Photo Essay: Monitoring Katla with Borehole Strainmeters

Iceland 2015

In June 2015, a team led by Alan Linde and supported by the Brinson Foundation travelled to the small town of Skógar situated close to the south coast of Iceland, about 15 kilometers from the Katla volcano, to install a borehole strainmeter

The team included DTM's Michael AciernoTyler Bartholomew, and Brian Schleigh, as well as Bergur Bergsson and Matthew Roberts of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO). 

The purpose of installing a borehole strainmeter at this site was to monitor the Katla volcano. It is one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland, reaching a peak of 1,512 meters. Katla usually erupts every 40 to 80 years, however it's last violent eruption was over 98 years ago, in 1918. 


Stories from the Las Campanas Belles Blog: A Brief History of Stellar Women

Las Campanas Belles

"Tonight I'm observing at a different big telescope, Gemini North at Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii. But I wanted to share a great Explainer post by Dr. Amanda Bauer, a PhD Astronomer and Outreach Officer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory, that discusses spectroscopy. She was named one of Australia's "Top 5 Under 40” science researchers and communicators in March of 2015, and has written lots of blog posts about different aspects of astronomy. This one about spectroscopy caught my interest because 1) it's my craft, too, and 2) it's one of the things in astronomy, and science in general (the basic principles come from physics and chemistry), that I explain most often/enjoy explaining most.

However, there is a bit of history missing from Dr. Bauer's post that is important. Much of what I and MANY astronomers do today for our research -- using spectra to classify and learn about stars -- is thanks to some extremely smart and dedicated women scientists. Here's a bit (er, actually, a rather long bit) of history," says DTM Origins Fellow Johanna Teske in this blog post from the Las Campanas Belles blog on 20 July 2015. 


Russian Entrepreneur Pledges $100 Million to SETI to Jumpstart the Search for Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

Breakthrough Initiative

Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced he will personally fund a series of new initiatives to search for intelligent life in the Universe with a $100 million gift to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute over the next ten years.

This new program, named the Breakthrough Initiatives, was announced on 20 July 2015 in the Kohn Centre at the Royal Society in London to coincide with the 56th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. Alongside Milner was an esteemed cast of scientists, including Stephen HawkingFrank DrankMartin ReesGeoff Marcy, and Ann Druyan.


Interview: Scott Sheppard and his Pluto Fly-By Predictions


At its closest approach on 14 July 2015, the New Horizons mission spacecraft will fly by Pluto within about 8000 miles, making it the first spacecraft to visit and photograph the distant dwarf planet.

DTM Astronomer Scott Sheppard is heading a project that is obtaining the deepest and widest survey ever obtained for distant solar system objects. Recent discoveries from the survey range from finding a dwarf planet on the fringe of the solar system to discovering one of the most distant comets to show activity. He took time to discuss this historical visit to Pluto and his predictions for what the new images taken during the fly-by could reveal this week.


Former NASA and DTM Associate Nader Haghighipour Elected President of the International Astronomical Union's Division F


Former NASA and DTM Associate, Nader Haghighipour (2001-2004), has been elected as the President of Division F (Planetary Systems and Astrobiology) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The elections for the IAU Division Steering Committees for 2015-2018 were held in late June.


Pluto before Pluto


With the New Horizons historic flyby of Pluto next week, imagine how excited we were a few weeks ago to unearth a set of plates from 1925 in our vault that include Pluto--five years before Pluto was discovered. This unexpected find led to a bit of historical detective work to uncover the story of these unusual astronomical plates. 

This short video tells the tale of our digging, and what we learned from it, and highlights the amazing work done by astronomers of an earlier, pre-digital era. You never know what you might find in your own archives!