Interloper Stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud
A recent radial-velocity study (Olsen et al. 2011) of ~5900 red giants and supergiants in the LMC has uncovered a population of a few hundred stars that have distinct kinematics from the stars of the LMC disk. Metallicities of a subsample of these stars were found to be similar to stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud. This led the authors to suggest the stars were captured from the SMC by the LMC in a previous interaction of the Clouds.
We have used SPM4 proper motions to analyze the extra two velocity dimensions of these stars. Combining the proper motions and radial velocities, we were able to determine that the SMC-captured stars rotate in the same sense as the LMC disk, but at an inclination of about 50 degrees with respect to the disk. The existence of these stars, together with other facts, point to an off-center, moderate to highly inclined collision of the SMC with the LMC disk some 100 to 200 million years ago.
07.17.2014 Charting the heavens like never before, via Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Yale University scientists are involved all of the major aspects of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an initiative that spans four continents and includes 200 astronomers at more than 40 institutions. They will chart thousands of nearby galaxies, probe the composition of stars throughout the Milky Way with novel clarity, and measure the expansion of the universe during a particularly murky period. MORE INFO
07.11.2014 Yale astronomers find seven galaxies using camera lenses
The astronomy project, using eight telephoto lenses lashed together, turned up seven new galaxies, but so far it’s unknown how far away they are. That’s why the scientists have rented time on the giant space-based Hubble telescope “to see if Hubble can find individual stars in the galaxies,” he said. That will tell them how far away the galaxies are. It’s a difficult task because the galaxies are all diffuse in nature. MORE INFO
05.20.2014 Liang Yu, '14 B.S. has been awarded the Beckwith Prize from the Astronomy Department.
The prize is awarded to the undergraduate most proficient in some branch of astronomy or mathematics. In addition to the Beckwith Prize, Liang also was awarded Exceptional Distinction in the Major. Congratulations Liang! MORE INFO
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The Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium is open every Tuesday night for a planetarium show. Weather permitting there will also be public viewing of planets, nebulae, star clusters and whatever happens to be interesting in the sky. Seats are available on a first come first serve basis. No reservations necessary.
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