Category Archives: Instruments

includes telescopes and space probes

Juno – Spacecraft, Roman Goddess, and….Lego Minifigure?

Currently orbiting Jupiter is a small satellite that goes by the name of Juno. This small spacecraft was launched in 2011 and was tasked with uncovering as much as possible about Jupiter and its mysterious history. Its main mission is to measure the composition, gravity field, and magnetic field of Jupiter while simultaneously looking forContinue reading “Juno – Spacecraft, Roman Goddess, and….Lego Minifigure?” Continue reading

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Parker Solar Probe: Understanding Coronal Dynamics

Launched on August 12th, 2018, the Parker Solar Probe will make the closest approach to the Sun in history. Over a time period of roughly seven years, PSP will use Venus for gravitational assist to make successively closer approaches to the Sun at distances as small as 4 million miles from the sun’s surface. PSPContinue reading “Parker Solar Probe: Understanding Coronal Dynamics” Continue reading

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The Telescope of the “Future”

Living up to its futuristic shape, James Webb Space Telescope is indeed a telescope of “future”: NASA has delayed its launch so many times that this telescope seems to only exist in the future. Jokes aside, the JWST carries with itself enormous scientific potential: it is supposed to be 100 times stronger than the HubbleContinue reading “The Telescope of the “Future”” Continue reading

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Spectroscopy and Space

Although Isaac Newton’s most famous contributions to astronomy are his laws of motion and gravitation, which he published in Principia, Newton also founded modern spectroscopy by publishing his second work, Opticks. Spectroscopy is an essential tool for astronomers because it allows them to not only analyze the presence of certain chemical elements, but also physicalContinue reading “Spectroscopy and Space” Continue reading

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The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope!

From Earth, the Sun appears to be just a glowing yellow orb. However, the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii has captured new images of the Sun that reveal its violent and explosive nature. This massive four-meter telescope has the technological capabilities that are necessary to better understand the Sun’s magnetic field and outer […] Continue reading

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WFIRST: The Newest Vanguard of the Mission to Understand Dark Energy

At some point this decade, a new space observatory will be launched into orbit; one unlike any that we have seen before with extraordinary equipment and capabilities. WFIRST, the Wide-Field InfraRed Survey Telescope, could potentially revolutionize what astronomers know about our universe and how it behaves by focusing on three major categories: dark energy, exoplanetContinue reading “WFIRST: The Newest Vanguard of the Mission to Understand Dark Energy” Continue reading

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Ultima Thule

The New Horizons space probe was launched in 2006—primarily to study Pluto, but also to study Kuiper belt objects in its following years. Following the space probe’s flyby of Pluto in 2015, it reached 2014 MU69, also known as Ultima Thule, on January 1, 2019. Ultima Thule is a Kuiper belt object that orbits 1.6 […] Continue reading

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Spirit and Opportunity

In 2003, NASA launched the Mars Exploration Rover mission, dropping the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars in January 2004. Although their planned mission lifetime was 90 days, both rovers far exceeded this. Spirit lasted 20 times longer than this, traveling almost 5 miles before sending its final message to Earth on March 22, 2010. […] Continue reading

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Retrieving Voyager 1 – A Rescue Mission

In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 to study the far reaches of our solar system. The program was a tremendous success: not only did the probe gather useful information about Jupiter and Saturn, it also captured the first detailed images of their moons (including a flyby of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon). Even now, after Voyager … Continue reading Retrieving Voyager 1 – A Rescue Mission Continue reading

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Songs of Space

Recently I’ve been collecting space-themed songs (for a McTyeire Hall event called the Galaxy Gala!), and then I thought of something I’ve heard of before: sounds coming from space! Because space is a vacuum, sound waves cannot travel through it. However, many objects within the Solar System do emit radio waves, and NASA scientists have […] Continue reading

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