Hubble Uses A Magnifying Lens To Peer Into The Past.

Using gravitational lensing, Hubble has peered farther back in time than ever before.

Gravitational lensing occurs when the light from a distant object is bent, by gravity, around a large cosmic structure.

The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger and brighter than they would normally.

Image Credit: NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI)

Because the light was bent by the gigantic galaxy cluster Abell 2744, or Pandora’s Cluster, three images of the distant galaxy where actually captured in the image above.  The gravitational lens magnifies the image over 10 times what would normally be captured by Hubble’s imaging sensors.

https://i0.wp.com/imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/images/hs-2014-39-e-full_jpg.jpg

Spectrographic analysis shows that the galaxy is only 850 light-years across, about 500 times smaller than the Milky Way galaxy’s 100,000 light year size.  Researchers also estimate that it only has a mass of 40 million suns, compared to the 100,000,000,000 we have in our galaxy.  The galaxy is so far back that it formed about 500 million years after the big bang.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.

Norman

Its A Dirty Universe.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope scientists have completed the largest and most sensitive visible-light imaging survey of dusty debris disks around other stars.

Its a time machine to see the past events that happened in our solar system (and to some extent are still happening) during planet formation.

The survey found that no two “disks” of material looked the same. By now it should be fairly apparent that the universe is a chaotic place that would be hard to define simply.

As more and more data is collected from distant planetary systems, the simulations and accuracy of the predictive models will increase.  With Peta-bytes of information arriving daily and needed to be sifted through, there is a bright future for any wannabe astronomers.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

That’s Odd.

Hubble has shown us many things, but these are some of the strangest images yet.

Oddly shaped galaxies, like the two on the left, a very different from the typical spiral galaxy (or cluster) the on the right that we are used to seeing.  Additionally, the topmost one has a different color that normal.

Ironically, Astronomers use the Hubble sequence to classify galaxies according to their appearance and their shape.  The scheme divides regular galaxies into 3 broad classes – ellipticals, lenticulars and spirals – based on their visual appearance . A fourth class contains galaxies with an irregular appearance.

Lenticular galaxies look similar to elipticals but aren’t.

Edwin Hubble with pipe.jpg

So what we have are images taken by the Hubble space telescope that don’t conform to the Hubble sequence.  There’s an awful lot of Hubble going on here. What else will go Hubble next? This is almost Bullhubble! (I couldn’t resist, and I did censor myself [you should have seen the first version of this post] ).

It is interesting to note how, this one man still continues to change our understanding of the Universe today.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Recap of This Month Riverside Astronomical Society Meeting.

Whew! I am glad this one is over.  Everything seemed to be going well when, you know, Murphy’s Law struck…big time.

The kind people at La Sierra University let us use the facilities at Cossentine Hall to hold our meeting (Thank you very much).  They also let us use their AV equipment so we don’t have to bring our own.  We even rent one of their buildings for our holiday party.

 

But this weekend, nothing worked.  It was a AV geeks worst nightmare.  We had the poor security guard open almost every room in the place to find a working projector.  It seems that the IT staff have been doing last minute upgrades before the semester started.  Unfortunately, we did have all the right cables to make anything work.

While I was delaying the inevitable, and our guest speaker started looking very apprehensive, a miracle occurred!  We pushed the right button and everything was fine.

Then it was time for the main events.

Diane Childs gave a great “What’s Up,” presentation on the Hercules Cluster.

Anahita Alavi

Our guest speaker, Anahita Alavi, Department of Physics and Astronomy, U. C. Riverside, then gave her presentation on “Using the Hubble Space Telescope and Mother Nature’s Telescope (Gravitational Lenses) to Find the Faintest Galaxies in the Universe.”

It seems that there are a lot of dwarf galaxies roaming about the Universe.  The Milky Way as about 20 (that we can see) orbiting the galaxy.  There may be more, but these objects are soooooo faint that scientists are using gravitational lensing to look even deeper into space than the Hubble can.

Although the data is not refined as they would like it to be, it does set up the James Webb telescope on where to look when it is fully operational (hopefully in 2018).

In the end it was another great meeting.  Please remember that if you are in the area, or just passing through, and need your monthly astronomy fix, everyone is welcome to come and enjoy free of charge.  Heck we even provide snacks!

You can find out about the next general meeting, star parties, and outreach locations on our website.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

I’m Back, Part Deux – I See You Over There.

No, really I’m back.  Moving after a decade at the same law firm was FAR more time consuming that I thought it would be.  And I am still not completely finished.  But on to more fun and interesting astronomical things.

If I had a child, they would be about the same age as the Hubble.  That in and of itself should send me off to a mid-life crisis, but I digress.  Isn’t it amazing that this one space telescope that has completely changed our fundamental understanding of the Universe is still operational?

I hope the James Webb space telescope manages to get into orbit before Hubble finally fails.

Gravitational lensing by a giant elliptical galaxy in the cluster IRC 0218: the galaxy (red object in the enlarged view at left) is so massive that its gravity bends, magnifies, and distorts light from objects behind it, a phenomenon called gravitational lensing; the object behind the cosmic lens (seen in the enlarged view at right) is a small spiral galaxy undergoing a rapid burst of star formation; its light has taken 10.7 billion years to arrive here. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Kim-Vy Tran, Texas A&M University / Kenneth Wong, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

But while it is still operational, the science just keeps pouring in.  The latest achievement of this venerable craft is the most distant gravitational lens ever found.  Of course the lens is no longer there because it occurred about 9.6 Billion years ago, but we have a lovely image of what happened back then shown above.

Gravitational lensing is the phenomena where a strong gravity field bends light around the source and causes object behind the gravity source to distort and magnify the object behind.  Additionally, the lensing (depending on the location of the objects) can split the light from the object behind the gravity source into different bands.

A neat trick from an old dog that has taught us a whole bunch of new tricks.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

I Think Its Over There.

The planned search will involve targeting a small area of sky in search of a Kuiper Belt object for the outbound spacecraft to visit.
The Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee has decided to use the Hubble space telescope to search the Kuiper Belt for a target for the New Horizons mission to flyby.
After visiting Pluto (still a planet), New Horizons will bead out to the Kuiper Belt to observe at least on other object on its way out of the solar system.

Hubble will search a small area for a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) for the outbound spacecraft to visit.
A KBO has never been seen up close because the belt is so far from the Sun, but Hubble has imaged KBO’s before.
If we are lucky perhaps New Horizons will even get us our first glimpse of the Ort Cloud.
– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman