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Viewing posts from February, 2012

An Interview with Ben Burleson

This week’s interview is with Ben Burleson.

Eta Carinae and a cool eruption

Eta Carinae is a massive star system in the southern hemisphere. It is possibly the best studied star system in the sky, attracting the attention of scientists and sky watchers for its fitful dramatic magnitude changes. It even has a place in the tribal oral tales of the aboriginal tribes (Hamacher, D.W. & Frew, D.J. (2010) An Aboriginal Australian record of the Great Eruption of Eta CarinaeJournal of Astronomical History & Heritage, Vol. 13(3), pp. 220-234.). And yet we had it misunderstood by scientists all this time.

An Interview with Avi Shporer

This week’s interview is with Avi Shporer.

Discover Club and the hard-to-see Universe

As part of WISE  (Women Into Science and Engineering), Haley has run (and I have helped with) an annual workshop for the past 5 years for 12-14 year old girls in Cardiff University. Its part of a year long club called Discover Club, where each year 30 girls do science workshops on Saturdays in different parts of Cardiff University and local science and technology specialist companies. The students have a chance to sequence their DNA, make wind turbines, investigate the strength of different types of rock, and analyse their own snot. Haley and I run the astronomy workshop in Cardiff University, School of Physics and Astronomy.

The Veil Unveiled

Last week I was hunting through our archive of public observations. I wanted to find observations that, together, would form a larger image. My plan was to test out some command-line software - Montage - that can automatically combine FITS files into mosaics. Montage is created by the good folks at NASA's Infrared Processing and Analysis Centre (IPAC) and uses the coordinate information (WCS) stored in the FITS files. Montage can calculate image overlaps and can then attempt to match up the backgrounds of the individual images to make a pretty mosaic.