NASA Space Place – High-Energy Spy

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in June, 2013.

By Dr. Martin C. Weisskopf

2013february2_spaceplaceThe idea for the Chandra X-Ray Observatory was born only one year after Riccardo Giacconi discovered the first celestial X-ray source other than the Sun. In 1962, he used a sounding rocket to place the experiment above the atmosphere for a few minutes. The sounding rocket was necessary because the atmosphere blocks X-rays. If you want to look at X-ray emissions from objects like stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies, your instrument must get above the atmosphere.

Giacconi’s idea was to launch a large diameter (about 1 meter) telescope to bring X-rays to a focus. He wanted to investigate the hazy glow of X-rays that could be seen from all directions throughout the sounding rocket flight. He wanted to find out whether this glow was, in fact, made up of many point-like objects. That is, was the glow actually from millions of X-ray sources in the Universe. Except for the brightest sources from nearby neighbors, the rocket instrument could not distinguish objects within the glow.

Giacconi’s vision and the promise and importance of X-ray astronomy was borne out by many sounding rocket flights and, later satellite experiments, all of which provided years-, as opposed to minutes-, worth of data.

By 1980, we knew that X-ray sources exist within all classes of astronomical objects. In many cases, this discovery was completely unexpected. For example, that first source turned out to be a very small star in a binary system with a more normal star. The vast amount of energy needed to produce the X-rays was provided by gravity, which, because of the small star’s mass (about equal to the Sun’s) and compactness (about 10 km in diameter) would accelerate particles transferred from the normal star to X-ray emitting energies. In 1962, who knew such compact stars (in this case a neutron star) even existed, much less this energy transfer mechanism?

X-ray astronomy grew in importance to the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. The National Academy of Sciences, as part of its “Decadal Survey” released in 1981, recommended as its number one priority for large missions an X-ray observatory along the lines that Giacconi outlined in 1963. This observatory was eventually realized as the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which launched in 1999.

The Chandra Project is built around a high-resolution X-ray telescope capable of sharply focusing X-rays onto two different X-ray-sensitive cameras. The focusing ability is of the caliber such that one could resolve an X-ray emitting dime at a distance of about 5 kilometers!

The building of this major scientific observatory has many stories.

2013june11_DEML50

Caption: Composite image of DEM L50, a so-called superbubble found in the Large Magellanic Cloud. X-ray data from Chandra is pink, while optical data is red, green, and blue. Superbubbles are created by winds from massive stars and the shock waves produced when the stars explode as supernovas.

Learn more about Chandra at www.science.nasa.gov/missions/chandra. Take kids on a “Trip to the Land of the Magic Windows” and see the universe in X-rays and other invisible wavelengths of light at spaceplace.nasa.gov/magic-windows.

Dr. Weisskopf is project scientist for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

About NASA Space Place

The goal of the NASA Space Place is “to inform, inspire, and involve children in the excitement of science, technology, and space exploration.” More information is available at their website: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Back to the Future: From Waste to Power”

Saturday – June 15, 9:30-11:00am

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY



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Have you ever seen science fiction movies like Back to the Future where garbage is put into the gas tank instead of gasoline to make the car go? Maybe you thought to yourself that this will never happen. Well, we are getting closer to a day when we utilize waste materials to power our homes and vehicles, helping to alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels. This presentation will show how, locally, these types of projects are being developed, including a demonstration where waste wood is utilized to create power and steam.

Presenters

Chris Campbell, a native resident of Central New York, has been leading the development of innovative projects within O’Brien & Gere for more than 8 years, with 26 years total professional experience. In his 8-year tenure at O’Brien & Gere, Chris has worked on the development of several alternative energy technologies, including biomass to energy, aimed at providing growth and sustainability within the Central New York area. Chris has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from SUNY Institute of Technology and a MS in Engineering Management from Syracuse University.

Sara Martin, P.E., also a native resident of Central New York, has been leading the development of various alternative energy projects within O’Brien & Gere. More specifically, her focus has been in waste to energy projects, including the design and construction of three facilities in New York State, which utilized food waste to create power and heat energy to utilize back into the food production. Sara has a BS in Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University.

People interested in learning more about sustainable energy are invited to attend the free Junior Cafe presentation on Saturday, June 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse’s Armory Square. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing jrcafe@tacny.org by June 12, 2013.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique, a program for middle-school students founded in 2005, features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere and seeks to encourage students to consider careers in these areas. Students must be accompanied by an adult and can explore the MOST at no cost after the event.

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.

The “Stuventory” – Stu Forster Astronomy Equipment For Sale

* Updated List As Of * 5 August 2015 *

sas_stu_forster_photogallery stu
Dr. Stuart Forster (1956-2011, obit) was a long-time Syracuse Astronomical Society member, former president, secretary, contributing author, scope builder, astrophotographer extraordinaire, host to several of the Messier Marathons that marked the beginning of the SAS observing year, multi-lecturer at past meetings and Summer Seminars, and a true amateur astronomer’s astronomer whose knowledge of observing and equipment was as expansive as the summertime Milky Way.

Ryan Goodson and Damian Allis are coordinating the sale of much of Stu’s astronomy equipment, which is extensive. The list below contains all of the equipment thus catalogued that is not already sold and will be (1) added to as new equipment is catalogued and (2) modified as items are sold. Details about the equipment and sale are as follows:

1. Those in CNY and beyond who knew Stu know that all of the equipment is in fine condition and working order. For optics, we will try to provide as much detail about lenses and mirrors as possible, including providing additional images if you want to see things first.

2. Electronics are more complicated. Stu had been an avid astrophotographer for many years and has in his inventory CCD and related equipment spanning 2 decades (from phone plugs to 9-pin serial plugs to USB). Ryan and Damian do not have a way to test this equipment beforehand. We will do our best to answer questions and, when something can clearly be shown not to work, will provide refunds upon equipment return.

3. Generally, if you want more information or other pictures, please ask by sending an email to stuventory@cnyo.org. Ryan and/or Damian will get back to you as soon as possible.

4. “As long as you’re sorting stuff, did Stu have X?” – We regret that our organization of the equipment does not provide us time or constant access to the equipment we are selling. Everything we have in condition to sell is on this page.

5. Shipping – We plan to ship everything by USPS Priority, which means our expected shipping fee will be in the $6 to $12 range (using USPS Priority Boxes packed as reasonably as possible to minimize the number of boxes if you’re buying multiple items). Tracking numbers will be sent as soon as available. Everything will be boxed and wrapped in bubble wrap. If you like, we can make different shipping arrangements, but we ask that you NOT REQUEST CHEAPER SHIPPING OPTIONS. We simply have too much equipment to be buying custom boxes and keeping track of the different shipping options at the Post Office register. We believe this to be a fair request given the very reasonable prices for these items.

6. There is NO HOLDING policy unless you are driving to Syracuse to look at/purchase equipment. If you want to inspect equipment in person, please schedule as promptly as you can.

7. You Can Help – If you know something about a component that you think would help someone else out, please send your information along to stuventory@cnyo.org (referencing the item number). We assume that people looking to purchase will know what something is (or, at least, “know the difference”) but will happily take additional info and add it.

8. Payment can be made by personal check (to Damian Allis) or PayPal. Please contact Damian at stuventory@cnyo.org prior to purchasing.

9. “Your descriptions are a little… brief” – We are specifically using the first sale of items to reduce the amount of equipment that then needs to be researched. If you were sent here by another amateur astronomer, chanced are good you already know what the equipment is and don’t need us to tell you (minus additional info, of course)!

10. Click on an image for a larger version (and please ignore the numbers written down in the images. The Item Numbers on this page are the official way to reference equipment).

Item #

Picture

Description

Price


7


2 available
unlabeled
4″ Plates
$10.00 each


23








Celestron C90 1000mm f/11 In Case
Orion FlexiSHIELD
SN: 97415
Made In USA
$175.00

51


SBIG
Part: 1007052432
Remote Guide Head
$300.00


56


Williams Optics
Illuminated finder scope with case and mount
$40.00


68



Unlabeled 9×50 mm Finder Scope
No front or back covers
$40.00


77


2″ Focuser $15.00


78


2″ Focuser $15.00


79


2″ Focuser $15.00


84



2″ Focuser $70.00


85



2″ Focuser $20.00


86



2″ Focuser $50.00


87





2″ Focuser $75.00


105

ST-4/RF components (looking for full SBIG retro-focuser) $10.00


106

Orion 9×60 mm illuminated finder scope (tested – works fine) $80.00


107

Orion Sky Wizard 2 components (potentially unaffiliated components therein) PRICE PENDING


108


Astrovid StellaCam II CCD Imaging System (appears to be complete) $550.00


118


BETAX No. 5 Series II Velostigmat No. 497553; Wollensak 12″ F/4.5
Slight ding on the rim (visible at 10 o’clock on the bottom image)
$450.00


120

Meade #62 T-Adapter (Japan) in box $20.00


121


CCD Technology CCD-10 Imager (complete?) with manuals and disks
Model No: CCD-1011231
Serial No: 174
PRICE PENDING


126


130 F6 FF2
Felted Field Flattener (in box)
$250.00