Some observatories and satellites.
Currently operating eyes on
the universe.


Last updated, March 2017.

By Robert.

My blog  entries on space

Pictures of a few astronomy sites I have been to.

radio telescope by penticton
My visit to radio telescope by Penticton, BC. Canada.

Below are bookmarks to some eyes
on the universe arranged pretty much by
what they are looking at.

Observatories and labs
on, or in, the ground

Physics accelerators and so forth

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.

Triumf
Accelerator lab probing cosmic questions in physics, medical research also.  Located near UBC Campus in Vancouver, BC Canada.  I toured Triumf in 1989.

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

Stanford Linear Accelerator
Now re purposed as an Xray microscope.  Looking deep into molecules, exploring photosynthesis and so forth.

Underground, neutrino and so forth

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.

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.

Sanford Underground Lab
South Dakota

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

Gravity Wave Detectors

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

Virgo Gravity Wave Detector, ESA in Italy
Similar to Ligo, in USA.  If all 3 operate simultaneously astronomers can use triangulation to tell where in the sky the gravity wave comes from.

Australian Gravity Wave Experiment

Radio and Microwave Astronomy

ALMA
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.

Viper South Pole Microwave Telescope
Mapping cosmic background radiation.

Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory Canada
Located near Penticton, BC

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

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

Owens Valley Radio Array
California

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.

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.

Optical Telescopes

Africa, Canary Islands

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.

Observatory at Canary Islands

Salt
Largest telescope in Southern hemisphere.  In South Africa.

Australia

The Anglo-Australian Observatory

Canada

Telescope near Victoria, BC.
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory

Near Victoria, BC

Chile

European Southern Observatory
View from Southern hemisphere.

Gemini Observatory
Operated by Kitt Peak.  Located in Chile.

USA

Hawaii

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

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

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

Arizona, New Mexico, Texas

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

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.

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

McDonnell Observatory
Austin Texas.

California

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

Mount Wilson Observatory
California.

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

Astronomy Satellites

Gaia
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.

Brite
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.

Nustar
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.
 

Themis
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. 

Planck
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.

Kepler
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.

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

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

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

Suzaku
Japanese 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.

Newton
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.

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

Galex
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?

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

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

Most
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.

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.

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

Soho
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.

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

Probes to Planets, moons,
asteroids, comets


Mercury

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

Venus

Akatsuki
Japanese Venus orbiter.  Orbiting Venus since December 2015.  Looking at atmosphere, weather.

Earth's Moon

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.


Mars

Maven

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.

Mangalyaan
Mars Orbiter Mission from India.  Launched November 5 2013.

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

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.

Asteroids and comets

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

Jupiter

Juno Jupiter Orbiter
In elliptical orbit, passes close to Jupiter every 2 months.  Learning about the planet and what's inside.  Looking at radiation, light, gravitational  banomaliesy tracking orbit of spacecraft and so forth.  Went into Orbit Summer 2016.

Saturn

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

Pluto and beyond

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

Voyagers
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.


Some Past Missions retired while
I maintained this list

Astronomy

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

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

Wire
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."

Herschel
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.

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.

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.

Boomerang
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."

To comets and Asteroids

Stardust 
To bring comet samples back to Earth by 2006.

Rosetta
Orbit of 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.

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.

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

To the Moon 

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

GRAIL
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.

Chandrayaan-1
India's mission to orbit and explore the moon.  Looking at mineral composition of lunar surface and so forth.

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!

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

To Planets

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

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.

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.

Exploring the Sun

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

Ulysses
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.


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