February 13, 2015 |
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.
December 27, 2013 |
Through the wide opening in a rooftop dome on the engineering building at Widener University, the most prominent feature of the view is a brilliantly lit Days Inn billboard. Focus a bit more, and you'll notice a cellphone tower, a patchwork of illuminated city buildings, and an airplane blinking across a grayish night sky. Harry Augensen has made it his mission to show residents of Chester that there are stars there, too. On many Monday and Friday evenings, he invites community members of all ages to the roof of Kirkbride Hall, where he runs Widener's observatory.
September 28, 2013 |
Renowned for her dazzlingly melodic art-pop since 2005's glossy Eye to the Telescope , Scottish singer KT Tunstall took a more somber turn with this year's Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon . Throughout this elegantly atmospheric album (coproduced by Howie Gelb in the Tucson brush), Tunstall touches on life's rich pageant at its saddest: the decay of the body, the end of romance, the finality of death. There's a neorealist candor on this spare album unheard in previous Tunstall works.
May 16, 2013
Planet-hunter needs repair LOS ANGELES - NASA's Kepler planet-hunting telescope is broken, potentially jeopardizing a mission that opened up whole new possibilities on life outside the solar system. If engineers can't find a fix, the malfunction could mean an end to the $600 million mission's planet search, although the space agency wasn't ready to call it quits Wednesday. "I wouldn't call Kepler down-and-out just yet," said NASA sciences chief John Grunsfeld. NASA said the spacecraft lost the second of four wheels that control the telescope's orientation in space.
March 23, 2013 |
The world's largest telescope won't be in its full glory till summer, but already a team of scientists, including a Penn astrophysicist, has used it to make discoveries about the early universe. Their project, reported in the journal Nature last week, examined dozens of bright ancient galaxies where gas and dust were churning into suns, and found that star birth then happened at a remarkable rate - a thousand times that seen in the Milky Way today. Water was even detected in one of the two most distant galaxies, which were dated to about 12.7 billion years ago - more than 8 billion years before the Earth was even a twinkle in the solar system's sky. "We see that already within a billion years after the Big Bang happened," said James Aguirre, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania's physics and astronomy department.
October 30, 2012 |
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.
August 11, 2012
Sir Bernard Lovell, 98, a pioneer in radar and radio telescopes from the days when the technology helped save Britain in World War II until the beginning of the space age, died Monday at his home in Swettenham Village, England. Sir Bernard, who became widely known through his books, lectures, and BBC television appearances, was especially renowned for creating the Jodrell Bank radio telescope, the only antenna that could track rockets in space in the early years of the space race.
June 2, 2012 |
David Rittenhouse spent months fine-tuning his handmade instruments and setting up a small observatory on the grounds of his farm, 20 miles outside the bustling young city of Philadelphia. On a clear June day in 1769, he was ready to participate in a landmark moment in science's efforts to measure the heavens. The rare event was called the transit of Venus, and it can be seen once again Tuesday evening - likely the last such chance for anyone now alive. For several hours, the path of Venus will take it directly across our view of the sun - looking something like a small blueberry against a fiery volleyball, for those with a telescope and proper eye protection (number 14 welder's goggles will work)
April 20, 2012 |
When people think of Philadelphia, they might imagine cheesesteaks and Rocky, the Phillies and the Flyers. They don't necessarily think of our city as an intellectual hub or a center of scientific research, but they should, said Steve Snyder, vice president for exhibit and program development at the Franklin Institute. This region is packed with top-notch universities, illustrious science museums, and booming technology-oriented businesses. Philadelphia is among the top five U.S. cities in National Institutes of Health grants, Snyder said.