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  • richardmitnick 11:00 am on January 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How far is Betelgeuse?", ALMA, , , , ,   

    From ALMA via EarthSky: “How far is Betelgeuse?” 

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    From ALMA

    via

    1

    EarthSky

    January 16, 2020

    Recent speculation that Betelgeuse might be on the verge of going supernova prompted many to ask: how far away is it? But getting a distance measurement for this star has been no easy task.

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    An image of Betelgeuse taken at sub-millimeter wavelengths by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). It shows a section of hot gas slightly protruding from the red giant star’s extended atmosphere. Some of the data used to compute the latest parallax for Betelgeuse came from observations by ALMA. Image via ALMA.

    Betelgeuse, the bright red star in the constellation of Orion the Hunter, is in the end stage of its stellar life. Astronomers have long thought it will someday explode to become a supernova. In late 2019 and early 2020, Betelgeuse generated a lot of chatter on social media among astronomers. They wondered, somewhat jokingly, if an explosion were imminent because the star has dimmed, unprecedentedly, by a noticeable amount since late October 2019. As the news went mainstream, many people wondered how far Betelgeuse was from us and if an explosion could hurt life on Earth. The good news is that if Betelgeuse explodes, it is close enough to put on a spectacular light show, but far enough to not cause us on Earth any harm. To answer the distance question first, Betelgeuse is approximately 724 light-years away. But getting that answer, even for a relatively nearby star, is surprisingly difficult.

    It’s only in the last 30 years, with the use of new technologies, that astronomers have obtained more accurate measurements for the distance to Betelgeuse and other nearby stars. This advance began in 1989, when the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a space telescope called Hipparcos, named after the famous Greek astronomer Hipparchus.

    ESA/Hipparcos satellite

    Over several years of observations, the Hipparcos space telescope provided parallax and distance data for more than 100,000 relatively nearby stars.

    Those measurements became the basis for most of the estimated distances to stars that you see today.

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    When viewed from two locations, there is a slight shift in the position of a nearby star with respect to distant background stars. For observations on Earth, taken six months apart, the separation between those two locations is the diameter of Earth’s orbit. The angle alpha is the parallax angle. Image via P.wormer / Wikimedia Commons.

    The original Hipparcos data gave a parallax of 7.63 milliarcseconds for Betelgeuse; that’s about one-millionth the width of the full moon. Computations based on that parallax yielded a distance of about 430 light-years.

    However, Betelgeuse is what’s known as a variable star because its brightness fluctuates with time (that said, the recent excitement over Betelgeuse’s dimming is because it’s the biggest dip in brightness ever observed). And therein began the difficulty in estimating Betelgeuse’s distance.

    That’s because subsequent studies found an error in the methods used for reducing the Hipparcos data for variable stars. An effort to correct those errors gave a parallax of 5.07 milliarcseconds, changing Betelgeuse’s estimated distance from 430 light-years to about 643 light-years, plus or minus 46 light-years.

    But wait, there’s more. In 2017, astronomers published new calculations that further refined Betelgeuse’s parallax to 4.51 milliiarcseconds. This new analysis of data from Hipparcos also included observations from several ground-based radio telescopes. That placed Betelgeuse at a distance of about 724 light-years, or, more accurately, between 613 and 881 light-years when data uncertainties are included.

    You might know that the European Space Agency’s Gaia astrometry mission has the goal of making a three-dimensional map of our Milky Way galaxy.

    ESA/GAIA satellite

    At the time of its second data release in April 2018, ESA said Gaia’s data had already made possible:

    “… the richest star catalog to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars….”

    Yet Betelgeuse is not one of those stars, and Gaia won’t be used to find a more precise distance for Betelgeuse. The reason is that Betelgeuse is too bright for the spacecraft’s sensors.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:09 am on January 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Reveal Interstellar Thread of One of Life’s Building Blocks", ALMA, , , , , , , Phosphorus-how it arrived on the early Earth is something of a mystery.   

    From European Southern Observatory and ALMA: “Astronomers Reveal Interstellar Thread of One of Life’s Building Blocks” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ALMA

    15 January 2020

    ESO Contacts

    Víctor Rivilla
    INAF Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory
    Florence, Italy
    Tel: +39 055 2752 319
    Email: rivilla@arcetri.astro.it

    Kathrin Altwegg
    University of Bern
    Bern, Switzerland
    Tel: +41 31 631 44 20
    Email: kathrin.altwegg@space.unibe.ch

    Leonardo Testi
    European Southern Observatory
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6541
    Email: ltesti@eso.org

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
    Cell: +49 151 241 664 00
    Email: pio@eso.org

    ALMA Contacts

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA

    ALMA and Rosetta map the journey of phosphorus

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    Phosphorus, present in our DNA and cell membranes, is an essential element for life as we know it. But how it arrived on the early Earth is something of a mystery. Astronomers have now traced the journey of phosphorus from star-forming regions to comets using the combined powers of ALMA and the European Space Agency’s probe Rosetta.

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    This ALMA image shows a detailed view of the star-forming region AFGL 5142. A bright, massive star in its infancy is visible at the centre of the image. The flows of gas from this star have opened up a cavity in the region, and it is in the walls of this cavity (shown in colour), that phosphorus-bearing molecules like phosphorus monoxide are formed. The different colours represent material moving at different speeds. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Rivilla et al.

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    This wide-field view shows the region of the sky, in the constellation of Auriga, where the star-forming region AFGL 5142 is located. This view was created from images forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin


    This video starts by showing a wide-field view of a region of the sky in the constellation of Auriga. It then zooms in to show the star-forming region AFGL 5142, recently observed with ALMA. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Rivilla et al.; Mario Weigand, http://www.SkyTrip.de; ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2; Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org). Music: Astral Electronics


    This animation shows the key results from a study that has revealed the interstellar thread of phosphorus, one of life’s building blocks. Thanks to ALMA, astronomers could pinpoint where phosphorus-bearing molecules form in star-forming regions like AFGL 5142. The background of this animation shows a part of the night sky in the constellation of Auriga, where the star-forming region AFGL 5142 is located. The ALMA image of this object appears on the top left, and one of the locations where the team found phosphorus-bearing molecules is indicated by a circle. The most common phosphorus-bearing molecule in AFGL 5142 is phosphorus monoxide, represented in orange and red in the diagram that appears on the bottom left. Another molecule found was phosphorus nitride, represented in orange and blue. Using data from the ROSINA instrument onboard ESA’s Rosetta, astronomers also found phosphorus monoxide on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which appears on the bottom right at the end of the video. This first sighting of phosphorus monoxide on a comet helps astronomers draw a connection between star-forming regions, where the molecule is created, all the way to Earth, where it played a crucial role in starting life.
    Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser/L.Calçada; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Rivilla et al.; ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; Mario Weigand, http://www.SkyTrip.de

    ESA/Rosetta spacecraft, European Space Agency’s legendary comet explorer Rosetta

    Their research shows, for the first time, where molecules containing phosphorus form, how this element is carried in comets, and how a particular molecule may have played a crucial role in starting life on our planet.

    “Life appeared on Earth about 4 billion years ago, but we still do not know the processes that made it possible,” says Víctor Rivilla, the lead author of a new study published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The new results from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, and from the ROSINA instrument on board Rosetta, show that phosphorus monoxide is a key piece in the origin-of-life puzzle.

    ESA Rosetta ROSINA

    With the power of ALMA, which allowed a detailed look into the star-forming region AFGL 5142, astronomers could pinpoint where phosphorus-bearing molecules, like phosphorus monoxide, form. New stars and planetary systems arise in cloud-like regions of gas and dust in between stars, making these interstellar clouds the ideal places to start the search for life’s building blocks.

    The ALMA observations showed that phosphorus-bearing molecules are created as massive stars are formed. Flows of gas from young massive stars open up cavities in interstellar clouds. Molecules containing phosphorus form on the cavity walls, through the combined action of shocks and radiation from the infant star. The astronomers have also shown that phosphorus monoxide is the most abundant phosphorus-bearing molecule in the cavity walls.

    After searching for this molecule in star-forming regions with ALMA, the European team moved on to a Solar System object: the now-famous comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The idea was to follow the trail of these phosphorus-bearing compounds. If the cavity walls collapse to form a star, particularly a less-massive one like the Sun, phosphorus monoxide can freeze out and get trapped in the icy dust grains that remain around the new star. Even before the star is fully formed, those dust grains come together to form pebbles, rocks and ultimately comets, which become transporters of phosphorus monoxide.

    ROSINA, which stands for Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis, collected data from 67P for two years as Rosetta orbited the comet. Astronomers had found hints of phosphorus in the ROSINA data before, but they did not know what molecule had carried it there. Kathrin Altwegg, the Principal Investigator for Rosina and an author in the new study, got a clue about what this molecule could be after being approached at a conference by an astronomer studying star-forming regions with ALMA: “She said that phosphorus monoxide would be a very likely candidate, so I went back to our data and there it was!”

    This first sighting of phosphorus monoxide on a comet helps astronomers draw a connection between star-forming regions, where the molecule is created, all the way to Earth.

    “The combination of the ALMA and ROSINA data has revealed a sort of chemical thread during the whole process of star formation, in which phosphorus monoxide plays the dominant role,” says Rivilla, who is a researcher at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory of INAF, Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics.

    “Phosphorus is essential for life as we know it,” adds Altwegg. “As comets most probably delivered large amounts of organic compounds to the Earth, the phosphorus monoxide found in comet 67P may strengthen the link between comets and life on Earth.”

    This intriguing journey could be documented because of the collaborative efforts between astronomers. “The detection of phosphorus monoxide was clearly thanks to an interdisciplinary exchange between telescopes on Earth and instruments in space,” says Altwegg.

    Leonardo Testi, ESO astronomer and ALMA European Operations Manager, concludes: “Understanding our cosmic origins, including how common the chemical conditions favourable for the emergence of life are, is a major topic of modern astrophysics. While ESO and ALMA focus on the observations of molecules in distant young planetary systems, the direct exploration of the chemical inventory within our Solar System is made possible by ESA missions, like Rosetta. The synergy between world leading ground-based and space facilities, through the collaboration between ESO and ESA, is a powerful asset for European researchers and enables transformational discoveries like the one reported in this paper.”

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper to appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    The team is composed of V. M. Rivilla (INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Florence, Italy [INAF-OAA]), M. N. Drozdovskaya (Center for Space and Habitability, University of Bern, Switzerland [CSH]), K. Altwegg (Physikalisches Institut, University of Bern, Switzerland), P. Caselli (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany), M. T. Beltrán (INAF-OAA), F. Fontani (INAF-OAA), F.F.S. van der Tak (SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, and Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands), R. Cesaroni (INAF-OAA), A. Vasyunin (Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia, and Ventspils University of Applied Sciences, Latvia), M. Rubin (CSH), F. Lique (LOMC-UMR, CNRS–Université du Havre), S. Marinakis (University of East London, and Queen Mary University of London, UK), L. Testi (INAF-OAA, ESO Garching, and Excellence Cluster “Universe”, Germany), and the ROSINA team (H. Balsiger, J. J. Berthelier, J. De Keyser, B. Fiethe, S. A. Fuselier, S. Gasc, T. I. Gombosi, T. Sémon, C. -y. Tzou).

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of ESO, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It has 16 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile and with Australia as a Strategic Partner. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope [below] and its world-leading Very Large Telescope Interferometer [below]as well as two survey telescopes, VISTA [below] working in the infrared and the visible-light VLT Survey Telescope [below]. Also at Paranal ESO will host and operate the Čerenkov Telescope Array South, the world’s largest and most sensitive gamma-ray observatory. ESO is also a major partner in two facilities on Chajnantor, APEX [below] and ALMA [below], the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, the ELT [below], which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    See the full article here .

    This blog post was built on the ESO release for this work.
    If ALMA does their own release, a blog post will be done from that release.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

    ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO/HARPS at La Silla

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    MPG/ESO 2.2 meter telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo,

    2009 ESO VLTI Interferometer image, Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).

    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope

    Part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory, the VISTA Telescope observes the brilliantly clear skies above the Atacama Desert of Chile. Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at 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 APEXESO/MPIfR APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)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

    ESO Speculoos telescopes four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes at ESO Paranal Observatory 2635 metres 8645 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

    A novel gamma ray telescope under construction on Mount Hopkins, Arizona. a large project known as the Čerenkov Telescope Array, composed of hundreds of similar telescopes to be situated in the Canary Islands and Chile. The telescope on Mount Hopkins will be fitted with a prototype high-speed camera, assembled at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and capable of taking pictures at a billion frames per second. Credit: Vladimir Vassiliev

     
  • richardmitnick 5:44 pm on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How the solar system got its ‘Great Divide, ALMA, , , ’ and why it matters for life on Earth", , ,   

    From University of Colorado Boulder: “How the solar system got its ‘Great Divide,’ and why it matters for life on Earth” 

    U Colorado

    From University of Colorado Boulder

    Jan. 13, 2020
    Daniel Strain

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    An orrery, a type of device once used to track the movements of the planets, sitting above an infrared image of a hypothetical “protoplanetary” disk that may have divided the solar system early in its history. (Credit: K. Ebert/Innovative Ideas & Methods)

    Scientists, including those from CU Boulder, have finally scaled the solar system’s equivalent of the Rocky Mountain range.

    In a study published today in Nature Astronomy, researchers from the United States and Japan unveil the possible origins of our cosmic neighborhood’s “Great Divide.”

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    Researchers from Japan and the USA say this disc would have had bands of high and low pressure that split off to create the two distinct regions. To the sunside there were rocky planets low in organic molecules and to the Jupiter side gas giants high in carbon

    This well-known schism may have separated the solar system just after the sun first formed.

    The phenomenon is a bit like how the Rocky Mountains divide North America into east and west. On the one side are “terrestrial” planets like Earth and Mars. They are made up of fundamentally different types of materials than the more distant “jovians,” such as Jupiter and Saturn.

    “The question is: How do you create this compositional dichotomy?” said lead author Ramon Brasser, a researcher at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan. “How do you ensure that material from the inner and outer solar system didn’t mix from very early on in its history?”

    Brasser and coauthor Stephen Mojzsis, a professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Geological Sciences, think they have the answer, and it may just shed new light on how life originated on Earth.

    A sun disk holds vital clues

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    Two so-called “ALMA disks” as seen in infrared light around distant stars. (Credits: ALMA, ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

    The duo suggests that the early solar system was partitioned into at least two regions by a ring-like structure that formed a disk around the young sun. This disk might have held major implications for the evolution of planets and asteroids, and even the history of life on Earth.

    “The most likely explanation for that compositional difference is that it emerged from an intrinsic structure of this disk of gas and dust,” Mojzsis said.

    Mojzsis noted that the Great Divide, a term that he and Brasser coined, does not look like much today. It is a relatively empty stretch of space that sits near Jupiter, just beyond what astronomers call the asteroid belt.

    But you can still detect its presence throughout the solar system. Move sunward from that line, and most planets and asteroids tend to carry relatively low abundances of organic molecules. Go the other direction toward Jupiter and beyond, however, and a different picture emerges: Almost everything in this distant part of the solar system is made up of materials that are rich in carbon.

    This dichotomy “was really a surprise when it was first found,” Mojzsis said.

    Many scientists assumed that Jupiter was the agent responsible for that surprise. The thinking went that the planet is so massive that it may have acted as a gravitational barrier, preventing pebbles and dust from the outer solar system from spiraling toward the sun.

    But Mojzsis and Brasser were not convinced. The scientists used a series of computer simulations to explore Jupiter’s role in the evolving solar system. They found that while Jupiter is big, it was probably never big enough early in its formation to entirely block the flow of rocky material from moving sunward.

    “We banged our head against the wall,” Brasser said. “If Jupiter wasn’t the agent responsible for creating and maintaining that compositional dichotomy, what else could be?”

    A solution in plain sight

    For years, scientists operating an observatory in Chile called the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) had noticed something unusual around distant stars: Young stellar systems were often surrounded by disks of gas and dust that, in infrared light, look a bit like a tiger’s eye.

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    If a similar ring existed in our own solar system billions of years ago, Brasser and Mojzsis reasoned, it could theoretically be responsible for the Great Divide.

    That’s because such a ring would create alternating bands of high- and low-pressure gas and dust. Those bands, in turn, might pull the solar system’s earliest building blocks into several distinct sinks—one that would have given rise to Jupiter and Saturn, and another Earth and Mars.

    In the mountains, “the Great Divide causes water to drain one way or another,” Mojzsis said. “It’s similar to how this pressure bump would have divided material” in the solar system.

    But, he added, there’s a caveat: That barrier in space likely was not perfect. Some outer solar system material may still have climbed across the divide. And those fugitives could have been important for the evolution of our own world.

    “Those materials that might go to the Earth would be those volatile, carbon-rich materials,” Mojzsis said. “And that gives you water. It gives you organics.”

    The rest is Earth history.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Colorado Campus

    As the flagship university of the state of Colorado CU-Boulder is a dynamic community of scholars and learners situated on one of the most spectacular college campuses in the country. As one of 34 U.S. public institutions belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) – and the only member in the Rocky Mountain region – we have a proud tradition of academic excellence, with five Nobel laureates and more than 50 members of prestigious academic academies.

    CU-Boulder has blossomed in size and quality since we opened our doors in 1877 – attracting superb faculty, staff, and students and building strong programs in the sciences, engineering, business, law, arts, humanities, education, music, and many other disciplines.

    Today, with our sights set on becoming the standard for the great comprehensive public research universities of the new century, we strive to serve the people of Colorado and to engage with the world through excellence in our teaching, research, creative work, and service.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:07 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Turbulent Life of Two Supermassive Black Holes Caught in a Galaxy Crash", ALMA, , , , , , NGC 6240, NRAO-National Radio Astronomy Observatory,   

    From ALMA via NRAO: “The Turbulent Life of Two Supermassive Black Holes Caught in a Galaxy Crash” 

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    From ALMA

    via

    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    ALMA sees material around two growing supermassive black holes in unprecedented detail.

    1.6.20

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    https://vimeo.com/nrao
    ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), E. Treister; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble. An international team of astronomers used ALMA to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.

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    Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), E. Treister; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble
    NGC 6240 as seen with ALMA (top) and the Hubble Space Telescope (bottom). In the ALMA image, the molecular gas is blue and the black holes are the red dots. The ALMA image provides the sharpest view of the molecular gas around the black holes in this merging galaxy.

    4
    Artist impression of the merging galaxy NGC 6240. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

    An international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.

    400 million light-years away from Earth, in the constellation of Ophiuchus, two galaxies are crashing into each other and forming a galaxy we know as NGC 6240. This peculiarly-shaped galaxy has been observed many times before, as it is relatively close by. But NGC 6240 is complex and chaotic. The collision between the two galaxies is still ongoing, bringing along in the crash two growing supermassive black holes that will likely merge as one larger black hole.

    To understand what is happening within NGC 6240, astronomers want to observe the dust and gas surrounding the black holes in detail, but previous images have not been sharp enough to do that. New ALMA observations have increased the resolution of the images by a factor of ten – showing for the first time the structure of the cold gas in the galaxy, even within the sphere of influence of the black holes.

    “The key to understanding this galaxy system is molecular gas,” explained Ezequiel Treister of the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile. “This gas is the fuel that is needed to form stars, but it also feeds the supermassive black holes, which allows them to grow.”

    Most of the gas is located in a region between the two black holes. Less detailed observations taken previously suggested that this gas might be a rotating disk. “We don’t find any evidence for that,” said Treister. “Instead, we see a chaotic stream of gas with filaments and bubbles between the black holes. Some of this gas is ejected outwards with speeds up to 500 kilometers per second. We don’t know yet what causes these outflows.”

    Another reason to observe the gas in such detail is that it helps to determine the mass of the black holes. “Previous models, based on surrounding stars, indicated that the black holes were much more massive than we expected, around a billion times the mass of our Sun,” said Anne Medling of the University of Toledo in Ohio. “But these new ALMA images for the first time showed us how much gas is caught up inside the black holes’ sphere of influence. This mass is significant, and therefore we now estimate the black hole masses to be lower: around a few hundred million times the mass of our Sun. Based on this, we think that most previous black hole measurements in systems like this could be off by 5-90 percent.”

    The gas also turned out to be even closer to the black holes than the astronomers had expected. “It is located in a very extreme environment,” explained Medling. “We think that it will eventually fall into the black hole, or it will be ejected at high speeds.”

    The astronomers don’t find evidence for a third black hole in the galaxy, which another team recently claimed to have discovered. “We don’t see molecular gas associated with this claimed third nucleus,” said Treister. “It could be a local star cluster instead of a black hole, but we need to study it much more to say anything about it with certainty.”

    ALMA’s high sensitivity and resolution are crucial to learn more about supermassive black holes and the role of gas in interacting galaxies. “This galaxy is so complex, that we could never know what is going on inside it without these detailed radio images,” said Loreto Barcos-Muñoz of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia. “We now have a better idea of the 3D-structure of the galaxy, which gives us the opportunity to understand how galaxies evolve during the latest stages of an ongoing merger. In a few hundred million years, this galaxy will look completely different.”

    This research was presented at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu, Hawaii, and in two papers:

    “The Molecular Gas in the NGC 6240 Merging Galaxy System at the Highest Spatial Resolution,” by E. Treister et al., accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
    “How to Fuel an AGN: Mapping Circumnuclear Gas in NGC 6240 with ALMA,” by A. M. Medling et al., The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    See the full NRAO article 1.6.20 here .

    See also the full ALMA article 1.7.20 here.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA)

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO/VLBA


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

    ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 11:19 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UFRO will evaluate alternatives for antenna control systems for ALMA", ALMA, , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “UFRO will evaluate alternatives for antenna control systems for ALMA” 

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    From ALMA

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    27 December, 2019

    1
    © ALMA (NRAO/NAOJ/ESO)

    Some of the ALMA observatory’s control systems were designed over 10 years ago and will soon need to be replaced. Universidad de la Frontera (UFRO) in Temuco, Chile, was awarded Quimal funds from Conicyt to explore maintenance alternatives for these real-time systems.

    “We are very pleased with the outcome, which is the product of an active collaboration between the observatory and the university over the last five years,” says Jorge Ibsen, Head of Computing at ALMA. “This project marks an important contribution from southern Chile to the development of local astro-engineering.”

    Dr. Patricio Galeas, professor in charge of the project, will work with a budget of around 200 million Chilean pesos and will have two years to develop the project in conjunction with ALMA. This is the first time that UFRO has been awarded an initiative of this size in the field of astronomy.

    “This development represents an important experience for the University and can generate the knowledge needed to solve similar problems in other astronomic observatories,” indicates Dr. Patricio Galeas, adding that the research team will be made up of both academic staff and students.

    The general purpose of the initiative is to design and implement a Proof of Concept (PoC) for the real-time control system, using cutting-edge industry standards.

    Tzu Chiang-Chen, Manager of the Engineering Services Group, says that “this project is of vital importance for ALMA, because it won’t just solve the obsolescence issue in the antennas’ real-time control system. It will also generate the transfer of knowledge between the observatory and UFRO.”

    The main purpose of the Quimal fund awarded to UFRO is to strengthen and promote the development of scientific astronomical research and related sciences, through projects with special emphasis on the design and construction of astronomic instrumentation; the development of astronomy-related technologies for emerging fields of research; and cutting-edge technological transfer processes. The competition was targeted at astronomers, astrophysicists and engineers from areas related to astronomy to promote the association of national institutions and researchers in the development of avant-garde technologies.

    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 Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

    ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 1:54 pm on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "These Are The Most Distant Astronomical Objects In The Known Universe", ALMA, , , , , , , , , , , Our most distant “standard candle” for probing the Universe is SN UDS10Wil located 17 billion light-years (Gly), , , ,   

    From Ethan Siegel: “These Are The Most Distant Astronomical Objects In The Known Universe” 

    From Ethan Siegel
    Dec 30, 2019

    Astronomy’s enduring quest is to go farther, fainter, and more detailed than ever before. Here’s the edge of the cosmic frontier.

    1
    The distant galaxy MACS1149-JD1 is gravitationally lensed by a foreground cluster, allowing it to be imaged at high resolution and in multiple instruments, even without next-generation technology.

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA

    This galaxy’s light comes to us from 530 million years after the Big Bang, but the stars within it are at least 280 million years old. It is the second-most distant galaxy with a spectroscopically confirmed distance, placing it 30.7 billion light-years away from us. (ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE, W. ZHENG (JHU), M. POSTMAN (STSCI), THE CLASH TEAM, HASHIMOTO ET AL.)

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Astronomers have always sought to push back the viewable distance frontiers.

    2
    Although there are magnified, ultra-distant, very red and even infrared galaxies in the eXtreme Deep Field, there are galaxies that are even more distant out there than what we’ve discovered in our deepest-to-date views. These galaxies will always remain visible to us, but we will never see them as they are today: 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang. (NASA, ESA, R. BOUWENS AND G. ILLINGWORTH (UC, SANTA CRUZ))

    More distant galaxies appear fainter, smaller, bluer, and less evolved overall.

    3
    Galaxies comparable to the present-day Milky Way are numerous, but younger galaxies that are Milky Way-like are inherently smaller, bluer, more chaotic, and richer in gas in general than the galaxies we see today. For the first galaxies of all, this ought to be taken to the extreme, and remains valid as far back as we’ve ever seen. The exceptions, when we encounter them, are both puzzling and rare. (NASA AND ESA)

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt. The bar is visible in this image

    Laniakea supercluster. From Nature The Laniakea supercluster of galaxies R. Brent Tully, Hélène Courtois, Yehuda Hoffman & Daniel Pomarède at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7516/full/nature13674.html. Milky Way is the red dot.

    Individual planets and stars are only known relatively nearby, as our tools cannot take us farther.

    Local Group. Andrew Z. Colvin 3 March 2011

    4
    A massive cluster (left) magnified a distant star known as Icarus more than 2,000 times, making it visible from Earth (lower right) even though it is 9 billion light years away, far too distant to be seen individually with current telescopes. It was not visible in 2011 (upper right). The brightening leads us to believe that this was a blue supergiant star, formally named MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1. (NASA, ESA, AND P. KELLY (UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA))

    As the 2010s end, here are our presently known most distant astronomical objects.

    4
    The ultra-distant supernova SN UDS10Wil, shown here, is the farthest type Ia supernova ever discovered, whose light arrives today from a position 17 billion light-years away.

    A white dwarf fed by a normal star reaches the critical mass and explodes as a type Ia supernova. Credit: NASA/CXC/M Weiss

    Type Ia supernovae are used as distance indicators because of their standard intrinsic brightnesses, and are some of our strongest evidence for the accelerated expansion best explained by dark energy.

    Standard Candles to measure age and distance of the universe from supernovae NASA

    (NASA, ESA, A. RIESS (STSCI AND JHU), AND D. JONES AND S. RODNEY (JHU))

    The farthest type Ia supernova, our most distant “standard candle” for probing the Universe, is SN UDS10Wil, located 17 billion light-years (Gly) away.

    4
    This illustration of superluminous supernova SN 1000+0216, the most distant supernova ever observed at a redshift of z=3.90, from when the Universe was just 1.6 billion years old, is the current record-holder for individual supernovae. Unlike SN UDS10Wil, this supernova is a Type II (core collapse) supernova, and may have formed via the pair instability mechanism, which would explain its extraordinarily large intrinsic brightness. (ADRIAN MALEC AND MARIE MARTIG (SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY))

    The most distant supernova of all, 2012’s superluminous SN 1000+0216, occurred 23 Gly away.

    6
    The most distant X-ray jet in the Universe, from quasar GB 1428, sends us light from when the Universe was a mere 1.25 billion years old: less than 10% its current age. This jet comes from electrons heating CMB photons, and is over 230,000 light-years in extent: approximately double the size of the Milky Way. (X-RAY: NASA/CXC/NRC/C.CHEUNG ET AL; OPTICAL: NASA/STSCI; RADIO: NSF/NRAO/VLA)

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    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)

    The most distant quasar jet, revealed by GB 1428+4217’s X-rays, is 25.4 Gly distant.

    7
    This image of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, was created from images taken from surveys made by both the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey.

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude2,788 meters (9,147 ft)


    UKIRT, located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, USA as part of Mauna Kea Observatory,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    The quasar appears as a faint red dot close to the centre. This quasar was the most distant one known from 2011 until 2017, and is seen as it was just 745 million years after the Big Bang. It is the most distant quasar with a visual image available to be viewed by the public. (ESO/UKIDSS/SDSS)

    The first discovered object whose light exceeds 13 billion years in age, quasar ULAS J1120+0641, is 28.8 Gly away.

    9
    This artist’s concept shows the most distant quasar and the most distant supermassive black hole powering it. At a redshift of 7.54, ULAS J1342+0928 corresponds to a distance of some 29.32 billion light-years; it is the most distant quasar/supermassive black hole ever discovered. Its light arrives at our eyes today, in the radio part of the spectrum, because it was emitted just 686 million years after the Big Bang. (ROBIN DIENEL/CARNEGIE INSTITUTION FOR SCIENCE)

    However, quasar ULAS J1342+0928 is even farther at 29.32 Gly: our most distant black hole.

    10
    This illustration of the most distant gamma-ray burst ever detected, GRB 090423, is thought to be typical of most fast gamma-ray bursts. When one or two objects violently form a black hole, such as from a neutron star merger, a brief burst of gamma rays followed by an infrared afterglow (when we’re lucky) allows us to learn more about these events. The gamma rays from this event lasted just 10 seconds, but Nial Tanvir and his team found an infrared afterglow using the UKIRT telescope just 20 minutes after the burst, allowing them to determine a redshift (z=8.2) and distance (29.96 billion light-years) to great precision. (ESO/A. ROQUETTE)

    Gamma-ray bursts exceed even that; GRB 090423’s verified light comes from 29.96 Gly away in the distant Universe, while GRB 090429B might’ve been even farther.

    9
    Here, candidate galaxy UDFj-39546284 appears very faint and red, and from the colors it displays, it has an inferred redshift of 10, giving it an age below 500 million years and a distance greater than 31 billion light-years. Without spectroscopic confirmation, however, this and similar galaxies cannot reliably be said to have a known distance; more data is needed, as photometric redshifts are notoriously unreliable. (NASA, ESA, G. ILLINGWORTH (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ), R. BOUWENS (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ, AND LEIDEN UNIVERSITY) AND THE HUDF09 TEAM)

    Ultra-distant galaxy candidates abound, including SPT0615-JD, MACS0647-JD, and UDFj-39546284, all lacking spectroscopic confirmation.

    11
    The most distant galaxy ever discovered in the known Universe, GN-z11, has its light come to us from 13.4 billion years ago: when the Universe was only 3% its current age: 407 million years old. The distance from this galaxy to us, taking the expanding Universe into account, is an incredible 32.1 billion light-years. (NASA, ESA, AND G. BACON (STSCI))

    The most distant galaxy of all is GN-z11, located 32.1 Gly away.

    11
    The James Webb Space Telescope vs. Hubble in size (main) and vs. an array of other telescopes (inset) in terms of wavelength and sensitivity. It should be able to see the truly first galaxies, even the ones that no other observatory can see. Its power is truly unprecedented. (NASA / JWST SCIENCE TEAM)

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    With the 2020s promising revolutionary new observatories, these records may all soon fall.

    12
    Our deepest galaxy surveys can reveal objects tens of billions of light years away, but there are more galaxies within the observable Universe we still have yet to reveal between the most distant galaxies and the cosmic microwave background [CMB], including the very first stars and galaxies of all.

    CMB per ESA/Planck

    It is possible that the coming generation of telescopes will break all of our current distance records. (SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY (SDSS))

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on December 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ALMA, , , , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “In the Shadow of a Black Hole” 

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    From ALMA

    10 April, 2019

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.
    This 17-minute film explores the efforts that led to this historic image, from the science of Einstein and Schwarzschild to the struggles and successes of the EHT collaboration. Credit:ESO

    Event Horizon Telescope Array

    Arizona Radio Observatory
    Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

    ESO/APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment

    CARMA Array no longer in service
    Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

    IRAM 30m Radio telescope, on Pico Veleta in the Spanish Sierra Nevada,, Altitude 2,850 m (9,350 ft)


    Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

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

    Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

    Future Array/Telescopes

    IRAM NOEMA in the French Alps on the wide and isolated Plateau de Bure at an elevation of 2550 meters, the telescope currently consists of ten antennas, each 15 meters in diameter.interferometer, Located in the French Alpes on the wide and isolated Plateau de Bure at an elevation of 2550 meters

    NSF CfA Greenland telescope


    Greenland Telescope

    ARO 12m Radio Telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA, Altitude 1,914 m (6,280 ft)


    ARO 12m Radio Telescope

    Caltech Owens Valley Radio Observatory, located near Big Pine, California (US) in Owens Valley, Altitude1,222 m (4,009 ft)

    The first image of a black hole. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. Image via JPL/ Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    Katie Bouman-Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Headed to Caltech.

    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 Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

    ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 10:45 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists find evidence of missing neutron star", ALMA, , , , , ,   

    From Cardiff University: “Scientists find evidence of missing neutron star” 

    Cardiff University

    From Cardiff University

    19 November 2019

    1
    The location of the recently discovered neutron star at the core of the Supernova 1987A remnant. Image via Cardiff University.

    Scientists claim to have found evidence of the location of a neutron star that was left behind when a massive star ended its life in a gigantic explosion, leading to a famous supernova dubbed Supernova 1987A.

    2
    Composite image of Supernova 1987A, via NASA/ ESA/ NRAO.

    For more than 30 years astronomers have been unable to locate the neutron star – the collapsed leftover core of the giant star – as it has been concealed by a thick cloud of cosmic dust.

    Using extremely sharp and sensitive images taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, the team have found a particular patch of the dust cloud that is brighter than its surroundings, and which matches the suspected location of the neutron star.

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

    ALMA is funded by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) (representing its member states, including UK), National Science Foundation (NSF; USA) and National Institutes of Natural Science (NINS; Japan), together with National Research Council Canada (NRC; Canada), Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA, Taiwan), and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI, Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

    The findings have been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

    Lead author of the study Dr Phil Cigan, from Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “For the very first time we can tell that there is a neutron star inside this cloud within the supernova remnant. Its light has been veiled by a very thick cloud of dust, blocking the direct light from the neutron star at many wavelengths like fog masking a spotlight.”

    Dr Mikako Matsuura, another leading member of the study, added: “Although the light from the neutron star is absorbed by the dust cloud that surrounds it, this in turn makes the cloud shine in sub-millimetre light, which we can now see with the extremely sensitive ALMA telescope.”

    Supernova 1987A was first spotted by astronomers on Feb 23, 1987, when it blazed in the night sky with the power of 100 million suns, and continuing to shine brightly for several months.

    The supernova was discovered in a neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, only 160,000 light years away.

    Large Magellanic Cloud. Adrian Pingstone December 2003

    It was the nearest supernova explosion observed in over 400 years and, since its discovery, has continued to fascinate astronomers who have been presented with the perfect opportunity to study the phases before, during, and after the death of a star.

    The supernova explosion that took place at the end of this star’s life resulted in huge amounts of gas with a temperature of over a million degrees, but as the gas began to cool down quickly below zero degrees centigrade, some of the gas transformed into a solid, i.e. dust.

    The presence of this thick cloud of dust has long been the main explanation as to why the missing neutron star has not been observed, but many astronomers were sceptical about this and began to question whether their understanding of a star’s life was correct.

    “Our new findings will now enable astronomers to better understand how massive stars end their lives, leaving behind these extremely dense neutron stars,” continued Dr Matsuura.

    “We are confident that this neutron star exists behind the cloud and that we know its precise location. Perhaps when the dust cloud begins to clear up in the future, astronomers will be able to directly see the neutron star for the very first time.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    Cardiff Unversity is and innovative university with a bold and strategic vision located in a beautiful and thriving capital city. Our research is world-leading and we provide an educationally outstanding experience for our students.

    Driven by creativity and curiosity, we strive to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligations to Cardiff, Wales, and the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:31 pm on December 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Carbon Cocoons Surround Growing Galaxies – ALMA Spots Earliest Environment Pollution in the Universe", ALMA, , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “Carbon Cocoons Surround Growing Galaxies – ALMA Spots Earliest Environment Pollution in the Universe” 

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    From ALMA

    Valeria Foncea
    Education and Public Outreach Officer
    Joint ALMA Observatory Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6258
    Cell phone: +56 9 7587 1963
    Email: valeria.foncea@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    Researchers have discovered gigantic clouds of gaseous carbon spanning more than a radius of 30,000 light-years around young galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). This is the first confirmation that carbon atoms produced inside of stars in the early Universe have spread beyond galaxies. No theoretical studies have predicted such huge carbon cocoons around growing galaxies, which raises questions about our current understanding of cosmic evolution.

    1
    ALMA and NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of a young galaxy surrounded by a gaseous carbon cocoon. The red color shows the distribution of carbon gas imaged by combining the ALMA data for 18 galaxies. The stellar distribution photographed by HST is shown in blue. The image size is 3.8 arcsec x 3.8 arcsec, which corresponds 70,000 light years x 70,000 light years at the distance of 12.8 billion light years away.
    Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Fujimoto et al.

    “We examined the ALMA Science Archive thoroughly and collected all the data that contain radio signals from carbon ions in galaxies in the early Universe, only one billion years after the Big Bang,” says Seiji Fujimoto, the lead author of the research paper who is an astronomer at the University of Copenhagen, and a former Ph.D. student at the University of Tokyo. “By combining all the data, we achieved unprecedented sensitivity. To obtain a dataset of the same quality with one observation would take 20 times longer than typical ALMA observations, which is almost impossible to achieve.”

    Heavy elements such as carbon and oxygen did not exist in the Universe at the time of the Big Bang. They were formed later by nuclear fusion in stars. However, it is not yet understood how these elements spread throughout the Universe. Astronomers have found heavy elements inside baby galaxies but not beyond those galaxies, due to the limited sensitivity of their telescopes. This research team summed the faint signals stored in the data archive and pushed the limits.

    “The gaseous carbon clouds are almost five times larger than the distribution of stars in the galaxies, as observed with the Hubble Space Telescope,” explains Masami Ouchi, a professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the University of Tokyo. “We spotted diffuse but huge clouds floating in the coal-black Universe.”

    Then, how were the carbon cocoons formed? “Supernova explosions at the final stage of stellar life expel heavy elements formed in the stars,” says Professor Rob Ivison, the Director for Science at the European Southern Observatory. “Energetic jets and radiation from supermassive black holes in the centers of the galaxies could also help transport carbon outside of the galaxies and finally to throughout the Universe. We are witnessing this ongoing diffusion process, the earliest environmental pollution in the Universe.”

    The research team notes that at present theoretical models are unable to explain such large carbon clouds around young galaxies, probably indicating that some new physical process must be incorporated into cosmological simulations. “Young galaxies seem to eject an amount of carbon-rich gas far exceeding our expectation,” says Andrea Ferrara, a professor at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.

    The team is now using ALMA and other telescopes around the world to further explore the implications of the discovery for galactic outflows and carbon-rich halos around galaxies.

    2
    Artist’s impression of a young galaxy surrounded by a huge gaseous cloud.
    Credit: NAOJ

    Paper and the Research Team
    These observation results are published as S. Fujimoto et al. “First Identification of 10 kpc [CII] Halo around Star-Forming Galaxies at z=5-7” in The Astrophysical Journal on December 16, 2019.

    The research team members are:
    Seiji Fujimoto (The University of Tokyo/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/Waseda, University, current affiliation is University of Copenhagen), Masami Ouchi (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/The University of Tokyo) , Andrea Ferrara (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Andrea Pallottini (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Rob. J. Ivison (European Southern Observatory), Christopher Behrens (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Simona Gallerani (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Shohei Arata (Osaka University), Hidenobu Yajima (University of Tsukuba), and Kentaro Nagamine (Osaka University/The University of Tokyo/University of Nevada)

    This research was supported by World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI Initiative), MEXT, Japan, JSPS KAKENHI (No. 15H02064, 16J02344, 17H01110, 17H01111, 17H01114), NAOJ ALMA Scientific Research Grant Number 2017-06B, Munich Institute for Astro- and Particle Physics (MIAPP) of the DFG cluster of excellence ”Origin and Structure of the Universe,” 2018 Graduate Research Abroad in Science Program Grant (GRASP2018), the Hayakawa Satio Fund awarded by the Astronomical Society of Japan, and the ERC Advanced Grants INTERSTELLAR H2020/740120 and COSMIC ISM 321302.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

    ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    NRAO Small
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  • richardmitnick 5:01 pm on December 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Carbon cocoons surround growing galaxies far beyond previous beliefs says new study from the Niels Bohr Institute", ALMA, , , , ,   

    From Niels Bohr Institute: “Carbon cocoons surround growing galaxies far beyond previous beliefs, says new study from the Niels Bohr Institute” 

    University of Copenhagen

    Niels Bohr Institute bloc

    From Niels Bohr Institute

    16 December 2019

    Seiji Fujimoto, Postdoc
    Cosmic DAWN Center
    Vibenshuset, Lyngbyvej 2
    DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
    Email: fujimoto@nbi.ku.dk

    Sune Toft, Professor
    Cosmic Dawn Center
    Vibenshuset, Lyngbyvej 2
    DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
    Phone: + 45 61680930
    Email: sune@nbi.ku.dk

    Researchers have discovered gigantic clouds of gaseous carbon spanning more than a radius of 30,000 light-years around young galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile.

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    This is the first confirmation that carbon atoms produced inside of stars in the early Universe have spread beyond galaxies. No theoretical studies have predicted such huge carbon cocoons around growing galaxies, which raises questions about our current understanding of cosmic evolution. The result was obtained by Seiji Fujimoto and his colleagues, rather unconventionally, by examining data from former observations. He is currently employed at The Cosmic Dawn Center at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. The study is now published in The Astrophysical Journal.

    1
    Artist´s impression of a young galaxy surrounded by a huge gaseous carbon cloud. Credit: NAOJ

    Combinations of archival data achieved unprecedented sensitivity

    “We examined the ALMA Science Archive thoroughly and collected all the data that contain radio signals from carbon ions in galaxies in the early Universe, only one billion years after the Big Bang,” says Seiji Fujimoto, the lead author of the research paper, and a former Ph.D. student at the University of Tokyo. “By combining all the data, we achieved unprecedented sensitivity. To obtain a dataset of the same quality with one observation would take 20 times longer than typical ALMA observations, which is almost impossible to achieve.”

    The discovery suggests rewriting parts of the evolution of the universe

    Heavy elements such as carbon and oxygen did not exist in the Universe at the time of the Big Bang. They were formed later by nuclear fusion in stars. However, it is not yet understood how these elements spread throughout the Universe. Astronomers have found heavy elements inside baby galaxies, but not beyond those galaxies, due to the limited sensitivity of their telescopes. This research team summed the faint signals stored in the data archive and pushed the limits.

    “The gaseous carbon clouds are almost five times larger than the distribution of stars in the galaxies, as observed with the Hubble Space Telescope,” explains Masami Ouchi, a professor at the University of Tokyo and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “We spotted diffuse but huge clouds floating in the coal-black Universe.”

    2
    ALMA and NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of a young galaxy surrounded by a gaseous carbon cocoon. The red color shows the distribution of carbon gas imaged by combining the ALMA data for 18 galaxies. The stellar distribution photographed by HST is shown in blue. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Fujimoto et al.

    Then, how were the carbon cocoons formed?

    “Supernova explosions at the final stage of stellar life expel heavy elements formed in the stars,” says Professor Rob Ivison, the Director for Science at the European Southern Observatory. “Energetic jets and radiation from supermassive black holes in the centers of the galaxies could also help transport carbon outside of the galaxies and finally to throughout the Universe. We are witnessing this ongoing diffusion process, the earliest environmental pollution in the Universe.”

    New physical processes must be incorporated into existing models

    The research team notes that at present theoretical models are unable to explain such large carbon clouds around young galaxies, probably indicating that some new physical process must be incorporated into cosmological simulations. “Young galaxies seem to eject an amount of carbon-rich gas far exceeding our expectation,” says Andrea Ferrara, a professor at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Seiji Fujimoto adds that carbon is not the only element dispersed in the cocoon. Other elements such as Oxygen and Nitrogen could be detected as well, but the signals were fainter. This, however, indicates that other elements could be undergoing the same process as carbon. This is one of many points for further research, suggested by the study.

    The team is now using ALMA and other telescopes around the world to further explore the implications of the discovery for galactic outflows and carbon-rich halos around galaxies.

    There will ultimately be an ALMA article on this subject. When ALMA publishes, a blog post will be done with it. So far, there is only a press release which is incomplete.

    See the full article here .

    See the preliminary ALMA article here. If and when ALMA issues a full article, there will be a revision. This is based upon the press release. It is essentially complete.


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    Stem Education Coalition

    Niels Bohr Institute Campus

    Niels Bohr Institute (Danish: Niels Bohr Institutet) is a research institute of the University of Copenhagen. The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.

    The Institute was founded in 1921, as the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen, by the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, who had been on the staff of the University of Copenhagen since 1914, and who had been lobbying for its creation since his appointment as professor in 1916. On the 80th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth – October 7, 1965 – the Institute officially became The Niels Bohr Institute.[1] Much of its original funding came from the charitable foundation of the Carlsberg brewery, and later from the Rockefeller Foundation.[2]

    During the 1920s, and 1930s, the Institute was the center of the developing disciplines of atomic physics and quantum physics. Physicists from across Europe (and sometimes further abroad) often visited the Institute to confer with Bohr on new theories and discoveries. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is named after work done at the Institute during this time.

    On January 1, 1993 the institute was fused with the Astronomic Observatory, the Ørsted Laboratory and the Geophysical Institute. The new resulting institute retained the name Niels Bohr Institute.

    The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) (Danish: Københavns Universitet) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

    The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge, Yale University, The Australian National University, and UC Berkeley, amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient

     
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