Sturm Lecture Events

Every year, the Astronomy Department is lucky enough to host a prestigious member of the astronomical community for a day or two of astronomical events. The events are centered around a public lecture which draws hundreds of attendees each year. … Continue reading

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Department Holiday Party 2013

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Wesleyan Students Attend Astronomy Conference at Vassar College

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Wesleyan astronomy students and faculty traveled to Vassar College for the 24th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium (KNAC), held on October 25 and 26, 2013. About 85 astronomy faculty and students attended the one-day symposium, … Continue reading

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Ring Nebula with the 24″ Telescope

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Last night the Introductory Astronomy (ASTR155) class took over the CCD imager on the 24″ telescope.  We checked out a colorful binary star system, Albireo, through different filters and saw the stars change their relative brightnesses as we switched from … Continue reading

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24″ Mirror, before and after

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We’ll post more pictures of the reinstallation process soon, but for now, here’s a quick comparison of the mirror before re-aluminization and after. Before: After:

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Re-aluminizing the 24″ Perkin Telescope Mirror

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Periodically, telescopes need to have their mirrors cleaned and coated with a new layer of shiny aluminum. Here are some photos of the removal of the 24″ mirror and preparation to ship it off for re-aluminizing on May 9th, 2013. … Continue reading

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First light for radio telescope!

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The students in Wesleyan’s upper-level Radio Astronomy course have spent the semester assembling a Small Radio Telescope (SRT), designed by Alan Rogers at Haystack Observatory. Today the newest member of Wes’s telescopic arsenal saw first light! We employed the total … Continue reading

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Possible Aurora Tonight!

Central Connecticut is right on the edge of accuweather’s predicted optimal viewing zone for an auroral display on earth tonight. The remains of a solar storm will be sweeping by, hopefully right around sunset on the east coast. Keep an … Continue reading

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Up On Top of the Volcano, Down in the Submillimeter Valley

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Where engineers build their telescopes, astronomers will inevitably come. One of the great perks of having a career path associated with the night sky is the opportunity to visit places where the stars I study shine the brightest. Thanks to … Continue reading

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Black Holes aplenty

When galaxies collide, they produce some impressive displays. They also can produce quite a few new black holes. A recent press release from the Chandra X-ray Observatory provides a beautiful example of this phenomenon.

NGC 922 is a nearby galaxy undergoing some extreme star formation due to a recent interaction. The above image is a composite from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The bright red blobs are X-ray point sources, mostly black holes. The press release linked above contains more details, but for those really interested, you can find the paper at this link. (Caveat: Wesleyan professor Roy Kilgard is a co-author on the paper.)

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