This is very cool, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the people who decide what research is done with the Hubble Space Telescope, are holding a public vote on which object to image.
Now that I think about it, they should have called it “Survivor: Universe” and let people vote against objects, ’cause being mean-spirited is way more fun. I mean, look at NGC 4289. It totally snubbed ARP 274. Don’t you see the way that it’s standing!??! It’s all “talk to the spiral arm, ’cause the central bar ain’t listening.” And for what? It thinks ARP 274 got more dark matter? Not good enough, vote that bastard off already.
Ahem. Meanwhile, Seth at the US LHC blogs wonders if the LHC experiments can do something similar. I kinda hope they don’t. Do we really need national TV exposure of all the ways the different quarks hate each other? That shit is ugly.
Anyway, go vote: there are prizes!
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The Boston Globe runs a beautiful feature called “The Big Picture”. The most recent features images of The Sun which are breathtaking.
One thing I find particularly cool is that many of the most detailed pictures were taken with ground based telescopes, such as the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope. They use the full set of tricks to get this amazing resolution — including adaptive optics, where the telescope’s own mirror is deformed to match the distortions in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The picture above is dramatically reduced in size and quality; go see the real thing.
In other amazing-space-image related news, NASA will try to fix the Hubble Space Telescope tomorrow by switching to a backup system. The Hubble has been unable to send pictures back down to Earth for a few weeks now, as it’s come down with a bad case of broken electronics. In the meantime, they’ve still been able to do useful science by obtaining ever-more accurate positions of stars.
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