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CosmoQuest: Taking Citizen Science to the Next Level January 27, 2012

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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This is a great step forward for science. Here is the Google Plus post where I found out about this great initiative:

 –  5:27 PM  –  Public

Citizen Science junkies: Check out this Universe Today article about a new citizen science portal, led by +Pamela Gay. Also involved are +Philip Plait ( Bad Astronomy Blog ) and +Fraser Cain ( Universe Today )

Aside from the focus on citizen science, one thing that hooked me was something I think +Pamela Gay said in a Google+ hangout yesterday. “Open science, open source”.

I’m pretty stoked about CosmoQuest and can’t wait to start taking part in the project, as it combines two things I’m very passionate about – citizen science and open-source software! #FunFriday

From the CosmoQuest website:

Our goal is to create a community of people bent on together advancing our understanding of the universe; a community of people who are participating in doing science, who can explain why what they do matters, and what questions they are helping to answer. We want to create a community, and here is where we invite all of you to be a part of what we’re doing.

There are lots of ways to get involved: You can contribute to science, take a class, join a conversation, or just help us spread the word by sharing about us on social media sites.

Community.png

Like every community, we are constantly changing to reflect our members. This website will constantly be growing and adding new features. Overtime, we’re going to bring together all the components of a research learning environment (aka grad school), from content in the form of classes, resources, and a blog, to research in the form of citizen science, to social engagement through a forum, social media, and real world activities.

LRO data is used in Moon Mappers

The science you have the chance to help with is being developed by scientists all over the world. We are partnering directly with NASA missions to develop citizen science projects that help expand what science they can accomplish. We’re working with Mercury MESSENGER, the Dawn Mission, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, New Horizons, and the Space Telescope Science Institute to build a series of projects that map the surfaces of rocky worlds and explore the atmospheres of planets and small bodies the solar system over.

You don’t have to be a genius with a PhD to do science. We provide tutorials with every project that should make it possible for anyone to contribute. We also offer a variety of educational programs so that you can learn as much as you want about the science you’re aiding. We also want teachers and amateurs doing EPO to receive the professional development they need to use CosmoQuest to teach astronomy to students and the public. To help us reach these goals, we’re partnering with the Galileo Teacher Training Program and Astronomers without Borders – one of our goals is to reach out to amateurs and get them the materials and training needed to use CosmoQuest in their outreach.

Take us with you

CosmoQuest is a place to do, to learn, and to collaborate.

Where would you like to explore today?

Join us in the forums, and share your ideas for our future.

Link: http://cosmoquest.org

Arp 147: Giant Ring of Black Holes February 10, 2011

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Arp 147
Credit:

X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/S.Rappaport et al, Optical: NASA/STSc

Description:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a new image of a ring — not of jewels — but of black holes. This composite image of Arp 147, a pair of interacting galaxies located about 430 million light years from Earth, shows X-rays from the NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink) and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue) produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md.

Arp 147 contains the remnant of a spiral galaxy (right) that collided with the elliptical galaxy on the left. This collision has produced an expanding wave of star formation that shows up as a blue ring containing in abundance of massive young stars. These stars race through their evolution in a few million years or less and explode as supernovas, leaving behind neutron stars and black holes.

A fraction of the neutron stars and black holes will have companion stars, and may become bright X-ray sources as they pull in matter from their companions. The nine X-ray sources scattered around the ring in Arp 147 are so bright that they must be black holes, with masses that are likely ten to twenty times that of the Sun.

An X-ray source is also detected in the nucleus of the red galaxy on the left and may be powered by a poorly-fed supermassive black hole. This source is not obvious in the composite image but can easily be seen in the X-ray image. Other objects unrelated to Arp 147 are also visible: a foreground star in the lower left of the image and a background quasar as the pink source above and to the left of the red galaxy.

Infrared observations with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and ultraviolet observations with NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) have allowed estimates of the rate of star formation in the ring. These estimates, combined with the use of models for the evolution of binary stars have allowed the authors to conclude that the most intense star formation may have ended some 15 million years ago, in Earth’s time frame.

X-ray, Optical, Infrared and UV Image
X-ray, Optical, Infrared and UV Image

These results were published in the October 1st, 2010 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. The authors were Saul Rappaport and Alan Levine from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David Pooley from Eureka Scientific and Benjamin Steinhorn, also from MIT.

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