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.
A popular magazine of astronomical news.
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
Up to date news and information about space exploration.
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.
Deep in an old Minnesota mine where there is lots of shielding from
static particles. Looking for evidence of dark matter, neutrinos and
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
Ice Cube Neutrino
Detectors in ice at south pole looking for neutrinos.
Pole Microwave Telescope
Mapping cosmic background radiation.
Radio Astrophysical Telescope
Located near Penticton, BC My
Observatory and Aristarchos Telescope
New observatory in Greece.
Educational observatory on island of Crete.
Center for Astrophysics
Large radio telescope located near Manchester England. Part of the
of radio telescopes.
In New Mexico, a high tech array of optical telescopes high in mountains
to bring high resolution images of astronomical objects.
Worlds largest optical telescopes. Located
on a 13,000 Ft.. mountain in Hawaii.
Guide to many facilites on top of this mountain
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
View from Southern hemisphere.
Multi mirror optical telescope. Solar telescope
and more. Located near Tucson Arizona.
Located in South East Arizona. Several research
telescopes including the Large Binocular Telescope.
Mount Hopkins Arizona.
Operated by Kitt Peak. Located in Chile.
Near Victoria, BC Canada. My pictures
at Canary Islands
Radio antenna dish built into bowl shaped valley
in Puerto Rico. World's largest radio dish.
Owens Valley Radio Array
Large Array (VLA)
Huge array of steer able antennas for radio astronomy.
Located in New Mexico.
National Radio Observatories
Links to several radio observatories.
Sudbury Neutrino Telescope
Looks for neutrinos from well insulated vantage
point in bottom of old nickel mine near Sudbury, Ontario Canada.
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.
Telescope in New Mexico
Sky surveys, such as Sloan Survey and other observations.
Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory
Spread out over Argentina plain the size of Rhode
Island. International project.
France Hawaii Telescope
Very large digital camera called Megaprime.
Extra wide field view on an otherwise smaller telescope in Hawaii.
Gravity Wave Experiment
Multi site gravity wave detector. Hanford,
Washington. Livingston, Louisiana.
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.
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
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
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.
Orbits Earth, looks out to border area between solar wind and interstellar
Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope. Launched June 11 2008.
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
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
Spitzer Orbiting Inferred Telescope
Launched August 2003. One of the great observatories,
like Hubble. Designed to look at sky in inferred frequencies.
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
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
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.
On an 8-year journey to asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet
Sept. 27 07.
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.
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.
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
Two NASA missions to land rovers on Mars.
Explore geology, look for signs of water, erosion and so forth.
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
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
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.
wind earth interaction
Studies x-rays from solar atmosphere. Japan.
High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager
Looks at solar flares special x-rays.
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
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.
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.
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
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."
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
Sample solar wind, bring back to Earth 2004.
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.
Orbit of Asteroid
Actually brushed onto asteroid at end of very successful
mission of intimacy with asteroid.