Astronomy and astrophysics

Data from the James Webb Space Telescope

You have likely seen the incredible images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST); if you haven’t seen them and you want to, click here. These JWST images are available to you, if you have the time and interest to download the images and you have an appropriate image processing software. The JWST data can be found on the MAST (i.e., the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes) along with data from other space telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA’s Webb and Hubble combine to create the most colourful view of the Universe.

In the news

I provide links below to a few of the news articles that I find to be especially interesting.

The VLA is a collection of 27 radio antennas located at the NRAO site in New Mexico. Each antenna in the array measures 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter. SETI and the NRAO have teamed up with a new initiative called Commensal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (COSMIC SETI). Photo credit: Alex Savello/NRAO.

Articles and books of interest

I discuss a number of astronomy-related concepts, events and programs in my novel, The Kairos Codex, including the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), radio telescopes, interstellar radio messages, the Drake equation, and the Roswell incident. Below I have included links to articles and books that provide additional relevant information.

  • Asimov, I. (1950). I, Robot. Doubleday & Company, Inc. (A novel, and a fictional account of the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, AI, in robots.)
  • Hertog, T. (2023). On the Origin of Time: Stephen Hawking’s Final Theory. Published by Bantam Books, Penguin Random House LLC. ISBN 978-0593128442. 313 pages.
  • Sagan, C. (1980). Cosmos. First edition. Published by Random House, USA. ISBN 0-394-50294-9. 365 pages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos_(Sagan_book) (A popular science and astronomy book with 13 chapters that correspond to 13 episodes of the Cosmos TV series.)
  • Sawyer, R.J. (2007). Rollback. Tor books. (A novel, and a fictional account of interstellar communication with realistic timelines.)

Selected publications (for J.A. Secker)

The references below are to a subset of my research publications, mostly those related to astronomy and astrophysics, which some may find interesting.

  • Mallory, S. and Secker, J. (2001). Upgrading Your Campus Observatory. Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 95, p.8. February 2001.
  • Secker, J., Gomulkiewicz, R. and McPeek, M.A. (1998). Interstellar transport and local establishment dynamics of spaceborne propagules. Proc. SPIE Vol. 3441, p. 290-300, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, Richard B. Hoover; Ed. July 1998. DOI: 10.1117/12.319843
  • Harris, W.E., Durrell, P.R., Pierce, M.J. and Secker, J. (1998). Constraints on the Hubble constant from observations of the brightest red-giant stars in a Virgo-cluster galaxy. Nature, Vol. 395(6697), pages 45-47, September 1998. DOI: 10.1038/25673
  • Secker, J. Harris, W. E., Cote, P. and Oke, J. B. (1997). Photometry and spectroscopy of Coma dwarf ellipticals. Untangling Coma Berenices: A New Vision of an Old Cluster, Proceedings of the meeting held in Marseilles (France), June 17-20, 1997, Eds.: Mazure, A., Casoli F., Durret F. , Gerbal D., Word Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd, p 115.
  • Secker, J. and Harris, W.E. (1997). Dwarf Galaxies in the Coma Cluster. I. Detection, Measurement and Classification techniques. Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Vol. 109, pages 1364-1376.
  • Secker, J., Harris, W.E. and Plummer, J.D. (1997). Dwarf Galaxies in the Coma Cluster. II. Photometry and Analysis. Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Vol. 109, pages 1377-1393.
  • Secker, J. and Harris, W.E. (1996). The Early-Type Dwarf-to-Giant Ratio and Substructure in the Coma Cluster. Astrophysical Journal Vol. 469, p.623. October 1996. DOI: 10.1086/177810
  • Secker, J. (1996). A Constraint on the Formation of Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies in the Dense Coma Cluster Core. Astrophysical Journal Letters Vol. 469, p.L81. October 1996. DOI: 10.1086/310280
  • Secker, J., Wesson, P.S. and Lepock, J.R. (1996). Astrophysical and biological constraints on radiopanspermia. Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 90, p.184. August 1996.
  • Secker, J., Lepock, J.R. and Wesson, P.S. (1994). Damage due to ultraviolet and ionizing radiation during the ejection of shielded micro-organisms from the vicinity of 1M  main sequence and red giant stars. Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol. 219, Issue 1, pp.1-28. September 1994. DOI: 10.1007/BF00657856
  • Secker, J. (1993). A statistical investigation into the shape of the globular cluster luminosity distribution. Astronomical Journal, Vol. 104, p. 1472-1481. October 1992. DOI: 10.1086/116332

Theses (for J.A. Secker)

My M.Sc. and Ph.D. theses were both written at and published by McMaster University.

  • SECKER, J. (1995). Deep CCD photometry of the rich galaxy cluster Abell 1656: characteristics of the dwarf elliptical galaxy population in the cluster core. Ph.D. Thesis, McMaster University. 234 pages.
  • SECKER, J. (1992). A statistical analysis of globular cluster luminosity functions in selected large galaxies. M.Sc. Thesis, McMaster University.  117 pages.
SECKER, J. (1995). Deep CCD photometry of the rich galaxy cluster Abell 1656: characteristics of the dwarf elliptical galaxy population in the cluster core. Ph.D. Thesis, McMaster University. 234 pages.
SECKER, J. (1992). A statistical analysis of globular cluster luminosity functions in selected large galaxies. M.Sc. Thesis, McMaster University.  117 pages.