VV 340, also known as Arp 302, provides a textbook example of colliding galaxies seen in the early stages of their interaction. The edge-on galaxy near the top of the image is VV 340 North and the face-on galaxy at the bottom of the image is VV 340 South. Millions of years later these two spirals will merge - much like the Milky Way and Andromeda will likely do billions of years from now. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) are shown here along with optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue). VV 340 is located about 450 million light years from Earth.
Ever since we publicized the "deepest note in the Universe" in 2003, I have admired outreach efforts that combine music and astronomy. These efforts have continued this summer and fall with a program by Don Lubowich, from Hofstra University, who has organised astronomy exhibits to be installed at a large number of music festivals and events. My small role in this program involved displaying images from the "From Earth to the Universe (FETTU)" exhibit on the first day of the Newport Folk Festival at the end of July, added to Don's astronomy banners which also included material from FETTU.
This is a slightly abridged version of a note that was recently sent around to the Chandra team by Harvey Tananbaum (Director of the Chandra X-ray Center) and Roger Brissenden (CXC Manager and Deputy Director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) to congratulate everyone on Chandra’s 12th birthday. With the end of the Space Shuttle program just last week, it was a fitting reminder just that a short dozen years ago, Columbia blasted off carrying Chandra safely into orbit.
The International Year of Astronomy continues to reach new audiences.
Photographs from the "From Earth to the Universe" (FETTU) gallery have been viewed by people all over the world in a variety of venues since 2009. A tactile version of the FETTU exhibit, based on the book Touch the Invisible Sky by Grice, Steel and Daou, was also created in 2009 so people could explore the multi-wavelength universe non-visually, by touch.
On July 20, 2011 the tactile FETTU exhibition continued on to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. The images were examined by students attending the National Federation of the Blind Youth Slam - an innovative STEM enrichment program for high school students who are blind or have low vision. Noreen Grice was a course instructor for the Youth Slam Space Track and was on-site at the exhibition. She verbally described the color images as students explored the tactile counterparts by touch. The tactile FETTU exhibition will now be on permanent display at the National Federation of the Blind and will hopefully continue to excite a new generation of science enthusiasts.
(Photos by N.Grice)
The galaxy NGC 3115 is shown here in a composite image of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT). Using the Chandra image, the flow of hot gas toward the supermassive black hole in the center of this galaxy has been imaged. This is the first time that clear evidence for such a flow has been observed in any black hole.
Kimberly Arcand has been a member of the Chandra X-ray Center since 1998. As the Visualization Lead, Kim's role includes oversight of a range of science products and activities, including imaging and astronomical data visualization, multimedia product development, exhibition creation and coordination, and research into emerging technologies.
On the evening of July 9th, as the intense heat of the summer sun on the National Mall faded into a cool breeze and sunlight gave way to a pale waxing gibbous moonlight, crowds quickly gathered at the National Air and Space Museum's public observatory for the 2nd annual Astronomy Night on the National Mall event.
DC area Astronomy Night on the National Mall changed to Saturday July 9, 6-11 PM due to weather!
For those of you in or around the Nation's Capitol this post-July 4th week, be sure to take note of a free event happening in the heart of DC. On July 8th, from 6pm to 11pm, there will be all sorts of astronomy activities - including star gazing if weather permits – on the National Mall between 4th and 7th Streets.
For those of you who don’t like acronyms (or who don't work for the government), the title of this post is probably indecipherable. It does, however, have quite a bit of meaning.
The translation into English is "Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and National Air and Space Museum makes "From Earth to the Solar System at the Smithsonian Institution."
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