NOAO Home Page News Archive
The last 5 news items that have appeared on the NOAO Home Page.
October 16, 2017
Image Credit: Babak Tafreshi; Inset: Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital, Inc.
That Gold on Your Finger May Be Dust from a Neutron Star
Telescopes pinpoint optical glow of a binary neutron star merger detected in gravitational waves
The precious elements in our Earth-bound bling are thought to have been forged in ancient fiery cataclysms, when pairs of neutron stars spiraled together and merged into black holes. Telescopes at CTIO recently pinpointed and studied the light from such a merger. The first optical counterpart to a gravitational wave detection, the discovery confirms that merging neutron star binaries are indeed major cosmic production sites of rare heavy elements.
October 02, 2017
Image Credit: Yuri Zvezdny, Russia
2017 International Earth & Sky Photo Contest Winners
A stunning collection of images showcased in the 8th International Earth & Sky Photo Contest highlights the beauty of the night sky and the battle with light pollution. The contest is a collaboration between NOAO, the World at Night (TWAN), and Global Astronomy Month, a program of Astronomers Without Borders (AWB). NOAO astronomer Connie Walker, recent president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and director of the Globe at Night program, served as one of the contest judges.
September 13, 2017
Image Credit: Russell Kightley; Inset: P. Marenfeld/NOAO/AURA/NSF and E. Acosta/LSST/AURA/NSF
Supernova Survivor Flung Far from Home
Although most supernovae completely obliterate the exploding white dwarf, one unusual white dwarf appears to be a fragment of a ‘failed’ explosion. Ejected by the explosion with a speed high enough to escape the Galaxy, the star’s atmosphere is much like the core material of a once massive white dwarf. Forensic spectra taken with the KPNO Mayall telescope helped astronomers reconstruct the star’s perilous past.
August 30, 2017
Image Credits: left – T. Abbott & NOAO/AURA/NSF; right – A. Alishevskikh
House-Sized Near Earth Objects Rarer Than We Thought
In 2013 a house-sized meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. How many similar-sized rocks have orbits that bring them close to the Earth? A new study answers that question using the Dark Energy Camera on the CTIO Blanco telescope. The result — by a research team that includes NOAO astronomers Lori Allen, Frank Valdes, David Herrera, and Jayadev Rajagopal — lends new insights into the nature and origin of small meteors.
August 03, 2017
Background Image: R. Hahn; Inset: C. Chang, Kavli Institute, and the DES collaboration.
70-26-4: The Cosmic Mix Confirmed
New results from the Dark Energy Survey confirm that the Universe is mostly made of dark energy (70%) and dark matter (26%), with normal baryonic matter comprising just a smidge (4%). In other words, the Universe is mostly made of stuff we don’t understand! The results of the survey, which is being carried out with DECam on the CTIO Blanco telescope, were derived from high precision maps of gravitational lensing and large scale structure.