.Observatory near Victoria, BC.
Observatory dome near Victoria BC.

Links to Eyes on the Universe
By Robert.

My blog entris on space,  A comment on adaptive optics.
Labs, Publications
Astronomy Satellites
Exploring the Sun
Probes to Planets, Moons & Asteroids
A few past missions
There are many things I haven't included, maybe you have some suggestions.  This list of links focuses on exploration of the Sun, Planets and Universe.  All the major projects I have heard of  July 2010.  More may be added as I keep exploring.  Much of this from reading on-line updates in Astronomy Magazine.

Labs, Publications

Astronomy Magazine
A popular magazine of astronomical news.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Manages lots of good science missions, Mars Rovers and so forth.  JPL is located in Pasadena, California.

NPR Science Friday (Talk of the Nation)
Science talk show each Friday on NPR.  Good astronomy coverage.  Listen in Real Audio from NPR web site.  Past programs archived.

Up to date news and information about space exploration.

Cern Lab
High energy particle accelerator lab located in Switzerland and part in France (where the web was born).  Research into the nature of mater, space, time, dimensions --- those cosmic questions.  Includes Large Hadron Collider.

Accelerator lab probing cosmic questions in physics, medical research also.  Located near UBC Campus in Vancouver, BC Canada.

National accelerator lab in USA.  Explores cosmic questions of physics.  Located near Chicago, IL.

Soudan Underground Laboratory
Deep in an old  Minnesota mine where there is lots of shielding from static particles.  Looking for evidence of dark matter, neutrinos and so forth.


Atacama Large Millimeter and Sub Millimeter Array.  Largest astronomical project  in world, so they say.  Over 60 radio telescope dishes coordinated to act as one with high resolution.  Located on a high plain in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.  Built by European Space Agency and international cooperation including the nation of Chile.

Gran Telescopio Canarias
I think, largest optical telescope in the world.  Operated by Spanish, Mexican and other partners on Canary Islands.   Dedication July 24 2009.

Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory
Detectors in ice at south pole looking for neutrinos.

Viper South Pole Microwave Telescope
Mapping cosmic background radiation.

Dominion Radio Astrophysical Telescope
Located near Penticton, BC  My pictures

Helmos Observatory and Aristarchos Telescope
New observatory in Greece.

Sasteria Observatory
Educational observatory on island of Crete.

Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophysics
Large radio telescope located near Manchester England.  Part of the Merlin network of radio telescopes.

Magdalena Ridge Observatory
In New Mexico, a high tech array of optical telescopes high in mountains to bring high resolution images of astronomical objects.

Keck Twins
Worlds largest optical telescopes.  Located on a 13,000 Ft.. mountain in Hawaii.

Mauna Kea Observatories
Guide to many facilites on top of this mountain in Hawaii.

Largest telescope in Southern hemispere.  In South Africa.

Was largest telescope in world for many years.  Still in cutting edge of
astronomy with adaptive optics, inferetometry and more.

Mount Wilson Observatory

European Southern Observatory
View from Southern hemisphere.

Kitt Peak
Multi mirror optical telescope.  Solar telescope and more.  Located near Tucson Arizona.

Mount Graham Observatory
Located in South East Arizona.  Several research telescopes including the Large Binocular Telescope.

Whipple Observatory
Mount Hopkins Arizona.

Gemini Observatory
Operated by Kitt Peak.  Located in Chile.

The Anglo-Australian Observatory

Dominion Observatory
Near Victoria, BC Canada.  My pictures

McDonnell Observatory
Austin Texas.

Observatory at Canary Islands

Radio antenna dish built into bowl shaped valley in Puerto Rico.  World's largest radio dish.

Owens Valley Radio Array

Very Large Array (VLA)
Huge array of steer able antennas for radio astronomy.  Located in New Mexico.

National Radio Observatories
Links to several radio observatories.

Radio Telescope.

Sudbury Neutrino Telescope
Looks for neutrinos from well insulated vantage point in bottom of old nickel mine near Sudbury, Ontario Canada.

Kamiokande Neutrino Detector
Operated by University of Tokyo, Japan.

Arcminute Cosmology Bolometer Array Receiver
ACBAR  Located in Antartica.  Looks for densities, clumps and structure in cosmic back ground radiation.  Learn about early universe soon after big bang.  Find out about dark matter, dark energy and so forth.

Apache Telescope in New Mexico
Sky surveys, such as Sloan Survey and other observations.

Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory
Spread out over Argentina plain the size of Rhode Island.  International project.

Canada France Hawaii Telescope
Very large digital camera called Megaprime.  Extra wide field view on an otherwise smaller telescope in Hawaii.

Australian Gravity Wave Experiment

Multi site gravity wave detector.  Hanford, Washington. Livingston, Louisiana.

Hat Creek Radio Observatory
Allen Telescope Array.  Large array
searching for potential signals from extraterrestrial life, also other radio astronomy tasks.  Paul Allen, SETI Institute and University of California, Berkeley among the cooperating entities.

Astronomy Satellites

Orbiting X-Ray telescope launched by Japan.  Launched in 2016.

A global space astrometry mission, Gaia is making the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of our Galaxy by surveying more than a thousand million stars.  Gaia will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a five-year period. It will precisely chart their positions, distances, movements, and changes in brightness. It is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and brown dwarfs, and observe hundreds of thousands of asteroids within our own Solar System. The mission will also study about 500 000 distant quasars and will provide stringent new tests of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

Constellation of 6 micro satellites to study slight variations in the brightness of nearby and bright stars.  Stellar seismology.  Canada and several other countries participating.  Launched Feb. 25 2013.

Xray  Telescope.  Launched June 13 2012 by rocket from a plane.  NuSTAR uses a unique set of eyes to see the highest energy X-ray light from the cosmos. The observatory can see through gas and dust to reveal black holes lurking in our Milky Way galaxy, as well as those hidden in the hearts of faraway galaxies.

Understanding space weather.  Looking at solar wind around Earth and moon.  5 spacecraft with two recently taking up positions around the moon.

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer
Physics experiment installed at the International Space Station, Launched May 16 2011.  Observing cosmic rays from the vantage point of space.  Looking for signs of things like dark matter and anti matter. 

Wide-field infrared survey explorer
Mapping the sky in infrared light.  Launched Dec. 14 2009.

Very accurate mapping of cosmic background radiation left over from the big bang.   Learning a lot about the birth of this universe and the nature of space and time.  Contemplating various cosmologies related to the shape of space, inflation theory and the beginnings of time.

Staring constantly at a patch of sky.  Looking at over 100,000 stars to detect slight winks or drop-off in light of the star caused by transit of planets across the face of the star as viewed from Earth.  Will be able to tell if Earth sized planets exist in zone of habitable temperature from their host stars.   Also looking at light variability of the stars.  Lots of data about stars and extra solar planets.  Launched March 6 2009.

Interstellar Boundary Explorer
Orbits Earth, looks out to border area between solar wind and interstellar space.

Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope.  Launched June 11 2008.

Hubble Space Telescope.
A fantastic orbiting observatory in mostly visible light.  Great photo archive.

Detects small variation in light from stars that it focuses on.  Steller siesmology, looking for extra solar planets.  France has a leadership role in this mission.  Launched 2006. 

Japan's new X-ray observatory and spectrometer.  Launched July 10 05

Chandra X-ray Observatory
Explores universe in high energy x-ray frequencies.  Views such things as black hole accretion disks, neutron stars, exploding galaxies and more.

European X-ray Observatory.  A great partner to Chandra.

Spitzer Orbiting Inferred Telescope
Launched August 2003.  One of the great observatories, like Hubble.  Designed to look at sky in inferred frequencies.

Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer
Detects changes in x-rays over short, or long times.

Looking at universe in Gamma Rays.  Also able to detect x-ray and visible light to study things across much of the spectrum. 

Explores galaxies in ultraviolet spectrum.

High Energy Transient Explorer
Lies in wait for mysterious gamma ray bursts that suddenly cause the universe to flash, like someone just took a picture.  Tries to pinpoint where burst originated so other astronomers can look to see what is there.  Something must be causing those huge explosions; two neutron stars colliding? a super super nova?

Studies gamma ray bursts with three telescopes to get data from across a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum. 

Looks a plasma, dust and so forth from interstellar origins.

Lost it's cooling fluid so primary mission had to be scrapped, but someone came up with a neat idea.  Use one of the onboard telescopes to detect slight fluctuations in the brightness of nearby stars.  Opens up fields such as "stellar seismology."

Sometimes called the Humble Space Telescope.  Lots of bang for the buck.  A Canadian project, from UBC in Vancouver.  More sophisticated look at variations in stellar brightness.  Should be launched in late 2002.  Looks like a suitcase.

The Sub Millimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite
(SWAS) Looks at chemical composition of gas clouds.  Explores star formation. 

Probes to Planets, moons, asteroids, comets

Japanese Venus orbiter.


US mission to orbit Mars.  Analyze gases in upper atmosphere.  Probe questions related to why Mars has lost much of it's atmosphere which scientists think was a lot thicker a few billion years ago.  Launched November 18, 2013.  Arrive at Mars Sept 2014.

Mars Orbiter Mission from India.  Launched November 5 2013.

Exploring extremely thin atmosphere at the moon.  Looking at dust.  Launched September 2013

Roving laboratory on Mars.  Launched November 26 2011.  Geology, looking for signs of a hospitable environment on Mars, past and/or present. 

Japan's high resolution explorer of the moon.  Videos, images and more.

Chinese moon probe
Search for information about Chang'e 1.  Orbiting the moon.  Launched October 24 07.  Best sites are news sites that keep changing.

Dawn Spacecraft
On an 8-year journey to asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres.  Launched
Sept. 27 07.

Venus Express
European Space Agency.  Explore Venus from orbit.  Similar to Mars Express.  Launched Nov. 05

Orbiting Saturn.  Will send probe down to the moon called Titan December 2004-January 2005.  Next close pass of Titan, October 26 2004.

New Horizon's
Aprox. 10 year mission to Pluto.  Launched Jan 19 2006.

On a 7 year jouney to Mercury.  Will orbit.  Several flybys of Venus and Mercury are planned before orbit insertion.  Explore these planents and solar system close to the Sun.

Mars Express
European Space Agency's probe to look for signs of life and water on Mars.  One of the experiments will look for gaseous by products, from possible life somewhere on the surface, in the martian atmosphere.

Mars Exploration Rovers
Two NASA missions to land rovers on Mars.  Explore geology, look for signs of water, erosion and so forth.

Mars Odyssey
Orbits and looks for Chemical elements and minerals on Martian surface. Seeing if there is water in different places on Mars.

Plans to orbit a comet nucleus in 2014.  Also has a probe to land on nucleus.  Will pass a few things on the way, but most of trip plans call for being in dormant mode.  Launched March 2004, European Space Agency mission. 

To bring comet samples back to Earth by 2006.

Voyagers 1 and 2 are now the "farthest out" man made objects.  They flew past Jupiter and Saturn.  One of them went on to skirt by Uranus and Neptune.  Launched over 20 years ago, they are now headed out of solar system sending back data.  Looking for boundary between solar wind and interstellar space among other interesting things to detect.  Analyzing charged particles, magnetic fields and so forth.

Exploring The Sun

Iris, Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph
Launched June 12 2013.  Looking at region between sun's surface and the corona.  Probing questions like why is the corona hotter than the sun's surface?  Looking from Earth orbit. 

Solar Dynamics Observatory
Launched February 11 2010.  Looks at sun with high resolution like 10 times high definition TV.  Explore mechanisms behind things like sunspot cycles and so forth.

Big Bear Solar Observatory
Located in the San Bernadino Mountains of southern California.  Large solar telescopes.

Launched Oct. 25 06.  Two spacecraft with identical instruments will look at sun from two different vantage points in space.  Create a stereoscopic view.

From Japan.  Advanced X-ray telescope and other instruments to look at Sun's magnetic fields, corona and other aspects of solar Physics.  Launched Sept 22 06.

Sits about 1 million miles toward the Sun from Earth.  Samples sunlight that is headed to Earth.  Lots of sophisticated instruments.  Helio seismology and more.

Advanced Composition Explorer
Satellite detects solar and galactic particles.

Solar wind earth interaction

Studies x-rays from solar atmosphere.  Japan.

High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager
Looks at solar flares special x-rays.

Some Past Missions

Ran out of helium coolant as expected.  Ran out April 29 2013  Mission was successful. 
European Space Agency mission.  Contains largest mirror placed into space so far.  Herschel is designed to observe the 'cool universe' in far inferred and sub millimeter electromagnetic spectrum.  Dust, chemicals in space, birth of new stars, ability to detect water in distant space.

Probing interior of moon by looking at how anomalies in moon's gravitational field effect two orbiting spacecraft.  Accurate measurement of the distance between the two orbiting craft tell a lot about distribution of mass in the moon.  Launched September 2011.  Planned crash on the moon for end of mission, Dec. 17 2012.

Gravity Probe B
Tested Einstein's theories about gravity distorting space/time.  Uses very sophisticated gyros to test things like frame dragging.  Has been talked about and planned since 1959, formally since 1963.  Finally funded, then launched April 20 2004.

Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
WMAP.  Look for patterns in cosmic background radiation.  Explores cosmological questions.  Recently provided great look at patterns in cosmic back ground radiation.  Exploring many cosmic questions such as age and shape of universe.

Deep Impact
Part of Deep Impact smashes into a comet at 1:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time July 4th 2005.  Impact kicked up material from deeper inside a comet, supposedly less effected by the sun and space weathering.  This can provide a better look at pristine comet material.  Second part of spacecraft, after the impact probe separates, observed debris from close range.  Also observed from Earth.  Spacecraft flew by another comet more recently (2010).  Was put to rest, March 2011.

India's mission to orbit and explore the moon.  Looking at mineral composition of lunar surface and so forth.

Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer
Remember "Black Light" posters from the 1960s?  They would glow by converting ultraviolet light, from a so called "black light," into visible wavelengths.  The universe has a lot of ultraviolet light as well, but it is best viewed from orbit, above the obscuring atmosphere of Earth.

Balloon borne telescope has circumnavigated Antarctica a few times mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation left over from big bang.  Looks for patterns, or clumps, in early universe.  Sheds light on such questions as, "is space flat or curved."

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Launched June 18 2009.  High resolution sensing of moon surface from lunar orbit.  Also crashing the second stage of rocket into crater looking for evidence of water.  Found water on the moon!

Launched in 1990.  Looked down (if there is such a thing as down out there) on the poles of the sun.  While other satellites are in plane with sun's equator, Ulysses is only one to orbit over north and south poles of sun.   From this vantage point, it had a unique perspective.  Lasted far past it's primary mission, but finally had to be turned off in June 09 as power was running low. 

Phoenix Mars Polar Lander
Landed near pole of Mars May 25 2008.  Analyzing soil and hopefully subsurface ice that is thought to be near the surface.  Analyzing chemical composition of ice and soil, looking for history of ice.  Also a weather station on Mars.

Mars Global Surveyor
Orbits Mars.  Takes many pictures.  Maps surface.

Genesis Mission
Sample solar wind, bring back to Earth 2004.

Smart 1
European Space Agency robotic mission to the moon.  Testing an ion engine. 

Galileo Jupiter Mission
Orbited Jupiter.  Exploring planet and its many moons.  Mission had been extended several times.  Nearing end of its stabilizing propellant, plans called for crashing it into Jupiter, right before craft dies, so it doesn't contaminate Jupiter's moon Europa where life may exist.  Fantastic photos of Jupiter and its many moons, from up close, including the volcanoes on Io.

Near Orbit of Asteroid
Actually brushed onto asteroid at end of very successful mission of intimacy with asteroid.