Organization Release: 21 Sept. 2023 — noirlab2324
Kitt Peak National Observatory Will Host Soft Reopening 22 September
Kitt Peak National Observatory will begin a limited reopening program to welcome the public through its doors and domes starting Friday 22 September. Following a more than three-year closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Contreras Fire, the historic KPNO will finally welcome visitors back to enjoy its guided daytime tours and nighttime observing programs.
Science Release: 17 Aug. 2023 — noirlab2323
Astronomers Find Progenitor of Magnetic Monster
A team of researchers, including NOIRLab astronomer André-Nicolas Chené, has found a highly unusual star that has the most powerful magnetic field ever found in a massive star — and that may become one of the most magnetic objects in the Universe: a variant of a neutron star known as a magnetar. This finding marks the discovery of a new type of astronomical object — a massive magnetic helium star — and sheds light on the origin of magnetars.
Organization Release: 10 Aug. 2023 — noirlab2322
Visitors from Distant Stars: Rubin Observatory Will Detect an Abundance of Interstellar Objects Careening Through Our Solar System
Many as-yet-undiscovered interstellar objects exist throughout our Milky Way Galaxy: comets and asteroids that have been ejected from their home star systems. Some of these objects pass through our Solar System, bringing valuable information about how planetary systems form and evolve. Currently, only two such interstellar visitors have been discovered: 1I/ʻOumuamua and comet 2I/Borisov. Rubin’s upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time will show us many more.
Photo Release: 25 July 2023 — noirlab2321
Dark Energy Camera Captures Galaxies in Lopsided Tug of War, a Prelude to Merger
The spiral galaxy NGC 1532, also known as Haley’s Coronet, is caught in a lopsided tug of war with its smaller neighbor, the dwarf galaxy NGC 1531. The image — taken by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Dark Energy Camera mounted on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab — captures the mutual gravitational influences of a massive- and dwarf-galaxy merger.
Photo Release: 13 July 2023 — noirlab2320
Rare, Double-Lobe Nebula Resembles Overflowing Cosmic ‘Jug’
A billowing pair of nearly symmetrical loops of dust and gas mark the death throes of an ancient red-giant star, as captured by Gemini South, one half of the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab. The resulting structure, said to resemble an old style of English jug, is a rarely seen bipolar reflection nebula. Evidence suggests that this object formed by the interactions between the dying red giant and a now-shredded companion star.
Cyber Incident at NSF’s NOIRLab
On the morning of 1 August 2023 NSF’s NOIRLab detected a cyber incident in its computer systems, forcing the suspension of astronomical observations at Gemini North in Hawai‘i. The Gemini website and proposal tools are currently offline but the NOIRLab website remains online. Read more here.
Most of the free public visits to our sites are now open. Learn more here.
Rubin Observatory Digest for 06 September 2023
Project and Science News
This year’s NSF/DOE Joint Status Review (JSR) for Rubin Construction took place August 22-25 in Tucson, AZ. Rubin leadership and team leads gave presentations summarizing current and remaining work on various aspects of Rubin, a…
Cybersecurity incident at NSF’s NOIRLab
Update as of 5 September 2023
The recovery process of the affected facilities and telescopes is ongoing. As part of that process, we have now brought the Gemini.edu website back online. We have also posted updates about the NOIRLab and Gemini Calls for …
The IAU CPS launches SatCons 101
SatCons 101, a new educational curriculum for learning about the design of large satellite constellations and their impact on astronomy, has been launched by the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky…
August Issue of the NOIRLab Mirror Newsletter Highlights News and Milestones for the NOIRLab Community
The fifth (August 2023) 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 Community…
NSF’s NOIRLab Again Achieves World-Class Productivity
The number of publications in peer-reviewed journals is among the most important productivity metrics in astronomy, astrophysics, and all of science. NSF’s NOIRLab, which encompasses many of the world’s most powerful and productive telescopes, continues …
Rubin Observatory Digest for 23 August 2023
Project and Science News
The Rubin 2023 Operations-hosted Project and Community Workshop (PCW) brought colleagues and community together from August 7-11. More than 300 people attended the meeting in person at the University Marriott in Tucson, Arizona,…
Asteroid-Discovery Algorithm Created for Rubin Observatory Ensnares Its First ‘Potentially Hazardous’ Object
An asteroid discovery algorithm — designed to uncover near-Earth asteroids for Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s upcoming 10-year survey of the night sky — has identified its first potentially hazardous asteroid, a term for asteroids that currently pose no ris…
US Embassy in Chile Organizes Educational Science Fair at AURA Recinto Facility in La Serena
On 20 July 2023 AURA, together with the United States Embassy in Chile, held the Bicentennial Educational Meeting in celebration of 200 years of official relations between Chile and the United States. As one of the activities, the AURA facilities in La S…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 25 July 2023
Project and Science News
We look forward to seeing many of you very soon, at the Rubin Project and Community Workshop 2023 (PCW) in Tucson, AZ, August 7-11. Virtual registration and poster submission are both still open — you can find the most up-to-dat…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 11 July 2023
Project & Science News
The agenda for the Rubin Operations Project and Community Workshop 2023 (PCW) is now available on the meeting website. The PCW is scheduled for the week of August 7, 2023, at the Marriott University Park in Tucson, AZ.
Calling All Science-Sleuthing Volunteers! Astronomers Need Your Help Searching for Brown Dwarfs in Our Cosmic Backyard
From comets and pulsars to supernovae and exoplanets, many exciting cosmic discoveries have been made by dedicated amateur astronomers, school students, and citizen scientists. Some of these intrepid science sleuths also partner with professional astrono…
NSF’s NOIRLab Public Visits Restart in Arizona, Hawai‘i, and Chile in July 2023
NSF’s NOIRLab is excited to announce that public visits will soon restart at our observatories and base facilities in Arizona, Hawai‘i, and Chile. Complete with a new website, revamped guided tours, and even a virtual tours system, probing the secrets of…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 20 June 2023
Project & Science News
In-person registration for the Rubin Operations Project and Community Workshop 2023 (PCW) has reached capacity (300), but if you haven’t registered and want to attend please add your name to the waitlist—we anticipate some can…
New, Dark-Sky-Compliant Lighting, Courtesy of AURA in Chile and NSF’s NOIRLab, Installed in Pisco Elqui Square
AURA and NSF’s NOIRLab in Chile have donated to the Municipality of Paihuano a new, dark-sky compliant lighting system for the Pisco Elqui main square. This is the first lighting project in the Coquimbo Region to comply with the new dark-sky lighting sta…
Rubin Observatory Digest for 30 May 2023
Project & Science News
Registration is open for the Rubin Operations Project and Community Workshop 2023 (PCW). The in-person meeting will take place at the Marriott University Park in Tucson, AZ the week of August 7, 2023, with some sessions availa…
NOIRLab Launches Ambassador Program
The NOIRLab Ambassador program, a joint initiative with Vera C. Rubin Observatory Construction, launches today. Its aim is to increase public engagement with NOIRLab and its Programs, including Rubin Observatory, by working together with motivated and en…
IAU CPS Welcomes Support from G7 Science Ministers on Dark and Quiet Skies
The G7 Science & Technology Ministers met in Sendai, Japan, over the weekend. Their position on various issues was captured in an official communiqué adopted ahead of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan 19–21 May 2023. The G7 consists of Canada, France…
Launch of New Regional Committee for Night Sky Protection in Coquimbo, Chile
Both AURA in Chile and NSF’s NOIRLab in Chile have been advocates for the formation of the Regional Commission for the Protection of the Night Skies of the Coquimbo Region in Chile, and on Monday 17 April 2023 in the offices of AURA in La Serena, Chile, …
Rubin Observatory Digest for 18 April 2023
Project & Science News
The Rubin Operations Project and Community Workshop 2023 (PCW) will take place at the Marriott University Park in Tucson, AZ the week of August 7, 2023. The meeting website is now live and we are accepting session proposals (L…
Astronomy Outreach Initiative Encourages Participation Throughout the Month of April
Big Astronomy — a multifaceted outreach project that includes the award-winning planetarium show Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries — is hosting a community day on Astronomy Day, 29 April 2023, as well as month-long activities in celebration of a…
20 Sept. 2023 — iotw2338
13 Sept. 2023 — iotw2337
6 Sept. 2023 — iotw2336
Telescopes Among the Clouds
30 Aug. 2023 — iotw2335
A False Dawn at KPNO
23 Aug. 2023 — iotw2334
Milky Way Front and Center
16 Aug. 2023 — iotw2333
A Pantheon Above WIYN
9 Aug. 2023 — iotw2332
Gentle Giant Galaxy
2 Aug. 2023 — iotw2331
CTIO on the Edge of the World
26 July 2023 — iotw2330
Gateway to the Cosmos
19 July 2023 — iotw2329
Constructing a Legacy
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.
5 July 2023
The Dark Energy Survey: Uncovering the Invisible
The Dark Energy Survey was a six-year observing program designed to survey the skies in order to better understand dark energy — a complex concept that developed when scientists realized that the Universe seemed to be breaking its own supposedly immutable laws of physics. But how do you observe something that cannot be seen? And why are scientists so convinced that there is really something to search for?
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.