Telescope

Laser eyed to remove space junk

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 15, 2011   View Article

NASA-affiliated scientists have proposed using a low-powered, ground-based laser to nudge pieces of space debris off of collision courses with each other.

The proposal, presented in a paper submitted to Advances in Space Research and posted to arXiv.org, is a low-cost solution to the growing problem of space junk.

Kleopatra gave birth to twins … moons

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 23, 2011   View Article

Kleopatra, a dog-bone shaped asteroid named after the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, is a pile of rubble that spawned twin moons about 100 million years ago, astronomers announced in a new study.

The discovery stems from detailed observations of 135-mile-long Kleopatra with the Keck II telescope in Hawaii made in 2008 that confirmed the asteroid’s dog-bone shape and the presence of two moons, each about 5 miles wide.

SETI: 50 years of searching for ET

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: April 26, 2010   View Article

Somewhere out there, alien civilizations might be communicating with each other. They might even be trying to contact us. Fifty years ago, this reasoning compelled astronomer Frank Drake to point a radio telescope at the stars and listen for chatter. He didn’t hear E.T. calling us, calling home, or calling anywhere else during his four-month-long experiment at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, W.Va., but the effort officially kicked off what is known as SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Top 11 planet-hunting telescopes

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: December 7, 2009   View Article

What’s a “planet”? That common term sparked an uncommon controversy when scientists announced the discovery of what they believed to be a much-fabled Planet X out beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The icy world, which was initially nicknamed Xena and was later dubbed Eris, is more massive than Pluto. That finding prompted the International Astronomical Union to reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet and designate all Plutolike objects beyond Neptune as plutoids.

As the planethood debate continues, astronomers also continue to probe the skies with the latest and greatest telescope technologies, learning more and more about distant worlds.

NASA Moon “Bombings” Friday: Sky Show, Water Expected

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 8, 2009   View Article

With its “bombing” of the moon early Friday, NASA’s LCROSS mission may beat a telltale signature of water out of a shadowy crater—and all you may need to see it is a good backyard telescope.

LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) and its rocket will begin slamming into the South Pole just after 4:30 a.m. PT.

NASA Moon “Bombings” Friday: Sky Show, Water Expected

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 8, 2009   View Article

With its “bombing” of the moon early Friday, NASA’s LCROSS mission may beat a telltale signature of water out of a shadowy crater—and all you may need to see it is a good backyard telescope.

LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) and its rocket will begin slamming into the South Pole just after 4:30 a.m. PT.

Big science projects on the edge of doability

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: May 21, 2009   View Article

The Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, forever changed how humanity views the cosmos. Along the way, the observatory has opened eyes to the expansion of the universe, the evolution of stars and the beginning of time. As Hubble’s expiration date nears, what’s next in the realm of big science? Check out seven projects that a consortia of scientists, government agencies, and private corporations are working on hard to get off the ground. Technological and budgetary hurdles may prove insurmountable for some.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach