July 7 2010 Astronomy Newsletter
I have to start with red-faced apologies for managing to send you a draft copy of last week's newsletter. I was trying to get the strange symbols out of it and at some point managed to send it to everyone instead of just a test copy to myself.
But here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Empire of the Stars Book Review
A fateful meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London adversely affected the lives of two scientists and hindered progress in the study of black holes for a half a century. So says the author of Empire of the Stars. BellaOnline's astronomy editor liked the book, but wasn't convinced.
On Monday of this week, the European Space Agency (ESA) released its first all-sky microwave map of the Universe. This is a bit more than just a pretty picture, but it is preliminary, as the full survey won't be completed until 2012.
It was created by the Planck mission, named for German physicist Max Planck who was awarded the Nobel Prize early in the last century for his work on radiation. It was launched along with the Herschel Space Observatory, named for William and Caroline Herschel, which is dedicated to observing in the infrared and submillimeter, which are also wavelengths longer than visible light.
Planck is imaging the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, which is a relic from the early universe. It was emitted within four hundred thousand years of the Big Bang. This may sound old, but as we think the universe is 12-14 billion years old, this was way back in its infancy. The energy was originally of a much higher frequency--and therefore shorter wavelength--but the expansion of the universe has stretched it out to the longer microwaves. Studying this radiation will tell us about the early universe and how the universe has evolved.
Here is the picture which ESA released: http://www.esa.int/images/PLANCK_FSM_03_Black_PreviousReleases_02.jpg
But HERE is the picture and then some. For Chromoscope is set up to show a number of cosmic features in different wavelengths. Have a look at the picture and then you canlook at it in different wavelengths: http://www.chromoscope.net/?w=m
Please visit astronomy.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Astronomy.
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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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