Each year undergraduate students enrolled in Astronomy 100 hone their practical astronomy knowledge by using the 48-inch and 60-inch telescopes at the Fred L. Whipple Observatory in Arizona. This unique week-long trip during Spring Break includes a visit to the University of Arizona Mirror Lab, 3 nights of hands-on observing, nightly pot-luck dinners cooked by the students and teaching staff, and most importantly, an intimate view of how observational astronomers explore the cosmos. The picture shows the 14 happy students who are currently participating in the observing trip along with Professor Edo Berger and Teaching Fellow Maria Drout (kneeling), with the dome of the 48-inch telescope in the background. The picture was taken by Allyson Bieryla, manager of the Astronomy Lab and Clay Telescope at Harvard.
Cambridge, MA - The star Eta Carinae is ready to blow. 170 years ago, this 100-solar-mass object belched out several suns' worth of gas in an eruption that made it the second-brightest star after Sirius. That was just a precursor to the main event, since it will eventually go supernova.
“The nearest Earth-like planet is probably 13 light-years away; astronomically speaking, that’s just a stroll across the park,” said Courtney Dressing (right), a doctoral student in Harvard’s Astronomy Department. At the press conference Dressing was joined by Professor David Charbonneau (center) and John Johnson, an assistant professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology.
Astronomy Department Chair Avi Loeb is helping prepare the next generation of astronomers to interpret the coming flood of data from new, more powerful telescopes with a new textbook, “The First Galaxies in the Universe.”