Now, this is interesting [revised]

MEDIA ADVISORY : M08-089

NASA to Announce Success of Long Galactic Hunt

“WASHINGTON — NASA has scheduled a media teleconference Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to announce the discovery of an object in our Galaxy astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This finding was made by combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations.”

Chandra is x-ray technology, looking into the invisible universe. Could they have found the center of the universe? Gas blowing away in a high-speed wind from the vicinity of a central supermassive black hole? Well, my curiosity’s up.

Missions for Chandra, include exploring the invisible universe with super x-ray technology include:

Big Bang and Cosmology
Black Holes
Galaxies
Gamma-Ray Bursts
Gravity
Interstellar Medium
Life in the Universe
Nebulae
Planets Beyond the Solar

However, the release states that it was a combination of x-ray plus ground based observations. As anyone knows, you can’t see as far with telescopes on ground based observatories. So what gives?

I remember the unparalleled privilege of looking through a NASA level telescope at McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains of Texas. Part of UTexas, the site is is equipped with a wide range of state-of-the-art instrumentation for imaging and spectroscopy in the optical and infrared, and operates one of the first and most productive lunar ranging stations. We attended a star party, where astronomers stationed around the site would allow peeks through the telescopes and explain what you were looking at. Combined with movies and instruction inside (with hot chocolate) and games and “universe hunts,” it was a really fun time. I saw the rings of Saturn that night.

I can’t wait until next week to find out what it is that NASA has discovered! I am going to take a wild guess: dark matter. REVISED: Perhaps it is NEMESIS! The statement that it was a combination of Chandra, which is far-seeing x-ray telescope, AND ground observations, which can only see pretty near, sparked that question in my mind. Could it be our sun’s evil twin, that has been speculated about for years! Only a few more days to go before we know. Or at least know as much as NASA decides to tell.

More on Dark Matter here
More on Chandra here

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