ASX 15th Symposium Reveal!

December 11, 2017
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asx15

We know that it is extremely difficult for us to send vehicles to outer space, especially if we are to send a human in it. So what does it really take for us to travel beyond our planet and solar system and to survive under “zero-gravity”? Join us in our 15th Annual Symposium as Dr. Charles (NASA Human Research Program) and Prof. Chung (CalTech; Jet Propulsion Laboratory) address the capabilities and challenges of human technology and abilities in space.

That’s it for now, have a Happy Holidays and keep an eye out for more symposium details in the New Year!

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December 2017: Picture of the Month

December 3, 2017
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north_america

Fans of our fair planet might recognize the outlines of these cosmic clouds. On the left, bright emission outlined by dark, obscuring dust lanes seems to trace a continental shape, lending the popular name North America Nebula to the emission region cataloged as NGC 7000. To the right, just off the North America Nebula’s east coast, is IC 5070, whose profile suggests the Pelican Nebula. The two bright nebulae are about 1,500 light-years away, part of the same large and complex star forming region, almost as nearby as the better-known Orion Nebula. At that distance, the 6 degree wide field of view would span 150 light-years. This careful cosmic portrait uses narrow band images to highlight the bright ionization fronts and the characteristic red glow from atomic hydrogen gas. These nebulae can be seen with binoculars from a dark location. Look northeast of bright star Deneb in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan.

For more information, check out APOD!

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Important Notice for Nov. 29, 2017 Star Talk

November 29, 2017
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Hello everyone,

Sadly, the Star Talk which was originally planned for 7:10-8:00 tonight is cancelled because Professor Jonathan Kelly is sick and cannot make it to the event.

HOWEVER, for those who are interested, we will still be holding the telescope observing session from 8:00-9:00pm and we will be meeting in the lobby of McLennan at 8:00

We sincerely apologize for this last-minute change of plan.

– The ASX executive team

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November 2017: Picture of the Month

November 6, 2017
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thors_helmet

This helmet-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages is popularly called Thor’s Helmet. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor’s Helmet spans about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is more like an interstellar bubble, blown as a fast wind — from the bright star near the center of the bubble’s blue-hued region — sweeps through a surrounding molecular cloud. This star, a Wolf-Rayet star, is a massive and extremely hot giant star thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. Cataloged as NGC 2359, the emission nebula is located about 12,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major). The sharp image, made using broadband and narrowband filters, captures striking details of the nebula’s filamentary gas and dust structures. The blue color originates from strong emission from oxygen atoms in the nebula.

For more information, check out APOD!

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Star Talk: Computer Vision on Mars

November 6, 2017
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computer_vision_on_mars“Computer Vision on Mars “, with Professor Jonathan Kelly

Abstract: Modern computer vision technologies have been key to improving our understanding of the Red Planet over the past 15 years. Vision systems are deployed on-orbit (e.g., the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), on the surface (e.g., the vision sensors on the rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity), and have also been used for safe entry, descent, and landing of recent robotic platforms reaching the surface. In this talk, I will review the design and use of several of these vision systems, including, for example, how the Curiosity rover makes use of visual navigation methods when wheel odometry is unreliable (rolling over sandy terrain).

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About the speaker: Professor Jonathan Kelly is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies and the Director of the Space & Terrestrial Autonomous Robotic Systems (STARS) Laboratory. Before joining the University of Toronto, he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Robust Robotics Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he completed his Ph.D. in the Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory at the University of Southern California.

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Date and Location: 7:10 PM Nov. 29th, McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP), Room 202

Telescope observing: 8:00 PM on 14th floor of McLennan Physical Laboratories (MP) (weather permitting) — you will be guided to the telescopes.

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