Archive for 2013
Astronomy from the Stratosphere: NASA’s SOFIA Mission
Dr. Dana Backman (Director of Education & Public Outreach, SOFIA Project, NASA Ames Research Center)
Listen (mp3 file, 28.1 MB)
Why did NASA buy a used passenger airliner, cut a 10′ x 10′ hole in the fuselage, add a roll-back door, and install a 17-ton telescope inside? Dr. Backman introduces us to the engineering marvel called SOFIA — the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. This remarkable airborne telescope began scientific research flights in 2010 and is already returning exciting discoveries about the birth of stars, interstellar chemistry, the atmospheres of giant planets, the environment around supermassive black holes, and other branches of astronomy.
First Blog post
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2013 Board of Directors Nominations
The Nominations Committees of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific have announced the candidates for election to the ASP Board of Directors. More »
Abstracts Now Being Accepted for 2013 Annual Meeting
The ASP is now accepting abstract proposals for its 2013 Annual Meeting, “Ensuring STEM Literacy.” More »
How Galaxies were Cooked from the Primordial Soup
Dr. Sandra Faber (University of California, Santa Cruz and University of California Observatories)
Listen (mp3 file, 29.5 MB)
The lumpiness of today’s universe of galaxies is a fundamental characteristic that took billions of years to grow. Dr. Faber reviews the prevailing “Cold Dark Matter” theory for galaxy formation (which she helped create) and compares its predictions to present-day observations. It’s a remarkable saga involving invisible dark energy and matter, the properties of the Universe an instant after it was born, and the creation of structure from quantum fluctuations. (Just a few days before giving this talk, Dr. Faber received the 2013 National Medal of Science from President Obama, and she shares an anecdote from that ceremony.)