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.


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

Collaborative data collection by the Centre Nationale D’Etudes Spatiales’ (CNES) COROT satellite and the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph at the La Silva Observatory in Chile suggests the size and speed of Corot 7B, the fastest-orbiting known exoplanet

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

On Sunday, July 26, 2009, the Canberra (Australia) Deep Space Communication Complex – one of NASA’s three worldwide Deep Space Network (DSN) stations collectively providing continuous spacecraft monitoring – communicated with at least ten spacecraft using its four highly sensitive radio antennas

With new software loaded onto a computer aboard the International Space Station, “Interplanetary Internet” becomes a reality – revolutionizing communication between Earth and instruments flying in space

Observations made with the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory suggest evidence of a new type of black hold residing on the outskirts of galaxy ESO 243-49 and weighing over 500 times the mass of the sun

As of 3:11pm PST on May 15 2009, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has run out of coolant – the liquid helium keeping its instruments cool – and entered its next phase of exploration: the so-called ‘warm mission

Cassini, NASA’s spacecraft orbiting and studying the Saturn System, makes a flyby of Titan – Saturn’s largest moon – on May 21 2009 to investigate Titan’s southern hemisphere dune field, referred to as ‘Shangri-La

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