The educational activities related to this project have been benefited by the acquisition of two planetariums made in Argentina, a MEADE 16'' telescope to be operated by remote control from any school-room in San Luis, and a naked-eye observatory with more than 30 pre-telescopic instruments, and other didactic tools specially designed for the teaching of Astronomy. Furthermore, an Internet site to upload all the astronomical activities suggested that has been developed along with a number of didactic and general-interest publications.

  2. Eighth Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society

    CERN Document Server

    Diego, Jose M; González-Serrano, J. Ignacio; Gorgas, Javier; Highlights of Spanish Astrophysics V


    This volume collects the invited contributions and plenary sessions presented at the Eighth Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society (Sociedad Española de Astronomía, SEA) held on July 7-11, 2008 in Santander. These contributions cover all fields of astronomy and astrophysics, i.e., the Sun and solar system, the galaxy and its components, galaxies and cosmology, observatories and instrumentation, as well as astronomy teaching and dissemination. Further plenary sessions were devoted to selected hot topics, including the exploration of the solar system, gravitational lensing, exoplanets, X-ray binaries, solar magnetism, gravitational waves, the ALHAMBRA collaboration, and the OSIRIS instrument on the new 10-m GTC. Abstracts of the contributions presented at the parallels sessions and posters are also included in the book. Complete versions of those papers are available online.

  3. Focus on astronomical predictable events

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland


    At the Steno Museum Planetarium we have for many occasions used a countdown clock to get focus om astronomical events. A countdown clock can provide actuality to predictable events, for example The Venus Transit, Opportunity landing on Mars and The Solar Eclipse. The movement of the clock attracs...

  4. AIPY: Astronomical Interferometry in PYthon (United States)

    Parsons, Aaron


    AIPY collects together tools for radio astronomical interferometry. In addition to pure-python phasing, calibration, imaging, and deconvolution code, this package includes interfaces to MIRIAD (ascl:1106.007) and HEALPix (ascl:1107.018), and math/fitting routines from SciPy.

  5. Interactive Visualization and Simulation of Astronomical Nebulae

    CERN Document Server

    Wenger, Stephan; Steffen, Wolfgang; Koning, Nico; Weiskopf, Daniel; Magnor, Marcus


    Interactive visualization and simulation of astrophysical phenomena help astronomers and enable digital planetariums and television documentaries to take their spectators on a journey into deep space to explore the astronomical wonders of our universe in 3D.

  6. The astronomical tables of Giovanni Bianchini

    CERN Document Server

    Chabas, Jose


    This book describes and analyses, for the first time, the astronomical tables of Giovanni Bianchini of Ferrara (d. after 1469), explains their context, inserts them into an astronomical tradition that began in Toledo, and addresses their diffusion.

  7. Leslie Peltier: The World's Greatest Amateur Astronomer (United States)

    Simonsen, M.


    This paper is a brief account of the life of amateur astronomer Leslie C. Peltier, with reflections on how his astronomical accomplishments influenced the author's own involvement in variable star observing.

  8. World's fastest and most sensitive astronomical camera (United States)


    The next generation of instruments for ground-based telescopes took a leap forward with the development of a new ultra-fast camera that can take 1500 finely exposed images per second even when observing extremely faint objects. The first 240x240 pixel images with the world's fastest high precision faint light camera were obtained through a collaborative effort between ESO and three French laboratories from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers (CNRS/INSU). Cameras such as this are key components of the next generation of adaptive optics instruments of Europe's ground-based astronomy flagship facility, the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT). ESO PR Photo 22a/09 The CCD220 detector ESO PR Photo 22b/09 The OCam camera ESO PR Video 22a/09 OCam images "The performance of this breakthrough camera is without an equivalent anywhere in the world. The camera will enable great leaps forward in many areas of the study of the Universe," says Norbert Hubin, head of the Adaptive Optics department at ESO. OCam will be part of the second-generation VLT instrument SPHERE. To be installed in 2011, SPHERE will take images of giant exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. A fast camera such as this is needed as an essential component for the modern adaptive optics instruments used on the largest ground-based telescopes. Telescopes on the ground suffer from the blurring effect induced by atmospheric turbulence. This turbulence causes the stars to twinkle in a way that delights poets, but frustrates astronomers, since it blurs the finest details of the images. Adaptive optics techniques overcome this major drawback, so that ground-based telescopes can produce images that are as sharp as if taken from space. Adaptive optics is based on real-time corrections computed from images obtained by a special camera working at very high speeds. Nowadays, this means many hundreds of times each second. The new generation instruments require these

  9. Radioastronomy at the National Astronomical Observatory of Colombia (United States)

    Guevara Gómez, J. C.; Calvo-Mozo, B.; Martinez Oliveros, J. C.


    Colombia is located in the northern tip of South America close to the amazon rain forest. This makes astronomical observations in the visible range very challenging, as cloud coverage is relatively high. Hence, radio astronomy becomes a natural and good choice. We present the design, characterization and first results of the Observatorio Astronomico Nacional solar radio spectrograph. This instrument is a Log-Periodic Dipole Array Antenna (LPDA) working between 100 MHz and 1 GHz optimized for solar observations. The radio spectrograph is a working prototype for a more ambitious solar radio interferometer, that will be the first instrument of this kind in Colombia.

  10. On the emissivity of wire-grid polarizers for astronomical observations at mm-wavelengths

    CERN Document Server

    Schillaci, Alessandro; Alessandro, Giuseppe D'; de Bernardis, Paolo; Masi, Silvia


    We have measured, using a custom setup, the emissivity of metallic wire-grids, suitable for polarimeters and interferometers at mm and far infrared wavelengths. We find that the effective emissivity of these devices is of the order of a few %, depending on fabrication technology and aging. We discuss their use in astronomical instruments, with special attention to Martin Puplett Interferometers in low-background applications, like astronomical observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background.

  11. Different Categories of Astronomical Heritage: Issues and Challenges (United States)

    Ruggles, Clive


    Since 2008 the AWHWG has, on behalf of the IAU, been working with UNESCO and its advisory bodies to help identify, safeguard and promote cultural properties relating to astronomy and, where possible, to try to facilitate the eventual nomination of key astronomical heritage sites onto the World Heritage List. Unfortunately, the World Heritage Convention only covers fixed sites (i.e., the tangible immovable heritage of astronomy), and a key question for the UNESCO-IAU Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative (AWHI) is the extent to which the tangible moveable and intangible heritage of astronomy (e.g. moveable instruments; ideas and theories) influence the assessment of the tangible immovable heritage. Clearly, in an ideal world we should be concerned not only with tangible immovable heritage but, to quote the AWHWG's own Terms of Reference, ``to help ensure that cultural properties and artefacts significant in the development of astronomy, together with the intangible heritage of astronomy, are duly studied, protected and maintained, both for the greater benefit of humankind and to the potential benefit of future historical research''. With this in mind, the IAU/INAF symposium on ``Astronomy and its Instruments before and after Galileo'' held in Venice in Sep-Oct 2009 recommended that urgent steps should be taken 1. to sensitise astronomers and the general public, and particularly observatory directors and others with direct influence and control over astronomical resources, to the importance of identifying, protecting and preserving the various material products of astronomical research and discovery that already have, or have significant potential to acquire, universal value; (N.B. National or regional interests and concerns have no relevance in the assessment of ``universal value'', which, by definition, extends beyond cultural boundaries and, by reasonable expectation, down the generations into the future. 2. to identify modes of interconnectivity between

  12. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    CERN Document Server

    Haubold, Hans J; UN/ESA/NASA Workshop on the International Heliophysical Year 2007 and Basic Space Science, hosted by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan


    This book represents Volume II of the Proceedings of the UN/ESA/NASA Workshop on the International Heliophysical Year 2007 and Basic Space Science, hosted by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Tokyo, 18 - 22 June, 2007. It covers two programme topics explored in this and past workshops of this nature: (i) non-extensive statistical mechanics as applicable to astrophysics, addressing q-distribution, fractional reaction and diffusion, and the reaction coefficient, as well as the Mittag-Leffler function and (ii) the TRIPOD concept, developed for astronomical telescope facilities. The companion publication, Volume I of the proceedings of this workshop, is a special issue in the journal Earth, Moon, and Planets, Volume 104, Numbers 1-4, April 2009.

  13. Geopulsation, Volcanism and Astronomical Periods

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yang Xuexiang; Chen Dianyou; Yang Xiaoying; Yang Shuchen


    Volcanism is mainly controlled by the intermittent release of energy in the earth. As far as the differential rotation of the earth's inner core is concerned, the Galactic Year may change the gravitational constant G, the solar radiative quantity and the moving speed of the solar system and affect the exchange of angular momentum between core and mantle as well as the energy exchange between crust and mantle. As a result, this leads to eruptions of superplumes and magma, and controls the energy flow from core - mantle boundary (CMB) to crust. When the earth' s speed decreases, it will release a huge amount of energy. They are the reason of the correspondence of the volcanic cycles one by one with the astronomical periods one by one. According to the astronomical periods, volcanic eruptions may possibly be predicted in the future.

  14. Representations of astronomers in literature. (United States)

    Haynes, R. D.

    The depiction of astronomers as characters in fiction during the last four centuries provides a useful historical indication of the changing popular perception of astronomy and its practitioners. It is apparent that lay attitudes to astronomy, even in any given period, are complex. On the one hand there is the continuing, innate attraction which the spectacle of the night sky has for people of all ages, the sense of wonder it generates and the preception of astronomy as a "pure" science, free from military and environmentally damaging spin-offs. But, on the other hand, astronomy poses particular and radical challenges to the humanist tradition and these have elicited from many writers not only expressions of anguish and confusion but, at times, a personal attack on the astronomers who were considered responsible for the unwelcome views.

  15. Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS) activities (United States)

    Mickaelian, A. M.


    A review on the activities and achievements of Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS) and Armenian astronomy in general during the last years is given. ArAS membership, ArAS electronic newsletters (ArASNews), ArAS webpage, Annual Meetings, Annual Prize for Young Astronomers (Yervant Terzian Prize) and other awards, international relations, presence in international organizations, local and international summer schools, science camps, astronomical Olympiads and other events, matters related to astronomical education, astronomical heritage, amateur astronomy, astronomy outreach and ArAS further projects are described and discussed.

  16. Powerful Radio Burst Indicates New Astronomical Phenomenon (United States)


    . "It was a bit of luck that the survey included some observations of the sky surrounding the clouds," Narkevic said. It was from those "flanking" observations that the mysterious radio burst appeared in the data. The burst of radio waves was strong by astronomical standards, but lasted less than five milliseconds. The signal was spread out, with higher frequencies arriving at the telescope before the lower frequencies. This effect, called dispersion, is caused by the signal passing through ionized gas in interstellar and intergalactic space. The amount of this dispersion, the astronomers said, indicates that the signal likely originated about three billion light-years from Earth. No previously-detected cosmic radio burst has the same set of characteristics. "This burst represents an entirely new astronomical phenomenon," Bailes said. The astronomers estimate on the basis of their results that hundreds of similar events should occur over the sky each day. "Few radio surveys have the necessary sensitivity to such short-duration bursts, which makes them notoriously difficult to detect with current instruments," added Crawford. The next generation of radio telescopes currently under development should be able to detect many of these bursts across the sky. Although the nature of the mysterious new object is unclear, the astronomers have some ideas of what may cause such a burst. One idea is that it may be part of the energy released when a pair of superdense neutron stars collide and merge. Such an event is thought by some scientists to be the cause of one type of gamma-ray burst, but the only radio emission seen so far from these has been from the long-lived "afterglow" that follows the original burst. Another, more exotic, candidate is a burst of energy from an evaporating black hole. Black holes, concentrations of mass so dense that not even light can escape their powerful gravity, can lose mass and energy through a process proposed by famed British physicist Stephen

  17. The Material Culture of Nineteenth-Century Astrometry, its Circulation and Heritage at the Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon (United States)

    Raposo, Pedro

    The Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon was founded in 1857 in the sequence of a controversy on stellar parallax measurements involving astronomers from the Observatory of Paris and the Observatory of Pulkovo. The development of this discussion led the contenders to recognize Lisbon as a suitable place to carry out this kind of measurements and to foster the field of stellar astronomy. Some local actors strived to keep up with this wave of international interest and establish a first-rank astronomical institution in the Portuguese capital. In order to fulfil this goal, correspondence was intensively exchanged with leading foreign astronomers and instrument makers. Besides, a Portuguese Navy officer bound to become the first director of the new institution was commissioned to visit several observatories and instrument workshops abroad, and to spend a few years in Pulkovo as a trainee astronomer. Although founded with generous financial support from the Portuguese crown and lavishly equipped and constructed, the Observatory of Lisbon was later affected by limiting budgets and a shortage of qualified personnel. Nevertheless, local efforts to improve instruments as well as observation and calculation techniques enabled its astronomers to yield important contributions to positional astronomy, especially towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginnings of the twentieth century. The original instruments and spaces of the Observatory of Lisbon, strongly modelled on those of Pulkovo, are very well preserved, constituting an outstanding extant example of a mid-nineteenth century advanced observatory. The history they embody testifies the connectedness of the astronomical heritage worldwide.

  18. Optimization of radio astronomical observations using Allan variance measurements

    CERN Document Server

    Schieder, R


    Stability tests based on the Allan variance method have become a standard procedure for the evaluation of the quality of radio-astronomical instrumentation. They are very simple and simulate the situation when detecting weak signals buried in large noise fluctuations. For the special conditions during observations an outline of the basic properties of the Allan variance is given, and some guidelines how to interpret the results of the measurements are presented. Based on a rather simple mathematical treatment clear rules for observations in ``Position-Switch'', ``Beam-'' or ``Frequency-Switch'', ``On-The-Fly-'' and ``Raster-Mapping'' mode are derived. Also, a simple ``rule of the thumb'' for an estimate of the optimum timing for the observations is found. The analysis leads to a conclusive strategy how to plan radio-astronomical observations. Particularly for air- and space-borne observatories it is very important to determine, how the extremely precious observing time can be used with maximum efficiency. The...

  19. C++, objected-oriented programming, and astronomical data models (United States)

    Farris, A.


    Contemporary astronomy is characterized by increasingly complex instruments and observational techniques, higher data collection rates, and large data archives, placing severe stress on software analysis systems. The object-oriented paradigm represents a significant new approach to software design and implementation that holds great promise for dealing with this increased complexity. The basic concepts of this approach will be characterized in contrast to more traditional procedure-oriented approaches. The fundamental features of objected-oriented programming will be discussed from a C++ programming language perspective, using examples familiar to astronomers. This discussion will focus on objects, classes and their relevance to the data type system; the principle of information hiding; and the use of inheritance to implement generalization/specialization relationships. Drawing on the object-oriented approach, features of a new database model to support astronomical data analysis will be presented.

  20. Eleventh Century Astronomical Events as Recorded in Contemporary European Sources (United States)

    Ghignoli, A.; Polcaro, V. F.

    The eleventh century was exceptionally rich in very prominent astronomical events, such as the SN 1006 (probably the brightest Supernova in historical times|), the great comet of 1066, the SN 1054. These events were recorded in numerous chronicles throughout the world and in particular in Europe and need to be carefully analyzed with the appropriate instruments of the philological criticism. This work will present a certain number of sources from the European Middle Ages that are unknown or less studied. They describe events spanning from the end of the tenth century to the end of the eleventh century. These texts have been selected because they are homogeneous and, in some way, representative of u number of astronomical phenomena. They prove that medieval chronicles can be extremely accurate in their descriptions.

  1. Astronomical measurement a concise guide

    CERN Document Server

    Lawrence, Andy


    This book on astronomical measurement takes a fresh approach to teaching the subject. After discussing some general principles, it follows the chain of measurement through atmosphere, imaging, detection, spectroscopy, timing, and hypothesis testing. The various wavelength regimes are covered in each section, emphasising what is the same, and what is different. The author concentrates on the physics of detection and the principles of measurement, aiming to make this logically coherent. The book is based on a short self contained lecture course for advanced undergraduate students developed and taught by the author over several years.

  2. Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center (CDS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F Genova


    Full Text Available The Centre de Donnees astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS, created in 1972, has been a pioneer in the dissemination of digital scientific data. Ensuring sustainability for several decades has been a major issue because science and technology evolve continuously and the data flow increases endlessly. The paper briefly describes CDS activities, major services, and its R&D strategy to take advantage of new technologies. The next frontiers for CDS are the new Web 2.0/3.0 paradigm and, at a more general level, global interoperability of astronomical on-line resources in the Virtual Observatory framework.

  3. Formation flight astronomical survey telescope (United States)

    Tsunemi, Hiroshi


    Formation Flight Astronomical Survey Telescope (FFAST) is a project for hard X-ray observation. It consists of two small satellites; one (telescope satellite) has a super mirror covering the energy range up to 80 keV while the other (detector satellite) has an scintillator deposited CCD (SDCCD) having good spatial resolution and high efficiency up to 100 keV. Two satellites will be put into individual Kepler orbits forming an X-ray telescope with a focal length of 20 m. They will be not in pointing mode but in survey mode to cover a large sky region.

  4. astroplan: Observation Planning for Astronomers (United States)

    Morris, Brett


    Astroplan is an observation planning package for astronomers. It is an astropy-affiliated package which began as a Google Summer of Code project. Astroplan facilitates convenient calculation of common observational quantities, like target altitudes and azimuths, airmasses, and rise/set times. Astroplan also computes when targets are observable given various extensible observing constraints, for example: within a range of airmasses or altitudes, or at a given separation from the Moon. Astroplan is taught in the undergraduate programming for astronomy class, and enables observational Pre- MAP projects at the University of Washington. In the near future, we plan to implement scheduling capabilities in astroplan on top of the constraints framework.

  5. Processing Color in Astronomical Imagery

    CERN Document Server

    Arcand, Kimberly K; Rector, Travis; Levay, Zoltan G; DePasquale, Joseph; Smarr, Olivia


    Every year, hundreds of images from telescopes on the ground and in space are released to the public, making their way into popular culture through everything from computer screens to postage stamps. These images span the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to infrared light to X-rays and gamma rays, a majority of which is undetectable to the human eye without technology. Once these data are collected, one or more specialists must process the data to create an image. Therefore, the creation of astronomical imagery involves a series of choices. How do these choices affect the comprehension of the science behind the images? What is the best way to represent data to a non-expert? Should these choices be based on aesthetics, scientific veracity, or is it possible to satisfy both? This paper reviews just one choice out of the many made by astronomical image processors: color. The choice of color is one of the most fundamental when creating an image taken with modern telescopes. We briefly explore the ...

  6. Astronomical Signatures of Dark Matter

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul Gorenstein


    Full Text Available Several independent astronomical observations in different wavelength bands reveal the existence of much larger quantities of matter than what we would deduce from assuming a solar mass to light ratio. They are very high velocities of individual galaxies within clusters of galaxies, higher than expected rotation rates of stars in the outer regions of galaxies, 21 cm line studies indicative of increasing mass to light ratios with radius in the halos of spiral galaxies, hot gaseous X-ray emitting halos around many elliptical galaxies, and clusters of galaxies requiring a much larger component of unseen mass for the hot gas to be bound. The level of gravitational attraction needed for the spatial distribution of galaxies to evolve from the small perturbations implied by the very slightly anisotropic cosmic microwave background radiation to its current web-like configuration requires much more mass than is observed across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Distorted shapes of galaxies and other features created by gravitational lensing in the images of many astronomical objects require an amount of dark matter consistent with other estimates. The unambiguous detection of dark matter and more recently evidence for dark energy has positioned astronomy at the frontier of fundamental physics as it was in the 17th century.

  7. Astronomers in the Chemist's War (United States)

    Trimble, Virginia L.


    World War II, with radar, rockets, and "atomic" bombs was the physicists' war. And many of us know, or think we know, what our more senior colleagues did during it, with Hubble and Hoffleit at Aberdeen; M. Schwarzschild on active duty in Italy; Bondi, Gold, and Hoyle hunkered down in Dunsfeld, Surrey, talking about radar, and perhaps steady state; Greenstein and Henyey designing all-sky cameras; and many astronomers teaching navigation. World War I was The Chemists' War, featuring poison gases, the need to produce liquid fuels from coal on one side of the English Channel and to replace previously-imported dyesstuffs on the other. The talke will focus on what astronomers did and had done to them between 1914 and 1919, from Freundlich (taken prisoner on an eclipse expedition days after the outbreak of hostilities) to Edwin Hubble, returning from France without ever having quite reached the front lines. Other events bore richer fruit (Hale and the National Research Council), but very few of the stories are happy ones. Most of us have neither first nor second hand memories of The Chemists' War, but I had the pleasure of dining with a former Freundlich student a couple of weeks ago.

  8. LGBT Workplace Issues for Astronomers (United States)

    Kay, Laura E.; Danner, R.; Sellgren, K.; Dixon, V.; GLBTQastro


    Federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations do not provide protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression. Sexual minority astronomers (including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; LGBT) can face additional challenges at school and work. Studies show that LGBT students on many campuses report experiences of harassment. Cities, counties, and states may or may not have statutes to protect against such discrimination. There is wide variation in how states and insurance plans handle legal and medical issues for transgender people. Federal law does not acknowledge same-sex partners, including those legally married in the U.S. or in other countries. Immigration rules in the U.S. (and many other, but not all) countries do not recognize same-sex partners for visas, employment, etc. State `defense of marriage act' laws have been used to remove existing domestic partner benefits at some institutions, or benefits can disappear with a change in governor. LGBT astronomers who change schools, institutions, or countries during their career may experience significant differences in their legal, medical, and marital status.

  9. The League of Astronomers: Outreach (United States)

    Paat, Anthony; Brandel, A.; Schmitz, D.; Sharma, R.; Thomas, N. H.; Trujillo, J.; Laws, C. S.; Astronomers, League of


    The University of Washington League of Astronomers (LOA) is an organization comprised of University of Washington (UW) undergraduate students. Our main goal is to share our interest in astronomy with the UW community and with the general public. The LOA hosts star parties on the UW campus and collaborates with the Seattle Astronomical Society (SAS) on larger Seattle-area star parties. At the star parties, we strive to teach our local community about what they can view in our night sky. LOA members share knowledge of how to locate constellations and use a star wheel. The relationship the LOA has with members of SAS increases both the number of events and people we are able to reach. Since the cloudy skies of the Northwest prevent winter star parties, we therefore focus our outreach on the UW Mobile Planetarium, an inflatable dome system utilizing Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope (WWT) software. The mobile planetarium brings astronomy into the classrooms of schools unable to travel to the UW on-campus planetarium. Members of the LOA volunteer their time towards this project and we make up the majority of the Mobile Planetarium volunteers. Our outreach efforts allow us to connect with the community and enhance our own knowledge of astronomy.

  10. Astronomical Symbolism in Australian Aboriginal Rock Art

    CERN Document Server

    Norris, Ray P


    Traditional Aboriginal Australian cultures include a significant astronomical component, perpetuated through oral tradition and ceremony. This knowledge has practical navigational and calendrical functions, and sometimes extends to a deep understanding of the motion of objects in the sky. Here we explore whether this astronomical tradition is reflected in the rock art of Aboriginal Australians. We find several plausible examples of depictions of astronomical figures and symbols, and also evidence that astronomical observations were used to set out stone arrangements. However, we recognise that the case is not yet strong enough to make an unequivocal statement, and describe our plans for further research.

  11. Compact Stirling cooling of astronomical detectors

    CERN Document Server

    Raskin, Gert; Pessemier, Wim; Padilla, Jesus Perez; Vandersteen, Jeroen


    MAIA, a three-channel imager targeting fast cadence photometry, was recently installed on the Mercator telescope (La Palma, Spain). This instrument observes a 9.4 x 14.1 arcmin field of view simultaneously in three color bands ($u$, $g$ and $r$), using three of the largest (un-) available frame-transfer CCDs, namely the 2k x 6k CCD42-C0 from e2v. As these detectors are housed in three separate cryostats, compact cooling devices are required that offer sufficient power to cool the large chips to a temperature of 165K. We explored a broad spectrum of cooling options and technologies to cool the MAIA detectors. Finally, compact free-piston Stirling coolers were selected, namely the CryoTel MT cryo-coolers from SUNPOWER, that can extract 5W of heat at a temperature of 77K. In this contribution we give details of the MAIA detector cooling solution. We also discuss the general usability of this type of closed-cycle cryo-coolers for astronomical detectors. They offer distinct advantages but the vibrations caused by ...

  12. Visible light polaroastrometry of astronomical objects

    CERN Document Server

    Safonov, Boris


    We propose a method to measure difference between positions of centroids of polarized and total flux of astronomical object in visible light, which we call for brevity polaroastrometry. Method efficiency is being demonstrated by the example of reduction of observations carried out with an instrument combining features of two-beam polarimeter with rotating half-wave plate and speckle interferometer, at 70-cm telescope in $V$ band. For the total number of accumulated photoelectrons $N_e=10^9$, which corresponds to series duration of 500 sec and object magnitude $V=6^m$, the method precision is 60-70 $\\mu$as in terms of 1$\\sigma$. At smaller $N_e$ precision decays as $\\sim 1.7^{\\prime\\prime}/\\sqrt{N_e}$, while at larger $N_e$ it remains the same due to imperfections of the half-wave plate. For the main sequence stars, non-polarized and polarized by interstellar dust, we didn't detect significant polaroastrometric signal. For the Mira variable star $\\chi$ Cyg total amplitudes of the polaricenters were found to be...

  13. Telescope and instrument robotization at Dome C (United States)

    Strassmeier, K. G.; Agabi, K.; Agnoletto, L.; Allan, A.; Andersen, M. I.; Ansorge, W.; Bortoletto, F.; Briguglio, R.; Buey, J.-T.; Castellini, S.; Coudé du Foresto, V.; Damé, L.; Deeg, H. J.; Eiroa, C.; Durand, G.; Fappani, D.; Frezzotti, M.; Granzer, T.; Gröschke, A.; Kärcher, H. J.; Lenzen, R.; Mancini, A.; Montanari, C.; Mora, A.; Pierre, A.; Pirnay, O.; Roncella, F.; Schmider, F.-X.; Steele, I.; Storey, J. W. V.; Tothill, N. F. H.; Travouillon, T.; Vittuari, L.


    This article reviews the situation for robotization of telescopes and instruments at the Antarctic station Concordia on Dome C. A brain-storming meeting was held in Tenerife in March 2007 from which this review emerged. We describe and summarize the challenges for night-time operations of various astronomical experiments at conditions ``between Earth and Space'' and conclude that robotization is likely a prerequisite for continuous astronomical data taking during the 2000-hour night at Dome C.

  14. 3D Spectroscopic Instrumentation

    CERN Document Server

    Bershady, Matthew A


    In this Chapter we review the challenges of, and opportunities for, 3D spectroscopy, and how these have lead to new and different approaches to sampling astronomical information. We describe and categorize existing instruments on 4m and 10m telescopes. Our primary focus is on grating-dispersed spectrographs. We discuss how to optimize dispersive elements, such as VPH gratings, to achieve adequate spectral resolution, high throughput, and efficient data packing to maximize spatial sampling for 3D spectroscopy. We review and compare the various coupling methods that make these spectrographs ``3D,'' including fibers, lenslets, slicers, and filtered multi-slits. We also describe Fabry-Perot and spatial-heterodyne interferometers, pointing out their advantages as field-widened systems relative to conventional, grating-dispersed spectrographs. We explore the parameter space all these instruments sample, highlighting regimes open for exploitation. Present instruments provide a foil for future development. We give an...

  15. The Past, Present and Future of Astronomical Data Formats

    CERN Document Server

    Mink, Jessica; Hanisch, Robert; Rots, Arnold; Seaman, Rob; Jenness, Tim; Thomas, Brian; O'Mullane, William


    The future of astronomy is inextricably entwined with the care and feeding of astronomical data products. Community standards such as FITS and NDF have been instrumental in the success of numerous astronomy projects. Their very success challenges us to entertain pragmatic strategies to adapt and evolve the standards to meet the aggressive data-handling requirements of facilities now being designed and built. We discuss characteristics that have made standards successful in the past, as well as desirable features for the future, and an open discussion follows.

  16. An intelligent object recognizer and classification system for astronomical use (United States)

    Bernat, Andrew P.; Mcgraw, John T.


    An account is given of an image-processing system based on AI concepts, which allows input images produced by the CCT/Transit Instrument to be compared with a standard-object hierarchylike network of prototypes presented within the computer as 'frames'. Each frame contains information concerning either a standard object or the links among such objects. This method, by comparison to conventional, statistically-based pattern recognition systems, classifies data as an astronomer would and thereby lends credibility to its conclusions; it also furnishes a natural avenue for the machine's serendipitous discovery of new classes of objects.

  17. Small Astronomical Telescopes for Research and Education at Helwan, Egypt (United States)

    Shaltout, M. A. M.

    This paper reviews the current status of small astronomical telescopes in use at Helwan Observatory (NRIAG). It highlights the capabilities of small telescopes with modern instrumentation in the context of astrophysics of the 21st century. An overview of research and education programs is included. An international project with Intercosmos countries and the SAO in the field of artificial satellite observations and tracking is commented. Meteorological and solar data collaborations with ESA and NASA for applied and academic research is done at Helwan Observatory.

  18. Promotion Method of the Mission Concerning an Astronomical Observation (United States)

    Okuda, Haruyuki


    Astronomical observation from space station can utilize big resource and there are possibilities of repairing parts and instruments. On the other hand, there are drawbacks such as strong limitation to the observing posture, difficulty in precise pointing and reduction of optical system function due to exhaust emission contamination. From these point of view, the following mission are listed as the candidate: (1) whole sky monitor observation by X rays and gamma rays; (2) high energy cosmic rays observation; (3) sun observation; and (4) cosmic dust experiment. The space station plan are not only big but also worldwide international cooperation work. So there are still many factors not cleared yet.

  19. ISO Results Presented at International Astronomical Union (United States)


    . Astronomers can now combine ISO's results with observations of the same object and others like it, at sub-millimetre radio wavelengths, to build up a detailed picture of the earliest stages of star formation. Ward-Thompson says: "Our fellow-astronomers thought we had no chance of detecting pre-stellar cores with any instruments available today. Now that we've done it, with the radio telescopes on the ground and with ISO in space, a new chapter in the study of star formation can begin. Already our results contradict the theory that a pre-stellar core should spin rapidly. It doesn't. In addition, our observations have shown us that the manner in which a newly-forming star first collapses is different from that which was previously predicted." Looking for the origin of planets Our immediate cosmic mother was the Solar Nebula, the cloud of gas and dust that supposedly swirled around the Sun at its birth about 4.5 billion years ago. Gravity flattened the gas and dust into a disk, like a giant version of the rings of Saturn. Stony and icy grains of dust congealed to make the Sun's family of planets, including the Earth. The comets are relics of the construction of the Solar System, and ISO has investigated their chemical composition. Yet the concept of planet-making in the dusty disk of the Solar Nebula was just a theory until the advent of infrared space astronomy. One of the more time-intensive programmes of ISO deals with the existence of disks of dust particles around normal stars. The Sun still has a disk, visible as the Zodiacal Light seen close to the horizon after sunset in spring or before sunrise in autumn. The dust is, however, too sparse to be detected, if one were looking for a similar feature in the surroundings of another star. Therefore it came as a big surprise when ISO's predecessor, the Dutch-US-UK Infrared Astronomical Satellite (1983), detected similar dust disks around a few nearby stars, notably Vega and Beta Pictoris, with much more material than the Sun

  20. Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (United States)

    Figueroa, Ricardo


    This report summarizes the technical parameters and the technical staff of the VLBI system at the fundamental station GGAO. It also gives an overview about the VLBI activities during the report year. The Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory (GGAO) consists of a 5-meter radio telescope for VLBI, a new 12-meter radio telescope for VLBI2010 development, a 1-meter reference antenna for microwave holography development, an SLR site that includes MOBLAS-7, the NGSLR development system, and a 48" telescope for developmental two-color Satellite Laser Ranging, a GPS timing and development lab, a DORIS system, meteorological sensors, and a hydrogen maser. In addition, we are a fiducial IGS site with several IGS/IGSX receivers. GGAO is located on the east coast of the United States in Maryland. It is approximately 15 miles NNE of Washington, D.C. in Greenbelt, Maryland.

  1. Sparse representation of astronomical images. (United States)

    Rebollo-Neira, Laura; Bowley, James


    Sparse representation of astronomical images is discussed. It is shown that a significant gain in sparsity is achieved when particular mixed dictionaries are used for approximating these types of images with greedy selection strategies. Experiments are conducted to confirm (i) the effectiveness at producing sparse representations and (ii) competitiveness, with respect to the time required to process large images. The latter is a consequence of the suitability of the proposed dictionaries for approximating images in partitions of small blocks. This feature makes it possible to apply the effective greedy selection technique called orthogonal matching pursuit, up to some block size. For blocks exceeding that size, a refinement of the original matching pursuit approach is considered. The resulting method is termed "self-projected matching pursuit," because it is shown to be effective for implementing, via matching pursuit itself, the optional backprojection intermediate steps in that approach.

  2. Detecting bimodality in astronomical datasets (United States)

    Ashman, Keith A.; Bird, Christina M.; Zepf, Stephen E.


    We discuss statistical techniques for detecting and quantifying bimodality in astronomical datasets. We concentrate on the KMM algorithm, which estimates the statistical significance of bimodality in such datasets and objectively partitions data into subpopulations. By simulating bimodal distributions with a range of properties we investigate the sensitivity of KMM to datasets with varying characteristics. Our results facilitate the planning of optimal observing strategies for systems where bimodality is suspected. Mixture-modeling algorithms similar to the KMM algorithm have been used in previous studies to partition the stellar population of the Milky Way into subsystems. We illustrate the broad applicability of KMM by analyzing published data on globular cluster metallicity distributions, velocity distributions of galaxies in clusters, and burst durations of gamma-ray sources. FORTRAN code for the KMM algorithm and directions for its use are available from the authors upon request.

  3. Christopher Clavius astronomer and mathematician

    CERN Document Server

    Sigismondi, Costantino


    The Jesuit scientist Christopher Clavius (1538-1612) has been the most influential teacher of the renaissance. His contributions to algebra, geometry, astronomy and cartography are enormous. He paved the way, with his texts and his teaching for 40 years in the the Collegio Romano, to the development of these sciences and their fruitful spread all around the World, along the commercial paths of Portugal, which become also the missionary paths for the Jesuits. The books of Clavius were translated into Chinese, by one of his students Matteo Ricci "Li Madou" (1562-1610), and his influence for the development of science in China was crucial. The Jesuits become skilled astronomers, cartographers and mathematicians thanks to the example and the impulse given by Clavius. This success was possible also thanks to the contribution of Clavius in the definition of the Ratio Studiorum, the program of studies, in the Jesuit colleges, so influential for the whole history of modern Europe and all western World.

  4. Astronomical Knowledge from Holy Books (United States)

    Farmanyan, Sona V.; Devrikyan, Vardan G.; Mickaelian, Areg M.


    We investigate religious myths related to astronomy from different cultures in an attempt to identify common subjects and characteristics. The paper focuses on astronomy in religion. The initial review covers records from Holy books about sky related superstitious beliefs and cosmological understanding. The purpose of this study is to introduce sky related religious and national traditions (particularly based on different calendars; Solar or Lunar). We carried out a comparative study of astronomical issues contained in a number of Holy books. We come to the conclusion that the perception of celestial objects varies from culture to culture, and from religion to religion and preastronomical views had a significant impact on humankind, particularly on religious diversities. We prove that Astronomy is the basis of cultures, and that national identity and mythology and religion were formed due to the special understanding of celestial objects.

  5. Astronomical arguments in Newton's Chronology

    CERN Document Server

    Naze, Yael


    In his Chronology, Newton uses astronomical "evidence" to support its extreme rejuvenation of ancient times. These elements, having a scientific varnish, provide some credibility to the work. They have been fiercely debated for a century, with a gradual undermining of Newton's assumptions. However, this has not dented the prestige of the English scientist. ----- Dans sa Chronologie, Newton utilise des "preuves" astronomiques pour appuyer son rajeunissement extreme des epoques anciennes. Ces elements, au vernis scientifique, donnent une credibilite certaine a l'ensemble. Ils ont donc ete aprement discutes, les debats sapant petit a petit les hypotheses du savant anglais pour finalement porter un coup mortel a l'ensemble. Cela n'a toutefois pas entame le prestige du savant anglais.

  6. Astronomical Data in Undergraduate courses (United States)

    Clarkson, William I.; Swift, Carrie; Hughes, Kelli; Burke, Christopher J. F.; Burgess, Colin C.; Elrod, Aunna V.; Howard, Brittany; Stahl, Lucas; Matzke, David; Bord, Donald J.


    We present status and plans for our ongoing efforts to develop data analysis and problem-solving skills through Undergraduate Astronomy instruction. While our initiatives were developed with UM-Dearborn’s student body primarily in mind, they should be applicable for a wide range of institution and of student demographics. We focus here on two strands of our effort.Firstly, students in our Introductory Astronomy (ASTR 130) general-education course now perform several “Data Investigations”, in which they interrogate the Hubble Legacy Archive to illustrate important course concepts. This was motivated in part by the realization that typical public data archives now include tools to interrogate the observations that are sufficiently accessible that introductory astronomy students can use them to perform real science, albeit mostly at a descriptive level. We are continuing to refine these investigations, and, most importantly, to critically assess their effectiveness in terms of the student learning outcomes we wish to achieve. This work is supported by grant HST-EO-13758, provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.Secondly, at the advanced-undergraduate level, students taking courses in our Astronomy minor are encouraged to gain early experience in techniques of astronomical observation and analysis that are used by professionals. We present two example projects from the Fall 2015 iteration of our upper-division course ASTR330 (The Cosmic Distance Ladder), one involving Solar System measurements, the second producing calibrated aperture photometry. For both projects students conducted, analysed, and interpreted observations using our 0.4m campus telescope, and used many of the same analysis tools as professional astronomers. This work is supported partly from a Research Initiation and Seed grant from the

  7. Novel Algorithms for Astronomical Plate Analyses

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Rene Hudec; Lukas Hudec


    Powerful computers and dedicated software allow effective data mining and scientific analyses in astronomical plate archives. We give and discuss examples of newly developed algorithms for astronomical plate analyses, e.g., searches for optical transients, as well as for major spectral and brightness changes.

  8. Astronomical catalog desk reference, 1994 edition (United States)


    The Astronomical Catalog Desk Reference is designed to aid astronomers in locating machine readable catalogs in the Astronomical Data Center (ADC) archives. The key reference components of this document are as follows: A listing of shortened titles for all catalogs available from the ADC (includes the name of the lead author and year of publication), brief descriptions of over 300 astronomical catalogs, an index of ADC catalog numbers by subject keyword, and an index of ADC catalog numbers by author. The heart of this document is the set of brief descriptions generated by the ADC staff. The 1994 edition of the Astronomical Catalog Desk Reference contains descriptions for over one third of the catalogs in the ADC archives. Readers are encouraged to refer to this section for concise summaries of those catalogs and their contents.

  9. Astronomical pipeline processing using fuzzy logic (United States)

    Shamir, Lior; Nemiroff, Robert J. Nemiroff


    Fundamental astronomical questions on the composition of the universe, the abundance of Earth-like planets, and the cause of the brightest explosions in the universe are being attacked by robotic telescopes costing billions of dollars and returning vast pipelines of data. The success of these programs depends on the accuracy of automated real time processing of images never seen by a human, and all predicated on fast and accurate automatic identifications of known astronomical objects and new astronomical transients. In this paper the needs of modern astronomical pipelines are discussed in the light of fuzzy-logic based decision-making. Several specific fuzzy-logic algorithms have been develop for the first time for astronomical purposes, and tested with excellent results on a test pipeline of data from the existing Night Sky Live sky survey.

  10. "Microquasar" Discoveries Win Prize for Astronomers (United States)

    The discovery of "microquasars" within our own Milky Way Galaxy has won two astronomers a prize from the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society. Felix Mirabel of the Center for Studies at Saclay, France, and Luis Rodriguez of the Institute of Astronomy at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City, were awarded the Bruno Rossi Prize at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Toronto, Ontario, today. The two researchers, who have collaborated for more than 15 years, used an orbiting X-Ray observatory and the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope to discover the extremely energetic microquasars. Microquasars are thought to be binary-star systems with one of the stars either a superdense neutron star or a black hole. They emit X-rays and eject jets of subatomic particles at speeds approaching that of light. Though the neutron stars or black holes in microquasars are only a few times the mass of the sun, the phenomena associated with them, such as the jets, are similar to those seen in active galaxies and quasars, believed to be powered by the gravitational energy of black holes with millions of times the mass of the sun. As such, the microquasars provide much closer "laboratories" for study of these phenomena, which remain poorly understood. The Rossi Prize is awarded for "a significant contribution to high energy astrophysics, with particular emphasis on recent work," according to the High Energy Astrophysics Division. Mirabel and Rodriguez began the research that led to the microquasar discoveries in 1990. Using the French-Russian SIGMA- GRANAT X-Ray satellite, they discovered a microquasar near the Milky Way's center in 1992. With the VLA, they found radio emission from this object. In 1992, using the same satellite, they discovered a similar object, called GRS 1915+105. In 1994, that object experienced an outburst that made it bright enough at radio wavelengths to observe with the VLA

  11. A Mythological, Philosophical and Astronomical approach of our solar system (United States)

    Drivas, Sotirios; Kastanidou, Sofia


    Teaching Geography in the first Class of Gymnasium - secondary education we will focus in Solar System: Astronomical approach: Students will look and find the astronomical data of the planets, they will make comparisons between the sizes of their radius, they will find the distance from the Sun, they will search the relative motion, they will calculate the gravity on each planet, etc. Mythological approach: We will search the names and meanings of the planets based on Greek mythological origin. Philosophical approach: Regarding the philosophical approach of the "solar system" we will look and find: • Why planets are called so? • How did planets get their names? • What are the periods of Greek astronomy? • What were the astronomical instruments of ancient Greeks and who did built them? • What were the Greek philosophers and astronomers? When did they live and what did they discover? • Which method did Eratosthenes of Cyrene apply about 206B.C. to serve a real measurement of the earth's radius? • What was the relationship between science and religion in ancient Greece? Literature approach: At the end of the program students will write their opinion in subject "Having a friend from another planet" based on the book of Antoine de Saint - Exupéry "The little prince". Law approach: A jurist working in Secondary Education will visits our school and engages students in the Space Law. Artistic approach: Students will create their own posters of our planetary system. The best posters will be posted on the school bulletin board to display their work. Visit: Students and teachers will visit the Observatory of Larissa where they will see how observatory works and talk with scientists about their job. They will look through telescopes and observe the sun.

  12. A Survey of Astronomical Research: A Baseline for Astronomical Development (United States)

    Ribeiro, V. A. R. M.; Russo, P.; Cárdenas-Avendaño, A.


    Measuring scientific development is a difficult task. Different metrics have been put forward to evaluate scientific development; in this paper we explore a metric that uses the number of peer-reviewed, and when available non-peer-reviewed, research articles as an indicator of development in the field of astronomy. We analyzed the available publication record, using the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory/NASA Astrophysics Database System, by country affiliation in the time span between 1950 and 2011 for countries with a gross national income of less than 14,365 USD in 2010. This represents 149 countries. We propose that this metric identifies countries in "astronomical development" with a culture of research publishing. We also propose that for a country to develop in astronomy, it should invest in outside expert visits, send its staff abroad to study, and establish a culture of scientific publishing. Furthermore, we propose that this paper may be used as a baseline to measure the success of major international projects, such as the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

  13. Young Galaxy's Magnetism Surprises Astronomers (United States)


    Astronomers have made the first direct measurement of the magnetic field in a young, distant galaxy, and the result is a big surprise. Looking at a faraway protogalaxy seen as it was 6.5 billion years ago, the scientists measured a magnetic field at least 10 times stronger than that of our own Milky Way. They had expected just the opposite. The GBT Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope CREDIT: NRAO/AUI/NSF The scientists made the discovery using the National Science Foundation's ultra-sensitive Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia. "This new measurement indicates that magnetic fields may play a more important role in the formation and evolution of galaxies than we have realized," said Arthur Wolfe, of the University of California-San Diego (UCSD). At its great distance, the protogalaxy is seen as it was when the Universe was about half its current age. According to the leading theory, cosmic magnetic fields are generated by the dynamos of rotating galaxies -- a process that would produce stronger fields with the passage of time. In this scenario, the magnetic fields should be weaker in the earlier Universe, not stronger. The new, direct magnetic-field measurement comes on the heels of a July report by Swiss and American astronomers who made indirect measurements that also implied strong magnetic fields in the early Universe. "Our results present a challenge to the dynamo model, but they do not rule it out," Wolfe said. There are other possible explanations for the strong magnetic field seen in the one protogalaxy Wolfe's team studied. "We may be seeing the field close to the central region of a massive galaxy, and we know such fields are stronger toward the centers of nearby galaxies. Also, the field we see may have been amplified by a shock wave caused by the collision of two galaxies," he said. The protogalaxy studied with the GBT, called DLA-3C286, consists of gas with little or no star formation occurring in it. The astronomers suspect that

  14. Astronomical pipeline processing using fuzzy logic (United States)

    Shamir, Lior

    In the past few years, pipelines providing astronomical data have been becoming increasingly important. The wide use of robotic telescopes has provided significant discoveries, and sky survey projects such as SDSS and the future LSST are now considered among the premier projects in the field astronomy. The huge amount of data produced by these pipelines raises the need for automatic processing. Astronomical pipelines introduce several well-defined problems such as astronomical image compression, cosmic-ray hit rejection, transient detection, meteor triangulation and association of point sources with their corresponding known stellar objects. We developed and applied soft computing algorithms that provide new or improved solutions to these growing problems in the field of pipeline processing of astronomical data. One new approach that we use is fuzzy logic-based algorithms, which enables the automatic analysis of the astronomical pipelines and allows mining the data for not-yet-known astronomical discoveries such as optical transients and variable stars. The developed algorithms have been tested with excellent results on the NightSkyLive sky survey, which provides a pipeline of 150 astronomical pictures per hour, and covers almost the entire global night sky.

  15. Franklin Edward Kameny (1925-2011, Astronomer) (United States)

    Wright, Jason


    Dr. Frank Kameny is best known today as one of the most important members of the gay rights movement in the United States, but he was also a PhD astronomer. In fact, it was his firing from his civil service position as astronomer for the US Army Map Service on the grounds of homosexuality that sparked his lifelong career of activism. Here, I explore some aspects of his short but interesting astronomical career and the role of the AAS in his life.

  16. Astronomical problems an introductory course in astronomy

    CERN Document Server

    Vorontsov-Vel'Yaminov, B A


    Astronomical Problems: An Introductory Course in Astronomy covers astronomical problems, together with a summary of the theory and the formula to be exercised. The book discusses the types of problems solved with the help of the celestial globe and how to solve astronomical problems. The text tackles problems on interpolation, the celestial sphere, systems of celestial coordinates, and culmination. Problems about the rising and setting of a heavenly body, precession, planetary movement, and parallax and aberration are also considered. The book presents problems about refraction, the apparent m

  17. Astronomical calibration of the Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Husson, Dorothée; Galbrun, Bruno; Laskar, Jacques;


    Recent improvements to astronomical modeling of the Solar System have contributed to important refinements of the Cenozoic time scale through astronomical calibration of sedimentary series. We extend this astronomical calibration into the Cretaceous, on the base of the 405 ka orbital eccentricity......, with the presence of cycles corresponding to forcing by precession, obliquity and orbital eccentricity variations. Identification of these cycles leads to the definition of a detailed cyclostratigraphic frame covering nearly 8 Ma, from the upper Campanian to the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary. Durations...

  18. Astronomical Knowledge in Holy Books (United States)

    Farmanyan, Sona V.; Mickaelian, Areg M.


    We investigate religious myths related to astronomy from different cultures in an attempt to identify common subjects and characteristics. The paper focuses on astronomy in religion. The initial review covers records from Holy books about sky related superstitious beliefs and cosmological understanding. The purpose of this study is to introduce sky related religious and national traditions (particularly based on different calendars; Solar or Lunar). We carried out a comparative study of astronomical issues contained in a number of Holy books: Ancient Egyptian Religion (Pyramid Texts), Zoroastrianism (Avesta), Hinduism (Vedas), Buddhism (Tipitaka), Confucianism (Five Classics), Sikhism (Guru Granth Sahib), Christianity (Bible), Islam (Quran), Druidism (Mabinogion) and Maya Religion (Popol Vuh). These books include various information on the creation of the Universe, Sun and Moon, the age of the Universe, Cosmic sizes, understanding about the planets, stars, Milky Way and description of the Heavens in different religions. We come to the conclusion that the perception of celestial objects varies from culture to culture, and from religion to religion and preastronomical views had a significant impact on humankind, particularly on religious diversities. We prove that Astronomy is the basis of cultures, and that national identity and mythology and religion were formed due to the special understanding of celestial objects.

  19. Astronomical Surveys and Big Data

    CERN Document Server

    Mickaelian, A M


    Recent all-sky and large-area astronomical surveys and their catalogued data over the whole range of electromagnetic spectrum are reviewed, from Gamma-ray to radio, such as Fermi-GLAST and INTEGRAL in Gamma-ray, ROSAT, XMM and Chandra in X-ray, GALEX in UV, SDSS and several POSS I and II based catalogues (APM, MAPS, USNO, GSC) in optical range, 2MASS in NIR, WISE and AKARI IRC in MIR, IRAS and AKARI FIS in FIR, NVSS and FIRST in radio and many others, as well as most important surveys giving optical images (DSS I and II, SDSS, etc.), proper motions (Tycho, USNO, Gaia), variability (GCVS, NSVS, ASAS, Catalina, Pan-STARRS) and spectroscopic data (FBS, SBS, Case, HQS, HES, SDSS, CALIFA, GAMA). An overall understanding of the coverage along the whole wavelength range and comparisons between various surveys are given: galaxy redshift surveys, QSO/AGN, radio, Galactic structure, and Dark Energy surveys. Astronomy has entered the Big Data era. Astrophysical Virtual Observatories and Computational Astrophysics play a...

  20. The infrared astronomical mission AKARI

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Murakami, Hiroshi; Baba, Hajime; Barthel, Peter; Clements, David L.; Cohen, Martin; Doi, Yasuo; Enya, Keigo; Figueredo, Elysandra; Fujishiro, Naofumi; Fujiwara, Hideaki; Fujiwara, Mikio; Garcia-Lario, Pedro; Goto, Tomotsugu; Hasegawa, Sunao; Hibi, Yasunori; Hirao, Takanori; Hiromoto, Norihisa; Hong, Seung Soo; Imai, Koji; Ishigaki, Miho; Ishiguro, Masateru; Ishihara, Daisuke; Ita, Yoshifusa; Jeong, Woong-Seob; Jeong, Kyung Sook; Kaneda, Hidehiro; Kataza, Hirokazu; Kawada, Mitsunobu; Kawai, Toshihide; Kawamura, Akiko; Kessler, Martin F.; Kester, Do; Kii, Tsuneo; Kim, Dong Chan; Kim, Wjung; Kobayashi, Hisato; Koo, Bon Chul; Kwon, Suk Minn; Lee, Hyung Mok; Lorente, Rosario; Makiuti, Sin'itirou; Matsuhara, Hideo; Matsumoto, Toshio; Matsuo, Hiroshi; Matsuura, Shuji; Mueller, Thomas G.; Murakami, Noriko; Nagata, Hirohisa; Nakagawa, Takao; Naoi, Takahiro; Narita, Masanao; Noda, Manabu; Oh, Sang Hoon; Ohnishi, Akira; Ohyama, Youichi; Okada, Yoko; Okuda, Haruyuki; Oliver, Sebastian; Onaka, Takashi; Ootsubo, Takafumi; Oyabu, Shinki; Pak, Sojong; Park, Yong-Sun; Pearson, Chris P.; Rowan-Robinson, Michael; Saito, Toshinobu; Sakon, Itsuki; Salama, Alberto; Sato, Shinji; Savage, Richard S.; Serjeant, Stephen; Shibai, Hiroshi; Shirahata, Mai; Sohn, Jungjoo; Suzuki, Toyoaki; Takagi, Toshinobu; Takahashi, Hidenori; Tanabe, Toshihiko; Takeuchi, Tsutomu T.; Takita, Satoshi; Thomson, Matthew; Uemizu, Kazunori; Ueno, Munetaka; Usui, Fumihiko; Verdugo, Eva; Wada, Takehiko; Wang, Lingyu; Watabe, Toyoki; Watarai, Hidenori; White, Glenn J.; Yamamura, Issei; Yamauchi, Chisato; Yasuda, Akiko


    AKARI, the first Japanese satellite dedicated to infrared astronomy, was launched on 2006 February 21, and started observations in May of the same year. AKARI has a 68.5 cm cooled telescope, together with two focal-plane instruments, which survey the sky in six wavelength bands from mid- to far-infr

  1. Astronomers find distant planet like Jupiter

    CERN Multimedia


    Astronomers searching for planetary systems like our solar system have found a planet similar to Jupiter orbiting a nearby star similar to our Sun, about 90 light-years from Earth, according to researchers (1/2 page).

  2. Astronomers no longer in the dark

    CERN Multimedia

    MacMillan, L


    In a significant breakthrough, British and US astronomers have begun to pin down the most elusive material in the universe. They have made a map of dark matter - the heavy, invisible stuff that gives the galaxies their shape (1 page).

  3. Longwave Imaging for Astronomical Applications Project (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We propose to develop a compact portable longwave camera for astronomical applications. In Phase 1, we will develop and deliver the focal plane array (FPA) - a...

  4. Longwave Imaging for Astronomical Applications Project (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We propose to develop a compact portable longwave camera for astronomical applications. In Phase 1, we successfully developed the eye of the camera, i.e. the focal...

  5. PANIC (PtSi Astronomical Near-Infrared Camera) in South Africa and its astronomical applications (United States)

    Tanabe, Toshihiko; Nishida, Shinji; Nakada, Yoshikazu; Matsumoto, Shigeru; Onaka, Takashi; Sekiguchi, Kazuhiro; Ono, Tomoko; Glass, Ian S.; Carter, David B.


    A large-format PtSi array (effectively 1040 by 520 pixels) has been incorporated into an astronomical infrared camera (named PANIC: PtSi astronomical near-infrared camera) intended for wide-field survey work using the 0.75-m telescope at Sutherland and the 0.4-m one at Capetown. Here we briefly describe our camera and its astronomical applications.

  6. Astronomical Plate Archives and Binary Blazars Studies

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Rene Hudec


    There are about 3 million astronomical photographic plates around the globe, representing an important data source for various aspects of astrophysics. The main advantage is the large time coverage of 100 years or even more. Recent digitization efforts, together with the development of dedicated software, enables for the first time, effective data mining and data analyses by powerful computers with these archives. Examples of blazars proposed and/or investigated on the astronomical plates are presented and discussed.

  7. Tycho Brahe and Egnazio Danti. Observations and astronomical research at Prague and Florence at the end of the 16th century (United States)

    Triarico, Carlo

    The paper aims at pointing out the similarities between the astronomical research of Tycho Brahe and Egnazio Danti. The main issue is the comparison between the researches of the two astronomers about the measurement of the ecliptic's obliquity and its possible variation. The books published by the two scientists about the use and building up of the astronomical instruments will be also compared. Finally, will be given some examples of instruments of the Medici Family collection in the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence, which come from Praha and were built by the technicians who worked for Tycho.

  8. Astronomers Unveiling Life's Cosmic Origins (United States)


    Processes that laid the foundation for life on Earth -- star and planet formation and the production of complex organic molecules in interstellar space -- are yielding their secrets to astronomers armed with powerful new research tools, and even better tools soon will be available. Astronomers described three important developments at a symposium on the "Cosmic Cradle of Life" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, IL. Chemistry Cycle The Cosmic Chemistry Cycle CREDIT: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF Full Size Image Files Chemical Cycle Graphic (above image, JPEG, 129K) Graphic With Text Blocks (JPEG, 165K) High-Res TIFF (44.2M) High-Res TIFF With Text Blocks (44.2M) In one development, a team of astrochemists released a major new resource for seeking complex interstellar molecules that are the precursors to life. The chemical data released by Anthony Remijan of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and his university colleagues is part of the Prebiotic Interstellar Molecule Survey, or PRIMOS, a project studying a star-forming region near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. PRIMOS is an effort of the National Science Foundation's Center for Chemistry of the Universe, started at the University of Virginia (UVa) in October 2008, and led by UVa Professor Brooks H. Pate. The data, produced by the NSF's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, came from more than 45 individual observations totalling more than nine GigaBytes of data and over 1.4 million individual frequency channels. Scientists can search the GBT data for specific radio frequencies, called spectral lines -- telltale "fingerprints" -- naturally emitted by molecules in interstellar space. "We've identified more than 720 spectral lines in this collection, and about 240 of those are from unknown molecules," Remijan said. He added, "We're making available to all scientists the best collection of data below 50 GHz ever produced for

  9. Astronomers celebrate a year of new Hubble results (United States)


    "We are beginning to understand that because of these observations we are going to have to change the way we look at the Universe," said ESA's Dr Duccio Macchetto, Associate Director for Science Programs at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The European Space Agency plays a major role in the Hubble Space Telescope programme. The Agency provided one of the telescope's four major instruments, called the Faint Object Camera, and two sets of electricity-generating solar arrays. In addition, 15 ESA scientific and technical staff work at the STScI. In return for this contribution, European astronomers are entitled to 15 percent of the telescope's observing time, although currently they account for 20 percent of all observations. "This is a testimony to the quality of the European science community", said Dr Roger Bonnet, Director of Science at ESA. "We are only guaranteed 15 percent of the telescope's use, but consistently receive much more than that." Astronomers from universities, observatories and research institutes across Europe lead more than 60 investigations planned for the telescope's fifth observing cycle, which begins this summer. Many more Europeans contribute to teams led by other astronomers. Looking back to the very start of time European astronomer Dr Peter Jakobsen used ESA's Faint Object Camera to confirm that helium was present in the early Universe. Astronomers had long predicted that 90 percent of the newly born Universe consisted of hydrogen, with helium making up the remainder. Before the refurbished Hubble came along, it was easy to detect the hydrogen, but the primordial helium remained elusive. The ultraviolet capabilities of the telescope, combined with the improvement in spatial resolution following the repair, made it possible for Dr Jakobsen to obtain an image of a quasar close to the edge of the known Universe. A spectral analysis of this picture revealed the quasar's light, which took 13 billion years

  10. GPU-Based Volume Rendering of Noisy Multi-Spectral Astronomical Data

    CERN Document Server

    Hassan, Amr H; Barnes, David G


    Traditional analysis techniques may not be sufficient for astronomers to make the best use of the data sets that current and future instruments, such as the Square Kilometre Array and its Pathfinders, will produce. By utilizing the incredible pattern-recognition ability of the human mind, scientific visualization provides an excellent opportunity for astronomers to gain valuable new insight and understanding of their data, particularly when used interactively in 3D. The goal of our work is to establish the feasibility of a real-time 3D monitoring system for data going into the Australian SKA Pathfinder archive. Based on CUDA, an increasingly popular development tool, our work utilizes the massively parallel architecture of modern graphics processing units (GPUs) to provide astronomers with an interactive 3D volume rendering for multi-spectral data sets. Unlike other approaches, we are targeting real time interactive visualization of datasets larger than GPU memory while giving special attention to data with l...

  11. Astronomers Get New Tools for Gravitational-Wave Detection (United States)


    Teamwork between gamma-ray and radio astronomers has produced a breakthrough in finding natural cosmic tools needed to make the first direct detections of the long-elusive gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein nearly a century ago. An orbiting gamma-ray telescope has pointed radio astronomers to specific locations in the sky where they can discover new millisecond pulsars. Millisecond pulsars, rapidly-spinning superdense neutron stars, can serve as extremely precise and stable natural clocks. Astronomers hope to detect gravitational waves by measuring tiny changes in the pulsars' rotation caused by the passage of the gravitational waves. To do this, they need a multitude of millisecond pulsars dispersed widely throughout the sky. However, nearly three decades after the discovery of the first millisecond pulsar, only about 150 of them had been found, some 90 of those clumped tightly in globular star clusters and thus unusable for detecting gravitational waves. The problem was that millisecond pulsars could only be discovered through arduous, computing-intensive searches of small portions of sky. "We've probably found far less than one percent of the millisecond pulsars in the Milky Way Galaxy," said Scott Ransom of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). The breakthrough came when an instrument aboard NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope began surveying the sky in 2008. This instrument located hundreds of gamma-ray-emitting objects throughout our Galaxy, and astronomers suspected many of these could be millisecond pulsars. Paul Ray of the Naval Research Laboratory initiated an international collaboration to use radio telescopes to confirm the identity of these objects as millisecond pulsars. "The data from Fermi were like a buried-treasure map," Ransom said. "Using our radio telescopes to study the objects located by Fermi, we found 17 millisecond pulsars in three months. Large-scale searches had taken 10-15 years to find that many," Ransom

  12. Scalable Machine Learning for Massive Astronomical Datasets (United States)

    Ball, Nicholas M.; Gray, A.


    We present the ability to perform data mining and machine learning operations on a catalog of half a billion astronomical objects. This is the result of the combination of robust, highly accurate machine learning algorithms with linear scalability that renders the applications of these algorithms to massive astronomical data tractable. We demonstrate the core algorithms kernel density estimation, K-means clustering, linear regression, nearest neighbors, random forest and gradient-boosted decision tree, singular value decomposition, support vector machine, and two-point correlation function. Each of these is relevant for astronomical applications such as finding novel astrophysical objects, characterizing artifacts in data, object classification (including for rare objects), object distances, finding the important features describing objects, density estimation of distributions, probabilistic quantities, and exploring the unknown structure of new data. The software, Skytree Server, runs on any UNIX-based machine, a virtual machine, or cloud-based and distributed systems including Hadoop. We have integrated it on the cloud computing system of the Canadian Astronomical Data Centre, the Canadian Advanced Network for Astronomical Research (CANFAR), creating the world's first cloud computing data mining system for astronomy. We demonstrate results showing the scaling of each of our major algorithms on large astronomical datasets, including the full 470,992,970 objects of the 2 Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) Point Source Catalog. We demonstrate the ability to find outliers in the full 2MASS dataset utilizing multiple methods, e.g., nearest neighbors. This is likely of particular interest to the radio astronomy community given, for example, that survey projects contain groups dedicated to this topic. 2MASS is used as a proof-of-concept dataset due to its convenience and availability. These results are of interest to any astronomical project with large and/or complex

  13. Astronomers debate diamonds in space (United States)


    This is not the first time the intriguing carbonaceous compound has been detected in space. A peculiar elite of twelve stars are known to produce it. The star now added by ISO to this elite is one of the best representatives of this exclusive family, since it emits a very strong signal of the compound. Additionally ISO found a second new member of the group with weaker emission, and also observed with a spectral resolution never achieved before other already known stars in this class. Astronomers think these ISO results will help solve the mystery of the true nature of the compound. Their publication by two different groups, from Spain and Canada, has triggered a debate on the topic, both in astronomy institutes and in chemistry laboratories. At present, mixed teams of astrophysicists and chemists are investigating in the lab compounds whose chemical signature or "fingerprint" matches that detected by ISO. Neither diamonds nor fullerenes have ever been detected in space, but their presence has been predicted. Tiny diamonds of pre-solar origin --older than the Solar System-- have been found in meteorites, which supports the as yet unconfirmed theory of their presence in interstellar space. The fullerene molecule, made of 60 carbon atoms linked to form a sphere (hence the name "buckyball"), has also been extensively searched for in space but never found. If the carbonaceous compound detected by ISO is a fullerene or a diamond, there will be new data on the production of these industrially interesting materials. Fullerenes are being investigated as "capsules" to deliver new pharmaceuticals to the body. Diamonds are commonly used in the electronics industry and for the development of new materials; if they are formed in the dust surrounding some stars, at relatively low temperatures and conditions of low pressure, companies could learn more about the ideal physical conditions to produce them. A textbook case The latest star in which the compound has been found is

  14. How Astronomers View Education and Public Outreach

    CERN Document Server

    Dang, Lisa


    Over the past few years, there have been a few studies on the development of an interest in science and scientists' views on public outreach. Yet, to date, there has been no global study regarding astronomers' views on these matters. Through the completion of our survey by 155 professional astronomers online and in person during the 28th International Astronomical Union General Assembly in 2012, we explored their development of and an interest for astronomy and their views on time constraints and budget restriction regarding public outreach activities. We find that astronomers develop an interest in astronomy between the ages of 4-6 but that the decision to undertake a career in astronomy often comes during late adolescence. We also discuss the claim that education and public outreach is regarded an optional task rather than a scientist's duty. Our study revealed that many astronomers think there should be a larger percentage of their research that should be invested into outreach activities, calling for a ch...

  15. The Taiwan Extragalactic Astronomical Data Center (TWEA-DC)

    CERN Document Server

    Foucaud, Sebastien


    The next generation of telescopes and instruments are facilitating our understanding of the Universe by producing data at a pace that beats all projections, and astronomers today are left in the face of an avalanche of data like never before. In order to cope with this problem and come up with a reliable and innovative solution, Data Centers were created in various locations and the concept of Virtual Observatories elaborated. Based at the National Taiwan Normal University, the Taiwan Extragalactic Astronomical Data Center plan to join in global efforts by proposing 1Pb of data storage dedicated to extragalactic astronomy by 2015. In continuation with individual efforts in Taiwan over the past few years, this is the first stepping-stone towards the building of a National Virtual Observatory. Besides the common functionalities generally provided by data centers, our goal is to propose "on-the-fly" photometry measurements from publicly available surveys: a unique way for cross-matching information. Also we will...

  16. A buyer's and user's guide to astronomical telescopes and binoculars

    CERN Document Server

    Mullaney, James


    Amateur astronomers of all skill levels are always contemplating their next telescope, and this book points the way to the most suitable instruments. Similarly, those who are buying their first telescopes – and these days not necessarily a low-cost one – will be able to compare and contrast different types and manufacturers. This revised new guide provides an extensive overview of binoculars and telescopes. It includes detailed up-to-date information on sources, selection and use of virtually every major type, brand, and model on today’s market, a truly invaluable treasure-trove of information and helpful advice for all amateur astronomers. Originally written in 2006, much of the first edition is inevitably now out of date, as equipment advances and manufacturers come and go. This second edition not only updates all the existing sections but adds two new ones: Astro-imaging and Professional-Amateur collaboration. Thanks to the rapid and amazing developments that have been made in digital cameras it is...

  17. The effect of airborne dust on astronomical polarization measurements (United States)

    Bailey, Jeremy; Ulanowski, Z.; Lucas, P. W.; Hough, J. H.; Hirst, E.; Tamura, M.


    In the past, it has generally been assumed that polarization observations made with ground-based telescopes are unaffected by the passage of light through the Earth's atmosphere. Here, we report observations with a new high-sensitivity astronomical polarimeter (PlanetPol) made during a Saharan dust event over the La Palma observatory in 2005 May that show excess linear polarization in the horizontal direction due to the passage of the starlight through the dust. The polarization reached a maximum value of 4.8 × 10-5 at 56° zenith distance and varied over five nights in proportion to the change in dust optical depth. Polarization of transmitted light (dichroism) does not occur for spherical or randomly oriented non-spherical particles. Thus, these results imply that some fraction of the dust grain population aligns with a preferred orientation. We use T-matrix models to demonstrate that the observed polarization direction implies a vertical orientation for the long axis of the particles. We suggest a possible mechanism for vertical orientation resulting from the electric field in the atmosphere. These results will need to be taken into account in the design and use of future instruments for high-sensitivity astronomical polarimetry. The results also indicate possible new approaches to studying aerosol particles and their effects on the Earth's atmosphere.

  18. Strategies for personnel sustainable lifecycle at astronomical observatories and local industry development (United States)

    Bendek, Eduardo A.; Leatherbee, Michael; Smith, Heather; Strappa, Valentina; Zinnecker, Hans; Perez, Mario


    Specialized manpower required to efficiently operate world-class observatories requires large investments in time and resources to train personnel in very specific areas of engineering. Isolation and distances to mayor cities pose a challenge to retain motivated and qualified personnel on the mountain. This paper presents strategies that we believe may be effective for retaining this specific know-how in the astronomy field; while at the same time develop a local support industry for observatory operations and astronomical instrumentation development. For this study we choose Chile as a research setting because it will host more than 60% of the world's ground based astronomical infrastructure by the end of the decade, and because the country has an underdeveloped industry for astronomy services. We identify the astronomical infrastructure that exists in the country as well as the major research groups and industrial players. We further identify the needs of observatories that could be outsourced to the local economy. As a result, we suggest spin-off opportunities that can be started by former observatory employees and therefore retaining the knowhow of experienced people that decide to leave on-site jobs. We also identify tools to facilitate this process such as the creation of a centralized repository of local capabilities and observatory needs, as well as exchange programs within astronomical instrumentation groups. We believe that these strategies will contribute to a positive work environment at the observatories, reduce the operation and development costs, and develop a new industry for the host country.

  19. Astronomía: historia y calendario


    Toro y Llaca, Carmen de


    I. EVOLUCIÓN DE LOS CONOCIMIENTOS ASTRONÓMICOS A TRAVÉS DE LA HISTORIA l. Hipótesis primitivas 2. Los períodos Clásico y Helenístico de la ciencia griega 3. La época de la oscuridad, Bizancio y la ciencia árabe 4. La obra astronómica de Alfonso X el Sabio 5. La Revolución Copemicana 6. La Edad de Oro de la astronomía de posición 7. La astronomía en el siglo XVIII. Nacimiento de la geodesia como ciencia independiente 8. Siglos XIX y Xx. Nacimiento y desarrollo de la astrofísica 9. La astronomí...

  20. DVD Database Astronomical Manuscripts in Georgia (United States)

    Simonia, I.; Simonia, Ts.; Abuladze, T.; Chkhikvadze, N.; Samkurashvili, L.; Pataridze, K.


    Little known and unknown Georgian, Persian, and Arabic astronomical manuscripts of IX-XIX centuries are kept in the centers, archives, and libraries of Georgia. These manuscripts has a form of treaties, handbooks, texts, tables, fragments, and comprises various theories, cosmological models, star catalogs, calendars, methods of observations. We investigated this large material and published DVD database Astronomical Manuscripts in Georgia. This unique database contains information about astronomical manuscripts as original works. It contains also descriptions of Georgian translations of Byzantine, Arabic and other sources. The present paper is dedicated to description of obtained results and DVD database. Copies of published DVD database are kept in collections of the libraries of: Ilia State University, Georgia; Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, UK; Congress of the USA, and in other centers.

  1. A Journal for the Astronomical Computing Community?

    CERN Document Server

    Gray, Norman


    One of the Birds of a Feather (BoF) discussion sessions at ADASS XX considered whether a new journal is needed to serve the astronomical computing community. In this paper we discuss the nature and requirements of that community, outline the analysis that led us to propose this as a topic for a BoF, and review the discussion from the BoF session itself. We also present the results from a survey designed to assess the suitability of astronomical computing papers of different kinds for publication in a range of existing astronomical and scientific computing journals. The discussion in the BoF session was somewhat inconclusive, and it seems likely that this topic will be debated again at a future ADASS or in a similar forum.

  2. Ancient Maya astronomical tables from Xultun, Guatemala. (United States)

    Saturno, William A; Stuart, David; Aveni, Anthony F; Rossi, Franco


    Maya astronomical tables are recognized in bark-paper books from the Late Postclassic period (1300 to 1521 C.E.), but Classic period (200 to 900 C.E.) precursors have not been found. In 2011, a small painted room was excavated at the extensive ancient Maya ruins of Xultun, Guatemala, dating to the early 9th century C.E. The walls and ceiling of the room are painted with several human figures. Two walls also display a large number of delicate black, red, and incised hieroglyphs. Many of these hieroglyphs are calendrical in nature and relate astronomical computations, including at least two tables concerning the movement of the Moon, and perhaps Mars and Venus. These apparently represent early astronomical tables and may shed light on the later books.

  3. Aligning Astronomical Telescopes via Identification of Stars (United States)

    Whorton, Mark


    A proposed method of automated, precise alignment of a ground-based astronomical telescope would eliminate the need for initial manual alignment. The method, based on automated identification of known stars and other celestial objects in the telescope field of view, would also eliminate the need for an initial estimate of the aiming direction. The method does not require any equipment other than a digital imaging device such as a charge-coupled-device digital imaging camera and control computers of the telescope and camera, all of which are standard components in professional astronomical telescope systems and in high-end amateur astronomical telescope systems. The method could be implemented in software running in the telescope or camera control computer or in an external computer communicating with the telescope pointing mount and camera control computers.

  4. Services for Astronomical Data Management and Sharing (United States)

    Kundera, Tomasz; Stachowski, Greg; Wierzbowski, Arkadiusz; Borkowski, Jerzy; Ciecielag, Pawel


    As part of the AstroGrid-PL project we have implemented a large scale data management system for the Polish astronomical community within the framework of PLGrid Plus project with built-in metadata services, replication and distributed storage based on the well-established iRODS middleware. In parallel we have implemented the Polish Virtual Observatory, which provides access, search, retrieval and in situ processing for this data using the protocols and standards established by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). These standards are already in use at astronomical facilities across the globe, and implementing them within the framework of AstroGrid-PL and PLGrid Plus project enables us not only to provide advanced data retrieval services to our users, but also to leverage a large body of existing astronomical data analysis software and give our users access to foreign data resources provided on the same principles.

  5. Making Access to Astronomical Software More Efficient

    CERN Document Server

    Grosbol, P


    Access to astronomical data through archives and VO is essential but does not solve all problems. Availability of appropriate software for analyzing the data is often equally important for the efficiency with which a researcher can publish results. A number of legacy systems (e.g. IRAF, MIDAS, Starlink, AIPS, Gipsy), as well as others now coming online are available but have very different user interfaces and may no longer be fully supported. Users may need multiple systems or stand-alone packages to complete the full analysis which introduces significant overhead. The OPTICON Network on `Future Astronomical Software Environments' and the USVAO have discussed these issues and have outlined a general architectural concept that solves many of the current problems in accessing software packages. It foresees a layered structure with clear separation of astronomical code and IT infrastructure. By relying on modern IT concepts for messaging and distributed execution, it provides full scalability from desktops to cl...

  6. Career situation of female astronomers in Germany

    CERN Document Server

    Fohlmeister, J; 10.1002/asna.201211656


    We survey the job situation of women in astronomy in Germany and of German women abroad and review indicators for their career development. Our sample includes women astronomers from all academic levels from doctoral students to professors, as well as female astronomers who have left the field. We find that networking and human support are among the most important factors for success. Experience shows that students should carefully choose their supervisor and collect practical knowledge abroad. We reflect the private situation of female German astronomers and find that prejudices are abundant, and are perceived as discriminating.We identify reasons why women are more likely than men to quit astronomy after they obtain their PhD degree. We give recommendations to young students on what to pay attention to in order to be on the successful path in astronomy.

  7. Radioisotope instruments

    CERN Document Server

    Cameron, J F; Silverleaf, D J


    International Series of Monographs in Nuclear Energy, Volume 107: Radioisotope Instruments, Part 1 focuses on the design and applications of instruments based on the radiation released by radioactive substances. The book first offers information on the physical basis of radioisotope instruments; technical and economic advantages of radioisotope instruments; and radiation hazard. The manuscript then discusses commercial radioisotope instruments, including radiation sources and detectors, computing and control units, and measuring heads. The text describes the applications of radioisotop

  8. The innermost astronomical unit of protoplanetary disks

    CERN Document Server

    Kluska, J; Benisty, M


    Circumstellar disks around young stars are the birthsites of planets. It is thus fundamental to study the disks in which they form, their structure and the physical conditions therein. The first astronomical unit is of great interest because this is where the terrestrial-planets form and the angular momentum is controled via massloss through winds/jets. With its milli-arcsecond resolution, optical interferometry is the only technic able to spatially resolve the first few astronomical units of the disk. In this review, we will present a broad overview of studies of young stellar objects with interferometry, and discuss prospects for the future.

  9. A Novel Semantic Software for Astronomical Concepts

    CERN Document Server

    Heydari-Malayeri, M; Petit, F Le


    We have created a new semantic tool called AstroConcepts, providing definitions of astronomical concepts present on Web pages. This tool is a Google Chrome plug-in that interrogates the Etymological Dictionary of Astronomy and Astrophysics, developed at Paris Observatory. Thanks to this tool, if one selects an astronomical concept on a web page, a pop-up window will display the definition of the available English or French terms. Another expected use of this facility could be its implementation in Virtual Observatory services.

  10. The Astronomical Photographic Data Archive at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (United States)

    Castelaz, M. W.


    Astronomical photographic data constitute an enormously important and, for the large part, unrepeatable resource for astronomical research. To answer the need for rescue, preservation and digitization of astronomical photographic data, the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive (APDA) was established at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI). APDA is essential both for the health of astronomical science and for credibility of the current generation of astronomers as guardians of its unique heritage. The basic facility requirements met at PARI for APDA include: a secure area with controlled access; several thousand square feet of floor space with a solid foundation; a clean, dust-free environment with controlled humidity and temperature; protection from sunlight; office and lab space for high-resolution scanners and with internet access. APDA development is focused on collections in danger of disposal or extreme damage. Beyond this essential salvage effort, PARI is currently working to establish the physical archives environment, collection development plan, and standard finding aids for the archive. This essay describes the current set of collections, status for access, research resulting from the collections, and future direction of APDA.

  11. The infrared astronomical satellite AKARI: overview, highlights of the mission (United States)

    Murakami, Hiroshi; Matsuhara, Hideo


    The AKARI, Japanese infrared astronomical satellite, is a 68.5 cm cooled telescope with two focal-plane instruments providing continuous sky scan at six wavelength bands in mid- and far-infrared. The instruments also have capabilities of imaging and spectroscopy in the wavelength range 2-180 μm in the pointing observations occasionally inserted into the continuous survey. AKARI was launched on 21st Feb. 2006, and has performed the all-sky survey as well as 5380 pointing observations until the liquid helium exhaustion on 26th Aug. 2007. The all sky survey covers more than 90 percent of the entire sky with higher spatial resolutions and sensitivities than the IRAS. First version of the infrared source catalogue will be released in 2009. Here we report the overview of the mission, highlights on the scientific results as well as the performance of the focal-plane instruments. We also present the observation plan with the near infrared camera during the post-helium mission phase started in June 2008.

  12. The Undergraduate Research Resources at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (United States)

    Cline, J. Donald; Castelaz, Michael W.


    Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), a former NASA tracking station located in western North Carolina, has been offering programs, campus, and instrument use for undergraduate research and learning experiences since 2000. Over these years, PARI has collaborated with universities and colleges in the Southeastern U.S. Sharing its campus with institutions of higher learning is a priority for PARI as part of its mission to "to providing hands-on educational and research opportunities for a broad cross-section of users in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines."PARI is a 200 acre campus for environmental, earth, geological, physical, and astronomical sciences. For example, the PARI 26-m and 4.6-m radio telescopes are excellent for teaching electromagnetic theory, spectroscopy, atomic and molecular emission processes, and general physics and astronomy concepts. The PARI campus has lab and office space, data centers with high speed internet, distance learning capabilities, radio and optical telescopes, earth science sensors, housing and cafeteria.Also, the campus is in an excellent spot for environmental and biological sciences lab and classroom experiences for students. The campus has the capability to put power and Internet access almost anywhere on its 200 acre campus so experiments can be set up in a protected area of a national forest. For example, Earthscope operates a Plate Boundary Observatory sensor on campus to measure plate tectonic motion. And, Clemson University has an instrument measuring winds and temperatures in the Thermsophere. The use of thePARI campus is limited only by the creativity faculty to provide a rich educational environment for their students. An overview of PARI will be presented along with a summary of programs, and a summary of undergraduate research experiences over the past 15 years. Access to PARI and collaboration possibilities will be presented.

  13. Coronagraphic demonstration experiment using aluminum mirrors for space infrared astronomical observations

    CERN Document Server

    Oseki, Shinji; Ishihara, Daisuke; Enya, Keigo; Haze, Kanae; Kotani, Takayuki; Kaneda, Hidehiro; Nishiyama, Miho; Abe, Lyu; Yamamuro, Tomoyasu


    For future space infrared astronomical coronagraphy, we perform experimental studies on the application of aluminum mirrors to a coronagraph. Cooled reflective optics is required for broad-band mid-infrared observations in space, while high-precision optics is required for coronagraphy. For the coronagraph instrument originally proposed for the next-generation infrared astronomical satellite project SPICA (SCI: SPICA Coronagraph Instrument), we fabricated and evaluated the optics consisting of high-precision aluminum off-axis mirrors with diamond-turned surfaces, and conducted a coronagraphic demonstration experiment using the optics with a coronagraph mask. We first measured the wave front errors (WFEs) of the aluminum mirrors with a He-Ne Fizeau interferometer to confirm that the power spectral densities of the WFEs satisfy the SCI requirements. Then we integrated the mirrors into an optical system and evaluated the overall performance of the system. As a result, we estimate the total WFE of the optics to b...

  14. Astronomía en la cultura (United States)

    López, A.; Giménez Benitez, S.; Fernández, L.

    La Astronomía en la Cultura es el estudio interdisciplinario a nivel global de la astronomía prehistórica, antigua y tradicional, en el marco de su contexto cultural. Esta disciplina abarca cualquier tipo de estudios o líneas de investigación en que se relacione a la astronomía con las ciencias humanas o sociales. En ella se incluyen tanto fuentes escritas, relatos orales como fuentes arqueológicas, abarcando entre otros, los siguientes temas: calendarios, observación práctica, cultos y mitos, representación simbólica de eventos, conceptos y objetos astronómicos, orientación astronómica de tumbas, templos, santuarios y centros urbanos, cosmología tradicional y la aplicación ceremonial de tradiciones astronómicas, la propia historia de la astronomía y la etnoastronomía (Krupp, 1989) (Iwaniszewski, 1994). En nuestro trabajo abordamos la historia y situación actual de esta disciplina, sus métodos y sus relaciones con otras áreas de investigación.

  15. Prospective Science Teachers' Conceptions about Astronomical Subjects (United States)

    Küçüközer, Hüseyin


    The main objective of this study was to identify prospective science teachers' conceptions on basic astronomical phenomena. A questionnaire consisting of nine open-ended questions was administered to 327 prospective science teachers. The questionnaire was constructed after extensive review of the literature and took into consideration the reported…

  16. astLib: Tools for research astronomers (United States)

    Hilton, Matt; Boada, Steven


    astLib is a set of Python modules for performing astronomical plots, some statistics, common calculations, coordinate conversions, and manipulating FITS images with World Coordinate System (WCS) information through PyWCSTools, a simple wrapping of WCSTools (ascl:1109.015).

  17. Astronomical photonics in the context of infrared interferometry and high-resolution spectroscopy

    CERN Document Server

    Labadie, Lucas; Cvetojevic, Nick; Haynes, Roger; Harris, Robert; Jovanovic, Nemanja; Lacour, Sylvestre; Martin, Guillermo; Minardi, Stefano; Perrin, Guy; Roth, Martin; Thomson, Robert R


    We review the potential of Astrophotonics, a relatively young field at the interface between photonics and astronomical instrumentation, for spectro-interferometry. We review some fundamental aspects of photonic science that drove the emer- gence of astrophotonics, and highlight the achievements in observational astrophysics. We analyze the prospects for further technological development also considering the potential synergies with other fields of physics (e.g. non-linear optics in condensed matter physics). We also stress the central role of fiber optics in routing and transporting light, delivering complex filters, or interfacing instruments and telescopes, more specifically in the context of a growing usage of adaptive optics.

  18. Young Astronomers' Observe with ESO Telescopes (United States)


    Today, forty 16-18 year old students and their teachers are concluding a one-week, educational `working visit' to the ESO Headquarters in Garching (See ESO Press Release 14/95 of 8 November 1995). They are the winners of the Europe-wide contest `Europe Towards the Stars', organised by ESO with the support of the European Union, under the auspices of the Third European Week for Scientific and Technological Culture. From November 14-20, they have worked with professional ESO astronomers in order to get insight into the methods and principles of modern astronomy and astrophysics, as carried out at one of the world's foremost international centres. This included very successful remote observations with the ESO 3.5-m New Technology Telescope (NTT) and the 1.4-m Coude Auxiliary Telescope (CAT) via a satellite link between the ESO Headquarters and the La Silla observatory in Chile, 12,000 kilometres away. After a general introduction to modern astronomy on the first day of the visit, the participants divided into six teams, according to their interests. Some chose to observe distant galaxies, others prefered to have a closer look on binary stars, and one team decided to investigate a star which is thought to be surrounded by a proto-planetary system. Each team was supported by an experienced ESO astronomer. Then followed the observations at the remote consoles during three nights, the first at the NTT and the following at the CAT. Each team had access to the telescope during half a night. Although the work schedule - exactly as in `real' science - was quite hard, especially during the following data reduction and interpretative phase, all teams managed extremely well and in high spirits. The young astronomers' observations were favoured by excellent atmospheric conditions. At the NTT, the seeing was better than 0.5 arcsecond during several hours, an exceptional value that allows very good images to be obtained. All observations represent solid and interesting science, and

  19. Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica, a real option for astronomical publication (United States)

    Torres-Peimbert, S.; Allen, C.


    We present statistical data about the Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica. We consider that this journal is well positioned in the international astronomical literature. Similarly we present information about the Serie de Conferencias, which also has a wide level of acceptance by the astronomical community.

  20. Historical Examples of Lobbying: The Case of Strasbourg Astronomical Observatories (United States)

    Heck, Andre


    Several astronomical observatories have been established in Strasbourg in very differing contexts. In the late 17th century, an observing post (scientifically sterile) was put on top of a tower, the Hospital Gate, essentially for the prestige of the city and the notoriety of the university. In the 19th century, the observatory built on the Académie hosting the French university was the first attempt to set up in the city a real observatory equipped with genuine instrumentation with the purpose of carrying out serious research, but the succession of political regimes in France and the continual bidding for moving the university to other locations, together with the faltering of later scholars, torpedoed any significant scientific usage of the place. After the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian war, the German authorities set up a prestigious university campus with a whole range of institutes together with a modern observatory consisting of several buildings and hosting a flotilla of excellent instruments, including the then largest refractor of the country. This paper illustrates various types of lobbying used in the steps above while detailing, from archive documents largely unexploited so far, original research on the two first observatories.

  1. Indexing and Searching Distributed Astronomical Data Archives (United States)

    Jackson, R. E.

    The technology needed to implement a Distributed Astronomical Data Archive (DADA) is available today (e.g., Fullton 1993). Query interface standards are needed, however, before the DADA information will be discoverable. Fortunately, a small number of parameters can describe a large variety of astronomical datasets. One possible set of parameters is (RA, DEC, Wavelength, Time, Intensity) times (Minimum Value, Maximum Value, Resolution, Coverage). These twenty parameters can describe aperture photometry, images, time resolved spectroscopy, etc. These parameters would be used to index each dataset in each catalog. Each catalog would in turn be indexed by the extremum values of the parameters into a catalog of catalogs. Replicating this catalog of catalogs would create a system with no centralized resource to be saturated by multiple users.

  2. Astronomical dating in the 19th century (United States)

    Hilgen, Frederik J.


    Today astronomical tuning is widely accepted as numerical dating method after having revolutionised the age calibration of the geological archive and time scale over the last decades. However, its origin is not well known and tracing its roots is important especially from a science historic perspective. Astronomical tuning developed in consequence of the astronomical theory of the ice ages and was repeatedly used in the second half of the 19th century before the invention of radio-isotopic dating. Building upon earlier ideas of Joseph Adhémar, James Croll started to formulate his astronomical theory of the ice ages in 1864 according to which precession controlled ice ages occur alternatingly on both hemispheres at times of maximum eccentricity of the Earth's orbit. The publication of these ideas compelled Charles Lyell to revise his Principles of Geology and add Croll's theory, thus providing an alternative to his own geographical cause of the ice ages. Both Croll and Lyell initially tuned the last glacial epoch to the prominent eccentricity maximum 850,000 yr ago. This age was used as starting point by Lyell to calculate an age of 240 million years for the beginning of the Cambrium. But Croll soon revised the tuning to a much younger less prominent eccentricity maximum between 240,000 and 80,000 yr ago. In addition he tuned older glacial deposits of late Miocene and Eocene ages to eccentricity maxima around 800,000 and 2,800,000 yr ago. Archibald and James Geikie were the first to recognize interglacials during the last glacial epoch, as predicted by Croll's theory, and attempted to tune them to precession. Soon after Frank Taylor linked a series of 15 end-moraines left behind by the retreating ice sheet to precession to arrive at a possible age of 300,000 yr for the maximum glaciation. In a classic paper, Axel Blytt (1876) explained the scattered distribution of plant groups in Norway to precession induced alternating rainy and dry periods as recorded by the

  3. Recruitment and Retention of LGBTIQ Astronomers (United States)

    Dixon, William Van Dyke


    While lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or questioning (LGBTIQ) astronomers face many of the same workplace challenges as women and racial/ethnic minorities, from implicit bias to overt discrimination, other challenges are unique to this group. An obvious example is the absence at many institutions of health insurance and other benefits for the same-sex domestic partners of their employees. More subtle is the psychological toll paid by LGBTIQ astronomers who remain "in the closet," self-censoring every statement about their personal lives. Paradoxically, the culture of the physical sciences, in which sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression are considered irrelevant, can discourage their discussion, further isolating LGBTIQ researchers. Addressing these challenges is not just a matter of fairness; it is an essential tool in the recruitment and retention of the brightest researchers and in assuring their productivity. We will discuss these issues and what individuals and departments can to make their institutions more welcoming to their LGBTIQ colleagues.

  4. Astronomical Image Denoising Using Dictionary Learning

    CERN Document Server

    Beckouche, Simon; Fadili, Jalal


    Astronomical images suffer a constant presence of multiple defects that are consequences of the intrinsic properties of the acquisition equipments, and atmospheric conditions. One of the most frequent defects in astronomical imaging is the presence of additive noise which makes a denoising step mandatory before processing data. During the last decade, a particular modeling scheme, based on sparse representations, has drawn the attention of an ever growing community of researchers. Sparse representations offer a promising framework to many image and signal processing tasks, especially denoising and restoration applications. At first, the harmonics, wavelets, and similar bases and overcomplete representations have been considered as candidate domains to seek the sparsest representation. A new generation of algorithms, based on data-driven dictionaries, evolved rapidly and compete now with the off-the-shelf fixed dictionaries. While designing a dictionary beforehand leans on a guess of the most appropriate repre...

  5. Astronomía: historia y calenario


    Toro y Llaca, Carmen de


    I. EVOLUCIÓN DE LOS CONOCIMIENTOS ASTRONÓMICOS A TRAVÉS DE LA HISTORIA l. Hipótesis primitivas 2. Los períodos Clásico y Helenístico de la ciencia griega 3. La época de la oscuridad, Bizancio y la ciencia árabe 4. La obra astronómica de Alfonso X el Sabio 5. La Revolución Copemicana 6. La Edad de Oro de la astronomía de posición 7. La astronomía en el siglo XVIII. Nacimiento de la geodesia como ciencia independiente 8. Siglos XIX y Xx. Nacimiento y desarrollo de...

  6. Compression of interferometric radio-astronomical data

    CERN Document Server

    Offringa, A R


    The volume of radio-astronomical data is a considerable burden in the processing and storing of radio observations with high time and frequency resolutions and large bandwidths. Lossy compression of interferometric radio-astronomical data is considered to reduce the volume of visibility data and to speed up processing. A new compression technique named "Dysco" is introduced that consists of two steps: a normalization step, in which grouped visibilities are normalized to have a similar distribution; and a quantization and encoding step, which rounds values to a given quantization scheme using a dithering scheme. Several non-linear quantization schemes are tested and combined with different methods for normalizing the data. Four data sets with observations from the LOFAR and MWA telescopes are processed with different processing strategies and different combinations of normalization and quantization. The effects of compression are measured in image plane. The noise added by the lossy compression technique acts ...

  7. Astronomical Photometry Past, Present, and Future

    CERN Document Server

    Milone, Eugene F


    This book brings together experts in the field of astronomical photometry to discuss how their subfields provide the precision and accuracy in astronomical energy flux measurements that are needed to permit tests of astrophysical theories. Differential photometers and photometry, improvements in infrared precision, the improvements in precision and accuracy of CCD photometry, the absolute calibration of flux, the development of the Johnson UBVRI photometric system and other passband systems to measure and precisely classify specific types of stars and astrophysical quantities, and the current capabilities of spectrophotometry and polarimetry to provide precise and accurate data, are all discussed in this volume. The discussion of `differential’ or `two-star’ photometers ranges from early experiments in visual photometry through the Harvard and Princeton polarizing photometers to the pioneering work of Walraven and differential photometers designed to minimize effects of atmospheric extinction and to count...

  8. Local sparse representation for astronomical image denoising

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    杨阿锋; 鲁敏; 滕书华; 孙即祥


    Motivated by local coordinate coding(LCC) theory in nonlinear manifold learning, a new image representation model called local sparse representation(LSR) for astronomical image denoising was proposed. Borrowing ideas from surrogate function and applying the iterative shrinkage-thresholding algorithm(ISTA), an iterative shrinkage operator for LSR was derived. Meanwhile, a fast approximated LSR method by first performing a K-nearest-neighbor search and then solving a l1optimization problem was presented under the guarantee of denoising performance. In addition, the LSR model and adaptive dictionary learning were incorporated into a unified optimization framework, which explicitly established the inner connection of them. Such processing allows us to simultaneously update sparse coding vectors and the dictionary by alternating optimization method. The experimental results show that the proposed method is superior to the traditional denoising method and reaches state-of-the-art performance on astronomical image.

  9. Laser frequency combs for astronomical observations. (United States)

    Steinmetz, Tilo; Wilken, Tobias; Araujo-Hauck, Constanza; Holzwarth, Ronald; Hänsch, Theodor W; Pasquini, Luca; Manescau, Antonio; D'Odorico, Sandro; Murphy, Michael T; Kentischer, Thomas; Schmidt, Wolfgang; Udem, Thomas


    A direct measurement of the universe's expansion history could be made by observing in real time the evolution of the cosmological redshift of distant objects. However, this would require measurements of Doppler velocity drifts of approximately 1 centimeter per second per year, and astronomical spectrographs have not yet been calibrated to this tolerance. We demonstrated the first use of a laser frequency comb for wavelength calibration of an astronomical telescope. Even with a simple analysis, absolute calibration is achieved with an equivalent Doppler precision of approximately 9 meters per second at approximately 1.5 micrometers-beyond state-of-the-art accuracy. We show that tracking complex, time-varying systematic effects in the spectrograph and detector system is a particular advantage of laser frequency comb calibration. This technique promises an effective means for modeling and removal of such systematic effects to the accuracy required by future experiments to see direct evidence of the universe's putative acceleration.

  10. Astronomía Mocoví (United States)

    López, A.; Giménez Benitez, S.; Fernández, L.

    El presente trabajo, es una revisión crítica de la astronomía en la cultura Mocoví, aportando a lo realizado previamente por Lehmann Nistche (Lehmann Nistche, 1924 y 1927) el resultado de nuestro trabajo de campo. Un mayor conocimiento de las cosmovisiones de las etnias de esta área es fundamental para una mejor comprensión de la dispersión de las ideas cosmológicas entre los pueblos aborígenes americanos, dada la importancia del corredor chaqueño como conexión entre las altas culturas andinas, la mesopotamia y la región pampeana (Susnik, 1972). Para ello se realiza una comparación con otras cosmovisiones del área americana. Nuestro aporte se enmarca dentro de las actuales líneas de trabajo mundialmente en desarrollo en Astronomía en la Cultura.

  11. Isaac Newton and the astronomical refraction. (United States)

    Lehn, Waldemar H


    In a short interval toward the end of 1694, Isaac Newton developed two mathematical models for the theory of the astronomical refraction and calculated two refraction tables, but did not publish his theory. Much effort has been expended, starting with Biot in 1836, in the attempt to identify the methods and equations that Newton used. In contrast to previous work, a closed form solution is identified for the refraction integral that reproduces the table for his first model (in which density decays linearly with elevation). The parameters of his second model, which includes the exponential variation of pressure in an isothermal atmosphere, have also been identified by reproducing his results. The implication is clear that in each case Newton had derived exactly the correct equations for the astronomical refraction; furthermore, he was the first to do so.

  12. International Astronomical Union Sympoisum No.50

    CERN Document Server

    Westerlund, B


    Dr J. Landi Dessy, Director of the Astronomical Observatory, Cordoba, Argentina, invited the International Astronomical Union to hold a Symposium in Cordoba in connection with the celebration of the Centennial of the Cordoba Observatory; the date of foundation is October 24, 1871. He proposed that the Symposium should deal with Spectral Classification and Multicolour Photometry as seven years had elapsed since the Symposium No. 24 in Saltsj6baden, and much development had occurred in the field. The invitation and the proposal were accepted by the IAU, and the Symposium was held in Villa Carlos Paz, near Cordoba, between October 18 and October 24, 1971. It was attended by about 50 scientists representing Argentina, Canada, Chile, Den­ mark, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., U.S.A., Vatican City State and Venezuela. The Symposium was divided into four sessions: 1. Classification of slit spectra, 2. Classification of objective-prism spectra, 3. Photometric classification, 4. Catalogues ...

  13. Training the Next Generation of Astronomers

    CERN Document Server

    Williams, Peter K G; Maness, Holly; Modjaz, Maryam; Shapiro, Kristen L; Silverman, Jeffrey M; Strubbe, Linda; Adams, Betsey; Alatalo, Katherine; Chiu, Kuenley; Claire, Mark; Cobb, Bethany; Cruz, Kelle; Desroches, Louis-Benoit; Enoch, Melissa; Hull, Chat; Jang-Condell, Hannah; Law, Casey; McConnell, Nicholas; Meijerink, Rowin; Offner, Stella; Parejko, John K; Pober, Jonathan; Pontoppidan, Klaus; Poznanski, Dovi; Seth, Anil; Stahler, Steven; Walkowicz, Lucianne; West, Andrew A; Wetzel, Andrew; Whysong, David


    While both society and astronomy have evolved greatly over the past fifty years, the academic institutions and incentives that shape our field have remained largely stagnant. As a result, the astronomical community is faced with several major challenges, including: (1) the training that we provide does not align with the skills that future astronomers will need, (2) the postdoctoral phase is becoming increasingly demanding and demoralizing, and (3) our jobs are increasingly unfriendly to families with children. Solving these problems will require conscious engineering of our profession. Fortunately, this Decadal Review offers the opportunity to revise outmoded practices to be more effective and equitable. The highest priority of the Subcommittee on the State of the Profession should be to recommend specific, funded activities that will ensure the field meets the challenges we describe.

  14. Statistical methods for astronomical data analysis

    CERN Document Server

    Chattopadhyay, Asis Kumar


    This book introduces “Astrostatistics” as a subject in its own right with rewarding examples, including work by the authors with galaxy and Gamma Ray Burst data to engage the reader. This includes a comprehensive blending of Astrophysics and Statistics. The first chapter’s coverage of preliminary concepts and terminologies for astronomical phenomenon will appeal to both Statistics and Astrophysics readers as helpful context. Statistics concepts covered in the book provide a methodological framework. A unique feature is the inclusion of different possible sources of astronomical data, as well as software packages for converting the raw data into appropriate forms for data analysis. Readers can then use the appropriate statistical packages for their particular data analysis needs. The ideas of statistical inference discussed in the book help readers determine how to apply statistical tests. The authors cover different applications of statistical techniques already developed or specifically introduced for ...

  15. Carriers of the astronomical 2175 ? extinction feature

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bradley, J; Dai, Z; Ernie, R; Browning, N; Graham, G; Weber, P; Smith, J; Hutcheon, I; Ishii, H; Bajt, S; Floss, C; Stadermann, F


    The 2175 {angstrom} extinction feature is by far the strongest spectral signature of interstellar dust observed by astronomers. Forty years after its discovery the origin of the feature and the nature of the carrier remain controversial. The feature is enigmatic because although its central wavelength is almost invariant its bandwidth varies strongly from one sightline to another, suggesting multiple carriers or a single carrier with variable properties. Using a monochromated transmission electron microscope and valence electron energy-loss spectroscopy we have detected a 5.7 eV (2175 {angstrom}) feature in submicrometer-sized interstellar grains within interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) collected in the stratosphere. The carriers are organic carbon and amorphous silicates that are abundant and closely associated with one another both in IDPs and in the interstellar medium. Multiple carriers rather than a single carrier may explain the invariant central wavelength and variable bandwidth of the astronomical 2175 {angstrom} feature.

  16. Division B Commission 6: Astronomical Telegrams (United States)

    Yamaoka, H.; Green, D. W. E.; Samus, N. N.; Aksnes, K.; Gilmore, A. C.; Nakano, S.; Sphar, T.; Tichá, J.; Williams, G. V.


    IAU Commission 6 ``Astronomical Telegrams'' had a single business meeting during Honolulu General Assembly of the IAU. It took place on Tuesday, 11 August 2015. The meeting was attended by Hitoshi Yamaoka (President), Daniel Green (Director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, CBAT, via Skype), Steven Chesley (JPL), Paul Chodas (JPL), Alan Gilmore (Canterbury University), Shinjiro Kouzuma (Chukyo University), Paolo Mazzali (Co-Chair of the Supernova Working Group), Elena Pian (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Marion Schmitz (chair IAU Working Group Designations + NED), David Tholen (University of Hawaii), Jana Ticha (Klet Observatory), Milos Tichy (Klet Observatory), Giovanni Valsecchi (INAF\\slash Italy), Gareth Williams (Minor Planet Center). Apologies: Nikolai Samus (General Catalogue of Variable Stars, GCVS).

  17. Detecting Diffuse Sources in Astronomical Images

    CERN Document Server

    Butler-Yeoman, T; Hollitt, C P; Hogg, D W; Johnston-Hollitt, M


    We present an algorithm capable of detecting diffuse, dim sources of any size in an astronomical image. These sources often defeat traditional methods for source finding, which expand regions around points of high intensity. Extended sources often have no bright points and are only detectable when viewed as a whole, so a more sophisticated approach is required. Our algorithm operates at all scales simultaneously by considering a tree of nested candidate bounding boxes, and inverts a hierarchical Bayesian generative model to obtain the probability of sources existing at given locations and sizes. This model naturally accommodates the detection of nested sources, and no prior knowledge of the distribution of a source, or even the background, is required. The algorithm scales nearly linear with the number of pixels making it feasible to run on large images, and requires minimal parameter tweaking to be effective. We demonstrate the algorithm on several types of astronomical and artificial images.

  18. Identifying seasonal stars in Kaurna astronomical traditions

    CERN Document Server

    Hamacher, Duane W


    Early ethnographers and missionaries recorded Aboriginal languages and oral traditions across Australia. Their general lack of astronomical training resulted in misidentifications, transcription errors, and omissions in these records. Additionally, many of these early records are fragmented. In western Victoria and southeast South Australia, many astronomical traditions were recorded, but curiously, some of the brightest stars in the sky were omitted. Scholars claimed these stars did not feature in Aboriginal traditions. This under-representation continues to be repeated in the literature, but current research shows that some of these stars may in fact feature in Aboriginal traditions and could be seasonal calendar markers. This paper uses established techniques in cultural astronomy to identify seasonal stars in the traditions of the Kaurna Aboriginal people of the Adelaide Plains, South Australia.

  19. Creating a National Astronomical Research Center of International Prestige

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    The inauguration and growth of the National Astron


    @@ Ⅰ. The Creation of an Tntegrated Astronomical Research Center Following the launch of the CAS's Knowledge Innovation Program (KIP) pilot project in 1998, it was formally decided in April 1999 to merge the following CAS institutions: five astronomical observatories (Beijing Observatory, Purple Mountain Observatory,Shanghai Observatory, Yunnan Observatory and Shaanxi Observatory), three research stations (Urumqi Astronomical Observatory, Changchun Astronomical Observatory and Guangdong Satellite Observation Station) and one research institute (Nanjing Institute of Optics and Technology); into a new entity, to be known initially as the National Center for Astronomical Observations.

  20. Laser frequency combs for precision astronomical spectroscopy (United States)

    Ycas, Gabriel George

    Laser frequency comb sources promise to enable precision astronomical spectroscopy at the 10-11 level, enabling observations aimed at locating potentially habitable planets. Frequency combs allow for the simultaneous generation of thousands of individual laser lines, each with optical frequency referenced to the SI second, and are capable of providing a bright, simple, and stable spectrum ideal for the calibration of grating-based astronomical spectrographs. In order for frequency combs and spectrographs to be used in tandem, key technical challenges must be addressed. Most critically, it is necessary to increase the mode-spacing of the frequency comb to more than 20 GHz while simultaneously retaining the stability and broad optical bandwidth of the comb. This thesis also offers an overview of modern astronomical spectroscopy, along with a thorough discussion of the technical details of mode-locked lasers and frequency comb design. This thesis begins by presenting a frequency comb system with mode-spacing of 25 GHz suitable for the near-infrared between 1500 and 1700 nm. Examples are shown from the successful calibration of the Penn State University Pathfinder astronomical spectrograph located at the Hobby-Eberly telescope using the frequency comb system. In the second half of the thesis, the erbium-fiber frequency comb is shown to generate highly coherent, ultrafast, and bright pulses at 1050 nm. The short duration and high peak power of these pulses enable coherent and continuous extension of the comb to visible wavelengths. Next, an accurate model of a nonlinear fiber optic amplifiers is developed and tested, then applied to optimize the selection of fiber lengths in the design of ultrafast nonlinear fiber-optic systems. Finally, a broad-bandwidth optical filter cavity for the generation of a 980--1110 nm suitable for calibration of next-generation spectrographs was designed and tested.

  1. The la Plata Astronomical Data Center (United States)

    Marraco, H. G.


    RESUMEN. El Centro de Datos Astron6micos tiene su sede en la Facuitad de Ciencias Astron6micas y Geofisicas d la Universidad Nacional de La Plata y funciona por convenio entre esta facultad y el Centre des Stellaires de la Universite' Louis Pasteur en Estrasburgo (CDS), Francia. La finalidad de este centro es la de proveer a los astr6nomos del area con copias de los alrededor de 500 acumulados y/o preparados por el CDS a la vez que promover la producci6n y/o acumulaci6n de en el rea. Para la realizaci6n de esta tarea se cuenta con el apoyo del Centro Superior para el Procesamiento de la Informaci6n (CESPI) de la UNLP cuyos equipos se describen. Las tareas que se estan realizando incluyen la distribuci6n de SIMBAD a los astr6nomos argentinos y se efectuan ensayos de distribuci6n en linea de CD-ROM TEST DISK del Astronomical Data Center (ADC) de la NASA que contiene los 31 mas solicitados por los astr6nomos de todo el mundo. ABSTRACl The La Plata Astronomical Data Center operates by an agreement between the Facultad de Ciencias Astron6micas y Geofisicas at La Plata University and the Centre des Donnees Stellaires of Louis Pasteur University at Strasbourg (CDS), France. The purpose of the Center is to provide to the area astronomers with copies of the catalogs they need amongst those stored and/or prepared at CDS. At the same time the center will act of the astronomical data produced within its area. K words: DATA ANALYSIS

  2. Simulations of astronomical imaging phased arrays. (United States)

    Saklatvala, George; Withington, Stafford; Hobson, Michael P


    We describe a theoretical procedure for analyzing astronomical phased arrays with overlapping beams and apply the procedure to simulate a simple example. We demonstrate the effect of overlapping beams on the number of degrees of freedom of the array and on the ability of the array to recover a source. We show that the best images are obtained using overlapping beams, contrary to common practice, and show how the dynamic range of a phased array directly affects the image quality.

  3. Astronomical orientations in sanctuaries of Daunia

    CERN Document Server

    Antonello, E; Sisto, A M Tunzi; LoZupone, M


    Prehistoric sanctuaries of Daunia date back several thousand years. During the Neolithic and Bronze Age the farmers in that region dug hypogea and holes whose characteristics suggest a ritual use. In the present note we summarize the results of the astronomical analysis of the orientation of the row holes in three different sites, and we point out the possible use of the setting of the stars of Centaurus. An interesting archaeological confirmation of an archaeoastronomical prediction is also reported.

  4. The Astronomical Pulse of Global Extinction Events

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David F.V. Lewis


    Full Text Available The linkage between astronomical cycles and the periodicity of mass extinctions is reviewed and discussed. In particular, the apparent 26 million year cycle of global extinctions may be related to the motion of the solar system around the galaxy, especially perpendicular to the galactic plane. The potential relevance of Milankovitch cycles is also explored in the light of current evidence for the possible causes of extinction events over a geological timescale.

  5. The astronomical pulse of global extinction events. (United States)

    Lewis, David F V; Dorne, Jean-Lou C M


    The linkage between astronomical cycles and the periodicity of mass extinctions is reviewed and discussed. In particular, the apparent 26 million year cycle of global extinctions may be related to the motion of the solar system around the galaxy, especially perpendicular to the galactic plane. The potential relevance of Milankovitch cycles is also explored in the light of current evidence for the possible causes of extinction events over a geological timescale.

  6. A website for astronomical news in Spanish (United States)

    Ortiz-Gil, A.


    Noticias del Cosmos is a collection of web pages within the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Valencia's website where we publish short daily summaries of astronomical press releases. Most, if not all of, the releases are originally written in English, and often Spanish readers may find them difficult to understand because not many people are familiar with the scientific language employed in these releases. Noticias del Cosmos has two principal aims. First, we want to communicate the latest astronomical news on a daily basis to a wide Spanish-speaking public who would otherwise not be able to read them because of the language barrier. Second, daily news can be used as a tool to introduce the astronomical topics of the school curriculum in a more immediate and relevant way. Most of the students at school have not yet reached a good enough level in their knowledge of English to fully understand a press release, and Noticias del Cosmos offers them and their teachers this news in their mother tongue. During the regular programme of school visits at the Observatory we use the news as a means of showing that there is still a lot to be discovered. So far the visits to the website have been growing steadily. Between June 2003 and June 2007 we had more than 30,000 visits (excluding 2006). More than 50% of the visits come from Spain, followed by visitors from South and Central America. The feedback we have received from teachers so far has been very positive, showing the usefulness of news items in the classroom when teaching astronomy.

  7. Renewal Strings for Cleaning Astronomical Databases


    Storkey, Amos J.; Hambly, Nigel C.; Williams, Christopher K. I.; Mann, Robert G.


    Large astronomical databases obtained from sky surveys such as the SuperCOSMOS Sky Surveys (SSS) invariably suffer from a small number of spurious records coming from artefactual effects of the telescope, satellites and junk objects in orbit around earth and physical defects on the photographic plate or CCD. Though relatively small in number these spurious records present a significant problem in many situations where they can become a large proportion of the records potentially of interest t...

  8. Radiation events in astronomical CCD images


    Smith, A. R.; McDonald, R. J.; Hurley, D. L.; Holland, S. E.; Groom, D. E.; Brown, W E; Gilmore, D. K.; Stover, R.J.; Wei, M.


    The remarkable sensitivity of depleted silicon to ionizing radiation is a nuisance to astronomers. "Cosmic rays" degrade images because of struck pixels, leading to modified observing strategies and the development of algorithms to remove the unwanted artifacts. In the new-generation CCD's with thick sensitive regions, cosmic-ray muons make recognizable straight tracks and there is enhanced sensitivity to ambient gamma radiation via Compton-scattered electrons ("worms"). Beta emitters i...

  9. An Astronomer's View of Climate Change

    CERN Document Server

    Morton, Donald C


    This paper describes some of the astronomical effects that could be important for understanding the ice ages, historic climate changes and the recent temperature increase. These include changes in the sun's luminosity, periodic changes in the earth's orbital parameters, the sun's orbit around our galaxy, the variability of solar activity and the anticorrelation of cosmic ray flux with that activity. Finally recent trends in solar activity and global temperatures are compared with the predictions of climate models.

  10. On the Astronomical Records and Babylonian Chronology

    CERN Document Server

    Gurzadyan, V G


    We outline the priority of high quality data of astronomical content as our strategy for the analysis of the ancient astronomical records in the search of the absolute chronology of the Near East in II millennium BC. The correspondingly defined set of data for two lunar eclipses of EAE 20 and 21 tablets linked to Ur III period enables us the choice of eclipses of 27 June 1954 BC and 17 March 1912 BC; here the information on the exit position of the darkening of the lunar disk acts as a crucial informator survived in the records. We then discuss why the 56/64 year Venus cycle cannot be traced in the Venus Tablet and therefore cannot serve as an anchor for the search of chronologies. The month length method is discussed as well. In sum the available data support the Ultra-Low Chronology proposed in the book by H.Gasche, J.A.Armstrong, S.W.Cole and V.G.Gurzadyan, "Dating the Fall of Babylon" (1998) and, particularly, leave no astronomical background for the High Chronology. Ultra-Low Chronology is supported also...

  11. Astrobiology: An astronomer's perspective

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bergin, Edwin A. [University of Michigan, Department of Astronomy, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (United States)


    In this review we explore aspects of the field of astrobiology from an astronomical viewpoint. We therefore focus on the origin of life in the context of planetary formation, with additional emphasis on tracing the most abundant volatile elements, C, H, O, and N that are used by life on Earth. We first explore the history of life on our planet and outline the current state of our knowledge regarding the delivery of the C, H, O, N elements to the Earth. We then discuss how astronomers track the gaseous and solid molecular carriers of these volatiles throughout the process of star and planet formation. It is now clear that the early stages of star formation fosters the creation of water and simple organic molecules with enrichments of heavy isotopes. These molecules are found as ice coatings on the solid materials that represent microscopic beginnings of terrestrial worlds. Based on the meteoritic and cometary record, the process of planet formation, and the local environment, lead to additional increases in organic complexity. The astronomical connections towards this stage are only now being directly made. Although the exact details are uncertain, it is likely that the birth process of star and planets likely leads to terrestrial worlds being born with abundant water and organics on the surface.

  12. GASP-Galway astronomical Stokes polarimeter

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shearer A.


    Full Text Available The Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter (GASP is an ultra-high-speed, full Stokes, astronomical imaging polarimeter based upon a Division of Amplitude Polarimeter. It has been developed to resolve extremely rapid stochastic (~ms variations in objects such as optical pulsars, magnetars and magnetic cataclysmic variables. The polarimeter has no moving parts or modulated components so the complete Stokes vector can be measured from just one exposure - making it unique to astronomy. The time required for the determination of the full Stokes vector is limited only by detector efficiency and photon fluxes. The polarimeter utilizes a modified Fresnel rhomb that acts as a highly achromatic quarter wave plate and a beamsplitter (referred to as an RBS. We present a description of how the DOAP works, some of the optical design for the polarimeter. Calibration is an important and difficult issue with all polarimeters, but particularly in astronomical polarimeters. We give a description of calibration techniques appropriate to this type of polarimeter.

  13. GalileoMobile: Astronomical activities in schools (United States)

    Dasi Espuig, Maria; Vasquez, Mayte; Kobel, Philippe

    GalileoMobile is an itinerant science education initiative run on a voluntary basis by an international team of astronomers, educators, and science communicators. Our team's main goal is to make astronomy accessible to schools and communities around the globe that have little or no access to outreach actions. We do this by performing teacher workshops, activities with students, and donating educational material. Since the creation of GalileoMobile in 2008, we have travelled to Chile, Bolivia, Peru, India, and Uganda, and worked with 56 schools in total. Our activities are centred on the GalileoMobile Handbook of Activities that comprises around 20 astronomical activities which we adapted from many different sources, and translated into 4 languages. The experience we gained in Chile, Bolivia, Peru, India, and Uganda taught us that (1) bringing experts from other countries was very stimulating for children as they are naturally curious about other cultures and encourages a collaboration beyond borders; (2) high-school students who were already interested in science were always very eager to interact with real astronomers doing research to ask for career advice; (3) inquiry-based methods are important to make the learning process more effective and we have therefore, re-adapted the activities in our Handbook according to these; (4) local teachers and university students involved in our activities have the potential to carry out follow-up activities, and examples are those from Uganda and India.

  14. AWOB: A Collaborative Workbench for Astronomers (United States)

    Kim, J. W.; Lemson, G.; Bulatovic, N.; Makarenko, V.; Vogler, A.; Voges, W.; Yao, Y.; Kiefl, R.; Koychev, S.


    We present the Astronomers Workbench (AWOB1), a web-based collaboration and publication platform for a scientific project of any size, developed in collaboration between the Max-Planck institutes of Astrophysics (MPA) and Extra-terrestrial Physics (MPE) and the Max-Planck Digital Library (MPDL). AWOB facilitates the collaboration between geographically distributed astronomers working on a common project throughout its whole scientific life cycle. AWOB does so by making it very easy for scientists to set up and manage a collaborative workspace for individual projects, where data can be uploaded and shared. It supports inviting project collaborators, provides wikis, automated mailing lists, calendars and event notification and has a built in chat facility. It allows the definition and tracking of tasks within projects and supports easy creation of e-publications for the dissemination of data and images and other resources that cannot be added to submitted papers. AWOB extends the project concept to larger scale consortia, within which it is possible to manage working groups and sub-projects. The existing AWOB instance has so far been limited to Max-Planck members and their collaborators, but will be opened to the whole astronomical community. AWOB is an open-source project and its source code is available upon request. We intend to extend AWOB's functionality also to other disciplines, and would greatly appreciate contributions from the community.

  15. Astronomical Virtual Observatories Through International Collaboration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masatoshi Ohishi


    Full Text Available Astronomical Virtual Observatories (VOs are emerging research environment for astronomy, and 16 countries and a region have funded to develop their VOs based on international standard protocols for interoperability. The 16 funded VO projects have established the International Virtual Observatory Alliance ( to develop the standard interoperable interfaces such as registry (meta data, data access, query languages, output format (VOTable, data model, application interface, and so on. The IVOA members have constructed each VO environment through the IVOA interfaces. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ started its VO project (Japanese Virtual Observatory - JVO in 2002, and developed its VO system. We have succeeded to interoperate the latest JVO system with other VOs in the USA and Europe since December 2004. Observed data by the Subaru telescope, satellite data taken by the JAXA/ISAS, etc. are connected to the JVO system. Successful interoperation of the JVO system with other VOs means that astronomers in the world will be able to utilize top-level data obtained by these telescopes from anywhere in the world at anytime. System design of the JVO system, experiences during our development including problems of current standard protocols defined in the IVOA, and proposals to resolve these problems in the near future are described.

  16. David Gill - Magnificent and Desirable Astronomer

    CERN Document Server

    Reid, John S


    This paper was given to mark the centenary of the death of David Gill, the foremost British astronomer in the last quarter of the 19th century and into the 20th century. Gill abandoned a successful career as a clock and watchmaker. His speciality was in astrometry, an area of astronomy of both practical and scientific importance that tended to be eclipsed in the 20th century by the rise of astrophysics. As Her Majesty's Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope for 27 years, David Gill was admired for his prolific contribution to highly accurate and trustworthy results. David Gill's collaboration was desired by leading astronomers of the day and he was the only southern hemisphere representative on the hugely important Conference Internationale des Etoiles Fondamentales of 1896. He created with Jacobus Kapetyn the first extensive star catalogue derived from photographic plates (the CPD), including over 450,000 stars. He was an initiator of the biggest multi-national and multi-observatory project of the century, tak...

  17. A Study of the Publishing Activity of Astronomers since 1969 (United States)

    Davoust, E.; Schmadel, L. D.

    This is an analysis of the scientific production of astronomers worldwide over the past 17 years. The inflation in astronomical literature is due to the increasing number of astronomers. They are becoming more productive, but there are also more authors per paper. The total production per astronomer has been decreasing, but the trend may be changing. The frequency distribution of productivity falls more steeply than Lotka's law, hence the more prolific authors do not contribute much to the total production. The proportion of more productive astronomers is increasing with time: astronomers' productivity seems to grow with age. Fourteen superproductive astronomers published over 150 papers each in 15 years. Sociological rather than scientific or technical causes are probably responsible for most of the identified trends.

  18. The ERA2 facility: towards application of a fiber-based astronomical spectrograph for imaging spectroscopy in life sciences

    CERN Document Server

    Roth, Martin M; Tarcea, Nicolae; Popp, Jürgen; Adelhelm, Silvia; Stolz, Marvin; Kelz, Andreas; Sandin, Christer; Bauer, Svend-Marian; Fechner, Thomas; Jahn, Thomas; Popow, Emil; Roth, Bernhard; Singh, Paul; Srivastava, Mudit; Wolter, Dieter


    Astronomical instrumentation is most of the time faced with challenging requirements in terms of sensitivity, stability, complexity, etc., and therefore leads to high performance developments that at first sight appear to be suitable only for the specific design application at the telescope. However, their usefulness in other disciplines and for other applications is not excluded. The ERA2 facility is a lab demonstrator, based on a high-performance astronomical spectrograph, which is intended to explore the innovation potential of fiber-coupled multi-channel spectroscopy for spatially resolved spectroscopy in life science, material sciences, and other areas of research.

  19. Instrumentation Facility (United States)

    Federal Laboratory Consortium — Provides instrumentation support for flight tests of prototype weapons systems using a vast array of airborne sensors, transducers, signal conditioning and encoding...

  20. Amateur astronomers in support of observing campaigns (United States)

    Yanamandra-Fisher, P.


    The Pro-Am Collaborative Astronomy (PACA) project evolved from the observational campaign of C/2012 S1 or C/ISON. The success of the paradigm shift in scientific research is now implemented in other comet observing campaigns. While PACA identifies a consistent collaborative approach to pro-am collaborations, given the volume of data generated for each campaign, new ways of rapid data analysis, mining access, and storage are needed. Several interesting results emerged from the synergistic inclusion of both social media and amateur astronomers: - the establishment of a network of astronomers and related professionals that can be galvanized into action on short notice to support observing campaigns; - assist in various science investigations pertinent to the campaign; - provide an alert-sounding mechanism should the need arise; - immediate outreach and dissemination of results via our media/blogger members; - provide a forum for discussions between the imagers and modelers to help strategize the observing campaign for maximum benefit. In 2014, two new comet observing campaigns involving pro-am collaborations have been identified: (1) C/2013 A1 (C/Siding Spring) and (2) 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (CG). The evolving need for individual customized observing campaigns has been incorporated into the evolution of PACA (Pro-Am Collaborative Astronomy) portal that currently is focused on comets: from supporting observing campaigns for current comets, legacy data, historical comets; interconnected with social media and a set of shareable documents addressing observational strategies; consistent standards for data; data access, use, and storage, to align with the needs of professional observers. The integration of science, observations by professional and amateur astronomers, and various social media provides a dynamic and evolving collaborative partnership between professional and amateur astronomers. The recent observation of comet 67P, at a magnitude of 21.2, from Siding

  1. Astronomers Make First Images With Space Radio Telescope (United States)


    part of the VLBA instrument, was modified over the past four years to allow it to incorporate data from the satellite. Correlation of the observational data was completed successfully on June 12, after the exact timing of the satellite recording was established. Further computer processing produced an image of PKS 1519-273 -- the first image ever produced using a radio telescope in space. For Jim Ulvestad, the NRAO astronomer who made the first image, the success ended a long quest for this new capability. Ulvestad was involved in an experiment more than a decade ago in which a NASA communications satellite, TDRSS, was used to test the idea of doing radio astronomical imaging by combining data from space and ground radio telescopes. That experiment showed that an orbiting antenna could, in fact, work in conjunction with ground-based radio observatories, and paved the way for HALCA and a planned Russian radio astronomy satellite called RadioAstron. "This first image is an important technical milestone, and demonstrates the feasibility of a much more advanced mission, ARISE, currently being considered by NASA," Ulvestad said. The first image showed no structure in the object, even at the extremely fine level of detail achievable with HALCA; it is what astronomers call a "point source." This object also appears as a point source in all-ground-based observations. In addition, the 1986 TDRSS experiment observed the object, and, while this experiment did not produce an image, it indicated that PKS 1519-273 should be a point source. "This simple point image may not appear very impressive, but its beauty to us is that it shows our entire, complex system is functioning correctly. The system includes not only the orbiting and ground-based antennas, but also the orbit determination, tracking stations, the correlator, and the image-processing software," said Jonathan Romney, the NRAO astronomer who led the development of the VLBA correlator, and its enhancement to process data

  2. Astronomical Data Formats: What we have and how we got here

    CERN Document Server

    Mink, Jessica D


    Despite almost all being acquired as photons, astronomical data from different instruments and at different stages in its life may exist in different formats to serve different purposes. Beyond the data itself, descriptive information is associated with it as metadata, either included in the data format or in a larger multi-format data structure. Those formats may be used for the acquisition, processing, exchange, and archiving of data. It has been useful to use similar formats, or even a single standard to ease interaction with data in its various stages using familiar tools. Knowledge of the evolution and advantages of present standards is useful before we discuss the future of how astronomical data is formatted. The evolution of the use of world coordinates in FITS is presented as an example.

  3. EMCCD calibration for astronomical imaging: Wide FastCam at the Telescopio Carlos Sánchez (United States)

    Velasco, S.; Oscoz, A.; López, R. L.; Puga, M.; Pérez-Garrido, A.; Pallé, E.; Ricci, D.; Ayuso, I.; Hernández-Sánchez, M.; Vázquez-Martín, S.; Protasio, C.; Béjar, V.; Truant, N.


    The evident benefits of Electron Multiplying CCDs (EMCCDs) -speed, high sensitivity, low noise and their capability of detecting single photon events whilst maintaining high quantum efficiency- are bringing these kinds of detectors to many state-of-the-art astronomical instruments (Velasco et al. 2016; Oscoz et al. 2008). The EMCCDs are the perfect answer to the need for great sensitivity levels as they are not limited by the readout noise of the output amplifier, while conventional CCDs are, even when operated at high readout frame rates. Here we present a quantitative on-sky method to calibrate EMCCD detectors dedicated to astronomical imaging, developed during the commissioning process (Velasco et al. 2016) and first observations (Ricci et al. 2016, in prep.) with Wide FastCam (Marga et al. 2014) at Telescopio Carlos Sánchez (TCS) in the Observatorio del Teide.

  4. What Lies Behind NSF Astronomer Demographics? Subjectivities of Women, Minorities and Foreign-born Astronomers within Meshworks of Big Science Astronomy (United States)

    Guillen, Reynal; Gu, D.; Holbrook, J.; Murillo, L. F.; Traweek, S.


    Our current research focuses on the trajectory of scientists working with large-scale databases in astronomy, following them as they strategically build their careers, digital infrastructures, and make their epistemological commitments. We look specifically at how gender, ethnicity, nationality intersect in the process of subject formation in astronomy, as well as in the process of enrolling partners for the construction of instruments, design and implementation of large-scale databases. Work once figured as merely technical support, such assembling data catalogs, or as graphic design, generating pleasing images for public support, has been repositioned at the core of the field. Some have argued that such databases enable a new kind of scientific inquiry based on data exploration, such as the "fourth paradigm" or "data-driven" science. Our preliminary findings based on oral history interviews and ethnography provide insights into meshworks of women, African-American, "Hispanic," Asian-American and foreign-born astronomers. Our preliminary data suggest African-American men are more successful in sustaining astronomy careers than Chicano and Asian-American men. A distinctive theme in our data is the glocal character of meshworks available to and created by foreign-born women astronomers working at US facilities. Other data show that the proportion of Asian to Asian American and foreign-born Latina/o to Chicana/o astronomers is approximately equal. Futhermore, Asians and Latinas/os are represented in significantly greater numbers than Asian Americans and Chicanas/os. Among professional astronomers in the US, each ethnic minority group is numbered on the order of tens, not hundreds. Project support is provided by the NSF EAGER program to University of California, Los Angeles under award 0956589.

  5. Community College Class Devoted to Astronomical Research (United States)

    Genet, R. M.; Genet, C. L.


    A class at a small community college, Central Arizona College, was dedicated to astronomical research. Although hands-on research is usually reserved for professionals or graduate students, and occasionally individual undergraduate seniors, we decided to introduce community college students to science by devoting an entire class to research. Nine students were formed into three closely cooperating teams. The class as a whole decided that all three teams would observe Cepheid stars photometrically using a robotic telescope at the Fairborn Observatory. Speaker-phone conference calls were made to Kenneth E. Kissell for help on Cepheid selection, Michael A. Seeds for instructions on the use of the Phoenix-10 robotic telescope, and Douglas S. Hall for assitance in selecting appropriate comparison and check stars. The students obtained critical references on past observations from Konkoly Observatory via airmail. They spent several long night sessions at our apartment compiling the data, making phase calculations, and creating graphs. Finally, the students wrote up their results for publication in a forthcoming special issue of the international journal on stellar photometry, the IAPPP Communication. We concluded that conducting team research is an excellent way to introduce community college students to science, that a class devoted to cooperation as opposed to competition was refreshing, and that group student conference calls with working astronomers were inspiring. A semester, however, is a rather short time to initiate and complete research projects. The students were Sally Baldwin, Cory Bushnell, Bryan Dehart, Pamela Frantz, Carl Fugate, Mike Grill, Jessica Harger, Klay Lapa, and Diane Wiseman. We are pleased to acknowledge the assistance provided by the astronomers mentioned above, James Stuckey (Campus Dean), and our Union Institute and University doctoral committee members Florence Pittman Matusky, Donald S. Hayes, and Karen S. Grove.

  6. Research on schedulers for astronomical observatories (United States)

    Colome, Josep; Colomer, Pau; Guàrdia, Josep; Ribas, Ignasi; Campreciós, Jordi; Coiffard, Thierry; Gesa, Lluis; Martínez, Francesc; Rodler, Florian


    The main task of a scheduler applied to astronomical observatories is the time optimization of the facility and the maximization of the scientific return. Scheduling of astronomical observations is an example of the classical task allocation problem known as the job-shop problem (JSP), where N ideal tasks are assigned to M identical resources, while minimizing the total execution time. A problem of higher complexity, called the Flexible-JSP (FJSP), arises when the tasks can be executed by different resources, i.e. by different telescopes, and it focuses on determining a routing policy (i.e., which machine to assign for each operation) other than the traditional scheduling decisions (i.e., to determine the starting time of each operation). In most cases there is no single best approach to solve the planning system and, therefore, various mathematical algorithms (Genetic Algorithms, Ant Colony Optimization algorithms, Multi-Objective Evolutionary algorithms, etc.) are usually considered to adapt the application to the system configuration and task execution constraints. The scheduling time-cycle is also an important ingredient to determine the best approach. A shortterm scheduler, for instance, has to find a good solution with the minimum computation time, providing the system with the capability to adapt the selected task to varying execution constraints (i.e., environment conditions). We present in this contribution an analysis of the task allocation problem and the solutions currently in use at different astronomical facilities. We also describe the schedulers for three different projects (CTA, CARMENES and TJO) where the conclusions of this analysis are applied to develop a suitable routine.

  7. Radio Astronomers Develop New Technique for Studying Dark Energy (United States)


    capabilities of current instruments -- the team used their intensity-mapping technique to accumulate the radio waves emitted by the hydrogen gas in large volumes of space including many galaxies. "Since the early part of the 20th Century, astronomers have traced the expansion of the Universe by observing galaxies. Our new technique allows us to skip the galaxy-detection step and gather radio emissions from a thousand galaxies at a time, as well as all the dimly-glowing material between them," said Jeffrey Peterson, of Carnegie Mellon University. The astronomers also developed new techniques that removed both man-made radio interference and radio emission caused by more-nearby astronomical sources, leaving only the extremely faint radio waves coming from the very distant hydrogen gas. The result was a map of part of the "cosmic web" that correlated neatly with the structure shown by the earlier optical study. The team first proposed their intensity-mapping technique in 2008, and their GBT observations were the first test of the idea. "These observations detected more hydrogen gas than all the previously-detected hydrogen in the Universe, and at distances ten times farther than any radio wave-emitting hydrogen seen before," said Ue-Li Pen of the University of Toronto. "This is a demonstration of an important technique that has great promise for future studies of the evolution of large-scale structure in the Universe," said National Radio Astronomy Observatory Chief Scientist Chris Carilli, who was not part of the research team. In addition to Chang, Peterson, and Pen, the research team included Kevin Bandura of Carnegie Mellon University. The scientists reported their work in the July 22 issue of the scientific journal Nature.

  8. Algorithms for classification of astronomical object spectra (United States)

    Wasiewicz, P.; Szuppe, J.; Hryniewicz, K.


    Obtaining interesting celestial objects from tens of thousands or even millions of recorded optical-ultraviolet spectra depends not only on the data quality but also on the accuracy of spectra decomposition. Additionally rapidly growing data volumes demands higher computing power and/or more efficient algorithms implementations. In this paper we speed up the process of substracting iron transitions and fitting Gaussian functions to emission peaks utilising C++ and OpenCL methods together with the NOSQL database. In this paper we implemented typical astronomical methods of detecting peaks in comparison to our previous hybrid methods implemented with CUDA.

  9. The astronomical orientation of ancient Greek temples. (United States)

    Salt, Alun M


    Despite its appearing to be a simple question to answer, there has been no consensus as to whether or not the alignments of ancient Greek temples reflect astronomical intentions. Here I present the results of a survey of archaic and classical Greek temples in Sicily and compare them with temples in Greece. Using a binomial test I show strong evidence that there is a preference for solar orientations. I then speculate that differences in alignment patterns between Sicily and Greece reflect differing pressures in the expression of ethnic identity.

  10. Astronomical Beliefs in Medieval Georgia: Innovative Approaches (United States)

    Sauter, Jefferson; Orchiston, W.; Stephenson, F.


    Written sources from medieval Georgia show, among other things, how astronomical ideas were adapted on the periphery of the Byzantine and Islamic worlds. In this paper, we investigate a number of Georgian beliefs about the heavens from a calendrical work and a celestial prognostication text, but also from less expected sources including the medieval life of a saint and an epic poem. For the most part, these sources were derived from Byzantine or Persian models. We show the extent to which the sources nevertheless conform to a specifically Georgian view of the cosmos. We argue that, in so doing, medieval Georgian authors employed several innovative approaches hitherto unnoticed by modern scholars.

  11. Weizmann Fast Astronomical Survey Telescope (WFAST) (United States)

    Nir, Guy; Ofek, Eran Oded; Ben-Ami, Sagi; Manulis, Ilan; Gal-Yam, Avishay; Diner, Oz; Rappaport, Michael


    The Weizmann Fast Astronomical Survey Telescope (W-FAST) is an experiment designed to explore variability on sub-second time scales. When completed it will consist of two robotic 55-cm f/2 Schmidt telescopes. The optics is capable of providing $\\sim0.5$" image quality over 23 deg$^2$. The focal plane will be equipped with fast readout, low read-noise sCMOS detectors. The first generation focal plane is expected to have 6.2 deg$^2$ field of view. WFAST is designed to study occultations by solar system objects (KBOs and Oort cloud objects), short time scale stellar variability, and high resolution imaging via proper coaddition.

  12. Correspondence Between Astronomical Periods and Sedimentary Cycles

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Cheng Rihui; You Haitao


    It is shown from detailed study that there are some genetic relationships between outer events of celestial bodies and inner geological events of the earth, such as some kinds of correspondences between astronomical periods and sedimentary cycles. The time spans of movement periods of the solar system around the center of the galaxy and cross the plain of the galaxy, the periods of the earth orbit (Milankovitch period) and periods of sunspot are coincided with that of respective sedimentary cycles. It is suggested that the gravity and magnetic changes of the earth leading up to the global climatic and sea level changes are the dynamics of sedimentary cycles.

  13. Astropix: An Archive of Astronomical Images (United States)

    Squires, Gordon K.; Hurt, R.; Rosenthal, C.; Llamas, J.; Brinkworth, C.; Pyle, T.


    In fall 2010, a new, central repository of astronomical images became available at . Enabled by the Astronomy Visualization Metadata (AVM) standard, this archive contains images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, Chandra, Hubble, WISE, GALEX, and the Herschel Space Observatory. For the first time, an automated registry is possible by populating contextual and informational fields in the metadata of the images themselves. This presentation will highlight the features of the archive, how to include your images in the registry and applications enabled including dynamic websites, kiosks, and mobile device applications.

  14. Division XII: Commission 6: Astronomical Telegrams (United States)

    Samus, N. N.; Yamaoka, H.; Gilmore, A. C.; Aksnes, K.; Green, D. W. E.; Marsden, B. G.; Nakano, S.; Lara, Martin; Pitjeva, Elena V.; Sphar, T.; Ticha, J.; Williams, G.


    IAU Commission 6 ``Astronomical Telegrams'' had a single business meeting during the Beijing General Assembly of the IAU. It took place on Friday, August 24, 2012. The meeting was attended by five C6 members (N. N. Samus; D. W. E. Green; S. Nakano; J. Ticha; and H. Yamaoka). Also present was Prof. F. Genova as a representative of the IAU Division B. She told the audience about the current restructuring of IAU Commissions and Divisions and consequences for the future of C6.

  15. American Astronomical Society Honors NRAO Scientist (United States)


    The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has awarded its prestigious George Van Biesbroeck Prize to Dr. Eric Greisen of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, New Mexico. The society cited Greisen's quarter-century as "principal architect and tireless custodian" of the Astronomical Image Processing System (AIPS), a massive software package used by astronomers around the world, as "an invaluable service to astronomy." Dr. Eric Greisen Dr. Eric Greisen CREDIT: NRAO/AUI/NSF (Click on image for larger version) The Van Biesbroeck Prize "honors a living individual for long-term extraordinary or unselfish service to astronomy, often beyond the requirements of his or her paid position." The AAS, with about 7,000 members, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. " The Very Large Array (VLA) is the most productive ground-based telescope in the history of astronomy, and most of the more than 10,000 observing projects on the VLA have depended upon the AIPS software to produce their scientific results," said Dr. James Ulvestad, NRAO's Director of New Mexico Operations. "This same software package also has been the principal tool for scientists using the Very Long Baseline Array and numerous other radio telescopes around the world," Ulvestad added. Greisen, who received a Ph.D in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology, joined the NRAO in 1972. He moved from the observatory's headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia, to its Array Operations Center in Socorro in 2000. Greisen, who learned of the award in a telephone call from the AAS President, Dr. Robert Kirschner of Harvard University, said, "I'm pleased for the recognition of AIPS and also for the recognition of the contributions of radio astronomy to astronomy as a whole." He added that "it wasn't just me who did AIPS. There were many others." The AIPS software package grew out of the need for an efficient tool for producing images with the VLA, which was being

  16. Le Verrier magnificent and detestable astronomer

    CERN Document Server

    Lequeux, James


    Le Verrier was a superb scientist. His discovery of Neptune in 1846 made him the most famous astronomer of his time. He produced a complete theory of the motions of the planets which served as a basis for planetary ephemeris for a full century. Doing this, he discovered an anomaly in the motion of Mercury which later became the first proof of General Relativity. He also founded European meteorology. However his arrogance and bad temper created many enemies, and he was even fired from his position of Director of the Paris Observatory.

  17. Astronomical Image Processing with Array Detectors

    CERN Document Server

    Houde, Martin


    We address the question of astronomical image processing from data obtained with array detectors. We define and analyze the cases of evenly, regularly, and irregularly sampled maps for idealized (i.e., infinite) and realistic (i.e., finite) detectors. We concentrate on the effect of interpolation on the maps, and the choice of the kernel used to accomplish this task. We show how the normalization intrinsic to the interpolation process must be carefully accounted for when dealing with irregularly sampled grids. We also analyze the effect of missing or dead pixels in the array, and their consequences for the Nyquist sampling criterion.

  18. An astronomical survey conducted in Belgium

    CERN Document Server

    Naze, Yael


    This article presents the results of the first survey conducted in Belgium about the interest and knowledge in astronomy. Two samples were studied, the public at large (667 questionnaires) and students (2589 questionnaires), but the results are generally similar in both samples. We evaluated people's interest, main information source, and attitudes towards astronomy, as well as their supposed and actual knowledge of the subject. The main conclusion is that, despite a poor self-confidence, people do know the basic astronomical concepts. However, that knowledge is not deeply rooted, as reasoning questions show well-spread misconceptions and/or misunderstandings.

  19. The astronomical revolution Copernicus, Kepler, Borelli

    CERN Document Server

    Koyre, Alexandre


    Originally published in English in 1973. This volume traces the development of the revolution which so drastically altered man's view of the universe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The ""astronomical revolution"" was accomplished in three stages, each linked with the work of one man. With Copernicus, the sun became the centre of the universe. With Kepler, celestial dynamics replaced the kinematics of circles and spheres used by Copernicus. With Borelli the unification of celestial and terrestrial physics was completed by abandonment of the circle in favour the straight line to inf

  20. International Astronomical-Cultural Initiatives and Ukrainian Astronomical Heritage in the Context of World Heritage (United States)

    Kazantseva, L.


    Astronomy as science of world view has left its mark in many areas of human culture. Astronomical movable and immovable monuments as cultural and scientific content recently started to be studied carefully, and finally receive their recognition for their further preservation. Various international organizations have initiated a diverse case studies of these monuments, produced some recommendations for their organization, typology, division into periods. In joint programs, experts of IAU, UNESCO, ICOMOS elaborate criteria for selection of monuments of global significance. Complete study of astronomical sights will allow to consider the history of scientific knowledge dissemination in time and in space. Ukraine has also carefully examined their stored astronomical monuments scattered in astronomical observatories, libraries, archives, museums, university collections, architectural ensembles, archaeological parks and cemeteries. In conditions of instability and crises it is important to establish uniqueness or typicality of certain historical sites, to study their characteristics and identity, relationship with global trends that will enable their successful promotion and protection. Part of these research works are conducted in our observatories, but not as intensively as in other countries. They have not engaged in related industries and professionals authorized state institutions. Not having used an active effort in this case, we can stay behind the big international project for study the intellectual and cultural heritage.

  1. Luminescence Instrumentation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jain, Mayank; Bøtter-Jensen, Lars


    This chapter gives an introduction to instrumentation for stimulated luminescence studies, with special focus on luminescence dating using the natural dosimeters, quartz and feldspars. The chapter covers basic concepts in luminescence detection, and thermal and optical stimulation, and reference...... irradiation. It then briefly describes development of spectrometers in dating applications, and finally gives an overview of recent development in the field directly linked to novel instrumentation. Contents of Paper...

  2. Astronomical Surveys, Catalogs, Databases, and Archives (United States)

    Mickaelian, A. M.


    All-sky and large-area astronomical surveys and their cataloged data over the whole range of electromagnetic spectrum are reviewed, from γ-ray to radio, such as Fermi-GLAST and INTEGRAL in γ-ray, ROSAT, XMM and Chandra in X-ray, GALEX in UV, SDSS and several POSS I and II based catalogues (APM, MAPS, USNO, GSC) in optical range, 2MASS in NIR, WISE and AKARI IRC in MIR, IRAS and AKARI FIS in FIR, NVSS and FIRST in radio and many others, as well as most important surveys giving optical images (DSS I and II, SDSS, etc.), proper motions (Tycho, USNO, Gaia), variability (GCVS, NSVS, ASAS, Catalina, Pan-STARRS) and spectroscopic data (FBS, SBS, Case, HQS, HES, SDSS, CALIFA, GAMA). Most important astronomical databases and archives are reviewed as well, including Wide-Field Plate DataBase (WFPDB), ESO, HEASARC, IRSA and MAST archives, CDS SIMBAD, VizieR and Aladin, NED and HyperLEDA extragalactic databases, ADS and astro-ph services. They are powerful sources for many-sided efficient research using Virtual Observatory tools. Using and analysis of Big Data accumulated in astronomy lead to many new discoveries.

  3. Sketching the moon an astronomical artist's guide

    CERN Document Server

    Handy, Richard; McCague, Thomas; Rix, Erika; Russell, Sally


    Soon after you begin studying the sky through your small telescope or binoculars, you will probably be encouraged by others to make sketches of what you see. Sketching is a time-honored tradition in amateur astronomy and dates back to the earliest times, when telescopes were invented. Even though we have lots of new imaging technologies nowadays, including astrophotography, most observers still use sketching to keep a record of what they see, make them better observers, and in hopes of perhaps contributing something to the body of scientific knowledge about the Moon. Some even sketch because it satisfies their artistic side. The Moon presents some unique challenges to the astronomer-artist, the Moon being so fond of tricks of the light. Sketching the Moon: An Astronomical Artist’s Guide, by five of the best lunar observer-artists working today, will guide you along your way and help you to achieve really high-quality sketches. All the major types of lunar features are covered, with a variety of sketching te...

  4. Recent advances in astronomical adaptive optics. (United States)

    Hart, Michael


    The imaging performance of large ground-based astronomical telescopes is compromised by dynamic wavefront aberration caused by atmospheric turbulence. Techniques to measure and correct the aberration in real time, collectively called adaptive optics (AO), have been developed over the past half century, but it is only within the past decade that the delivery of diffraction-limited image quality at near- and mid-infrared wavelengths at many of the world's biggest telescopes has become routine. Exploitation of this new capability has led to a number of ground-breaking astronomical results, which has in turn spurred the continued development of AO to address ever more technical challenges that limit its scientific applicability. I review the present state of the art, highlight a number of noteworthy scientific results, and outline several ongoing experiments designed to broaden the scope of observations that can be undertaken with AO. In particular, I explore the significant advances required in AO technology to satisfy the needs for a new generation of extremely large telescopes of diameter 25 m and larger that are now being designed.

  5. The First Astronomical Observatory in Cluj-Napoca (United States)

    Szenkovits, Ferenc


    One of the most important cities of Romania is Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár, Klausenburg). This is a traditional center of education, with many universities and high schools. From the second half of the 18th century the University of Cluj has its own Astronomical Observatory, serving for didactical activities and scientific researches. The famous astronomer Maximillian Hell was one of those Jesuits who put the base of this Astronomical Observatory. Our purpose is to offer a short history of the beginnings of this Astronomical Observatory.

  6. gatspy: General tools for Astronomical Time Series in Python (United States)

    VanderPlas, Jake


    Gatspy contains efficient, well-documented implementations of several common routines for Astronomical time series analysis, including the Lomb-Scargle periodogram, the Supersmoother method, and others.

  7. New astronomical references in two Catalonian late medieval documents. (United States)

    Martínez, María José; Marco, Francisco J


    In 2008, after 13 years of preparation, the Generalitat of Catalunya finished the publication of the 10 volumes of the Dietaris de la Generalitat de Catalunya. The Dietaris, as well as a closely related source, the llibre de Jornades 1411/1484 de Jaume Safont, cover the period of 1411 to 1539. In this article, we examine astronomical references contained in these two sources, and place them in their historical context. Our main focus lies on astronomical phenomena that have not previously been published in the astronomical literature. In fact, relatively few astronomical records are accessible in Spanish medieval and early modern history, and our paper intends to fill this gap partially.

  8. Grid-Enabled Interactive Data Language for Astronomical Data Project (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Grid technologies provide a valuable solution for data intensive scientific applications but are not readily available for astronomical data and Interactive Data...

  9. STEM and the Evolution of the Astronomical Star Party (United States)

    Day, B. H.; Munive, P.; Franco, J.; Jones, A. P.; Shaner, A. J.; Buxner, S.; Bleacher, L.


    The astronomical star party has long been a powerful and effective way to engage the public and enhance cohesiveness within the amateur astronomy community. Early star parties tended to be strictly small, local events. But with improvements in transportation, larger regional star parties became popular. These advanced the considerable capabilities for citizen science in the amateur community, shared technology and engineering innovations in the field of telescope making, and refined numerous mathematical techniques in areas such instrument design and ephemeris generation, covering the full breadth of STEM. Advancements in astrophotography showcased at these events brought the star party from STEM to STEAM. Now, the advent of social media, web streaming, and virtual presence has facilitated the phenomenon of very large, networked star parties with international scope. These mega star parties take public engagement to a new, far greater levels, giving a vastly larger and more diverse public the opportunity to directly participate in exciting first-hand STEM activities. This presentation will recount the evolution of the star party and will focus on two examples of large, multinational, networked star parties, International Observe the Moon Night and Noche de las Estrellas. We will look at lessons learned and ways to participate.

  10. Polycomp: efficient and configurable compression of astronomical timelines

    CERN Document Server

    Tomasi, Maurizio


    This paper describes the implementation of polycomp, a open-sourced, publicly available program for compressing one-dimensional data series in tabular format. The program is particularly suited for compressing smooth, noiseless streams of data like pointing information, as one of the algorithms it implements applies a combination of least squares polynomial fitting and discrete Chebyshev transforms that is able to achieve a compression ratio Cr up to ~40 in the examples discussed in this work. This performance comes at the expense of a loss of information, whose upper bound is configured by the user. I show two areas in which the usage of polycomp is interesting. In the first example, I compress the ephemeris table of an astronomical object (Ganymede), obtaining Cr ~ 20, with a compression error on the x, y, z coordinates smaller than 1 m. In the second example, I compress the publicly available timelines recorded by the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI), an array of microwave radiometers onboard the ESA Planck ...

  11. MSE observatory: a revised and optimized astronomical facility (United States)

    Bauman, Steven E.; Angers, Mathieu; Benedict, Tom; Crampton, David; Flagey, Nicolas; Gedig, Mike; Green, Greg; Liu, Andy; Lo, David; Loewen, Nathan; McConnachie, Alan; Murowinski, Rick; Racine, René; Salmon, Derrick; Stiemer, Siegfried; Szeto, Kei; Wu, Di


    The Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope Corporation (CFHT) plans to repurpose its observatory on the summit of Maunakea and operate a (60 segment) 11.25m aperture wide field spectroscopic survey telescope, the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE). The prime focus telescope will be equipped with dedicated instrumentation to take advantage of one of the best sites in the northern hemisphere and offer its users the ability to perform large surveys. Central themes of the development plan are reusing and upgrading wherever possible. MSE will reuse the CFHT site and build upon the existing observatory infrastructure, using the same building and telescope pier as CFHT, while minimizing environmental impact on the summit. MSE will require structural support upgrades to the building to meet the latest building seismic code requirements and accommodate a new larger telescope and upgraded enclosure. It will be necessary to replace the current dome since a larger slit opening is needed for a larger telescope. MSE will use a thermal management system to remove heat generated by loads from the building, flush excess heat from lower levels, and maintain the observing environment temperature. This paper describes the design approach for redeveloping the CFHT facility for MSE. Once the project is completed the new facility will be almost indistinguishable on the outside from the current CFHT observatory. Past experience and lessons learned from CFHT staff and the astronomical community will be used to create a modern, optimized, and transformative scientific data collecting machine.

  12. ``Route of astronomical observatories'' project: Classical observatories from the Renaissance to the rise of astrophysics (United States)

    Wolfschmidt, Gudrun


    Observatories offer a good possibility for serial transnational applications. For example one can choose groups like baroque or neoclassical observatories, solar physics observatories or a group of observatories equipped with the same kind of instruments or made by famous firms. I will discuss what has been achieved and show examples, like the route of astronomical observatories, the transition from classical astronomy to modern astrophysics. I will also discuss why the implementation of the World Heritage & Astronomy initiative is difficult and why there are problems to nominate observatories for election in the national tentative lists.

  13. Optimization of graded multilayer designs for astronomical x-ray telescopes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mao, P.H.; Harrison, F.A.; Windt, D.L.


    We developed a systematic method for optimizing the design of depth-graded multilayers for astronomical hard-x-ray and soft-gamma-ray telescopes based on the instrument's bandpass and the field of view. We apply these methods to the design of the conical-approximation Wolter I optics employed...... by the balloon-borne High Energy Focusing Telescope, using W/Si as the multilayer materials. In addition, we present optimized performance calculations of mirrors, using other material pairs that are capable of extending performance to photon energies above the W K-absorption edge (69.5 keV), including Pt/C, Ni...

  14. Instrumented SSH

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Campbell, Scott; Campbell, Scott


    NERSC recently undertook a project to access and analyze Secure Shell (SSH) related data. This includes authentication data such as user names and key fingerprints, interactive session data such as keystrokes and responses, and information about noninteractive sessions such as commands executed and files transferred. Historically, this data has been inaccessible with traditional network monitoring techniques, but with a modification to the SSH daemon, this data can be passed directly to intrusion detection systems for analysis. The instrumented version of SSH is now running on all NERSC production systems. This paper describes the project, details about how SSH was instrumented, and the initial results of putting this in production.

  15. Geotechnical instrumentation (United States)

    Green, G. E.; Mikkelsen, P. E.; Mayne, P. W.; Frost, D. D.; Dowding, C. H.


    The 11 papers in the report deal with the following areas: deformation measurements with inclinometers; dilatometer experience in Washington, D.C., and vicinity; ground vibration monitoring instrumentation and computerized surveillance; instrumentation for tests of piles subjected to axial loading; use of the wave equation by the North Carolina Department of Transportation; NYSDOT's construction control of pile foundations with dynamic pile testing; discussion of procedures for the determination of pile capacity; modern specification of driven pile work; analysis of laterally loaded piles with nonlinear bending behavior; unified design of piles and pile groups, and LTBASE, a computer program for the analysis of laterally loaded piers including base and slope effects.

  16. The Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) mission (United States)

    Neugebauer, G.; Habing, H. J.; Van Duinen, R.; Aumann, H. H.; Beichman, C. A.; Baud, B.; Beintema, D. A.; Boggess, N.; Clegg, P. E.; De Jong, T.


    The Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) consists of a spacecraft and a liquid helium cryostat that contains a cooled IR telescope. The telescope's focal plane assembly is cooled to less than 3 K, and contains 62 IR detectors in the survey array which are arranged so that every source crossing the field of view can be seen by at least two detectors in each of four wavelength bands. The satellite was launched into a 900 km-altitude near-polar orbit, and its cryogenic helium supply was exhausted on November 22, 1983. By mission's end, 72 percent of the sky had been observed with three or more hours-confirming scans, and 95 percent with two or more hours-confirming scans. About 2000 stars detected at 12 and 25 microns early in the mission, and identified in the SAO (1966) catalog, have a positional uncertainty ellipse whose axes are 45 x 9 arcsec for an hours-confirmed source.

  17. Shirakatsi Astronomical and Natural Philosophical Views (United States)

    Mkrtchyan, Lilit


    Our work is aimed at presenting Shirakatsi astronomical and natural philosophical views. Karl Anania Shirakatsi is classified as one of the world-class intellectual geniuses. He was endowed with exceptional talent and analyzing scientific understanding of natural phenomena. He refers his philosophical works to almost all fields of science, cosmography, mathematics, calendarology, historiography, etc. Shirakatsy's earnings of natural science and natural philosophy in medieval is too big He was the first prominent scholar and thinker of his time, creating a unique, comprehensive gitapilisopayakan system that still feeds the human mind. The scientific value of Shirakatsi has great importance not only for Armenians but also for the whole world of science, history, culture and philosophy. Shirakatsi can be considered not only national but also universal greatness.

  18. Simon Newcomb: America's Unofficial Astronomer Royal (United States)

    Graham, John


    Bill Carter and Merri Sue Carter Mantazas; xiii + 213 pp.; ISBN 1-59113-803-5 2006; $26.95 This book introduced me to a commanding figure in American science from the late nineteenth century: Simon Newcomb. Newcomb has been called the nineteenth-century equivalent of Carl Sagan and Albert Einstein. He rose from humble beginnings to be the preeminent American astronomer of his generation. He made basic, far-reaching, and enduring contributions to positional astronomy and planetary dynamics. On the more practical side, he determined a remarkably accurate value for the velocity of light, one within 0.01% of the value accepted today. His work provided an experimental grounding for the special and general theories of relativity to be formulated by Einstein in the coming twentieth century.

  19. Young astronomer in Denmark 1946 to 1958

    CERN Document Server

    Høg, Erik


    This is a personal account of how I became an astronomer. Fascinated by the stars and planets in the dark sky over Lolland, an island 100 km south of Copenhagen, the interest in astronomy was growing. Encouraged by my teachers, I polished mirrors and built telescopes with generous help from the local blacksmith and I observed light curves of variable stars. Studies at the Copenhagen University from 1950 gradually led me deeper into astronomy, especially astrometry (the astronomy of positions), guided by professor Bengt Str\\"omgren and my mentor dr. phil. Peter Naur. I was lucky to take part in the buildup of the new observatory at Brorfelde during the first difficult years and the ideas I gathered there have contributed to the two astrometry satellites Hipparcos and Gaia launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in respectively 1989 and 2013.

  20. Learning Vector Quantization for Classifying Astronomical Objects

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    The sizes of astronomical surveys in different wavebands are increas-ing rapidly. Therefore, automatic classification of objects is becoming ever moreimportant. We explore the performance of learning vector quantization (LVQ) inclassifying multi-wavelength data. Our analysis concentrates on separating activesources from non-active ones. Different classes of X-ray emitters populate distinctregions of a multidimensional parameter space. In order to explore the distributionof various objects in a multidimensional parameter space, we positionally cross-correlate the data of quasars, BL Lacs, active galaxies, stars and normal galaxiesin the optical, X-ray and infrared bands. We then apply LVQ to classify them withthe obtained data. Our results show that LVQ is an effective method for separatingAGNs from stars and normal galaxies with multi-wavelength data.

  1. AstroVis: Visualizing astronomical data cubes (United States)

    Finniss, Stephen; Tyler, Robin; Questiaux, Jacques


    AstroVis enables rapid visualization of large data files on platforms supporting the OpenGL rendering library. Radio astronomical observations are typically three dimensional and stored as data cubes. AstroVis implements a scalable approach to accessing these files using three components: a File Access Component (FAC) that reduces the impact of reading time, which speeds up access to the data; the Image Processing Component (IPC), which breaks up the data cube into smaller pieces that can be processed locally and gives a representation of the whole file; and Data Visualization, which implements an approach of Overview + Detail to reduces the dimensions of the data being worked with and the amount of memory required to store it. The result is a 3D display paired with a 2D detail display that contains a small subsection of the original file in full resolution without reducing the data in any way.

  2. Astronomical Receiver Modelling Using Scattering Matrices

    CERN Document Server

    King, O G; Copley, C; Davis, R J; Leahy, J P; Leech, J; Muchovej, S J C; Pearson, T J; Taylor, Angela C


    Proper modelling of astronomical receivers is vital: it describes the systematic errors in the raw data, guides the receiver design process, and assists data calibration. In this paper we describe a method of analytically modelling the full signal and noise behaviour of arbitrarily complex radio receivers. We use electrical scattering matrices to describe the signal behaviour of individual components in the receiver, and noise correlation matrices to describe their noise behaviour. These are combined to produce the full receiver model. We apply this approach to a specified receiver architecture: a hybrid of a continous comparison radiometer and correlation polarimeter designed for the C-Band All-Sky Survey. We produce analytic descriptions of the receiver Mueller matrix and noise temperature, and discuss how imperfections in crucial components affect the raw data. Many of the conclusions drawn are generally applicable to correlation polarimeters and continuous comparison radiometers.

  3. Kapteyn Package: Tools for developing astronomical applications (United States)

    Terlouw, J. P.; Vogelaar, M. G. R.


    The Kapteyn Package provides tools for the development of astronomical applications with Python. It handles spatial and spectral coordinates, WCS projections and transformations between different sky systems; spectral translations (e.g., between frequencies and velocities) and mixed coordinates are also supported. Kapteyn offers versatile tools for writing small and dedicated applications for the inspection of FITS headers, the extraction and display of (FITS) data, interactive inspection of this data (color editing) and for the creation of plots with world coordinate information. It includes utilities for use with matplotlib such as obtaining coordinate information from plots, interactively modifiable colormaps and timer events (module mplutil); tools for parsing and interpreting coordinate information entered by the user (module positions); a function to search for gaussian components in a profile (module profiles); and a class for non-linear least squares fitting (module kmpfit).

  4. Environmental effects on lunar astronomical observatories (United States)

    Johnson, Stewart W.; Taylor, G. Jeffrey; Wetzel, John P.


    The Moon offers a stable platform with excellent seeing conditions for astronomical observations. Some troublesome aspects of the lunar environment will need to be overcome to realize the full potential of the Moon as an observatory site. Mitigation of negative effects of vacuum, thermal radiation, dust, and micrometeorite impact is feasible with careful engineering and operational planning. Shields against impact, dust, and solar radiation need to be developed. Means of restoring degraded surfaces are probably essential for optical and thermal control surfaces deployed in long-lifetime lunar facilities. Precursor missions should be planned to validate and enhance the understanding of the lunar environment (e.g., dust behavior without and with human presence) and to determine environmental effects on surfaces and components. Precursor missions should generate data useful in establishing keepout zones around observatory facilities where rocket launches and landings, mining, and vehicular traffic could be detrimental to observatory operation.

  5. Cultural contacts at International Astronomical Olympiads (United States)

    Babakhanova, Siranush


    It is surprising, but the fact is that the International Olympiads are often only combined with the competition, whereas the intercultural communication between the representatives of different nationalities and the expanding of ideologies of young people are the general-purpose components of not only in frames of the boundaries of scientific expertise, but also such communications, the Olympiads. Worldviews meeting and collaboration are driving forces of progress and play the most important role in the development of the modern science. Armenia participates in the International Astronomical Olympiads since 1997, and in the International Olympiads on Astronomy and Astrophysics since 2013. The Armenian team has always shown high results in competitions and is actively involved in cultural activities.

  6. Astronomical Content in Rongorongo Tablet Keiti

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wieczorek, Rafal


    Th e fi eld of rongorongo research: the study of Easter Island’s native script is in a peculiar state at the moment. While relative progress has been made in structural and statistical analysis in the last decades, at the level of both single glyphs as well as entire texts, little to no advancement...... has been achieved in the actual decipherment. To shed new light on rongorongo research, a hypothesis regarding the contents of tablet Keiti, one of the 25 obtained artifacts, is proposed. Th e content, as well as the meaning, of all but one of these 25 rongorongo texts is still unknown....... In this publication, an interpretation for the recto side of tablet Keiti is presented. It is argued that the tablet contains astronomical observations or instructions regarding the Rapa Nui lunar calendar, and is similar in content to the only other rongorongo text whose function has been partially ascertained...

  7. Bonaparte and the astronomers of Brera Observatory

    CERN Document Server

    Antonello, E


    In Northern Italy, between 1796 and 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte formed a Republic, and then a Kingdom, controlled by France. Milan was the capital of the State, and the Brera Palace was the main cultural centre, as regards both the arts and the sciences. Bonaparte probably intended to strengthen this characteristic of Brera, aiming at increasing its Italian and European relevance. We will discuss in detail in which way he interacted with the astronomers of Brera Observatory, and in particular with Barnaba Oriani, that was considered the local main representative of the 'republique des lettres', that is, the world of literature, arts and sciences. We propose a possible reconstruction of the effects of those complicated historical events on the Italian astronomy and on its relations with the European one.

  8. Are Supernovae Recorded in Indigenous Astronomical Traditions?

    CERN Document Server

    Hamacher, Duane W


    Novae and supernovae are rare astronomical events that would have had an influence on the sky-watching peoples who witnessed them. Although several bright novae/supernovae have been visible during recorded human history, there are many proposed but no confirmed accounts of supernovae in oral traditions or material culture. Criteria are established for confirming novae/supernovae in oral and material culture, and claims from around the world are discussed to determine if they meet these criteria. Australian Aboriginal traditions are explored for possible descriptions of novae/supernovae. Although representations of supernovae may exist in Indigenous traditions, and an account of a nova in Aboriginal traditions has been confirmed, there are currently no confirmed accounts of supernovae in Indigenous oral or material traditions.

  9. Radio Astronomical Polarimetry and the Lorentz Group

    CERN Document Server

    Britton, M C


    In radio astronomy the polarimetric properties of radiation are often modified during propagation and reception. Effects such as Faraday rotation, receiver cross-talk, and differential amplification act to change the state of polarized radiation. A general description of such transformations is useful for the investigation of these effects and for the interpretation and calibration of polarimetric observations. Such a description is provided by the Lorentz group, which is intimately related to the transformation properties of polarized radiation. In this paper the transformations that commonly arise in radio astronomy are analyzed in the context of this group. This analysis is then used to construct a model for the propagation and reception of radio waves. The implications of this model for radio astronomical polarimetry are discussed.

  10. From Casual Stargazer to Amateur Astronomer (United States)

    Eagle, Dave

    The word amateur stems from the French word Amour, meaning "Lover Of". And there is a whole army of amateur astronomers around the world who just love doing astronomy. They don't get paid for the privilege of experiencing the sky in all its glory, but by making detailed observations they do make a very important contribution towards the Science. These observations are especially useful when organized as a collective effort. Citizen science has really taken off in the last few years and the GAIA project will soon be producing so much data, that the professionals just will not have enough manpower to tackle all the data. They will rely on amateurs sitting on their computers at home. But it is under a dark sky that astronomy really comes alive. The fact that you have picked up this book, must mean that you are interested in taking the hobby a step forward.

  11. Using the Galileoscope in astronomical observations

    CERN Document Server

    Oliveira, V A


    This project aims to attract school students and teachers from the state education system from Ca\\c{c}apava do Sul - RS to Sciences and specially to Astronomy. We made astronomical observations using a Galileoscope choosing the Moon as a primary target. We also observed others objects that present high brightness in the night sky. The selection of targets, and their identification during the observations were carried out by a free software of planetary simulation, Stellarium. The results were in qualitative form and they show the great interest demonstrated by those participating in the project. Furthermore, this project helped to improve the understanding of the physical proprieties of the night sky objects (e.g. color). Finally, the project has showed that using a simple equipment and of relatively low cost it is possible to bring more people, specially the young students, to the Science World and to Astronomy.

  12. Discovering the Unexpected in Astronomical Survey Data

    CERN Document Server

    Norris, Ray P


    Most major discoveries in astronomy are unplanned, and result from surveying the Universe in a new way, rather than by testing a hypothesis or conducting an investigation with planned outcomes. For example, of the 10 greatest discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope, only one was listed in its key science goals. So a telescope that merely achieves its stated science goals is not achieving its potential scientific productivity. Several next-generation astronomical survey telescopes are currently being designed and constructed that will significantly expand the volume of observational parameter space, and should in principle discover unexpected new phenomena and new types of object. However, the complexity of the telescopes and the large data volumes mean that these discoveries are unlikely to be found by chance. Therefore, it is necessary to plan explicitly for these unexpected discoveries in the design and construction of the telescope. Two types of discovery are recognised: unexpected objects, and unex...

  13. An Astronomer's View of Climate Change (United States)

    Morton, Donald C.


    There are several astronomical effects that could be important for understanding climate changes such as the ice ages, the Medieval Maximum, the Little Ice Age, the 20th century temperature rise and the small decrease during the past 15 years. These effects include variations in the sun's luminosity, periodic changes in the earth's orbital parameters, the sun's orbit around our galaxy, the solar wind, the variability of solar activity and the anticorrelation of the galactic cosmic ray flux with that activity. With the publication of the Fifth Assessment Report to the Intergoverment Panel on Climate Change, it is useful to review these effects and the extent to which that report and previoius ones have recognized them. This paper also discusses recent trends in solar activity and global temperatures and compares the latter with the predictions of climate models.

  14. The ESO astronomical site monitor upgrade (United States)

    Chiozzi, Gianluca; Sommer, Heiko; Sarazin, Marc; Bierwirth, Thomas; Dorigo, Dario; Vera Sequeiros, Ignacio; Navarrete, Julio; Del Valle, Diego


    Monitoring and prediction of astronomical observing conditions are essential for planning and optimizing observations. For this purpose, ESO, in the 90s, developed the concept of an Astronomical Site Monitor (ASM), as a facility fully integrated in the operations of the VLT observatory[1]. Identical systems were installed at Paranal and La Silla, providing comprehensive local weather information. By now, we had very good reasons for a major upgrade: • The need of introducing new features to satisfy the requirements of observing with the Adaptive Optics Facility and to benefit other Adaptive Optics systems. • Managing hardware and software obsolescence. • Making the system more maintainable and expandable by integrating off-the-shelf hardware solutions. The new ASM integrates: • A new Differential Image Motion Monitor (DIMM) paired with a Multi Aperture Scintillation Sensor (MASS) to measure the vertical distribution of turbulence in the high atmosphere and its characteristic velocity. • A new SLOpe Detection And Ranging (SLODAR) telescope, for measuring the altitude and intensity of turbulent layers in the low atmosphere. • A water vapour radiometer to monitor the water vapour content of the atmosphere. • The old weather tower, which is being refurbished with new sensors. The telescopes and the devices integrated are commercial products and we have used as much as possible the control system from the vendors. The existing external interfaces, based on the VLT standards, have been maintained for full backward compatibility. All data produced by the system are directly fed in real time into a relational database. A completely new web-based display replaces the obsolete plots based on HP-UX RTAP. We analyse here the architectural and technological choices and discuss the motivations and trade-offs.

  15. Serbian astronomers in Science Citation Index in 1961 - 1995 period. (United States)

    Dimitrijević, M. S.


    The presence of Serbian astronomers in the Science Citation Index within 1961 - 1995 has been analyzed. The most cited astronomers and articles have been identified. The impact factor of the Bulletin Astronomique de Belgrade has been determined and discussed as well.

  16. The challengers of an astronomer being a journalist (United States)

    Podorvanyuk, N.


    As the weakness of russian astronomers in observational astronomy became chronic Russia should enter European Southern Observatory. But the Russian government is still not providing any financing of the entrance of Russia to ESO. The author states this situation as an example of his experience of work as an astronomer and as a journalist at the same time.

  17. Daytime School Guided Visits to an Astronomical Observatory in Brazil (United States)

    Colombo, Pedro Donizete, Jr.; Silva, Cibelle Celestino; Aroca, Silvia Calbo


    This article analyzes the activity "Daytime School Guided Visits" at an astronomical observatory in Brazil with pupils from primary school. The adopted research methodology relied on questionnaire applications and semistructured interviews. The objectives were to identify the influences of the visits on learning of astronomical concepts…

  18. Astronomical Books and Charts in the Book of Bibliographie Coreenne (United States)

    Lee, Ki-Won; Yang, Hong-Jin; Park, Myeong-Gu


    We investigate astronomical materials listed in the book of Bibliographie Coréenne written by Maurice Courant. He classified ancient Korean books into nine Divisions (?) and thirty six Classes (?), and published them as three volumes (ranging from 1894 to 1896) and one supplement (in 1901). In total, 3,821 books including astronomical ones are listed together with information on physical size, possessional place, bibliographical note, and so forth. Although this book is an essential one in the field of Korea bibliography and contains many astronomical materials such as Cheon-Mun-Ryu-Cho ????, Si-Heon-Seo ??????, and Cheon-Sang-Yeol-Cha-Bun-Ya-Ji-Do ????????, it has not been well known to the public nor to astronomical society. Of 3,821 catalogues, we found that about 50 Items (?) are related to astronomy or astrology, and verified that most ! of them are located in the Kyujanggak Royal Library ???. We also found an unknown astronomical chart, Hon-Cheon-Chong-Seong-Yeol-Cha-Bun-Ya-Ji-Do ??????????. Because those astronomical materials are not well known to international astronomical community and there have been few studies on the materials in Korea, we here introduce and review them, particularly with the astronomical viewpoint.

  19. Astronomers Gain Clues About Fundamental Physics (United States)


    An international team of astronomers has looked at something very big -- a distant galaxy -- to study the behavior of things very small -- atoms and molecules -- to gain vital clues about the fundamental nature of our entire Universe. The team used the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) to test whether the laws of nature have changed over vast spans of cosmic time. The Green Bank Telescope The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope CREDIT: NRAO/AUI/NSF (Click on image for GBT gallery) "The fundamental constants of physics are expected to remain fixed across space and time; that's why they're called constants! Now, however, new theoretical models for the basic structure of matter indicate that they may change. We're testing these predictions." said Nissim Kanekar, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), in Socorro, New Mexico. So far, the scientists' measurements show no change in the constants. "We've put the most stringent limits yet on some changes in these constants, but that's not the end of the story," said Christopher Carilli, another NRAO astronomer. "This is the exciting frontier where astronomy meets particle physics," Carilli explained. The research can help answer fundamental questions about whether the basic components of matter are tiny particles or tiny vibrating strings, how many dimensions the Universe has, and the nature of "dark energy." The astronomers were looking for changes in two quantities: the ratio of the masses of the electron and the proton, and a number physicists call the fine structure constant, a combination of the electron charge, the speed of light and the Planck constant. These values, considered fundamental physical constants, once were "taken as time independent, with values given once and forever" said German particle physicist Christof Wetterich. However, Wetterich explained, "the viewpoint of modern particle theory has changed in recent years," with ideas such as

  20. The Virtual Astronomical Observatory: Re-engineering Access to Astronomical Data

    CERN Document Server

    Hanisch, R J; Lazio, T J W; Bunn, S Emery; Evans, J; McGlynn, T A; Plante, R


    The U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory was a software infrastructure and development project designed both to begin the establishment of an operational Virtual Observatory (VO) and to provide the U.S. coordination with the international VO effort. The concept of the VO is to provide the means by which an astronomer is able to discover, access, and process data seamlessly, regardless of its physical location. This paper describes the origins of the VAO, including the predecessor efforts within the U.S. National Virtual Observatory, and summarizes its main accomplishments. These accomplishments include the development of both scripting toolkits that allow scientists to incorporate VO data directly into their reduction and analysis environments and high-level science applications for data discovery, integration, analysis, and catalog cross-comparison. Working with the international community, and based on the experience from the software development, the VAO was a major contributor to international standards ...

  1. Education of American research astronomers, 1876-1941 (United States)

    Hall, Robert Dale


    The education (particularly graduate education) of Americans who were active in astronomical research between 1876 and 1941 is assessed for its effectiveness in preparing the astronomers for careers in research. This period contains three dynamic changes: the growth of American astronomy in becoming the world's leading community of astronomers, the formation and flourishing of the American model of the graduate school, and the switch of emphasis of research from classical astronomy to astrophysics. Investigations are made of the roles of the astronomers' education in the growth and success of American astronomy and the progressive adoption of new fields of research-observational astrophysics, statistical astronomy, and theoretical astrophysics. Influences on astronomical education in the US are also assessed. The study used biographical information on the education and research careers of 509 scientists who published at least three papers of astronomical research. The data allowed the study of trends in the education of the astronomers. Brief case histories of astronomical education at the most important schools of astronomy, Berkeley-Lick, Chicago-Yerkes, Harvard, Michigan, and Princeton, complemented data of the astronomers. The study found that the loss of courses of elementary astronomy in high schools and colleges due to a report in 1893 had no discernible effect on the growth of the community of astrophysicists, yet contributed to the decline of classical astronomy. Also, the astronomers most responsible for the rise of astrophysics after 1900 were not educated in conventional graduate programs of classical astronomy. Lick Observatory, under W. W. Campbell, reset the prevalent direction of graduate training in the US from classical astronomy to observational astrophysics. Princeton's graduate program was the most effective in producing outstanding astronomers. Its graduates were the only students of the 1920s and 30s with strong backgrounds in physics

  2. Radio Astronomers Set New Standard for Accurate Cosmic Distance Measurement (United States)


    estimate of the age of the universe. In order to do this, you need an unambiguous, absolute distance to another galaxy. We are pleased that the NSF's VLBA has for the first time determined such a distance, and thus provided the calibration standard astronomers have always sought in their quest for accurate distances beyond the Milky Way," said Morris Aizenman, Executive Officer of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Astronomical Sciences. "For astronomers, this measurement is the golden meter stick in the glass case," Aizenman added. The international team of astronomers used the VLBA to measure directly the motion of gas orbiting what is generally agreed to be a supermassive black hole at the heart of NGC 4258. The orbiting gas forms a warped disk, nearly two light-years in diameter, surrounding the black hole. The gas in the disk includes water vapor, which, in parts of the disk, acts as a natural amplifier of microwave radio emission. The regions that amplify radio emission are called masers, and work in a manner similar to the way a laser amplifies light emission. Determining the distance to NGC 4258 required measuring motions of extremely small shifts in position of these masers as they rotate around the black hole. This is equivalent to measuring an angle one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair held at arm's length. "The VLBA is the only instrument in the world that could do this," said Moran. "This work is the culmination of a 20-year effort at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to measure distances to cosmic masers," said Irwin Shapiro, Director of that institution. Collection of the data for the NGC 4258 project was begun in 1994 and was part of Herrnstein's Ph.D dissertation at Harvard University. Previous observations with the VLBA allowed the scientists to measure the speed at which the gas is orbiting the black hole, some 39 million times more massive than the Sun. They did this by observing the amount of change in the

  3. The Role of Amateur Astronomy to Outreach Astronomical Knowledge (United States)

    Khachatryan, Vachik; Voskanyan, Tsovak


    It is known that in the educational system of republic the astronomy is not taught as a separate subject. Moreover, there are no telescopes in the vast majority of schools. "Goodricke John" NGO of amateur astronomers tries to fill this gap by organizing practical lessons of astronomy in secondary schools. NGO is equipped with high quality portable amateur telescopes and organizes periodic mass observations of planets, Moon, star clusters, nebulae in Yerevan and in regions. In addition, mass observations of rare astronomical phenomena are organized, such as the transit of Venus and Mercury across the disk of the Sun. Being the only NGO of amateur astronomers, it has a goal to contribute to publicizing astronomical knowledge and to ensure the availability of astronomical equipment, telescopes also to those segments of the society who have no opportunity to deal with them, in particular, persons with disabilities, prisoners, persons with disabilities, prisoners, soldiers, children from orphanages, school children and others.

  4. Instruments on large optical telescopes -- A case study

    CERN Document Server

    Kulkarni, S R


    In the distant past, telescopes were known, first and foremost, for the sizes of their apertures. Advances in technology (not merely those related to astronomical detectors) are now enabling astronomers to build extremely powerful instruments to the extent that instruments have now achieved importance comparable or even exceeding the usual importance accorded to the apertures of the telescopes. However, the cost of successive generations of instruments has risen at a rate far above that of the rate of inflation. Here, given the vast sums of money now being expended on optical telescopes and their instrumentation, I argue that astronomers must undertake "cost-benefit" analysis for future planning. I use the scientific output of the first two decades of the W. M. Keck Observatory as a laboratory for this purpose. I find, in the absence of upgrades, that the time to reach peak paper production for an instrument is about six years. The prime lifetime of instruments (sans upgrades), as measured by citations return...

  5. Astronomers Discover Fastest-Spinning Pulsar (United States)


    Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope have discovered the fastest-spinning neutron star ever found, a 20-mile-diameter superdense pulsar whirling faster than the blades of a kitchen blender. Their work yields important new information about the nature of one of the most exotic forms of matter known in the Universe. Pulsar Graphic Pulsars Are Spinning Neutron Stars CREDIT: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF (Click on image for larger version) "We believe that the matter in neutron stars is denser than an atomic nucleus, but it is unclear by how much. Our observations of such a rapidly rotating star set a hard upper limit on its size, and hence on how dense the star can be.," said Jason Hessels, a graduate student at McGill University in Montreal. Hessels and his colleagues presented their findings to the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Washington, DC. Pulsars are spinning neutron stars that sling "lighthouse beams" of radio waves or light around as they spin. A neutron star is what is left after a massive star explodes at the end of its "normal" life. With no nuclear fuel left to produce energy to offset the stellar remnant's weight, its material is compressed to extreme densities. The pressure squeezes together most of its protons and electrons to form neutrons; hence, the name "neutron star." "Neutron stars are incredible laboratories for learning about the physics of the fundamental particles of nature, and this pulsar has given us an important new limit," explained Scott Ransom, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and one of Hessels' collaborators on this work. The scientists discovered the pulsar, named PSR J1748-2446ad, in a globular cluster of stars called Terzan 5, located some 28,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. The newly-discovered pulsar is spinning 716 times per second, or at 716 Hertz (Hz), readily beating the previous record of 642 Hz from a pulsar

  6. NRAO Astronomer Wins Prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship (United States)


    Dr. Dale Frail, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, New Mexico, has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, according to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The Guggenheim Foundation describes its fellowships as "mid-career" awards "intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Frail, 48, has worked at the NRAO for more than 20 years, first as a postdoctoral fellow, and then as a staff scientist. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, and his Ph.D in astronomy from the University of Toronto. Frail is best known for his landmark contributions to the understanding of gamma ray bursts, making critical measurements that provided key insights into the mechanisms of these superenergetic and once-mysterious explosions. He also has made important contributions to the understanding of other astronomical phenomena, including pulsars and their neighborhoods, supernova remnants, and magnetars. In 1992, he was the co-discoverer, with Alex Wolszczan, of the first planets outside our own solar system. "We congratulate Dale on this well-deserved honor that recognizes not only his past achievements but also his potential for exciting scientific work in the future," said Dr. Fred K.Y. Lo, NRAO Director. "We're very proud to see one of our scientists receive such a great honor," Lo added. Frail is one of 180 recipients of this year's Guggenheim Fellowships, chosen from some 3,000 applicants. The fellowships were established in 1925 and past recipients include photographer Ansel Adams, author Saul Bellow, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and chemist Linus Pauling. 102 Guggenheim Fellows have subsequently won Nobel Prizes, and others have received Pulitzer Prizes and other honors. As a Guggenheim Fellow, Frail intends to intensify his research in the areas of pulsars

  7. Compression of interferometric radio-astronomical data (United States)

    Offringa, A. R.


    Context. The volume of radio-astronomical data is a considerable burden in the processing and storing of radio observations that have high time and frequency resolutions and large bandwidths. For future telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the data volume will be even larger. Aims: Lossy compression of interferometric radio-astronomical data is considered to reduce the volume of visibility data and to speed up processing. Methods: A new compression technique named "Dysco" is introduced that consists of two steps: a normalization step, in which grouped visibilities are normalized to have a similar distribution; and a quantization and encoding step, which rounds values to a given quantization scheme using a dithering scheme. Several non-linear quantization schemes are tested and combined with different methods for normalizing the data. Four data sets with observations from the LOFAR and MWA telescopes are processed with different processing strategies and different combinations of normalization and quantization. The effects of compression are measured in image plane. Results: The noise added by the lossy compression technique acts similarly to normal system noise. The accuracy of Dysco is depending on the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of the data: noisy data can be compressed with a smaller loss of image quality. Data with typical correlator time and frequency resolutions can be compressed by a factor of 6.4 for LOFAR and 5.3 for MWA observations with less than 1% added system noise. An implementation of the compression technique is released that provides a Casacore storage manager and allows transparent encoding and decoding. Encoding and decoding is faster than the read/write speed of typical disks. Conclusions: The technique can be used for LOFAR and MWA to reduce the archival space requirements for storing observed data. Data from SKA-low will likely be compressible by the same amount as LOFAR. The same technique can be used to compress data from

  8. Optimizing significance testing of astronomical forcing in cyclostratigraphy (United States)

    Kemp, David B.


    The recognition of astronomically forced (Milankovitch) climate cycles in geological archives marked a major advance in Earth science, revealing a heartbeat within the climate system of general importance and key utility. Power spectral analysis is the primary tool used to facilitate identification of astronomical cycles in stratigraphic data, but commonly employed methods for testing the statistical significance of relatively high narrow-band variance of potential astronomical origin in spectra have been criticized for inadequately balancing the respective probabilities of type I (false positive) and type II (false negative) errors. This has led to suggestions that the importance of astronomical forcing in Earth history is overstated. It can be readily demonstrated, however, that the imperfect nature of the stratigraphic record and the quasiperiodicity of astronomical cycles sets an upper limit on the attainable significance of astronomical signals. Optimized significance testing is that which minimizes the combined probability of type I and type II errors. Numerical simulations of stratigraphically preserved astronomical signals suggest that optimum significance levels at which to reject a null hypothesis of no astronomical forcing are between 0.01 and 0.001 (i.e., 99-99.9% confidence level). This is lower than commonly employed in the literature (90-99% confidence levels). Nevertheless, in consonance with the emergent view from other scientific disciplines, fixed-value null hypothesis significance testing of power spectra is implicitly ill suited to demonstrating astronomical forcing, and the use of spectral analysis remains a difficult and subjective endeavor in the absence of additional supporting evidence.

  9. Instrumental Methods for Professional and Amateur Collaborations in Planetary Astronomy

    CERN Document Server

    Mousis, O; Beaulieu, J -P; Bouley, S; Carry, B; Colas, F; Klotz, A; Pellier, C; Petit, J -M; Rousselot, P; Dib, M Ali; Beisker, W; Birlan, M; Buil, C; Delsanti, A; Frappa, E; Hammel, H B; Levasseur-Regourd, A -C; Orton, G S; Sanchez-Lavega, A; Santerne, A; Tanga, P; Vaubaillon, J; Zanda, B; Baratoux, D; Boehm, T; Boudon, V; Bouquet, A; Buzzi, L; Dauvergne, J -L; Decock, A; Delcroix, M; Drossart, P; Esseiva, N; Fischer, G; Fletcher, L N; Foglia, S; Gomez-Forrellad, J M; Guarro-Flo, J; Herald, D; Kugel, F; Lebreton, J -P; Lecacheux, J; Leroy, A; Maquet, L; Masi, G; Maury, A; Meyer, F; Pérez-Hoyos, S; Rajpurohit, A S; Rinner, C; Rogers, J H; Roques, F; Schmude,, R W; Sicardy, B; Tregon, B; Vanhuysse, M; Wesley, A; Widemann, T


    Amateur contributions to professional publications have increased exponentially over the last decades in the field of Planetary Astronomy. Here we review the different domains of the field in which collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers are effective and regularly lead to scientific publications. We discuss the instruments, detectors, softwares and methodologies typically used by amateur astronomers to collect the scientific data in the different domains of interest. Amateur contributions to the monitoring of planets and interplanetary matter, characterization of asteroids and comets, as well as the determination of the physical properties of Kuiper Belt Objects and exoplanets are discussed.

  10. A new technique of characterization of intrapixel response dedicated to astronomical detectors

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ketchazo, C., E-mail: [Service d’Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Orme des Mérisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette 91191 (France); Viale, T. [ONERA, The French Aerospace Lab, F-91761 Palaiseau (France); Boulade, O. [Service d’Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Orme des Mérisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette 91191 (France); Druart, G. [ONERA, The French Aerospace Lab, F-91761 Palaiseau (France); Moreau, V. [Service d’Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Orme des Mérisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette 91191 (France); Mugnier, L. [ONERA, The French Aerospace Lab, F-91761 Palaiseau (France); Dubrueil, D. [Service d’Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Orme des Mérisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette 91191 (France); Derelle, S. [ONERA, The French Aerospace Lab, F-91761 Palaiseau (France); Ronayette, S. [Service d’Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Orme des Mérisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette 91191 (France); Guérineau, N. [ONERA, The French Aerospace Lab, F-91761 Palaiseau (France); Berthé, M. [Service d’Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Orme des Mérisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette 91191 (France)


    This paper is devoted to the presentation of a new technique of characterization of the intra-pixel sensitivity variations (IPSVs) of astronomical detectors. The IPSV is the spatial variation of the pixel response function (PRF). In the case of under-sampled instruments for high quality imaging and accurate photometry, IPSV can contribute to the instrument global error and it should be considered carefully. Our measurement technique is based in the Fourier transform (FT) approach. It consists into the sampling of the pixel transfer function (PTF) by projecting high-resolution periodic patterns onto the whole sensor without classic optics but using the self-imaging property (the Talbot effect) of a continuously self imaging grating (CSIG) illuminated by a plane wave. The PRF is determined by computing the inverse FT. Our measurement technique permits to determine the PRF with a resolution of pixel/10 (10 times Nyquist frequency)

  11. Investigating Student Understanding of the Universe: Perceptions of Astronomical Sizes and Distances (United States)

    Camarillo, Carmelita; Coble, K.; Hayes, V.; Nickerson, M.; Cochran, G. L.; Bailey, J. M.; McLin, K. M.; Cominsky, L. R.


    Student perceptions regarding astronomical sizes and distances are being analyzed for Chicago State University's Basic Astronomy course. This area is of great interest to further understand the students’ learning processes and to produce more effective instruction. Insights from cognitive psychology have shown that perceptions are related to prior experiences and current knowledge. Students enter into this course with different mental representations, and these representations can affect their learning. Through a repeated measures design, perceptions are analyzed through several instruments. The instruments implemented are pre-tests surveys (before lab), exams (after lab), lab comments, and interviews. Preliminary analysis reveals that students who have difficulty with astronomical sizes and distances have been more strongly influenced by culture and the media whereas those who had less difficulty expanded on their personal prior experiences. This project is part of a larger study; also see our posters on the structure of the universe, dark matter, the age and expansion of the universe. This work was supported by NASA ROSES E/PO Grant #NNXlOAC89G, as well as by the Illinois Space Grant Consortium and National Science Foundation CCLI Grant #0632563 at Chicago State University and the Fermi E/PO program at Sonoma State University.

  12. Investigation carried out with pre-service elementary teachers on some basic astronomical topics

    CERN Document Server

    Gangui, Alejandro; Quinteros, Cynthia


    We perform a situational diagnosis in topics of astronomy of pre-service elementary teachers in order to try and develop didactic tools that better collaborate with their formal education. In this work we present the instrument we designed to put in evidence some of the most frequently used models on a few basic astronomical notions endowed by them. We work with an open written questionnaire comprising a limited but representative group of basic astronomical notions. We discuss the results of two first pilot tests, provided to 30 individuals, and we comment on the necessary changes applied to the instrument in order to design the final questionnaire, which was then provided to another group of 51 pre-service elementary teachers. A detailed qualitative analysis of the answers revealed many well-known alternative conceptions, and others that seem new. We find that prospective teachers have a hard time in trying to explain the movements of the Moon and its phases. They also meet difficulties to recognize and exp...

  13. An innovative alt-alt telescope for small observatories and amateur astronomers (United States)

    Riva, M.; Basso, S.; Canestrari, R.; Conconi, P.; Fugazza, D.; Ghigo, M.; Landoni, M.; Pareschi, G.; Spanó, P.; Tomelleri, R.; Zerbi, F. M.


    This paper want to show an innovative amateur oriented telescope with an unconventional alt-alt conguration. The goal is to make a telescope with good optical quality reducing production costs by adopting a gimbal based mounting to develop an alt-alt conguration suitable for a telescope. Reduce costs while preserving the optical quality is a necessary condition to allow small groups of amateur astronomers, schools and cultural clubs, with reduced economic resources, to acquire an astronomical instrument that encourages learning and advancing astrophysical knowledge. This unconventional mechanism for the realization of a telescope alt-alt provides signicant advantages. The traditional rotary motors coupled with expensive precision bearings are replaced with two simple linear actuators coupled to a properly preloaded gimbal joint and the cell becomes the primary structure of the telescope. A second advantage would be secured by mechanical simplicity evident in the easy portability of the instrument. The frame alt-alt has some limitations on the horizon pointing but does not show the zenith blind spot of the alt-az mount. A dedicated alt-alt pointing and tracking model is under development to be compatible with commercial telescope softwares and with the proposed new mounting.

  14. Considerations for the Use of STEREO-HI Data for Astronomical Studies (United States)

    Tappin, S. J.


    Recent refinements to the photometric calibrations of the Heliospheric Imagers (HI) on board the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) have revealed a number of subtle effects in the measurement of stellar signals with those instruments. These effects need to be considered in the interpretation of STEREO-HI data for astronomy. In this paper we present an analysis of these effects and how to compensate for them when using STEREO-HI data for astronomical studies. We determine how saturation of the HI CCD detectors affects the apparent count rates of stars after the on-board summing of pixels and exposures. Single-exposure calibration images are analyzed and compared with binned and summed science images to determine the influence of saturation on the science images. We also analyze how the on-board cosmic-ray scrubbing algorithm affects stellar images. We determine how this interacts with the variations of instrument pointing to affect measurements of stars. We find that saturation is a significant effect only for the brightest stars, and that its onset is gradual. We also find that degraded pointing stability, whether of the entire spacecraft or of the imagers, leads to reduced stellar count rates and also increased variation thereof through interaction with the on-board cosmic-ray scrubbing algorithm. We suggest ways in which these effects can be mitigated for astronomical studies and also suggest how the situation can be improved for future imagers.

  15. Serbian Astronomers in Science Citation Index in the XX Century (United States)

    Dimitrijevic, Milan S.

    The book is written paralelly in Serbian and English. The presence of works of Serbian astronomers and works in astronomical journals published by other Serbian scientists, in Science Citation Index within the period from 1945 up to the end of 2000, has been analyzed. Also is presented the list of 38 papers which had some influence on the development of astronomy in the twentieth century. A review of the development of astronomy in Serbia in the last century is given as well. Particular attention is payed to the Astronomical Observatory, the principal astronomical institution in Serbia, where it is one of the oldest scientific organizations and the only autonomous astronomical institute. Its past development forms an important part of the history of science and culture in these regions. In the book is also considered and the history of the university teaching of astronomy in Serbia after the second world war. First of all the development of the Chair of Astronomy at the Faculty of Mathematics in Belgrade, but also the teaching of astronomy at University in Novi Sad, Ni and Kragujevac is discussed. In addition to professional Astronomy, well developed in Serbia is also the amateur Astronomy. In the review is first of all included the largest and the oldest organization of amateur-astronomers in Serbia, founded in 1934. Besides, here are the Astronomical Society "Novi Sad", ADNOS and Research Station "Petnica". In Valjevo, within the framework of the Society of researchers "Vladimir Mandic - Manda", there is active also the Astronomical Group. In Kragujevac, on the roof of the Institute of Physics of the Faculty of Sciences, there is the "Belerofont" Observatory. In Ni, at the close of the sixties and the start of the seventies, there was operating a branch of the Astronomical Society "Rudjer Bokovic", while at the Faculty of Philosophy there existed in the period 1976-1980 the "Astro-Geophysical Society". In the year 1996 there was founded Astronomical Society

  16. Strange Cases from the Files of Astronomical Sociology


    Krisciunas, Kevin


    What astronomer could not use his own surname because his father was beheaded for sorcery? Who built the only observatory worth $5 billion in today's money? Who had worse luck than YOU travelling thousands of miles NOT to observe an astronomical event? Who had one of his books bound in human skin at the request of his most ardent fan? Is there an anti-correlation between scientific output and the number of children one has? Are astronomers known for having unusual honeymoons? Who wrote the mo...

  17. [French astronomical journals an interactivity of the scientific world]. (United States)

    Vassilieff, Catherine


    Astronomical data issued from observatories find multiple uses on land, as well as on sea. Due to their structure and periodicity, scientific reviews are particularly adapted to peer review and sharing of data between astronomers as well as between astronomers and hobbyists. During the 19(th) century regional observatories first gather together professionals interested in the practical applications of the observations and later, under the influence of personalities such as Camille Flammarion, they bring together a larger non-professional audience. Being the epicentre of scientific exchange, the reviews have in the 20(th) century found their place on the websites of academic institutions as well as users forums.

  18. [A fractal denoising method for astronomical spectral signal]. (United States)

    Han, Jin-shu; Luo, A-li; Zhao, Yong-heng


    To restore the continuum and the spectral lines from a noisy astronomical spectrum, then to measure the equivalent widths of the spectral lines, the fractal denoising method was firstly used in astronomical spectra in the present paper. The method is based on the distinguishing features, that is the local self-similarities exist in an astronomical spectrum, while not in a random white noise signal. The experimental results show that the fractal denoising method is efficient in parameter measurements, such as equivalent widths for spectral lines, redshift of galaxies, and so on. In addition, the method can achieve data compression. The fractal method can be used in the mass spectra of LAMOST.

  19. Astronomical Dating of Edvard Munch's Summer Sky Paintings (United States)

    Pope, Ava; Olson, Donald


    Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, most famous for The Scream, created many spectacular works depicting the skies of Norway. Our Texas State group used astronomical methods to analyze three of these paintings: Starry Night, The Storm, and Sunrise in Asgardstrand. Astronomical dating of these paintings has some importance because the precise days when Munch visited Asgardstrand are unknown. Our research group traveled to Norway in August 2008 to find the locations from which Munch painted these three works. We then used astronomical calculations, topographical analysis, historical photographs, and weather records to determine the precise dates and times for the scenes depicted in these paintings. )

  20. Astronomical Constraints on Quantum Cold Dark Matter (United States)

    Spivey, Shane; Musielak, Z.; Fry, J.


    A model of quantum (`fuzzy') cold dark matter that accounts for both the halo core problem and the missing dwarf galaxies problem, which plague the usual cold dark matter paradigm, is developed. The model requires that a cold dark matter particle has a mass so small that its only allowed physical description is a quantum wave function. Each such particle in a galactic halo is bound to a gravitational potential that is created by luminous matter and by the halo itself, and the resulting wave function is described by a Schrödinger equation. To solve this equation on a galactic scale, we impose astronomical constraints that involve several density profiles used to fit data from simulations of dark matter galactic halos. The solutions to the Schrödinger equation are quantum waves which resemble the density profiles acquired from simulations, and they are used to determine the mass of the cold dark matter particle. The effects of adding certain types of baryonic matter to the halo, such as a dwarf elliptical galaxy or a supermassive black hole, are also discussed.

  1. Conceptualizing Astronomical Distances for Urban Populations (United States)

    Popinchalk, Mark; Olson, Kristen; Ingber, Jenny; O'Brien, Mariel


    Students living in urban environments may have a washed-out night sky, but their enthusiasm for astronomy can still shine bright. As an educator, it can sometimes be a challenge to see the opportunities afforded by city living to the teaching of astronomy; however, several benefits can be identified. For example, the intrinsic understanding children have of the distances and scales involved in their everyday life is enhanced when they live in a regimented urban structure. This existing understanding of scale is critical to building a foundation for later conceptualizing of the universe.Leveraging the assets of New York City and the resources found in the American Museum of Natural History, The Science and Nature Program offers students (PreK through 8th grade) robust science learning experiences. To address concepts important for studying astronomy, we present a novel twist on the classic lesson “Earth as a Peppercorn,” by scaling the solar system to the size of New York City. Using local landmarks and their distance in relation to the Museum to represent the planets, students can use their prior knowledge of their surroundings to appreciate the impressive scale of our neighborhood in space in the context of their own neighborhoods. We correlate the activity with NGSS standards, present preliminary feedback on it’s success, and discuss the opportunities to apply a similar model lesson to other astronomical systems.

  2. The Taiwan Extragalactic Astronomical Data Center

    CERN Document Server

    Foucaud, Sébastien; Tsai, Meng-Feng; Kamennoff, Nicolas


    Founded in 2010, the Taiwan Extragalactic Astronomical Data Center (TWEA-DC) has for goal to propose access to large amount of data for the Taiwanese and International community, focusing its efforts on Extragalactic science. In continuation with individual efforts in Taiwan over the past few years, this is the first steppingstone towards the building of a National Virtual Observatory. Taking advantage of our own fast indexing algorithm (BLINK), based on a octahedral meshing of the sky coupled with a very fast kd-tree and a clever parallelization amongst available resources, TWEA-DC will propose from spring 2013 a service of "on-the-fly" matching facility, between on-site and user-based catalogs. We will also offer access to public and private raw and reducible data available to the Taiwanese community. Finally, we are developing high-end on-line analysis tools, such as an automated photometric redshifts and SED fitting code (APz), and an automated groups and clusters finder (APFoF).

  3. Astronomical Forcing of Salt Marsh Biogeochemical Cascades (United States)

    Morris, J. T.; Sundberg, K.


    Astronomically forced changes in the hydroperiod of a salt marsh affect the rate of marsh primary production leading to a biogeochemical cascade. For example, salt marsh primary production and biogeochemical cycles in coastal salt marshes are sensitive to the 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle, which alters the tidal amplitude by about 5 cm. For marshes that are perched high in the tidal frame, a relatively small increase in tidal amplitude and flooding lowers sediment salinity and stimulates primary production. Porewater sulfide concentrations are positively correlated with tidal amplitude and vary on the same cycle as primary production. Soluble reactive phosphate and ammonium concentrations in pore water also vary on this 18.6- year cycle. Phosphate likely responds to variation in the reaction of sulfide with iron-phosphate compounds, while the production of ammonium in sediments is coupled to the activity of diazotrophs that are carbon- limited and, therefore, are regulated by primary productivity. Ammonium also would accumulate when sulfides block nitrification. These dependencies work as a positive feedback between primary production and nutrient supply and are predictive of the near-term effects of sea-level rise.

  4. The Research Use of Astronomical Monographs (United States)

    Abt, Helmut A.


    I explored the use of astronomical monographs used for research. After scanning 135 monographs (excluding conference proceedings and textbooks) listed in 2000-2003 issues of Physics Today and counting citations of them in 2000-2013 in ADS (Astrophysics Data System), I found that 67% of the monographs received fewer than 2 citations per year. The average citation rate for the 135 monographs is statistically the same as for ApJ papers. In contrast, only 41% of the ApJ papers produce fewer than 2 citations per year. ADS also counts the number of times each book or paper is read on-line. The average in 14 years is 181 ± 27 times for the monographs and 633 ± 47 times for ApJ papers. The total numbers of citations in 14 years for the monographs ranged from 0 to 711. I explored reasons for this range and only learned that it did not depend on (1) the numbers of book reviews published or (2) the scientific stature of the authors. I am unable to predict whether a monograph will be successful or not. The decreasing of references to monographs seems to be due to (1) monographs becoming so expensive that individuals and libraries cannot afford many of them, (2) readers seeming to prefer concise reviews, such as online searches and the Annual Reviews, and (3) most of the monographs having not been available free online.

  5. Book Review: Scientific Writing for Young Astronomers (United States)

    Uyttenhove, Jos


    EDP Sciences, Les Ulis, France. Part 1 : 162 pp. € 35 ISBN 978-2-7598-0506-8 Part 2 : 298 pp. € 60 ISBN 978-2-7598-0639-3 The journal Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A) and EDP Sciences decided in 2007 to organize a School on the various aspects of scientific writing and publishing. In 2008 and 2009 Scientific Writing for Young Astronomers (SWYA) Schools were held in Blankenberge (B) under the direction of Christiaan Sterken (FWO-VUB). These two books (EAS publication series, Vol. 49 and 50) reflect the outcome of these Schools. Part 1 contains a set of contributions that discuss various aspects of scientific publication; it includes A&A Editors' view of the peer review and publishing process. A very interesting short paper by S.R. Pottasch (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, Groningen, and one of the two first Editors-in Chief of A&A) deals with the history of the creation of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Two papers by J. Adams et al. (Observatoire de Paris) discuss language editing, including a detailed guide for any non-native user of the English language. In 2002 the Board of Directors decided that all articles in A&A must be written in clear and correct English. Part 2 consists of three very extensive and elaborated papers by Christiaan Sterken, supplying guidelines to PhD students and postdoctoral fellows to help them compose scientific papers for different forums (journals, proceedings, thesis, etc.). This part is of interest not only for young astronomers but it is very useful for scholars of all ages and disciplines. Paper I "The writing process" (60 pp.) copes with the preparation of manuscripts, with communicating with editors and referees and with avoiding common errors. Delicate problems on authorship, refereeing, revising multi-authored papers etc. are treated in 26 FAQ's. Paper II "Communication by graphics" (120 pp.) is entirely dedicated to the important topic of communication with images, graphs, diagrams, tables etc. Design types of graphs

  6. Radiation events in astronomical CCD images (United States)

    Smith, Alan R.; McDonald, Richard J.; Hurley, D. C.; Holland, Steven E.; Groom, Donald E.; Brown, William E.; Gilmore, David K.; Stover, Richard J.; Wei, Mingzhi


    The remarkable sensitivity of depleted silicon to ionizing radiation is a nuisance to astronomers. 'Cosmic rays' degrade images because of struck pixels, leading to modified observing strategies and the development of algorithms to remove the unwanted artifacts. In the new-generation CCD's with thick sensitive regions, cosmic-ray muons make recognizable straight tracks and there is enhanced sensitivity to ambient gamma radiation via Compton-scattered electrons ('worms'). Beta emitters inside the dewar, for example high-potassium glasses such as BK7 , also produce worm-like tracks. The cosmic-ray muon rate is irreducible and increases with altitude. The gamma rays are mostly by- products of 40K decay and the U and Th decay chains; these elements commonly appear as traces in concrete and other materials. The Compton recoil event rate can be reduced significantly by the choice of materials in the environment and dewar and by careful shielding. Telescope domes appear to have significantly lower rates than basement laboratories and Coude spectrograph rooms. Radiation sources inside the dewar can be eliminated by judicious choice of materials. Cosmogenic activation during high-altitude fights does not appear to be a problem. Our conclusion are supported by tests at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory low-level counting facilities in Berkeley and at Oroville, California (180 m underground).

  7. The NASA Astrophysics Data System Free Access to the Astronomical Literature On-Line and through Email

    CERN Document Server

    Eichhorn, G; Grant, C S; Kurtz, M J; Murray, S S


    The Astrophysics Data System (ADS) provides access to the astronomical literature through the World Wide Web. It is a NASA funded project and access to all the ADS services is free to everybody world-wide.The ADS Abstract Service allows the searching of four databases with abstracts in Astronomy, Instrumentation, Physics/Geophysics, and the LANL Preprints with a total of over 2.2 million references. The system also provides access to reference and citation information, links to on-line data, electronic journal articles, and other on-line information. The ADS Article Service contains the articles for most of the astronomical literature back to volume 1. It contains the scanned pages of all the major journals (Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Solar Physics), as well as most smaller journals back to volume 1. The ADS can be accessed through any web browser without signup or login. Alternatively an email interface is ...

  8. Efficient morphological tools for astronomical image processing

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Moschini, Ugo


    Nowadays, many applications rely on a huge quantity of images at high resolution and with high quantity of information per pixel, due either to the technological improvements of the instruments or to the type of measurement observed. This thesis is focused on exploring and developing tools and new m

  9. Active instruments

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lim, Miguel Antonio; Ørberg, Jakob Williams


    themselves. We draw on two multi-year field studies of India and Denmark to investigate how national reforms and developments within the ranking industry interact in often surprising ways. Rankings do not always do what policy makers expect. We (1) highlight the activity of rankers in these two countries, (2......) show the dynamic nature of policy processes, and (3) consider the search for policy reference points among the different actors. We present rankers in motion, policies in motion, and finally the complex nature of the ranking device that needs to be both a relevant and malleable policy instrument...

  10. The Double Didactic Astronomical Quadrant for the XIII International Astronomical Olympiad

    CERN Document Server

    Maris, Michele; Boehm, Conrad; Iafrate, Giulia; Ramella, Massimo


    Here we present the development of a simplified version of double astronomical quadrant, designed for educational aims and realized on the occasion of the observational round of the XIII International Astronomy Olympiad, held in Trieste (Italy) October 13-21, 2008. (Italia: In questo contributo illustriamo il progetto di una versione semplificata di doppio quadrante astronomico, progettato per fini didattici e realizzato in occasione dello svolgimento della gara osservativa delle XIII Olimpiadi Internazionali di Astronomia (XIII International Astronomy Olympiad, XIII IAO), Trieste (I), 13-21 ottobre 2008))

  11. How Much Mass Makes a Black Hole? - Astronomers Challenge Current Theories (United States)


    constraints on magnetar progenitor masses from the eclipsing binary W13", by B. Ritchie et al.). The same team published a first study of this object in 2006 ("A Neutron Star with a Massive Progenitor in Westerlund 1", by M.P. Muno et al., Astrophysical Journal, 636, L41). The team is composed of Ben Ritchie and Simon Clark (The Open University, UK), Ignacio Negueruela (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), and Norbert Langer (Universität Bonn, Germany, and Universiteit Utrecht, the Netherlands). The astronomers used the FLAMES instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope at Paranal, Chile to study the stars in the Westerlund 1 cluster. ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive astronomical observatory. It is supported by 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and VISTA, the world's largest survey telescope. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. ESO is currently planning a 42-metre European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky".

  12. The Xinglong 2.16-m Telescope: Current Instruments and Scientific Projects (United States)

    Fan, Zhou; Wang, Huijuan; Jiang, Xiaojun; Wu, Hong; Li, Hongbin; Huang, Yang; Xu, Dawei; Hu, Zhongwen; Zhu, Yinan; Wang, Jianfeng; Komossa, Stefanie; Zhang, Xiaoming


    The Xinglong 2.16-m reflector is the first 2-m class astronomical telescope in China. It was jointly designed and built by the Nanjing Astronomical Instruments Factory (NAIF), Beijing Astronomical Observatory (now National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, NAOC), and Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1989. It is a Ritchey-Chrétien (R-C) reflector on an English equatorial mount and the effective aperture is 2.16 m. It had been the largest optical telescope in China for ˜18 years until the Guoshoujing Telescope (also called Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope, LAMOST) and the Lijiang 2.4-m telescope were built. At present, there are three main instruments on the Cassegrain focus available: the Beijing Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (BFOSC) for direct imaging and low-resolution (R ˜ 500-2000) spectroscopy, the spectrograph made by Optomechanics Research Inc. (OMR) for low-resolution spectroscopy (the spectral resolutions are similar to those of BFOSC) and the fiber-fed High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS; R ˜ 30,000-65,000). The telescope is widely open to astronomers all over China as well as international astronomical observers. Each year there are more than 40 ongoing observing projects, including 6-8 key projects. Recently, some new techniques and instruments (e.g., astro-frequency comb calibration system, polarimeter, and adaptive optics) have been or will be tested on the telescope to extend its observing abilities.

  13. ALOHA/CHARA at 1.55 μm: sensitivity improvement and on-sky ability to detect astronomical sources in H band (United States)

    Darré, P.; Grossard, L.; Delage, L.; Reynaud, F.; Scott, N. J.; Sturmann, J.; Ten Brummelaar, T. A.


    The interferometric concept named ALOHA (Astronomical Light Optical Hybrid Analysis) offers an alternative for high resolution imaging in the mid-infrared domain by shifting the astronomical light to shorter wavelength where optical guided components from telecommunications are available and efficient. A prototype with two arms converting a signal from 1.55 μm to 630 nm is used to validate the concept in laboratory and on-sky. Thanks to collaboration with the CHARA team, photometric tests were achieved with a single arm of the interferometer and have allowed to predict instrument performance in its interferometric configuration in order to obtain first fringes in H band.

  14. Lessons from the masters current concepts in astronomical image processing

    CERN Document Server


    There are currently thousands of amateur astronomers around the world engaged in astrophotography at increasingly sophisticated levels. Their ranks far outnumber professional astronomers doing the same and their contributions both technically and artistically are the dominant drivers of progress in the field today. This book is a unique collaboration of individuals, all world-renowned in their particular area, and covers in detail each of the major sub-disciplines of astrophotography. This approach offers the reader the greatest opportunity to learn the most current information and the latest techniques directly from the foremost innovators in the field today.   The book as a whole covers all types of astronomical image processing, including processing of eclipses and solar phenomena, extracting detail from deep-sky, planetary, and widefield images, and offers solutions to some of the most challenging and vexing problems in astronomical image processing. Recognized chapter authors include deep sky experts su...

  15. The Role of Amateur Astronomers in Exoplanet Research (United States)

    Conti, Denns M.


    Because of recent technological advances in imaging equipment and processing software, research grade characterization of exoplanet transits is now within the realm of amateur astronomers. This paper will describe the current state of exoplanet observing by amateur astronomers and the best practices used for conducting such observations. In addition, a pipeline will be described that has proved successful in obtaining high quality, exoplanet science data from these observations. The paper will also describe a major collaboration currently underway between a world-wide network of amateur astronomers and a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) science team. Finally, the growing need for exoplanet observations by amateur astronomers will be discussed, as well as an example of their role in characterizing other "exo-objects."

  16. The application of interferometry to optical astronomical imaging. (United States)

    Baldwin, John E; Haniff, Christopher A


    In the first part of this review we survey the role optical/infrared interferometry now plays in ground-based astronomy. We discuss in turn the origins of astronomical interferometry, the motivation for its development, the techniques of its implementation, examples of its astronomical significance, and the limitations of the current generation of interferometric arrays. The second part focuses on the prospects for ground-based astronomical imaging interferometry over the near to mid-term (i.e. 10 years) at optical and near-infrared wavelengths. An assessment is made of the astronomical and technical factors which determine the optimal designs for imaging arrays. An analysis based on scientific capability, technical feasibility and cost argues for an array of large numbers of moderate-sized (2 m class) telescopes rather than one comprising a small number of much larger collectors.

  17. The Persian-Toledan Astronomical Connection and the European Renaissance

    CERN Document Server

    Heydari-Malayeri, M


    This paper aims at presenting a brief overview of astronomical exchanges between the Eastern and Western parts of the Islamic world from the 8th to 14th century. These cultural interactions were in fact vaster involving Persian, Indian, Greek, and Chinese traditions. I will particularly focus on some interesting relations between the Persian astronomical heritage and the Andalusian (Spanish) achievements in that period. After a brief introduction dealing mainly with a couple of terminological remarks, I will present a glimpse of the historical context in which Muslim science developed. In Section 3, the origins of Muslim astronomy will be briefly examined. Section 4 will be concerned with Khwarizmi, the Persian astronomer/mathematician who wrote the first major astronomical work in the Muslim world. His influence on later Andalusian astronomy will be looked into in Section 5. Andalusian astronomy flourished in the 11th century, as will be studied in Section 6. Among its major achievements were the Toledan Tab...

  18. PPARC: Grid technology helps astronomers keep pace with the Universe

    CERN Multimedia


    "Intelligent Agent" computer programs are roaming the Internet and watching the skies. These programs, using Grid computing technology, will help astronomers detect some of the most dramatic events in the universe, such as massive supernova explosions (1 page).

  19. Astronomical Software Wants To Be Free: A Manifesto

    CERN Document Server

    Weiner, Benjamin J; Coil, Alison L; Cooper, Michael C; Davé, Romeel; Hogg, David W; Holden, Bradford P; Jonsson, Patrik; Kassin, Susan A; Lotz, Jennifer M; Moustakas, John; Newman, Jeffrey A; Prochaska, J X; Teuben, Peter J; Tremonti, Christy A; Willmer, Christopher N A


    Astronomical software is now a fact of daily life for all hands-on members of our community. Purpose-built software for data reduction and modeling tasks becomes ever more critical as we handle larger amounts of data and simulations. However, the writing of astronomical software is unglamorous, the rewards are not always clear, and there are structural disincentives to releasing software publicly and to embedding it in the scientific literature, which can lead to significant duplication of effort and an incomplete scientific record. We identify some of these structural disincentives and suggest a variety of approaches to address them, with the goals of raising the quality of astronomical software, improving the lot of scientist-authors, and providing benefits to the entire community, analogous to the benefits provided by open access to large survey and simulation datasets. Our aim is to open a conversation on how to move forward. We advocate that: (1) the astronomical community consider software as an integra...

  20. Application of digital image processing techniques to astronomical imagery 1977 (United States)

    Lorre, J. J.; Lynn, D. J.


    Nine specific techniques of combination of techniques developed for applying digital image processing technology to existing astronomical imagery are described. Photoproducts are included to illustrate the results of each of these investigations.

  1. A Multilingual on-line Dictionary of Astronomical Concepts

    CERN Document Server

    Heydari-Malayeri, M


    On the occasion of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), we present a new interactive dictionary of astronomy and astrophysics, which contains about 7000 entries. This interdisciplinary and multicultural work is intended for professional and amateur astronomers, university students in astrophysics, as well as terminologists and linguists. A new approach is pursued in the formation of a scientific dictionary, which aims to display additional dimensions of astronomical concepts. Although Virtual Observatories recognize the necessity of efforts to define basic astronomical concepts and establish their reciprocal relations, so far they have mainly been confined to archiving observational data. The present dictionary could be an incipient contribution to cover and inter-relate the whole astronomical lexicon beyond subfields.

  2. European astronomers' successes with the Hubble Space Telescope* (United States)


    [Figure: Laguna Nebula] Their work spans all aspects of astronomy, from the planets to the most distant galaxies and quasars, and the following examples are just a few European highlights from Hubble's second phase, 1994-96. A scarcity of midget stars Stars less massive and fainter than the Sun are much numerous in the Milky Way Galaxy than the big bright stars that catch the eye. Guido De Marchi and Francesco Paresce of the European Southern Observatory as Garching, Germany, have counted them. With the wide-field WFPC2 camera, they have taken sample censuses within six globular clusters, which are large gatherings of stars orbiting independently in the Galaxy. In every case they find that the commonest stars have an output of light that is only one-hundredth of the Sun's. They are ten times more numerous than stars like the Sun. More significant for theories of the Universe is a scarcity of very faint stars. Some astronomers have suggested that vast numbers of such stars could account for the mysterious dark matter, which makes stars and galaxies move about more rapidly than expected from the mass of visible matter. But that would require an ever-growing count of objects at low brightnesses, and De Marchi and Paresce find the opposite to be the case -- the numbers diminish. There may be a minimum size below which Nature finds starmaking difficult. The few examples of very small stars seen so far by astronomers may be, not the heralds of a multitude of dark-matter stars, but rareties. Unchanging habits in starmaking Confirmation that very small stars are scarce comes from Gerry Gilmore of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge (UK). He leads a European team that analyses long-exposure images in the WFPC2 camera, obtained as a by-product when another instrument is examining a selected object. The result is an almost random sample of well-observed stars and galaxies. The most remarkable general conclusion is that the make-up of stellar populations never seems to

  3. Astronomers Trace Microquasar's Path Back in Time (United States)


    Astronomers have traced the orbit through our Milky Way Galaxy of a voracious neutron star and a companion star it is cannibalizing, and conclude that the pair joined more than 30 million years ago and probably were catapulted out of a cluster of stars far from the Galaxy's center. Path of Microquasar and Sun Path of Microquasar (red) and Sun (yellow) through the Milky Way Galaxy for the past 230 million years. Animations: GIF Version MPEG Version CREDIT: Mirabel & Rodrigues, NRAO/AUI/NSF The pair of stars, called Scorpius X-1, form a "microquasar," in which material sucked from the "normal" star forms a rapidly-rotating disk around the superdense neutron star. The disk becomes so hot it emits X-rays, and also spits out "jets" of subatomic particles at nearly the speed of light. Using precise positional data from the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and from optical telescopes, Felix Mirabel, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Astronomy and Space Physics of Argentina and French Atomic Energy Commission, and Irapuan Rodrigues, also of the French Atomic Energy Commission, calculated that Scorpius X-1 is not orbiting the Milky Way's center in step with most other stars, but instead follows an eccentric path far above and below the Galaxy's plane. Scorpius X-1, discovered with a rocket-borne X-ray telescope in 1962, is about 9,000 light-years from Earth. It is the brightest continuous source of X-rays beyond the Solar System. The 1962 discovery and associated work earned a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize in physics for Riccardo Giacconi. Mirabel and Rodrigues used a number of published observations to calculate the path of Scorpius X-1 over the past few million years. "This is the most accurate determination we have made of the path of an X-ray binary," said Mirabel. By tracing the object's path backward in time, the scientists were able to conclude that the neutron star and its companion have been traveling together for more than 30

  4. Blowing bubbles in the cosmos astronomical winds, jets, and explosions

    CERN Document Server

    Hartquist, T W; Ruffle, D P


    1. The First Discoveries of Astronomical Winds2. The Magnitudes of Astronomical Quantities3. Stellar Evolution4. Basic Structures of Winds and Windblown Bubbles5. Star Formation and Low-Mass Young Stellar Objects6. Regions of High-Mass Star Formation7. Winds from Main-Sequence and Post-Main-Sequence Stars8. Supernovae and Their Remnants9. Galactic Winds, Starburst Superwinds, and the Epoch of Galaxy Formation10. Active Galaxies and Their Nuclei11. Some Other Windy and Explosive Sources

  5. Visualisation of Multi-mission Astronomical Data with ESASky


    Baines, Deborah; Giordano, Fabrizio; Racero, Elena; Salgado, Jesús; Martí, Belén López; Merín, Bruno; Sarmiento, María Henar; Gutiérrez, Raúl; de Landaluce, Iñaki Ortiz; De león, Ignacio; de Teodoro, Pilar; González, Juan; Nieto, Sara; Segovia, Juan Carlos; Pollock, Andy


    ESASky is a science-driven discovery portal to explore the multi-wavelength sky and visualise and access multiple astronomical archive holdings. The tool is a web application that requires no prior knowledge of any of the missions involved and gives users world-wide simplified access to the highest-level science data products from multiple astronomical space-based astronomy missions plus a number of ESA source catalogues. The first public release of ESASky features interfaces for the visualis...

  6. Astronomical fire: Richard Carrington and the solar flare of 1859. (United States)

    Clark, Stuart


    An explosion on the Sun in 1859, serendipitously witnessed by amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, plunged telegraphic communications into chaos and bathed two thirds of the Earth's skies in aurorae. Explaining what happened to the Sun and how it could affect Earth, 93 million miles away, helped change the direction of astronomy. From being concerned principally with charting the stars to aid navigation, astronomers became increasingly concerned with what the celestial objects were, how they behaved and how they might affect life on Earth.

  7. Real-time earthquake warning for astronomical observatories

    CERN Document Server

    Coughlin, Michael; Barrientos, Sergio; Claver, Chuck; Harms, Jan; Smith, Christopher; Warner, Michael


    Early earthquake warning is a rapidly developing capability that has significant ramifications for many fields, including astronomical observatories. In this work, we describe the susceptibility of astronomical facilities to seismic events, including large telescopes as well as second-generation ground-based gravitational-wave interferometers. We describe the potential warning times for observatories from current seismic networks and propose locations for future seismometers to maximize warning times.

  8. Some early astronomical sites in the Kashmir region (United States)

    Iqbal, Naseer; Vahia, M. N.; Masood, Tabasum; Ahmad, Aijaz


    We discuss a number of early rock art sites in the Kashmir Valley in northern India and neighbouring Pakistan, and suggest that some of these contain depictions of astronomical objects or events. The sites are in the Srinagar and Sopore regions and in or near the Ladakh region, and date to Neolithic or Upper Paleolithic times. Our studies suggest that during this period some of the ancient astronomers recorded supernovae, meteorite impacts, the Sun, the Moon and the seasons in their rock art.



    Aboulfotouh, Hossam M. K.


    This paper is an attempt to show the astronomical design principles that are encoded in the geometrical forms of the largest five pyramids of the fourth Egyptian dynasty, in Giza and Dahshur plateaus, based on using the pyramids’ design-modules that are mentioned in the so-called Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. It shows the astronomical algorithms for quantifying the slopes of pyramids, with reference to specific range of earth’s axial tilt, within spherical co-ordinates system. Besid...

  10. Preservation and maintenance of the astronomical sites in Armenia (United States)

    Mickaelian, A. M.


    Astronomy in Armenia was popular since ancient times. There are signs of astronomical observations coming from a few thousands years ago. Two ancient observatories, Karahunge and Metzamor are especially well known. Karahunge is the Armenian twin of the Stonehenge and is even older. However, there is no proper attention from the state authorities and efforts are needed for preservation of such historical-astronomical monuments. The Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) is the modern famous Armenian observatory founded in 1946 by the outstanding scientist Victor Ambartsumian. It was one of the world astronomical centres in 1950-s to 1970-s, and at present is the largest observatory in the Middle East area. As the ancient astronomical sites, Byurakan also needs a proper attitude from the state authorities and corresponding international organizations to preserve its values and importance for the present and future astronomical activities in the region, including its rich observational archive, telescopes, and human resources. Despite all the difficulties, the Armenian astronomers keep high international level of research and display various activities organizing international meetings and schools, preparing new young generation for the future research. The Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS) is an affiliated member of EAS. Armenia has its Virtual Observatory project (ArVO) as well. The next Joint European and National Astronomy Meeting (JENAM-2007) will be held in Yerevan, Armenia, in August 2007. There are plans to organize astronomical tours to Armenia for making observations from various sites, including the ancient observatories. The future of astronomy in Armenia strongly depends on all of this activities and the proper attention both from state authorities and society.

  11. Evaluating Commercial Scanners for Astronomical Image Digitization (United States)

    Simcoe, R. J.


    Many organizations have been interested in understanding if commercially available scanners are adequate for scientifically useful digitization. These scanners range in price from a few hundred to a few tens of thousands of dollars (USD), often with little apparent difference in performance specifications. This paper describes why the underlying technology used in flatbed scanners tends to effectively limit resolutions to the 600-1200 dots per inch (dpi) range and how the overall system Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) can be used to evaluate the quality of the digitized data for the small feature sizes found in astronomical images. Two scanners, the Epson V750 flatbed scanner and the Nikon Cool Scan 9000ED film strip scanner, are evaluated through their Modulation Transfer Functions (MTF). The MTF of the Harvard DASCH scanner is also shown for comparison. The particular goal of this evaluation was to understand if the scanners could be used for digitizing spectral plates at the University of Toronto. The plates of primary interest were about 15 mm (5/8 inch) wide by 180 mm (7~inches) long and ˜50 mm x 80 mm (2 x 3 inches). The results of the MTF work show that the Epson scanner, despite claims of high resolution, is of limited value for scientific imaging of feature sizes below about 50 μm and therefore not a good candidate for digitizing the spectral plates and problematic for scanning direct plates. The Nikon scanner is better and, except for some frustrating limitations in its software, its performance seems to hold promise as a digitizer for spectral plates in the University of Toronto collection.

  12. Astronomical Society of the Pacific IYA Programs (United States)

    Manning, James G.


    The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is presently engaged in a series of initiatives for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) with the aim of using public awareness and interest to create sustainable education programs and products for the longer term. The presenter will describe progress in its four signature IYA efforts: IYA Discovery Guides for the amateur astronomy community and others providing outreach activities and materials, keyed to NASA's monthly IYA calendar of themes and featured objects, supported by NASA and the NSF; adaptation of these materials to expand astronomy education capacity in the informal education community working in museums and science and nature centers, supported by NASA; the Galileo Teacher Training Program of planned pilot workshops for the professional development of K-12 classroom teachers, to develop a workshop model focusing on the process of science and the adaptation of tools and resources for the classroom; and the development of a Cosmic Clearinghouse web page associated with the IAU Portal to the Universe to provide links to a wide variety of education resources. The presenter will also relate progress in other IYA efforts, including supporting Interstellar Studios’ 400 Years of the Telescope PBS documentary film and its accompanying planetarium program and educational initiatives, promoting other IYA products and services to its networks and others, and plans for the Society's 121st annual meeting in September that will focus on IYA and the Year of Science_and especially on building on the momentum of these efforts to forge a future path for science and science education, nationally and globally.

  13. Compendium of Practical Astronomy. Volume 1: Instrumentation and Reduction Techniques. (United States)

    Augensen, H. J.; Heintz, W. D.; Roth, Günter D.

    The Compendium of Practical Astronomy is a revised and enlarged English version of the fourth edition of G. Roth's famous handbook for stargazers. In three volumes 28 carefully edited articles, aimed especially at amateur astronomers and students and teachers of astronomy in high schools and colleges, cover the length and breadth of practical astronomy. Volume 1 contains information on modern instrumentation and reduction techniques, including spherical astronomy, error estimations, telescope mountings, astrophotography, and more. Volume 2 covers the planetary system, with contributions on artificial satellites, comets, the polar aurorae, and the effects of the atmosphere on observational data. Volume 3 is devoted to stellar objects, variable stars and binary stars in particular. An introduction to the astronomical literature and a comprehensive chapter on astronomy education and instructional aids make the Compendium a useful complement to any college library, in addition to its being essential reading for all practical astronomers.

  14. Astronomers Find Rare Beast by New Means (United States)


    For the first time, astronomers have found a supernova explosion with properties similar to a gamma-ray burst, but without seeing any gamma rays from it. The discovery, using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, promises, the scientists say, to point the way toward locating many more examples of these mysterious explosions. "We think that radio observations will soon be a more powerful tool for finding this kind of supernova in the nearby Universe than gamma-ray satellites," said Alicia Soderberg, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The telltale clue came when the radio observations showed material expelled from the supernova explosion, dubbed SN2009bb, at speeds approaching that of light. This characterized the supernova, first seen last March, as the type thought to produce one kind of gamma-ray burst. "It is remarkable that very low-energy radiation, radio waves, can signal a very high-energy event," said Roger Chevalier of the University of Virginia. When the nuclear fusion reactions at the cores of very massive stars no longer can provide the energy needed to hold the core up against the weight of the rest of the star, the core collapses catastrophically into a superdense neutron star or black hole. The rest of the star's material is blasted into space in a supernova explosion. For the past decade or so, astronomers have identified one particular type of such a "core-collapse supernova" as the cause of one kind of gamma-ray burst. Not all supernovae of this type, however, produce gamma-ray bursts. "Only about one out of a hundred do this," according to Soderberg. In the more-common type of such a supernova, the explosion blasts the star's material outward in a roughly-spherical pattern at speeds that, while fast, are only about 3 percent of the speed of light. In the supernovae that produce gamma-ray bursts, some, but not all, of the ejected material is accelerated to nearly the speed of light. The superfast

  15. Strange Cases from the Files of Astronomical Sociology

    CERN Document Server

    Krisciunas, K


    What astronomer could not use his own surname because his father was beheaded for sorcery? Who built the only observatory worth $5 billion in today's money? Who had worse luck than YOU travelling thousands of miles NOT to observe an astronomical event? Who had one of his books bound in human skin at the request of his most ardent fan? Is there an anti-correlation between scientific output and the number of children one has? Are astronomers known for having unusual honeymoons? Who wrote the most egotistical work in the history of astronomy? What famous astronomer was present for the opening of King Tutankhamen's tomb and later began having hallucinations of an elf, which advised him on the running of his observatory? What is the strangest abstract published in the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society? What well-known bad tempered astronomer was born in 1898 (the year after Bram Stoker's {\\em Dracula} was published) in Varna, Bulgaria, which all vampirologists recognize as the nearest port from which a...

  16. The Expansion of the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive at PARI (United States)

    Cline, J. Donald; Barker, Thurburn; Castelaz, Michael


    A diverse set of photometric, astrometric, spectral and surface brightness data exist on decades of photographic glass plates. The Astronomical Photographic Data Archive (APDA) at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) was established in November 2007 and is dedicated to the task of collecting, restoring, preserving and storing astronomical photographic data and PARI continues to accept collections. APDA is also tasked with scanning each image and establishing a database of images that can be accessed via the Internet by the global community of scientists, researchers and students. APDA is a new type of astronomical observatory - one that harnesses analog data of the night sky taken for more than a century and making that data available in a digital format.In 2016, APDA expanded from 50 collections with about 220,000 plates to more than 55 collections and more than 340,000 plates and films. These account for more than 30% of all astronomical photographic data in the United States. The largest of the new acquisitions are the astronomical photographic plates in the Yale University collection. We present details of the newly added collections and review of other collections in APDA.

  17. Astronomers and the Science Citation Index, 1981-1997

    CERN Document Server

    Burstein, D


    The Institute for Science Information (ISI) has generated two lists of citation information for astronomers that are uniquely restricted both as to the years surveyed for the cited papers, and the years surveyed for the citing papers. The main list gives citation data for 62,813 physicists and astronomers whose journal papers were cited 100 times or more from 1981.0 to 1997.5 by papers published during the same time interval. The second list gives the 200 most-cited papers/year published in refereed astronomical journals from 1981-1996, as cited in papers in those same journals from 1981.0-1998.0. Astronomer names were selected from various sources. From this work an Astronomy Citation Database (ACD) has been constructed, containing citation data for 6331+ astronomers, plus additional data for 173 astronomers and the top-10 cited papers published 1981-1996. Various problems, both substantial and subtle, of producing a reasonably fair citation database are detailed. Chief among these are whether to assign eith...

  18. Next Generation Astronomical Data Processing using Big Data Technologies from the Apache Software Foundation (United States)

    Mattmann, Chris


    In this era of exascale instruments for astronomy we must naturally develop next generation capabilities for the unprecedented data volume and velocity that will arrive due to the veracity of these ground-based sensor and observatories. Integrating scientific algorithms stewarded by scientific groups unobtrusively and rapidly; intelligently selecting data movement technologies; making use of cloud computing for storage and processing; and automatically extracting text and metadata and science from any type of file are all needed capabilities in this exciting time. Our group at NASA JPL has promoted the use of open source data management technologies available from the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in pursuit of constructing next generation data management and processing systems for astronomical instruments including the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA) in Socorro, NM and the Atacama Large Milimetre/Sub Milimetre Array (ALMA); as well as for the KAT-7 project led by SKA South Africa as a precursor to the full MeerKAT telescope. In addition we are funded currently by the National Science Foundation in the US to work with MIT Haystack Observatory and the University of Cambridge in the UK to construct a Radio Array of Portable Interferometric Devices (RAPID) that will undoubtedly draw from the rich technology advances underway. NASA JPL is investing in a strategic initiative for Big Data that is pulling in these capabilities and technologies for astronomical instruments and also for Earth science remote sensing. In this talk I will describe the above collaborative efforts underway and point to solutions in open source from the Apache Software Foundation that can be deployed and used today and that are already bringing our teams and projects benefits. I will describe how others can take advantage of our experience and point towards future application and contribution of these tools.

  19. Foil X-Ray Mirrors for Astronomical Observations: Still an Evolving Technology (United States)

    Serlemitsos, Peter J.; Soong, Yang; Okajima, Takashi; Hahne, Devin J.


    Foil X-ray mirrors, introduced by the Goddard X-ray Group in the late 1970s, were envisioned as an interim and complementary approach toward increased sensitivity for small inexpensive astronomical instruments. The extreme light weight nature of these mirrors dovetailed beautifully with Japan's small payload missions, leading to several collaborative, earth orbiting observatories, designed primarily for spectroscopy, of which SUZAKU is still in earth orbit. ASTRO-H is the latest joint instrument with Japan, presently in the implementation phase. At Goddard, some 30 years after we introduced them, we are involved with four separate flight instruments utilizing foil X-ray mirrors, a good indication that this technology is here to stay. Nevertheless, an improved spatial resolution will be the most welcomed development by all. The task of preparing upwards of 1000 reflectors, then assembling them into a single mirror with arcmin resolution remains a formidable one. Many, performance limiting approximations become necessary when converting commercial aluminum sheets into 8 quadrant segments, each with approximately 200 nested conical, approximately 4Angstrom surface reflectors, which are then assembled into a single mirror. In this paper we will describe the mirror we are presently involved with, slated for the Goddard high resolution imaging X-ray spectrometer (SXS) onboard ASTRO-H. Improved spatial resolution will be an important enhancement to the science objectives from this instrument. We are accordingly pursuing and will briefly describe in this paper several design and reflector assembly modifications, aimed toward that goal.

  20. Astronomical Data Integration Beyond the Virtual Observatory (United States)

    Lemson, G.; Laurino, O.


    "Data integration" generally refers to the process of combining data from different source data bases into a unified view. Much work has been devoted in this area by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), allowing users to discover and access databases through standard protocols. However, different archives present their data through their own schemas and users must still select, filter, and combine data for each archive individually. An important reason for this is that the creation of common data models that satisfy all sub-disciplines is fraught with difficulties. Furthermore it requires a substantial amount of work for data providers to present their data according to some standard representation. We will argue that existing standards allow us to build a data integration framework that works around these problems. The particular framework requires the implementation of the IVOA Table Access Protocol (TAP) only. It uses the newly developed VO data modelling language (VO-DML) specification, which allows one to define extensible object-oriented data models using a subset of UML concepts through a simple XML serialization language. A rich mapping language allows one to describe how instances of VO-DML data models are represented by the TAP service, bridging the possible mismatch between a local archive's schema and some agreed-upon representation of the astronomical domain. In this so called local-as-view approach to data integration, “mediators" use the mapping prescriptions to translate queries phrased in terms of the common schema to the underlying TAP service. This mapping language has a graphical representation, which we expose through a web based graphical “drag-and-drop-and-connect" interface. This service allows any user to map the holdings of any TAP service to the data model(s) of choice. The mappings are defined and stored outside of the data sources themselves, which allows the interface to be used in a kind of crowd-sourcing effort

  1. Study of Modern Instrumentation and Methods for Astronomic Positioning in the Field (United States)


    C CALL NORMEN (BN,N,ZBSBQB,AB,NA) C DO 1 1=1,N 1 NUM(I)=o DET=I. DO 2 L=1,N DO 3 M=l,N IF (NUM(M).NE.0) COTO 5 D(M) = ABS (B(MM)) GOTO 3 5 D(M) = 0...18 1=1,N 18 K=K+NUM(Ii KV = (N*(N+1))/2 LOG = FALSE. IF (K.EQ.KV) LOG=.TRUE. C CALL NORMEN tB,N,N,ZB1,SB1,QB1,AB1,NA) IF (N.GE.6) D(6)=AE.*AB1 IF...N.GE.5) D(5)=QB*QB1 - IF (N.GE.4) D(4)=SB*SB1 IF (N.GE.3) D(3)=ZB*ZB1 IF (N.GE.2) D(2)=1/DET D(1)=DET RETURN END C C C SUBROUTINE NORMEN (AN,M,Z,S,QAG,NA

  2. Integrated photonic building blocks for next-generation astronomical instrumentation I: the multimode waveguide

    CERN Document Server

    Jovanovic, Nemanja; Gross, Simon; Ireland, Michael; Lawrence, Jon S; Miese, Christopher; Fuerbach, Alexander; Withford, Michael J


    We report on the fabrication and characterization of composite multimode waveguide structures that consist of a stack of single-mode waveguides fabricated by ultrafast laser inscription. We explore 2 types of composite structures; those that consist of overlapping single-mode waveguides which offer the maximum effective index contrast and non overlapped structures which support multiple modes via strong evanescent coupling. We demonstrate that both types of waveguides have negligible propagation losses (to within experimental uncertainty) for light injected with focal ratios >8, which corresponds to the cutoff of the waveguides. We also show that right below cutoff, there is a narrow region where the injected focal ratio is preserved (to within experimental uncertainty) at the output. Finally, we outline the major application of these highly efficient waveguides; in a device that is used to reformat the light in the focal plane of a telescope to a slit, in order to feed a diffraction-limited spectrograph.

  3. Imagineering the astronomical revolution - Essay review (United States)

    Jardine, Nicholas.


    Concerning following Books: (I) Transmitting knowledge - words, images, and instruments in early modern Europe. Kusukawa and Maclean (eds.), OUP, Oxford, 2006; (II) Widmung, Welterklärung und Wissenschaftslegitimierung: Titelbilder und ihre Funktionen in der wissenschaftlichen Revolution. Remmert, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 2005; (III) The power of images in early modern science. Lefevre, Renn and Schoepflin (eds.), Birkhäuser, Basel, 2003; (IV) Immagini per conoscere - dal Rinascimento alla rivoluzione scientifica. Meroi and Pogliano (eds.), Olschki, Florenz, 2001; (V) Erkenntnis Erfindung Konstruktion - Studien zur Bildgeschichte von Naturwissenschaften und Technik vom 16. bis zum 19. Jahrhundert. Holländer (ed.), Mann, Berlin, 2000.

  4. Long-publishing astronomers, or the problem of classification (United States)

    Tenn, Joseph S.


    In response to several discussions among astronomers and historians of astronomy, I started out to prepare a paper on long-publishing astronomers-those who published for 70, 75, or even 80 years. However, I soon ran into a number of questions of classification, and that turned out to be at least as interesting. How do we decide on classifications? Every time we choose classes, such as asteroids, planets and stars, we run into objects that seem to be in between. In the present case a number of questions arise: Who is an astronomer? Several of those with the longest publication runs started out as physicists, published for years in that subject only, and later took up astrophysics, eventually publishing a few papers in astronomy journals. What is a publication? Should we count publications in physics, chemistry, or mathematics? What about philosophy of science or history of science? What about the elderly retired astronomer presenting a memoir of his or her own work? Abstracts of oral presentations? Monographs? Textbooks? Book reviews? Obituaries? Then there is the problem of posthumous publications. Probably most would include papers in the pipeline when the astronomer dies, but what about the case where the coauthor finally publishes the paper as much as twenty-two years after the death of the person of interest? I eventually decided to make two lists, one which would include most of the above, and one restricted to papers that make contributions to physical science. Note that I do not say 'refereed', as that presents its own problems, especially when applied to periods before the twentieth century. I present a list of astronomers who have published for periods of 68 to 80 years and discuss the problems of defining such terms as astronomer and publication.

  5. Optical Instruments (United States)


    Precision Lapping and Optical Co. has developed a wide variety of hollow retroreflector systems for applications involving the entire optical spectrum; they are, according to company literature, cheaper, more accurate, lighter and capable of greater size than solid prisms. Precision Lapping's major customers are aerospace and defense companies, government organizations, R&D and commercial instrument companies. For example, Precision Lapping supplies hollow retroreflectors for the laser fire control system of the Army's Abrams tank, and retroreflectors have been and are being used in a number of space tests relative to the Air Force's Strategic Defense Initiative research program. An example of a customer/user is Chesapeake Laser Systems, producer of the Laser Tracker System CMS-2000, which has applications in SDI research and industrial robotics. Another customer is MDA Scientific, Inc., manufacturer of a line of toxic gas detection systems used to monitor hazardous gases present in oil fields, refineries, offshore platforms, chemical plants, waste storage sites and other locations where gases are released into the environment.

  6. VOEventNet: An Open Source of Transient Alerts for Astronomers. (United States)

    Drake, Andrew J.; Williams, R.; Graham, M. J.; Mahabal, A.; Djorgovski, S. G.; White, R. R.; Vestrand, W. T.; Bloom, J.


    Event based astronomy is acquiring an increasingly important role in astronomy as large time-domain surveys such as Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), Pan-STARRs, SkyMapper and Allan Telescope Array (ATA) surveys come online. These surveys are expected to discover thousands of transients each year ranging from near earth asteroids to distant SNe. Although the primary instruments for of these surveys are in place, in order to fully utilize these event discovery streams, automated alerting and follow-up is a necessity. For the past two years the VOEventNet network has been globally distributing information about transient astronomical events using the VOEvent format, a Virtual Observatory standard. Events messages are openly distributed so that follow-up can utilize the most appropriate resources available in order to characterize the nature of the transients. Since its inception VOEventNet has broadcast more than 3500 SDSSSS Supernova candidates, 3300 GRB alert and follow-up notices from GCN, 700 OGLE microlensing event candidates, and 4300 newly discovered asteroid and optical transient candidates from the Palomar Quest survey. Additional transient event streams are expected this season including optical transients from the Catalina Sky Survey. VOEventNet astronomical transient events streams are available to all astronomers via traditional HTML tables, RSS news-feeds, real-time publication (via Jabber and TCP), and Google Sky mashups. VOEventNet currently carries out optical transient event follow-up with the Palomar 60 and 200in (Caltech), Faulkes Telescopes North and South (LCOGTN), RAPTOR (LANL), and PARITEL (UCB; CfA).

  7. Running a distributed virtual observatory: U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory operations (United States)

    McGlynn, Thomas A.; Hanisch, Robert J.; Berriman, G. Bruce; Thakar, Aniruddha R.


    Operation of the US Virtual Astronomical Observatory shares some issues with modern physical observatories, e.g., intimidating data volumes and rapid technological change, and must also address unique concerns like the lack of direct control of the underlying and scattered data resources, and the distributed nature of the observatory itself. In this paper we discuss how the VAO has addressed these challenges to provide the astronomical community with a coherent set of science-enabling tools and services. The distributed nature of our virtual observatory-with data and personnel spanning geographic, institutional and regime boundaries-is simultaneously a major operational headache and the primary science motivation for the VAO. Most astronomy today uses data from many resources. Facilitation of matching heterogeneous datasets is a fundamental reason for the virtual observatory. Key aspects of our approach include continuous monitoring and validation of VAO and VO services and the datasets provided by the community, monitoring of user requests to optimize access, caching for large datasets, and providing distributed storage services that allow user to collect results near large data repositories. Some elements are now fully implemented, while others are planned for subsequent years. The distributed nature of the VAO requires careful attention to what can be a straightforward operation at a conventional observatory, e.g., the organization of the web site or the collection and combined analysis of logs. Many of these strategies use and extend protocols developed by the international virtual observatory community. Our long-term challenge is working with the underlying data providers to ensure high quality implementation of VO data access protocols (new and better 'telescopes'), assisting astronomical developers to build robust integrating tools (new 'instruments'), and coordinating with the research community to maximize the science enabled.

  8. Astronomical optical interferometry, II: Astrophysical results

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jankov S.


    Full Text Available Optical interferometry is entering a new age with several ground- based long-baseline observatories now making observations of unprecedented spatial resolution. Based on a great leap forward in the quality and quantity of interferometric data, the astrophysical applications are not limited anymore to classical subjects, such as determination of fundamental properties of stars; namely, their effective temperatures, radii, luminosities and masses, but the present rapid development in this field allowed to move to a situation where optical interferometry is a general tool in studies of many astrophysical phenomena. Particularly, the advent of long-baseline interferometers making use of very large pupils has opened the way to faint objects science and first results on extragalactic objects have made it a reality. The first decade of XXI century is also remarkable for aperture synthesis in the visual and near-infrared wavelength regimes, which provided image reconstructions from stellar surfaces to Active Galactic Nuclei. Here I review the numerous astrophysical results obtained up to date, except for binary and multiple stars milliarcsecond astrometry, which should be a subject of an independent detailed review, taking into account its importance and expected results at microarcsecond precision level. To the results obtained with currently available interferometers, I associate the adopted instrumental settings in order to provide a guide for potential users concerning the appropriate instruments which can be used to obtain the desired astrophysical information.

  9. A Student-Centered Astronomical Research Community of Practice (United States)

    Genet, Russell; Johnson, Jolyon; Boyce, Pat; Boyce, Grady; Buchheim, obert; Harshaw, Richard; Kenney, John; Collins, Dwight; Rowe, David; Brewer, Mark; Estrada, Reed; Estrada, Chris; Gillette, Sean; Ridgely, John; McNab, Christine; Freed, Rachel; Wallen, Vera


    For over a decade, students from Cuesta College and number of high schools have engaged in astronomical research during one-term seminars. A community of practice - consisting of students, educators, and astronomers - has formed that is centered on supporting the students' astronomical research. The seminar has recently adopted distance education technology and automated telescopes in a hybrid form of on-line and inperson collaborations between students, educators, and astronomers. This hybridization is not only resulting in new areas of growth and opportunity, but has created a number of challenges. For example, as more schools joined this seminar, standardized teaching materials such as a textbook and self-paced, online learning units had to be developed. Automated telescopes devoted to expanding student research opportunities within this community of practice are being brought on line by Concordia University and the Boyce Research Initiatives and Educational Foundation. The Institute for Student Astronomical Research supports this growing community in many ways including maintaining a website and editing books of student papers published through the Collins Foundation Press.

  10. Atmospheric conditions at Cerro Armazones derived from astronomical data (United States)

    Lakićević, Maša; Kimeswenger, Stefan; Noll, Stefan; Kausch, Wolfgang; Unterguggenberger, Stefanie; Kerber, Florian


    Aims: We studied the precipitable water vapour (PWV) content near Cerro Armazones and discuss the potential use of our technique of modelling the telluric absorbtion lines for the investigation of other molecular layers. The site is designated for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) and the nearby planned site for the Čerenkov Telescope Array (CTA). Methods: Spectroscopic data from the Bochum Echelle Spectroscopic Observer (BESO) instrument were investigated by using a line-by-line radiative transfer model (LBLRTM) for the Earth's atmosphere with the telluric absorption correction tool molecfit. All observations from the archive in the period from December 2008 to the end of 2014 were investigated. The dataset completely covers the El Niño event registered in the period 2009-2010. Models of the 3D Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) were used for further comparison. Moreover, we present a direct comparison for those days for which data from a similar study with VLT/X-Shooter and microwave radiometer LHATPRO at Cerro Paranal are available. Results: This analysis shows that the site has systematically lower PWV values, even after accounting for the decrease in PWV expected from the higher altitude of the site with respect to Cerro Paranal, using the average atmosphere found with radiosondes. We found that GDAS data are not a suitable basis for predicting local atmospheric conditions - they usually systematically overestimate the PWV values. The large sample furthermore enabled us to characterize the site with respect to symmetry across the sky and variation with the years and within the seasons. This technique of studying the atmospheric conditions is shown to be a promising step into a possible monitoring equipment for the CTA. Based on archival observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile and of the Cerro Armazones Observatory facilities of the Ruhr Universität Bochum.Full Table 1

  11. Supervised detection of anomalous light curves in massive astronomical catalogs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nun, Isadora; Pichara, Karim [Computer Science Department, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago (Chile); Protopapas, Pavlos [Institute for Applied Computational Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (United States); Kim, Dae-Won [Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany)


    The development of synoptic sky surveys has led to a massive amount of data for which resources needed for analysis are beyond human capabilities. In order to process this information and to extract all possible knowledge, machine learning techniques become necessary. Here we present a new methodology to automatically discover unknown variable objects in large astronomical catalogs. With the aim of taking full advantage of all information we have about known objects, our method is based on a supervised algorithm. In particular, we train a random forest classifier using known variability classes of objects and obtain votes for each of the objects in the training set. We then model this voting distribution with a Bayesian network and obtain the joint voting distribution among the training objects. Consequently, an unknown object is considered as an outlier insofar it has a low joint probability. By leaving out one of the classes on the training set, we perform a validity test and show that when the random forest classifier attempts to classify unknown light curves (the class left out), it votes with an unusual distribution among the classes. This rare voting is detected by the Bayesian network and expressed as a low joint probability. Our method is suitable for exploring massive data sets given that the training process is performed offline. We tested our algorithm on 20 million light curves from the MACHO catalog and generated a list of anomalous candidates. After analysis, we divided the candidates into two main classes of outliers: artifacts and intrinsic outliers. Artifacts were principally due to air mass variation, seasonal variation, bad calibration, or instrumental errors and were consequently removed from our outlier list and added to the training set. After retraining, we selected about 4000 objects, which we passed to a post-analysis stage by performing a cross-match with all publicly available catalogs. Within these candidates we identified certain known

  12. Astronomers Detect Powerful Bursting Radio Source Discovery Points to New Class of Astronomical Objects (United States)


    Astronomers at Sweet Briar College and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have detected a powerful new bursting radio source whose unique properties suggest the discovery of a new class of astronomical objects. The researchers have monitored the center of the Milky Way Galaxy for several years and reveal their findings in the March 3, 2005 edition of the journal, “Nature”. This radio image of the central region of the Milky Way Galaxy holds a new radio source, GCRT J1745-3009. The arrow points to an expanding ring of debris expelled by a supernova. CREDIT: N.E. Kassim et al., Naval Research Laboratory, NRAO/AUI/NSF Principal investigator, Dr. Scott Hyman, professor of physics at Sweet Briar College, said the discovery came after analyzing some additional observations from 2002 provided by researchers at Northwestern University. “"We hit the jackpot!” Hyman said referring to the observations. “An image of the Galactic center, made by collecting radio waves of about 1-meter in wavelength, revealed multiple bursts from the source during a seven-hour period from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 2002 — five bursts in fact, and repeating at remarkably constant intervals.” Hyman, four Sweet Briar students, and his NRL collaborators, Drs. Namir Kassim and Joseph Lazio, happened upon transient emission from two radio sources while studying the Galactic center in 1998. This prompted the team to propose an ongoing monitoring program using the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which operates the VLA, approved the program. The data collected, laid the groundwork for the detection of the new radio source. “Amazingly, even though the sky is known to be full of transient objects emitting at X- and gamma-ray wavelengths,” NRL astronomer Dr. Joseph Lazio pointed out, “very little has been done to look for radio bursts, which are often easier for astronomical objects to produce

  13. Working data together: the accountability and reflexivity of digital astronomical practice. (United States)

    Hoeppe, Götz


    Drawing on ethnomethodology, this article considers the sequential work of astronomers who combine observations from telescopes at two observatories in making a data set for scientific analyses. By witnessing the induction of a graduate student into this work, it aims at revealing the backgrounded assumptions that enter it. I find that these researchers achieved a consistent data set by engaging diverse evidential contexts as contexts of accountability. Employing graphs that visualize data in conventional representational formats of observational astronomy, experienced practitioners held each other accountable by using an 'implicit cosmology', a shared (but sometimes negotiable) characterization of 'what the universe looks like' through these formats. They oriented to data as malleable, that is, as containing artifacts of the observing situation which are unspecified initially but can be defined and subsequently removed. Alternating between reducing data and deducing astronomical phenomena, they ascribed artifacts to local observing conditions or computational procedures, thus maintaining previously stabilized phenomena reflexively. As researchers in data-intensive sciences are often removed from the instruments that generated the data they use, this example demonstrates how scientists can achieve agreement by engaging stable 'global' data sets and diverse contexts of accountability, allowing them to bypass troubling features and limitations of data generators.

  14. Digitization and Position Measurement of Astronomical Plates of Saturnian Satellites (United States)

    Yan, D.; Yu, Y.; Zhang, H. Y.; Qiao, R. C.


    Using the advanced commercial scanners to digitize astronomical plates may be a simple and effective way. In this paper, we discuss the method of digitizing and astrometrically reducing six astronomical plates of Saturnian satellites, which were taken from the 1 m RCC (Ritchey Chretien Coude) telescope of Yunnan Observatory in 1988, by using the 10000XL scanner of Epson. The digitized images of the astronomical plates of Saturnian satellites are re-reduced, and the positions of Saturnian satellites based on the UCAC2 (The Second US Naval Observatory CCD Astrograph Catalog) catalogue are given. A comparison of our measured positions with the IMCCE (Institut de Mecanique Celeste et de Calcul des Ephemerides) ephemeris of Saturnian satellites shows the high quality of our measurements, which have an accuracy of 106 mas in right ascension and 89 mas in declination. Moreover, our measurements appear to be consistent with this ephemeris within only about 56 mas in right ascension and 9 mas in declination.

  15. Evaluation of Italian astronomical production: 2010-2012

    CERN Document Server

    Gratton, Raffaele


    The purpose of this document is to present a few statistics about the role of Italian astronomy, focusing on the production by INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica). Data are presented but very few comments are given. We did not use lists of members of different scientific INAF macro-areas because a few trials showed that they are largely incomplete and result in an underestimate of the Italian astronomical production by more than a factor of two. The structure of this document is as follows: first I give some detail about the methods used; I then present data about the role of Italy in astronomical research worldwide; finally, I give some statistics about the h-factor of astronomers that are members of scientific INAF macro-areas (both INAF staff and associate).

  16. Optical Properties of Astronomical Silicates in the Far-infrared (United States)

    Rinehart, Stephen A,; Benford, Dominic J.; Dwek, Eli; Henry, Ross M.; Nuth, Joseph A., III; Silverberg, Robert f.; Wollack, Edward J.


    Correct interpretation of a vast array of astronomical data relies heavily on understanding the properties of silicate dust as a function of wavelength, temperature, and crystallinity. We introduce the QPASI-T (Optical Properties of Astronomical Silicates with Infrared Techniques) project to address the need for high fidelity optical characterization data on the various forms of astronomical dust. We use two spectrometers to provide extinction data for silicate samples across a wide wavelength range (from the near infrared to the millimeter). New experiments are in development that will provide complementary information on the emissivity of our samples, allowing us to complete the optical characterization of these dust materials. In this paper, we present initial results from several materials including amorphous iron silicate, magnesium silicate and silica smokes, over a wide range of temperatures, and discuss the design and operation of our new experiments.

  17. Using Modern Technologies to Capture and Share Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge

    CERN Document Server

    Nakata, N M; Warren, J; Byrne, A; Pagnucco, M; Harley, R; Venugopal, S; Thorpe, K; Neville, R; Bolt, R


    Indigenous Knowledge is important for Indigenous communities across the globe and for the advancement of our general scientific knowledge. In particular, Indigenous astronomical knowledge integrates many aspects of Indigenous Knowledge, including seasonal calendars, navigation, food economics, law, ceremony, and social structure. We aim to develop innovative ways of capturing, managing, and disseminating Indigenous astronomical knowledge for Indigenous communities and the general public for the future. Capturing, managing, and disseminating this knowledge in the digital environment poses a number of challenges, which we aim to address using a collaborative project involving experts in the higher education, library, and industry sectors. Using Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope and Rich Interactive Narratives technologies, we propose to develop software, media design, and archival management solutions to allow Indigenous communities to share their astronomical knowledge with the world on their terms and in a cult...

  18. Astronomical Observing Conditions at Xinglong Observatory from 2007 to 2014

    CERN Document Server

    Zhang, Ji-Cheng; Lu, Xiao-Meng; Cao, Zi-Huang; Chen, Xu; Mao, Yong-Na; Jiang, Xiao-Jun


    Xinglong Observatory of the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), is one of the major optical observatories in China, which hosts nine optical telescopes including the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) and the 2.16 m reflector. Scientific research from these telescopes is focused on stars, galaxies, and exoplanets using multicolor photometry and spectroscopic observations. Therefore, it is important to provide the observing conditions of the site, in detail, to the astronomers for an efficient use of these facilities. In this article, we present the characterization of observing conditions at Xinglong Observatory based on the monitoring of meteorology, seeing and sky brightness during the period from 2007 to 2014. Results suggest that Xinglong Observatory is still a good site for astronomical observations. Our analysis of the observing conditions at Xinglong Observatory can be used as a reference to the observers on targets selection, observi...

  19. Astronomical and Cosmological Aspects of Maya Architecture and Urbanism (United States)

    Šprajc, I.


    Archaeoastronomical studies carried out so far have shown that the orientations in the ancient Maya architecture were, like elsewhere in Mesoamerica, largely astronomical, mostly referring to sunrises and sunsets on particular dates and allowing the use of observational calendars that facilitated a proper scheduling of agricultural activities. However, the astronomical alignments cannot be understood in purely utilitarian terms. Since the repeatedly occurring directions are most consistently incorporated in monumental architecture of civic and ceremonial urban cores, they must have had an important place in religion and worldview. The characteristics of urban layouts, as well as architectural and other elements associated with important buildings, reveal that the Maya architectural and urban planning was dictated by a complex set of rules, in which astronomical considerations related to practical needs were embedded in a broader framework of cosmological concepts substantiated by political ideology.

  20. Managing Distributed Software Development in the Virtual Astronomical Observatory

    CERN Document Server

    Evans, Janet D; Bonaventura, Nina; Busko, Ivo; Cresitello-Dittmar, Mark; D'Abrusco, Raffaele; Doe, Stephen; Ebert, Rick; Laurino, Omar; Pevunova, Olga; Refsdal, Brian; Thomas, Brian


    The U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO) is a product-driven organization that provides new scientific research capabilities to the astronomical community. Software development for the VAO follows a lightweight framework that guides development of science applications and infrastructure. Challenges to be overcome include distributed development teams, part-time efforts, and highly constrained schedules. We describe the process we followed to conquer these challenges while developing Iris, the VAO application for analysis of 1-D astronomical spectral energy distributions (SEDs). Iris was successfully built and released in less than a year with a team distributed across four institutions. The project followed existing International Virtual Observatory Alliance inter-operability standards for spectral data and contributed a SED library as a by-product of the project. We emphasize lessons learned that will be folded into future development efforts. In our experience, a well-defined process that provides gu...

  1. Astronomy's Three Kingdoms: Discovering, Classifying and Interpreting Astronomical Objects (United States)

    Dick, S. J.


    Discovery, classification and interpretation are problems common to biology and astronomy, constituting their `natural history.' Unlike biology, and despite a long history of discovery and classification of numerous types of objects, astronomy has no comprehensive classification system. After reviewing the history of classification systems in chemistry, physics, biology and astronomy, a comprehensive classification system is proposed for astronomical objects. Like biology's system, it is hierarchical in nature, beginning with astronomy's three kingdoms: planets, stars and galaxies. The discovery of each of these kingdoms has a rich history. Employing gravity's way of organizing astronomical objects as a basis for taxonomy, a classification system is built around these three kingdoms, beginning with six Families of objects for each Kingdom. These Families are the proto-family (protoplanetary, protostellar, protogalactic), the central objects themselves of each Kingdom (planets, stars and galaxies), the circum-family (circumplanetary, circumstellar, circumgalactic), the sub-family (subplanetary, substellar, subgalactic), the inter-family (interplanetary, interstellar and intergalactic), and the systems family (planetary systems, stellar systems, galactic systems). Thus, there are 18 Families of astronomical objects. Under them come at least 73 classes of objects, incorporating a wide variety of classification systems that astronomers have already devised. Further divisions at lower levels of the hierarchy are possible. Such a comprehensive classification system has many uses, ranging from pedagogic to scientific. As in phylogenetics for biology, classification is important for understanding the natural evolutionary relationships of astronomical objects. The intertwined history of the discovery, classification and interpretation of classes of astronomical objects is a rich subject for further research. It is especially relevant today in terms of the controversies over

  2. Site survey instrumentation for the National New Technology Telescope (NNTT) (United States)

    Forbes, F. F.; Morse, D. A.; Poczulp, G. A.


    The characterization of atmospheric turbulence at and above the two candidate sites for the 15 m National New Technology Telescope (NNTT) has required the development of specialized measurement techniques. The equipment used to measure astronomical seeing, microthermals, water vapor, and temperature is discussed, along with sample data and calibration results. By use of instruments with overlapping altitude coverage, it has been possible to 'bookkeep' qualitatively all of the sources of innate degradation, especially near the ground.

  3. At What Ages Did Astronomers Write Their Most Important Papers? (United States)

    Abt, Helmut A.


    In 1983 I found that the most productive ages for research astronomers was 40-75 years, contradicting the frequent statement that a scientist’s best work is done before the age of 35. Now most scientists work in small to large teams, unlike the individual research usually done previously. How has that affected the productive careers of astronomers? A new study of 14 recent Russell Lecturers shows a peak in productivity at age 33 and more than half that peak during 25-56 years, in agreement with results in other sciences. Nevertheless, 33% of their best work was done after the age of 50 years.

  4. Application of Astronomical Compositions in Small Architectural Forms (United States)

    Haykazun, Ani


    The small architectural forms are an important part of the Armenian architecture. Their compositions are diverse including quadrihedral structures, cross-stones, monuments, gravestones, memorial stones, etc. From ancient times to the late middle ages, and up to themodern small architectural forms, there are many decorative elements of astronomical character. Among them, one can more often see stars, the sun, the moon, the sky, the planets, the sign of eternity and other symbolic decorative images, which play a major role in the formation of the artistic image of the architectural compositions. The analysis of application of astronomical compositions will help more comprehensively introduce the compositional peculiarities of the small architectural forms.

  5. A Test Facility For Astronomical X-Ray Optics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lewis, R. A.; Bordas, J.; Christensen, Finn Erland


    Grazing incidence x-ray optics for x-ray astronomical applications are used outside the earths atmosphere. These devices require a large collection aperture and the imaging of an x-ray source which is essentially placed at infinity. The ideal testing system for these optical elements has to appro......Grazing incidence x-ray optics for x-ray astronomical applications are used outside the earths atmosphere. These devices require a large collection aperture and the imaging of an x-ray source which is essentially placed at infinity. The ideal testing system for these optical elements has...

  6. Test facility for astronomical x-ray optics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christensen, Finn Erland; Lewis, Robert A.; Bordas, J.


    Grazing incidence x-ray optics for x-ray astronomical applications are used outside the earth's atmosphere. These devices require a large collection aperture and the imaging of an x-ray source that is essentially placed at infinity. The ideal testing system for these optical elements has to appro......Grazing incidence x-ray optics for x-ray astronomical applications are used outside the earth's atmosphere. These devices require a large collection aperture and the imaging of an x-ray source that is essentially placed at infinity. The ideal testing system for these optical elements has...

  7. Use of Astronomical Literature - A Report on Usage Patterns

    CERN Document Server

    Henneken, Edwin A; Accomazzi, Alberto; Grant, Carolyn S; Thompson, Donna; Bohlen, Elizabeth; Murray, Stephen S


    In this paper we present a number of metrics for usage of the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS). Since the ADS is used by the entire astronomical community, these are indicative of how the astronomical literature is used. We will show how the use of the ADS has changed both quantitatively and qualitatively. We will also show that different types of users access the system in different ways. Finally, we show how use of the ADS has evolved over the years in various regions of the world. The ADS is funded by NASA Grant NNG06GG68G.

  8. Precise astronomical flux calibration and its impact on studying the nature of the dark energy (United States)

    Stubbs, Christopher W.; Brown, Yorke J.


    Measurements of the luminosity of Type Ia supernovae versus redshift provided the original evidence for the accelerating expansion of the Universe and the existence of dark energy. Despite substantial improvements in survey methodology, systematic uncertainty in flux calibration dominates the error budget for this technique, exceeding both statistics and other systematic uncertainties. Consequently, any further collection of Type Ia supernova data will fail to refine the constraints on the nature of dark energy unless we also improve the state of the art in astronomical flux calibration to the order of 1%. We describe how these systematic errors arise from calibration of instrumental sensitivity, atmospheric transmission and Galactic extinction, and discuss ongoing efforts to meet the 1% precision challenge using white dwarf stars as celestial standards, exquisitely calibrated detectors as fundamental metrologic standards, and real-time atmospheric monitoring.

  9. First astronomical images obtained with an array of multiplexed superconducting bolometers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Staguhn, J.G. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States) and SSAI, 10210 Greenbelt Road, Lanham, MD 20706 (United States)]. E-mail:; Benford, D.J. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Moseley, S.H. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Allen, C.A. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Kennedy, C.R. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN 46556 (United States); Lefranc, S. [Institut d' Astrophysique Spatiale, Orsay (France); Maher, S.F. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); SSAI, 10210 Greenbelt Road, Lanham, MD 20706 (United States); Pajot, F. [Institut d' Astrophysique Spatiale, Orsay (France); Rioux, C. [Institut d' Astrophysique Spatiale, Orsay (France); Shafer, R.A. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Voellmer, G.M. [NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)


    We present multicolor images of Jupiter observed in the 350{mu}m band with the first deployed astronomical instrument to use multiplexed superconducting bolometers. The Fabry-Perot Interferometer Bolometer Research Experiment (FIBRE) is a broadband submillimeter spectrometer that made these images in July 2004 at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO). FIBREs detectors are superconducting bilayer transition edge sensor (TES) bolometers read out by a SQUID multiplexer. An order-sorted Fabry-Perot provides illumination of a 16-element linear bolometer array, resulting in five orders at a spectral resolution R of 1200 covering a band of 17 of the observed wavelength. The optics permit these orders to be scanned to cover the entirety of either the 350 or 450{mu}m bands.

  10. Twentieth-century astronomical heritage: the case of the Brazilian National Observatory (United States)

    Barboza, Christina Helena


    This paper aims at contributing to the UNESCO-IAU Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative's discussions by presenting the case study of a 20th-century observatory located in a South American country. In fact, the National Observatory of Brazil was created in the beginning of the 19th century, but its present facilities were inaugurated in 1921. Through this paper a brief description of the heritage associated with the Brazilian observatory is given, focused on its main historical instruments and the scientific and social roles it performed along its history. By way of conclusion, the paper suggests that the creation of the Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences with its multidisciplinary team of academic specialists and technicians was decisive for the preservation of that expressive astronomical heritage.

  11. Design and modeling of a moderate-resolution astronomic spectrograph with volume-phase holographic gratings

    CERN Document Server

    Muslimov, Eduard R; Fabrika, Sergey N; Pavlycheva, Nadezhda K


    We present an optical design of astronomic spectrograph based on a cascade of volume-phase holographic gratings. The cascade consists of three gratings. Each of them provides moderately high spectral resolution in a narrow range of 83 nm. Thus the spectrum image represents three lines covering region 430-680 nm. Two versions of the scheme are described: a full-scale one with estimated resolving power of 5300-7900 and a small-sized one intended for creation of a lab prototype, which provides the resolving power of 1500-3000. Diffraction efficiency modeling confirms that the system throughput can reach 75 %, while stray light caused by the gratings crosstalk is negligible. We also propose a design of image slicer and focal reducer allowing to couple the instrument with the 6-m telescope. Finally, we present concept of the opto-mechanical design.

  12. Sunspot Numbers and Areas from the Madrid Astronomical Observatory (1876-1986)

    CERN Document Server

    Aparicio, A J P; Carrasco, V M S; Gallego, M C


    The solar program of the Astronomical Observatory of Madrid started in 1876. For ten solar cycles, observations were made in this institution to determine sunspot numbers and areas. The program was completed in 1986. The resulting data have been published in various Spanish scientific publications. The metadata allowed four periods of this program (with different observers and instruments) to be identified. In the present work, the published data were retrieved and digitized. Their subsequent analysis showed that most of these data can be considered reliable given their very high correlation with international reference indices (International Sunspot Number, Group Sunspot Number, and Sunspot Area). An abrupt change emerged in the spots/groups ratio in 1946 which lasted until 1972.

  13. The Palomar Kernel Phase Experiment: Testing Kernel Phase Interferometry for Ground-based Astronomical Observations

    CERN Document Server

    Pope, Benjamin; Hinkley, Sasha; Ireland, Michael J; Greenbaum, Alexandra; Latyshev, Alexey; Monnier, John D; Martinache, Frantz


    At present, the principal limitation on the resolution and contrast of astronomical imaging instruments comes from aberrations in the optical path, which may be imposed by the Earth's turbulent atmosphere or by variations in the alignment and shape of the telescope optics. These errors can be corrected physically, with active and adaptive optics, and in post-processing of the resulting image. A recently-developed adaptive optics post-processing technique, called kernel phase interferometry, uses linear combinations of phases that are self-calibrating with respect to small errors, with the goal of constructing observables that are robust against the residual optical aberrations in otherwise well-corrected imaging systems. Here we present a direct comparison between kernel phase and the more established competing techniques, aperture masking interferometry, point spread function (PSF) fitting and bispectral analysis. We resolve the alpha Ophiuchi binary system near periastron, using the Palomar 200-Inch Telesco...

  14. Improving resolution and depth of astronomical observations via modern mathematical methods for image analysis

    CERN Document Server

    Castellano, Marco; Fontana, Adriano; Merlin, Emiliano; Pilo, Stefano; Falcone, Maurizio


    In the past years modern mathematical methods for image analysis have led to a revolution in many fields, from computer vision to scientific imaging. However, some recently developed image processing techniques successfully exploited by other sectors have been rarely, if ever, experimented on astronomical observations. We present here tests of two classes of variational image enhancement techniques: "structure-texture decomposition" and "super-resolution" showing that they are effective in improving the quality of observations. Structure-texture decomposition allows to recover faint sources previously hidden by the background noise, effectively increasing the depth of available observations. Super-resolution yields an higher-resolution and a better sampled image out of a set of low resolution frames, thus mitigating problematics in data analysis arising from the difference in resolution/sampling between different instruments, as in the case of EUCLID VIS and NIR imagers.

  15. Precise Astronomical Flux Calibration and its Impact on Studying the Nature of Dark Energy

    CERN Document Server

    Stubbs, Christopher W


    Measurements of the luminosity of type Ia supernovae vs. redshift provided the original evidence for the accelerating expansion of the Universe and the existence of dark energy. Despite substantial improvements in survey methodology, systematic uncertainty in flux calibration dominates the error budget for this technique, exceeding both statistics and other systematic uncertainties. Consequently, any further collection of type Ia supernova data will fail to refine the constraints on the nature of dark energy unless we also improve the state of the art in astronomical flux calibration to the order of 1%. We describe how these systematic errors arise from calibration of instrumental sensitivity, atmospheric transmission, and Galactic extinction, and discuss ongoing efforts to meet the 1% precision challenge using white dwarf stars as celestial standards, exquisitely calibrated detectors as fundamental metrologic standards, and real-time atmospheric monitoring.

  16. "Route of astronomical observatories'' project: classical observatories from the Renaissance to the rise of astrophysics (United States)

    Wolfschmidt, Gudrun


    Observatories offer a good possibility for serial transnational applications. A well-known example for a thematic programme is the Struve arc, already recognized as World Heritage.I will discuss what has been achieved and show examples, like the route of astronomical observatories or the transition from classical astronomy to modern astrophysics (La Plata, Hamburg, Nice, etc.), visible in the architecture, the choice of instruments, and the arrangement of the observatory buildings in an astronomy park. This corresponds to the main categories according to which the ``outstanding universal value'' (UNESCO criteria ii, iv and vi) of the observatories have been evaluated: historic, scientific, and aesthetic. This proposal is based on the criteria of a comparability of the observatories in terms of the urbanistic complex and the architecture, the scientific orientation, equipment of instruments, authenticity and integrity of the preserved state, as well as in terms of historic scientific relations and scientific contributions.Apart from these serial transnational applications one can also choose other groups like baroque or neo-classical observatories, solar physics observatories or a group of observatories equipped with the same kind of instruments and made by the same famous firm. I will also discuss why the implementation of the Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative is difficult and why there are problems to nominate observatories for election in the national Tentative Lists

  17. Immersive 3D Visualization of Astronomical Data (United States)

    Schaaff, A.; Berthier, J.; Da Rocha, J.; Deparis, N.; Derriere, S.; Gaultier, P.; Houpin, R.; Normand, J.; Ocvirk, P.


    The immersive-3D visualization, or Virtual Reality in our study, was previously dedicated to specific uses (research, flight simulators, etc.) The investment in infrastructure and its cost was reserved to large laboratories or companies. Lately we saw the development of immersive-3D masks intended for wide distribution, for example the Oculus Rift and the Sony Morpheus projects. The usual reaction is to say that these tools are primarily intended for games since it is easy to imagine a player in a virtual environment and the added value to conventional 2D screens. Yet it is likely that there are many applications in the professional field if these tools are becoming common. Introducing this technology into existing applications or new developments makes sense only if interest is properly evaluated. The use in Astronomy is clear for education, it is easy to imagine mobile and light planetariums or to reproduce poorly accessible environments (e.g., large instruments). In contrast, in the field of professional astronomy the use is probably less obvious and it requires to conduct studies to determine the most appropriate ones and to assess the contributions compared to the other display modes.

  18. Deep sky observing an astronomical tour

    CERN Document Server

    Coe, Steven R


    This updated second edition has all of the information needed for your successful forays into deep sky observing. Coe uses his years of experience to give detailed practical advice about how to find the best observing site, how to make the most of the time spent there, and what equipment and instruments to take along. There are comprehensive lists of deep sky objects of all kinds, along with Steve's own observations describing how they look through telescopes with apertures ranging from 4 inches to 36 inches (0.1 - 0.9 meters). Binocular observing also gets its due, while the lists of objects have been amended to highlight only the best targets. A new index makes finding targets easier than ever before, while the selection of viewing targets has been revised from the first edition. Most of all, this book is all about how to enjoy astronomy. The author's enthusiasm and sense of wonder shine through every page as he invites you along on a tour of some of the most beautiful and fascinating sites in the deep ...

  19. On the Astronomical Knowledge and Traditions of Aboriginal Australians (United States)

    Hamacher, Duane W.


    Historian of science David Pingree defines science in a broad context as the process of systematically explaining perceived or imaginary phenomena. Although Westerners tend to think of science being restricted to Western culture, I argue in this thesis that astronomical scientific knowledge is found in Aboriginal traditions. Although research into the astronomical traditions of Aboriginal Australians stretches back for more than 150 years, it is relatively scant in the literature. We do know that the sun, moon, and night sky have been an important and inseparable component of the landscape to hundreds of Australian Aboriginal groups for thousands (perhaps tens-of-thousands) of years. The literature reveals that astronomical knowledge was used for time keeping, denoting seasonal change and the availability of food sources, navigation, and tidal prediction. It was also important for rituals and ceremonies, birth totems, marriage systems, cultural mnemonics, and folklore. Despite this, the field remains relatively unresearched considering the diversity of Aboriginal cultures and the length of time people have inhabited Australia (well over 40,000 years). Additionally, very little research investigating the nature and role of transient celestial phenomena has been conducted, leaving our understanding of Indigenous astronomical knowledge grossly incomplete. This thesis is an attempt to overcome this deficiency, with a specific focus on transient celestial phenomena. My research, situated in the field of cultural astronomy, draws from the sub-disciplines of archaeoastronomy, ethnoastronomy, historical astronomy, and geomythology. This approach incorporates the methodologies and theories of disciplines in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. This thesis, by publication, makes use of archaeological, ethnographic, and historical records, astronomical software packages, and geographic programs to better understand the ages of astronomical traditions and the

  20. Using Modern And Inexpensive Tools In the Classroom To Teach Spectroscopy And To Do Exciting Citizen Science On Astronomical Objects (United States)

    Field, T.


    Spectroscopy is a key tool used in modern astronomical research. But, it's always been a difficult topic to teach or practice because the expense and complexity of the available tools. Over the past few years, there's been somewhat of a revolution in this field as new technologies have applied. In this presentation we'll review some new spectroscopy tools that enable educators, students and citizen scientists to do exciting spectroscopic work. With the addition of a simple, inexpensive grating, it's now possible to capture scientifically significant spectra of astronomical objects with small (6") telescopes and even just a DSLR. See the tools that citizen scientists are using to contribute data to pro-am collaborations around the world. We'll also examine a simple, surprisingly inexpensive, tripod-mounted spectrometer that can be used in the classroom for demonstrations and hands-on labs with gas tubes and other light sources. Both of the above instruments use a software program named RSpec, which is state of the art software suite that is easy to learn and easy to use. In this presentation we'll see these devices in operation and discuss how they can be used by educators to dramatically improve their teaching of this topic. You'll see how these tools can eliminate the frustration of hand-held rainbow foil and plastic spectrometers. And we'll review some exciting examples of astronomical spectra being collected by amateurs and educators.

  1. Comparison of density estimation methods for astronomical datasets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ferdosi, B.J.; Buddelmeijer, H.; Trager, S.C.; Wilkinson, M.H.F.; Roerdink, J.B.T.M.


    Context. Galaxies are strongly influenced by their environment. Quantifying the galaxy density is a difficult but critical step in studying the properties of galaxies. Aims. We aim to determine differences in density estimation methods and their applicability in astronomical problems. We study the p

  2. The Top Ten Astronomical 'breakthroughs' of the 20th century

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hughes, D. W.


    Full Text Available Astronomy was revolutionized in the 20th century. The electron was discovered in 1897 and this transformed spectroscopy and introduced plasma and magnetohydrodynamic physics and astro-chemistry. Einstein’s E = mc2, solved the problem of stellar energy generation and spawned the study of elemental nuclear synthesis. Large telescopes led to a boom in astronomical spectroscopic and photometric data collection, leading to such cornerstones as the Hertzprung-Russell diagram and the mass-luminosity relationship, and to the realization that the Universe contained a multitude of galaxies and was expanding. Radio astronomy was introduced and the advent of the space age saw the astronomical wavelength range expand into the ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray regions, as well as the infrared and millimetre. We also startedwandering around roaming the Solar System instead of merely glimpsing its members from the bottom of our warm, turbulent atmosphere. Astronomical “breakthroughs” abounded. We have asked astronomers to select their “top ten” and these are listed and discussed in this paper.

  3. Astronomy for Astronomical Numbers: A Worldwide Massive Open Online Class (United States)

    Impey, Chris D.; Wenger, Matthew C.; Austin, Carmen L.


    Astronomy: State of the Art is a massive, open, online class (MOOC) offered through Udemy by an instructional team at the University of Arizona. With nearly 24,000 enrolled as of early 2015, it is the largest astronomy MOOC available. The astronomical numbers enrolled do not translate into a similar level of engagement. The content consists of 14…

  4. On the influence of the Illuminati in astronomical adaptive optics

    CERN Document Server

    Morzinski, Katie M


    Astronomical adaptive optics (AO) has come into its own. Major O/IR telescopes are achieving diffraction-limited imaging; major facilities are being built with AO as an integral part. To the layperson, it may seem that AO has developed along a serpentine path. However, with a little illumination, the mark of Galileo's heirs becomes apparent in explaining the success of AO.

  5. Recent Advances for LGBT Astronomers in the United States (United States)

    Dixon, William V.; Rigby, Jane; Oppenheimer, Rebecca


    The legal environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) astronomers in the United States has changed dramatically in recent years. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional. This decision particularly affects astronomers, since astronomers in the U.S. are more likely than the general population to be foreign nationals, to have a foreign-born spouse, or to work for the federal government. In 2014, the Attorney General directed the Department of Justice to take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’s... sex,” among other protected characteristics. As of March 2015, more than 70% of the population lives in states that recognize same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the remaining same-sex marriage bans during the current term. In this poster, we discuss these advances and their implications for the personal and professional lives of LGBT astronomers across the United States.

  6. Astronomical data fusion tool based on PostgreSQL (United States)

    Han, Bo; Zhang, Yan-Xia; Zhong, Shou-Bo; Zhao, Yong-Heng


    With the application of advanced astronomical technologies, equipments and methods all over the world, astronomical observations cover the range from radio, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray bands, and enter into the era of full wavelength astronomy. How to effectively integrate data from different ground- and space-based observation equipments, different observers, different bands and different observation times, requires data fusion technology. In this paper we introduce a cross-match tool that is developed in the Python language, is based on the PostgreSQL database and uses Q3C as the core index, facilitating the cross-match work of massive astronomical data. It provides four different cross-match functions, namely: (I) cross-match of the custom error range; (II) cross-match of catalog errors; (III) cross-match based on the elliptic error range; (IV) cross-match of the nearest neighbor algorithm. The resulting cross-matched set provides a good foundation for subsequent data mining and statistics based on multiwavelength data. The most advantageous aspect of this tool is a user-oriented tool applied locally by users. By means of this tool, users can easily create their own databases, manage their own data and cross-match databases according to their requirements. In addition, this tool is also able to transfer data from one database into another database. More importantly, it is easy to get started with the tool and it can be used by astronomers without writing any code.

  7. Collision phenomena involving highly-charged ions in astronomical objects (United States)

    Chutjian, A.


    A description of the role of highly charged ions in various astronomical objects; includes the use of critical quantities such as cross sections for excitation, charge-exchange, X-ray emission, radiative recombination (RR) and dielectronic recombination (DR); and lifetimes, branching ratios, and A-values.

  8. The Astronomical Information Infrastructure from the End-User Perspective

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hogeveen, S.J.


    Information Technology (IT) today has found so many applications in as- tronomy, that we may speak of an electronic `Astronomical Information Infrastructure' (AII). At this moment, the AII really is nothing but a collection of disparate services. Over the last few years the collection has grown so l

  9. This Month in Astronomical History: Preliminary Survey Results (United States)

    Wilson, Teresa


    This Month in Astronomical History is a short (~500 word) column on the AAS website that revisits significant astronomical events or the lives of people who have made a large impact on the field. The monthly column began in July 2016 at the request of the Historical Astronomical Division. Examples of topics that have been covered include Comet Shoemaker-Levy’s collision with Jupiter, the discovery of the moons of Mars, the life of Edwin Hubble, Maria Mitchell’s comet discovery, and the launch of Sputnik II. A survey concerning the column is in progress to ensure the column addresses the interests and needs of a broad readership, including historians, educators, research astronomers, and the general public. Eleven questions focus on the style and content of the column, while eight collect simple demographics. The survey has been available on the AAS website since and was mentioned in several AAS newsletters; however, non-members of AAS were also recruited to include respondents from a variety of backgrounds. Preliminary results of the survey are presented and will be used to hone the style and content of the column to serve the widest possible audience. Responses continue to be collected at:

  10. Astronomical Resources. The Solar System: An Introductory Bibliography. (United States)

    Fraknoi, Andrew

    This reference surveys resources of astronomical information including books and articles about the solar system, Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors. Also included is a list of seven available slide sets about the solar system. (CW)

  11. Automatic optimized discovery, creation and processing of astronomical catalogs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Buddelmeijer, Hugo; Boxhoorn, Danny; Valentijn, Edwin A.


    We present the design of a novel way of handling astronomical catalogs in Astro-WISE in order to achieve the scalability required for the data produced by large scale surveys. A high level of automation and abstraction is achieved in order to facilitate interoperation with visualization software for

  12. How did the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA affect astronomers? (United States)

    Rigby, Jane R.; The AAS Working Group on LGBTIQ Equality


    In June 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. Section 3 had barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The decision in United States v. Windsor, made headlines around the world, and particularly affected astronomers, since astronomers in the US are more likely than the general population to be foreign nationals, to have a foreign-born spouse, or to work for the federal government. In this poster, we highlight some of the real-world ways that the Windsor case has affected US astronomers and our profession. Bi-national couples can now apply for green cards granting permanent residency. Scientists who work for the federal government, including NASA and the NSF, can now obtain health insurance for a same-sex spouse. From taxes to death benefits, health insurance to daycare, immigration to ethics laws, the end of S3 of DOMA has had profoundly improved the lives of US scientists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Here we, highlight several real-world examples of how DOMA's demise has improved the lives and careers of US astronomer.

  13. The Calar Alto Observatory: current status and future instrumentation

    CERN Document Server

    Barrado, D; Aceituno, J; Pedraz, S; Sanchez, S F; Aguirre, A; Alises, M; Bergond, G; Galadi, D; Guijarro, A; Hoyo, F; Mast, D; Montoya, L; Sengupta, Ch; de Guindos, E; Solano, E


    The Calar Alto Observatory, located at 2168m height above the sea level in continental Europe, holds a signi?cant number of astronomical telescopes and experiments, covering a large range of the electromagnetic domain, from gamma-ray to near-infrared. It is a very well characterized site, with excellent logistics. Its main telescopes includes a large suite of instruments. At the present time, new instruments, namely CAFE, PANIC and Carmenes, are under development. We are also planning a new operational scheme in order to optimize the observatory resources.

  14. Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac (3rd Edition) (United States)

    Urban, Sean E.; Seidelmann, P. K.


    Publications and software from the the Astronomical Applications Department of the US Naval Observatory (USNO) are used throughout the world, not only in the Department of Defense for safe navigation, but by many people including other navigators, astronomers, aerospace engineers, and geodesists. Products such as The Nautical Almanac, The Astronomical Almanac, and the Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac (MICA) are regarded as international standards. To maintain credibility, it is imperative that the methodologies employed and the data used are well documented. "The Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac" (hereafter, "The ES") is a major source of such documentation. It is a comprehensive reference book on positional astronomy, covering the theories and algorithms used to produce The Astronomical Almanac, an annual publication produced jointly by the Nautical Almanac Office of USNO and Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO). The first edition of The ES appeared in 1961, and the second followed in 1992. Several major changes have taken place in fundamental astronomy since the second edition was published. Advances in radio observations allowed the celestial reference frame to be tied to extragalactic radio sources, thus the International Celestial Reference System replaced the FK5 system. The success of ESA's Hipparcos satellite dramatically altered observational astrometry. Improvements in Earth orientation observations lead to new precession and nutation theories. Additionally, a new positional paradigm, no longer tied to the ecliptic and equinox, was accepted. Largely because of these changes, staff at USNO and HMNAO decided the time was right for the next edition of The ES. The third edition is now available; it is a complete revision of the 1992 book. Along with subjects covered in the previous two editions, the book also contains descriptions of the major advancements in positional astronomy over the last 20 years, some of which are

  15. Project of space research and technology center in Engelhardt astronomical observatory (United States)

    Nefedyev, Y.; Gusev, A.; Sherstukov, O.; Kascheev, R.; Zagretdinov, R.


    Today on the basis of Engelhardt astronomical observatory (EAO) is created Space research and technology center as consistent with Program for expansion of the Kazan University. The Centre has the following missions: • EDUCATION • SCIENCE • ASTRONOMICAL TOURISM

  16. Evaluating musical instruments

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Campbell, D. Murray


    Scientific measurements of sound generation and radiation by musical instruments are surprisingly hard to correlate with the subtle and complex judgments of instrumental quality made by expert musicians.

  17. Top astronomers head to the city. Experts to talk on exciting quasar discoveries.

    CERN Multimedia

    Grant, S


    The UK National Astronomy Meeting - NAM 2002 - is at Bristol University this week. The meeting is one of the most important regular gatherings of astronomers in the UK. Sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society and PPARC, it should attract about 300 astronomers from the UK and beyond.

  18. Optical configuration and analysis of the AMBER/VLTI instrument

    CERN Document Server

    Robbe-Dubois, S; Petrov, R G; Lisi, F; Beckmann, U; Antonelli, P; Bresson, Y; Martinot-Lagarde, G; Roussel, A; Salinari, P; Vannier, M; Chelli, A; Dugué, M; Duvert, G; Gennari, S; Gluck, L; Kern, P; LeCoarer, E; Malbet, F; Millour, F; Perraut, K; Puget, P; Rantakyro, F; Tatulli, E; Weigelt, G; Zins, G


    This paper describes the design goals and engineering efforts that led to the realization of AMBER (Astronomical Multi BEam combineR) and to the achievement of its present performance. On the basis of the general instrumental concept, AMBER was decomposed into modules whose functions and detailed characteristics are given. Emphasis is put on the spatial filtering system, a key element of the instrument. We established a budget for transmission and contrast degradation through the different modules, and made the detailed optical design. The latter confirmed the overall performance of the instrument and defined the exact implementation of the AMBER optics. The performance was assessed with laboratory measurements and commissionings at the VLTI, in terms of spectral coverage and resolution, instrumental contrast higher than 0.80, minimum magnitude of 11 in K, absolute visibility accuracy of 1%, and differential phase stability of 1E-3 rad over one minute.

  19. Instrumentation set-up for the observation of astrophysical optical transients at solar furnace of Almeria

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Piccioni, A.; Bartolini, C.; Cosentino, G.; Guarnieri, A.; Beskin, G.; La Panda, C.; Nanni, D.


    The choice of the solar Furnace of Almeria (SFA) as light collector for astronomical observations of Optical transients (OTs) sets firm instrumental constraints. The structure of special instrumentation based on wide field panoramic detectors is analyzed in correspondence with present optical resolution. In view of future developments at the facilities of Plataforma Solar de Almeria (PSA) two high speed photometer configurations are discussed with reference to reduction of costs and complexity. (Author) 13 refs.

  20. A New Astronomical Facility for Peru: Converting a Telecommunication's 32 Meter Parabolic Antenna into a Radio Telescope (United States)

    Ishitsuka, J. K.; Ishitsuka, M.; Inoue, M.; Kaifu, N.; Miyama, S.; Tsuboi, M.; Ohishi, M.; Fujisawa, K.; Kasuga, T.; Kondo, T.; Horiuchi, S.; Umemoto, T.; Miyoshi, M.; Miyazawa, K.; Bushimata, T.; Vidal, E. D.


    In 1984 Nippon Electric Company constructed an INTELSAT antenna at 3,370 meters above the sea level on the Peruvian Andes. Entel Peru, the Peruvian telecommunications company, managed the antenna station until 1993. This year the government transferred the station to a private telecommunications company, Telefónica del Peru. Since the satellite communications were rapidly replaced by transoceanic fiber optics, the beautiful 32 meters parabolic antenna has been unused since 2002.. In cooperation with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan we began to convert the antenna into a radio telescope. Because researches on interstellar medium around Young Stellar Objects (YSO) will be able to observe the methanol masers that emit at 6.7 GHz, initially we will monitor the 6.7 GHz methanol masers and survey the southern sky. An ambient temperature receiver with Trx= 60 K was developed at Nobeyama Radio Observatory and is ready to be installed. The antenna control system is the Field System FS9 software installed in a Linux PC. An interface between the antenna and the PC was developed at Kashima Space Research Center in Japan. In the near future we plan to install the 2 GHz, 8 GHz, 12 GHz and 22 GHz receivers. The unique location and altitude of the Peruvian Radio Observatory will be useful for VLBI observations in collaboration with global arrays such as the VLBA array for astronomical observation and geodetic measurements. For Peru where few or almost no astronomical observational instruments are available for research, the implementation of the first radio observatory is a big and challenging step, and foster sciences at graduate and postgraduate levels of universities. Worldwide telecommunications antennas possibly are unused and with relative few investment could be transformed into a useful observational instrument.

  1. The PACA Project: When Amateur Astronomers Become Citizen Scientists (United States)

    Yanamandra-Fisher, P. A.


    The Pro-Am Collaborative Astronomy (PACA) project evolved from the observational campaign of C/2012 S1 or C/ISON in 2013. Following the success of the professional-amateur astronomer collaboration in scientific research via social media, it is now implemented in other comet observing campaigns. While PACA identifies a consistent collaborative approach to pro-am collaborations, given the volume of data generated for each campaign, new ways of rapid data analysis, mining access and storage are needed. Several interesting results emerged from the synergistic inclusion of both social media and amateur astronomers: (1) the establishment of a network of astronomers and related professionals, that can be galvanized into action on short notice to support observing campaigns; (2) assist in various science investigations pertinent to the campaign; (3) provide an alert-sounding mechanism should the need arise; (4) immediate outreach and dissemination of results via our media/blogger members; (5) provide a forum for discussions between the imagers and modelers to help strategize the observing campaign for maximum benefit. In 2014, two new comet observing campaigns involving pro-am collaborations have been initiated: (1) C/2013 A1 (C/SidingSpring) and (2) 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (CG), target for ESA/Rosetta mission. The evolving need for individual customized observing campaigns has been incorporated into the evolution of PACA portal that currently is focused on comets: from supporting observing campaigns of current comets, legacy data, historical comets; interconnected with social media and a set of shareable documents addressing observational strategies; consistent standards for data; data access, use, and storage, to align with the needs of professional observers. The integration of science, observations by professional and amateur astronomers, and various social media provides a dynamic and evolving collaborative partnership between professional and amateur astronomers

  2. IOT Overview: IR Instruments (United States)

    Mason, E.

    In this instrument review chapter the calibration plans of ESO IR instruments are presented and briefly reviewed focusing, in particular, on the case of ISAAC, which has been the first IR instrument at VLT and whose calibration plan served as prototype for the coming instruments.

  3. Feature Selection Strategies for Classifying High Dimensional Astronomical Data Sets

    CERN Document Server

    Donalek, Ciro; Djorgovski, S G; Mahabal, Ashish A; Graham, Matthew J; Fuchs, Thomas J; Turmon, Michael J; Philip, N Sajeeth; Yang, Michael Ting-Chang; Longo, Giuseppe


    The amount of collected data in many scientific fields is increasing, all of them requiring a common task: extract knowledge from massive, multi parametric data sets, as rapidly and efficiently possible. This is especially true in astronomy where synoptic sky surveys are enabling new research frontiers in the time domain astronomy and posing several new object classification challenges in multi dimensional spaces; given the high number of parameters available for each object, feature selection is quickly becoming a crucial task in analyzing astronomical data sets. Using data sets extracted from the ongoing Catalina Real-Time Transient Surveys (CRTS) and the Kepler Mission we illustrate a variety of feature selection strategies used to identify the subsets that give the most information and the results achieved applying these techniques to three major astronomical problems.

  4. La astronomía en la escuela


    Ortiz, Liana; Sánchez, Carmen


    La enseñanza de la astronomía podría en el entorno educativo colombiano reforzar los conceptos matemáticos y físicos durante el proceso de enseñanza aprendizaje. Se pretende con la realización de talleres en forma de guías de trabajo, enfatizar en algunos conceptos con relación a la astronomía básica y de posición, donde los estudiantes aprenderán y relacionaran los comienzos de la observación con las ciencias exactas actuales, en el momento de desarrollar las actividades.

  5. Astronomically speaking a dictionary of quotations on astronomy and physics

    CERN Document Server

    Gaither, CC


    To understand the history, accomplishments, failures, and meanings of astronomy requires a knowledge of what has been said about astronomy by philosophers, novelists, playwrights, poets, scientists, and laymen. With this in mind, Astronomically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations on Astronomy and Physics serves as a guide to what has been said about astronomy through the ages. Containing approximately 1,550 quotations and numerous illustrations, this resource is the largest compilation of astronomy and astrophysics quotations published to date.Devoted to astronomy and the closely related areas of mathematics and physics, this resource helps form an accurate picture of these interconnected disciplines. It is designed as an aid for general readers with little knowledge of astronomy who are interested in astronomical topics. Students can use the book to increase their understanding of the complexity and richness that exists in scientific disciplines. In addition, experienced scientists will find it as a handy s...

  6. Astrophysics is easy! an introduction for the amateur astronomer

    CERN Document Server

    Inglis, Mike


    With some justification, many amateur astronomers believe astrophysics is a very difficult subject, requiring at least degree-level mathematics to understand it properly. This isn’t necessarily the case. Mike Inglis' quantitative approach to the subject explains all aspects of astrophysics in simple terms and cuts through the incomprehensible mathematics with which this fascinating subject is all too often associated. Astrophysics is Easy! begins by looking at the H-R diagram and other basic tools of astrophysics, then ranges across the universe, from a first look at the interstellar medium and nebulae, through the birth, evolution and death of stars, to the physics of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. A unique feature of this book is the way that Dr. Inglis lists example objects for practical observation at every stage, so that practical astronomers can go and look at the object or objects under discussion – using only easily-available commercial amateur equipment.

  7. Snorkelling between the stars: submarine methods for astronomical observations. (United States)

    Velasco, S.; Quevedo, E.; Font, J.; Oscoz, A.; López, R. L.; Puga, M.; Rebolo, R.; Hernáandez Brito, J.; Llinas, O.; Marrero Callico, G.; Sarmiento, R.


    Trying to reach diffraction-limited astronomical observations from ground-based telescopes is very challenging due to the atmospheric effects contributing to a general blurring of the images. However, astronomy is not the only science facing turbulence problems; obtaining quality images of the undersea world is as ambitious as it is on the sky. One of the solutions contemplated to reach high-resolution images is the use of multiple frames of the same target, known as fusion super-resolution (Quevedo et al. 2015), which is the principle for Lucky Imaging (Velasco et al. 2016). Here we present the successful result of joining efforts between the undersea and the astronomical research done at the Canary Islands.

  8. Visualization of Multi-mission Astronomical Data with ESASky (United States)

    Baines, Deborah; Giordano, Fabrizio; Racero, Elena; Salgado, Jesús; López Martí, Belén; Merín, Bruno; Sarmiento, María-Henar; Gutiérrez, Raúl; Ortiz de Landaluce, Iñaki; León, Ignacio; de Teodoro, Pilar; González, Juan; Nieto, Sara; Segovia, Juan Carlos; Pollock, Andy; Rosa, Michael; Arviset, Christophe; Lennon, Daniel; O’Mullane, William; de Marchi, Guido


    ESASky is a science-driven discovery portal to explore the multi-wavelength sky and visualize and access multiple astronomical archive holdings. The tool is a web application that requires no prior knowledge of any of the missions involved and gives users world-wide simplified access to the highest-level science data products from multiple astronomical space-based astronomy missions plus a number of ESA source catalogs. The first public release of ESASky features interfaces for the visualization of the sky in multiple wavelengths, the visualization of query results summaries, and the visualization of observations and catalog sources for single and multiple targets. This paper describes these features within ESASky, developed to address use cases from the scientific community. The decisions regarding the visualization of large amounts of data and the technologies used were made to maximize the responsiveness of the application and to keep the tool as useful and intuitive as possible.

  9. Using Modern Technologies to Capture and Share Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge (United States)

    Nakata, Martin; Hamacher, Duane W.; Warren, John; Byrne, Alex; Pagnucco, Maurice; Harley, Ross; Venugopal, Srikumar; Thorpe, Kirsten; Neville, Richard; Bolt, Reuben


    Indigenous Knowledge is important for Indigenous communities across the globe and for the advancement of our general scientific knowledge. In particular, Indigenous astronomical knowledge integrates many aspects of Indigenous Knowledge, including seasonal calendars, navigation, food economics, law, ceremony, and social structure. Capturing, managing, and disseminating this knowledge in the digital environment poses a number of challenges, which we aim to address using a collaborative project emerging between experts in the higher education, library, archive and industry sectors. Using Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope and Rich Interactive Narratives technologies, we propose to develop software, media design, and archival management solutions to allow Indigenous communities to share their astronomical knowledge with the world on their terms and in a culturally sensitive manner.

  10. Learning from FITS: Limitations in use in modern astronomical research

    CERN Document Server

    Thomas, Brian; Economou, Frossie; Greenfield, Perry; Hirst, Paul; Berry, David S; Bray, Erik; Gray, Norman; Muna, Demitri; Turner, James; de Val-Borro, Miguel; Santander-Vela, Juande; Shupe, David; Good, John; Berriman, G Bruce; Kitaeff, Slava; Fay, Jonathan; Laurino, Omar; Alexov, Anastasia; Landry, Walter; Masters, Joe; Brazier, Adam; Schaaf, Reinhold; Edwards, Kevin; Redman, Russell O; Marsh, Thomas R; Streicher, Ole; Norris, Pat; Pascual, Sergio; Davie, Matthew; Droettboom, Michael; Robitaille, Thomas; Campana, Riccardo; Hagen, Alex; Hartogh, Paul; Klaes, Dominik; Craiga, Matthew W; Homeier, Derek


    The Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) standard has been a great boon to astronomy, allowing observatories, scientists and the public to exchange astronomical information easily. The FITS standard, however, is showing its age. Developed in the late 1970s, the FITS authors made a number of implementation choices that, while common at the time, are now seen to limit its utility with modern data. The authors of the FITS standard could not anticipate the challenges which we are facing today in astronomical computing. Difficulties we now face include, but are not limited to, addressing the need to handle an expanded range of specialized data product types (data models), being more conducive to the networked exchange and storage of data, handling very large datasets, and capturing significantly more complex metadata and data relationships. There are members of the community today who find some or all of these limitations unworkable, and have decided to move ahead with storing data in other formats. If this frag...

  11. Running a distributed virtual observatory: US Virtual Astronomical Observatory operations

    CERN Document Server

    McGlynn, Thomas A; Berriman, G Bruce; Thakar, Aniruddha R


    Operation of the US Virtual Astronomical Observatory shares some issues with modern physical observatories, e.g., intimidating data volumes and rapid technological change, and must also address unique concerns like the lack of direct control of the underlying and scattered data resources, and the distributed nature of the observatory itself. In this paper we discuss how the VAO has addressed these challenges to provide the astronomical community with a coherent set of science-enabling tools and services. The distributed nature of our virtual observatory-with data and personnel spanning geographic, institutional and regime boundaries-is simultaneously a major operational headache and the primary science motivation for the VAO. Most astronomy today uses data from many resources. Facilitation of matching heterogeneous datasets is a fundamental reason for the virtual observatory. Key aspects of our approach include continuous monitoring and validation of VAO and VO services and the datasets provided by the commun...

  12. Astronomical observation tasks short-term scheduling using PDDS algorithm (United States)

    Kornilov, M. V.


    A concept of the ground-based optical astronomical observation efficiency is considered in this paper. We believe that a telescope efficiency can be increased by properly allocating observation tasks with respect to the current environment state and probability to obtain the data with required properties under the current conditions. An online observations scheduling is assumed to be an essential part for raising the efficiency. The short-term online scheduling is treated as the discrete optimisation problems which are stated using several abstraction levels. The optimisation problems are solved using the parallel depth-bounded discrepancy search (PDDS) algorithm by Moisan et al. (2014). Some aspects of the algorithm performance are discussed. The presented algorithm is a core of open-source chelyabinsk C++ library which is planned to be used at 2.5 m telescope of Sternberg Astronomical Institute of Lomonosov Moscow State University.

  13. The Effects of Improper Lighting on Professional Astronomical Observations

    CERN Document Server

    Patat, F


    Europe and a number of countries in the world are investing significant amounts of public money to operate and maintain large, ground-based astronomical facilities. Even larger projects are under development to observe the faintest and most remote astrophysical sources in the universe. As of today, on the planet there are very few sites that satisfy all the demanding criteria for such sensitive and expensive equipment, including a low level of light pollution. Because of the uncontrolled growth of incorrect illumination, even these protected and usually remote sites are at risk. Although the reasons for intelligent lighting reside in energy saving and environmental effects, the impact on scientific research cannot be neglected or underestimated, because of its high cultural value for the progress of the whole mankind. After setting the stage, in this paper I review the effects of improper lighting on professional optical and near-UV astronomical data, and discuss the possible solutions to both preserve the ni...

  14. The Development of Mauna Kea as an Astronomical Site (United States)

    DeVorkin, David H.


    This is a proposal to hold a panel discussion at the 2015 IAU General Assembly, within the three-day Focus Meeting FM2, “Astronomical Heritage: Progressing the UNESCO-IAU Initiative” August 11-13. We believe the proposal is germane to FM2 in that it is directed to "Recognizing the twentieth-century heritage of astronomy." This panel will consist of a set of moderated and linked talks by individuals who were central to the creation of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, and to building observatory sites both on Haleakala and Mauna Kea. Invited discussants thus far include John T. Jefferies, David Morrison, Alan Tokunaga and Ann Boesgaard. The purpose of the panel discussion will be to provide a platform wherein astronomers will share their recollections and views relating to the history of the establishment of Mauna Kea as an astronomical observatory. They, along with fellow discussants and the audience, will then consider what is critical about this history and suggest steps for adequately preserving and elucidating that history. What were the chief opportunities, challenges and then hurdles to overcome in the identification and then implementation of Mauna Kea as an ideal site, and how did the University of Hawaii become the host institution for its establishment? What was learned from sites established on Haleakela by the U. S. Air Force and the Smithsonian that focused attention on Mauna Kea? How and why did NASA become interested in establishing a large observatory there? And once the site was established and its qualities fully appreciated, how did astronomical institutions from all over the world join to populate the peaks and saddles of the dwelling place of the goddess Poliahu? Each of the invited participants will be encouraged to make extended opening statements relating to their experiences, but at least half of the session will be devoted to structured questions from the moderator, and open discussion during audience Q&A.

  15. Happy 90^th Birthday to Chinese Astronomical Society

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    Over 200 experts and officials from across the country celebrated the 90^th anniversary of the Chinese Astronomical Society in Nanjing on October 30, 2012. CUI Xiangqun, the Society's President, reviewed China's major achievements in the field of astronomy in the past ten years, including the completion of the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopy Telescope (LAMOST) in north China and the advancements of Antarctic astronomy, and looked into future development in the coming decade.

  16. An Improved Infrared/Visible Fusion for Astronomical Images

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Attiq Ahmad


    Full Text Available An undecimated dual tree complex wavelet transform (UDTCWT based fusion scheme for astronomical visible/IR images is developed. The UDTCWT reduces noise effects and improves object classification due to its inherited shift invariance property. Local standard deviation and distance transforms are used to extract useful information (especially small objects. Simulation results compared with the state-of-the-art fusion techniques illustrate the superiority of proposed scheme in terms of accuracy for most of the cases.

  17. The Organization and Management of the Virtual Astronomical Observatory (United States)

    Berriman, G. Bruce; Hanisch, Robert J.; Lazio, T. Joseph W.; Szalay, Alexander; Fabbiano, Giussepina


    The U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO; has been in operation since May 2010. Its goal is to enable new science through efficient integration of distributed multi-wavelength data. This paper describes the management and organization of the VAO, and emphasizes the techniques used to ensure efficiency in a distributed organization. Management methods include using an annual program plan as the basis for establishing contracts with member organizations, regular communication, and monitoring of processes.

  18. Data Sharing and Publishing Using the Virtual Astronomical Observatory (United States)

    Plante, Raymond; Mishin, D. Y.; LAZIO, J.; Muench, A. A.; Project, VAO


    The astronomical research community is now use to accessing data through the web. In particular, we have ready access to large surveys as well as to observations from the major observatories. The latter data is typically available in their raw form and often also as "level 1" products that have undergone basic, standard processing. There exists, however, a vast set of data that is described in the current literature but which is largely unavailable on-line: highly processed data products from which we extract the science results we publish. We refer to this as the "long-tail of astronomical data". Typically, these products are the result of tuned or specialized processing by small teams of scientists. As part of the US Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO, project's effort to connect scientists with astronomical data of all types in a network-based research environment, we have taken up a multi-year initiative to capture that missing data and make it available to the community, thereby enabling new "archival" research. We describe a pilot program, in conjunction with community partners, to provide a platform for individual scientists and small research teams to make their data available through the Virtual Observatory (VO). At the core of the effort is a network-based storage space that provides a place for teams to assemble their collections and prepare them for release into the VO. Upon their release, the data collections will be connected to standard VO services that make the data accessible to the myriad VO discovery, analysis, and visualization tools. Once demonstrated in this pilot phase, we plan to assemble a more integrated repository toolkit that allows scientists to take full control of the publishing process and allow other institutions to host repositories. In particular, we are collaborating with the DataVerse project to create a repository platform that is fully connected to the VO web.

  19. Analysis of astronomical records of King Wu's Conquest

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    All related astronomical records of King Wu's Conquest have been searched and analysed comprehensively. Constrained by the newest conclusions of archeology, philology and history in the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project and based mainly on dates in Wucheng, Jupiter's position in Guoyu and information on the season, our first choice of the date of King Wu's Conquest is Jun. 20, BC1046. This conclusion explains properly most relevant literature.

  20. MYRaf: A new Approach with IRAF for Astronomical Photometric Reduction (United States)

    Kilic, Y.; Shameoni Niaei, M.; Özeren, F. F.; Yesilyaprak, C.


    In this study, the design and some developments of MYRaf software for astronomical photometric reduction are presented. MYRaf software is an easy to use, reliable, and has a fast IRAF aperture photometry GUI tools. MYRaf software is an important step for the automated software process of robotic telescopes, and uses IRAF, PyRAF, matplotlib, ginga, alipy, and Sextractor with the general-purpose and high-level programming language Python and uses the QT framework.

  1. Astronomer's new guide to the galaxy: largest map of cold dust revealed (United States)


    Astronomers have unveiled an unprecedented new atlas of the inner regions of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, peppered with thousands of previously undiscovered dense knots of cold cosmic dust -- the potential birthplaces of new stars. Made using observations from the APEX telescope in Chile, this survey is the largest map of cold dust so far, and will prove an invaluable map for observations made with the forthcoming ALMA telescope, as well as the recently launched ESA Herschel space telescope. ESO PR Photo 24a/09 View of the Galactic Plane from the ATLASGAL survey (annotated and in five sections) ESO PR Photo 24b/09 View of the Galactic Plane from the ATLASGAL survey (annotated) ESO PR Photo 24c/09 View of the Galactic Plane from the ATLASGAL survey (in five sections) ESO PR Photo 24d/09 View of the Galactic Plane from the ATLASGAL survey ESO PR Photo 24e/09 The Galactic Centre and Sagittarius B2 ESO PR Photo 24f/09 The NGC 6357 and NGC 6334 nebulae ESO PR Photo 24g/09 The RCW120 nebula ESO PR Video 24a/09 Annotated pan as seen by the ATLASGAL survey This new guide for astronomers, known as the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL) shows the Milky Way in submillimetre-wavelength light (between infrared light and radio waves [1]). Images of the cosmos at these wavelengths are vital for studying the birthplaces of new stars and the structure of the crowded galactic core. "ATLASGAL gives us a new look at the Milky Way. Not only will it help us investigate how massive stars form, but it will also give us an overview of the larger-scale structure of our galaxy", said Frederic Schuller from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, leader of the ATLASGAL team. The area of the new submillimetre map is approximately 95 square degrees, covering a very long and narrow strip along the galactic plane two degrees wide (four times the width of the full Moon) and over 40 degrees long. The 16 000 pixel-long map was made with the LABOCA submillimetre

  2. Astronomers Find World with Thick, Inhospitable Atmosphere and an Icy Heart (United States)


    planets, they found that the observed radius exceeds the models' predictions: there is something more than the planet's solid surface blocking the star's light - a surrounding atmosphere, 200 km thick. "This atmosphere is much thicker than that of the Earth, so the high pressure and absence of light would rule out life as we know it," says Charbonneau, "but these conditions are still very interesting, as they could allow for some complex chemistry to take place." "Because the planet is too hot to have kept an atmosphere for long, GJ1214b represents the first opportunity to study a newly formed atmosphere enshrouding a world orbiting another star," adds team member Xavier Bonfils. "Because the planet is so close to us, it will be possible to study its atmosphere even with current facilities." The planet was first discovered as a transiting object within the MEarth project, which follows about 2000 low-mass stars to look for transits by exoplanets [4]. To confirm the planetary nature of GJ1214b and to obtain its mass (using the so-called Doppler method), the astronomers needed the full precision of the HARPS spectrograph, attached to ESO's 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla. An instrument with unrivalled stability and great precision, HARPS is the world's most successful hunter for small exoplanets. "This is the second super-Earth exoplanet for which the mass and radius could be obtained, allowing us to determine the density and to infer the inner structure," adds co-author Stephane Udry. "In both cases, data from HARPS was essential to characterise the planet." "The differences in composition between these two planets are relevant to the quest for habitable worlds," concludes Charbonneau. If super-Earth planets in general are surrounded by an atmosphere similar to that of GJ1214b, they may well be inhospitable to the development of life as we know it on our own planet. Notes [1] A super-Earth is defined as a planet between one and ten times the mass of the Earth. An exoplanet

  3. The Discovery of Extrasolar Planets by Backyard Astronomers (United States)

    Castellano, Tim; Laughlin, Greg; DeVincenzi, D. (Technical Monitor)


    The discovery since 1995 of more than 80 planets around nearby solar-like stars and the photometric measurement of a transit of the jovian mass planet orbiting the solar-like star HD 209458 (producing a more than 1% drop in brightness that lasts 3 hours) has heralded a new era in astronomy. It has now been demonstrated that small telescopes equipped with sensitive and stable electronic detectors can produce fundamental scientific discoveries regarding the frequency and nature of planets outside the solar system. The modest equipment requirements for the discovery of extrasolar planetary transits of jovian mass planets in short period orbits around solar-like stars are fulfilled by commercial small aperture telescopes and CCD (charge coupled device) imagers common among amateur astronomers. With equipment already in hand and armed with target lists, observing techniques and software procedures developed by scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center and the University of California at Santa Cruz, non-professional astronomers can contribute significantly to the discovery and study of planets around others stars. In this way, we may resume (after a two century interruption!) the tradition of planet discoveries by amateur astronomers begun with William Herschel's 1787 discovery of the 'solar' planet Uranus.

  4. The Production Rate and Employment of Ph.D. Astronomers (United States)

    Metcalfe, Travis S.


    In an effort to encourage self-regulation of the astronomy job market, I examine the supply of, and demand for, astronomers over time. On the supply side, I document the production rate of Ph.D. astronomers from 1970 to 2006 using the UMI Dissertation Abstracts database, along with data from other independent sources. I compare the long-term trends in Ph.D. production with federal astronomy research funding over the same time period, and I demonstrate that additional funding is correlated with higher subsequent Ph.D. production. On the demand side, I monitor the changing patterns of employment using statistics about the number and types of jobs advertised in the AAS Job Register from 1984 to 2006. Finally, I assess the sustainability of the job market by normalizing this demand by the annual Ph.D. production. The most recent data suggest that there are now annual advertisements for about one postdoctoral job, half a faculty job, and half a research/support position for every new domestic Ph.D. recipient in astronomy and astrophysics. The average new astronomer might expect to hold up to 3 jobs before finding a steady position.

  5. Empowering schoolchildren to do astronomical science with images (United States)

    Raeside, L.; Busschots, B.; O'Cinneide, E.; Foy, S.; Keating, J. G.


    In 1991 the TIE (Telescopes in Education) Foundation provided schoolchildren with the ability to access professional observatory telescopes remotely. TIE has raised the profile of astronomy and science among schoolchildren. Since the initiation of this facility the TIE Foundation have spread their reach from one telescope in the US to many telescopes and many schools across the globe. The VTIE (Virtual Telescopes in Education) project was launched in 2001 to build on the success of TIE. The VTIE VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) provides a Web portal through which pupils can create a scientific proposal, retrieve astronomical images, and produce a scientific paper summarizing their learning experiences of the VTIE scientific process. Since the completion of the first formative evaluations of VTIE (which involved over 250 schoolchildren) it has been observed that the participating schoolchildren have had difficulty completing and understanding the practical imaging aspects of astronomical science. Our experimental observations have revealed that the imaging tools currently available to astronomers have not ported well to schools. The VTIE imaging tools developed during our research will provide schoolchildren with the ability to store, acquire, manipulate and analyze images within the VTIE VLE. It is hypothesized herein that the provision of exclusively child-centered imaging software components will improve greatly the children's empowerment within the VTIE scientific process. Consequentially the addition of fully integrated child-centered imaging tools will contribute positively to the overall VTIE goal to promote science among schoolchildren.

  6. Automatic astronomical coordinate determination using digital zenith cameras

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S Farzaneh


    Full Text Available Celestial positioning has been used for navigation purposes for many years. Stars as the extra-terrestrial benchmarks provide unique opportunity in absolute point positioning. However, astronomical field data acquisition and data processing of the collected data is very time-consuming. The advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS nearly made the celestial positioning system obsolete. The new satellite-based positioning system has been very popular since it is very efficient and convenient for many daily life applications. Nevertheless, the celestial positioning method is never replaced by satellite-based positioning in absolute point positioning sense. The invention of electro-optical devices at the beginning of the 21st century was really a rebirth in geodetic astronomy. Today, the digital cameras with relatively high geometric and radiometric accuracy has opened a new insight in satellite attitude determination and the study of the Earth's surface geometry and physics of its interior, i.e., computation of astronomical coordinates and the vertical deflection components. This method or the so-called astrogeodetic vision-based method help us to determine astronomical coordinates with an accuracy better than 0.1 arc second. The theoretical background, an innovative transformation approach and the preliminary numerical results are addressed in this paper.

  7. American Zodiac: Astronomical signs in Dickinson, Melville, and Poe (United States)

    Ricca, Bradley James


    Science and literature, two means of inquiry now thought in opposition (if not posed as outright contradiction) emerged for a moment in the nineteenth century as provocatively complimentary in their methods of reading. In America, astronomy in particular provided a rich, complex subject for writers of the imagination to think about in terms of content and methodology. The purpose of my study is to uncover these unacknowledged astronomical referents in the works of Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe, and engage them as interpretive contexts in new readings of their most esoteric projects; specifically, Dickinson's solstice and circumference poetry, the Plinlimmon pamphlet in Melville's Pierre, and Poe's Eureka. After providing historical context through the shared public experience of the 1833 Leonid Meteor Storm, I uncover several astronomical and scientific sources for these writers: Denison Olmsted for Dickinson; Gauss and Plotinus for Melville; and Kepler and Alexander von Humboldt for Poe, among others. Exploring these sources in close readings of their works, I find that these authors employ astronomical facts in very different, metaphorical ways in response to the larger challenge of navigating their own poetics between the emerging new laws of science and the immeasurability of human feeling evoked by the unknown Universe.

  8. Source detection in astronomical images by Bayesian model comparison (United States)

    Frean, Marcus; Friedlander, Anna; Johnston-Hollitt, Melanie; Hollitt, Christopher


    The next generation of radio telescopes will generate exabytes of data on hundreds of millions of objects, making automated methods for the detection of astronomical objects ("sources") essential. Of particular importance are faint, diffuse objects embedded in noise. There is a pressing need for source finding software that identifies these sources, involves little manual tuning, yet is tractable to calculate. We first give a novel image discretisation method that incorporates uncertainty about how an image should be discretised. We then propose a hierarchical prior for astronomical images, which leads to a Bayes factor indicating how well a given region conforms to a model of source that is exceptionally unconstrained, compared to a model of background. This enables the efficient localisation of regions that are "suspiciously different" from the background distribution, so our method looks not for brightness but for anomalous distributions of intensity, which is much more general. The model of background can be iteratively improved by removing the influence on it of sources as they are discovered. The approach is evaluated by identifying sources in real and simulated data, and performs well on these measures: the Bayes factor is maximized at most real objects, while returning only a moderate number of false positives. In comparison to a catalogue constructed by widely-used source detection software with manual post-processing by an astronomer, our method found a number of dim sources that were missing from the "ground truth" catalogue.

  9. Astronomical Image Compression Techniques Based on ACC and KLT Coder

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Schindler


    Full Text Available This paper deals with a compression of image data in applications in astronomy. Astronomical images have typical specific properties — high grayscale bit depth, size, noise occurrence and special processing algorithms. They belong to the class of scientific images. Their processing and compression is quite different from the classical approach of multimedia image processing. The database of images from BOOTES (Burst Observer and Optical Transient Exploring System has been chosen as a source of the testing signal. BOOTES is a Czech-Spanish robotic telescope for observing AGN (active galactic nuclei and the optical transient of GRB (gamma ray bursts searching. This paper discusses an approach based on an analysis of statistical properties of image data. A comparison of two irrelevancy reduction methods is presented from a scientific (astrometric and photometric point of view. The first method is based on a statistical approach, using the Karhunen-Loeve transform (KLT with uniform quantization in the spectral domain. The second technique is derived from wavelet decomposition with adaptive selection of used prediction coefficients. Finally, the comparison of three redundancy reduction methods is discussed. Multimedia format JPEG2000 and HCOMPRESS, designed especially for astronomical images, are compared with the new Astronomical Context Coder (ACC coder based on adaptive median regression.

  10. National and international astronomical activities in Chile 1849--2002 (United States)

    Duerbeck, H. W.


    At all times and in many ways, Chilean astronomy has been influenced externally, either by astronomical expeditions from other parts of the world, or by astronomers that immigrated from other countries. We outline the history of the Chilean National Observatory, beginning with its origins out of Gilliss' US Naval Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere, over its directors Moesta, Vergara, Obrecht, Ristenpart to the middle of the 20th century, as well as the astronomical development at the Universidad Católica. In addition, various international expeditions, which aimed at observations of solar eclipses, the Venus transit of 1882, and the Mars opposition of 1907, were carried out. While a major photometric project of Harvard Observatory was active for only six weeks in the north of Chile, the spectroscopic Mills expedition of Lick Observatory in Santiago lasted several decades, and the solar observatory of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory near Calama even longer. Finally we give a brief overview of the evolution and the actual state of the international observatories Cerro Tololo, La Silla, Paranal, and Las Campanas.

  11. The War's Positive Impact on the Canadian Astronomical Community (United States)

    Broughton, Peter


    At the beginning of WWI, the Canadian astronomical community was tiny and astrophysical research was just beginning. By the end of the war, the country had established the forerunner of its National Research Council and had the world's largest fully operational telescope, thanks to the late entry of the USA into the conflict. By 1918, Canada was on the verge of making significant contributions to science.In spite of the immense loss of life in this pointless war, I am aware of only one casualty affecting Canadian professional astronomers, and that was the indirect death of James Chant, son of University of Toronto's only professor of astronomy. Other Canadian astronomers, including Tom Parker, Bert Topham, and Harry Plaskett were on active service; each of their stories is unique.Among those engaged in scientific work during the war were two Canadians temporarily in England: John McLennan whose helium research for dirigibles led him to establish a cryogenic lab in Toronto where the green line in the spectrum of the aurora was identified in 1925, and Allie Douglas who worked as a statistician in the War Office. Later work with Eddington led her to become his biographer and to her distinction as the first person in Canada to earn a PhD in astronomy (in 1926).

  12. Breakthrough! 100 astronomical images that changed the world

    CERN Document Server

    Gendler, Robert


    This unique volume by two renowned astrophotographers unveils the science and history behind 100 of the most significant astronomical images of all time. The authors have carefully selected their list of images from across time and technology to bring to the reader the most relevant photographic images spanning all eras of modern astronomical history.    Based on scientific evidence today we have a basic notion of how Earth and the universe came to be. The road to this knowledge was paved with 175 years of astronomical images acquired by the coupling of two revolutionary technologies – the camera and telescope. With ingenuity and determination humankind would quickly embrace these technologies to tell the story of the cosmos and unravel its mysteries.   This book presents in pictures and words a photographic chronology of our aspiration to understand the universe. From the first fledgling attempts to photograph the Moon, planets, and stars to the marvels of orbiting observatories that record the cosmos a...

  13. The challenges and frustrations of a veteran astronomical optician: Robert Lundin, 1880-1962 (United States)

    Briggs, John W.; Osterbrock, Donald E.


    Robert Lundin, apprenticed in nineteenth century optical craftsmanship but employed in twenty century fabrication and engineering, suffered many frustrations during a nonetheless productive career. Son of Carl A.R. Lundin, a senior optician at the famous American firm of Alvan Clark & Sons, Robert grew up building telescopes. As a teenager, he assisted with projects including the 1-m [40-inch] objective for Yerkes Observatory. After his father's death in 1915, he became manager of the Clark Corporation and was responsible for many smaller, successful refractors and reflectors. Lundin also completed major projects, including a highly praised 50.8-cm achromat for Van Vleck Observatory, as well as a successful 33-cm astrograph used at Lowell to discover Pluto. In 1929, a dispute with the owners of the Clark Corporation led to Lundin's resignation and his creation of a new business, "C.A. Robert Lundin and Associates." This short-lived firm built several observatory refractors, including a 26.7 cm for E.W. Rice, the retired chairman of General Electric. But none was entirely successful, and the Great Depression finished off the company. In 1933, Lundin took a job as head of Warner & Swasey's new optical shop, only to experience his greatest disasters. The 2.08-m [82-inch] reflector for McDonald Observatory was delayed for years until astronomers uncovered an error in Lundin's procedure for testing the primary mirror. A 38.1-cm photographic lens for the Naval Observatory was a complete failure. Under pressure to complete a 61-cm Schmidt camera, Lundin seems to have attempted to deceive visiting astronomers. After retirement in the mid 1940s, Lundin moved to Austin, Texas, the home of his daughter, where he died. His difficulties should not obscure his success with many instruments that continue to serve as important research and education tools.

  14. Preventing Rape of the Observatory: Thoughts on the Urgency of Preserving Historic Astronomical Artifacts (United States)

    Bell, T. E.


    "What good is this century-old monster refractor? Sell it and use the money to buy a brand new go-to reflector useful for teaching students and advancing astronomy." So argues logic that is endangering an increasing number of university observatories around the U.S. (if not the rest of the world), even up to the Yerkes Observatory and its 40-inch Clark, world's largest refractor by the acknowledged world's best lens-makers. While most non-historians readily accept the value of preserving our cultural heritage in rare and precious documents (such as the Declaration of Independence), artifacts (such as Stradivarius violins), and institutions (such as the birthplaces of U.S. Presidents), they tend not to think of astronomical observatories as part of cultural heritage-with a result that history is crumbling apace to the wrecking ball. In early October, the Antique Telescope Society convened a special 60-minute session discussing philosophical why's and practical how's of preserving astronomical assets (including historically significant telescopes, observatory buildings, auxiliary equipment used to make observations or calculate results, and libraries of books and papers). This paper will summarize the discussion's key insights - including the assessing and assigning of value to old vs. new telescopes, and the roles of politics, funding and fund-raising, publicity (positive and negative), education, use as a form of preservation, innovative solutions by private collectors (including "half-way houses" for homeless instruments), restoration vs. renovation, special problems facing very large telescopes, and lessons learned from both failures and success.

  15. Spectrographs and Large Telescopes: A Study of Instrumentation (United States)

    Fica, Haley Diane; Crane, Jeffrey D.; Uomoto, Alan K.; Hare, Tyson


    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a telescope in possession of a large aperture, must be in want of a high resolution spectrograph. Subsystems of these instruments require testing and upgrading to ensure that they can continue to be scientifically productive and usher in a new era of astronomical research. The Planet Finder Spectrograph (PFS) and Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle (MIKE), both on the Magellan II Clay telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF) are examples of such instruments. Bluer flat field lamps were designed for PFS and MIKE to replace lamps no longer available in order to ensure continued, efficient functionality. These newly designed lamps will result in better flat fielding and calibration of data, and thus result in increased reduction of instrument noise. When it is built and installed in 2022, G-CLEF will be be fed by a tertiary mirror on the GMT. Stepper motors attached to the back of this mirror will be used to correct misalignments in the optical relay system. These motors were characterized to ensure that they function as expected to an accuracy of a few microns. These projects incorporate several key aspects of astronomical instrumentation: designing, building, and testing.

  16. The BAA observatories and the origins of the instrument collection (United States)

    Marriott, R. A.


    Within a few months of the founding of the Association in 1890 October, the membership numbered several hundred amateur and professional astronomers in Britain and around the world. International recognition was also marked by a number of eminent speakers at meetings, including the instrument maker John A. Brashear, of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. In 1888 Brashear had toured the British Isles and Europe, visiting observatories and meeting many eminent astronomers. He seems to have been impressed with everyone he met - particularly British amateurs - and during his second visit to England in 1892 he spoke at the Association's meeting on April 27. In 1890 December he presented to the Association a speculum-metal diffraction grating which had been prepared at his own works and ruled on Henry Rowland's engine at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

  17. The SECIS instrument on the Lomnicky Peak Observatory

    CERN Document Server

    Ambroz, J; Rudawy, P; Rybak, J; Phillips, K J H


    Heating mechanisms of the solar corona will be investigated at the high-altitude solar observatory Lomnicky Peak of the Astronomical Institute of SAS (Slovakia) using its mid-size Lyot coronagraph and post-focal instrument SECIS provided by Astronomical Institute of the University of Wroclaw (Poland). The data will be studied with respect to the energy transport and release responsible for heating the solar corona to temperatures of mega-Kelvins. In particular investigations will be focused on detection of possible high-frequency MHD waves in the solar corona. The scientific background of the project, technical details of the SECIS system modified specially for the Lomnicky Peak coronagraph, and inspection of the test data are described in the paper.

  18. Ticking Stellar Time Bomb Identified - Astronomers find prime suspect for a Type Ia supernova (United States)


    Using ESO's Very Large Telescope and its ability to obtain images as sharp as if taken from space, astronomers have made the first time-lapse movie of a rather unusual shell ejected by a "vampire star", which in November 2000 underwent an outburst after gulping down part of its companion's matter. This enabled astronomers to determine the distance and intrinsic brightness of the outbursting object. It appears that this double star system is a prime candidate to be one of the long-sought progenitors of the exploding stars known as Type Ia supernovae, critical for studies of dark energy. "One of the major problems in modern astrophysics is the fact that we still do not know exactly what kinds of stellar system explode as a Type Ia supernova," says Patrick Woudt, from the University of Cape Town and lead author of the paper reporting the results. "As these supernovae play a crucial role in showing that the Universe's expansion is currently accelerating, pushed by a mysterious dark energy, it is rather embarrassing." The astronomers studied the object known as V445 in the constellation of Puppis ("the Stern") in great detail. V445 Puppis is the first, and so far only, nova showing no evidence at all for hydrogen. It provides the first evidence for an outburst on the surface of a white dwarf [1] dominated by helium. "This is critical, as we know that Type Ia supernovae lack hydrogen," says co-author Danny Steeghs, from the University of Warwick, UK, "and the companion star in V445 Pup fits this nicely by also lacking hydrogen, instead dumping mainly helium gas onto the white dwarf." In November 2000, this system underwent a nova outburst, becoming 250 times brighter than before and ejecting a large quantity of matter into space. The team of astronomers used the NACO adaptive optics instrument [2] on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) to obtain very sharp images of V445 Puppis over a time span of two years. The images show a bipolar shell, initially with a very narrow

  19. Instrument Modeling and Synthesis (United States)

    Horner, Andrew B.; Beauchamp, James W.

    During the 1970s and 1980s, before synthesizers based on direct sampling of musical sounds became popular, replicating musical instruments using frequency modulation (FM) or wavetable synthesis was one of the “holy grails” of music synthesis. Synthesizers such as the Yamaha DX7 allowed users great flexibility in mixing and matching sounds, but were notoriously difficult to coerce into producing sounds like those of a given instrument. Instrument design wizards practiced the mysteries of FM instrument design.

  20. Performing the Super Instrument

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kallionpaa, Maria


    provides the performer extensive virtuoso capabilities in terms of instrumental range, harmony, timbre, or spatial, textural, acoustic, technical, or technological qualities. The discussion will be illustrated by a composition case study involving augmented musical instrument electromagnetic resonator......The genre of contemporary classical music has seen significant innovation and research related to new super, hyper, and hybrid instruments, which opens up a vast palette of expressive potential. An increasing number of composers, performers, instrument designers, engineers, and computer programmers...

  1. Aeroacoustics of Musical Instruments

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fabre, B.; Gilbert, J.; Hirschberg, A.; Pelorson, X.


    We are interested in the quality of sound produced by musical instruments and their playability. In wind instruments, a hydrodynamic source of sound is coupled to an acoustic resonator. Linear acoustics can predict the pitch of an instrument. This can significantly reduce the trial-and-error process

  2. Astronomical Orientation of Pyramid Tombs in North China (United States)

    Rusell Tiede, Vance


    Two ancient Chinese texts, the Chou Bei Suan Ching and Chou Li (Western Han Dynasty, ca. 100 BC), record that the Imperial Astronomer (Feng Hsian Shin) made solar observations to determine the solstices and equinoxes, and for determining the cardinal directions with a circle and gnomon. By combining the techniques of astro-archaeology (G. S. Hawkins, 1968) with both overhead imagery and ground survey, the present study seeks to link historical Chinese descriptions of astronomical phenomena with contemporary architectural orientation. In the process, several unexpected astronomical orientation patterns emerged which apparently do not appear in the surviving historical record. For example, at the imperial Western Han capital of Ch'ang-an (N 34° latitude), the diagonals of cardinally oriented square pyramid mounds (ling) align to zenith (+34° declination) and nadir (-34° declination) star rise and set points on the skyline. This is in accord with the Chou (Zhou) Dynasty's name of Chung-Kuo, meaning Central Country or Middle Kingdom. That is, the imperial capital is centered both politico-geographically with respect to its vassal states of the Eastern Yi, Southern Man, Western Rong, and Northern Di, as well as astro-geomantically regarding the color-coded Five Sacred Directions East-South-West-North-Zenith/Nadir in the Cosmos. Our ground survey also confirmed pyramid orientation to the lunar standstills (+28°, +18° and +5° declination) that we reported from overhead imagery in 1980 (155th AAS Meeting, HAD 18.CE.12, Lunar and Solar Alignments of Ancient Chinese Pyramids). Grateful acknowledgment is given to the Chinese Academy of Sciences for the invitation to conduct an astro-archaeological survey of the Wei-ho valley, Shensi (Shaanxi) Province.

  3. Managing distributed software development in the Virtual Astronomical Observatory (United States)

    Evans, Janet D.; Plante, Raymond L.; Boneventura, Nina; Busko, Ivo; Cresitello-Dittmar, Mark; D'Abrusco, Raffaele; Doe, Stephen; Ebert, Rick; Laurino, Omar; Pevunova, Olga; Refsdal, Brian; Thomas, Brian


    The U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO) is a product-driven organization that provides new scientific research capabilities to the astronomical community. Software development for the VAO follows a lightweight framework that guides development of science applications and infrastructure. Challenges to be overcome include distributed development teams, part-time efforts, and highly constrained schedules. We describe the process we followed to conquer these challenges while developing Iris, the VAO application for analysis of 1-D astronomical spectral energy distributions (SEDs). Iris was successfully built and released in less than a year with a team distributed across four institutions. The project followed existing International Virtual Observatory Alliance inter-operability standards for spectral data and contributed a SED library as a by-product of the project. We emphasize lessons learned that will be folded into future development efforts. In our experience, a well-defined process that provides guidelines to ensure the project is cohesive and stays on track is key to success. Internal product deliveries with a planned test and feedback loop are critical. Release candidates are measured against use cases established early in the process, and provide the opportunity to assess priorities and make course corrections during development. Also key is the participation of a stakeholder such as a lead scientist who manages the technical questions, advises on priorities, and is actively involved as a lead tester. Finally, frequent scheduled communications (for example a bi-weekly tele-conference) assure issues are resolved quickly and the team is working toward a common vision.

  4. Constructing Concept Schemes From Astronomical Telegrams Via Natural Language Clustering (United States)

    Graham, Matthew; Zhang, M.; Djorgovski, S. G.; Donalek, C.; Drake, A. J.; Mahabal, A.


    The rapidly emerging field of time domain astronomy is one of the most exciting and vibrant new research frontiers, ranging in scientific scope from studies of the Solar System to extreme relativistic astrophysics and cosmology. It is being enabled by a new generation of large synoptic digital sky surveys - LSST, PanStarrs, CRTS - that cover large areas of sky repeatedly, looking for transient objects and phenomena. One of the biggest challenges facing these is the automated classification of transient events, a process that needs machine-processible astronomical knowledge. Semantic technologies enable the formal representation of concepts and relations within a particular domain. ATELs ( are a commonly-used means for reporting and commenting upon new astronomical observations of transient sources (supernovae, stellar outbursts, blazar flares, etc). However, they are loose and unstructured and employ scientific natural language for description: this makes automated processing of them - a necessity within the next decade with petascale data rates - a challenge. Nevertheless they represent a potentially rich corpus of information that could lead to new and valuable insights into transient phenomena. This project lies in the cutting-edge field of astrosemantics, a branch of astroinformatics, which applies semantic technologies to astronomy. The ATELs have been used to develop an appropriate concept scheme - a representation of the information they contain - for transient astronomy using hierarchical clustering of processed natural language. This allows us to automatically organize ATELs based on the vocabulary used. We conclude that we can use simple algorithms to process and extract meaning from astronomical textual data.

  5. A modified star map identification method suitable for astronomical camera (United States)

    Liu, Meiying; Wang, Hu; Wen, Desheng; Liu, Jie; Xue, Yaoke; Liu, Yang; Zhao, Hui


    High accuracy star map identification results are the basis of astronomical positioning. The traditional triangle star identification algorithm has a higher redundancy and a poor robustness to noise. Considering the specific requirements of the star map identification of the astronomical camera, in allusion to this default, proceeding with selection of guide stars, construction of guide star catalogue and realization of matching algorithm, a modified triangle algorithm based on traditional one is presented. With the proposed algorithm, the guide star is selected from astronomical durchmusterung. In order to speed up guide star indexing, the guide star catalogue is founded after dividing the sky using the overlapping rectangle method. The guide star sub-catalogue is constructed by the radius of guide triangle circumcircle and the two sides of guide triangle. The characteristic radius is used for indexing and sorted in an ascending order to improve the searching efficiency in the processing of star map identification. The matching scope of the angular distance is narrowed and the matching rate of angular distance is improved by the matching of the characteristics radius. If there exists redundancy, a normalized magnitude is used to eliminate it. Within the observing area of the real sky, the 1050 star maps continuously are calculated. The simulation results show that, the identification rate of this algorithm is greater than 97. 83% when the noise of position error is two pixels, and the average identification time is about 25. 07ms. Compared with the traditional triangle algorithm, this modified algorithm has a couple of advantages, including the smaller storage capacity of guide star catalogue, better robustness to position and magnitude error, higher rate of correcting star map identification and lower redundancy.

  6. User extensibility of the Firefly astronomical visualization software (United States)

    Dubois-Felsmann, Gregory P.; Goldina, Tatiana; Ly, Loi; Roby, William; Wu, Xiuqin; Zhang, Lijun


    We have developed mechanisms for extending the functionality of the open-source Firefly astronomical visualization software with user-supplied code. Firefly is a toolkit for the construction of Web-based applications for visualizing astronomical images and tabular data, with the software distribution also including a basic general-purpose pre-built application. The Firefly tools are the base for NASA's IRSA archive as well as other web applications developed at IPAC.Recent releases include new public APIs allowing the extension of Firefly functionality in various ways. New Javascript APIs allow customization of the interface presented in the browser, including the ability to define buttons for custom actions that can be performed on points, lines, and regions in images. New Python APIs allow the invocation of operations in a Firefly-based application, allowing it to serve as a display engine for FITS images and other astronomical data. In addition, the Firefly web server side has been enhanced with the ability to invoke user-supplied processes that can produce either image or tabular results based on operations on data from the application or external sources. For instance, the user can define an operation to perform source detection on a graphically selected region in an image and return the results for display as a table and/or x-y plot. User processes can be defined in any language supported on the server host; our current efforts have focused on Python. This mechanism has been used to support the integration of Firefly with the LSST project's software stack, with reusable "tasks" from the LSST stack configurable as extensions to Firefly.

  7. SIP: A Web-Based Astronomical Image Processing Program (United States)

    Simonetti, J. H.


    I have written an astronomical image processing and analysis program designed to run over the internet in a Java-compatible web browser. The program, Sky Image Processor (SIP), is accessible at the SIP webpage ( Since nothing is installed on the user's machine, there is no need to download upgrades; the latest version of the program is always instantly available. Furthermore, the Java programming language is designed to work on any computer platform (any machine and operating system). The program could be used with students in web-based instruction or in a computer laboratory setting; it may also be of use in some research or outreach applications. While SIP is similar to other image processing programs, it is unique in some important respects. For example, SIP can load images from the user's machine or from the Web. An instructor can put images on a web server for students to load and analyze on their own personal computer. Or, the instructor can inform the students of images to load from any other web server. Furthermore, since SIP was written with students in mind, the philosophy is to present the user with the most basic tools necessary to process and analyze astronomical images. Images can be combined (by addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division), multiplied by a constant, smoothed, cropped, flipped, rotated, and so on. Statistics can be gathered for pixels within a box drawn by the user. Basic tools are available for gathering data from an image which can be used for performing simple differential photometry, or astrometry. Therefore, students can learn how astronomical image processing works. Since SIP is not part of a commercial CCD camera package, the program is written to handle the most common denominator image file, the FITS format.

  8. Tuneable Heterodyne Infrared Spectrometer for atmospheric and astronomical studies. (United States)

    Sonnabend, Guido; Wirtz, Daniel; Schmülling, Frank; Schieder, Rudolf


    The transportable setup of the Cologne Tuneable Heterodyne Infrared Spectrometer (THIS) is presented. Frequency tuneability over a wide range provided by the use of tuneable diode lasers as local oscillators (LO) allows a variety of molecules in the mid-infrared to be observed. Longtime integration, which is essential for astronomical observations, is possible owing to tight frequency control of the LO with optical feedback from an external cavity. THIS is developed to fly on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy beginning in 2006 but can also be used on different types of ground-based telescopes.

  9. Pointing System for the Balloon-Borne Astronomical Payloads

    CERN Document Server

    Nirmal, K; Mathew, Joice; Sarpotdar, Mayuresh; Suresh, Ambily; Prakash, Ajin; Safonova, Margarita; Murthy, Jayant


    We describe the development and implementation of a light-weight, fully autonomous 2-axis pointing and stabilization system designed for balloon-borne astronomical payloads. The system is developed using off-the-shelf components such as Arduino Uno controller, HMC 5883L magnetometer, MPU-9150 Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and iWave GPS receiver unit. It is a compact and rugged system which can also be used to take images/video in a moving vehicle, or in areal photography. The system performance is evaluated from the ground, as well as in conditions simulated to imitate the actual flight by using a tethered launch.

  10. Statistics of Oriental Astronomical Records: What Can They Tell Us? (United States)

    Strom, Richard G.

    For well over two millennia, Chinese astronomers observed and recorded a wide variety of phenomena in the heavens: eclipses, comets, sunspots, aurorae, strange clouds and other meteorological phenomena. For a somewhat shorter period, there were also recorded Japanese and Korean observations of the skies. In terms of numbers over the relevant time intervals, significantly more observations can be found in the Chinese annals. From AD 600 to 1600, the Chinese records preserve some 220 sightings of comets and guest stars, while from Japan there are nearly 150, and 120 from Korea. By comparing records of transient objects, we can learn something about the statistics of the phenomena themselves.

  11. Education and Public Outreach at the American Astronomical Society (United States)

    Fienberg, R. T.


    Recently the Council of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) adopted its first-ever mission-and-vision statement. Independently, the Astronomy Education Board (AEB), which has oversight of the Society's educational activities, adopted new goals for the AAS education program. Much of the responsibility for aligning the AAS mission-and-vision statement and AEB goals and implementing them is vested in a new position: AAS Press Officer and Education and Outreach Coordinator. Here I describe the AAS's priorities for education and public outreach and explain how they are being, or will be, achieved.

  12. The astronomical orientation of the urban plan of Alexandria

    CERN Document Server

    Ferro, Luisa


    Alexander the Great founded Alexandria in 331 BC. The newly founded town was conceived as an orthogonal grid based on a main longitudinal axis, later called Canopic Road. We analyse here the astronomical orientation of the project and propose that the main axis was deliberately oriented towards the rising sun on the day of birth of Alexander the Great. The argument is admittedly speculative as any Archaeoastronomy argument not backed up by written sources. However, it is nested accurately into the archaeological records and into what is known on the foundation of the town. Further, a topographical analysis is given to sustain the thesis.

  13. Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders From Novice to Master Observer

    CERN Document Server

    Thompson, Robert


    With the advent of inexpensive, high-power telescopes priced at under 250, amateur astronomy is now within the reach of anyone, and this is the ideal book to get you started. The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders offers you a guide to the equipment you need, and shows you how and where to find hundreds of spectacular objects in the deep sky -- double and multiple stars as well as spectacular star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. You get a solid grounding in the fundamental concepts and terminology of astronomy, and specific advice about choosing, buying, using, and maintaining the eq

  14. Pointing system for the balloon-borne astronomical payloads (United States)

    Nirmal, Kaipacheri; Sreejith, Aickara Gopinathan; Mathew, Joice; Sarpotdar, Mayuresh; Ambily, Suresh; Prakash, Ajin; Safonova, Margarita; Murthy, Jayant


    We describe the development and implementation of a light-weight, fully autonomous 2-axis pointing and stabilization system designed for balloon-borne astronomical payloads. The system is developed using off-the-shelf components such as Arduino Uno controller, HMC 5883L magnetometer, MPU-9150 inertial measurement unit, and iWave GPS receiver unit. It is a compact and rugged system which can also be used to take images/video in a moving vehicle or in real photography. The system performance is evaluated from the ground, as well as in conditions simulated to imitate the actual flight by using a tethered launch.

  15. Midinfrared broadband achromatic astronomical beam combiner for nulling interferometry. (United States)

    Hsiao, Hsien-kai; Winick, Kim A; Monnier, John D


    Integrated optic beam combiners offer many advantages over conventional bulk optic implementations for astronomical imaging. To our knowledge, integrated optic beam combiners have only been demonstrated at operating wavelengths below 4 μm. Operation in the midinfrared wavelength region, however, is highly desirable. In this paper, a theoretical design technique based on three coupled waveguides is developed to achieve fully achromatic, broadband, polarization-insensitive, lossless beam combining. This design may make it possible to achieve the very deep broadband nulls needed for exoplanet searching.

  16. The new Martian nomenclature of the international Astronomical Union (United States)

    de, Vaucouleur G.; Blunck, J.; Davies, M.; Dollfus, A.; Koval, I.K.; Kuiper, G.P.; Masursky, H.; Miyamoto, S.; Moroz, V.I.; Sagan, C.; Smith, B.


    A new nomenclature for Martian regions and topographic features uncovered by Mariner 9, as officially adopted by the International Astronomical Union, is described. About 180 craters, generally of diameters >100 km, have been named, as well as 13 classes of topographic features designated catena, chasma, dorsum, fossa, labyrinthus, mensa, mons, patera, planitia, planum, tholus, vallis, and vastitas. In addition seven craters and the Kepler Dorsum are named on Phobos, and two craters on Deimos. Coordinates and maps of each named features are displayed. ?? 1975.

  17. 14 GHz visible supercontinuum generation: calibration sources for astronomical spectrographs. (United States)

    Stark, S P; Steinmetz, T; Probst, R A; Hundertmark, H; Wilken, T; Hänsch, T W; Udem, Th; Russell, P St J; Holzwarth, R


    We report the use of a specially designed tapered photonic crystal fiber to produce a broadband optical spectrum covering the visible spectral range. The pump source is a frequency doubled Yb fiber laser operating at a repetition rate of 14 GHz and emitting sub-5 pJ pulses. We experimentally determine the optimum core diameter and achieve a 235 nm broad spectrum. Numerical simulations are used to identify the underlying mechanisms and explain spectral features. The high repetition rate makes this system a promising candidate for precision calibration of astronomical spectrographs.

  18. Evaluation of a scientific CMOS camera for astronomical observations

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Peng Qiu; Yong-Na Mao; Xiao-Meng Lu; E Xiang; Xiao-Jun Jiang


    We evaluate the performance of the first generation scientific CMOS (sCMOS) camera used for astronomical observations.The sCMOS camera was attached to a 25 cm telescope at Xinglong Observatory,in order to estimate its photometric capabilities.We further compared the capabilities of the sCMOS camera with that of full-frame and electron multiplying CCD cameras in laboratory tests and observations.The results indicate the sCMOS camera is capable of performing photometry of bright sources,especially when high spatial resolution or temporal resolution is desired.

  19. Astronomical theory of climatic change: support from new Guinea. (United States)

    Veeh, H H; Chappell, J


    Radiocarbon and thorium-230 dates of uplifted coral reef terraces on New Guinea appear to support theories of glaciation which utilize Milankovitch cycles as a controlling trigger mechanism. In addition to high sealevel stands recognized by other workers, the New Guinea data clearly indicate a marine transgression between 50,000 and 35,000 years before the present. A eustatic sea level curve reconstructed from field observations and radiometric dates shows a close correlation with temperature fluctuations in high latitudes as predicted by astronomical data.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    René Hudec


    Full Text Available The recent extensive digitisation of astronomical photographic plate archives, the development of new dedicated software and the use of powerful computers have for the first time enabled effective data mining in extensive plate databases, with wide applications in various fields of recent astrophysics. As an example, analyses of supermassive binary black holes (binary blazars require very long time intervals (50 years and more, which cannot be provided by other data sources. Examples of data obtained from data mining in plate archives are presented and briefly discussed.

  1. Astronomical Odds: A Policy Framework for the Cosmic Impact Hazard (United States)


    studying objects as far from society as imaginable. Historically, it was the astrologers rather than the astronomers who had aspirations to achieve say goodbye to loved ones and square things up with their God[s], deities, etc c. the opportunity to score with hot chicks using the time-honored...tomorrow or don’t tell some- one how much we love them because we can say it tomorrow... but if we knew there was no tomorrow, could you do everything in one

  2. The caracol tower at chichen itza: an ancient astronomical observatory? (United States)

    Aveni, A F; Gibbs, S L; Hartung, H


    Although our investigations reveal a number of significant astronomical events coinciding with many of the measured alignments presented in Table 1, not every alignment appears to have an astronomical match which we can recognize. It may be that only some of the sighting possibilities we have discussed were actually functional. Moreover, our search of significant astronomical events to match the alignments has included only those which seem of obvious functional importance to us: sun, moon, and planetary extremes and the setting positions of the brightest stars. We have emphasized those celestial bodies which are documented in the literature as having been of importance. Perhaps hitherto unrecognized constellations were sighted in the windows, perhaps fainter stars, the heliacal rising and setting times of which could have served to mark important dates in the calendar. While we propose no grand cosmic scheme for the astronomical design of the Caracol it can be inferred that the building, apart from being a monument related to Quetzalcoatl, was erected primarily for the purpose of embodying in its architecture certain significant astronomical event alignments, in the same sense that a modern astronomical ephemeris exhibits information of importance to us in the keeping of the current calendar. There are examples in the Mesoamerican historical literature of deliberate attempts to align buildings with astronomical directions of importance. For example, Maudslay (33) quotes Father Motolinia, who tells us that in Tenochtitlan the festival called Tlacaxipeualistli "took place when the sun stood in the middle of Huicholobos, which was at the equinox, and because it was a little out of the straight, Montezuma wished to pull it down and set it right." According to Maudslay, worshipers were probably facing east to watch the sun rise between the two oratories on the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan at the time of the equinox. The directions of the faces of the Lower and Upper

  3. Time References in US and UK Astronomical and Navigational Almanacs (United States)


    full text article. 2011 Metrologia 48 S195 ( Download details: IP Address: The article was...ANSI Std Z39-18 IOP PUBLISHING METROLOGIA Metrologia 48 (2011) S195–S199 doi:10.1088/0026-1394/48/4/S10 Time references in US and UK astronomical and...barycentric ephemeris of the celestial body for which the apparent place is being calculated is TDB. Thus, a transformation is required so that S196 Metrologia

  4. The Future is Hera! Analyzing Astronomical Over the Internet (United States)

    Valencic, L. A.; Chai, P.; Pence, W.; Shafer, R.; Snowden, S.


    Hera is the data processing facility provided by the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for analyzing astronomical data. Hera provides all the pre-installed software packages, local disk space, and computing resources need to do general processing of FITS format data files residing on the users local computer, and to do research using the publicly available data from the High ENergy Astrophysics Division. Qualified students, educators and researchers may freely use the Hera services over the internet of research and educational purposes.

  5. Mission design for the infrared astronomical satellite /IRAS/ (United States)

    Lundy, S. A.; Mclaughlin, W. I.; Pouw, A.


    IRAS, a joint United States, Netherlands, United Kingdom astronomical satellite, is scheduled to be launched early in 1981 with the purpose of completing an all-sky survey in the infrared wavelengths from 8 to 120 microns and to observe objects of special interest. The mission design is driven by thermal constraints primarily determined by the Sun and Earth; the orbit and survey strategy must be chosen so as to satisfy the mission requirements before the cryogenic system is depleted of its liquid helium. Computer graphics help the designer choose valid survey strategies and evaluate resulting sky coverage.

  6. Spherical Panorama Visualization of Astronomical Data with Blender and Python (United States)

    Kent, Brian R.


    We describe methodology to generate 360 degree spherical panoramas of both 2D and 3D data. The techniques apply to a variety of astronomical data types - all sky maps, 2D and 3D catalogs as well as planetary surface maps. The results can be viewed in a desktop browser or interactively with a mobile phone or tablet. Static displays or panoramic video renderings of the data can be produced. We review the Python code and usage of the 3D Blender software for projecting maps onto 3D surfaces and the various tools for distributing visualizations.

  7. 3D Visualization of Machine Learning Algorithms with Astronomical Data (United States)

    Kent, Brian R.


    We present innovative machine learning (ML) methods using unsupervised clustering with minimum spanning trees (MSTs) to study 3D astronomical catalogs. Utilizing Python code to build trees based on galaxy catalogs, we can render the results with the visualization suite Blender to produce interactive 360 degree panoramic videos. The catalogs and their ML results can be explored in a 3D space using mobile devices, tablets or desktop browsers. We compare the statistics of the MST results to a number of machine learning methods relating to optimization and efficiency.

  8. Astronomical Observations Astronomy and the Study of Deep Space

    CERN Document Server


    Our Search for knowledge about the universe has been remarkable, heartbreaking, fantastical, and inspiring, and this search is just beginning. Astronomical Observations is part of a 7 book series that takes readers through a virtual time warp of our discovery. From the nascent space programs of the 1960's to today's space tourism and the promise of distant planet colonization, readers will be transfixed. Throughout this journey of the mind, Earth-bound explorers gain keen insight into the celestial phenomena that have fascinated humans for centuries. Thrilling narratives about indefatigable sc

  9. Training telescope operators and support astronomers at Paranal

    CERN Document Server

    Boffin, Henri M J; Anderson, Joe; Pino, Andres; de Wit, Willem-Jan; Girard, Julien H V


    The operations model of the Paranal Observatory relies on the work of efficient staff to carry out all the daytime and nighttime tasks. This is highly dependent on adequate training. The Paranal Science Operations department (PSO) has a training group that devises a well-defined and continuously evolving training plan for new staff, in addition to broadening and reinforcing courses for the whole department. This paper presents the training activities for and by PSO, including recent astronomical and quality control training for operators, as well as adaptive optics and interferometry training of all staff. We also present some future plans.

  10. Training telescope operators and support astronomers at Paranal (United States)

    Boffin, Henri M. J.; Gadotti, Dimitri A.; Anderson, Joe; Pino, Andres; de Wit, Willem-Jan; Girard, Julien H. V.


    The operations model of the Paranal Observatory relies on the work of efficient staff to carry out all the daytime and nighttime tasks. This is highly dependent on adequate training. The Paranal Science Operations department (PSO) has a training group that devises a well-defined and continuously evolving training plan for new staff, in addition to broadening and reinforcing courses for the whole department. This paper presents the training activities for and by PSO, including recent astronomical and quality control training for operators, as well as adaptive optics and interferometry training of all staff. We also present some future plans.

  11. Progress on the research work of astronomical constants:IAU 2009 astronomical constant system%天文常数研究的进展——IAU 2009天文常数系统

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)



    -satellite imaging obtained with the imaging system on the vehicle and Earth-based astrometric observations of natural satellites. The physical character of the planetary system will be studied if there are other instruments on the vehicle.(3) The MHB 2000 nutation model was adopted by the IAU in 2003. Meantime under the modified ellipticity profile of second-order accuracy for the non-hydrostatic and anelastic earth, including atmosphere and ocean, a nutation model and series were given by a group at SHAO. The effect of differential rotation between each layer in the earth's interior to nutation is also considered. With the Martian exploration project implemented by space agencies in many countries the Martian nutation has been studied. The contribution on this topic will be also made by this group in the future.In brief, the determination of astronomical constants is a long-term work. This work should be combined with other research work, such as the compilation of planetary ephemeris,determination of earth's gravitational field etc..%回顾了1900年以来LAU采用天文常数系统的简况,以及一些天文常数之间的数学关系,并描述了以前每次改变天文常数系统的主要因为.介绍了1991年以来IAU在天文常数方面的工作:包括IAU天文常数工作组和天文常数最佳估计值的情况.叙述了IAU 2009年天文常数系统替代IAU 1976天文常数系统的因为:随着人类对太阳系的探测,获得新的天文常数测定值;1991年以来在相对论框架下BCRS和GCRS的使用;P03岁差模型和MHB2000章动模型的采用.比较了IAU2009和1976天文常数系统的差异.最后介绍中国在天文常数方面工作的情况和今后工作的建议.

  12. Instrumental images: the visual rhetoric of self-presentation in Hevelius's Machina Coelestis. (United States)

    Vertesi, Janet


    This article places the famous images of Johannes Hevelius's instruments in his Machina Coelestis (1673) in the context of Hevelius's contested cometary observations and his debate with Hooke over telescopic sights. Seen thus, the images promote a crafted vision of Hevelius's astronomical practice and skills, constituting a careful self-presentation to his distant professional network and a claim as to which instrumental techniques guarantee accurate observations. Reviewing the reception of the images, the article explores how visual rhetoric may be invoked and challenged in the context of controversy, and suggests renewed analytical attention to the role of laboratory imagery in instrumental cultures in the history of science.

  13. Achievements of the Armenian Astronomy and the Present Activities of the Armenian Astronomical Society (United States)

    Mickaelian, A. M.


    A report is given on the achievements of the Armenian astronomy during the last years and on the present activities of the Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS). ArAS membership, ArAS electronic newsletters (ArASNews), ArAS webpage, international collaboration, Armenian Virtual Observatory (ArVO), membership in international organizations, grants, prizes, meetings, summer schools, astronomical Olympiads, other matters related to astronomical education, archaeoastronomy, astronomy outreach and ArAS further projects are discussed.

  14. Point Spread Functions in Identification of Astronomical Objects from Poisson Noised Image


    F. Mojzis; Kukal, J.; J. Svihlik


    This article deals with modeling of astronomical objects, which is one of the most fundamental topics in astronomical science. Introduction part is focused on problem description and used methods. Point Spread Function Modeling part deals with description of basic models used in astronomical photometry and further on introduction of more sophisticated models such as combinations of interference, turbulence, focusing, etc. This paper also contains a~way of objective function definition based o...

  15. The creation of the International Astronomical Union as a result of scientific diplomacy (United States)

    Saint-Martin, Arnaud


    After World War I, the foundation of the International Astronomical Union delimited a space for a new form of internationality, which led to a rapid change in the way astronomical research had previously been pursued. This structure was to be a sort of parliament of astronomical nations which planned to supervise scientific programs and to rationalise inter-observatory cooperation. In this article, I will discuss the sociological aspects of this institutional process and introduce the idea of `scientific diplomacy'.

  16. Contingency, convergence and hyper-astronomical numbers in biological evolution. (United States)

    Louis, Ard A


    Counterfactual questions such as "what would happen if you re-run the tape of life?" turn on the nature of the landscape of biological possibilities. Since the number of potential sequences that store genetic information grows exponentially with length, genetic possibility spaces can be so unimaginably vast that commentators frequently reach of hyper-astronomical metaphors that compare their size to that of the universe. Re-run the tape of life and the likelihood of encountering the same sequences in such hyper-astronomically large spaces is infinitesimally small, suggesting that evolutionary outcomes are highly contingent. On the other hand, the wide-spread occurrence of evolutionary convergence implies that similar phenotypes can be found again with relative ease. How can this be? Part of the solution to this conundrum must lie in the manner that genotypes map to phenotypes. By studying simple genotype-phenotype maps, where the counterfactual space of all possible phenotypes can be enumerated, it is shown that strong bias in the arrival of variation may explain why certain phenotypes are (repeatedly) observed in nature, while others never appear. This biased variation provides a non-selective cause for certain types of convergence. It illustrates how the role of randomness and contingency may differ significantly between genetic and phenotype spaces.

  17. The Production Rate and Employment of Ph.D. Astronomers

    CERN Document Server

    Metcalfe, Travis S


    In an effort to promote self-regulation of the astronomy job market, I examine the supply of, and demand for, astronomers over time. On the supply side, I document the production rate of Ph.D. astronomers from 1970 to 2006 using the UMI Dissertation Abstracts database, along with data from other independent sources. I compare the long-term trends in Ph.D. production with federal astronomy research funding over the same time period, and I demonstrate that additional funding is correlated with higher subsequent Ph.D. production. On the demand side, I monitor the changing patterns of employment using statistics about the number and types of jobs advertised in the AAS Job Register from 1984 to 2006. Finally, I assess the sustainability of the job market by normalizing this demand by the annual Ph.D. production. The most recent data suggest that there are now annual advertisements for about one postdoctoral job, half a faculty job, and half a research/support position for every new domestic Ph.D. recipient in astr...

  18. Celestial delights the best astronomical events through 2020

    CERN Document Server

    Reddy, Francis


    Celestial Delights is the essential 'TV Guide' for the sky. Through extensive graphics integrated with an eight-year-long calendar of sky events, it provides a look at "don't miss" sky events, mostly for naked-eye and binocular observing. It is organized by ease of observation – lunar phases and the brighter planets come first, with solar eclipses, the aurora, and comets coming later. This third edition also includes a hefty dose of sky lore, astronomical history, and clear overviews of current science. It provides a handy reference to upcoming naked-eye events, with information broken out in clear and simple diagrams and tables that are cross-referenced against a detailed almanac for each year covered. This book puts a variety of information all in one place, presents it in a friendly way that does not require prior in-depth astronomical knowledge, and provides the context and historical background for understanding events that astronomy software or web sites lack.

  19. Blind Astrometric Calibration of Arbitrary Astronomical Images (United States)

    Lang, Dustin; Hogg, David W.; Mierle, Keir; Blanton, Michael; Roweis, Sam


    We have built a reliable and robust system that takes as input an astronomical image, and returns as output the pointing, scale, and orientation of that image (the astrometric calibration or World Coordinate System information). The system requires no first guess, and works with the information in the image pixels alone; that is, the problem is a generalization of the "lost in space" problem in which nothing—not even the image scale—is known. After robust source detection is performed in the input image, asterisms (sets of four or five stars) are geometrically hashed and compared to pre-indexed hashes to generate hypotheses about the astrometric calibration. A hypothesis is only accepted as true if it passes a Bayesian decision theory test against a null hypothesis. With indices built from the USNO-B catalog and designed for uniformity of coverage and redundancy, the success rate is >99.9% for contemporary near-ultraviolet and visual imaging survey data, with no false positives. The failure rate is consistent with the incompleteness of the USNO-B catalog; augmentation with indices built from the Two Micron All Sky Survey catalog brings the completeness to 100% with no false positives. We are using this system to generate consistent and standards-compliant meta-data for digital and digitized imaging from plate repositories, automated observatories, individual scientific investigators, and hobbyists. This is the first step in a program of making it possible to trust calibration meta-data for astronomical data of arbitrary provenance.

  20. Astronomical Heritage and Aboriginal People: Conflicts and Possibilities (United States)

    Martín López, Alejandro


    In this presentation we will address the issues relating to the astronomical heritage of contemporary aboriginal groups and othe minorities. We will deal specially with the intangible astronomical heritage and their particularities. We will study (from the ethnographic experience with Aboriginal groups, Creoles and Europeans in the Argentine Chaco) the conflicts referring to the different ways, in which the native's knowledge and practice are categorized by the natives themselves, by the scientists, the state politicians, the professional artists and NGOs. We will address several cases to illustrate this kind of conflicts. We will analyze the complexities of patrimonial policies when it are applied to practices and representations of contemporary communities involved in power relations with national states and the global system. The essentialization of identities, the folklorization of representations and practices, the fossilization of aboriginal peoples are some of the risks of give the label of "cultural heritage" without a careful consideration of each specific case.In particular we will suggest possible forms by which he international scientific community could collaborate to improve the agenda of national states instead of reproducing colonial prejudices. In this way we will contribute to promote the respect for ethnic and religious minorities.