I was recently asked about things that spin in the universe. Planets spin. Stars spin. Galaxies spin. Why do they spin, and how do they acquire that spin? This blog post contains my response. I’m going to go through things slowly, and build up concepts, so bear with me. A spinning top [Credit: randomname123 at... Continue Reading →
The Hubble Space Telescope meets the IMAX film format in the creation of an award-winning short feature entitled "Hubble: Galaxies Across Space and Time", available for showing in IMAX theaters worldwide.
Saturn plays an inspirational role in astronomy. The simple shape of a sphere with rings around it is the quintessential drawing of a planet. The experience of viewing Saturn and its rings through a telescope for the first time is often an awe-inducing revelation. The magnificent ring system has an allure and a grandeur that... Continue Reading →
A supernova explosion is a staggering event to imagine. At the core of an evolved star, runaway nuclear processes release a tremendous amount of energy in a fraction of a second. The mass of the star is blown apart at speeds of millions of miles per hour. A vast shock wave streams across interstellar space, followed by the blast... Continue Reading →
One of the more philosophical concepts that astronomers have to deal with on an everyday basis is the commingling of space and time in astronomical images. The underlying idea is straightforward. The speed of light is finite. Light from a star or nebula or galaxy takes a measurable amount of time to cross the space... Continue Reading →
May 4th is celebrated as Star Wars Day across the internet. We who do "serious science" have always enjoyed the fictional universes of books and films, but the crossover to our work has generally been tangential. But not always! In December 2015, our news team jumped on the bandwagon and released an image with the... Continue Reading →
Each year, we celebrate the April 24, 1990, launch of the Hubble Space Telescope with a special observation. This year, for the 29th Anniversary, we wanted to highlight the combination of imaging and spectroscopy that underlies the astronomical research results. The target chosen to illustrate these ideas is the Southern Crab Nebula. This symmetric gas... Continue Reading →
The crisp, stunning images from the Hubble Space Telescope are a wonder to behold. As one can see in the image comparison below, Hubble's views are significantly higher resolution than similar images obtained by ground-based observatories. Terrestrial telescopes must look through Earth's atmosphere, which blurs the view and limits their resolution. Orbiting above Earth's atmosphere,... Continue Reading →