Friday, June 26, 2009

Palomar Transient Factory Podcast

Today's edition of the 365 Days of Astronomy podcasts features me talking about the Palomar Transient Factory. You can read & hear it here from the 365 Days of Astronomy website or get it here from iTunes.

Here's another look at Palomar Observatory's 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope, where the survey begins.


Anonymous said...

A recent anniversary you might want to blog about is the discovery of the NEO Icarus on June 26, 1949 made with the 48-inch telescope at Palomar.

Here is a recent blog post by David S. F. Portree which describes the 1967 MIT to stop Icarus in case it had actually headed towards Earth rather than miss it by 4 million miles as it really did in 1968:

Walter Baade used the 48-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory to capture humankind’s first image of asteroid 1566 Icarus 60 years ago (June 26, 1949). Icarus, it was soon found, is unusual because its elliptical orbit takes it from the inner edge of the Main Asteroid Belt beyond Mars’s orbit to well within Mercury’s orbit. Every 19 years Icarus and Earth pass within five million miles of each other at a relative velocity of about 18 miles per second. Baade detected Icarus during one of these close encounters.

MIT Professor Paul Sandorff taught the Interdepartmental Student Project in Systems Engineering in the Spring 1967 Term at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. He noted that Icarus and Earth would pass each other at a distance of four million miles on June 19, 1968. He then asked his students to suppose that, instead of missing Earth on that date, Icarus would strike in the Atlantic Ocean east of Bermuda with the explosive force of 500,000 megatons of TNT. Debris flung into the atmosphere would cool the planet and a 100-foot wave would inundate MIT. Sandorff gave his class until May 27, 1967 to develop a plan for averting the catastrophe.

Full article here:

Scott Kardel said...

Thanks, I hadn't heard of Project Icarus, and am sorry I missed the 40th anniversary of Walter Baade's discovery.

Anonymous said...

Well it's never too late you know. I doubt people will be upset if you post info about the anniversary less than a month after the event.