Tag archives: galaxy

Astronomy on Tap Is On!
By Joanne Calitri   |   September 13, 2022

Tune in you star trekkers, gazers, and galaxy aficionados, Las Cumbres Observatory’s (LCO) Astronomy on Tap is back on the planet every month in a new location: the outside patio at M Special Taproom on State Street. The new venue allows for the Astro on Tap monthlies to be an all-ages event, while still be […]

Observatory Hosts Friday Star Party
By Scott Craig   |   July 19, 2022

It’s globular cluster season at the Westmont observatory with this month’s viewing focusing on two conglomerations containing hundreds of thousands of stars. The free, public viewing of the stars is Friday, July 15, beginning at 7 pm and lasting several hours. Face coverings will be required at the event. Westmont hosts viewings on the third […]

New EHT Image of Sagittarius A*
By Joanne Calitri   |   June 7, 2022

Location: Earth. Star-date 75825.4 (May 12, 2022): the long suspected supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is confirmed by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team via millimeter-wave radio telescopes. Prior evidence and other phenomenon of Sgr A* was noted by astronomer Harlow Shapley in 1918, […]

Observatory Opens with Eye to the Sky
By Scott Craig   |   March 17, 2022

The Westmont Observatory opens to the public Friday, March 18, beginning at 7 pm and lasting several hours. Face coverings will be required at the event. Due to the pandemic, this is the first time in two years the observatory has been open to the public.  Westmont hosts a free, public viewing on the third […]

Of Space…
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 11, 2022

“Blasting off” is an expression which, only in recent years, has come to have a very special meaning. We are no longer talking about fireworks or even firearms, but about sending live human beings into what were once called “The Heavens” (as if there were more than one Heaven) but have now been relegated to […]

How We Study Earth and Other Planets from Space
By Tom Farr   |   June 3, 2021

Late the other night my friend Joan called from the Cachuma Lake campground and asked excitedly what the string of lights was that had just tracked across their sky. Was it a UFO? Luckily, I had heard about Elon Musk’s latest launch of about 60 small satellites as part of Starlink, a satellite-based internet. I […]

How Planetary Exploration is Helping Understand Earth a Bit Better
By Tom Farr   |   May 6, 2021

“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.”— TS Eliot After surveying our solar system, as well as thousands of others beyond our own, we can now look back at our home planet with a new perspective, that […]

Beyond Our Solar System
By Tom Farr   |   April 15, 2021

Twenty years ago, there would have been nothing to write about under this topic. There were no known planets circling stars beyond our own. But in 2009 a revolution happened with NASA’s launch of the Kepler telescope. Within a few years, Kepler had found so many planets that scientists realized that there were more planets […]

Our Solar System: The Leftovers
By Tom Farr   |   March 25, 2021

We all learned in school that there are eight planets (well, nine if you’re as old as I am), but our solar system is messier than that. There are millions of leftover rocks called asteroids; bits of ice and rock that come and go called comets; and objects out there beyond Neptune called, in dry […]

Our Solar System: Uranus and Neptune
By Tom Farr   |   March 11, 2021

Uranus and Neptune, the twin ice giants of the solar system, are so far out there that they’ve only been visited once by Voyager 2 in 1986 and 1989. They’re so far away that light from the Sun takes two-and-a half hours to reach Uranus and over four hours to touch Neptune. For those reasons, […]

Our Solar System: Saturn
By Tom Farr   |   February 18, 2021

30 June 2004, 7:30 pm. The VIP room at JPL is quiet as we all watch a thin line trace horizontally across the big screen at the front of the room. It’s the radio signal from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it speeds toward Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) after seven years in transit. JPL invites some […]

Our Solar System: Jupiter
By Tom Farr   |   February 11, 2021

March 9, 1979 and Voyager 1 had just left the Jupiter system en route to its rendezvous with Saturn. Linda Morabito, the cognizant engineer for the navigation team, noticed something odd about one of the images of Jupiter’s moon Io: There was a ghost image protruding from the side of the moon. She was using […]

Our Solar System: Mars
By Tom Farr   |   January 28, 2021

On July 20, 1976, seven years to the day after humans first walked on the moon, a bunch of us new employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory trooped over to Caltech’s Beckman auditorium (the one that looks like a circus tent) to see the first landing of a spacecraft on another planet. Viking 1 was […]

Our Solar System: Venus
By Tom Farr   |   January 7, 2021

I was already in the Science Team room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the second cycle of radar images of the surface of Venus were beamed down in May of 1991. I waited impatiently for the five-inch print roll to start spooling out. The first cycle had gone well and most of Venus’s surface […]

Our Solar System: Mercury
By Tom Farr   |   December 31, 2020

As a kid I was always picking up rocks and wondering at the diversity of them all. Where did they come from? And family camping trips gave me a sampling of the varied landscapes of California and the West. When I found out I could combine my love of the outdoors with the study of […]

Black Holes and Dark Matter News
By Joanne Calitri   |   April 18, 2019

On April 10, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) scientists historically released the first image of a black hole they have taken using observations of the center of the galaxy M87, a massive galaxy in the constellation of Virgo. This black hole is located 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times larger […]