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Cosmic Demolition Derby November 24, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Galaxy.
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Do you like collisions…big collisions? Is the LHC smashing together little protons just not enough for you? Then wet your citizen science taste-buds on something really big. Brought to you by our friends at galaxy zoo, and debuting today, colliding galaxies!

http://mergers.galaxyzoo.org/


“The analogy I’ve been using is that it is like driving past a car crash,” said Galaxy Zoo team member Chris Lintott from Oxford University. “You get a snapshot of the action, but there are two things you want to know: what caused the crash (or what did things look like before it all went wrong), and you want to know what the outcome is going to be. We’re doing the same thing. We want to know what the galaxies looked like before the mergers started disrupting them, and we want to know how they are going to end up. Just like our other Galaxy Zoo projects, humans are much better at doing this than computers, and lots of humans are even better.” (Credit , Universe Today)

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CERN atom-smasher restarts after 14-month breakdown November 20, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, physics.
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From PhysOrg.com

 


A view of a superconducting solenoid magnet at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva. The world’s biggest atom-smasher, shut down after its inauguration in September 2008 amid technical faults, restarted on Friday, a spokesman for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research said.

The world’s biggest atom-smasher, shut down after its inauguration in September 2008 amid technical faults, restarted on Friday, a spokesman for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research said.
“The first tests of injecting sub-atomic particles began around 1600 (1500 GMT),” spokesman James Gillies told AFP.

He said the injections lasted a fraction of a second, enough for “a half or even a complete circuit” of the built in a 27-kilometre (17-mile) long tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.

(c) 2009 AFP

Astronomy Without an Astrophysics Degree (New Podcast) November 18, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Podcast.
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Our two favorite podcasters Dr Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain from “Astronomy Cast” are presenting the EIU sponsored podcast for November 17 is titled:

“Astronomy Without an Astrophysics Degree”

….But your also welcome to take my astrophysics course next semester!

Leonid Meteor Shower Information November 16, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in meteor.
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For more information go to our friends at Universe today in the link below:

http://www.universetoday.com/2009/11/16/leonids-light-up-the-night-2009-leonid-meteor-shower-information/

30″ telescope arrives at EIU! November 15, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Observatory, telescopes.
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On Thursday we got delivery of the 30″ Ritchey-Chrétien from New Mexico. The poor scope had been hit by lightning, and had been out of service for some time. But because of the work of Bob Holmes from we were able to acquire it with the University of Chicago and through Argonne National Labs. Now on to the renovations!

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Dave Linton, Bob Holmes, John Pratte, and Jim Conwell inspecting the first of four pieces of the 30" telescope mount

After we moved the four pieces to a lab, we will strip off and test the motors and the electronics to see the full extent of the lightning damage.  I’ll then supervise the students on the cleanup of the mount, getting rid of the rust and re-painting it. Don’t worry guys, the optics are already out…I may be a theoretical physicist buteven I know sandpaper and mirrors don’t mix.

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Moving the 4 pieces through the doors was at times "interesting"

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The mount in pieces on the lab floor...now the work begins

Ninad Ilic holding the 30" mirror cell

Ninad Ilic holding the 30" mirror cell

The students are eagar to get started, and when fully assembled the telescope will look like this :

rc_30_inch_4

Credit: UC Berkeley

New Home for ARI (Astronomical Research Institute) November 11, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Observatory, telescopes.
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ARI (Astronomical Research Institute) has a new home! The new location is about twelve miles outside of Charleston, Illinois. It is a darker location, and the telescopes should be able to see objects that are about .7 magnitudes dimmer. Last month was the wettest October since 1942, and after several weeks of delays , and a couple of cranes stuck in the mud,  the 32″ telescope was moved. pictures below: (Photos by J Conwell)

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getting ready to lift out the 32" mount

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Up and Out

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John Pratte walking the telescope to the trailer

Bob Holmes, ARI Director setting the 32" mount for transport

Bob Holmes, Director of ARI, preparing the 32" mount for transport

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Away it goes to its new home

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Bob Holmes guiding it into the new observatory

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Snug in its new home, just add optics and start tracking asteroids

Tuesday November 10: “Other Star Other Planets” November 9, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in IYA 2009, planets.
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IYA Poster #4a

Poster by J Boshart

IYA Talk: “OTHER STARS, OTHER PLANETS” in one week November 3, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, IYA 2009, planets.
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“OTHER STARS, OTHER PLANETS”  by Jim Kaler Ph.D. , on Tuesday November 10th, 7:00 PM , Phipps Lecture Hall , Physical Science Building. Celebrating the International Year of Astronomy

Take a tour of our Solar System. Then gaze into the heavens and  wonder if it is replicated elsewhere. Are there planets in orbit around other stars? If so, how do we find them, what are they  like? In this talk we will explore not just “extra-solar planets”  (more than 400 found), but extra-solar planetary SYSTEMS, some of
which are beginning to look a lot like our own. Are there then “earths” among the crowd, and is there life? Let the stars themselves tell the story.

exo-planet

Other Stars, Other Planets

Jim Kaler Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at U of I
Past President Astronomical Society of the Pacific, author of over 120 research articles and 20 books,
Asteroid 1998 JK was named 17853 Kaler in honor of his outreach activities, and in 2008 he received the American Astronomical Society’s Education Prize.