Leah Beeferman

Monitoring the architecture of science: a studious, imaginative investigation of space-bound and land-based far-traveling and distant-looking orbiting and non-orbiting structures

an ongoing weekly project distributed by e-mail running from February 2009 to February 2010.

brightness

NASA announces twenty-four hour-long potential launch windows for its new Solar Dynamics Observatory – a spacecraft designed to study the sun’s atmosphere simultaneously over a range of wavelengths in “small scales of space and time”

Using its new infrared-sensitive Wide Field Camera 3, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope documents a patch of southern sky and records images of the earliest and most distant galaxies ever seen

NASA’s Kepler telescope has located five new Jupiter-sized exoplanets – named Kepler 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B and 8B – which orbit their respective stars once every 3.2, 3.5, 3.2, 4.9 and 3.5 Earth days; also found are two “hot companions,” mysterious objects each circling its own star and measuring temperatures of 26,000ºF

The Cassini spacecraft, orbiting within the Saturn system since 2004, took images in July 2009 revealing significant periodical brightness variation in the planet’s rings; these variations, potentially caused by a collision with comet or asteroid in the 1980s, are characterized by “rippled” or “corrugated” areas that extend for up to 11,000 miles

The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) – three jointly-operated telescopes in Arizona, USA and Coonabarabran, Australia – will soon become the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey (CRTS), a reorganization indicative of a shift in astronomy towards the search for objects that change on short timescales: for example, a star which dims by 7500% in just 10 minutes and fully recovers only 10 minutes later

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research (ESO) readies a new 2.5 ton instrument for its Very Large Telescope in northern Chile: the “X-Shooter”, a highly efficient spectrograph capable of recording a celestial object’s entire light spectrum in one single observation

On May 16, 2009, the Hubble Space Telescope’s 800lb COSTAR corrective optics package – installed in orbit in 1993 to compensate for the spherical aberration in the telescope’s primary mirror – was removed and replaced with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), an instrument designed to study interstellar medium, the space between stars, and the space between galaxies

NASA’s SWIFT satellite – a multi-wavelength space-based observatory making observations about gamma-ray burst (GRB) science – records the x-ray afterglow of an event called GRB090423, the most distant cosmic explosion ever seen

Drifting more than 4,461,000km from Earth and communicating with a round-trip light time of 29.7 seconds, the Kepler Space Telescope is turned on: it receives a 100 degree field of view containing 14 million stars, 100,000 of which are considered “ideal candidates” for Earth-sized planet-searching

Through a series of images taken over a seven year time period, the Hubble Space Telescope tracks changes in the brightness of a beam of hot gas – called HST-1 – emerging from a black hole in elliptical galaxy M87