NOAO Home Page News Archive
The last 5 news items that have appeared on the NOAO Home Page.
September 12, 2016
Image Credit: K. Vivas & CTIO/NOAO/AURA/NSF
Ultra-faint stellar systems discovered toward the Sagittarius stream
Astronomers have discovered ultra-faint stellar systems in the direction of the Sagittarius stream, the stream of stars that is being pulled out of the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy as it orbits our own Milky Way galaxy. Similar in size to globular clusters but much fainter, the new stellar systems straddle the fuzzy boundary between dwarf galaxies and stellar clusters. The discovery was made by a team of astronomers using data from the Dark Energy Survey being carried out at CTIO. Team members include NOAO astronomers Kathy Vivas, Tim Abbott, David James, Chris Smith, and Alistair Walker. Read More...
September 02, 2016
Image Credit: L. Huang, P. Marenfeld, and K. Olsen/NOAO/AURA/NSF.
The September 2016 NOAO Newsletter is online and ready to download. It contains sections on Science Highlights, System Science Capabilities, System Observing: Telescopes and Instruments, and NOAO Operations & Staff.
On the Cover
This map, created using the NOAO Data Lab Data Discovery Tool, shows the total exposure in science frames taken with any of the DECam, or KPNO and CTIO Mosaic imagers. The sky has been rotated to center on the Dark Energy Survey “footprint.”
August 29, 2016
Image Credit: Pieter van Dokkum, Roberto Abraham, Gemini Observatory/AURA.
More Than Meets the Eye: A Massive Galaxy That’s Nearly All Dark Matter
The ultra-diffuse galaxy Dragonfly 44, located in the Coma Cluster of galaxies, has the mass and size of the Milky Way galaxy, but very few stars. The other 99.99% of the mass is a form of dark matter. Observations made with the Gemini and Keck Observatories were used to infer the mass of the galaxy from the motions of its stars and to take a census of its globular cluster population.
Read more in the Gemini Press Release.
August 19, 2016
Image Credit: NASA/Tim Pyle, inset: C. Baranec
A five-planet system revealed by NASA's Kepler K2 mission
Astronomers using data from the Kepler spacecraft have discovered five planets in orbit around a nearby bright star. The planets have orbital periods ranging from 15 days to 1 year and sizes from 2.5 times the radius of the Earth to approximately the size of Jupiter. Because the central star is bright, future transit observations may be able to characterize the atmospheres of the planets. The Robo-AO adaptive optics system on the Kitt Peak 2.1m telescope was used to rule out a non-planetary origin for the transit signals.
Read more from AAS Nova.
August 09, 2016
Image Credit: R. Lafever, J. Moustakas/DESI Collaboration, P. Marenfeld/NOAO/AURA/NSF & E. Acosta/LSST/AURA/NSF
Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument Enters Construction Phase
The 3-D spectroscopic sky-mapping project, DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument), has received formal approval from the US Department of Energy to begin construction. Installation at the Kitt Peak Mayall telescope will begin in 2017. Designed to measure the role of dark energy in the expansion history of the Universe, DESI will measure the redshifts of more than 30 million galaxies and quasars and create a map of the Universe out to a distance of 10 billion light years.
Read more in the LBL Press Release.