What's an Astronomer's favourite Birthday Gift?

voorwerp_approval.jpgAs you can see, we woke up this morning, to find that the Space Telescope Science Institute — the organisation running the world’s most famous telescope, Hubble — have sent out their approval and denial letters for the next cycle of observations with the Telescope. Our proposal for observing the Voorwerp (led by Principal Investigator Bill Keel) was approved for 7 orbits. Getting time on HST is hard at the best of times, and this time round was particularly difficult. Hubble is currently waiting for a visit from astronauts to carry out a desperately needed set of repairs and upgrades, and every astronomer in the world wanted to be first in the queue once it’s back on top form. To give you an idea, more than 20,000 orbits were requested when there were only 3,500 of them to go round – and 7 of them now belong to Galaxy Zoo.


So when will you see a gorgeous Hubble image of the Voorwerp? Not for a while yet. First, the Space Shuttle has to successfully complete its final service mission to repair the Hubble and install new instruments. This is currently scheduled for October 8, 2008. After all the repairs are done and the spacecraft has been checked out thoroughly, we then have to wait for the Voorwerp to actually be visible on the sky for Hubble. All this will take at least several months more. And of course once the data is taken, we then have to reduce it first to produce a picture. Still, it will be a wonderful opportunity for us to learn more about what the Voorwerp is.

By coincidence, today’s the birthday of the Voorwerp’s discover. Happy birthday, Hanny – and enjoy your present from the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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25 responses to “What's an Astronomer's favourite Birthday Gift?”

  1. ElisabethB says :

    Wonderful news !
    Congratulations all !

  2. Fluffyporcupine says :

    Oh wow, thats so cool! Congrats!

  3. weezerd says :

    Brilliant, and brilliant present for Hanny….coincidence?

  4. Curtis W. Garrett says :

    It’s Hanny’s Voorwerp, but we all feel a little paternal
    (or maternal) about it. Bill, here’s hoping that when the revolutions come around everything works perfectly.
    And a big hurrah for citizen science.
    Not everyone needs a PHD in a subject to contribute to
    the advancement of that subject. Thanks to Hanny for noticing the strange object and calling attention to it.

  5. Infinity says :

    Yes so cool and what perfect timing : )

  6. Joseph K. H. Cheng says :

    This is wonderful news. It reflects the importance placed by the scientific community on the GZ project. Congratulations to Hanny, the TEAM and all Zooists. May the Zoo spirit flourish forever more !

  7. Hanny says :

    Yes, very nice to wake up this morning with that e-mail! Thanks for posting this, Kevin and Chris. It was very early when I read it, but immidiatly awake and even more cheerful and wanted to tell everyone I know and such! πŸ˜€

    And thanks again for all the messages as well! πŸ˜‰

  8. Alice says :

    Happy birthday to you
    From the Voorwerp and Zoo!

  9. elizabeth siegel says :

    Awesome news congats to everyone.

  10. ~Jack~ says :

    Happy Birthday and CONGRATS!!!

  11. Jules says :

    Well if this is what citizen science can achieve – long may it continue. Well done everyone! Great news.:0)

  12. Thomas Jennings says :

    Fantastic news and a fantastic birthday present for Hanny.

  13. Joseph K. H. Cheng says :

    It is really wonderful news. Congratulations to Hanny, the TEAM and all Zooists.

  14. deepthi3 says :

    happy birthday

  15. deepthi3 says :

    happy birthdayfrom deepthi

  16. graham dungworth says :

    Congratulations to Hanny and Serendipity- uitstekend.

  17. Alice says :

    If anyone’s wondering why you can’t get onto the forum, there’s been a “server outage” for several websites. Zookeeper Phil’s colleagues in the USA are doing their best to get it back and we should have our forum back later today!

    Perhaps there was just too much partying . . .

  18. Joseph K. H. Cheng says :

    Congratulations to Hanny, the TEAM and everyone!

  19. Joseph K. H. Cheng says :

    It is really wonderful news. This actually reflects the importance placed by the scientific community on the Galaxy Zoo Project. May the spirit of the ZOO advance and flourish forever more !

  20. wendy (wlindboe) says :

    cool! happy birthday, hanny! congrats to all!

    which instrument did you request? will it be the new wide-field 3 camera?

  21. EricFDiaz says :

    What a wonderful birthday gift for Hanny. And what great tribute to everyone here at Galaxy Zoo!;)

  22. Alice says :

    πŸ˜€ Wendy! πŸ˜€

    On the subject of birthdays, happy birthday to Waveney of the Mergers! Many happy returns, and may we all be back in the Cafe to post birthday wishes there very soon.

  23. Waveney says :

    They have requested: the ACS/WFC (2 different filters), the new WFC3 Camera (3 different filters) and the STIS (2 Grisms). Its amazing what you can find if you look…!

  24. lizardly says :

    Happy Birthday Hanny, and congratulations, and thank you for noticing that blue blob.

  25. Rick Hill says :

    Congratulations Hanny! Thi is continuing proof that ‘amateur’ astronomers can still play a vital role in astronomical research!

    Rick Hill

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