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.


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

On October 12, 2009, NASA launches Operation Ice Bridge, a 158-foot long DC-8 airplane laboratory containing instruments to map changes in sea ice and ice sheets during up to 17 flights over Western Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Coastal areas; its data will also provide insight into the shape of the terrain below the ice, something not easily observable by satellites in orbit

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

NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) is pulling a Centaur rocket set to collide with the moon to try and locate hints of lunar ice; this rocket, however, is lined with icicles collected from humid pre-launch air and frozen during launch, icicles which need to be melted before impact so as to not “pollute” findings with traces of Earth water

Mid-month data recording the mean orbital height of the International Space Station (ISS) shows the station to be considerably lower in altitude in July than after a January “re-boost”, a standard decline in altitude caused by fluctuating amounts of atmospheric drag

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

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

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

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

Locating the production sites of the industrial team responsible for designing and building the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, the largest ever infrared space observatory at the time of its launch, May 6 2009, part 2 of 2

Locating the production sites of the industrial team responsible for designing and building the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, the largest ever infrared space observatory at the time of its launch later in 2009, part 1 of 2

The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) – a pair of nearly identical space-based observatories, one ahead of the earth in its orbit, the other behind – continues beyond its two year mission to observe and document the sun and its coronal mass ejections (CMEs), powerful eruptions spewing up to 10 million tons of the sun’s atmosphere into interplanetary space at speeds up to 1 million miles per hour

By analyzing data from optical satellite instruments such as ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) – an imaging device flying on the Terra satellite launched in 1999 – GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) monitors over 52,000 of Earth’s glaciers

Profiling the Delta II “expendable space launch vehicle” in recognition of its 139th successful launch – carrying the Kepler planet-searching telescope into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 17 pad 17-B on March 6, 2009, around 10:49pm

Diagramming Earth’s orbits: An investigation prompted by NASA’s NOAA-N Prime weather satellite reaching its polar orbit (2/6/09); the proliferation of orbital debris as two satellites collide in Low Earth Orbit (2/18/09); NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory’s failure to make orbit (2/24/09); and two launches – by Norway and Canada respectively – of new communications satellites into geostationary orbit (Thor 5, 2/11/09 and Telstar 11N, 2/26/09)

Seventeen radio telescopes jointly and simultaneously observe three quasars using the technical process of electronic real-time very long baseline interferometry (e-VLBI) for 33 hours on January 15-16 2009

Celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s 102,716.58th orbit around the Earth, February 10 2009, 7:42AM