Saturday, 31 July 2010

Sterrekundiges verheug oor deurbraak vir SA

 Photo Caption : Prof Albert van Jaarsveld, President of the NRF (left)
and Dr Ian Corbett, General Secretary of the IAU.

Die Burger - Media 24

Kaapstad - Die wêreld se heel eerste ontwikkelingskantoor van die Internasionale Astronomiese Unie (IAU), wat aan Suid-Afrika toegeken is, kom Moederstad toe.
Dit sal by die Suid-Afrikaanse Sterrewag in Observatory in Kaapstad gehuisves word.
Dr. Ian Corbett, algemene sekretaris van die IAU, en dr. Albert van Jaarsveld, president van die Nasionale Navorsingstigting, het gister die ooreenkoms in Pretoria onderteken.

South Africa wins the bid to host the prestigious international Office for Astronomy Development

Category: SAAO Press Releases
By: Kevin Govender & Patricia Whitelock

South Africa has been selected by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to host the prestigious IAU Office for Astronomy Development (OAD). The awarding of the bid to South Africa by the 88th meeting of the IAU, on Thursday, 13 May 2010 in Baltimore, USA, follows a process where 20 proposals were submitted by different countries and were evaluated by the IAU over several months.



Friday, 30 July 2010

Abrams Planetarium - Night Sky Notes

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Into the Looking Glass

Into the Looking Glass   (Visit the site)

Recently, technicians at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., completed a series of cryogenic tests on six James Webb Space Telescope beryllium mirror segments at the center's X-ray & Cryogenic Facility. During testing, the mirrors were subjected to extreme temperatures dipping to -415 degrees Fahrenheit, permitting engineers to measure in extreme detail how the shape of the mirror changes as it cools.

The Webb telescope has 18 mirrors, each of which will be tested twice in the Center's X-ray & Cryogenic Facility to ensure that the mirror will maintain its shape in a space environment -- once with bare polished beryllium and then again after a thin coating of gold is applied.

The cryogenic test gauges how each mirror changes temperature and shape over a range of operational temperatures in space. This helps predict how well the telescope will image infrared sources.

The mirrors are designed to stay cold to allow scientists to observe the infrared light they reflect using a telescope and instruments optimized to detect this light. Warm objects give off infrared light, or heat. If the Webb telescope mirror is too warm, the faint infrared light from distant galaxies may be lost in the infrared glow of the mirror itself. Thus, the Webb telescope's mirrors need to operate in a deep cold or cryogenic state, at around -379 degree Fahrenheit.

Image Credit: NASA