Agriculture
Watering the Air
Silk’s superpowers
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Amphibians
Poison Dart Frogs
Newts
Tree Frogs
Animals
Return of the Lost Limbs
Fishy Sounds
Eyes on the Depths
Behavior
Nice Chimps
Math Naturals
The Snappy Lingo of Instant Messages
Birds
Hummingbirds
Pigeons
Woodpecker
Chemistry and Materials
A Spider's Silky Strength
When frog gender flips
Gooey Secrets of Mussel Power
Computers
Games with a Purpose
Galaxies on the go
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Takeout for Mammals
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
An Ancient Spider's Web
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Shrinking Glaciers
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Deep Drilling at Sea
Environment
Shrimpy Invaders
Nanosponges Soak Up Pollutants
Swimming with Sharks and Stingrays
Finding the Past
Chicken of the Sea
Ancient Art on the Rocks
Childhood's Long History
Fish
Carp
Parrotfish
Piranha
Food and Nutrition
Sponges' secret weapon
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
Eat Out, Eat Smart
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Who vs. That vs. Which
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Exam Preparation
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Math of the World
Setting a Prime Number Record
Human Body
Music in the Brain
Sun Screen
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Invertebrates
Starfish
Ticks
Cockroaches
Mammals
Wolves
Weasels
Mule
Parents
How children learn
Children and Media
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Project Music
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Plants
A Change in Leaf Color
Stalking Plants by Scent
The algae invasion
Reptiles
Snapping Turtles
Chameleons
Lizards
Space and Astronomy
Solving a Sedna Mystery
Wrong-way planets do gymnastics
Super Star Cluster in the Neighborhood
Technology and Engineering
Machine Copy
Musclebots Take Some Steps
Riding Sunlight
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
What is a Verb?
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Ready, unplug, drive
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Arctic Melt
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
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™