September 2018 will see over 50 astronomers from around the world gather at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium to discuss the latest news about hydrogen-deficient stars. These stars have lost nearly all the hydrogen from which they were made, to leave only nuclear ash. Astronomers want to learn how these rare and short-lived remnants formed, and what drives their spectacular changes in brightness.
July 4, 2018 saw the 150th birthday of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868 – 1921), one of the most important astronomers of the 20th century. Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, Leavitt graduated from Radfcliffe College, Harvard, in 1892. She then stayed on at the Harvard College Observatory as a volunteer research assistant. Whilst attempting a graduate degree in astronomy and travelling in Europe, she became ill with grave consequences for her hearing. In 1902, then director, Edward Pickering, invited Henrietta to join the permanent staff at Harvard, where she was assigned to study “variable” stars.
The Observatory and Planetarium has welcomed school students to visit for work experience. A previous Astronote described our work with the Faulkes Telescope Project. Below is an account written by three of our work experience students in 2018 March, based on the work done at Armagh Observatory and Planetarium by them and three other students.
Gaia is a satellite launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) on 19 December 2013. It is essentially a census gathering information on over one billion stars, totalling an amazing 1% of the galaxy’s total population, measuring their positions, motion, brightness and colour. Gaia’s primary objective is to create the Read more…