The Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Woodruff T. Sullivan, III will be the eighth recipient of the LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy. The Prize is awarded biennially to an individual whose long-term efforts and lifetime achievements have had significant impact on the field of the history of astronomy. The 2012 LeRoy E. Doggett Prize is presented to Professor Sullivan in recognition of his research, writing, teaching, and leadership in the history of astronomy community.
A team of European astronomers has used ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to track down a star in the Milky Way that many thought was impossible. They discovered that this star is composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, with only remarkably small amounts of other chemical elements in it. This intriguing composition places it in the “forbidden zone” of a widely accepted theory of star formation, meaning that it should never have come into existence in the first place. The results will appear in the 1 September 2011 issue of the journal Nature.
A faint star in the constellation of Leo (The Lion), called SDSS J102915+172927, has been found to have the lowest amount of elements heavier than helium (what astronomers call “metals”) of all stars yet studied. It has a mass smaller than that of the Sun and is probably more than 13 billion years old.
Full Story: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1132/
A team of scientists, led by Michael Rauch from the Carnegie Observatories, has discovered a distant galaxy that may help elucidate two fundamental questions of galaxy formation: How galaxies take in matter and how they give off energetic radiation. Their work will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
A supernova discovered Wednesday is closer to Earth ––approximately 21 million light years away –– than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion –– a rare feat for events of this type.
The discovery of a supernova so early in its life, and so close to Earth has energized the astronomical community. Scientists around the world are scrambling to observe it with as many telescopes as possible, including the Hubble Space Telescope, and telescopes from the UC Santa Barbara-affiliated Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT).
Full Story: http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=2550
Our solar system, where planets have a range of sizes and move in near-circular paths, may be rather unusual, according to a German-British team led by Professor Pavel Kroupa of the University of Bonn. The astronomers, who publish their model in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, find that forming planetary systems may be knocked around by crashes with nearby clumps of material, leading to systems where planets have highly inclined orbits and where the smaller (and potentially habitable) worlds are thrown out completely.