Astronomy: January 2011 Archives

What is a Galaxy? Cast Your Vote Here

"Our aim here is to promote further discussion of how to define a galaxy and, in particular, what separates it from a star cluster. Like most previous definitions, we adopt the requirement of a gravitationally bound stellar system as a minimum ... we give our favoured criteria, and in the spirit of a 'collective wisdom', invite readers to vote on their preferred definition of a galaxy via a dedicated website. ... In order to capture the thoughts of a wider audience about how to define a galaxy, we invite readers to vote. This 'collective wisdom' or 'crowd-sourcing' will be captured in an online poll. The poll allows one to choose the single best criterion or multiple criteria. Results of the poll will be reported from time to time at future astronomy conferences."

Hubble Zooms In on a Space Oddity

"One of the strangest space objects ever seen is being scrutinized by the penetrating vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. A mysterious, glowing, green blob of gas is floating in space near a spiral galaxy. Hubble uncovered delicate filaments of gas and a pocket of young star clusters in the giant object, which is the size of our Milky Way galaxy."

Kepler Mission Discovers its First Rocky Planet

"NASA's Kepler mission confirmed the discovery of its first rocky planet, named Kepler-10b. Measuring 1.4 times the size of Earth, it is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system. The discovery of this so-called exoplanet is based on more than eight months of data collected by the spacecraft from May 2009 to early January 2010."

Quest for Dark Energy May Fade to Black, NY Times

"An ambitious $1.6 billion spacecraft that would investigate the mysterious force that is apparently accelerating the expansion of the universe -- and search out planets around other stars, to boot -- might have to be postponed for a decade, NASA says, because of cost overruns and mismanagement on a separate project, the James Webb Space Telescope. The news has dismayed many American astronomers, who worry they will wind up playing second fiddle to their European counterparts in what they say is the deepest mystery in the universe."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Astronomy category from January 2011.

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