SETI Institute for Educators

Peter Jenniskens Reports Findings from May Meteor Shower Airborne Observations

Airborne and ground based observations of May meteor shower revealed that the meteoroids were very fragile, providing a clue to why large meteoroids did not survive harsh space conditions.
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  • You asked, and SETI Institute President and CEO, David Black answered! Check out some of the questions that SETI Institute fans posed this week.
  • An international research team led by the SETI Institute’s Nathalie Cabrol has measured the highest level of solar ultraviolet ever recorded on Earth. The measures were made in the Andes mountains, where Cabrol studies environments that are analogs for Mars.
  • SETI Institute scientist Matija Cuk has received the highest honor for a young planetary scientist from the American Astronomical Society.
  • It’s an invention so clever, it just won a prestigious NASA award. And it’s literally out of this world. The CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) instrument developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center with the participation of two SETI Institute scientists, has just garnered the NASA Government Invention of the Year Award.
  • If the whole universe obeys the laws of quantum mechanics then the universe has a quantum state --- a wave function of the universe. This state specifies how the universe started at the big bang. It provides quantum probabilities for everything that happened since. A theory of this wave function is a necessary part of any `theory of everything'.
  • Watch a video of one of the meteors filmed by Peter Jenniskens from 26,000 ft.
  • You are invited to make a work of art with a Kepler exoplanet discovery theme and submit it to the "Art of Discovery" competition. The theme can be anything related to the Kepler Mission itself: exoplanets and their host stars, what the Kepler Space Telescope might look like in space, what the surface of one of the exoplanets may be like and what we might find on these planets.
  • Tony Zee talks about how a sufficiently advanced civilization may employ Cepheid variable stars as beacons to transmit all-call information throughout the galaxy and beyond.
  • Dark energy is a phenomena causing the Universe to expand more rapidly than can be explained by Einstein's laws of gravity. David Schlegel produces maps of the visible sky to look for changes in dark energy through time. Using spectroscopy, he is able to get the redshift and velocity of galaxies relative to the Milky Way over the whole of the sky on a very wide angle telescope.
  • A video interview with Elisa Quintana, Tom Barclay and Jason Rowe about the recent discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star. Hosted by Jill Tarter.

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