Monday, July 17, 2006

Canada's First Space Telescope

It's been just over three years since Canada's first space telescope was launched atop a former Russian ICBM. MOST (Microvariability and Oscillation of Stars), also know as the Humble Space Telescope because of its diminutive size, is able to measure brightness variations in stars to 1 part in a million! If you look at a streetlamp 1 km away and then move 0.5 mm closer the lamp has changed by one part in a million. Below is MOST and it's project scientist, Jaymie Matthews of UBC.



Astronomers have learned a lot from variable stars over the past one hundred years and MOST's sensitivity will allow astronomers to make advances in some pretty basic and essential areas. Can we understand our Sun in the context of other stars? By putting a birthdate on the oldest stars in the solar neighbourhood, can we set a limit on the age of the Universe? How do strong magnetic fields affect the physics of other stars and our own Sun? What are mysterious planets around other stars really like? How did the atoms which make up our planet and our very bodies escape from stars in the first place?

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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