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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Solar Eclipse of Nov. 13, 2012

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Amy Steele, a first year MA student viewed the solar eclipse of Nov. 13, 2012, from northern Australia and sent along the attached photo. She was part of a team hoping to make measurements during totality but it looks like … Continue reading

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Astronomy Talk: The Beauty of the Universe as Revealed by Hubble, October 25th at 8pm

The Astronomy Department and the Center for the Arts are pleased to sponsor a special talk by Lisa Frattare (G ’96) of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD.
Her talk is entitled “The Beauty of the Universe as Revealed by Hubble”.

Lisa Frattare has been a member of the Hubble Heritage Project since 1997. En route to illuminating the forces shaping our cosmos, the Hubble Space Telescope has accumulated a cosmic zoo.  The Hubble Heritage Project sees this instrument also as a tool for extending human vision, one that is capable of building a bridge between the endeavors of scientists and the public.  Hubble Heritage images have been featured in many venues, including as U.S. and U.K. postage stamps.  In this illustrated talk, Ms. Frattare will pique our awe and curiosity about the universe we inhabit.

A reception at the Van Vleck Observatory will follow and include viewing through the telescopes, weather-permitting.

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Wesleyan Students Speak at Undergraduate Research Symposium

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Seven students represented Wesleyan at the Fall 2012 Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium (KNAC) held at Middlebury College on Sept. 21. All of them presented talks on their summer research projects to an audience of about … Continue reading

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