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Astronomers

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ENTERTAINMENT
April 14, 1991 | By Jonathan Storm, Inquirer Television Critic
Astronomers seem like friendly people, though they have peculiar ideas. Take Mike Dopita. He has spent the last four years down in Australia, looking at the explosion of a nearby star. It's exciting because it happened "next door," he explains. "Next door" turns out to be only 997,168,320,000,000,000 miles away, give or take a hundred billion or two. The Astronomers, PBS's maddeningly inconsistent six-hour series, visits with 30 or 40 people such as Dopita who live in our world but think about impossible, though not always far-off, things.
NEWS
October 15, 2010
John Huchra, 61, an astronomer whose pioneering maps of a bubbly universe challenged notions of how the galaxies were born, died last Friday at his home in Lexington, Mass., of a heart attack, his wife, Rebecca M. Henderson, said. Dr. Huchra will be remembered as well for what looks like a child's stick-figure drawing of a man but in fact is a map showing how the galaxies are distributed through about 600 million light-years of space. Astronomers had long presumed that if they looked out far enough beyond the Local Group of galaxies to which the Milky Way belongs, galaxies would be spread more or less evenly.
NEWS
March 15, 1987 | By Jim Detjen, Inquirer Staff Writer
The discovery three weeks ago of an exploding star blazing with the intensity of one billion suns has enabled astronomers at the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions around the globe to confirm key theories about the evolution of the universe. The exploding star, known as a supernova, has galvanized astronomers into an unprecedented frenzy of activity. New findings have been reported almost daily, and virtually every available astronomical tool in the Southern Hemisphere, where the supernova is visible to the naked eye, is focused on the star's violent aftermath.
NEWS
February 19, 1991 | By Jim Detjen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Personal computers, microwave ovens, garage-door openers and car phones have become nearly essential components of life in the 1990s. But they also have become a growing threat to astronomers, who find that the skies have become polluted with the electromagnetic radiation given off by these common appliances. "You can't stop it. Everybody wants to have cellular telephones, microwaves and other devices that give off electronic pollution," said Paul A. Vanden Bout, director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Va. "I'm worried that the day will come when we can no longer do radio astronomy on Earth.
NEWS
April 30, 1999
In this April sky, stars are perched, some long dead, irrelevant light that only now reaches us, on this, a night so clear I look up from the road, imagine my car a ship guided by Andromedae, as if I could let go the wheel, glance up into the lit distance, know in my bones I will reach home, the starlight a hand staying all my fears. The velocity of planets whirling above our heads; questions of life beyond our own fade as my astral thoughts regard a woman, closer than the stars, head thrown back perhaps, eyes closed tight - her departed child lost in the high and ominous light.
NEWS
April 19, 1995 | By Faye Flam, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A team of astronomers yesterday claimed the first definitive detection of objects making up the elusive "dark matter," long believed to lurk between the stars. The identity of dark matter is one of the biggest mysteries facing astronomers in their quest to understand the nature of the universe. The speculated dark matter is, by definition, invisible. Therefore, astronomers from Livermore National Laboratory, along with collaborators from Britain and Australia, used an indirect technique - looking for distorting effects that dark matter would have on light coming to Earth from more distant stars.
NEWS
May 21, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Back when single-celled organisms ruled Earth, a gigantic black hole lurking quietly at the center of a distant galaxy dismantled and devoured a star. This month, astronomers reported that they watched the whole thing unfold over a period of 15 months starting in 2010, the first time such an event had been witnessed in great detail from start to finish. "The star got so close that it was ripped apart by the gravitational force of the black hole," said Johns Hopkins astronomer Suvi Gezari, lead author of a paper about the observations that was published online by the journal Nature.
NEWS
August 20, 1998 | By Seth Borenstein, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
A little extra twinkle of some stars may be shining light on one of astronomy's darkest mysteries: Where is the 90 percent of our galaxy that appears to be missing? For two decades, astronomers have believed that the galaxy has a lot more mass than is visible, because outer stars are speeding around as if the galaxy weighs a lot more. Astronomers trying to track down the missing stuff call it dark matter. A team of American and Australian astronomers believes periodic spurts of extra light from distant stars provide evidence that could help account for about half the missing parts of the Milky Way. Something is causing these stars to brighten incredibly for about 80 days, and that something is probably the same dark matter that accounts for the galaxy's hidden weight, said team leader Charles Alcock of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.
NEWS
July 10, 1994 | By Jim Detjen, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Beginning Saturday, the planet Jupiter is expected to put on a celestial show the likes of which no human has ever seen before. Thousands of astronomers around the world will be glued to their telescopes from Saturday to July 21 to observe 21 mountain-sized chunks of a comet smashing into Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet. Each chunk will hit with an explosive force of about a million megatons of TNT. The total power of the collisions is expected to be 2,000 times greater than the Earth's entire nuclear arsenal.
LIVING
January 20, 1997 | By Faye Flam, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
About once every day, an explosion of unimaginable power goes off somewhere in space and is recorded by a NASA astronomy satellite. Since these mystery blasts were first picked up by a military satellite in the 1960s, no one has been able to figure out what is causing them or from where they are coming. "There are more than 100 theories - putting the bursts everywhere between the edge of the solar system and the edge of the universe," astronomer Samuel Larson of the University of California, Los Angeles, said.
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NEWS
February 13, 2015 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
WALL, N.J. - The five-story satellite dish made history nearly six decades ago, early in America's space race with the Soviet Union. It tracked the first U.S. space launch, Explorer 1, that year, and received the first hurricane data from the TIROS 1 satellite in 1960. Then the dish was mothballed in the late 1970s as more modern equipment came into use, and eventually was relegated to the status of science relic, part of the museum collection of the InfoAge Science Center at Camp Evans, a historic former Army Signal Corps center in Monmouth County.
NEWS
May 8, 2014 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
PER CAPITA, Chester marked four times as many slayings as Philadelphia last year. This year, it's on track to see six times as many. As U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said, Chester's crime stats are "astronomical. " Even as law-enforcement officials from across the region gathered at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media yesterday to announce "Operation City Surge," a plan to flood Chester's streets with additional manpower to address the growing violence, a man was shot in Chester, at 21st Street near Edgmont Avenue, about 1:30 p.m. He was not expected to survive.
NEWS
April 14, 2013
A Novel By Ken Kalfus Bloomsbury. 224 pp. $24. Reviewed by Glenn C. Altschuler The equilateral triangle combines the virtues of uniformity and variety, Sanford Thayer, the main character in Ken Kalfus' new novel, proclaims. The component of all regular pyramidal solids and the basis of all human art, it is "the most visually satisfying geometrical figure of them all. " Drawing on his cigar, Wilson Ballard, Thayer's chief engineer, shoots back: "Bloody difficult to dig, though.
NEWS
November 9, 2012 | By Miriam Hill, Jonathan Lai, and Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writers
Some Philadelphia neighborhoods outdid themselves in Tuesday's presidential election. In a city where President Obama received more than 85 percent of the votes, in some places he received almost every one. In 13 Philadelphia wards, Obama received 99 percent of the vote or more. Those wards, many with large African American populations, also swung heavily for Obama over John McCain in 2008. But the difficult economy seemed destined to dampen that enthusiasm four years later. Not to worry.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2012 | By Faye Flam, Inquirer Staff Writer
Serendipity has been known to catapult science to new heights, but few lucky accidents could compete with the windfall astrophysicists picked up from the biggest, most expensive blunder in the history of spy satellites. After spending an estimated half billion dollars on two telescopes designed to spy on earthly activities, the federal government gave up and offered them for civilian use. Astronomers quickly realized that turning the scopes from spy craft into science craft could open up a new view of the universe.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 25, 2012 | By Art Carey, Inquirer Columnist
As a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, Mark Devlin has his head in the stars and his feet planted firmly on Earth - when he isn't running or mountain-biking. His professional perspective is cosmic, but many of his sublunary hours are spent tending to the care and maintenance of his body. It's a necessity in his line of work, for when he's not in his lab or office, he's out in the field, launching telescope-carrying helium balloons in Antarctica, studying the Big Bang at the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile, or at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope.
NEWS
September 21, 2012 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
Having made his peace with the region's birders, the artist who will debut a huge light show Thursday night over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is still facing opposition from the astronomy community. Astronomers and dark-sky advocates, who contend that light pollution is not only obscuring the majesty of the starry sky, but also harming humans and wildlife by disrupting natural rhythms, have objected to the show. Running from 8 to 11 nightly through Oct. 14, the show, titled "Open Air," is to feature 24 spotlights along the parkway that will move and change intensity in response to verbal messages people record through an app developed for the exhibition.
NEWS
May 21, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Back when single-celled organisms ruled Earth, a gigantic black hole lurking quietly at the center of a distant galaxy dismantled and devoured a star. This month, astronomers reported that they watched the whole thing unfold over a period of 15 months starting in 2010, the first time such an event had been witnessed in great detail from start to finish. "The star got so close that it was ripped apart by the gravitational force of the black hole," said Johns Hopkins astronomer Suvi Gezari, lead author of a paper about the observations that was published online by the journal Nature.
NEWS
October 15, 2011
By Michael D. Lemonick If you want to get your mind around the research that won three astronomers the Nobel Prize in physics last week, it helps to think of the universe as a lump of dough - raisin-bread dough, to be precise - mixed, kneaded, and ready to rise. Hold that thought. Now consider Albert Einstein - not the wild-haired, absentminded professor he became in his later years, but a young, dashing scientist in his 30s. It's 1916, and he's just published his revolutionary general theory of relativity.
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