SOFIA is more than a telescope tucked into a re-purposed commercial airliner. It's a complete flying astronomical observation platform which carries a dozen or more astronomers, observers and crew far above the clouds to observe objects and phenomena too cold to be seen in visible light.
The Obama Administration’s new budget for NASA was released last week, and calls for cuts to many space programs. But one California-based project is likely to get more money. The SOFIA flying observatory, a telescope mounted on an airplane, is considered more nimble and cost-effective than other projects. Reporter Lauren Sommer recently caught a ride as it flew over the Pacific Ocean.
Herbert Mehnert a Cline Scholar at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute spent his summer researching Comet Photometry and Morphology. Herbert was introduced to PARI by one of his college professors and jumped at the opportunity to work at the former NASA research institute.
Ever tried to count the stars in the sky on some clear, lazy night, or the kind that fall from the sky during a meteor shower? How about craters on the Moon, or distant galaxies in deep space? If you like this kind of work, there is a job for you! Several, in fact….
Scientists from the University of California are working to construct the largest telescope on Earth.
Artistic rendition of exoplanet Gilese 436 b, created in Celestia In the past fifteen years, the search for other Earths– and possibly life– outside our own solar system has taken off. As of May 2008, 293 extrasolar planets have been confirmed. Most of these planets are big, gas giants like our own Jupiter but new […]
Since 1995, astronomers have identified more than 200 new planets, but these planets aren't in our solar system. Known as exoplanets, they're the planets orbiting other suns and Bay Area scientists are leading the search. QUEST reports on some of the latest efforts to find new planets– and maybe even life– in outer space.
Infrared image of a zebra from the London Zoo. Credit: Steve Lowe Right now I am very excited about the possibility of working on a new small telescope in southern Utah. This telescope was funded by a private donation and will be run by the University of Utah. We even found a mountain top in […]
Making Every Photon Count Last week I went to a talk given by the leader of the Supernova Factory collaboration at LBNL. What is SN factory? This is an ambitious project to study supernovae like never before. I mentioned this project briefly in a previous post , now that they are so close to releasing […]
Last night we completed our observations for the Supernova Legacy Survey. This was a five year program to study supernovae using a 4-meter telescope in Hawaii in combination with several of the largest optical telescopes in the world. The project was headed by a group at a university in Toronto and a group at a […]
The Allen Telescope Array.When I first began to work on Quest's SETI: The Search for ET segment, I have to admit that my initial reaction was "are we still looking for ET?" Of course, humans have been gazing up to the heavens for millennia, asking ourselves that interminable question "are we alone?" And of course, […]
The original Oakland Observatory in the 1880’s, at Lafayette Square in Oakland. Credit: Chabot Space & Science Center archives.This year marks an anniversary for the astronomical heritage of Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area: Chabot Observatory turns 125! Originally established as the Oakland Observatory in 1883, the facility was a unique creature from the […]
Extreme close-up of the Sun's visible surface, showing 'bubbling' cells of convecting gas–each the size of Northern California. credit: Hinode JAXA/NASA/PPARCBy all accounts, a new cycle-Cycle 24-in solar activity has begun… something you probably didn't notice since the beginning of a solar cycle is quite subtle…. First things first: what is a solar cycle, and […]