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Cosmic Diary

Countdown to the end

10 Jan 2010, 15:31 UTC
Countdown to the end
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Just two more talks before the official closure of IYA2009. This session is Chaired by Franco Pacini, the man who first thought to have an International Year of Astronomy.
Antonella Nota: “Future of Space Astronomy”
What a splendid year it has been! What have we learned this year? Corot discovered the smallest terrestrial planet – twice the size of Earth. How proud Galileo would be! This year we also saw the first direct visible-light images of an exoplanet, taken by Hubble. It is a super-Jupiter, as we know from observing its movement. And from the ground, three super Jupiters were imaged with the Gemini telescope.
Cassini captured a flash of sunlight reflected off a lake on Saturn’s moon Tutan, confirming the presence of liquid on the surface. It has been a golden year for astronomy!
Missions deployed include Herschel and Planck in May. Kepler is a wide-field photometer that monitors 100000 stars for 3.5 years and can detect Earth-size planets in habitable zones. XMM-Newton has turned 10! Hubble was successfully refurbished and now has a new imager: Wide Field Camera 3. This will be a workhorse instrument. The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph has also been installed.
The future brings more excitement, ...

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