Agriculture
Watering the Air
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Amphibians
Tree Frogs
Frogs and Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Ant Invasions Change the Rules
Hearing Whales
Insects Take a Breather
Behavior
Brain cells take a break
Longer lives for wild elephants
When Darwin got sick of feathers
Birds
Pigeons
Ducks
Macaws
Chemistry and Materials
Diamond Glow
Heaviest named element is official
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
Computers
Troubles with Hubble
Fingerprint Evidence
New twists for phantom limbs
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Teeny Skull Reveals Ancient Ancestor
Downsized Dinosaurs
Dinosaur Eggs-citement
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Digging into a Tsunami Disaster
Earth's Poles in Peril
Rodent Rubbish as an Ice-Age Thermometer
Environment
Missing Tigers in India
Sounds and Silence
Giant snakes invading North America
Finding the Past
An Ancient Childhood
Digging Up Stone Age Art
Watching deep-space fireworks
Fish
Nurse Sharks
Megamouth Sharks
Skates
Food and Nutrition
Strong Bones for Life
Sponges' secret weapon
Chew for Health
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
Who vs. Whom
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Setting a Prime Number Record
Human Body
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
A Long Haul
Electricity's Spark of Life
Invertebrates
Dragonflies
Beetles
Hermit Crabs
Mammals
Lynxes
Blue Bear
Manatees
Parents
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
How children learn
Physics
Gaining a Swift Lift
IceCube Science
Einstein's Skateboard
Plants
Nature's Alphabet
Farms sprout in cities
Getting the dirt on carbon
Reptiles
Garter Snakes
Alligators
Lizards
Space and Astronomy
A Great Ball of Fire
Rover Makes Splash on Mars
Pluto, plutoid: What's in a name?
Technology and Engineering
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
Shape Shifting
Riding Sunlight
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Pronouns
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Transportation
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
How to Fly Like a Bat
Charged cars that would charge
Weather
Science loses out when ice caps melt
A Change in Climate
Either Martians or Mars has gas
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New eyes to scan the skies

Four hundred years ago, an Italian scientist named Galileo Galilei became the first person to see the craters on the moon. Galileo, who also observed four of Jupiter’s moons and the rings of Saturn, was one of the first people to use a telescope to study the sky. Since then, telescopes have become the most important tool used by astronomers. All over the world — from the mountains of Hawaii to the icy plains of Antarctica — astronomers use telescopes to study the stars, galaxies and planets of outer space. Today, telescopes come in all shapes and sizes. Scientists are constantly finding new ways to make these instruments more powerful. In the next couple years, two new telescopes with different purposes are scheduled to see “first light.” (This is the phrase used by astronomers to talk about the first images produced by a telescope.) One of the telescopes, called Pan-STARRS, could save humans from extinction. Nick Kaiser, a scientist who works on the project, says the Pan-STARRS telescope has been designed to find “90 percent of all killer asteroids, near-Earth asteroids bigger than 300 meters.” Smaller asteroids often crash into Earth, but if a giant “killer” asteroid were to strike our planet, it could mean the end of human civilization. Pan-STARRS, like most telescopes, uses mirrors and lenses to provide pictures of outer space. Giant mirrors are used to “gather” light. They reflect the light onto the lens of a camera, which can then record the image. When completed, Pan-STARRS will include four telescopes perched atop a mountain on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Only one telescope is in place and working now. Each telescope will take pictures of one patch of sky for about 30 seconds, and then move on to another patch. Every night, each telescope will take pictures of about 1,000 patches. Every week, each telescope will have photographed the whole sky. Each of the four telescopes will take pictures of the same patches of sky. One telescope, working alone, may occasionally malfunction and incorrectly detect an asteroid. If there are three other telescopes working, astronomers can use them to see if there really is an asteroid coming our way. By using four telescopes instead of one, scientists hope to get a more accurate picture of space. If a giant asteroid were identified, astronomers would plot ways to deflect it or break it up long before it reached Earth. Another telescope, called Gaia, is being designed by astronomers in Europe — and it couldn’t be more different from Pan-STARRS. While Pan-STARRS will be looking for asteroids and comets headed for Earth, Gaia will be looking at our entire galaxy. Gaia is designed to draw a map of the Milky Way, our home galaxy. Just as a map of your town gives you a picture of where things are located, Gaia’s map of the galaxy will tell astronomers where the stars reside. Over five years, Gaia will observe about a billion stars and other objects in our galaxy. Each object will be observed about 70 times. Unlike Pan-STARRS, which will be constructed on firm Earth, Gaia will be launched into space strapped to a rocket. It consists of two telescopes, each focused at a different angle. These two telescopes act like Gaia’s “eyes.” The reason humans can see things in 3-D is that we have two eyes focused on the same object, at slightly different angles. (If you want to see a two-dimensional version of your world, try using just one eye.) By using two telescopes like eyes, Gaia can produce the first 3-D map of the positions of the stars it views. Gaia, which is scheduled to blast off in 2011, will be a powerful telescope. If you were to use it on Earth, for example, you could stand 600 miles away from your best friends and still get a crisp and clear picture of their hair. Gaia and Pan-STARRS are two of more than a dozen telescopes being designed by scientists right now. The next generation of telescopes will reveal new parts of our universe that will seem surprising, just as the moon’s craters must have seemed when observed 400 years ago. The universe, with all its planets, stars and other strange objects, is a complicated puzzle with pieces that we can see by using powerful telescopes. Astronomers of the future will gaze deep into space, gather more pieces, try to put them together and ask new questions. The big question, however, will always be the same: “What’s out there?” Power words: Telescope: An arrangement of lenses or mirrors, or both, that gathers visible light, permitting direct observation or photographic recording of distant objects. Galaxy: A collection of stars, gas and dust that make up the universe. A galaxy contains an average of 100 billion solar masses (or 100 billion times the weight of the sun) and ranges in diameter from 1,500 to 300,000 light-years.

New eyes to scan the skies
New eyes to scan the skies








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