How to Safely View the Eclipse
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Barbara Gruber
3M ago
Are you planning on viewing the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024?  Please make sure you are doing so safely.  Do not look directly at the sun unless you are using special-purpose solar filters.  Below are a few ways you can safely observe the solar eclipse.   What is an Eclipse? Visit our Eclipse Basics page to learn about the different types of Eclipses.  Solar Filters The safest way to view a solar eclipse is to use special-purpose solar filters, like eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Remember the only safe time to look at the sun without solar filters is ..read more
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Eclipses and Exoplanets
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Barbara Gruber
3M ago
Transit Method  When a planet passes directly between a star and its observer, it dims the star’s light by a measurable amount. The transit method is a technique used in astronomy to detect exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system. This method involves observing the slight decrease in brightness of a star when a planet passes in front of it, causing a temporary “mini-eclipse” known as a transit. Interestingly, we can draw parallels between the transit method and a solar eclipse to explain how it works: Solar Eclipse: In a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Earth and ..read more
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Learning Shines Brightly at SuperKnova
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
4M ago
SuperKnova is a project to provide learning opportunities in radio technology for students in a way that is inclusive and equitable. Originally conceived at the Radio Astronomy Imaging and Analysis Lab (RADIAL), SuperKnova is a collaboration between RADIAL, NRAO, and educators and students from across the country.  The SuperKnova website has a wealth of educational resources that are free to use. You can learn about the history of radio astronomy, the physics of radio technology, and even cube satellites and ham radios! There is also a citizen science project on Sensing the World Around Y ..read more
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Owens Valley: Radio Astronomy in the Land of Sky and Stream
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
5M ago
Three million years ago the fault regions of the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains began their thunderous rise. Their sharp ridges rose, while between them formed a deep graben plain. It became a dry region rich with snowcap-fed streams. The Mono People who first came to the region called it The Land of Flowing Water. Thousands of years later, white settlers named it Owens Valley. Located in what is now Eastern California, Owens Valley is the deepest graben in the United States. The central plain is at an elevation of 4,000 feet, while mountains on either side rise as high as 14,000 feet. As a ..read more
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Hidden Giants
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
5M ago
Giant Radio Galaxies (GRGs) are radio galaxies that have grown to megaparsec scales. The Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light-years across, but GRGs span millions of light-years. They are very rare, and their large apparent size can make them difficult to detect. But University of the West Indies student Brianna Sampson suspects there are lots of these giants hidden in the radio sky. One way GRGs can form is when the powerful radio jets of a galaxy extend into a region of intergalactic space that is fairly empty. Thus, Double Radio sources associated with Active Galactic Nuclei (DRAGNs) are ..read more
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Here There Be DRAGNs
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
5M ago
Active supermassive black holes often produce powerful jets of ionized gas that stream away from their host galaxies. These jets can be seen by radio telescopes as radio lobes. Active galaxies can have one or two radio lobes, and when they have two they are known as Double-lobed Radio sources associated with Active Galactic Nuclei, or DRAGNs. The jets of most DRAGNs are symmetrical, but a few are not. These asymmetrical DRAGNs could tell us a great deal about galaxies and their surrounding environment, but identifying them can be a challenge. University of the West Indies student Kavita Gosine ..read more
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Astronomy is Metal
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
5M ago
In astronomy, “metals” refers to all the elements on the periodic table other than hydrogen and helium. That’s because the lightest two elements were formed in the earliest moments of the Big Bang and make up the vast majority of atomic matter in the cosmos. Other elements such as carbon, oxygen, iron, and gold were formed in astrophysical processes such as stellar fusion, supernovae, and colliding neutron stars. Because of this, the distribution of metals in the Milky Way tells us a lot about the history of our galaxy. Unfortunately, measuring the metallicity of the Milky Way is challenging b ..read more
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Two For One
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
5M ago
Quasars are the hearts of active galaxies. They are powered by supermassive black holes, but are so distant they appear almost point-like similar to stars, hence the term quasi-stellar objects. We now know that the most distant quasars, those with the greatest redshift, are among the earliest galaxies, so studying these quasars can tell us a great deal about how galaxies formed and evolved. In 2019, observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) found that a high-redshift quasar named J1253+1046 appeared not as one source, but as two. Anaïs Martin, an undergraduate s ..read more
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A Molecule, a Telescope, and Everything: A History of ALMA and Millimeter Astronomy
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
8M ago
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a simple molecule, just one carbon atom closely bound to one oxygen. Neither of these elements is anywhere near as abundant as those of hydrogen or helium in the Universe, but they are the next two most abundant elements, comprising a bit less than one percent of the atoms in the cosmos. And since they are formed in the nuclear furnace of large stars, carbon monoxide tends to be found in interstellar clouds where stars are forming. There are other molecules that lurk in stellar nurseries, but carbon monoxide has strong spectral lines in the millimeter wavelength range o ..read more
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Beaming With Knowledge
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
by Brian Koberlein
1y ago
Astrophysical masers are microwave lasers that occur naturally in space. They are found in regions of gas that have been heated or compressed by shock waves. Because of this, astrophysical masers are often found in molecular clouds near forming stars, where protostellar jets can collide with them and created bright beams of microwave light. Because of their intensity, masers are a powerful tool for probing regions of gas where shockwaves occur. Ionized jet and water masers in IRAS 18553+0414. Credit: Ananay Sethi. Ananay Sethi, a graduate student at New Mexico Tech, has studied masers near hi ..read more
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