Astronomer Shep Doeleman and his team are on a mission that will challenge the theories of Albert Einstein and could pave the way to a revolution in physics: to capture the first-ever image of a black hole. To do this, they must link eight multimillion-dollar observatories around the world to a spot 26,000 light years away. It's the equivalent of spotting an orange on the moon, but after 10 years of planning and the combined brainpower of over 200 international scientists, the team feels they're ready to make scientific history.
Everyone knows Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the moon. But this modest and unassuming man was determined to stay out of the spotlight. Now, for the first time, NOVA presents an intimate portrait of Armstrong through interviews with his family and friends, many of whom have never spoken publicly before.
Artificial selection is one example, eyes another, of the well-documented and inescapable process of evolution--change in a population of species over time--by natural selection. These are some of the things that molecules do.
Last week we covered multiple star systems, but what if we added thousands or even millions of stars to the mix? A star cluster. There are different kinds of clusters, though. Open clusters contain hundreds or thousands of stars held together by gravity. They’re young, and evaporate over time, their stars let loose to roam space freely. Globular clusters, on the other hand, are larger, have hundreds of thousands of stars, and are more spherical. They’re very old, a significant fraction of the age of the Universe itself, and that means their stars have less heavy elements in them, are redder, and probably don’t have planets (though we’re not really sure).
On a high plateau in a remote desert in northern Chile lies the largest observatory on Earth, ALMA, or Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array. The name refers to a network of 66 massive radio telescopes, working in unison to observe the birth and death of stars and planets, and answer centuries-old questions about the origins of our universe. Witness the history of ALMA, the remarkable product of a 20-year global effort, and see how it is already changing our basic understanding of the cosmos, and astronomy itself.
2013 • Astronomy