Tag Archives: Galaxy

Galaxy – Ten Things You Don’t Know About Hubble


Galaxy – Ten Things You Don’t Know About Hubble

Galaxy, You can look at all the images it has ever taken, as long as they’re over a year old. Since its launch in 1990, Hubble has orbited the Earth over 100,000 times and taken something like a half million separate observations. Those figures alone are a bit staggering.

But did you know that you (potentially) have access to those images? Well, most of them, anyway. All the data taken by Hubble that is more than one year old is stored in an archive that the public can query. Want to know what Hubble was observing on your birthday two years ago, or at the moment your kid was born?

Just ask the database! In many cases, when you search the database, you can also get a preview of the image; the above shot is of the spiral galaxy M51, also called the Whirlpool Galaxy. The preview shows the raw data right off the ‘scope; it’s not always particularly pretty. To beautify it you need to process it, which means subtracting a dark frame, a bias frame, dividing by the flat field, flagging bad pixels, combining multiple exposures to get rid of cosmic rays, performing a geometric correction… and if you want color, you have to do that for the other filters used in the observation, and then combining those using Photoshop or some other software.

Obviously, not everyone can do that (it’s a lot harder even than it sounds). So not everyone is allowed to actually retrieve the data; that would strain the archive servers. To do that you have to justify the need and get an account. I used to have one, but I lost my password a long time ago. Probably all for the best; I’d just download gigabytes of cool images and get everyone at the archive ticked off at me.

Oh, about that “… as long as they’re over a year old” thing: data is proprietary to the person who took it for the period of one year, so the scientists involved have time to look it over. It does take some time to process the data, and a lot more time to analyze it; if everyone had instant access to all the data, someone more experienced than you could scoop you on your own observations! However, it’s also not fair to let people have the data forever. The compromise is the one year proprietary period; that gives scientists time to look things over, but still motivates them to get things done. I think this is a fine idea, and it even works in practice in the real world, amazingly. If a scientist wants, they can release the data early, too, so everyone wins.

In fact, I used old data quite a bit back in the day. If we found something interesting in our own data, we could go look for older observations to see if it had been seen before, or if there were related observations. And many times, even if the older data were still proprietary, the scientists involved were interested in collaborating. Funny thing about scientists: in lots of cases they are open, friendly, and interested in seeing what everyone else is doing. There were exceptions, of course, but that’s what I found for the most part.

Maybe that’s the thing that’ll surprise you most in this article. But it’s true.

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PSG say LA Galaxy set to retain player

David Beckham: PSG say LA Galaxy set to retain player

David Beckham has decided not to join Paris Saint-Germain for family reasons, according to reports in France.

The former England captain, 36, had been widely linked with a move to the Qatari-owned French club but could now extend his spell in the United States with Los Angeles Galaxy.
“It’s over. It’s a shame,” PSG sporting director Leonardo told L’Equipe.
“But the welfare of his family in LA, the wish not to change everything in his life, weighed heavily.”

Beckham has been weighing up his options since helping LA Galaxy win the MLS Cup in November with a 1-0 win over Houston Dynamo.
Joining PSG would have resulted in Beckham joining forces again with newly-appointed PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti and sporting director Leonardo, having worked with both men at AC Milan during loan spells in 2009 and 2010.

But, as BBC Sport revealed last week, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star looks like remaining in the US following discussions with his family and business partner Simon Fuller.

It is understood that Beckham’s wife, Victoria, and their four children feel settled in California and are happy to stay.

Beckham’s contract with Galaxy expired on 31 December but the club and Major League Soccer have now offered him a one-year rolling deal.

Crucially, the new contract would include dispensation for Beckham to be part of the Great Britain football team at the 2012 London Olympics, should he be selected.

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Beckham eyes another half-year loan in Europe


Beckham eyes another half-year loan in Europe

NEW YORK  – David Beckham says he expects to find another half-year loan deal ahead of the World Cup next year to keep himself in England manager Fabio Capello’s plans for the tournament in South Africa.

Beckham spent the Major League Soccer (MLS) off-season — and the first part of this current season — on loan at AC Milan in Italy and said he hoped to find a similar arrangement next year.

“Leading up to the World Cup, the England manager has made it very clear to me that I need to be playing at a European level,” Beckham told reporters ahead of his return match for LA Galaxy against rivals New York Red Bulls.

“So I will do everything possible… I’ll always regret it if I didn’t do everything and to give myself a chance to be involved in that.

“At the moment my priority is the rest of the season and also playing and keeping in every squad for England and representing my country… Going forward of course I want to be involved in the World Cup, I’ve not hidden that fact.”

Beckham’s extended loan with Milan upset many at the Galaxy, with resentment spilling over into a public spat with team-mate Landon Donovan who questioned his commitment to the team.

The pair have said their differences are water under the bridge, but the prospect of Beckham not starting next season with the team he is contracted to is unlikely to win over sceptical fans.


Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, however, said he was unconcerned about any disruption that might be caused by Beckham’s movements.

“I think having David Beckham on our team is just a fabulous asset. It was a little bit awkward, the loan process, but fully within the conditions of his contract. And we were fully in agreement with it and signed off on it. We knew the pros and cons attributed with David leaving on loan,” he said.

“I’ve had a great 30 years coaching. This is a high point. Not a low point. It’s fabulous to have a player of this calibre on our squad. I look forward to working with David the remainder of the season.”

Beckham, who previously stated he would like another stint with Milan, said re-joining the Serie A club would by no means lead to a place in the World Cup squad, were England to qualify.

“At the moment all I’m concentrating on is being part of this team (L.A) and being successful with this team. Once the season is over, then I will decide and decide what I do from then on.”

Beckham said a six-month deal was necessary to be in top shape for selection, rather than a shorter January-to-March deal that would fit in the MLS off-season.

“I think it would have to be (six months), obviously, leading up to the World Cup. But with the last loan, it worked out pretty well,” he said.

“I’m not going to sit here and say it was ideal and it was perfect, because at the end of the day it was great for myself.”

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