Agriculture
Seeds of the Future
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Chicken Eggs as Drug Factories
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Mating Slows Down Prairie Dogs
Walktopus
Cacophony Acoustics
Behavior
Wake Up, Sleepy Gene
The case of the headless ant
Between a rock and a wet place
Birds
Carnivorous Birds
Kiwis
Finches
Chemistry and Materials
Batteries built by Viruses
Unscrambling a Gem of a Mystery
A Light Delay
Computers
Hubble trouble doubled
Batteries built by Viruses
The Book of Life
Dinosaurs and Fossils
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
Downsized Dinosaurs
The man who rocked biology to its core
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Earth Rocks On
Earth's Poles in Peril
The Rise of Yellowstone
Environment
Forests as a Tsunami Shield
Bald Eagles Forever
Improving the Camel
Finding the Past
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
An Ancient Childhood
A Long Haul
Fish
Piranha
Tuna
Hagfish
Food and Nutrition
Chocolate Rules
Healing Honey
Eat Out, Eat Smart
GSAT English Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
Who vs. That vs. Which
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Mastering The GSAT Exam
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Deep-space dancers
Human Body
Fighting Off Micro-Invader Epidemics
Disease Detectives
Germ Zapper
Invertebrates
Octopuses
Wasps
Giant Clam
Mammals
Hares
Flying Foxes
Dogs
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
How children learn
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Black Hole Journey
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Powering Ball Lightning
Plants
The algae invasion
Making the most of a meal
Farms sprout in cities
Reptiles
Garter Snakes
Iguanas
Crocodilians
Space and Astronomy
Dark Galaxy
Black Holes That Burp
A Planet from the Early Universe
Technology and Engineering
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
A Clean Getaway
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Ready, unplug, drive
Flying the Hyper Skies
Weather
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Arctic Melt
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Add your Article

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








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™