Hubble and Me and You

Hubble and Me and You

I barely scratched the surface of what the Hubble Space Telescope has achieved this quarter century, and yet somehow I have found myself in a position to where I make the majority of my income sharing the profound stories of science, exploration, collaboration and innovation that this remarkable observatory has taken on.

M82 The Cigar Galaxy

M82 The Cigar Galaxy

This beautiful starburst galaxy resides 12 million light-years away from us, yet is the closest galaxy of its type to our Milky Way galaxy. Its designation as a starburst galaxy leaves little to the imagination as to what’s happening inside, where stars are forming around 10 times faster than they are in our galaxy.

Pint in the Sky – Dark Matter

Alan and Katie have decided to bring back Pint in the Sky after going on hiatus for a few months! For their triumphant return, our favourite pub-going astrophysicists decide to tackle the ominously named “Dark Matter.”

Partial Solar Eclipse – 23 October 2014

Here in Los Angeles, we’re pretty fortunate to have sunny skies the majority of the time, so when our Moon’s position is slightly placed between the line of sight between us and the Sun, it’s quite a big deal!   Today, this partial solar eclipse will occur starting at 2:10 p.m., be at its maximum at around 3:30 p.m. and then finally finish at 4:40 p.m. (all Pacific Daylight Time). During this eclipse, I will be on location at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California to broadcast a live view of the eclipse in its entirety. Dr. Thad Szabo will be conducting his regular lecture, but instead of in the hall, he’ll be gathering his students to directly observe the eclipse through filtered telescopes while also providing a special stream into our broadcast through a Coronado PST telescope. This telescope is special in that it blocks out all light except that which is emitted in Hydrogen Alpha, a particularly red-looking light that occurs when an electron falls from its third energy level to its second energy level, releasing a photon that has a precise frequency of 656.28 nm. This allows us to see the beautiful features on the surface of our star and will be even more beautiful when we watch the Moon travel across it. Joining me for commentary is Dr. Katie Mack from Melbourne Australia, who is waking up early to help explain the science of eclipses in all their forms to us while on air! The official event page is over on Google+, where the video stream will be embedded but also gives the opportunity for people to add...

Space Fan News! #138

    Stray light is affecting my favourite spacecraft while Hubble is being allocated to help out New Horizons, but to do what? Hello Space Fans! Welcome to another edition of Space Fan News! With just over a year left until New Horizons arrives at Pluto, the Hubble Space Telescope has once again been called into action to aid the mission. The New Horizons spacecraft launched in January of 2006. Since then, Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf planet and four additional moons have been discovered, so what’s Hubble going to be doing? Well New Horizons is a flyby mission, meaning it won’t be orbiting its target like Cassini does with Saturn. This leaves a great opportunity for New Horizons to achieve: to survey Kuiper Belt Objects. The Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee has given the green light to observe areas in New Horizon’s flight path to look for these cold and icy objects beyond Pluto. Now KBOs are small and dark, but Hubble has the ability to detect objects that are relatively large, which would be prime candidates for New Horizons to visit after it leaves Pluto. The Hubble Team will be surveying a small area of the sky in that direction, moving with the estimated movement of the Kuiper Belt Objects, meaning that if KBOs are detected, they will look fairly stationary as the background stars streak across the frame in the background. KBOs in New Horizon’s flight path may be no larger than the isle of Manhattan and have very low albedo, meaning that it’s not very reflective of light and even more difficult...
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