we are all in the gutter

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We are all in the gutter is a blog by astrophysics researchers about whatever things in astronomy we find interesting. A mix of astronomy news, articles on the latest research and any other fun astro stuff we come across.

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Stuart Lynn
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  • February 9, 2013
  • 10:35 AM

Excuses, a pop video and a quasar anniversary

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Oh my. I’ve just looked at this, our much-neglected blog, and realised that the last post here was in November. The first thing I feel I should do today therefore is wish you all a very belated Happy New Year! Maybe I should go with a slightly early Happy Chinese New Year! instead. It may [...]... Read more »

  • March 31, 2012
  • 05:58 AM

the new BOSS in town

by Rita in we are all in the gutter

I wrote the following post yesterday, but I fell asleep before I could do anything with it. It’s about the first set of results from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), part of Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III project, which we announced to the science community and to the press yesterday. How this whole project was [...]... Read more »

Lauren Anderson, Eric Aubourg, Stephen Bailey, Dmitry Bizyaev, Michael Blanton, Adam S. Bolton, J. Brinkmann, Joel R. Brownstein, Angela Burden, Antonio J. Cuesta.... (2012) The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Baryon Acoustic Oscillations in the Data Release 9 Spectroscopic Galaxy Sample. arXiv. arXiv: 1203.6594v1

Ashley J. Ross, Will J. Percival, Ariel G. Sanchez, Lado Samushia, Shirley Ho, Eyal Kazin, Marc Manera, Beth Reid, Martin White, Rita Tojeiro.... (2012) The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Analysis of potential systematics. arXiv. arXiv: 1203.6499v1

Rita Tojeiro, W. J. Percival, J. Brinkmann, J. R. Brownstein, D. Eisenstein, M. Manera, C. Maraston, C. K. McBride, D. Duna, B. Reid.... (2012) The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: measuring structure growth using passive galaxies. arXiv. arXiv: 1203.6565v1

Marc Manera, Roman Scoccimarro, Will J. Percival, Lado Samushia, Cameron K. McBride, Ashley Ross, Ravi Sheth, Martin White, Beth Reid, Ariel Sánchez.... (2012) The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: a large sample of mock galaxy catalogues. arXiv. arXiv: 1203.6609v1

Ariel G. Sanchez, C. G. Scoccola, A. J. Ross, W. Percival, M. Manera, F. Montesano, X. Mazzalay, A. J. Cuesta, D. J. Eisenstein, E. Kazin.... (2012) The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: cosmological implications of the large-scale two-point correlation function. arXiv. arXiv: 1203.6616v1

Beth A. Reid, Lado Samushia, Martin White, Will J. Percival, Marc Manera, Nikhil Padmanabhan, Ashley J. Ross, Ariel G. Sánchez, Stephen Bailey, Dmitry Bizyaev.... (2012) The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: measurements of the growth of structure and expansion rate at z. arXiv. arXiv: 1203.6641v1

  • January 26, 2012
  • 05:54 AM

When nothing means something

by Niall in we are all in the gutter

An violent explosion appears to come from one of the most stunning astronomical objects in the sky. But what can a lab looking for one of Einstein's great predictions seeing nothing tell us about it?... Read more »

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration, J. Abadie, B. P. Abbott, T. D. Abbott, R. Abbott, M. Abernathy, C. Adams, R. Adhikari, C. Affeldt, P. Ajith.... (2012) Implications For The Origin Of GRB 051103 From LIGO Observations. Preprint. arXiv: 1201.4413v1

  • December 14, 2011
  • 04:37 PM

A Christmas burst

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Last Christmas something exploded in the constellation of Andromeda. Well, that’s not quite true. This gamma-ray burst (named GRB 101225A) went off a long, long time ago, but the resulting flash finally arrived last year and were picked up by the SWIFT satellite (which then probably interrupted several festive lunches with its Burst Alert alarm). [...]... Read more »

Thöne CC, de Ugarte Postigo A, Fryer CL, Page KL, Gorosabel J, Aloy MA, Perley DA, Kouveliotou C, Janka HT, Mimica P.... (2011) The unusual γ-ray burst GRB 101225A from a helium star/neutron star merger at redshift 0.33. Nature, 480(7375), 72-4. PMID: 22129726  

Campana S, Lodato G, D'Avanzo P, Panagia N, Rossi EM, Della Valle M, Tagliaferri G, Antonelli LA, Covino S, Ghirlanda G.... (2011) The unusual gamma-ray burst GRB 101225A explained as a minor body falling onto a neutron star. Nature, 480(7375), 69-71. PMID: 22129725  

  • November 15, 2011
  • 03:28 PM

How to (hopefully) not drown in data

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

More is better, right? Bigger telescopes and bigger surveys are both undoubtedly good things, but to make the best use of these advances we need to be able to handle the corresponding increase in data flow, and subsequent pressure on the astronomical archives which are going to have to cope with it. This is a [...]... Read more »

G. Bruce Berriman, & Steven L. Groom. (2011) How Will Astronomy Archives Survive The Data Tsunami?. ACM Queue. arXiv: 1111.0075v1

  • October 26, 2011
  • 04:24 PM

Dipping into the Royal Society’s archive

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

I’m not supposed to be blogging tonight but I’ve allowed myself half an hour to advertise the announcement from the Royal Society today that they’re making their entire journal archive permanently available online for free. The society was founded in 1660 with the aim of bringing together eminent scientists to discuss their research and promote [...]... Read more »

  • October 19, 2011
  • 05:20 PM

Space cleaner wanted: must have own laser

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957 we’ve launched tonnes of stuff (literally) into space. We’ve not kept things very tidy up there either, so we now have hundreds of thousands of pieces of junk orbiting around us, threatening to crash into important things like the International Space Station. Or the satellite that handles your [...]... Read more »

Claude R. Phipps, Kevin L. Baker, Brian Bradford, E. Victor George, Stephen B. Libby, Duane A. Liedahl, Bogdan Marcovici, Scot S. Olivier, Lyn D. Pleasance, James P. Reilly.... (2011) Removing Orbital Debris with Lasers. Advances in Space Research. arXiv: 1110.3835v1

  • October 17, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

SCUBA’s retirement home

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to the newly renovated National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Whilst the new galleries are fantastic (and it’s always great to see dinosaur skeletons) my main focus was on finding the new home of a red cylinder with more than a passing resemblance to a British [...]... Read more »

Holland, W., Robson, E., Gear, W., Cunningham, C., Lightfoot, J., Jenness, T., Ivison, R., Stevens, J., Ade, P., Griffin, M.... (1999) SCUBA: a common-user submillimetre camera operating on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 303(4), 659-672. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.1999.02111.x  

  • August 19, 2011
  • 12:56 PM

Making an Eclipse Megamovie in 2017?

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

If you live in the continental US and you want to see a solar eclipse then Monday 21st August 2017 may be your lucky day. The path of totality will stretch narrowly across around 11 states from Oregon to South Carolina, and the rest of North America will see a partial eclipse instead. The combination [...]... Read more »

Hugh S. Hudson, Scott W. McIntosh, Shadia R. Habbal, Jay M. Pasachoff, & Laura Peticolas. (2011) The U.S. Eclipse Megamovie in 2017: a white paper on a unique outreach event. arXiv. arXiv: 1108.3486v1

  • August 1, 2011
  • 07:47 AM

Waving solar seaweed

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Spicules shooting up from the Sun as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in April. The full disk image is also worth a look. Image credit: NASA/SDO/AIA One of the many mysteries about our Sun is how its outer atmosphere (corona) gets heated to more than 20 times its surface temperature. Well, it looks like [...]... Read more »

De Pontieu B, McIntosh SW, Carlsson M, Hansteen VH, Tarbell TD, Schrijver CJ, Title AM, Shine RA, Tsuneta S, Katsukawa Y.... (2007) Chromospheric alfvenic waves strong enough to power the solar wind. Science (New York, N.Y.), 318(5856), 1574-7. PMID: 18063784  

  • July 24, 2011
  • 11:59 AM

Seeing double in galaxy mergers

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

How do galaxies grow? One of the most common ways seems to be by merging with other nearby galaxies (a hot research topic that Rita’s talked about in more detail). Seems simple enough, but to really understand how this happens you need to look at a large number of them, at various stages of the [...]... Read more »

R.C. McGurk, C.E. Max, D.J. Rosario, G.A. Shields, K.L. Smith, S.A. Wright. (2011) Spatially-Resolved Spectroscopy of SDSS J0952 2552: a confirmed Dual AGN. Submitted to ApJL. DOI: arXiv:1107.2651  

  • May 20, 2011
  • 04:40 AM

Finding Fred & friends

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

“What’s your name?” Kit said. “I mean we can’t just call you ‘hey you’ all the time.” True, the white hole said. My name is Khairelikoblepharehglukumeilichephreidosd’enagouni – and at the same time he went flickering through a pattern of colours that was evidently the visual translation. “Ky-elik-” Nita began. “Fred”, Kit said quickly. “Well”, he [...]... Read more »

Alon Retter, & Shlomo Heller. (2011) The Revival of White Holes as Small Bangs. Submitted to ApJ. arXiv: 1105.2776v1

  • April 18, 2011
  • 08:29 AM

Pluto gets hot(ter)

by Niall in we are all in the gutter

Pluto's getting hotter and the ices that made up its surface are now becoming the gases that make up its atmosphere... Read more »

J. S. Greaves, Ch. Helling, & P. Friberg. (2011) Discovery of carbon monoxide in the upper atmosphere of Pluto. MNRAS. arXiv: 1104.3014v1

Young, E., French, R., Young, L., Ruhland, C., Buie, M., Olkin, C., Regester, J., Shoemaker, K., Blow, G., Broughton, J.... (2008) VERTICAL STRUCTURE IN PLUTO'S ATMOSPHERE FROM THE 2006 JUNE 12 STELLAR OCCULTATION. The Astronomical Journal, 136(5), 1757-1769. DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/136/5/1757  

  • April 4, 2011
  • 04:49 PM

Investigating the unexpected

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

One of the most interesting things in science is finding something unexpected in your data, and this is exactly what happened to a group of astronomers when they looked at the objects present in their large radio sky survey. Before I get to what they found though, we’re going to need a little bit of [...]... Read more »

A. D. Cameron M. J. Keith, G. Hobbs, R. P. Norris, M. Y. Mao, & E. Middelberg. (2011) Are the infrared-faint radio sources pulsars?. accepted by MNRAS. arXiv: 1103.6062v1

  • March 3, 2011
  • 05:38 PM

Periodic impact

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Engaging the public in science is something lots of us are passionate about but how do you measure its impact? This might seem like an unimportant question, but it’s something that funding agencies are increasingly interested in, as they understandably want to check their money isn’t being wasted. It’s also a question addressed by the [...]... Read more »

  • February 14, 2011
  • 07:54 AM

(un)Happy Valentines day in space

by Stuart Lynn in we are all in the gutter

Its the 14th of February, or at least thats what the calendar on the wall says, you have been out in deep space heading towards that new colony for so long each day pretty much blurs in to the next. Despite how cold it is outside (and believe me its cold), today is a day [...]... Read more »

Tore Straume, Steve Blattnig, & Cary Zeitlin. (210) Radiation Hazards and the Colonization of Mars: Brain, Body, Pregnancy, In-Utero Development, Cardio, Cancer, Degeneration. Journal of Cosmology, 3992-4033. info:/

  • February 3, 2011
  • 05:55 AM

The cosmologist at the end of the universe

by Niall in we are all in the gutter

In a trillion years we will be sitting in a big blob of a galaxy with no extragalactic sources to observe. I know what you are thinking, what about all the unemployed cosmologists in the far future? But don’t start a collection for the hardship fund just yet, luckily a new paper by a researcher at Harvard has come up with a way for astronomers in the far future to measure the parameters of the universe.... Read more »

  • December 22, 2010
  • 01:19 PM

Astronomy bottlenecks…

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Guess what’s the largest hurdle impeding scientific progress in astronomy? Lack of money? Governmental disinterest? Nope, according to a paper published yesterday it’s our bad programming skills. Modern astronomers are much more likely to be found in front of a computer these days than behind a telescope. We spend our time analysing our data and [...]... Read more »

Igor Chilingarian, & Ivan Zolotukhin. (2010) The True Bottleneck of Modern Scientific Computing in Astronomy. Astronomical Societ of the Pacific. arXiv: 1012.4119v1

  • December 3, 2010
  • 08:00 PM

Supernovae – setting the standard, part II

by Rita in we are all in the gutter

In part I of this blog post I told you how supernovae type Ia have proven to be so important in defining today’s standard model of Cosmology. I did, however, leave out some important details so let’s get stuck right in.... Read more »

J. Nordin, L. Ostman, A. Goobar, R. Amanullah, R. C. Nichol, M. Smith, J. Sollerman, B. A. Bassett, J. Frieman, P. M. Garnavich.... (2010) Spectral properties of Type Ia supernovae up to z~0.3. Astronomy and Astrophysics. arXiv: 1011.6227v1

  • November 25, 2010
  • 05:14 AM

Navigating by the (dead) stars

by Niall in we are all in the gutter

Until the last century, astronomy had one very practical purpose, navigation. Ancient mariners used stars such as the North Star and the Southern Cross to work out where in the ocean they were. With the advent of modern methods (the most up to date of which is GPS) navigating by the stars fell by the wayside. Now a new method that combines the ancient idea of stellar aids to navigation with some of the principles of GPS has been suggested to accurately determine the position of spacecraft, and i........ Read more »

Mike Georg Bernhardt, Tobias Prinz, Werner Becker, & Ulrich Walter. (2010) Timing X-ray Pulsars with Application to Spacecraft Navigation. Proceedings of Science. arXiv: 1011.5095v1

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