CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 12, 2012 |
When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit in 1957, its tiny radio transmitter allowed it to be tracked in space. There was only one instrument in the West that could track the intercontinental ballistic missile that launched it, however: the newly opened 250-foot radio telescope at Jodrell Bank in England. And when Sputnik's transmitter died after only 22 days, Jodrell Bank - towering over the English countryside in a small village south of Manchester - was the only instrument that could track it until it fell to Earth three months later.
June 28, 2012 |
NASA has an eye on the sky for massive asteroids, the kind that could turn our planet to pulp. But "small" asteroids -- the ones that could simply spur tsunamis, 100-megaton-type explosions and widespread death and destruction -- aren't a priority with NASA. What the world needs is a privately funded telescope to keep an eye on the skies, says the B612 Foundation, spearheaded by a former NASA astronaut. The group, launched about 10 years ago, is now raising funds for just such a telescope -- called the Sentinel.
June 15, 2012 |
Get a close-up look at Saturn and its spectacular rings this weekend, and you won't need special eclipse glasses to see them. Telescopes at the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park will be pointed at Saturn because it's one of the brightest things in the night sky at the moment. "Mars and Saturn are nearly twins in brightness this week," the observatory's Sky Report says. Saturn also made news this week after the Cassini spacecraft found evidence of large methane lakes on its moon Titan.
June 13, 2012 |
A once-canceled space telescope is set to launch into Earth orbit, where it will search for undiscovered black holes in the Milky Way and at the hearts of other galaxies. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array will hunt for black holes that have been obscured by the dust and gas floating through space and measure how fast some of them are spinning. NuSTAR will also examine with fresh eyes the remnants of exploded stars known as supernovae. "It's a very exciting mission," said Roger Blandford, director of the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University and a member of the NuSTAR science team.
June 6, 2012 |
Across Southern California, sky watchers assembled Tuesday afternoon for a chance to view the last-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus. They donned protective glasses and peered into filtered telescopes to watch the planet as it crossed in front of the sun for the last time in more than 100 years. They spoke of watching a tiny black dot creeping ever so slowly across the solar disk with a combination of reverence and resignation. "It's like watching grass grow," said 93-year-old Don Nicholson, describing Venus' 6-hour, 40-minute progression, most of which was visible locally before sunset.
May 30, 2012 |
NASA will be launching a new telescope expected to bring black holes and supernovae into unprecedented focus, mission scientists announced Wednesday. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, a mission to hunt for black holes, is scheduled to launch no sooner than June 13 from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, located north of the equator. It will look at some of the most mysterious phenomena in the universe, from the high-speed particle jets that blast from black holes to the remnants of exploded stars known as supernovae.
April 27, 2012 |
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the more interesting venues being touted as a view spot for the annular eclipse of the sun May 20. Ranger-assisted opportunities to view the eclipse will be provided on both rims. On the South Rim, NASA scientists and amateur astronomers will share their telescopes for views of the eclipse and of the night sky afterward. The Park Service says the largest concentration of telescopes will be behind the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on the South Rim, but telescopes will also be at Lipan Point, at the benches just west of the Desert View Watchtower and on the deck of the Watchtower itself.
February 24, 2012 |
In deep, cold space, nearly a million miles from Earth, a giant telescope later this decade will scan for the first light to streak across the universe more than 13 billion years ago. The seven-ton spacecraft, one of the most ambitious and costly science projects in U.S. history, is under construction for NASA at Northrop Grumman Corp.'s space park complex in Redondo Beach. The aim is to capture the oldest light, taking cosmologists to the time after the big bang when matter had cooled just enough to start forming the first blazing stars in what had been empty darkness.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2011 |
The paparazzi staked out a spot in the Hollywood Hills before dawn. The western sky was the red carpet, the moon the day's celebrity. That was the scene early Saturday at the Griffith Observatory, where several hundred people gathered in the dark with binoculars, cameras and telescopes to watch a total lunar eclipse — the last one until 2014. "It's a celestial festival out here," Capm Petersen, 39, said as he set up his camera before the big event. The crowd began gathering on the observatory's lawn shortly after 4 a.m. in anticipation of "totality" — the moment when the Earth fully blocks the sun, leaving the moon in its shadow.
September 10, 2011 |
The cost of NASA's two flagship programs — a new space telescope and its next rocket — is poised to devour much of the agency's shrinking budget in coming years, putting at risk many smaller efforts such as developing futuristic spacecraft and returning rocks from Mars, scientists and congressional insiders warn. At a time when budgets are being slashed throughout government, price estimates for the James Webb Space Telescope and NASA's new rocket and crew capsule have increased by billions of dollars or are at risk to do so, according to internal NASA documents and external evaluations.