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1/24/2011

Astrobites

I learned about Astrobites from Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog some posts ago. I have enjoyed following these postings by graduate students written for undergraduate students. Their purpose and goal " is to synthesize one interesting paper per day into a very brief format that is accessible to undergraduate students in the physical sciences who are interested in active research."

Furthermore the site states:

"Reading a technical paper from an unfamiliar subfield is intimidating. It may not be obvious how the techniques used by the researchers really work or what role the new research plays in answering the bigger questions motivating that field, not to mention the obscure jargon! For most people, it takes years for scientific papers to become meaningful.

Our goal is to solve this problem, one paper at a time. In 5 minutes a day reading astrobites, you should not only learn about one interesting piece of current work, but also get a peek at the broader picture of research in new area of astronomy."

Best of all, the site is free! An example is a link to Supernova Article in SITN or Science in the News. The article is basic in many ways, but what I enjoyed was looking at the image at the bottom of the article that shows an image of SN2008bk and how the Red Supersize Giant disappeared, allowing for the star to be identified. You can read the short and published article on the disappearance of this star by Mattila et al.

Here is the image of the source for SN2008bk. I recommend the one from the article though as it is much clearer and sharper to look at.










Mattila et al

Another fantastic article is by Ian Czekala, a graduate student at Harvard University in astronomy. He spent two days observing from the Clay 6.5 meter telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Ian spent those nights with Ryan Chornock observing, imaging supernovae candidates found by the Pans-STARR survey and gamma ray burst (GRB) host galaxies. To find out what they were doing with that information go to the link above and read the article. If your an amateur visual or imaging astronomer it will be fascinating. While there Ian discusses how he met Oscar Duhalde, one of the discoverers of SN1987A and their efforts there. If you like reading about fellow amateurs observing sessions, here's a chance to see what and how the pro's do (and they use a mini-mac to control the LDSS-3 on the Clay Telescope . . . I love mini-mac's and what can be done with them). So take a moment and click out here and go read this terrific article.


On a side note, I did get out last night with binoculars and looked at the following objects in my 10x50's:

M45, M42, the Hyades, and I did the star hop to SN2011b starting from Ursa Major and going to M81&82 and then up from there. IF the weather cooperates, I am ready to get out any night this week, but it looks like it is starting to cloud up on me. Guess that is what I get for starting to grind an eight inch and twelve inch mirror and ordering some eyepieces.


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