Solving a 30-Year-Old Problem in High Mass Star Formation

This false-color Very Large Array image of the ionized gas in the star forming region Sgr B2 Main was used to detect small but significant changes in brightness of several of the sources. The blobs and filaments in this image are regions of ionized gas around massive stars. The changes in brightness detected support a model that could solve a 30-year-old question in high mass star formation. (Credit: NRAO/Agnes Scott College)

This false-color Very Large Array image of the ionized gas in the star forming region Sgr B2 Main was used to detect small but significant changes in brightness of several of the sources. The blobs and filaments in this image are regions of ionized gas around massive stars. The changes in brightness detected support a model that could solve a 30-year-old question in high mass star formation. (Credit: NRAO/Agnes Scott College)

Some 30 years ago, astronomers found that regions of ionized gas around young high mass stars remain small (under a third of a light-year) for ten times longer than they should if they were to expand as expected in simple models. Recent supercomputer simulations predicted that these regions actually flicker in brightness over this period rather than grow continuously. Observations from a team of researchers using the Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) over a 23-year period have confirmed that such flickering actually occurs. Read More →

My Trip to the Space Show in NYC

© AMNH\R. Mickens.

When we were in NYC last week I got a chance to see Lockheed Martin’s Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. A few of the cooler things I saw:

  • A replica of the Mars Rover (shown above and in slideshow) – this was my favorite!
  • A device that lets you smell (yes smell) what air on the moon is like (Hint: It’s not that great)
  • An interactive display that lets you virtually terraform a habitable planet
  • A great display of an orbital elevator prototype
  • Asteroid mining education and exhibit
  • Recreation of a lunar habitat

If you can get away, I HIGHLY recommend it. The exhibit runs until August 12th and I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed. And yes, they have an app for the exhibit. I wanted to buy a replica space suit to wear while walking around NY but my better-half shot that idea down. I got a great coffee mug instead. :/

I got an extra bonus at the end of the day as well. When we were taking the ferry back to NJ I got to see the Enterprise Shuttle being loaded onto the aircraft carrier where it will be on display from now on. That spacecraft is BEAUTIFUL even if it never saw any action in space.

Slideshow
Forgive the bad pics…the lighting in the exhibit was darkened for special effect (that and I’m generally a terrible photographer).

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