“The Zwicky Transient Facility, which found the new green comet, provides a preview of what to expect from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, a gigantic facility currently under construction in Chile. Once operational in 2024, it will be the biggest survey telescope ever built, opening up a whole new era of cosmic understanding. “
News Category: Media
Earth’s Orbit Is About to Get More Crowded
Sometime this coming March, a network of 10 small satellites winged with solar panels is scheduled to launch into Earth’s low orbit. Though likely invisible to the naked eye, the satellites will be part of a future herd of hundreds that, according to the Space Development Agency, or SDA, will bolster the United States’ defense capabilities.
Ideas for finding ET are getting more inventive
The seven-year photobomb: Distant star’s dimming was likely a ‘dusty’ companion getting in the way, astronomers say
UW doctoral student Anastasios “Andy” Tzanidakis announced the discovery of a rare type of binary star system. Tzanidakis and Dr. James Davenport, a UW research assistant professor of astronomy and associate director of the DiRAC Institute, were investigating why the star Gaia17bpp had gradually brightened over a 2 1/2-year period. In some investigative follow-up work, which involved examining decades of observations of Gaia17bpp, they determined that the star itself was not changing. Instead, according to the data, Gaia17bpp is likely part of a rare type of binary star system, and its apparent brightening was the end a years-long eclipse by a stellar companion that is — quite simply — dusty. Gaia17bpp’s likely companion is slow-moving and surrounded by a disk of unknown material.
Catching this eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and indicates that this type of system may be more common than previously known. If so, scientists will need to develop theories of how such an unusual stellar pairing arose – because right now, that’s not easy to do.
Here is a link to the full story:
From Artemis to Webb, take a look back — and a look ahead — at the year’s top trends in aerospace
A few years from now, we just might look back at 2022 as Year One for a new age in aerospace: It was the year when NASA’s next-generation space telescope delivered the goods, when NASA’s moon rocket aced its first flight test, and when an all-electric passenger plane built from the ground up took to the skies.
Big Data in the Night Sky
In conversation with James Davenport and 2022 DiRAC Research Prize recipients read more about Vera C. Rubin Observatory and important role of the scientists at the UW’s DiRAC Institute.
NASA’s new telescope shows star death, dancing galaxies
King5 talks with Thomas Quinn, UW Astronomy, about James Webb Space Telescope’s new images released on July 12th by NASA.
How ‘Big Data’ could help SETI researchers intensify the search for alien civilizations
University of Washington astronomer James Davenport and his colleagues lay out the plan in a research paper submitted to the arXiv pre-print server this month. The idea is also the subject of a talk that Davenport’s giving this week at the Breakthrough Discuss conference in California.
Astronomers discover a rare ’black widow’ binary, with the shortest orbit yet
In partnership with the news team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the UW News office has posted a story about a rare and mysterious star system discovered by a team of astronomers and reported in a paper published this morning in Nature. The researchers report that the system appears to be a “black widow binary” — consisting of a rapidly spinning neutron star, or pulsar, that is circling and slowly consuming a smaller companion star, just as its arachnid namesake does to its mate.
UW Space Dialogue with Meredith Rawls
Astronomy, satellites, and the future of our sky
Join us Thursday, May 5th at Noon PDT on Zoom
We are witnessing a new era as skies fill with thousands of low-Earth-orbit satellites that reflect sunlight. Observational astronomy at all wavelengths is increasingly affected, and so is the shared human experience of the night sky. For optical ground-based astronomy, the impacts of satellites are worst for large wide-field facilities. One urgent example is Rubin Observatory in Chile, which will begin a ten-year sky survey in 2024. I will discuss how satellite streaks can impede discovery, and share recent studies that aim to better quantify this. Finally, I will describe the work underway by a dedicated international team to understand, disseminate, and mitigate the impacts across the electromagnetic spectrum for increasingly broad groups of stakeholders.
Meredith Rawls is a research scientist in the Department of Astronomy and DiRAC Institute at UW. She writes software and data pipelines to handle terabytes of nightly images from Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time, which will produce the highest resolution movie of the night sky ever made. Her background is in stellar astrophysics, and she earned her PhD from New Mexico State University. Lately she studies the plethora of newly-launched commercial satellites in the hopes observers worldwide don’t lose the sky. She has served on and chaired working groups and coauthored reports for numerous astronomy workshops on satellite constellations, and she is spearheading the SatHub initiative at the new International Astronomical Union Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference.