Astrophysics


GLAST Delayed


Posted By on Jun 2, 2008

During a NASA Town Hall meeting at AAS Dr. Morse made mention of GLAST being pushed back from June 5th until the 6th or 7th due to issues with the Delta II rocket. I later confirmed with Dr. Jon Morse that GLAST is being pushed back until at least the 6th or 7th of June. Upon further questioning Dr. Morse said the delay is because the close out operations for the Delta II rocket aren’t yet complete. Apparently the Air Force...

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When we look up with gamma-ray eyes (or use satellite’s like Swift above the atmosphere to watch the sky with gamma-ray sensitive detectors), many different things draw our attention. There is gamma-ray emission from pulsars, from quasars, from accretion disks around black holes. There are flickers from anti-matter – matter self-annihilation. There are many cool and wonderful things. Most cool and wonderful of all are...

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Sometimes, in science, English is abused in ways that make one giggle while learning. Earlier today I read an abstract that was so fascinatingly unnatural that I had to read the article. “Once a parity is introduced in unparticle physics, under which unparticle provided in a hidden conformal sector is odd while all Standard Model particles are even, unparticle can be a suitable candidate for the cold dark matter (CDM) in the...

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It is possible to map a room using sound, the sea using sonar, and to generally just get at the shape of things based on how the absorb and emit waves. This is true both in our Earthly locations (caves, canyons) and also in the centers of galaxies. In the past several days, I’ve seen a couple different journal articles on how quasar flickering is being used to map galaxy cores. This isn’t a new idea, but it is an idea...

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Lensing Lenses & Einstein’s Cross


Posted By on Sep 19, 2007

While going through journal articles today, I came across a really neat paper on teh apparent variability of the different images of the famous lensed quasar, Einstein’s Cross (Q2237+0305, in science speak). The light from this distant quasar is blocked from reaching us directly, and is instead bent toward us along 4 different paths by the nucleus of an intervening spiral galaxy (image left, credit:  J. Rhoads (STScI) et...

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Einstein was not wrong.


Posted By on Aug 19, 2007

I’ve reached a stage in my career in which I have started to get letters addressed directly to my from people who state Einstein was wrong and then typically provide 3 to a lot of pages describing, typically with no math, why Einstein was wrong and why their new theory is right. Here’s the thing. At this stage in the game, even if we do someday find short comings in Einstein’s theories, we won’t be proving his...

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