From our vantage point in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see NGC 3344 face-on. Nearly 40,000 light-years across, the big, beautiful spiral galaxy is located just 20 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo Minor. This multi-color Hubble Space Telescope close-up of NGC 3344 includes remarkable details from near infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths. The […]
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Colourful star trails arc through the night in this wide-angle mountain and skyscape. From a rotating planet, the digitally added consecutive exposures were made with a camera fixed to a tripod and looking south, over northern Iran’s Alborz Mountain range. The stars trace concentric arcs around the planet’s south celestial pole, below the scene’s rugged […]
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Last week, a car orbited the Earth. The car, created by humans and robots on the Earth, was launched by the SpaceX Company to demonstrate the ability of its Falcon Heavy Rocket to place spacecraft out in the Solar System. Purposely fashioned to be whimsical, the iconic car was thought a better demonstration object than […]
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Happy New Year everybody! To begin the year we’re doing something a little different. This month’s image is taken by Afsheen Rane, an amateur astronomer at University of Toronto. Photographed is the Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42) which is around 1300 light years away from Earth. Its brightness allows it to be visible […]
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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 […]
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ASX 2016 Annual General Meeting

April 1, 2016
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The school year is coming to a close; it’s time to say goodbye to some of the old executive members and say hello to the new ones. ASX will be holding its Annual General Meeting to elect the 2016-2017 executive team, and celebrate the end of a great year with FREE pizza and a space-related movie (TBA).

Date: Wednesday April 6, 2016
Time: 7:15 PM
Location: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) Room 2227

If you are a student at the University of Toronto and you are an ASX member (i.e., you are on our mailing list), then you are eligible to vote and to run for an executive position. To run, email space.society@utoronto.ca before 11:59 pm on Monday April 4. You must state up to three executive positions that you intend on running for in order of preference, and come prepared with a short speech of no more than 3 minutes for each position. If you wish to run for more than one position, please tailor your speech to each of the positions you intend on running for. At the AGM, voting will follow the procedure outlined in the ASX Constitution, section 6.2.

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Star Talk: Exploring the Ghostly Side of Galaxies with Dragonfly

March 13, 2016
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star_talk_dragonfly“Exploring the Ghostly Side of Galaxies with Dragonfly”, presented by Dr. Roberto Abraham

Abstract: Bigger telescopes are usually better telescopes…. but not always. In this talk I will explore the ghostly world of large low surface brightness structures, such as galactic stellar halos, low-surface brightness dwarf galaxies, and other exotica such as supernova light echoes. These objects are nearly undetectable with conventional telescopes, but their properties may hold the key to understanding how galaxies assemble. I will describe why finding these objects is important, and why it is so devilishly difficult.

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February 2016: Picture of the Month

March 6, 2016
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Although space travel is not yet possible, consider visiting the planet Kepler-16b in a binary star system. Kepler-16b is the first discovered circumbinary planet, detected in a wide 229 day orbit around a close pair of cool, low-mass stars some 200 light-years away. It was detected by observing a slight dimming in the light curve from the planet transit. One would think that this world would be similar to a Tatooine-like terrestrial desert world, but it is believed to be a cold, uninhabitable planet…so be warned.

Interested in more travel destinations? Check out Visions of the Future!

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Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics

February 14, 2016
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Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics, co-presented by ASX and The Star Spot.

Human survival depends on planetary settlement. While Mars is the top candidate for hosting human settlers, significant ethical and logistical controversies surround the prospect of sending humans to the Red Planet. ASX has assembled a team of experts to examine those questions. Is there an ethical way to put humans on Mars? Can we search for Martian life without harming it? Are there any contemporary projects that could feasibly send humans to Mars? If not, when will we be able to launch a Mars mission? And does Canada have a role in the future of space travel and planetary settlement?

We have assembled panelists with a wide range of backgrounds to cover the most pressing questions about Martian settlement, a topic with a serious impact on the survival of our species. We will be announcing each of them shortly, so stay tuned!

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Star Talk: The World Records of the Universe

February 9, 2016
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“The World Records of the Universe”, presented by Dr. Bryan Gaensler

Abstract: We all love it when a world record is broken. But the records set here on Earth are puny and pathetic compared to those set elsewhere in our vast cosmos. What’s the coldest place in space? What’s the fastest object in the Universe? What’s the biggest object we’ve ever seen in space, and the smallest? How weak and how strong does gravity get? Join astronomer Bryan Gaensler for a tour of the extremes of our amazing Universe.

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