Feb 11

VLBA measures farther than ever before

Credit: Universe Today

Artist's conception of Milky Way, showing locations of star-forming regions whose distances were recently measured.
Image credit: M. Reid, Harvard-Smithsonian CfA; R. Hurt, SSC/JPL/Caltech, NRAO/AUI/NSF,Kitt Peak.

Los Alamos. St. Croix. Pie Town.

What do these places have in common? They each house one of 10 giant telescopes in the Very Large Baseline Array, a continent-spanning collection of telescopes that’s flexing its optical muscles, reaching farther into space — with more precision — than any other telescope in the world.

And yesterday, at the 177th annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC, VLBA researchers announced an amazing feat: They’ve used the VLBA to peer, with stunning accuracy, three times as far into the universe as they had just two years ago. New measurements with the VLBA have placed a galaxy called NGC 6264 (coordinates below) at a distance of 450 million light-years from Earth, with an uncertainty of no more than 9 percent. This is the farthest distance ever directly measured, surpassing a measurement of 160 million light-years to another galaxy in 2009.(read more)

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Feb 11

Warm Up At NASA's Sun-Earth Day Tweetup

Source: NASA News

NASA is inviting its Twitter followers to a daylong event revolving around the sun and Earth's relationship. NASA will randomly select 100 registrants to participate in the Sun-Earth Day Tweetup March 19 at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Registration opens at noon EST on Tuesday, Feb. 22, and closes at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24.

Each year, NASA celebrates Sun-Earth Day near the spring equinox with a series of events that highlight the agency's research and discoveries about our home planet and its star. "Ancient Mysteries, Future Discoveries" is this year's theme for Sun-Earth Day and the Tweetup.

Tweetup participants will be given a personalized tour of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space museum in Washington. They will observe the sun -- weather permitting -- from the museum's public observatory and hear from Smithsonian experts who study the history of astronomy and planetary science. After the Smithsonian visit, the attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at Goddard's Integration and Test Facility, where engineers ground test instruments and satellites.

Tweetup attendees also will have the opportunity to meet NASA scientists and engineers and be part of a live webcast with the co-hosts of NASA EDGE, an unscripted video podcast that takes a unique look at agency programs and initiatives.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for people who regularly communicate via Twitter about Sun-Earth Day and other NASA programs to meet each other and get direct access to astronomy experts at the Smithsonian and NASA," said Aleya Van Doren, formal education coordinator at Goddard.

For more information about the Tweetup and to register, visit:


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