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NEW PODCAST:Galaxy Zoo 2 – Do Bars Kill Spirals? March 21, 2011

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http://365daysofastronomy.org/2011/03/21/march-21st-galaxy-zoo-2-do-bars-kill-spirals/


Description: Chris and Karen discuss the first results from Galaxy Zoo 2 classifications, which looks at the types of spiral galaxies that host bars and what that might mean for their future.

Bios: Chris and Karen are English astronomers invoved in Galaxy Zoo.

Chris Lintott is a researcher who is involved in a number of popular science projects aimed at bringing astronomical science to a wider audience. He is the co-presenter of Patrick Moore’s BBC series “The Sky at Night” and a co-author of the book Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe with Patrick Moore and Queen guitarist Brian May. He is one of the principal investigators for the Galaxy Zoo project, and runs Zooniverse projects which allow you to help scientists explore the Universe. Chris is now the Director of Citizen Science Initiatives at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

Karen Masters is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation and the University of Portsmouth, UK (and SEPnet; www.sepnet.ac.uk). She has been involved in Galaxy Zoo since 2008 and has spent most of her time producing scientific research from the classifications, but also contributes to the Galaxy Zoo Blog (http://blogs.zooniverse.org/galaxyzoo/author/karen). She is also the Public Engagement Co-ordinator for the LOFAR-UK (www.lofar-uk.org) project — the UK contribution to the next generation radio telescope, LOFAR (www.lofar.org).

Today’s sponsor: This episode of “365 Days of Astronomy” is sponsored by the Physics Department at Eastern Illinois University: “Caring faculty guiding students through teaching and research” at www.eiu.edu/~physics/

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Fermi finds New Gamma Ray Structure in our Galaxy November 9, 2010

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Galaxy.
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NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has unveiled a previously unseen structure at 90 degrees to the plane in the Milky Way. The feature spans 50,000 light-years . Previous satellites had shown hints in the x-ray part of the spectra, but scientist discovered the new structures while processing the whole sky data.

Gamma ray lobes from the galaxy center

These structures extend 25,000 light years above and below the plane of the galaxy, possible expalnatiion may be high energy electrons that were emmited in the past by the supermassive black hole in the galactic core. A video below shows a little more detail on this.

swd

Extreme Universe: The Most Distant Object Measured in the Universe October 21, 2010

Posted by jcconwell in Cosmology, Extreme Universe, Galaxy.
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Coming in as the most distant object with a confirmed redshift, UDFy-38135539 is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UDF) classification for a galaxy which, as of October 2010, is the most distant object from Earth known to exist in the universe. Its discovery is formally detailed in the 21 October 2010 article “Spectroscopic Confirmation of a Galaxy at Redshift z=8.6” in the journal Nature.

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Other than putting a trophy on the wall for a new record distance, what makes this object so important? To understand this, it might be better to translate this from the most distant object  to the oldest measured object. With a measured cosmological redshift of z=8.6, the object emitted the light we are seeing  about 13.1 billion years ago, or more useful here, when the universe was only 600 million years old.

Cropped Image of UDFy-38135539

What was it like in the universe at that age? Conditions were quite different back then. This epoch of time  is when the Universe went from largely neutral gas to basically ionized plasma, called reionization.

The reionization period is about the farthest back in time that astronomers can observe. The Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, created a hot, plasma filled universe. Some 400,000 years after the Big Bang, temperatures cooled, from the expanding universe,  so  electrons and protons joined to form neutral hydrogen, and the murk cleared. By about 1 billion years after the Big Bang, this neutral hydrogen began to form stars in the first galaxies, which radiated energy and reionzied the hydrogen. Radiation from the hot new stars started to clear the opaque hydrogen plasma surrounding the newly formed galaxies that filled the cosmos at this early time.

Much of any ultraviolet light from these new stars was absorbed in the gas surrounding the stars, the remainder has been redshifted down to the infrared by the expansion of the universe over 13.1 billion years.

To obtain such dim spectra, scientists turned the the VLA (Very Large Telescope).

Very Large Telescope Array

Very Large Telescope Array

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is made up of four separate optical telescopes (the Antu telescope, the Kueyen telescope, the Melipal telescope, and the Yepun telescope) organized in an array formation, built and operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at the Paranal Observatory on Cerro Paranal, a 2,635 m high mountain in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Each telescope has an 8.2 m aperture. The array is complemented by four movable Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) of 1.8 m aperture. Working together in interferometric mode, the telescopes can achieve an angular resolution of around 1 milliarcsecond, meaning it could distinguish the gap between the headlights of a car located on the Moon.

To get a spectra of such a dim object, about 4 billion times dimmer than the dimmest star you can see with the naked eye, the VLA took an exposure of about 16 hours.

NEW PODCAST: Why Go to the Zoo? March 19, 2010

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Anyone can help discover new stuff in Galaxy Zoo- but why do people bother in the first place? Jordan Raddick responds with some unexpected insight into why people donate their time for open science. Project Calliope LLC. Email: antunes@nasw.org URL: http://projectcalliope.com/ http://scientificblogging.com/sky_day— Bio: Born in the heart of a dying star (as we were all), Alex draws from his research, writing, and game design work to bring you the joy of science twice a week at ScientificBlogging.com/sky_day– and to launch the first personal science/music satellite via ProjectCalliope.com.

http://365daysofastronomy.org/2010/03/19/march-19th-why-go-to-the-zoo/

New Podcast: An Introduction to Active Galactic Nuclei February 21, 2010

Posted by jcconwell in Black Holes, Galaxy, Podcast.
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Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) are formed when enormous black holes consume material and spew out energy in jets many thousands of light-years long. This energy output, which can be up to a thousand times brighter than the galaxy itself, has a profound impact on the development of the host galaxy and its formation of new stars.

Podcaster: Olaf Davis & Renee Hlozek of the Oxford University Astrophysics Group

Bio: Olaf is a second-year PhD student in Oxford Astrophysics. His research involves computer simulations of astronomical phenomena – these include the behaviour of energetic particles around the jets of AGNs, and also the large-scale distribution of galaxies across the Universe. His blog, the Cosmic Web, is about astronomy and aimed at the layman.

Renee is in her second year, at Christ Church college Oxford, reading for a degree in Astrophysics. Her research interests include Dark Energy and decoding information contained in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Type-Ia Supernovae. She’s also interested in new methods of parameter estimation and forecasting. She’s passionate about outreach and public understanding of science.

http://365daysofastronomy.org/2010/02/21/february-21st-an-introduction-to-active-galactic-nuclei/


Cosmic Demolition Derby November 24, 2009

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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)

Galaxy Zoo visits EIU MSNS Students August 13, 2009

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If you are looking to become a citizen scientist there is no better way  than a to go the Galaxy Zoo web site and become a  “zooite”.  My graduate level Astronomy for Teachers class was lucky enough to have an introduction to the project from one of the Galaxy Zoo researchers Georgia Bracey.

Georgia Bracey explaining Galaxy Zoo

Georgia Bracey explaining Galaxy Zoo

The Galaxy Zoo files contain almost a quarter of a million galaxies which have been imaged with a camera attached to the robotic telescope from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. In order to understand how these galaxies — and our own — formed, they need your help to classify them according to their shapes — a task at which your brain is better than even the fastest computer.
Teachers Learning about Galaxy Zoo
EIU MSNS Teachers Learning about Galaxy Zoo

More than 150,000 people have taken part in Galaxy Zoo so far, producing a wealth of valuable data and sending telescopes on Earth and in space chasing after their discoveries. Zoo 2 focuses on the nearest, brightest and most beautiful galaxies. The newest project added is the HUNT FOR SUPERNOVAE . If your lucky , you could also be one of the people to be to discover whole new classes of objects like “Hanny’s Voorwerp” or the “Green Peas Galaxies

Hanny's Voorwerp (Green Object)

Hanny's Voorwerp (Green Object)

"Green Pea" Galaxies

"Green Pea" Galaxies

Galaxy ZOO 2 Up and Running! February 23, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Galaxy.
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Galaxy Zoo 2 is a GO….

https://www.galaxyzoo.org/

The original Galaxy Zoo was launched in July 2007, with a data set made up of a million galaxies imaged with the robotic telescope of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. With so many galaxies, the team thought that it might take at least two years for visitors to the site to work through them all. Within 24 hours of launch, the site was receiving 70,000 classifications an hour, and more than 50 million classifications were received by the project during its first year, from almost 150,000 people.

Galaxy Zoo 2 just started with a liitle different twist, looking at nearer galaxies. Go there to find out more and maybe you can make a new discovery like Hanny’s Voorwerp, the blue object below.

voorwerp_wht_gri