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NOAO News & Reports

January 22, 2019

Milky Way's Neighbors Pick Up the Pace

Image credit: Ryan Trainor (Franklin and Marshall College)

After slowly forming stars for the first few billion years of their lives, the Magellanic Clouds, near neighbors of our own Milky Way galaxy, have upped their game and are now forming new stars at a fast clip. This new insight into the “activity history” of the Clouds comes from the first detailed chemical maps made of galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The project, carried out by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), was led by NOAO Astronomer David Nidever.

Read more in NOAO Press Release 19-03.

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January 10, 2019

Unusual Supernova Opens a Rare Window on the Collapse of a Star

D. Maturana & NOAO/AURA/NSF; Overlay (top left): NASA/Penn State University/C. Reed; (top right): NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

An unusual supernova studied by multiple telescopes, including the SOAR telescope and other telescopes at CTIO and KPNO, is thought to herald the birth of a new black hole or neutron star, caught at the exact moment of its creation.The event gives astronomers a rare glimpse into the physics at play during the creation of a black hole or neutron star.

Read more in NOAO Press Release 19-02.

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January 8, 2019

A Survey Machine and a Data Trove: Dark Energy Survey’s Rich Legacy

Image Credit: J. Najita, M. Newhouse & NOAO/AURA/NSF

Over the past six years the Dark Energy Survey has collected a rich trove of data, mapping nearly a billion objects over one-fourth of the southern sky! Carried out at CTIO, the survey explores the nature of dark energy, the mysterious form of energy that is accelerating the expansion of the Universe. Although the survey is now ending, with the final images taken this month, both the camera built for the survey and the survey data itself will continue to yield new discoveries.

Read more in NOAO Press Release 19-01.

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September 25, 2018

NSF’s Windows on the Universe Center for Astronomy Outreach at Kitt Peak

Video: M.Newhouse, J. Najita & NOAO/AURA/NSF

A new $4.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will fund the development of a new center for astronomy outreach at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Located in the iconic McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope Facility, the center will provide the public with a new way to experience the cutting-edge research carried out at Kitt Peak and NSF’s other astronomy facilities around the globe, including ground-based optical, radio, and gravitational wave facilities.

View & Share the Trailer Video
Read more in NOAO Press Release 18-03.

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February 12, 2018

New Chapter Begins for Kitt Peak Telescope

The moon illuminates the recently silvered dome of the Mayall 4m Telescope in this long exposure image taken on 6 February, 2018 during one of the last nights of observation for the the Mayall z-Band Legacy Survey (MzLS). Credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF.

Its 45-year-long assignment as an “all-purpose research tool” completed, the Mayall now embarks on a new mission: creating the largest 3D map of the cosmos. The map will help chart out the role of dark energy in the expansion history of the Universe. Over the next 15 months, the telescope will prepare for the installation of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, a massively parallel optical spectrometer capable of measuring the spectra of 5000 astronomical objects simultaneously

Read more in NOAO Press Release 18-02.

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