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Showing posts from March, 2013

The Birth of the Universe, through Today's Telescopes

by Sandra Ning, Terra Linda HS

A nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Though nebulae are often the focus of space appreciation in pop culture, the universe encompasses billions more phenomena. (source)
     A story is typically told from the beginning, but oftentimes the universe is an exception. As a society, time is measured in days and nights, hours, minutes, and seconds. But even more so, time is apparent to us through the peachy sunrise of dawn, the angry grumbles of an empty stomach at noon, and the fatigue that settles with the darkness of night. It's hard to imagine any of these things in relation to the universe, with its sleepless planets and nomadic asteroids, all swallowed up in an unimaginably large blanket of space. If the universe is a story, and all the galaxies, comets, and stars its characters, where does it all begin? 
     Luckily, scientists have already delved into the origins of the universe, and have resurfaced with new and exciting insights regarding these qu…

Sinkholes in Space: Black Holes!

by Sandra Ning, Terra Linda HS

 The first thing young students learn about space in their science classes is that it is huge. Earth becomes a speck in the solar system, infinitesimally small compared to the hulking gas giants orbiting ponderously outside of the asteroid belt, and infinitely distant from the roiling surface of the Sun. The solar system becomes a speck in the eye of the Milky Way galaxy: the heat of the Sun, too bright for humans to even look at, becomes mediocre in the face of thousands of other brighter, white-blue stars dotting the galaxy. Red dwarves overshadow even the largest planet, Jupiter. Even the harmonic system of the Sun and its orbiting planets is just one out of an incredible number of star clusters, constellations, distant planets and binary stars that comprise our galaxy.

      At the point when the solar system is only an afterthought on a distant arm of the Milky Way galaxy, and when the Milky Way becomes only one galaxy in an innumerable number withi…

Check out the Marin Science Seminar Vimeo Channel

Check out Marin Science Seminar's Vimeo channel!

Here's MSS intern Josh Leung teaser video for this month's Astronomy speaker series.

Astronomy and Astrophysics - March 2013 from Marin Science Seminar on Vimeo.
March 6th: NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (formerly known as GLAST) mission was launched into orbit on June 11, 2008. Its mission is to explore the most energetic and exotic objects in the cosmos: blazing galaxies, intense stellar explosions and super-massive black holes. Using experimental technologies developed by high energy particle physicists, Fermi's astrophysical observations are being conducted by scientists world-wide. Unlike visible light, gamma rays detected by Fermi's Large Area Telescope are so energetic that E = mc2 really matters! I will explain how Fermi uses matter and anti-matter pair production to track gamma rays to their cosmic locations, and will showcase recent exciting results from the mission

March 13: "I will begin …

Fermi's Eye on the Universe

by Sandra Ning, Terra Linda HS

An image of the Milky Way Galaxy and its surroundings, by Fermi. (source)
    Since their invention, telescopes have allowed humans to examine closely, and in more detail, the universe around them. Advances in optic technology have brought humans closer to understanding the microscopic world around us and the far-away mysteries above us. Telescopes like Hubble and Chandra directed into space have been sending back dazzling pictures of nebulae, galaxies and star clusters that are as beautiful as they are scientifically fascinating. Fermi joins the research team with new equipment: gamma- ray sensing technology.
    Dr. Lynn Cominsky, who is the Department Chair of Physics and Astronomy at Sonoma State University, stopped to answer a couple of questions about her upcoming presentation on NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. She also lent her expertise to explaining the various, fascinating phenomena that occur out in the vast expanse of space.