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  • richardmitnick 3:02 pm on February 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Ask Ethan: What Will Our First Direct Image Of An Earth-Like Exoplanet Look Like?, You’d be amazed at what you can learn from even one single pixel   

    From Ethan Siegel: “Ask Ethan: What Will Our First Direct Image Of An Earth-Like Exoplanet Look Like?” 

    From Ethan Siegel
    Feb 16, 2019

    You’d be amazed at what you can learn from even one single pixel.

    1
    Left, an image of Earth from the DSCOVR-EPIC camera. Right, the same image degraded to a resolution of 3 x 3 pixels, similar to what researchers will see in future exoplanet observations.(NOAA/NASA/STEPHEN KANE)

    NOAA DISCOVR Deep Space Climate Observatory

    NOAA Deep Space Climate Observatory

    NASA EPIC (Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera) on NOAA DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory)

    Over the past decade, owing largely to NASA’s Kepler mission, our knowledge of planets around star systems beyond our own has increased tremendously.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope

    From just a few worlds — mostly massive, with quick, inner orbits, and around lower-mass stars — to literally thousands of widely-varying sizes, we now know that Earth-sized and slightly larger worlds are extremely common. With the next generation of coming observatories from both space (like the James Webb Space Telescope) and the ground (with observatories like GMTand ELT), the closest such worlds will be able to be directly imaged. What will that look like? That’s what Patreon supporter Tim Graham wants to know, asking:

    “[W]hat kind of resolution can we expect? [A] few pixels only or some features visible?”

    The picture itself won’t be impressive. But what it will teach us is everything we could reasonably dream of.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    2
    An artist’s rendition of Proxima b orbiting Proxima Centauri. With 30-meter class telescopes like GMT and ELT, we’ll be able to directly image it, as well as any outer, yet-undetected worlds. However, it won’t look anything like this through our telescopes. (ESO/M. KORNMESSER)

    Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The closest star system to us is the Alpha Centauri system, itself located just over 4 light years away. It consists of three stars:

    Alpha Centauri A, which is a Sun-like (G-class) star,
    Alpha Centauri B, which is a little cooler and less massive (K-class), but orbits Alpha Centauri A at a distance of the gas giants in our Solar System, and
    Proxima Centauri, which is much cooler and less massive (M-class), and is known to have at least one Earth-sized planet.

    Centauris Alpha Beta Proxima 27, February 2012. Skatebiker

    While there might be many more planets around this trinary star system, the fact is that planets are small and the distances to them, particularly beyond our own Solar System, are tremendous.

    3
    This diagram shows the novel 5-mirror optical system of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Before reaching the science instruments the light is first reflected from the telescope’s giant concave 39-metre segmented primary mirror (M1), it then bounces off two further 4-metre-class mirrors, one convex (M2) and one concave (M3). The final two mirrors (M4 and M5) form a built-in adaptive optics system to allow extremely sharp images to be formed at the final focal plane. This telescope will have more light-gathering power and better angular resolution, down to 0.005″, than any telescope in history. (ESO)

    The largest telescope being built of all, the ELT, will be 39 meters in diameter, meaning it has a maximum angular resolution of 0.005 arc seconds, where 60 arc seconds make up 1 arc minute, and 60 arc minutes make up 1 degree. If you put an Earth-sized planet at the distance of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star beyond our Sun at 4.24 light years, it would have an angular diameter of 67 micro-arc seconds (μas), meaning that even our most powerful upcoming telescope would be about a factor of 74 too small to fully resolve an Earth-sized planet.

    The best we could hope for was a single, saturated pixel, where the light bled into the surrounding, adjacent pixels on our most advanced, highest-resolution cameras. Visually, it’s a tremendous disappointment for anyone hoping to get a spectacular view like the illustrations NASA has been putting out.

    5
    Artist’s conception of the exoplanet Kepler-186f, which may exhibit Earth-like (or early, life-free Earth-like) properties. As imagination-sparking as illustrations like this are, they’re mere speculations, and the incoming data won’t provide any views akin to this at all. (NASA AMES/SETI INSTITUTE/JPL-CALTECH)


    But that’s where the letdown ends. By using coronagraph technology, we’ll be able to block out the light from the parent star, viewing the light from the planet directly. Sure, we’ll only get a pixel’s worth of light, but it won’t be one continuous, steady pixel at all. Instead, we’ll get to monitor that light in three different ways:

    In a variety of colors, photometrically, teaching us what the overall optical properties of any imaged planet are.

    Spectroscopically, which means we can break that light up into its individual wavelengths, and look for signatures of particular molecules and atoms on its surface and in its atmosphere.

    Over time, meaning we can measure how both of the above change as the planet both rotates on its axis and revolves, seasonally, around its parent star.

    From just a single pixel’s worth of light, we can determine a whole slew of properties about any world in question. Here are some of the highlights.

    6
    Illustration of an exoplanetary system, potentially with an exomoon orbiting it. (NASA/DAVID HARDY, VIA ASTROART.ORG)

    By measuring the light reflecting off of a planet over the course of its orbit, we’ll be sensitive to a variety of phenomena, some of which we already see on Earth. If the world has a difference in albedo (reflectivity) from one hemisphere to another, and rotates in any fashion other than one that’s tidally locked to its star in a 1-to-1 resonance, we’ll be able to see a periodic signal emerging as the star-facing side changes with time.

    A world with continents and oceans, for example, would display a signal that rose-and-fell in a variety of wavelengths, corresponding to the portion that was in direct sunlight reflecting that light back to our telescopes here in the Solar System.

    7
    Hundreds of candidate planets have been discovered so far in the data collected and released by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), with eight of them having been confirmed thus far by follow-up measurements.

    NASA/MIT TESS

    Three of the most unique, interesting exoplanets are illustrated here, with many more to come. Some of the closest worlds to be discovered by TESS will be candidates for being Earth-like and within the reach of direct imaging. (NASA/MIT/TESS)

    Owing to the power of direct imaging, we could directly measure changes in the weather on a planet beyond our own Solar System.

    8
    The 2001–2002 composite images of the Blue Marble, constructed with NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data.

    NASA Terra MODIS schematic

    NASA Terra satellite

    As an exoplanet rotates and its weather changes, we can tease out or reconstruct variations in the planetary continent/ocean/icecap ratios, as well as the signal of cloud cover.(NASA)

    Life may be a more difficult signal to tease out, but if there were an exoplanet with life on it, similar to Earth, we would see some very specific seasonal changes. On Earth, the fact that our planet rotates on its axis means that in winter, where our hemisphere faces away from the Sun, the icecaps grow larger, the continents grow more reflective with snow extending down to lower latitudes, and the world becomes less green in its overall color.

    Conversely, in the summer, our hemisphere faces towards the Sun. The icecaps shrink while the continents turn green: the dominant color of plant life on our planet. Similar seasonal changes will affect the light coming from any exoplanet we image, allowing us to tease out not only seasonal variations, but the specific percent changes in color distribution and reflectivity.

    8
    In this image of Titan, the methane haze and atmosphere is shown in a near-transparent blue, with surface features beneath the clouds displayed. A composite of ultraviolet, optical, and infrared light was used to construct this view. By combining similar data sets over time for a directly imaged exoplanet, even with just a single pixel, we could reconstruct a huge slew of its atmospheric, surface, and seasonal properties. (NASA/JPL/SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE)

    Overall planetary and orbital characteristics should emerge as well. Unless we’ve observed a planetary transit from our point of view — where the planet in question passes between us and the star it orbits — we cannot know the orientation of its orbit.

    Planet transit. NASA/Ames

    This means we can’t know what the planet’s mass is; we can only know some combination of its mass and the angle of its orbit’s tilt.

    But if we can measure how the light from it changes over time, we can infer what its phases must look like, and how those change over time. We can use that information to break that degeneracy, and determine its mass and orbital tilt, as well as the presence or absence of any large moons around that planet. From even just a single pixel, the way the brightness changes once color, cloud cover, rotation, and seasonal changes are subtracted out should allow us to learn all of this.

    9
    The phases of Venus, as viewed from Earth, are analogous to an exoplanet’s phases as it orbits its star. If the ‘night’ side exhibits certain temperature/infrared properties, exactly the ones that James Webb [above] will be sensitive to, we can determine whether they have atmospheres, as well as spectroscopically determining what the atmospheric contents are. This remains true even without measuring them directly via a transit. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS USERS NICHALP AND SAGREDO)

    This will be important for a huge number of reasons. Yes, the big, obvious hope is that we’ll find an oxygen-rich atmosphere, perhaps even coupled with an inert but common molecule like nitrogen gas, creating a truly Earth-like atmosphere. But we can go beyond that and look for the presence of water. Other signatures of potential life, like methane and carbon dioxide, can be sought out as well. And another fun advance that’s greatly underappreciated today will come in the direct imaging of super-Earth worlds. Which ones have giant hydrogen and helium gas envelopes and which ones don’t? In a direct fashion, we’ll finally be able to draw a conclusive line.

    10
    The classification scheme of planets as either rocky, Neptune-like, Jupiter-like or stellar-like. The border between Earth-like and Neptune-like is murky, but direct imaging of candidate super-Earth worlds should enable us to determine whether there’s a gas envelope around each planet in question or not. (CHEN AND KIPPING, 2016, VIA ARXIV.ORG/PDF/1603.08614V2.PDF)

    If we truly wanted to image features on a planet beyond our Solar System, we’d need a telescope hundreds of times as large as the largest ones currently being planned: multiple kilometers in diameter. Until that day comes, however, we can look forward to learning so many important things about the nearest Earth-like worlds in our galaxy. TESS is out there, finding those planets right now. James Webb is complete, waiting for its 2021 launch date. Three 30-meter class telescopes are in the works, with the first one (GMT) slated to come online in 2024 and the largest one (ELT) to see first light in 2025. By this time a decade from now, we’ll have direct image (optical and infrared) data on dozens of Earth-sized and slightly larger worlds, all beyond our Solar System.

    A single pixel may not seem like much, but when you think about how much we can learn — about seasons, weather, continents, oceans, icecaps, and even life — it’s enough to take your breath away.

    See the full article here .

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    “Starts With A Bang! is a blog/video blog about cosmology, physics, astronomy, and anything else I find interesting enough to write about. I am a firm believer that the highest good in life is learning, and the greatest evil is willful ignorance. The goal of everything on this site is to help inform you about our world, how we came to be here, and to understand how it all works. As I write these pages for you, I hope to not only explain to you what we know, think, and believe, but how we know it, and why we draw the conclusions we do. It is my hope that you find this interesting, informative, and accessible,” says Ethan

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  • richardmitnick 1:34 pm on February 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Magnetopause, , ,   

    From Queen Mary University of London: “Earth’s magnetic shield booms like a drum when hit by impulses” 

    From Queen Mary University of London

    12 February 2019

    The Earth’s magnetic shield booms like a drum when it is hit by strong impulses, according to new research from Queen Mary University of London.

    1
    Artist rendition of a plasma jet impact (yellow) generating standing waves at the magnetopause boundary (blue) and in the magnetosphere (green). The outer group of four THEMIS probes witnessed the flapping of the magnetopause over each satellite in succession, confirming the expected behaviour/frequency of the theorised magnetopause eigenmode wave. (Credit: E. Masongsong/UCLA, M. Archer/QMUL, H. Hietala/UTU)

    NASA THEMIS satellite

    As an impulse strikes the outer boundary of the shield, known as the magnetopause, ripples travel along its surface which then get reflected back when they approach the magnetic poles.

    Magnetosphere of Earth, original bitmap from NASA. SVG rendering by Aaron Kaase

    The interference of the original and reflected waves leads to a standing wave pattern, in which specific points appear to be standing still while others vibrate back and forth. A drum resonates like this when struck in exactly the same way.

    This study, published in Nature Communications, describes the first time this effect has been observed after it was theoretically proposed 45 years ago.

    Movements of the magnetopause are important in controlling the flow of energy within our space environment with wide-ranging effects on space weather, which is how phenomena from space can potentially damage technology like power grids, GPS and even passenger airlines.

    The discovery that the boundary moves in this way sheds light on potential global consequences that previously had not been considered.

    Hard to detect

    Dr Martin Archer, space physicist at Queen Mary University of London, and lead author of the paper, said: “There had been speculation that these drum-like vibrations might not occur at all, given the lack of evidence over the 45 years since they were proposed. Another possibility was that they are just very hard to definitively detect.

    “Earth’s magnetic shield is continuously buffeted with turbulence so we thought that clear evidence for the proposed booming vibrations might require a single sharp hit from an impulse. You would also need lots of satellites in just the right places during this event so that other known sounds or resonances could be ruled out. The event in the paper ticked all those quite strict boxes and at last we’ve shown the boundary’s natural response.”

    The researchers used observations from five NASA THEMIS [above] satellites when they were ideally located as a strong isolated plasma jet slammed into the magnetopause. The probes were able to detect the boundary’s oscillations and the resulting sounds within the Earth’s magnetic shield, which agreed with the theory and gave the researchers the ability to rule out all other possible explanations.

    Solar wind impact

    Many impulses which can impact our magnetic shield originate from the solar wind, charged particles in the form of plasma that continually blow off the Sun, or are a result of the complicated interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field, as was technically the case for this event.

    The interplay of Earth’s magnetic field with the solar wind forms a magnetic shield around the planet, bounded by the magnetopause, which protects us from much of the radiation present in space.

    Other planets like Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn also have similar magnetic shields and so the same drum-like vibrations may be possible elsewhere.

    Further research is needed to understand how often the vibrations occur at Earth and whether they exist at other planets as well. Their consequences also need further study using satellite and ground-based observations.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    At Queen Mary University of London, we believe that a diversity of ideas helps us achieve the previously unthinkable.

    Throughout our history, we’ve fostered social justice and improved lives through academic excellence. And we continue to live and breathe this spirit today, not because it’s simply ‘the right thing to do’ but for what it helps us achieve and the intellectual brilliance it delivers.

    Our reformer heritage informs our conviction that great ideas can and should come from anywhere. It’s an approach that has brought results across the globe, from the communities of east London to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

    We continue to embrace diversity of thought and opinion in everything we do, in the belief that when views collide, disciplines interact, and perspectives intersect, truly original thought takes form.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:11 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Tidal Tails – The Beginning Of The End Of An Open Star Cluster", , , , , , The Hyades- the star cluster closest to the Sun,   

    From University of Heidelberg: “Tidal Tails – The Beginning Of The End Of An Open Star Cluster” 

    U Heidelberg bloc

    From University of Heidelberg

    15 February 2019

    Heidelberg researchers verify this phenomenon using Gaia data from the Hyades.

    ESA/GAIA satellite

    1
    Image of the Hyades, the star cluster closest to the Sun. Source: NASA, ESA, and STScI

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    In the course of their life, open star clusters continuously lose stars to their surroundings. The resulting swath of tidal tails provides a glimpse into the evolution and dissolution of a star cluster. Thus far only tidal tails of massive globular clusters and dwarf galaxies have been discovered in the Milky Way system. In open clusters, this phenomenon existed only in theory. Researchers at Heidelberg University have now finally verified the existence of such a tidal tail in the star cluster closest to the Sun, the Hyades. An analysis of measurements from the Gaia satellite led to the discovery.

    Open star clusters are collections of approximately 100 to a few thousand stars that emerge almost simultaneously from a collapsing gas cloud and move through space at about the same speed. Owing to a number of influences, however, they do begin to disperse after a few hundred million years. Among the factors working against the gravitationally bound stars is the tidal force of a galaxy, which pulls the stars out of the cluster. Tidal tails then form during the movement of the star cluster through the Milky Way. It is the beginning of the end of an open star cluster.

    2
    Position of the Hyades and its now observed tidal tails in the sky. The background shows Gaia’s all-sky view of our Milky Way Galaxy. Source: S. Röser, ESA/Gaia/DPAC

    Together with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, scientists from the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University (ZAH) have detected this phenomenon for the first time in the Hyades, one of the older and best-studied open star clusters in the Milky Way system. They studied the data published in April 2018 from the Gaia satellite, which has been systematically mapping the heavens for five years. Rather than taking direct photographs, Gaia measures the stars’ motion and position.

    From this data, the Heidelberg astronomers identified two tidal tails of the Hyades with a total of approximately 500 stars extending up to 650 light-years from the cluster. Dr Siegfried Röser of the Königstuhl State Observatory of the ZAH explains that one of the tails precedes the open star cluster and the other follows it. “Our discovery shows that it is possible to trace the trajectories of individual stars of the Milky Way back to their point of origin in a star cluster”, states Dr Röser. The astronomer believes that this marks the beginning of many significant discoveries in galactic astronomy. Apart from the Heidelberg astronomers, a team of researchers from Vienna also discovered the tidal tails of the Hyades.

    The research was conducted under the auspices of The Milky Way System Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 881) at Heidelberg University, which is funded by the German Research Foundation.

    See the full article here .

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    U Heidelberg Campus

    Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University, a state university of BadenWürttemberg, is Germany’s oldest university. In continuing its timehonoured tradition as a research university of international standing the Ruprecht-Karls-University’s mission is guided by the following principles:
    Firmly rooted in its history, the University is committed to expanding and disseminating our knowledge about all aspects of humanity and nature through research and education. The University upholds the principle of freedom of research and education, acknowledging its responsibility to humanity, society, and nature.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:52 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Space Cow Mystifies Astronomers", , , , , Could we be witnessing a dying star giving birth to an X-ray engine?, , ,   

    From ESOblog: “Space Cow Mystifies Astronomers” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    1
    Science Snapshots – ALMA

    Could we be witnessing a dying star giving birth to an X-ray engine?

    15 February 2019

    One night in June 2018, telescopes spotted an extremely bright point of light in the sky that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, made using telescopes from around the world, suggest that the light is likely to be the explosive death of a star giving birth to a neutron star or black hole. If so, this would be the first time ever that this has been observed. We find out more from Anna Ho, who led a team that used a variety of telescopes to figure out what exactly this mysterious object — classified as a transient and nicknamed The Cow — is.

    2
    Anna Ho

    Q. What is a transient, and why it is interesting to study them?

    A. The night sky appears calm but it is actually incredibly dynamic, with stars exploding in distant galaxies, visible through our telescopes as flashes of light. The word “transient” refers to a short-lived phenomenon in the night sky, which could be the explosion of a dying star, a tidal disruption event, or a flare from a star in the Milky Way. And there are probably many other types of transients out there that we have not even discovered!

    Q. So given that transients are sudden phenomena that you can’t predict, how can you possibly plan for studying them?

    A. It’s kind of a case of reacting to their appearance. In the past few years, we’ve entered this amazing new era of astronomy where telescopes can map out the entire sky every night. By comparing tonight’s map to last night’s map, we can see exactly what has changed over the previous 24 hours. The transients I study are very short-lived explosions — lasting between a few hours and a few months — so when an interesting one happens, we have to drop everything and react. Luckily I love my research enough to do this!

    It is only by using lots of different telescopes that we can really get a full picture of a transient.

    3
    ALMA and Very Large Array (VLA) images of the mysterious transient, The Cow.
    Credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF; R. Margutti, W.M. Keck Observatory; Ho, et al.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    Q. In June 2018, you observed an unusual transient that was named AT2018cow, or The Cow. Can you describe this phenomenon? What made it so remarkable?

    A. One night, astronomers saw a point of light in the sky that had not been there before: a new transient! The Cow was particularly special for two reasons: firstly, it was VERY bright, and secondly, it had achieved that brightness VERY quickly. This was exciting, because usually if a transient appears very quickly, it is not so bright, and a very bright transient takes a long time to become bright. So we realised immediately that this was something strange.

    Q. You chose to study this transient with two millimetre telescopes: the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array). What do millimetre telescopes offer over other telescopes?

    CfA Submillimeter Array Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,080 m (13,390 ft)

    A. In the early stages of a transient (in its first few weeks of existence), we can see the shockwave emitted by an explosion by capturing light at millimetre wavelengths — this is exactly what SMA and ALMA can see. In particular, thanks to ALMA we were able to learn that in the case of The Cow, the shockwave was travelling at one-tenth of the speed of light, that it is very energetic, and that it is travelling into a very dense environment.

    We also used the Australia Telescope Compact Array to look at light from the transient with longer wavelengths. It is only by using lots of different telescopes that we can really get a full picture of a transient.

    CSIRO Australia Compact Array, six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    By combining ALMA data with publicly available X-ray data, we were also able to conclude that there must be some ongoing energy production — a kind of continuously-running “engine” at the heart of the explosion. This could be an accreting black hole or a rapidly-spinning neutron star with a strong magnetic field (a magnetar). If The Cow does turn out to have either of these at its centre, it would be very exciting, since it would be the first time that astronomers have witnessed the birth of a central engine.

    Q. It seems that nobody’s quite sure what The Cow is. Why is there so much uncertainty still surrounding this object?

    A. It’s because the combination of The Cow’s properties is so unusual. It’s like that parable of the blind man and the elephant — where several blind men each feel a different part of an elephant and come to different conclusions about what it might look like. If you look at the visible light from The Cow, you might conclude that it is a tidal disruption event. On the other hand, if you look at the longer-wavelength light you see the properties of the shockwave and the density of the surrounding matter, and might conclude that it’s a stellar explosion. It’s incredibly difficult to reconcile all of the properties into one big picture.

    4
    Artist’s impression of a cosmic blast with a “central engine,” such as that suggested for The Cow. At the moment, the central engine is surrounded by dust and gas.
    Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    Q. How will you find out what The Cow really is?

    A. Right now, the heart of the explosion is shrouded in gas and dust so it’s difficult to see it. Over the next months, this gas and dust will expand out into space, becoming thinner and more transparent, and allowing us to peer inside. When we are able to see into that central engine, we will be able to learn more about what it there, whether it’s a black hole, a neutron star, or something else entirely.

    Q. What do you think The Cow is, and why?

    A. Personally, I think it’s most likely to be a stellar explosion. Our ALMA observations enabled us to measure the surrounding environment to be incredibly dense — 300 000 particles per cubic centimetre! This kind of density is typical of a stellar explosion. Some people suggest it’s a tidal disruption event, but I think this would be difficult to explain. That said, I’m far from an expert on tidal disruption, so I look forward to hearing more from theorists on how to reconcile that model with our observations.

    Q. So what are the implications of this discovery? What does The Cow teach us about transients?

    A. From my perspective, The Cow is incredibly exciting for two reasons. One is astrophysical — what it can teach us about the death of stars. We think we’ve witnessed the birth of a central engine, an accreting black hole or a spinning neutron star, for the first time.

    The second reason is technological — we learned that this is a member of a whole class of explosions that in their youth emitted bright light at millimetre wavelengths. In the past, millimetre observatories like ALMA were rarely used to study cosmic explosions, but this study has opened the curtain on a new class of transients that are prime targets for millimetre observatories. Over the next few years, we hope to discover many more members of this class, and now we know that we should use millimetre telescopes to study them!

    See the full article here .


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    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
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    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo,

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    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun


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    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

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    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).


    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 9:08 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LIGO Receives New Funding to Search for More Extreme Cosmic Events   

    From Caltech: “LIGO Receives New Funding to Search for More Extreme Cosmic Events” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    02/14/2019

    Whitney Clavin
    (626) 395-1856
    wclavin@caltech.edu

    1
    Engineers installing Advanced LIGO upgrades.
    Credit: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab

    Grants from the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia will fund next-generation improvements to LIGO.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding Caltech and MIT $20.4 million to upgrade the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), an NSF-funded project that made history in 2015 after making the first direct detection of ripples in space and time, called gravitational waves.


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project


    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    The investment is part of a joint international effort in collaboration with UK Research and Innovation and the Australian Research Council, which are contributing additional funds. While LIGO is scheduled to turn back on this spring, in its third run of the “Advanced LIGO” phase, the new funding will go toward “Advanced LIGO Plus.” Advanced LIGO Plus is expected to commence operations in 2024 and to increase the volume of deep space the observatory can survey by as much as seven times.

    “I’m extremely excited about the future prospects that the Advanced LIGO Plus upgrade affords gravitational-wave astrophysics,” said Caltech’s David Reitze, executive director of LIGO. “With it we expect to detect gravitational waves from black hole mergers on a daily basis, greatly increasing our understanding of this dark sector of the universe. Gravitational-wave observations of neutron star collisions, now very rare, will become much more frequent, allowing us to more deeply probe the structure of their exotic interiors.”

    Since LIGO’s first detection of gravitational waves from the violent collision of two black holes, it has observed nine additional black hole mergers and one collision of two dense, dead stars called neutron stars. The neutron star merger gave off not just gravitational waves but light waves, detected by dozens of telescopes in space and on the ground. The observations confirmed that heavy elements in our universe, such as platinum and gold, are created in neutron star smashups like this one.

    “This award ensures that NSF’s LIGO, which made the first historic detection of gravitational waves in 2015, will continue to lead in gravitational-wave science for the next decade,” said Anne Kinney, assistant director for NSF’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate, in a statement. “With improvements to the detectors—which include techniques from quantum mechanics that refine laser light and new mirror coating technology—the twin LIGO observatories will significantly increase the number and strength of their detections. Advanced LIGO Plus will reveal gravity at its strongest and matter at its densest in some of the most extreme environments in the cosmos. These detections may reveal secrets from inside supernovae and teach us about extreme physics from the first seconds after the universe’s birth.”

    Michael Zucker, the Advanced LIGO Plus leader and co-principal investigator, and a scientist at the LIGO Laboratory, operated by Caltech and MIT, said, “I’m thrilled that NSF, UK Research, and Innovation and the Australian Research Council are joining forces to make this key investment possible. Advanced LIGO has altered the course of astrophysics with 11 confirmed gravitational-wave events over the last three years. Advanced LIGO Plus can expand LIGO’s horizons enough to capture this many events each week, and it will enable powerful new probes of extreme nuclear matter as well as Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.”

    LIGO is funded by NSF and operated by Caltech and MIT, which conceived of LIGO and led the Initial and Advanced LIGO projects. Financial support for the Advanced LIGO project was led by the NSF, with Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council), and Australia (Australian Research Council-OzGrav) making significant commitments and contributions to the project.

    More than 1,200 scientists from around the world participate in the effort through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration. A list of additional partners is available at https://my.ligo.org/census.php. LIGO partners with the European Virgo gravitational-wave detector and its collaboration, consisting of more than 300 physicists and engineers belonging to 28 different European research groups.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus


    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 8:42 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    From CERN CMS: “CMS gets first result using largest ever LHC data sample” 

    Cern New Bloc

    Cern New Particle Event

    CERN New Masthead

    From CERN CMS

    15 February, 2019

    The CMS collaboration at CERN has submitted its first paper based on the full LHC dataset collected in 2018 and data collected in 2016 and 2017.

    Just under three months after the final proton–proton collisions from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)’s second run (Run 2), the CMS collaboration has submitted its first paper [Physical Review Letters] based on the full LHC dataset collected in 2018 – the largest sample ever collected at the LHC – and data collected in 2016 and 2017. The findings reflect an immense achievement, as a complex chain of data reconstruction and calibration was necessary to be able to use the data for analysis suitable for a scientific result.

    “It is truly a sign of effective scientific collaboration and the high quality of the detector, software and the CMS collaboration as a whole. I am proud and extremely impressed that the understanding of the so recently collected data is sufficiently advanced to produce this very competitive and exciting result,” said CMS spokesperson Roberto Carlin.

    Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is one of the pillars of the Standard Model of elementary particles and describes how quarks and gluons are confined within composite particles called hadrons, of which protons and neutrons are examples.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    However, the QCD processes behind this confinement are not yet well understood, despite much progress in the last two decades. One way to understand these processes is to study the little known Bc particle family, which consists of hadrons composed of a beauty quark and a charm antiquark (or vice-versa).

    The high collision energies and rates provided by the Large Hadron Collider opened the path for the exploration of the Bc family. The first studies were published in 2014 [Physical Review Letters] by the ATLAS collaboration, using data collected during LHC’s first run. At the time, ATLAS reported the observation of a Bc particle called Bc(2S). On the other hand, the LHCb collaboration reported in 2017 that their data showed no evidence of Bc(2S) at all. Analysing the large LHC Run 2 data sample, collected in 2016, 2017 and 2018, CMS has now observed Bc(2S) as well as another Bc particle known as Bc*(2S). The collaboration has also been able to measure the mass of Bc(2S) with a good precision. These measurements provide a rich source of information on the QCD processes that bind heavy quarks into hadrons. For more information about the results visit the CMS webpage.

    The results presented at CERN this week.

    See the full article here.


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Quantum Diaries
    QuantumDiaries

    Cern Courier

    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE

    CERN/ALICE Detector


    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New II

    LHC

    CERN map

    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

     
  • richardmitnick 8:14 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Looking Forward to Fusion", , , , MIT Spectrum, Patrick White,   

    From MIT Spectrum: “Looking Forward to Fusion” 

    MIT Widget

    From MIT Spectrum

    Winter 2019

    1
    Patrick White (photographed in the Plasma Science and Fusion Center) is focused on the policy questions that will arise from the new SPARC technology. Photo: Bryce Vickmark

    Technical policy scholar Patrick White joins the SPARC project to ask: what comes after success?

    Controlled fusion power has been a tantalizing prospect for decades, promising a source of endless carbon-free energy for the world. Unfortunately, persistent technical challenges have kept that achievement on an ever-receding horizon. But recent developments in materials science and superconductivity have changed the landscape. The proposed SPARC experiment of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC), in collaboration with the private, MIT alumni-led company Commonwealth Fusion Systems, is poised to use those breakthroughs to build the first fusion device that generates more energy than it consumes, bringing commercial fusion energy within practical reach in the near future.

    MIT SPARC fusion reactor tokamak

    Patrick White, a PhD candidate in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE), is looking ahead to that long-awaited day. His PhD project, funded by the Samuel W. Ing (1953) Memorial Fellowship in the NSE department and PSFC, anticipates the many questions that will follow a successful SPARC project and the development of fusion power.

    “How do you commercialize this technology that no one’s ever built before?” he asks. “It’s an opportunity to start from scratch.” White is focusing on the regulatory structures and safety analysis tools that will be necessary to bring fusion power plants out of the laboratory and onto the national power grid.

    He first became fascinated with nuclear science and technology while studying mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “I think it was the fact that you can take a gram of uranium and release the same energy as several tons worth of coal, or that a single nuclear reactor can power a million homes for 60 years,” he remembers. “That absolutely blew me away.” He saw commercial reactor technology up close during an undergraduate summer internship with Westinghouse, and followed that with two summers in Washington, DC, working with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

    When White came to MIT for graduate work, he joined the MIT Energy Initiative’s major interdisciplinary study, The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World, authoring the regulation and licensing section of the final report (which was subsequently released this past September). He began casting about for a PhD topic around the time the SPARC project was announced.

    The goal of SPARC is to demonstrate net energy from a fusion device in seven years—a key technical milestone that could lead to the construction of a commercially viable power plant scaled up to roughly twice SPARC’s diameter. Because the fusion process produces net energy at extreme temperatures no solid material can withstand, fusion researchers use magnetic fields to keep the hot plasma from coming into contact with the device’s chamber. Currently, the team building SPARC is refining the superconducting magnet technology that will be central to its operation. Already familiar with the regulatory and safety framework that’s been developed over decades of commercial fission reactor operation, White immediately began considering the challenges of regulating an entirely new potential technology that hasn’t yet been invented. One concern in the fusion community, he notes, is that “before we even have a final plant design, the regulatory system could make the ultimate device too expensive or too cumbersome to actually operate. So we’ll be looking at existing nuclear and non-nuclear industries, how they think about safety and regulation, and trying to come up with a pathway that makes the most sense for this new technology.”

    His PhD project proposal on the regulation of commercial fusion plants was selected by the PSFC for funding, and he got down to work in fall 2018 under three advisors: Zach Hartwig PhD ’14, the John C. Hardwick Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering; assistant professor Koroush Shirvan SM ’10, PhD ’13; and Dennis Whyte, director of PSFC and the Hitachi America Professor of Engineering.

    White’s career plans beyond the fellowship remain flexible: he notes that whether he ends up working with the licensing of advanced fission reactors or in the new world of commercial fusion power will depend on the technology itself, and how SPARC and other experimental projects evolve. Another possibility is bridging the communications gap between the nuclear industry and a public that’s often apprehensive about nuclear technology: “At the end of the day, if people refuse to have it built in their backyard, you’ve got a great device that can’t actually do any good.”

    For now, White’s fellowship is not only laying the groundwork for his own future, but also perhaps the future of what would be one of the greatest technological advances of humankind. He points out that the stakes are higher than simply developing a new energy technology. “If we’re really concerned about climate change and decarbonizing, we need to have every single tool on the table,” he says. “The more tools, the better.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

    MIT Campus

     
  • richardmitnick 5:39 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: An innovative way for different types of quantum technology to “talk” to each other using sound, ANL Advanced Photon Source, , “Spins”—a property of an electron that can be up or down or both, “The object is to couple the sound waves with the spins of electrons in the material”, , , Sound waves let quantum systems ‘talk’ to one another,   

    From University of Chicago: “Sound waves let quantum systems ‘talk’ to one another” 

    U Chicago bloc

    From University of Chicago

    Feb 15, 2019
    Louise Lerner

    1
    An X-ray image of sound waves. Image courtesy of Kevin Satzinger and Samuel Whiteley

    Researchers at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have invented an innovative way for different types of quantum technology to “talk” to each other using sound. The study, published Feb. 11 in Nature Physics, is an important step in bringing quantum technology closer to reality.

    Researchers are eyeing quantum systems, which tap the quirky behavior of the smallest particles as the key to a fundamentally new generation of atomic-scale electronics for computation and communication. But a persistent challenge has been transferring information between different types of technology, such as quantum memories and quantum processors.

    “We approached this question by asking: Can we manipulate and connect quantum states of matter with sound waves?” said senior study author David Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor with the Institute for Molecular Engineering and senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.

    One way to run a quantum computing operation is to use “spins”—a property of an electron that can be up, down or both. Scientists can use these like zeroes and ones in today’s binary computer programming language. But getting this information elsewhere requires a translator, and scientists thought sound waves could help.

    “The object is to couple the sound waves with the spins of electrons in the material,” said graduate student Samuel Whiteley, the co-first author on the paper. “But the first challenge is to get the spins to pay attention.” So they built a system with curved electrodes to concentrate the sound waves, like using a magnifying lens to focus a point of light.

    The results were promising, but they needed more data. To get a better look at what was happening, they worked with scientists at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne to observe the system in real time. Essentially, they used extremely bright, powerful X-rays from the lab’s giant synchrotron, the Advanced Photon Source, as a microscope to peer at the atoms inside the material as the sound waves moved through it at nearly 7,000 kilometers per second.

    ANL Advanced Photon Source

    “This new method allows us to observe the atomic dynamics and structure in quantum materials at extremely small length scales,” said Awschalom. “This is one of only a few locations worldwide with the instrumentation to directly watch atoms move in a lattice as sound waves passes through them.”

    2
    Argonne nanoscientist Martin Holt took X-ray images of the acoustic waves with the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe at the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Advanced Photon Source, both at Argonne. Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

    One of the many surprising results, the researchers said, was that the quantum effects of sound waves were more complicated than they’d first imagined. To build a comprehensive theory behind what they were observing at the subatomic level, they turned to Prof. Giulia Galli, the Liew Family Professor at the IME and a senior scientist at Argonne. Modeling the system involves marshalling the interactions of every single particle in the system, which grows exponentially, Awschalom said, “but Professor Galli is a world expert in taking this kind of challenging problem and interpreting the underlying physics, which allowed us to further improve the system.”

    It’s normally difficult to send quantum information for more than a few microns, said Whiteley—that’s the width of a single strand of spider silk. This technique could extend control across an entire chip or wafer.

    “The results gave us new ways to control our systems, and opens venues of research and technological applications such as quantum sensing,” said postdoctoral researcher Gary Wolfowicz, the other co-first author of the study.

    The discovery is another from the University of Chicago’s world-leading program in quantum information science and engineering; Awschalom is currently leading a project to build a quantum “teleportation” network between Argonne and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to test principles for a potentially unhackable communications system.

    The scientists pointed to the confluence of expertise, resources and facilities at the University of Chicago, Institute for Molecular Engineering and Argonne as key to fully exploring the technology.

    3
    An acoustic chip is used to generate and control sound waves. Photo courtesy of Kevin Satzinger

    “No one group has the ability to explore these complex quantum systems and solve this class of problems; it takes state-of-the-art facilities, theorists and experimentalists working in close collaboration,” Awschalom said. “The strong connection between Argonne and the University of Chicago enables our students to address some of the most challenging questions in this rapidly moving area of science and technology.”

    Other coauthors on the paper are Assoc. Prof. David Schuster, and Prof. Andrew Cleland; Argonne scientists Joseph Heremans and Martin Holt; graduate students Christopher Anderson, Alexandre Bourassa, He Ma and Kevin Satzinger; and postdoctoral researcher Meng Ye.

    The devices were fabricated in the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility at the William Eckhardt Research Center. Materials characterization was performed at the UChicago Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

    Funding: Air Force Office of Scientific Research, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Chicago Campus

    An intellectual destination

    One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

    University of Chicago

    An intellectual destination

    One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

    The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

    We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

    UChicago research has led to such breakthroughs as discovering the link between cancer and genetics, establishing revolutionary theories of economics, and developing tools to produce reliably excellent urban schooling. We generate new insights for the benefit of present and future generations with our national and affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

    The University of Chicago is enriched by the city we call home. In partnership with our neighbors, we invest in Chicago’s mid-South Side across such areas as health, education, economic growth, and the arts. Together with our medical center, we are the largest private employer on the South Side.

    In all we do, we are driven to dig deeper, push further, and ask bigger questions—and to leverage our knowledge to enrich all human life. Our diverse and creative students and alumni drive innovation, lead international conversations, and make masterpieces. Alumni and faculty, lecturers and postdocs go on to become Nobel laureates, CEOs, university presidents, attorneys general, literary giants, and astronauts.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:07 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Energetic Particles Can Bombard Exoplanets, TRAPPIST-1 is a system of seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star about 120 light-years away   

    From Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: “Energetic Particles Can Bombard Exoplanets” 

    Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


    From Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    February 15, 2019

    TRAPPIST-1 is a system of seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star about 120 light-years away.

    A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres. NASA

    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, is orbited by seven Earth-size planets (NASA).

    The star, and hence its system of planets, is thought to be between five-to-ten billion years old, up to twice as old as our own solar system. For scientists seeking evidence for life elsewhere, the advanced age provides more time for chemistry and evolution to operate than the Earth had. On the other hand, the planets are all close to the star (in fact they are probably tidally locked to the star with one side always facing it), and consequently would have soaked up billions more year’s-worth of high energy radiation from the star’s winds, adversely affecting any atmospheres they host.

    In a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal, CfA astronomers Federico Fraschetti, Jeremy Drake, Julian Alvardo-Gomez, Sofia Moschou, and Cecilia Garraffo and a colleague carry out theoretical simulations of the effects of high-energy protons from a stellar wind on nearby exoplanets. These particles are produced by stellar flares or by shock waves driven by magnetic events in the stellar corona. Measurements of solar eruptive events provide the scientists with a basis for their simulations.

    The astronomers calculate the first realistic simulation of the propagation of energetic particles through the turbulent magnetic field environment of an M dwarf star and its wind, and they tailored the details to the TRAPPIST-1 system. They find that particles are trapped within the star’s magnetic field and are directed into two polar streams focused onto the planets’ orbital plane – independent of many of the details. The scientists conclude that the innermost putative habitable planet in the system, TRAPPIST-1e, is bombarded by a proton flux up to a million times larger than that experienced by the present-day Earth. Nevertheless, there are many variables at play, for example the angle between the magnetic field and the rotation axis of the star, and consequently a large uncertainty remains in how these effects actually are manifest in individual situations.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Center for Astrophysics combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under a single director to pursue studies of those basic physical processes that determine the nature and evolution of the universe. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, founded in 1890. The Harvard College Observatory (HCO), founded in 1839, is a research institution of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, and provides facilities and substantial other support for teaching activities of the Department of Astronomy.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:35 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EuroHPC JU will be the owner of the precursors to exascale supercomputers it will acquire, EuroHPC JU-European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking, EuroHPC Takes First Steps Towards Exascale, ,   

    From insideHPC: “EuroHPC Takes First Steps Towards Exascale” 

    From insideHPC

    1

    The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) has launched its first calls for expressions of interest, to select the sites that will host the Joint Undertaking’s first supercomputers (petascale and precursor to exascale machines) in 2020.

    “Deciding where Europe will host its most powerful petascale and precursor to exascale machines is only the first step in this great European initiative on high performance computing,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. “Regardless of where users are located in Europe, these supercomputers will be used in more than 800 scientific and industrial application fields for the benefit of European citizens.”

    Supercomputing, also known as high performance computing (HPC), involves thousands of processors working in parallel to analyse billions of pieces of data in real time, performing calculations much faster than a normal computer, and enabling scientific and industrial challenges of great scale and complexity to be met. The EuroHPC JU has the target of equipping the EU by the end of 2020 with a world-class supercomputing infrastructure that will be available to users from academia, industry and small and medium-sized enterprises, and the public sector. These new European supercomputers will also support the development of leading scientific, public sector and industrial applications in many domains, including personalised medicine, bio-engineering, weather forecasting and tackling climate change, discovering new materials and medicines, oil and gas exploration, designing new planes and cars, and smart cities.

    The EuroHPC JU was established in 2018, with the participation of 25 European countries and the European Commission, and has its headquarters in Luxembourg. By 2020, its objective is to acquire and deploy in the EU at least two supercomputers that will rank among the top five in the world, and at least two others that today would be in the top 25 machines globally. These supercomputers will be hosted and operated by hosting entities (existing national supercomputing centres) located in different Member States participating in the EuroHPC JU.

    To this purpose, the EuroHPC JU has now opened two calls for expressions of interest:

    Call for hosting entities for petascale supercomputers (with a performance level capable of executing at least 1015 operations per second, or 1 Petaflop)
    Call for hosting entities for precursor to exascale supercomputers (with a performance level capable of executing more than 150 Petaflops).

    In addition to these plans, the EuroHPC JU aims to acquire by 2022/23 exascale supercomputers, capable of 1018 operations per second, with at least one being based on European HPC technology.

    In the acquisition of the petascale supercomputers, the EuroHPC JU’s financial contribution, from the EU’s budget, will be up to EUR 30 million, covering up to 35% of the acquisition costs. All the remaining costs of the supercomputers will be covered by the country where the hosting entity is established.

    For the precursor to exascale supercomputers, the EuroHPC JU’s financial contribution, from the EU’s budget, will be up to EUR 250 million and will enable the JU to fund up to 50% of the acquisition costs, and up to 50% of the operating costs of the supercomputers. The hosting entities and their supporting countries will cover the remaining acquisition and operating costs. The EuroHPC JU will be the owner of the precursors to exascale supercomputers it will acquire.

    See the full article here .

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    Founded on December 28, 2006, insideHPC is a blog that distills news and events in the world of HPC and presents them in bite-sized nuggets of helpfulness as a resource for supercomputing professionals. As one reader said, we’re sifting through all the news so you don’t have to!

    If you would like to contact me with suggestions, comments, corrections, errors or new company announcements, please send me an email at rich@insidehpc.com. Or you can send me mail at:

    insideHPC
    2825 NW Upshur
    Suite G
    Portland, OR 97239

    Phone: (503) 877-5048

     
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