Field of Science

The Hubble Extreme Deep Field

Almost a decade ago when astronomers pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at an apparently featureless patch of the sky they were rewarded with a spectacular image. The was the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The image allowed us to see that galaxies were forming as early as just a billion years after the Big Bang. The farther from Earth we look the farther back in time we see; starlight from those distant galaxies is just arriving at earth now. Now we have glimpsed even further with the Hubble Extreme Deep Field. This new image was created by aggregating 10 years of Hubble images taken centered at the same location of the original Ultra Deep Field. In addition to staking old images additional new images were included which had been taken with infrared cameras installed during the 2008 Hubble Space servicing missions. Infrared images offer important additional data for distant galaxies because the light from such distant objects has been stretched to longer wavelengths as it has journeyed across the universe. Here is the Hubble Extreme Deep Field:
The new Hubble Extreme Deep Field

This is the deepest image of the sky ever seen. It allows us to explore the faintest galaxies ever as far back as a time just half a billion years after the Big Bang. Soon though we will have even deeper images. The James Web Space Telescope will be a 6.5 meter diameter(or 21 foot, so big that it will be a segmented mirror that will unfold in space) space telescope that will launch in 2018. It will see further. Here is a simulated image of what the James Web Space Telescope will see:
The James Web Space Telescope Simulated Deep Field Image
If you are intrigued by Hubble's deep images of the sky there is a Google Event webinar to discuss the latest findings. The public is invited. show up online and ask questions of the astronomers involved. It is at 1 p.m. Sept. 27 and can be joined either at HubbleSite’s Google Plus page or the HubbleSite YouTube Channel.


I got asked about 2012 the other day. Something about Mayans predicting the end of the world and or hidden planetary alignments. Sometimes I don't know where to begin addressing something so wrong. Whether you ask a scientist or a Mayan elder though they agree there is no end of days in 2012. Here is a scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, on the subject:
And here is David Morrison, expert on Earth impact hazards, speaking about misconceptions related to the year 2012:

The Z Machine Makes Stars and Art

I met Don Winget years ago on a cloudy night in the control room of the Otto von Struve Telescope. His enthusiasm and excitement was overflowing. I could hardly see his face, lit eerily by red lights, but his words painted a picture of far away white dwarf stars. These stars are pulsating, cooling, and perhaps intertwined with mysterious undiscovered axion particles. He continues extraordinary pursuits. He is looking for white dwarfs on earth with the Z Machine. The Z Machine releases a powerful electrical discharge over a brief amount of time to create plasma, X-rays, shock waves, and an electromagnetic pulse. The Z Machine releases several times the combined energy output of all power plants on earth for a few brief nanoseconds with each shot. Usually it does nuclear weapons research, but this wonderful research aims to simulate aspects of white dwarf stars on earth and it is inspiring art.