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ServiAstro

ServiAstro is the website for public outreach on astronomy of the Astronomy and Meteorology Department (DAM) of the University of Barcelona.

It offers information about the past and future astronomical events visible from Catalonia. Also about the most important ones, no matter the geographical visibility. In some especially outstanding cases, such as planetary transits or Solar and Lunar eclipses, ServiAstro offers live webcasts which can be enjoyed anytime, thanks to our permanent galleries.

Furthermore, ServiAstro publish the public outreach activities carried out by the (DAM). Visitors will find a compilation of astronomical ephemerides, tools for astronomical calculations, news, answers to frequently asked questions and links to lots of other websites about astronomy, organized in sections.

The DAM Gaia group on the fair «Live research»

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The Gaia group of our Department has participated on the fair «Live research». The fair is an exhibition of contemporary research organized annually by the Barcelona Science Park (Parc Cientķfic de Barcelona) in collaboration with the University of Barcelona (UB).

The aim of the fair is to improve scientific understanding and awareness in our society by presenting research that is currently being undertaken in Barcelona to the public, and for real researchers to explain to the general public the main characteristics of the scientific method.

At the same time the Fair presents research being performed in Barcelona in a coordinated way, exhibiting projects of research groups from different R&D institutions and centres in the city. These bring part of their laboratories to the Fair so that members of the public can interact with the instruments that are central to research in Barcelona and ask whatever questions they fancy.

Dates: 8-10 April 2014
Place: Aula Capella of the UB Historic Building
Time: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free entrance from 4 p.m.
Free entrance
Groups of more than 10 people need to reserve in advance.

Picture of the day

News

2014

April

mąxim Galactic Serial Killer 2 April
This new image from the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile shows two contrasting galaxies: NGC 1316, and its smaller neighbour NGC 1317. These two are quite close to each other in space, but they have very different histories. The small spiral NGC 1317 has led an uneventful life, but NGC 1316 has engulfed several other galaxies in its violent history and shows the battle scars.

March

mąxim Redefining Solar System's Edge 26 March
The solar system has a new most-distant family member. Scientists using ground based observatories have discovered an object that is believed to have the most distant orbit found beyond the known edge of our solar system. Named 2012 VP113, the observations of the object -- possibly a dwarf planet -- were obtained and analyzed with a grant from NASA. A dwarf planet is an object in orbit around the sun that is large enough to have its own gravity pull itself into a spherical, or nearly round, shape.

mąxim First Ring System Around Asteroid 26 March
Observations at many sites in South America, including ESO’s La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of debris.

mąxim VLT Spots Largest Yellow Hypergiant Star 12 March
ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer has revealed the largest yellow star — and one of the ten largest stars found so far. This hypergiant has been found to measure more than 1300 times the diameter of the Sun, and to be part of a double star system, with the second component so close that it is in contact with the main star. Observations spanning over sixty years, some from amateur observers, also indicate that this rare and remarkable object is changing very rapidly and has been caught during a very brief phase of its life.

mąxim HUBBLE WITNESSES AN ASTEROID MYSTERIOUSLY DISINTEGRATING [HEIC1405] 6 March
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as ten smaller pieces. Although fragile comet nuclei have been seen to fall apart as they approach the Sun, nothing like the breakup of this asteroid, P/2013 R3, has ever been observed before in the asteroid belt.

mąxim Star factory NGC 7538 3 March
The billowing clouds portrayed in this image from ESA’s Herschel observatory are part of NGC 7538, a stellar nursery for massive stars. Located around 9000 light-years away, this is one of the few regions of massive-star formation that are relatively close to us, allowing astronomers to investigate this process in great detail.

february

mąxim Coming Around Again: Giant Sunspot Makes Third Trip Across the Sun, 28 February
A giant sunspot – a magnetically strong and complex region on the sun's surface – has just appeared over the sun's horizon. This is the third trip for this region across the face of the sun, which takes approximately 27 days to make a complete rotation.

mąxim NASA's Kepler Mission Announces a Planet Bonanza, 715 New Worlds, 26 February
NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

mąxim NASA Spacecraft Get a 360-Degree View of Saturn's Auroras, 12 February
NASA trained several pairs of eyes on Saturn as the planet put on a dancing light show at its poles. While NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting around Earth, was able to observe the northern auroras in ultraviolet wavelengths, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, orbiting around Saturn, got complementary close-up views in infrared, visible-light and ultraviolet wavelengths. Cassini could also see northern and southern parts of Saturn that don't face Earth.

mąxim Largest Solar System Moon Detailed in Geologic Map, 12 February
A group of scientists led by Geoffrey Collins of Wheaton College has produced the first global geologic map of Ganymede, Jupiter’s seventh moon. The map combines the best images obtained during flybys conducted by NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft (1979) and Galileo orbiter (1995 to 2003) and is now published by the U. S. Geological Survey as a global map. It technically illustrates the varied geologic character of Ganymede’s surface and is the first global, geologic map of this icy, outer-planet moon.

mąxim Un mes a L2, 12 de febrer
Gaia ha estat en la seva ņrbita operacional al voltant de L2 durant al voltant d'un mes. Es troba en un programa de proves molt rigorós abans de comenēar les seves principals observacions cientķfiques. Igual que en moltes reubicacions, li pot portar el seu temps instal·lar-se, sobretot a un satčl·lit que exigeix \x{200b}\x{200b}condicions molt precises i estables per a un bon funcionament.

mąxim A good year to find a comet, 12 February
A team of European astronomers has found a previously unknown comet, detected as a tiny blob of light orbiting our Sun deep in the Solar System.
Europe’s Teide Observatory Tenerife Asteroid Survey team has been credited with discovering comet P/2014 C1, named ‘TOTAS’ in recognition of the teamwork involved in the find.

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Gaia comes into focus, 6 February
ESA’s billion-star surveyor Gaia is slowly being brought into focus. This test image shows a dense cluster of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way.
Once Gaia starts making routine measurements, it will generate truly enormous amounts of data. To maximise the key science of the mission, only small ‘cut-outs’ centred on each of the stars it detects will be sent back to Earth for analysis.
This test picture, taken as part of commissioning the mission to ‘fine tune’ the behaviour of the instruments, is one of the first proper ‘images’ to be seen from Gaia, but ironically, it will also be one of the last.
Before Gaia is ready to enter its five-year operational phase the telescopes must be aligned and focused, ad the instruments calibrated, a painstaking procedure that will take several months.

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Contact: serviastro[a]am.ub.es


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