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  • richardmitnick 12:03 pm on November 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ALMA, ALMA Reveals Origin of Mysterious Blast: AT2018cow originated from supernova in a strongly-magnetized dense environment., , , , , ,   

    From ALMA- “ALMA Reveals Origin of Mysterious Blast: AT2018cow originated from supernova in a strongly-magnetized, dense environment” 

    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

    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 origin of the cosmic explosion “AT2018cow” discovered on June 16, 2018 is still controversial; it could have originated from a tidal disruption or from a stellar explosion. A team of researchers tackled this mystery by utilizing the ALMA Director’s Discretionary Time (DDT) for ALMA polarimetry observations during two epochs (11 and 17 days after the discovery) plus coincident photometry by the Morita Array. Although polarization observation is one of the special modes of ALMA, the team prepared the observing plan soon after the discovery of AT2018cow based on their experiences observing Gamma-Ray Bursts with ALMA.

    2
    Artist’s impression of the mysterious burst AT2018cow.
    Credit: NAOJ

    One possible scenario for this mysterious blast is that AT2018cow’s progenitor was similar to those of other stellar explosions but was surrounded by a large amount of material before its explosion. In this scenario, the explosion produced relativistic jets with synchrotron emission and also generated polarized light. The team successfully confirmed the characterized peak frequency caused by the synchrotron emission. But surprisingly, the ALMA polarimetry did not detect the expected polarized light from AT2018cow.

    The research team interpreted this to mean that the dense surrounding material and strong magnetic field played important roles in suppressing the polarization. Under these conditions, the Faraday rotation effect, which is an interaction between light and a magnetic field in a medium, is strong. The synchrotron emissions from different parts in the relativistic jets have different Faraday rotation effects, which lead to suppression of the net polarization.

    The research team emphasized that these ALMA observations establish a specific method for multi-messenger astronomy (observations of differing signals, such as electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves, neutrinos, or cosmic rays) with this kind of transients. Based on their 230 GHz observations, the maximum energy of the accelerated particles reached at least GeV level. Since observations at higher frequencies are key to estimating the lower limit for the maximum energy of the particles, ALMA polarimetry at a higher frequency (i.e. ~THz) could examine whether AT2018cow-like objects are the origin of PeV cosmic rays. The origin of cosmic rays is still a crucial issue in high-energy astrophysics.

    Paper and Research Team
    These observation results were published as Huang, Shimoda, Urata, Toma et al. “ALMA Polarimetry of AT2018cow” in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The research team members are:
    Kuiyun Huang (CYCU), Jiro Shimoda (Tohoku Univ.), Yuji Urata (NCU), Kenji Toma (Tohoku Univ.), Kazutaka Yamaoka (Nagoya Univ.), Keiichi Asada (ASIAA), Hiroshi Nagai (NAOJ/SOKENDAI), Satoko Takahashi (JAO/NAOJ/SOKENDAI), Glen Petitpas (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Makoto Tashiro (Saitama Univ.)

    This work is supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan grants MOST 105-2112-M-008-013-MY3 and 106-2119-M-001-027. This work is also supported by JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research No. 18H01245.

    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.

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  • richardmitnick 11:56 am on November 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Two Cosmic Peacocks Show Violent History of the Magellanic Clouds", ALMA, , , , , , N159 a bustling star formation region in the LMC.,   

    From ALMA: “Two Cosmic Peacocks Show Violent History of the Magellanic Clouds” 

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

    From ALMA

    14 November, 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

    1
    ALMA images of two molecular clouds N159E-Papillon Nebula (left) and N159W South (right). Red and green show the distribution of molecular gas in different velocities seen in the emission from 13CO. Blue region in N159E-Papillon Nebula shows the ionized hydrogen gas observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. Blue part in N159W South shows the emission from dust particles obtained with ALMA. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Fukui et al./Tokuda et al./NASA-ESA Hubble Space Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    3
    Artist’s impression of the formation process of peacock-shaped clouds. After collision of two clouds (left), complicated filamentary structures with a pivot in the bottom are formed in the boundary region (center), and a massive star is formed in the dense part with ionized region shown in blue (right). Credit: NAOJ

    Two peacock-shaped gas clouds were revealed in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) by observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). A team of astronomers found several massive baby stars in the complex filamentary clouds, which agrees well with computer simulations of giant collisions of gas clouds. The researchers interpret this to mean that the filaments and young stars are telltale evidence of violent interactions between the LMC and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) 200 million years ago.

    Large Magellanic Cloud. Adrian Pingstone December 2003

    smc

    Small Magellanic Cloud. NASA/ESA Hubble and ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

    Astronomers know that stars are formed in collapsing clouds in space. However, the formation processes of giant stars, 10 times or more massive than the Sun, are not well understood because it is difficult to pack such a large amount of material into a small region. Some researchers suggest that interactions between galaxies provide a perfect environment for massive star formation. Due to the colossal gravity, clouds in the galaxies are stirred, stretched, and often collide with each other. A huge amount of gas is compressed in an unusually small area, which could form the seeds of massive stars.

    A research team used ALMA to study the structure of dense gas in N159, a bustling star formation region in the LMC. Thanks to ALMA’s high resolution, the team obtained a very detailed map of the clouds in two sub-regions, N159E-Papillon Nebula and N159W South.

    Interestingly, the cloud structures in the two regions look very similar: fan-shaped filaments of gas extending to the north with the pivots in the southernmost points. The ALMA observations also found several massive baby stars in the filaments in the two regions.

    “It is unnatural that in two regions separated by 150 light-years, clouds with such similar shapes were formed and that the ages of the baby stars are similar in two regions separated 150 light years,” says Kazuki Tokuda, a researcher at Osaka Prefecture University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “There must be a common cause of these features. Interaction between the LMC and SMC is a good candidate.”

    Magellanic Bridge ESA Gaia satellite. Image credit V. Belokurov D. Erkal A. Mellinger.

    In 2017, Yasuo Fukui, a professor at Nagoya University and his team revealed the motion of hydrogen gas in the LMC and found that a gaseous component right next to N159 has a different velocity than the rest of the clouds. They suggested a hypothesis that the starburst is caused by a massive flow of gas from the SMC to the LMC, and that this flow originated from a close encounter between the two galaxies 200 million years ago.

    The pair of the peacock-shaped clouds in the two regions revealed by ALMA fits nicely with this hypothesis. Computer simulations show that many filamentary structures are formed in a short time scale after a collision of two clouds, which also backs this idea.

    “For the first time, we uncovered the link between massive star formation and galaxy interactions in very sharp detail,” says Fukui, the lead author of one of the research papers. “This is an important step in understanding the formation process of massive star clusters in which galaxy interactions have a big impact.”

    Additional Information

    This research was presented in the following two papers on 14 November 2019 in The Astrophysical Journal.

    Fukui et al. “An ALMA view of molecular filaments in the Large Magellanic Cloud I: The formation of high-mass stars and pillars in the N159E-Papillon Nebula triggered by a cloud-cloud collision”
    Tokuda et al. “An ALMA view of molecular filaments in the Large Magellanic Cloud II: An early stage of high-mass star formation embedded at colliding clouds in N159W-South”

    Research team members are:

    Yasuo Fukui (Nagoya University), Kazuki Tokuda (Osaka Prefecture University/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Kazuya Saigo (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Ryohei Harada (Osaka Prefecture University), Kengo Tachihara (Nagoya University), Kisetsu Tsuge (Nagoya University), Tsuyoshi Inoue (Nagoya University), Kazufumi Torii (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Atsushi Nishimura (Nagoya University), Sarolta Zahorecz (Osaka Prefecture University/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Omnarayani Nayak (Space Telescope Science Institute), Margaret Meixner (Johns Hopkins University/Space Telescope Science Institute), Tetsuhiro Minamidani (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Akiko Kawamura (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Norikazu Mizuno (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/Joint ALMA Observatory), Remy Indebetouw (University of Virginia/National Radio Astronomy Observatory), Marta Sewiło (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Maryland), Suzanne Madden (Université Paris-Saclay), Maud Galametz(Université Paris-Saclay), Vianney Lebouteiller (Université Paris-Saclay), C.-H. Rosie Chen (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy), and Toshikazu Onishi (Osaka Prefecture University)

    This research was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (No. 22244014, 23403001, 26247026, 18K13582, 18K13580,18H05440), NAOJ ALMA Scientific Research Grant (No. 2016-03B), and NASA (No.80GSFC17M0002).

    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.

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  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on October 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ALMA, , , ,   

    From ALMA: “ALMA observes unexpected opposing flows around black hole” 

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

    From ALMA

    10/30/19

    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

    Iiris Nijman
    Communications Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville VA – USA
    Mobile phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    Barbara Ferreira
    Press Officer ESO
    Garching, Munich, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    1

    Artist’s center galaxy NGC 1068, which houses a hidden active black hole in a thick cloud of dust and gas donut shaped. ALMA discovered two gas flows around the black hole that rotate in opposite directions. The colors in this image correspond to the movement of gas: the material shown in blue moves toward us, while what appears in red walks away. Credit: NRAO / AUI / NSF, S. Dagnello.

    In the center of a galaxy known as NGC 1068 a supermassive black hole surrounded by a dense cloud of dust and gas donut shaped hides. By using the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study in detail this cloud, a team of astronomers made an unexpected finding that could explain why supermassive black holes grew so fast in the early universe.

    “Thanks to the spectacular resolution of ALMA, we could determine the motion of the gas in the inner orbits around the black hole , ” celebrates Violette Impellizzeri, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory United States (NRAO) , who is currently working on ALMA in Chile, and He is the lead author of a paper published in the Astrophysical journal. “To our surprise, we found two gas disks that rotate in opposite directions”.

    Supermassive black holes existed when the universe was young, only 1,000 million years after the Big Bang. Not just what astronomers understand is how these peculiar, objects with masses exceeding thousands of millions of times the mass of our Sun, had time to grow so much. The new finding made with ALMA might give them a clue. “The gas flows rotating in opposite directions are unstable, and that means that clouds flowing into the black hole faster than the disks that rotate in one direction,” explained Impellizzeri. “That could explain why a black hole grows so fast.”

    NGC 1068 (also known as Messier 77) is a spiral galaxy located about 47 million light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Cetus. At its center is an active galactic nucleus, a supermassive black hole being fed from a thin rotating disk of dust and gas, known as accretion disk.

    In previous observations of ALMA it was revealed that the black hole is swallowing material gas spouting at an incredible speed. It is possible that the gas ejected from the accretion disk helps to maintain the area around the black hole hidden from the view of optical telescopes.

    Impellizzeri and his team used the extraordinary ability to zoom ALMA to observe the molecular gas surrounding the black hole and, to his surprise, found two disks of gas which rotate in opposite directions. The inner disc has spans about 2 to 4 years and light follows the rotation of the galaxy, while the external (also known as toroid) covers between counter-rotating light.
    2

    Image obtained with ALMA showing two disks of gas moving in opposite directions around the black hole in the galaxy NGC 1068. The colors in this image correspond to the movement of gas: the material shown in blue moves toward us, and what appears in red walks away. Triangles represent the gas expelled from the internal drive at high speed, forming a thick cloud around the black hole. Credits: ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO), V. Impellizzeri; NRAO / AUI / NSF, S. Dagnello.

    “We did not expect to see this, because the gas flowing into a black hole usually revolves around him in one direction,” says Impellizzeri. “Something must have altered the flow, it is impossible that part of the disk has begun to turn itself upside down.”

    Reverse rotation is not such a rare phenomenon in space. “It is a phenomenon observed in galaxies, usually thousands of light years from the galactic center,” says Jack Gallimore, of Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. UU.) And co-author of the article. “The reverse rotation is always the result of a collision or interaction between two galaxies. The notoriety of this finding is observed at much smaller scale, tens of light years from the central black hole, instead of thousands of light years. ”

    Astronomers believe that the reverse flow NGC 1068 may be the result of gas clouds expelled from the host or a small galaxy orbiting contrary, passing captured disk galaxy.

    At the moment, the external disk appears to describe a stable orbit around the inner disk. “That will change when the external disk begins to flow into the inner disk, which could happen within a few orbits or a few hundred thousand years. Rotary gas flows come into collision and become unstable, and disks probably collapse in a luminous event as the molecular gas falling into the black hole. Unfortunately, we will not be here to witness the fireworks display, “says Gallimore.

    Additional Information.

    These results appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The research team was composed of Violette Impellizzeri [1,2] Jack F. Gallimore [3], Stefi A. Baum [4], Moshe Elitzur [5], Richard Davies [6], Dieter Lutz [6], Roberto Maiolino [7], Alessandro Marconi [8,9], Robert Nikutta [10], Christopher P. O’Dea [4], and Eleonora Sani [11].

    1 Joint ALMA Observatory, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile

    2 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

    3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA

    4 University of Manitoba, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada

    5 Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

    Max Planck Institute in June for Extraterrestrial Physics, Giessenbachstrasse 1, D-85748 Garching, Germany

    Kavli Institute for Cosmology 7, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, United Kingdom

    8 Dipartimento di Fisica and Astronomy, Universit’a di Firenze, via G. Sansone 1, I-50019, Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze), Italy

    INAF-Osservatorio 9 Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50135, Firenze, Italy

    10 National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

    11 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile.

    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.

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  • richardmitnick 2:40 pm on October 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Witness Planet Formation in Action", ALMA, , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Witness Planet Formation in Action” 

    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

    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

    1
    Artist’s impression of gas flowing like a waterfall into a protoplanetary disk gap, which is most likely caused by an infant planet. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello.

    2
    Scientists measured the motion of gas (arrows) in a protoplanetary disk in three directions: rotating around the star, towards or away from the star, and up- or downwards in the disk. The inset shows a close-up of where a planet in orbit around the star pushes the gas and dust aside, opening a gap. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton.

    3
    A computer simulation showed that the patterns of gas flows are unique and are most likely caused by planets in three locations in the disk. Planets in orbit around the star push the gas and dust aside, opening gaps. The gas above the gaps collapses into it like a waterfall, causing a rotational flow of gas in the disk. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Bae; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello.

    For the first time, astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have witnessed 3D motions of gas in a planet-forming disk. At three locations in the disk around a young star called HD 163296, gas is flowing like a waterfall into gaps that are most likely caused by planets in formation. These gas flows have long been predicted and would directly influence the chemical composition of planets atmospheres. This research appears in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

    The birthplaces of planets are disks made out of gas and dust. Astronomers study these so-called protoplanetary disks to understand the processes of planet formation. Beautiful images of disks made with ALMA show distinct gaps and ring features in the dust, which may be caused by infant planets.

    To get more certainty that planets cause these gaps, and to get a complete view of planetary formation, scientists study the gas in the disks in addition to dust. Ninety-nine percent of a protoplanetary disk’s mass is gas, of which carbon monoxide (CO) is the brightest component, and ALMA can observe it.

    Last year, two teams of astronomers demonstrated a new planet-hunting technique using this gas. They measured the velocity of CO gas rotating in the disk around the young star HD 163296. Localized disturbances in the movements of the gas revealed three planet-like patterns in the disk.

    In this new study, lead author Richard Teague from the University of Michigan and his team used new high-resolution ALMA data from the Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP) to study the gas’s velocity in more detail. “With the high-fidelity data from this program, we were able to measure the gas’s velocity in three directions instead of just one,” said Teague. “For the first time, we measured the motion of the gas in every possible direction. Rotating around, moving towards or away from the star, and up or downwards in the disk.”

    Teague and his colleagues saw the gas moving from the upper layers towards the middle of the disk at three different locations. “What most likely happens is that a planet in orbit around the star pushes the gas and dust aside, opening a gap,” Teague explained. “The gas above the gap then collapses into it like a waterfall, causing a rotational flow of gas in the disk.”

    This is the best evidence to date that there are indeed planets forming around HD 163296. But astronomers cannot say with one hundred percent certainty that planets cause the gas flows. For example, the star’s magnetic field could also cause disturbances in the gas. “Right now, only direct observation of the planets could rule out the other options. But, the patterns of these gas flows are unique, and very likely, only planets can cause them,” said coauthor Jaehan Bae of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who tested this theory with a computer simulation of the disk.

    The location of the three predicted planets in this study correspond to the results from last year. Their positions probably are at 87, 140, and 237 AU (An astronomical unit – AU – is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun). The closest planet to HD 163296 is calculated to be half the mass of Jupiter, the middle planet is Jupiter-mass, and the farthest planet is twice as massive as Jupiter.

    Gas flows from the surface towards the midplane of the protoplanetary disk have been predicted since the late nineties. But this is the first time that astronomers observed them. Besides being useful to detect infant planets, these flows can also shape our understanding of how gas giant planets obtain their atmospheres.

    “Planets form in the middle layer of the disk, the so-called midplane. This is a cold place, shielded from radiation from the star,” Teague explained. “We think that the gaps caused by planets bring in warmer gas from the more chemically active outer layers of the disk and that this gas will form the atmosphere of the planet.”

    Teague and his team did not expect that they would be able to see this phenomenon. “The disk around HD 163296 is the brightest and biggest disk we can see with ALMA,” said Teague. “But it was a big surprise to see these gas flows so clearly. The disks appear to be much more dynamic than we thought.”

    “This gives us a much more complete picture of planet formation than we ever dreamed,” said coauthor Ted Bergin of the University of Michigan. “By characterizing these flows, we can determine how planets like Jupiter are born and characterize their chemical composition at birth. We might be able to use this to trace the birth location of these planets, as they can move during formation.”

    Additional information

    This research is presented in a paper by R. Teague et al. in Nature.

    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 1:13 pm on October 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Observes Counter-intuitive Flows Around Black Hole", ALMA, , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Observes Counter-intuitive Flows Around Black Hole” 

    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

    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

    1
    Artist impression of the heart of galaxy NGC 1068, which harbors an actively feeding supermassive black hole, hidden within a thick doughnut-shaped cloud of dust and gas. ALMA discovered two counter-rotating flows of gas around the black hole. The colors in this image represent the motion of the gas: blue is material moving toward us, red is moving away. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello.

    2
    ALMA image showing two disks of gas moving in opposite directions around the black hole in galaxy NGC 1068. The colors in this image represent the motion of the gas: blue is material moving toward us, red is moving away. The white triangles are added to show the accelerated gas that is expelled from the inner disk – forming a thick, obscuring cloud around the black hole. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), V. Impellizzeri; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello.

    At the center of a galaxy called NGC 1068, a supermassive black hole hides within a thick doughnut-shaped cloud of dust and gas. When astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study this cloud in more detail, they made an unexpected discovery that could explain why supermassive black holes grew so rapidly in the early Universe.

    “Thanks to the spectacular resolution of ALMA, we measured the movement of gas in the inner orbits around the black hole,” explains Violette Impellizzeri of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), working at ALMA in Chile and lead author on a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “Surprisingly, we found two disks of gas rotating in opposite directions.”

    Supermassive black holes already existed when the Universe was young, just a billion years after the Big Bang. But how these extreme objects, whose masses are up to billions of times the mass of the Sun, had time to grow so fast, is an outstanding question among astronomers. This new ALMA discovery could provide a clue. “Counter-rotating gas streams are unstable, which means that clouds fall into the black hole faster than they do in a disk with a single rotation direction,” said Impellizzeri. “This could be a way in which a black hole can grow rapidly.”

    NGC 1068 (also known as Messier 77) is a spiral galaxy approximately 47 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Cetus. At its center is an active galactic nucleus, a supermassive black hole that is actively feeding itself from a thin, rotating disk of gas and dust, also known as an accretion disk.

    Previous ALMA observations revealed that the black hole is gulping down material and spewing out gas at incredibly high speeds. This gas that gets expelled from the accretion disk likely contributes to hiding the region around the black hole from optical telescopes.

    Impellizzeri and her team used ALMA’s superior zoom lens ability to observe the molecular gas around the black hole. Unexpectedly, they found two counter-rotating disks of gas. The inner disk spans 2-4 light-years and follows the rotation of the galaxy, whereas the outer disk (also known as the torus) spans 4-22 light-years and is rotating the opposite way.

    “We did not expect to see this, because gas falling into a black hole would normally spin around it in only one direction,” said Impellizzeri. “Something must have disturbed the flow because it is impossible for a part of the disk to start rotating backward all on its own.”

    Counter-rotation is not an unusual phenomenon in space. “We see it in galaxies, usually thousands of light-years away from their galactic centers,” explained co-author Jack Gallimore from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. “The counter-rotation always results from the collision or interaction between two galaxies. What makes this result remarkable is that we see it on a much smaller scale, tens of light-years instead of thousands from the central black hole.”

    The astronomers think that the backward flow in NGC 1068 might be caused by gas clouds that fell out of the host galaxy, or by a small passing galaxy on a counter-rotating orbit captured in the disk.

    At the moment, the outer disk appears to be in a stable orbit around the inner disk. “That will change when the outer disk begins to fall onto the inner disk, which may happen after a few orbits or a few hundred thousand years. The rotating streams of gas will collide and become unstable, and the disks will likely collapse in a luminous event as the molecular gas falls into the black hole. Unfortunately, we will not be there to witness the fireworks,” said Gallimore.

    Additional Information

    The research team was composed by Violette Impellizzeri1,2, Jack F. Gallimore3, Stefi A. Baum4, Moshe Elitzur5, Richard Davies6, Dieter Lutz6, Roberto Maiolino7, Alessandro Marconi8,9, Robert Nikutta10, Christopher P. O’Dea4, and Eleonora Sani11.

    1 Joint ALMA Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile

    2 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

    3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA

    4 University of Manitoba, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada

    5 Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

    6 Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Giessenbachstrasse 1, D-85748 Garching, Germany

    7 Kavli Institute for Cosmology, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK

    8 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Universit’a di Firenze, via G. Sansone 1, I-50019, Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze), Italy

    9 INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50135, Firenze, Italy

    10 National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

    11 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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.

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  • richardmitnick 1:37 pm on October 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Feeding a Baby Star Through a Whirlpool in Space", ALMA, , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “Feeding a Baby Star Through a Whirlpool in Space” 

    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

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

    Calum Turner
    ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: calum.turner@eso.org

    Mariya Lyubenova
    ESO Outreach Astronomer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 32 00 61 88
    Email: mlyubeno@eso.org

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

    1

    Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) detected a pair of spiral arms in an accretion disk around a baby star. Interestingly, these spiral density enhancements make the disk appear like a “space whirlpool.” The finding supports current theories of accretion disk feeding process, and potentially brings critical insights into the processes of grain growth and settling that are important to planet formation. These results appear in an article in Nature Astronomy led by Chin-Fei Lee at Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA, Taiwan).

    “Thanks to the resolving power of ALMA, we finally detected a pair of spirals in a young accretion disk around a baby star. These spirals, long predicted in theory, play a crucial role in the transport of angular momentum. Which allows disk material to swirl towards the baby star”, says Lee with excitement. “Our detection of the spirals is an important milestone in understanding the feeding process of baby stars.”

    Spirals detected in protoplanetary disks around somewhat older stars seem to be produced by interaction with unseen baby planets. Unlike those, the spirals here are induced by accretion of material from the surrounding molecular cloud onto the disk.

    The protostar with its disk lies at the center of HH 111, a pair of supersonic jets emerging from a molecular cloud core located 1300 lightyears away in the constellation Orion. The protostar is about half a million years old, just one ten-thousandth the age of our Sun, and has a mass 50% greater than our Sun. A portion of the flow through the disk onto the budding star is diverted to form the spectacular jets. Previous observations with a resolution of 120 AU (An astronomical unit – AU – is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun) detected the accretion disk orbiting the protostar out to a radius of 160 AU. The new observations with ALMA have a resolution of 16 AU, almost eight times better. With this outstanding capability, astronomers were able to resolve the disk spatially. They detected a pair of spiral arms by the glow of thermal emission from dust particles concentrated there (Figure 1).

    The team’s observations open up the exciting possibility of detecting spiral structures in the accretion disks around protostars through high-resolution and high-sensitivity imaging with ALMA, which allows studying accretion disk feeding processes in depth. Such observations also provide insight into accretion disks around other kinds of astrophysical objects, including the supermassive black holes found at the center of active galaxies.

    2
    (Top) Optical image of the jet in the HH 111 protostellar system taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (Reipurth et al. 1999). (Bottom left) Accretion disk detected with ALMA in dust continuum emission at 850 micron. (Bottom middle) The disk turned (de-projected) to be face-on, showing a pair of faint spirals. (Bottom right) Annularly averaged continuum emission is subtracted to highlight the faint spirals in the disk. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Lee et al.

    The team is composed of Chin-Fei Lee (ASIAA, Taiwan; National Taiwan University, Taiwan), Zhi-Yun Li (University of Virginia, USA), and Neal J. Turner (JPL/Caltech, USA).

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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.

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  • richardmitnick 4:13 pm on October 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rarest form of CO Provides Hint to the Birth of Planets around Young Star", ALMA, , , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “Rarest form of CO Provides Hint to the Birth of Planets around Young Star” 

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

    From ALMA

    Astronomers have discovered the rarest stable carbon monoxide isotope molecule, 13C17O, in the dust and gas disk around a young star using ALMA for the first time. The observations indicate that the disk is more massive than previous estimates, and they may provide an important key to solve mysteries about the planet formation processes in disks.

    1
    Images of 13C17O line emission (green), 12C16O line emission (blue), and dust continuum emission (red and blue) Credit; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), University of Leeds

    The young star, named HD 163296, is located 330 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. It is surrounded by a disk of dust and gas – a so-called protoplanetary disk, in which young planets are forming. This disk has multiple ring and gap patterns which are thought to be sub-structures induced by new-born large planets. (https://alma-telescope.jp/en/news/dsharp-201812)

    Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the Atacama Desert, Chile, researchers detected an extremely faint signal showing the existence of 13C17O, a rare carbon monoxide isotopologue, that is to say a molecule containing one or more isotopes.

    The detection has allowed scientists to measure the mass of the gas in the disk more accurately than before. The results show that the disk is much heavier – or more ‘massive’ – than previously thought.

    2
    An artist’s impression of planets forming in the ring of gas and dust surrounding a star. Credit; ESO/ L. Calçada

    Alice Booth, a PhD student in the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds who led the study [The Astrophysical Journal Letters], said: “Our new observations showed there was between two and six times more mass hiding in the disk than previous observations could measure. This is an important finding in terms of the birth of planetary systems in disks – if they contain more gas, then they have more building material to form more massive planets.”

    The research team members are:
    Alice S. Booth (University of Leeds), Catherine Walsh (University of Leeds), John D. Ilee (University of Leeds), Shota Notsu (Leiden University/Kyoto University), Chunhua Qi (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Hideko Nomura (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/Tokyo Institute of Technology), Eiji Akiyama (Hokkaido University)

    This group’s conclusions are well timed. Recent observations of protoplanetary disks have perplexed astronomers because the disks did not seem to contain enough gas and dust to create the planets observed.

    Dr. John Ilee, a researcher at University of Leeds who was also involved in the study, added: “The disk-exoplanet mass discrepancy raises serious questions about how and when planets are formed. However, if other disks are hiding similar amounts of mass as HD 163296, then we may just have underestimated their masses until now.”

    Disk gas masses are usually estimated by observing common forms of carbon monoxide (CO). This molecule is the most useful to determine disk gas mass, since it is abundant and is much easier to observe in cold disks than hydrogen molecules. However the fact that CO is abundant can also become a problem. If the disks are sufficiently dense, however, then the outermost CO molecules start to block part of the emissions from CO molecules deeper within the disk – and that could result in scientists underestimating the total mass of the gas.

    In this study, the scientists targeted the much rarer 13C17O molecule. Because it is rarer, there is less self-blocking, so that the observers could peer deeper inside the disk and find previously hidden gas.

    The scientists expect that using ALMA, they can observe this rare form of CO in many other disks. Dr. Shota Notsu, a JSPS Overseas Research Fellow in Leiden Observatory, Leiden University who was also involved in this study, said: “Measuring the accurate disk masses is key to understand processes of planet formation. Future studies using the rarest forms of CO will enable us to measure the missing mass in many more protoplanetary disks and determine their planet-forming potential.”

    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.

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  • richardmitnick 10:02 am on October 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Food for young twin stars", ALMA, , , , , , ,   

    From Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics: “Food for young twin stars” 

    From Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics

    October 03, 2019
    Dr. Hannelore Hämmerle
    Press Officer Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics,
    Garching,Germany
    +49 89 30000-3980
    hannelore.haemmerle@mpe.mpg.de

    Dr. Felipe Alves
    Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics,
    Garching, Germany
    +49 89 30000-3897
    falves@mpe.mpg.de

    Stars are born in the midst of large clouds of gas and dust. Local densifications first form “embryos”, which then collect matter and grow. But how exactly does this process, called “accretion”, work? And what happens when two stars form in a disk of matter? High-resolution images of a young stellar binary system for the first time reveal a complex network of accretion filaments nurturing two proto-stars at the centre of the circum-binary disk. With these observations, an international team of astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics was able to identify a two-level accretion process, circum-binary disk to circumstellar disk to stars, constraining the conditions leading to the formation and evolution of binary star systems.

    1
    Cosmic delivery room: This picture shows Barnard 59, part of a vast dark cloud of interstellar dust called the Pipe Nebula. The proto-binary systems [BHB2007] 11 studied with high-resolution images is embedded in dense clouds, but can be observed at longer wavelengths with the radio telescope ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array). © ESO

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

    Most stars in the universe come in the form of pairs – binaries – or even multiple star systems. Now, the formation of such a binary star system has been observed for the first time with high-resolution ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array) images. An international team of astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics targeted the system [BHB2007] 11, the youngest member of a small cluster of young stellar objects in the Barnard 59 core in the Pipe nebula molecular cloud. While previous observations showed an accretion envelope surrounding a circum-binary disk, the new observations now also reveal its inner structure.

    “We see two compact sources, that we interpret as circum-stellar disks around the two young stars,” explains Felipe Alves from MPE, who led the study. “The size of each of these disks is similar to the asteroid belt in our Solar System, and their mutual distance is about 28 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.” Both proto-stars are surrounded by a circum-binary disk with a total mass of about 80 Jupiter masses, which shows a complex network of dust structures distributed in spiral shapes. The shape of the filaments suggest streamers of in-falling material, which is confirmed by the observation of molecular emission lines.

    2
    A zoom into the shared disk: this observation of ALMA shows that the proto-binary system [BHB2007] 11 is surrounded by dust filaments, where the southern (brighter) young star accretes more material. © MPE

    “This is a really important result,” stresses Paola Caselli, director and MPE and head of the Centre of Astrochemical Studies. “We have finally imaged the complex structure of young binary stars, with their “feeding filaments” connecting them to the circum-binary disk. This provides important constraints for current models of star formation.”

    The astronomers interpret the filaments as inflow streamers from the extended circum-binary disk, where the circum-stellar disk around the less massive of the two proto-stars receives more input, consistent with theoretical predictions. The estimated accretion rate is only about 0.01 Jupiter masses per year, which agrees with rates estimated for other proto-stellar systems. In a similar way as the circum-binary disk feeds the circum-stellar disks, each circum-stellar disk feeds the proto-star in its centre. At the disk-star level though, the accretion rate inferred from the observations is higher for the more massive object. The observation of emission from an extended radio jet for the northern object confirms this result, which is an independent indication that this proto-star is indeed accreting more material.

    “We expect this two-level accretion process to drive the dynamics of the binary system during its mass accretion phase,” states Alves. “While the good agreement of these observations with theory is already very promising, we will need to study more young binary systems in detail to further constrain the conditions that lead to stellar multiplicity.”

    Original publication:
    Gas flow and accretion via spiral streamers and circumstellar disks in a young binary protostar
    Science

    The team is composed of F. O. Alves (Center for Astrochemical Studies, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany), P. Caselli (Center for Astrochemical Studies, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany), J. M. Girart (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain and Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), D. Segura-Cox (Center for Astrochemical Studies, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany), G. A. P. Franco (Departamento de Física, Instituto de Ciências Exatas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil), A. Schmiedeke (Center for Astrochemical Studies, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany) and B. Zhao (Center for Astrochemical Studies, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany).

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition

    For their astrophysical research, the MPE scientists measure the radiation of far away objects in different wavelenths areas: from millimetere/sub-millimetre and infared all the way to X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths. These methods span more than twelve decades of the electromagnetic spectrum.

    The research topics pursued at MPE range from the physics of cosmic plasmas and of stars to the physics and chemistry of interstellar matter, from star formation and nucleosynthesis to extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology. The interaction with observers and experimentalists in the institute not only leads to better consolidated efforts but also helps to identify new, promising research areas early on.

    The structural development of the institute mainly has been directed by the desire to work on cutting-edge experimental, astrophysical topics using instruments developed in-house. This includes individual detectors, spectrometers and cameras but also telescopes and integrated, complete payloads. Therefore the engineering and workshop areas are especially important for the close interlink between scientific and technical aspects.

    The scientific work is done in four major research areas that are supervised by one of the directors:

    Center for Astrochemical Studies (CAS)
    Director: P. Caselli

    High-Energy Astrophysics
    Director: P. Nandra

    Infrared/Submillimeter Astronomy
    Director: R. Genzel

    Optical & Interpretative Astronomy
    Director: R. Bender

    Within these areas scientists lead individual experiments and research projects organised in about 25 project teams.

    The Max Planck Society is Germany’s most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field.

    What is the basis of this success? The scientific attractiveness of the Max Planck Society is based on its understanding of research: Max Planck Institutes are built up solely around the world’s leading researchers. They themselves define their research subjects and are given the best working conditions, as well as free reign in selecting their staff. This is the core of the Harnack principle, which dates back to Adolph von Harnack, the first president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which was established in 1911. This principle has been successfully applied for nearly one hundred years. The Max Planck Society continues the tradition of its predecessor institution with this structural principle of the person-centered research organization.

    The currently 83 Max Planck Institutes and facilities conduct basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Max Planck Institutes focus on research fields that are particularly innovative, or that are especially demanding in terms of funding or time requirements. And their research spectrum is continually evolving: new institutes are established to find answers to seminal, forward-looking scientific questions, while others are closed when, for example, their research field has been widely established at universities. This continuous renewal preserves the scope the Max Planck Society needs to react quickly to pioneering scientific developments.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:45 pm on September 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ALMA, Astronomers have witnessed a rare event: the birth of massive stars 2.73 million light-years away in the Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33)., , , , ,   

    From Discover Magazine: “Massive Clouds Colliding in Space Could be Birthing Huge Stars” 

    DiscoverMag

    From Discover Magazine

    September 4, 2019
    Mara Johnson-Groh

    1
    This star-forming region is one of many in M33 that’s birthing new stars from massive clouds of dust and gas. (Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA)

    Astronomers have witnessed a rare event: the birth of massive stars 2.73 million light-years away in the Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33). At the center of two giant colliding gas clouds are some 10 young stars with masses tens of times that of the Sun. Their discovery indicates that such cloud-cloud collisions are a main pathway to creating giant stars in the nearby universe, which could help answer the long-standing question of how big stars form.

    Cosmic Collision

    High-mass stars — those at least eight times the mass of the Sun — are the celebrities of galaxies. Although they’re relatively rare, they produce most of a galaxy’s visible light. They also strongly influence the environment around them through the radiation they release during their lifetimes and the heavy elements they scatter upon their explosive deaths. Their formation, however, remains debated.

    New research submitted to the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan uses the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to study two giant clouds in Messier 33.

    The Triangulum Galaxy, Messier 33, via The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. This beautifully detailed image of the galaxy Messier 33. This nearby spiral, the second closest large galaxy to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is packed with bright star clusters, and clouds of gas and dust. This picture is amongst the most detailed wide-field views of this object ever taken and shows the many glowing red gas clouds in the spiral arms with particular clarity.

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

    The clouds are 190,000 and 240,000 times more massive than the Sun, respectively, and contain molecules such as molecular hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The two clouds collided at supersonic speeds around 500,000 years ago. (Here, “supersonic” means faster than the speed of sound in the clouds’ environment. In dense regions of space, the speed of sound can be a few miles per second or more; on Earth at sea level, the speed of sound is just over 1,100 feet [340 meters] per second).

    The researchers looked specifically for signatures of carbon monoxide, which can be easily seen in radio observations, to chart the denser filamentary structures in the clouds. They also looked for a specific signature of hydrogen that indicates the presence of massive stars. At the center of the collision, they found 10 objects that appear to be young, massive stars. That makes it highly likely that the collision caused changes in the clouds’ gas that made it collapse to form the stars.

    Go Big

    Massive stars, which are harder to form than smaller stars, aren’t seen everywhere low-mass star formation occurs. So, the question is: Why not?

    Astronomers think massive star formation must require some sort of additional triggering mechanism, such as cloud-cloud collisions, strong winds blown off active stars, expanding gas heated by other massive stars or shockwaves sent out by exploding supernovae. But until recently, there was scant observational evidence supporting cloud-cloud collisions. This study, however, now bolsters that option as a way to form massive stars.

    “We have a number of different ideas of how massive star formation is initiated,” says Harold Yorke, an astronomer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. “We know that molecular clouds are turbulent, so you would suspect massive stars could form in those conditions.”

    “Recently, there has been a lot of observational, theoretical evidence of the cloud-to-cloud collision as the formation mechanism of massive stars,” says Toshikazu Onishi at the Osaka Prefecture University in Osaka, Japan, and co-author on the new study. “This paper provides the first observational evidence of [cloud-to-cloud collision] for massive star formation in the [Triangulum Galaxy].”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 12:38 pm on August 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ALMA, , , , , ,   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Shows What’s Inside Jupiter’s Storms” 

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

    From ALMA

    22 August, 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

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

    1
    Radio image of Jupiter made with ALMA. Bright bands indicate high temperatures and dark bands low temperatures. The dark bands correspond to the zones on Jupiter, which are often white at visible wavelengths. The bright bands correspond to the brown belts on the planet. This image contains over 10 hours of data, so fine details are smeared by the planet’s rotation. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), I. de Pater et al.; NRAO/AUI NSF, S. Dagnello

    Swirling clouds, big colorful belts, giant storms. The beautiful and incredibly turbulent atmosphere of Jupiter has been showcased many times. But what is going on below the clouds? What is causing the many storms and eruptions that we see on the ‘surface’ of the planet? However, to study this, visible light is not enough. We need to study Jupiter using radio waves.

    New radio wave images made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) provide a unique view of Jupiter’s atmosphere down to fifty kilometers below the planet’s visible (ammonia) cloud deck.

    “ALMA enabled us to make a three-dimensional map of the distribution of ammonia gas below the clouds. And for the first time, we were able to study the atmosphere below the ammonia cloud layers after an energetic eruption on Jupiter,” said Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley (EE. UU.).

    The atmosphere of giant Jupiter is made out of mostly hydrogen and helium, together with trace gases of methane, ammonia, hydrosulfide, and water. The top-most cloud layer is made up of ammonia ice. Below that is a layer of solid ammonia hydrosulfide particles, and deeper still, around 80 kilometers below the upper cloud deck, there likely is a layer of liquid water. The upper clouds form the distinctive brown belts and white zones seen from Earth.

    Many of the storms on Jupiter take place inside those belts. They can be compared to thunderstorms on Earth and are often associated with lightning events. Storms reveal themselves in visible light as small bright clouds, referred to as plumes. These plume eruptions can cause a major disruption of the belt, which can be visible for months or years.

    The ALMA images were taken a few days after amateur astronomers observed an eruption in Jupiter’s South Equatorial Belt in January 2017. A small bright white plume was visible first, and then a large-scale disruption in the belt was observed that lasted for weeks after the eruption.

    De Pater and her colleagues used ALMA to study the atmosphere below the plume and the disrupted belt at radio wavelengths and compared these to UV-visible light and infrared images made with other telescopes at approximately the same time.

    “Our ALMA observations are the first to show that high concentrations of ammonia gas are brought up during an energetic eruption,” said de Pater. “The combination of observations simultaneously at many different wavelengths enabled us to examine the eruption in detail. Wich led us to confirm the current theory that energetic plumes are triggered by moist convection at the base of water clouds, which are located deep in the atmosphere. The plumes bring up ammonia gas from deep in the atmosphere to high altitudes, well above the main ammonia cloud deck,” she added.

    “These ALMA maps at millimeter wavelengths complement the maps made with the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array in centimeter wavelengths,” said Bryan Butler of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

    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)

    “Both maps probe below the cloud layers seen at optical wavelengths and show ammonia-rich gases rising into and forming the upper cloud layers (zones), and ammonia-poor air sinking down (belts).”

    “The present results show superbly what can be achieved in planetary science when an object is studied with various observatories and at various wavelengths”. Explains Eric Villard, an ALMA astronomer part of the research team. “ALMA, with its unprecedented sensitivity and spectral resolution at radio wavelengths, worked together successfully with other major observatories around the world, to provide the data to allow a better understanding of the atmosphere of Jupiter.”

    3
    Flat map of Jupiter in radio waves with ALMA (top) and visible light with the Hubble Space Telescope (bottom). The eruption in the South Equatorial Belt is visible in both images. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), I. de Pater et al.; NRAO/AUI NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/Hubble

    Science paper:
    First ALMA Millimeter Wavelength Maps of Jupiter, with a Multi-Wavelength Study of Convection
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.11820.pdf

    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
    ESO 50 Large

     
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