Astronomy and Snakes

Astronomers occasionally have to deal with snakes.  It’s part of the job. Just kidding.  Nicha, Brent, and I were at Palomar Observatory for the past two nights.  Last year, Nicha proposed to use the 200″ telescope to observe nearby galaxies to determine the relationship between their mass and metallicity (see my previous blog post).  She was granted four nights.  Unfortunately, the weather was not good, and she was able to observe only…

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Heavy Metals

Welcome to Caltech’s Galactic Archaeology blog!  In this inaugural post, I’d like to explain what we mean by galactic archaeology. We spend lots of time measuring the composition of stars.  Specifically, we pick several elements and attempt to figure out how much of that element is present inside of a star or a galaxy.  Different elements encode different information about the star because different elements have different cosmic origins.  In…

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