68

New Horizons has just passed the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69 also known as Ultima Thule. KBOs form a belt of asteroids (the Kuiper Belt) from Neptune's orbit outwards and of which Pluto is the largest member of the Belt. During the encounter with Ultima Thule, all of the 7 instruments on New Horizons were gathering data (although not all at the same ...


46

The other answer mentions it, but this gives a bit more theory as to the why. It's effectively for the same reason that your phone or Wi-Fi don't work as well and slow down when that they are far from the hotspot or cannot get a clear line of access to the cell tower, more commonly known as having "few bars": the signal gets weaker and as a result the ...


16

On top of the slow data transmission rate (explained in astrosnapper's answer), I think it is worth pointing out that New Horizons will enter solar conjunction next week, meaning that we won't be able to receive any transmissions from it due to the Sun blocking them. I don't know how many times this will happen over those 24 months, but it is an additional ...


16

Just to put some perspective on things: 1. New Horizons is really far away from the Earth. At the moment of closest approach, New Horizons was over 6,600,000,000 kilometers away from Earth. This is about 6 light-hours. And the spacecraft is continuing to get farther by about 14 kilometres per second. 2. Transmissions from farther away are weaker. The ...


11

The CMB patterns do indeed change over time, although statistically they remain the same, and although it will not be noticeable on human timescales. The CMB we observe now comes from a thin shell with us in the center, and with a radius equal to the distance that the light has traveled from the Universe was 379,000 years old and until now. As time passes, ...


11

File formats tend to be industry/field-specific, with the format, tools, and expectations of the field coevolving to become more dependent on each other over time. JPEG co-evolved with amateur digital photography, PNG co-evolved with the web. Likewise, FITS co-evolved with astronomical data processing, and so is naturally more suited for that purpose than ...


11

The raw images1 from LORRI (high resolution greyscale) are available from JHU APL but the rest of the data such MVIC (wide angle in greyscale plus four color bands: near IR, methane, red, and blue), LEISA (infrared spectroscopic imagery), Alice (ultraviolet spectroscopic imagery), as well as other instruments seems not to be available yet. Some processed ...


9

First off, pairing a classic dob with a DSLR is a bit like a shotgun marriage. A dobsonian is fundamentally a visual telescope. Most manufacturers don't even consider the possibility that these instruments could be used for data collection via a sensor. There are 2 issues here: 1. The dobsonian is not tracking The sky is moving, the dob stays still. You ...


9

Convolution is not a uniquely invertible process in the presence of random noise in your image. Deconvolving a noisy image can give misleading results, even if you have perfect knowledge of the PSF. In general, when you are fitting models to data, it is far better to compare the models and data in the observational space of the data, where the uncertainties ...


9

Most general purpose observatories release the data taken on their facilities after the expiration of the proprietary period (this is the time, typically 12-18 months, where the data is only available to the proposers for the telescope time so they can work on it without being "scooped"). "Focused telescopes" in the sense of those that are performing surveys ...


8

When you plug the lead researcher's name into Arxiv, the first search result is The missing light of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. 3 main steps: Creation of sky flat fields for the four filters. This process is fully described in Sect. 2.4. – Creation of a catalogue of all WFC3/IR datasets that may affect our mosaics (including calibration ...


8

Let me see if I can explain the main aim and accomplishment of this work. First off: the picture you're puzzling over is a "luminance RGB" image, in which the bright regions are represented by color (a sort of pseudo-true color using near-infrared images), with the second faintest parts represented with black and the very faintest parts with white. The ...


6

You are absolutely right: amateurs can do a lot of science with the apparatus you own. The book "Astronomical Discoveries You Can Make, Too!", by Robert Buchheim, lists famous historical observations that can be replicated by amateurs.


6

There are two separate points of interest you're looking at so I'll separate this into sections. Sudden Drop at Day 1559 As near as I can tell, this is the result of a quarterly roll of the satellite, specifically the end of quarter 17. Every 90 days, which NASA calls a quarter, the space craft does a 90 degree roll to optimize the solar panel efficiency. ...


5

Horizons Ephemeris Generator Here is a screen capture where vector option is chosen:


5

Starting from the index you mentioned, I clicked through the links for some individual planets, which in turn link to discovery papers or other relevant observations. For planets around Kepler-23, -24, -25, -26, -27, and -28, the relevant papers are Ford et al. (2012) and Steffen et al. (2012), two out of a series of papers. Both papers used transit timing ...


5

Hipparcos, the predecessor to Gaia, has a dataset (http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/Cat?I/239) with 3D positions for 100,000 stars. While we have much larger datasets of galactic stars, such as SDSS, finding the distances to stars is much harder. Parallax is the most precise technique for finding distances. Even for Gaia, we will only be able to measure ...


5

Most catalogs have a public release somewhere on the web. Here is the best listing of astronomical catalogs that I know of: http://vizier.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/VizieR There is also a NASA Extragalactic Database (NED) that can be helpful: http://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/ In general, astronomical observations are available to the public to be analyzed. Different ...


5

This is a spectral energy distribution (SED). Since astronomical objects don't emit light a single frequency an SED tells you how much emission you're getting across a range of frequencies. "log" indicates it's on a logarithmic scale $\nu$ represents frequency in Hz (e.g. $log~\nu=12$ is $10^{12}$ Hz) Jy is a unit of specific flux density $f_{\nu}$ is the ...


5

These two uses of PSFs are applicable to different situations. Sometimes you know your PSF well enough to deconvolve your image and get something reasonable out of it, but most of the time you have a lot of assumptions in this process and you're not going to get something perfect, so you might want to go the other way and convolve your model with the best ...


5

The reason is detailed in depth in this pdf, which contains the following diagram: Some key quantities: $R_0$: Distance from the observer to the center of the Milky Way $R$: Distance from target gas to the center of the Milky Way $V_0$: Velocity of the observer with respect to a certain reference frame $V$: Velocity of target gas with respect to the same ...


5

Found laser ranging data here: http://www.geoazur.fr/astrogeo/?href=observations/donnees/lune/brutes Here you can search for data for an arbitrary time period. The data is what they call "MINI" format, which is hard to read, its basically a long string of numbers. Here is a sample line: 5120160113152419452625024340653926601301910034002705017 087323+...


5

I would start by doing a search on VizieR, select "Globular_Clusters" from the right-hand list box (this tells me there are around 900 catalogs in this category) and click "Find Catalogs". Some of the returned results will be catalogues of stars within a given cluster, the density map on the right-hand side of the list will show these as a single point. ...


5

Astronomer is moving towards the big(ger) data era because of many sky survey technologies. The coming ones include, e.g., LSST, JWST, and WFIRST. By the meaning of survey, it normally means observing the whole sky over a few days, and keep repeating over and over. Also, since most of the surveys are imaging technologies, every pixel in an image is ...


5

The closest service to what you are describing is the SIMBAD Astronomical Database from the Université de Strasbourg/CNRS. At the time I write this post, it contains 10.8M objects and 35.5M identifiers. It does not have a single CSV you can download with this information (to the best of my knowledge, and I've asked), but there is an API and TAP service ...


5

There is no universal answer to this question. Instrumentation, data formats and software differ greatly between telescopes. Most software packages in use are written by astronomers as open source and shared and modified widely within the community. But instead of listing popular packages, perhaps a description of the common way of plotting images is a ...


5

The orbit of star S2 is completely determined by the astrometric observations. i.e. One has the orbital period, the angular scale of the orbit and the inclination of the orbital plane. With this information alone, the distance and central mass are degenerate. If you know the distance you get the mass and vice versa. However, here the mass is not needed. ...


4

When we observe the CMBR we are observing the surface of last scattering, however the comoving points that make up the surface of last scattering (which infact will actually have a comparitvely very small, but non-zero thickness rather than being a 2D surface) change with time, which in theory should correspond to a change in the observed pattern (of ...


4

Those sites where one views a light transit curve or tries to classify a galaxy type are not very interesting to me. I feel I could investigate things more in depth than that. There is a lot more to many citizen science projects than that! I'd recommend having a look through all the projects available as there may be one in an area you are more interested ...


4

Go to the Kepler/K2 MAST database https://archive.stsci.edu/kepler/data_search/search.php or https://archive.stsci.edu/k2/epic/search.php Search on a temperature ($T_{\rm eff}$) range: e.g. for K-stars 4500 .. 5200 A (big) list of objects will be found and presented to you in a table. Mark the ones you want (all the Kepler objects should have available ...


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