Organization Release: 7 Feb. 2024 — noirlab2404
Rubin Observatory will Inspire a New Era in Space Missions Without Ever Leaving the Ground
Vera C. Rubin Observatory will help scientists identify intriguing targets to prioritize for future space missions by detecting millions of new Solar System objects, and by revealing — in more detail than we’ve ever seen — the broader context in which these objects exist. Additionally, Rubin may alert scientists to the existence of objects like asteroids, comets, or visiting interstellar objects in time to determine their trajectories and prepare space missions to study them.
Organization Release: 29 Jan. 2024 — noirlab2402
Journey Through the Universe Celebrates 20 Years of Exploration on Hawai‘i Island
Journey Through the Universe — a partnership between the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, and the Hawaiʻi Department of Education Hilo-Waiākea Complex Area — celebrates 20 years of cosmic exploration with Hawai‘i students and the community. This year’s exciting program includes classroom presentations, career panels, public events and more!
Photo Release: 25 Jan. 2024 — noirlab2403
Gemini South Captures Twisted Dusty Disk of NGC 4753, Showcasing the Aftermath of Past Merger
The lenticular galaxy NGC 4753, captured by the Gemini South telescope, one half of the International Gemini Observatory operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, is a truly remarkable object. Its prominent and complex network of dust lanes that twist around its galactic nucleus define its ‘peculiar’ classification and are the likely result of a galactic merger with a nearby dwarf galaxy about 1.3 billion years ago.
Science Release: 8 Jan. 2024 — noirlab2401
Dark Energy Survey Publishes Definitive Results from Largest, Deepest, Most Uniform Supernova Sample
Using the DOE-fabricated Dark Energy Camera, mounted on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, the Dark Energy Survey has obtained the largest supernova sample ever using a single telescope. By analyzing over 1500 distant supernovae, the DES collaboration has placed the strongest constraints on the expansion of the Universe ever obtained using supernovae and found hints that the Universe’s dark energy density may vary with time.
Organization Release: 14 Dec. 2023 — noirlab2334
Big Astronomy Planetarium Show Now Available for Free Download
Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries is an award-winning bilingual planetarium show that takes viewers beyond the dome to behind the scenes of some of Chile’s world-class observatories. Meet the people who work with state-of-the-art telescopes in this feature film that is now free and available online for direct download.
Come visit our observatories!
US Extremely Large Telescope Program Responds to Letter in Science
The US Extremely Large Telescope Program (US-ELTP) had a letter published on Thursday 15 February in Science magazine, urging the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund both the Thirty Meter Telescope and the Giant Magellan Telescope.
This letter pr…
United Nations Agrees to Address Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy
After intense discussions, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) Scientific and Technical Subcommittee has agreed to include an item on its provisional agenda for the next five years with the title “Dark and Quiet S…
Rubin Digest 13 February 2024
Project & Science News
The fourth in a series of Rubin science releases showcasing Rubin’s upcoming contributions to various areas of astronomy and astrophysics is now available. Read (in English or Spanish) and share “Rubin Observatory will Inspire…
Thirty New NOIRLab and Rubin Ambassadors Announced
The NOIRLab Ambassador Program, launched in May 2023, aims to increase public engagement with NOIRLab and its Programs, including Vera C. Rubin Observatory Construction, by working together with motivated and enthusiastic volunteers to share our mission …
Join the 2024 Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program
Applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program (ACEAP), in which NSF’s NOIRLab is a partner. To apply, visit the ACEAP website.
This program, now in its ninth year, brings amateur astronomers, planetariu…
John Jefferies, First NOAO Director, 1925–2024
We are sorry to pass on the sad news that John Jefferies, former Director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO, now NSF’s NOIRLab), passed away on the evening of 18 January. He was 98. Jefferies served as NOAO’s first Director beginning in…
Rubin Digest 24 January 2024
Project & Science News
Rubin Observatory leadership and team members joined more than 3000 scientists, students, and astronomy enthusiasts at the American Astronomical Society Winter Meeting (AAS#243) January 7-11 in New Orleans, LA. During the meet…
Scott Dahm Appointed International Gemini Observatory’s Interim Director
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Scott Dahm as the International Gemini Observatory’s Interim Director. Nominated by NOIRLab’s Director Patrick McCarthy and confirmed by the Gemini Board, Dahm will be stepping into his new role in January 20…
January Issue of the NOIRLab Mirror Newsletter Highlights News and Milestones for the NOIRLab Community
The sixth (January 2024) edition of The NOIRLab Mirror newsletter is now available. This biannual publication focuses on news for the NOIRLab community and showcases the science, technology, and developments across the five NOIRLab Programs: the Communit…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 19 December 2023
Project and Science News
The end of 2023 is nearly upon us, another year has flown by with significant progress towards our goal to complete Rubin Observatory and launch the Legacy Survey of Space and Time! We wish you happy holidays and we hope you enj…
Teacher from Southern Chile Receives 2023 AURA Padre Picetti Prize
Paul Palma from Alianza Austral School in Coyhaique has won the 2023 AURA Padre Picetti Prize, an annual initiative started in 2014 by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) that seeks to recognize leading teachers in Chile who …
The US Ambassador to Chile visits AURA’s Facilities at Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón
For the first time since 2017, the US Ambassador to Chile has visited Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, and Cerro Pachón to see first-hand the telescopes devoted to astronomical research in the Coquimbo Region. A…
International Gemini Observatory Teams Up With Consortium on Gemini North Adaptive Optics Project
The International Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, and AURA are pleased to announce that Macquarie University's Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) team has been selected, on behalf of the National Science Foundation, to continue the deve…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 5 December 2023
Project and Science News
The third Rubin science release, “Rubin Observatory Will Unlock Fossil Record of Galaxy Cluster Evolution,” is now available on rubinobservatory.org. Please share this story with your networks to help generate excitement about R…
Winners of Light Pollution Art Competition in Chile Announced
Student winners of the 2023 The Dark Side of Light art competition featuring light pollution motifs have been awarded their prizes at a special ceremony at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. The competition was or…
Students in Chile and Hawai‘i United by the Stars
On 31 October NOIRLab and AURA held an hour and a half virtual cultural exchange between students in Vicuña (Chile) and in Hilo (Hawai‘i, US), the nearest towns to the twin telescopes of the International Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF's NOIRLab.…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 14 November 2023
Project and Science News
November is Native American Heritage Month, and LGBTQ + STEM day is coming up on November 18th. Rubin celebrates the contributions of all our diverse staff and community members! Contact our Workplace Culture Advocate team if yo…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 31 October 2023
Project and Science News
October 31st is Dark Matter Day, a globally recognized day to celebrate dark matter research and discovery. In case you missed it, Rubin recently published this science release about Rubin’s forthcoming contribution to the study…
New Lighting Standard in Chile Will Preserve the Night Skies Across the Entire Country
On 18 October 2023 Chile issued a new lighting standard to protect the country’s clear, dark skies, which are valued by a large selection of the world’s astronomical infrastructure, including NSF's NOIRLab. Established by the Chilean Ministry of the Envi…
Viaje al Universo 2023 Brings Students to the Forefront of Astronomy in Chile
More than 2,500 students and 115 teachers participated in the activities of Viaje al Universo 2023, which took place from October 16 and 20 in La Serena and Coquimbo in Chile. Viaje is one of NSF's NOIRLab’s core educational programs, whose main goal is …
21 Feb. 2024 — iotw2408
The Impressionist’s Dusk
14 Feb. 2024 — iotw2407
Bok Stands Tall Under the Milky Way
7 Feb. 2024 — iotw2406
Beaming up to the Stars
31 Jan. 2024 — iotw2405
Masked in Shadows
24 Jan. 2024 — iotw2404
Glowing Red at Kitt Peak
17 Jan. 2024 — iotw2403
Hidden Among Supernovae
10 Jan. 2024 — iotw2402
A Little Rocky Planet
3 Jan. 2024 — iotw2401
A Sky Full of Dust Over CTIO
27 Dec. 2023 — iotw2352
Geminids Over Kitt Peak National Observatory
20 Dec. 2023 — iotw2351
Lighting the Way
1 Feb. 2024
The Challenges and Charms of In-Person Observing
NSF’s NOIRLab’s world-class observatories — Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, the International Gemini Observatory, and Vera C. Rubin Observatory — are built in some of the highest and driest locations on Earth, often situated far from major inhabited areas. This means that getting to and working on-site presents some niche challenges, but also provides astronomers with the opportunity to discover out-of-the-way and unique environments
19 Sept. 2023
Peering Back to the Early Universe: A Story of Confirmation and Refutation
Last year astronomers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope peered back to the very distant, very early Universe and found what appeared to be some of the earliest galaxies ever observed, thought to have formed when the Universe was less than 500 million years old. Using follow-up spectroscopy, two NOIRLab astronomers confirmed the ages of two of these early galaxies, but they also revealed how a third galaxy had astronomers fooled.
24 Aug. 2023
Accretion Disks: How Big Are They Really?
Using the Gemini North telescope, one half of the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, astronomers have detected for the first time evidence of the presence of an accretion disk within the active galactic nucleus of galaxy III Zw 002. Using two rare and peculiar near-infrared emission lines, these observations place firm limits on the size of the galaxy’s accretion disk and shed new light on its geometry and behavior.
3 Aug. 2023
An Enigmatic Cosmic Crime Scene
During a dive through archival data, astronomers unearth an unusual tidal disruption event that occurred in a nearby star-forming galaxy. Obscured by the interstellar medium, this incredibly close and luminous event went unnoticed for seven years. The SOAR telescope’s integral role in pinpointing its uncommon location illustrates how future searches for tidal disruption events will be conducted.
20 July 2023
Newly Launched Backyard Worlds: Cool Neighbors Project Assembles Team of Citizen Scientists to Hunt for Brown Dwarfs in Our Cosmic Backyard
Calling all citizen scientists! NSF’s NOIRLab has launched Backyard Worlds: Cool Neighbors, a hunt through our cosmic backyard in search of brown dwarfs. Expanding on the successful Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project, Cool Neighbors combines the power of machine learning with crowdsourced data analysis to uncover elusive neighbors of our Sun.
From the first observations in 1965, Cerro Tololo, located in Chile, has served as the principal platform for U.S. astronomical investigation of the southern skies.
Programs within the Community Science and Data Center support and enable a broad range of astronomical community science activities across the US ground-based optical and infrared system.
Founded in 1958, Kitt Peak National Observatory is home to one of the largest arrays of optical and radio telescopes in the world.
The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8.1-meter diameter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best observing sites on the planet.
Vera C. Rubin Observatory, currently under construction on Cerro Pachón in Chile, is an 8-meter-class telescope coupled to a 3.2-gigapixel camera – the world’s largest digital camera ever fabricated for optical astronomy.