- O/IR System
Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
The red color near the north pole of Charon, Pluto’s largest moon, originates on Pluto. Once a mystery, it now appears that the red color of “Mordor Macula” arises as methane gas escapes from Pluto’s atmosphere and freezes onto the icy surface of Charon’s north pole. UV light from the Sun then transforms the methane into reddish organic materials. The New Horizons team that reported this result includes NOAO astronomer Tod Lauer.
Read more in the NASA Press Release.
High gas content of distant galaxies likely fueled the high rate of star formation during the “Golden Age” of galaxy formation. The international discovery team included NOAO’s Mark Dickinson.
NSF Funds Open Access to Las Cumbres Observatory. Beginning in 2017, open access time on the LCO global telescope network will be available to the US community through the NOAO TAC.
Ultra-faint stellar systems discovered toward the Sagittarius stream. The discovery team included NOAO astronomers Kathy Vivas, Tim Abbott, David James, Chris Smith, and Alistair Walker.
Zwicky Transient Facility Community Workshop at January AAS meeting. Instrument capabilities, data products, public survey parameters, & release schedule will be discussed. Arrive early at AAS 229 to join in!
The September 2015 NOAO Newsletter is online and ready to download.
More Than Meets the Eye: A Massive Galaxy That’s Nearly All Dark Matter. Observations made with Gemini and Keck were used to infer the mass of the galaxy from the motions of its stars.
A five-planet system revealed by NASA's Kepler K2 mission. The Robo-AO adaptive optics system on the Kitt Peak 2.1m telescope was used to rule out a non-planetary origin for the transit signals.