Geeky Astronomy, I Spy With My Little Eye

Hubble Extreme Deep Field


The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field. Click for hires

Good morning everyone.

The astronomers at NASA, ESA and the Space Telescope Science Institute have put together an even deeper look into the universe than the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). The new image, called the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (HXDF), is made from over 10 years of observations of a patch of sky at the center of the original HUDF. The original HUDF can be seen here. I don’t know the exact percentage of the of the HUDF view that was used for the HXDF, I haven’t been able to find the numbers.

The HUDF contained 10,000 galaxies in its image. The HXDF shows around 5,500 galaxies at the center area of the HUDF, like zooming into an already zoomed-in picture, but instead of the picture falling apart like a regular photo, more detail is revealed.

And it shows time. The HXDF shows galaxies that span back 13.2 x 109 years in time (13.2 billion years), back when the universe was less than 500 million years old.

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I Spy With My Little Eye, Military-Grade Awesome

SOSUS: Tracking Submarines, Whales, and Mysteries

In the years after WWII, it became increasingly apparent that the Soviets and the West were not going to be friends. The uneasy alliance that fought off the Nazis fell apart the moment Germany surrendered. The technological advancements of the war meant that the Soviets would have increased capabilities on the land, in the sky and under the ocean. That last one really worried military planners who would like to be able to warn their bosses when something bad was going to happen. One of the mechanisms they used to figure out what a modern military would need was the Committee for Undersea Warfare. This group researched the newly expanded world of submarine warfare. One of their major tasks was to develop a system that would allow the US and its allies to tell when a Soviet submarine was on the move. What they came up with is known as SOSUS.
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Geeky Astronomy, I Spy With My Little Eye

Aristarchus Crater Panorama

Aristarchus Crater West Wall

Good morning, everyone.

Today I’m going to share some excellent astronomical porn with you all, so please try to contain your excitement.

On November 10, 2011, The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) made a low-altitude pass 42 miles to the east of Aristarchus crater, one of the brightest features on the Moon, and took an amazing panoramic image of the western wall of the crater. The LRO was flying at just over 16 miles above the lunar surface at the time, so the image has incredible detail.

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I Spy With My Little Eye, Tech Ruins

The Most Interesting Hill In The World

Exploring Abandoned Teufelsberg

Teufelsberg might just be the most interesting hill in the world. Located near Berlin, it’s a man-made hill that stands about 80 m above the surrounding terrain. It was built by Allied forces after WW2 and is made of the debris from approximately 400,000 buildings cleared out during the rebuilding of Berlin. That, however, isn’t very unusual. Many European cities have man-made hills on their outskirts where post-war debris was dumped during rebuilding.

It’s what’s under and on top of this hill that make it most interesting.
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Astronomical Engines, I Spy With My Little Eye

A Celestial Coordinate System


A somewhat challenging coordinate system.

Greetings, everyone.

Today I want to talk about how celestial objects are mapped and located in the sky by astronomers and telescope wielding enthusiasts. It is really not all that complicated, it is much like terrestrial coordinates except mapped out to the sky onto what is called the celestial sphere. I’ll try to keep this as short as I can, but there are several terms that will need explaining. Yes, I’m going to require that you read again. Ah, I can hear the groans already.

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I Spy With My Little Eye

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Uncropped Hubble Ultra Deep Field image

Greetings, Everyone. Today I’m going to talk about something special, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field photograph, which was taken over a 4 month period in 2003-2004. The HUDF is the deepest look into the sky that humans have created, at least so far, and I find it to be a mesmerizing image. The articles that I’ve written up to this point have really been kind of a preparation for this one, getting you used to the ideas of “big” and “deep” as they relate to astronomy, and hopefully add to the impact of the HUDF image.

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I Spy With My Little Eye

More Stars Than Grains of Sand…

Globular cluster NGC104M

Greetings, everyone. Today I’m going to continue where I left off last time. I had planned to examine the saying, “There are more stars in the sky than all of the grains of sand on all of the beaches of the world”, or however it goes. When I was researching this topic, there was so much mindless drivel to wade through that I was appalled. I got so disgusted that I threw a slipper at the cat. Continue reading More Stars Than Grains of Sand…

I Spy With My Little Eye

Twinkle, Twinkle, Giant Flaming Ball of Gas

The Sun, feeling a bit gassy

Greetings, everyone. Today I’m going to talk about stars a bit. One of my first big interests when I started stargazing, was the stars themselves. There are all sorts of stars, Big and small, Bright and dim, exciting ones that blow up in amazingly messy fashions, and boring ones like our Sun that do not. And there are a lot of them, a ridiculously huge number of them in fact, about which I’ll speak a bit later.

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I Spy With My Little Eye

Measuring the Universe

Pre-Copernican Solar System

Greetings, everyone.  Today I’m going to talk about astronomy, a subject that I’ve been very fond of ever since I was a young man. I started reading about astronomy out of boredom and curiosity, but that quickly turned into fascination and awe as I came to understand more about what I actually looking at when I looked up into the sky. Time is what you see. Vast swaths of time, stretching back so far as to be incomprehensible. And big, although ‘big’ is such an unsuitable word for trying to describe what you see in the sky that it’s laughable. The best I’ve ever come up with that is at least a little satisfying is ‘endless’, although that is also most likely inaccurate. There were lots of incomprehensible numbers that I came across in my studies, most of them used for measuring distances. I’ll be using these terms in future articles on astronomy, so I’ll acquaint you with some of them now. These will appear on a test.

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