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This technique was pioneered in 1997 thanks to the Italian-Dutch BeppoSAX satellite, and the conclusion was reached that the long GRBs (a class of bursts that typically last more than two seconds) result from enormous explosions of massive stars in distant galaxies. Specifically, the widely accepted picture is that a core collapse of a rotating massive progenitor star produces a black hole, which results in a pair of oppositely directed jets of matter being ejected along the rotation axis of...

Swift Mission

THE DRAMA of 18 February 2006, will be remembered for a very long time by astronomers working with the Swift gamma-ray observatory, adding to the growing list of exciting times in gamma-ray astronomy. On that memorable day, a cosmic gamma-ray burst that later turned out to be the second closest recorded event to date was detected. That alone would be reason for excitement. But this burst was different in a number of ways. Its uniqueness represents exactly the kind of object the Swift spacecraft...

Spitzer

I Left The Spitzer Space Telescope under construction. Image courtesy Russ Underwood, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. NASA's Great Observatory Program had an ambitious goal launch and operate large space telescopes that would allow astronomers to view the universe across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays to the infrared. Whenever possible, the observatories would take complementary data, mapping the galactic plane together or simultaneously viewing a transitory event such as a...

April 2005

First Stars seen in Distant Galaxies THREE LEADING instruments, two orbiting and one on the ground, have detected light coming from the most distant galaxies ever observed, indicating it comes from the first stars to form when the universe was at a much earlier age. The Spitzer Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope teamed up with the 10-meter Keck telescope on Hawaii. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field image was used to select the most distant galaxies, and Spitzer and Keck were used to...

Binocular Telescope

Ring Azimuth Frame Primary Mirror

THE LARGE Binocular Telescope (LBT) stands on the threshold of its scientific career as the first of the next generation of extremely large telescopes. The telescope achieved first light on 12 October 2005, by imaging the nearby edge-on spiral galaxy, NGC 891. The light was gathered by the first of two primary mirrors of 8.4-meters (27.6 feet) diameter and focused on a wide-field CCD mosaic camera at prime focus. This image below marked the very first step toward full realization of the power...

Features

.What we think we know and what we don't foy James Kaler 82 4 First views of the birth of a supernova remnant .Supernova 1987A by Richard McCray 90 5 Unveiling a new generation of extremely large telescopes The Large Binocular Telescope achieves first light foy Richard Green and John Hill 98 6 As NASA's flagship great observatory completes 15 years in orbit What's newwith Hubble byRayVillard 106 .The new Milky Way by Christopher Wanjek 116 8 The search for gravitational waves .Listening to...

Info

There are stellar mass black holes, a few times the mass of the Sun, and supermassive black holes that contain over a million solar masses. But black holes of intermediate mass have been strangely absent. That is, until now. I Left 'Plan view' ofthe Milky Way as seen from its north pole. Estimated locations ofspiral arms are indicated by the large numbers ofdots and the prominent dashed lines. The locations ofthe Sun and ofthe massive star-forming region W30H in the Perseus spiral arm, are...

July 2005

A New Survey - SDSS-II Will Map the Universe, the Milky Way and Dark Energy Funding for continuing the most ambitious astronomical sky survey ever has been completed, allowing the Sloan Digital Sky survey to continue through 2008 and enter a new phase of its work. SDSS-II will complete observations of a huge contiguous region of the northern skies and will study the structure and origins of the Milky Way galaxy and the nature of dark energy. I Below The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) uses a...

Society

THE RECORD gathering at the 207th American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting was larger than meetings of the International Astronomical Union, although the record may not stand for long. The strength of the attendance at the meeting reflected the vigorous growth of astronomical research over the past decade. The AAS meet twice per year, in early January and in May June. The winter meetings are always larger, and have typically reached 1,800 to 2,500 in recent years. The meetings in Washington...