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  • richardmitnick 11:53 am on September 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astro­physics:: Star-child­hood shapes stel­lar evo­lu­tion", "MESA": Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics, Asteroseismology, , , , , Shedding new light on decades-old theories of stellar evolution., Stars are called "children" as long as they are not yet burning hydrogen to helium in their cores.,   

    From The University of Innsbruck [Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck](AT): “Astro­physics:: Star-child­hood shapes stel­lar evo­lu­tion” 

    From The University of Innsbruck [Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck](AT)


    Tarantula Nebula: In this famous star-forming region in our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, many young stars are still in their molecular clouds, pictured by James Webb Space Telescope.

    In classical models of stellar evolution, so far little importance has been attached to the early evolution of stars. Thomas Steindl from the Department of Astro- and Particle Physics at the University of Innsbruck now shows for the first time that the biography of stars is indeed shaped by their early stage. The study was published in Nature Communications [below].

    From babies to teenagers: stars in their “young years” are a major challenge for science. The process of star formation is particularly complex and difficult to map in theoretical models. One of the few ways to learn more about the formation, structure or age of stars is to observe their oscillations. “Comparable to the exploration of the Earth’s interior with the help of seismology, we can also make statements about their internal structure and thus also about the age of stars based on their oscillations” says Konstanze Zwintz. The astronomer is regarded as a pioneer in the young field of asteroseismology and heads the research group “Stellar Evolution and Asteroseismology” at the Institute for Astro- and Particle Physics at the University of Innsbruck. The study of stellar oscillations has evolved significantly in recent years because the possibilities for precise observation through telescopes in space such as TESS, Kepler, and James Webb [above] have improved on many levels.

    These advances are now also shedding new light on decades-old theories of stellar evolution.

    The young star in the centre is in a molecular cloud and is enveloped by a disk. In the first stages of its life, the star attracts numerous materials, for example, through magnetic fields, which are constantly remixed in the turbulence. The interior of the young star is permeated by pulsations. Created by Mirjana Keser.

    The blue line shows the evolution of a star before the transition to the main sequence (blue dot) according to the classical models applied since the 1950s. The white line represents the realistic representation resulting from Thomas Steindl’s new model – the star’s “wild” years from infancy to teenage years, with the evolution running from right to left in the image.

    With a new model to zero hour of adult stars

    Stars are called “children” as long as they are not yet burning hydrogen to helium in their cores. At this stage, they are on the pre-main sequence; after ignition, they become adults and move onto the main sequence. “Research on stars has so far focused mainly on adult stars – such as our Sun” says Thomas Steindl, a member of Konstanze Zwintz’s research group and lead author of the study. “Even if it sounds counterintuitive at first glance, so far little attention has been paid to the evolution of the pre-main sequence because the phase is very turbulent and difficult to model. It’s only the technological advances of recent years that allow us a closer look at the infancy of stars – and thus at that moment when the star begins to fuse hydrogen into helium.” In their current study, the two Innsbruck researchers now present a model that can be used to realistically depict the earliest phases of a star’s life long before they become adults. The model is based on the open-source stellar evolution program MESA (Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics).

    Inspired by a talk given by astronomer Eduard Vorobyov of the University of Vienna at a 2019 meeting, Thomas Steindl spent months refining the method for using this stellar evolution code to recreate the chaotic phase of early star formation and then predict their specific oscillations. “Our data show that stars on the pre-main sequence take a very chaotic course in their evolution. Despite its complexity, we can now use it in our new theoretical model.” Steindl said. Thus, the astronomer shows that the way the star is formed has an impact on the oscillation behaviour even after ignition of nuclear fusion on the main sequence: “The infancy has an influence on the later pulsations of the star: This sounds very simple, but it was strongly in doubt. The classical theory assumes that the time before ignition is simply irrelevant. This is not true: Comparable to a musical instrument, even subtle differences in the composition lead to significant changes in the tone. Thus, our modern models better describe the oscillations in real stars.”

    Konstanze Zwintz is delighted with this discovery and is very optimistic about the future: “I was already convinced about 20 years ago, when I first saw the oscillation of a young star in front of me on the screen, that I would one day be able to prove the significance of early stellar evolution on the ‘adult’ star. Thanks to the great work of Thomas Steindl, we have now succeeded: Definitely a eureka moment for our research group and another milestone for a better understanding of the growth steps of stars.”

    Fig. 1: Comparison of the internal structure of the calculated evolution models.
    a Kippenhahn diagram for the classic model. b Kippenhahn diagram of the disk-mediated accretion model #28. In both panels, the black line shows the stellar mass as a function of the star age. Radiative parts of the stellar structure are shaded grey and different hashes mark mixing regions. The colour code from yellow to red shows nuclear burning depending on the strength. The legend applies to both panels.

    Fig. 2: Comparison between the asteroseismic structure of the disk-mediated and the classical evolution model at early stages.
    a Mass accretion history of model #27. b Zoom into the mass accretion history of model #27 towards the end of the accretion phase. Yellow symbols mark specific positions. c–f Squared Brunt-Väisälä frequency (black) and squared Lamb frequency for l = 1 (red). The solid line corresponds to the disk-mediated model while the dashed line corresponds to a snapshot of the classical pre-main sequence model with the same radius for comparison. c The model during a high accretion phase (diamond). The classical model in this case is almost entirely convective, hence, the squared Brunt-Väisälä frequency is negative throughout the star other than just below the stellar surface. d The model during a quiescent phase (cross). e The model towards the end of the accretion phase (circle). The classical model is shown at the moment of the smallest radius, since the classical model never reaches this small radius in the early stages. f The model soon after the accretion has finished, and the star has obtained its final mass (triangle).

    More images are available in the science paper.

    Science paper:
    Nature Communications

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Innsbruck [Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck ](AT) is currently the largest education facility in the Austrian Bundesland of Tirol, the third largest in Austria behind University of Vienna [Universität Wien] (AT) and the University of Graz [Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz] (AT) and according to The Times Higher Education Supplement World Ranking 2010 Austria’s leading university. Significant contributions have been made in many branches, most of all in the physics department. Further, regarding the number of Web of Science-listed publications, it occupies the third rank worldwide in the area of mountain research. In the Handelsblatt Ranking 2015, the business administration faculty ranks among the 15 best business administration faculties in German-speaking countries.


    In 1562, a Jesuit grammar school was established in Innsbruck by Peter Canisius, today called “Akademisches Gymnasium Innsbruck”. It was financed by the salt mines in Hall in Tirol, and was refounded as a university in 1669 by Leopold I with four faculties. In 1782 this was reduced to a mere lyceum (as were all other universities in the Austrian Empire, apart from Prague, Vienna and Lviv), but it was reestablished as the University of Innsbruck in 1826 by Emperor Franz I. The university is therefore named after both of its founding fathers with the official title “Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck” (Universitas Leopoldino-Franciscea).

    In 2005, copies of letters written by the emperors Frederick II and Conrad IV were found in the university’s library. They arrived in Innsbruck in the 18th century, having left the charterhouse Allerengelberg in Schnals due to its abolishment.

  • richardmitnick 3:23 pm on April 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Giant stars undergo dramatic weight loss program", , Asteroseismology, Red giants’ mass "stolen" by stellar neighbours, , , There are millions of ‘red giant’ stars found in our galaxy., When the stars in close binaries expand-as stars do as they age-some material can reach the gravitational sphere of their companion and be sucked away.   

    From The University of Sydney(AU): “Giant stars undergo dramatic weight loss program” 

    U Sidney bloc

    From The University of Sydney(AU)

    15 April 2022

    Red giants’ mass “stolen” by stellar neighbours

    A new, slimmer type of red giant star has been identified by astronomers, who liken their discovery to ‘finding Wally’. Only around 40 of these stars exist amid a sea of millions in the Milky Way.

    In the binary named Mira, a red giant star transfers mass to a white dwarf. © M.Weiss/The National Aeronautics and Space Agency/The NASA Chandra X-ray Center.

    Astronomers at the University of Sydney have found a slimmer type of red giant star for the first time. These stars have undergone dramatic weight loss, possibly due to a greedy stellar companion. Published in Nature Astronomy, the discovery is an important step forward to understanding the life of stars in the Milky Way – our closest neighbours.

    There are millions of ‘red giant’ stars found in our galaxy. These cool and luminous objects are what our Sun will become in four billion years. For some time, astronomers have predicted the existence of slimmer red giants. After finding a smattering of them, the University of Sydney team can finally confirm their existence.

    “It’s like finding Wally,” said lead author, PhD candidate Mr Yaguang Li from the University of Sydney. “We were extremely lucky to find about 40 slimmer red giants, hidden in a sea of normal ones. The slimmer red giants are either smaller in size or less massive than normal red giants.”

    How and why did they slim down? Most stars in the sky are in binary systems – two stars that are gravitationally bound to each other. When the stars in close binaries expand, as stars do as they age, some material can reach the gravitational sphere of their companion and be sucked away. “In the case of relatively tiny red giants, we think a companion could possibly be present,” Mr Li said.

    The team analysed archival data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

    From 2009 to 2013, the telescope continuously recorded brightness variations on tens of thousands of red giants. Using this incredibly accurate and large dataset, the team conducted a thorough census of this stellar population, providing the groundwork for spotting any outliers.

    Two types of unusual stars were revealed: very low-mass red giants, and underluminous (dimmer) red giants.

    The very low-mass stars weigh only 0.5 to 0.7 solar mass – around half the weight of our Sun. If the very low-mass stars had not suddenly lost weight, their masses would indicate they were older than the age of the Universe – an impossibility.

    “So, when we first obtained the masses of these stars, we thought there was something wrong with the measurement,” Mr Li said. “But it turns out there wasn’t.”

    The underluminous stars, on the other hand, have normal masses, ranging from 0.8 to 2.0 solar mass. “However, they are much less ‘giant’ than we expect,” said study co-author, Dr Simon Murphy from The University of Southern Queensland. “They’ve slimmed down somewhat and because they’re smaller, they’re also fainter, hence ‘underluminous’ compared to normal red giants.”

    Only seven such underluminous stars were found, and the authors suspect many more are hiding in the sample. “The problem is that most of them are very good at blending in. It was a real treasure hunt to find them,” Dr Murphy said.

    These unusual data points could not be explained by simple expectations from stellar evolution. This led the researchers to conclude that another mechanism must be at work, forcing these stars to undergo dramatic weight loss: theft of mass by nearby stars.

    Stellar population census

    The researchers relied on asteroseismology – the study of stellar vibrations – to determine the properties of the red giants.

    Traditional methods to study a star are limited to their surface properties, for example, surface temperature and luminosity. By contrast, asteroseismology, which uses sound waves, probes beneath this. “The waves penetrate the stellar interior, giving us rich information on another dimension,” Mr Li said.

    The researchers could precisely determine stars’ evolutionary stages, masses, and sizes with this method. And when they looked at the distributions of these properties, something unusual was immediately noticed: some stars have tiny masses or sizes.

    “It is highly unusual for a PhD student to make such an important discovery”, said Professor Tim Bedding, Mr Li’s academic supervisor. “By sifting carefully through data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, Yaguang spotted something that everyone else had missed.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Sydney (AU)
    Our founding principle as Australia’s first university, U Sydney was that we would be a modern and progressive institution. It’s an ideal we still hold dear today.

    When Charles William Wentworth proposed the idea of Australia’s first university in 1850, he imagined “the opportunity for the child of every class to become great and useful in the destinies of this country”.

    We’ve stayed true to that original value and purpose by promoting inclusion and diversity for the past 160 years.

    It’s the reason that, as early as 1881, we admitted women on an equal footing to male students. The University of Oxford (UK) didn’t follow suit until 30 years later, and Jesus College at The University of Cambridge (UK) did not begin admitting female students until 1974.
    It’s also why, from the very start, talented students of all backgrounds were given the chance to access further education through bursaries and scholarships.

    Today we offer hundreds of scholarships to support and encourage talented students, and a range of grants and bursaries to those who need a financial helping hand.

    The University of Sydney (AU) is an Australian public research university in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1850, it is Australia’s first university and is regarded as one of the world’s leading universities. The university is known as one of Australia’s six sandstone universities. Its campus, spreading across the inner-city suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington, is ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most beautiful universities by the British Daily Telegraph and the American Huffington Post.The university comprises eight academic faculties and university schools, through which it offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.

    The QS World University Rankings ranked the university as one of the world’s top 25 universities for academic reputation, and top 5 in the world and first in Australia for graduate employability. It is one of the first universities in the world to admit students solely on academic merit, and opened their doors to women on the same basis as men.

    Five Nobel and two Crafoord laureates have been affiliated with the university as graduates and faculty. The university has educated seven Australian prime ministers, two governors-general of Australia, nine state governors and territory administrators, and 24 justices of the High Court of Australia, including four chief justices. The university has produced 110 Rhodes Scholars and 19 Gates Scholars.

    The University of Sydney (AU) is a member of The Group of Eight (AU), CEMS, The Association of Pacific Rim Universities and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.

  • richardmitnick 8:37 pm on March 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Nearby star could help explain why our Sun didn’t have sunspots for 70 years", Asteroseismology, , One unusual 70-year period when sunspots were incredibly rare has mystified scientists for 300 years., , Starspots appear as a dark spot on a star’s surface due to temporary lower temperatures in the area resulting from the star’s dynamo—the process that creates its magnetic field., The Maunder Minimum, , The star—called HD 166620   

    From The Eberly College of Science at The Pennsylvania State University: “Nearby star could help explain why our Sun didn’t have sunspots for 70 years” 

    From The Eberly College of Science



    Penn State Bloc

    The Pennsylvania State University


    22 March 2022
    Gail McCormick

    The number of sunspots on our Sun typically ebbs and flows in a predictable 11-year cycle, but one unusual 70-year period when sunspots were incredibly rare has mystified scientists for 300 years. Now a nearby Sun-like star seems to have paused its own cycles and entered a similar period of rare starspots, according to a team of researchers at Penn State. Continuing to observe this star could help explain what happened to our own Sun during this “Maunder Minimum” as well as lend insight into the Sun’s stellar magnetic activity, which can interfere with satellites and global communications and possibly even affect climate on Earth.

    The star—and a catalog of 5 decades of starspot activity of 58 other Sun-like stars—is described in a new paper that appears online in The Astronomical Journal.

    A new study has identified a nearby star whose sunspot cycles appear to have stopped. Studying this star might help explain the period from the mid 1600s to the early 1700s when our Sun paused its sunspot cycles. This image depicts a typical 11-year cycle on the Sun, with the fewest sunspots appearing at its minimum (top left and top right) and the most appearing at its maximum (center). Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Agency

    Starspots appear as a dark spot on a star’s surface due to temporary lower temperatures in the area resulting from the star’s dynamo—the process that creates its magnetic field. Astronomers have been documenting changes in starspot frequency on our Sun since they were first observed by Galileo and other astronomers in the 1600s, so there is a good record of its 11-year cycle. The exception is the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from the mid 1600s to early 1700s and has perplexed astronomers ever since.

    “We don’t really know what caused the Maunder Minimum, and we have been looking to other Sun-like stars to see if they can offer some insight,” said Anna Baum, an undergraduate at Penn State at the time of the research and first author of the paper. “We have identified a star that we believe has entered a state similar to the Maunder Minimum. It will be really exciting to continue to observe this star during, and hopefully as it comes out of, this minimum, which could be extremely informative about the Sun’s activity 300 years ago.”

    The research team pulled data from multiple sources to stitch together 50 to 60 years of starspot data for 59 stars. This included data from the Mount Wilson Observatory HK Project—which was designed to study stellar surface activity and ran from 1966 to 1996—and from planet searches at The W. M. Keck Observatory, MaunaKea, Hawai’i which include this kind of data as part of their ongoing search for exoplanets from 1996 to 2020.

    The researchers compiled a database of stars that appeared in both sources and that had other readily available information that might help explain starspot activity. The team also made considerable efforts to standardize measurements from the different telescopes to be able to compare them directly and otherwise clean up the data.

    The team identified or confirmed that 29 of these stars have starspot cycles by observing at least two full periods of cycles, which often last more than a decade. Some stars did not appear to have cycles at all, which could be because they are rotating too slowly to have a dynamo and are magnetically ‘dead’ or because they are near the end of their lives. Several of the stars require further study to confirm whether they have a cycle.

    “This continuous, more than 50-year time series allows us to see things that we never would have noticed from the 10-year snapshots that we were doing before,” said Jason Wright, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and an author of the paper. “Excitingly, Anna has found a promising star that was cycling for decades but appears to have stopped.”

    According to the researchers, the star—called HD 166620—was estimated to have a cycle of about 17 years but has now entered a period of low activity and has shown no signs of starspots since 2003.

    “When we first saw this data, we thought it must have been a mistake, that we pulled together data from two different stars or there was a typo in the catalog or the star was misidentified,” said Jacob Luhn, a graduate student at Penn State when the project began who is now at The University of California-Irvine. “But we double- and triple-checked everything. The times of observation were consistent with the coordinates we expected the star to have. And there aren’t that many bright stars in the sky that Mount Wilson observed. No matter how many times we checked, we always come to the conclusion that this star has simply stopped cycling.”

    The researchers hope to continue studying this star throughout its minimum period and potentially as it comes out of its minimum and begins to cycle once again. This continued observation could provide important information about how the Sun and stars like it generate their magnetic dynamos.

    “There’s a big debate about what the Maunder Minimum was,” said Baum, who is now a doctoral student at Lehigh University studying stellar astronomy and asteroseismology. “Did the Sun’s magnetic field basically turn off? Did it lose its dynamo? Or was it still cycling but at a very low level that didn’t produce many sunspots? We can’t go back in time to take measurements of what it was like, but if we can characterize the magnetic structure and magnetic field strength of this star, we might start to get some answers.”

    A better understanding of the surface activity and magnetic field of the Sun could have several important implications. For example, strong stellar activity can disable satellites and global communications, and one particularly strong solar storm disabled a power grid in Quebec in 1989. It has also been suggested that sunspot cycles may have a connection to climate on Earth. Additionally, the researchers said that information from this star could impact our search for planets beyond our solar system.

    “Starspots and other forms of surface magnetic activity of stars interfere with our ability to detect the planets around them,” said Howard Isaacson, a research scientist at The University of California-Berkeley, and an author of the paper. “Improving our understanding of a star’s magnetic activity might help us improve our detection efforts.”

    The curated database of the 59 stars and their starspot activity from this research has been made available for researchers to further investigate

    “This research is a great example of cross-generational astronomy, and how we continue to improve our understanding of the universe by building upon the many observations and dedicated research of astronomers that came before us,” said Wright. “I looked at starspot data from Mount Wilson and Keck Observatory for my thesis when I was a graduate student, Howard looked at starspot data from the California Planet Survey for his master’s thesis, and now Anna has stitched together all the data for a more comprehensive look across the years. We are all excited to continue studying this and other promising stars.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The Eberly College of Science is the science college of Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1859 by Jacob S. Whitman, professor of natural science. The College offers baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in the basic sciences. It was named after Robert E. Eberly.

    Academics Eberly College of Science offers sixteen majors in four disciplines: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies.[2]
    • The Life Sciences: Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Microbiology
    • The Physical Sciences: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Chemistry, Physics, Planetary Science and Astronomy
    • The Mathematical Sciences: Mathematics, Statistics, Data Sciences
    • Interdisciplinary Programs: General Science, Forensic Science, Premedicine, Integrated Premedical-Medical, Science BS/MBA

    Penn State Campus

    The Pennsylvania State University is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University, Oregon State University, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania. There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. The University Park campus has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    The Pennsylvania State University is a member of The Association of American Universities an organization of American research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.

    Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.

    Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The university’s athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.

    Early years

    The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by Pennsylvania’s state legislature as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The use of “college” or “university” was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km^2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state’s sole land-grant college. The school’s name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.

    George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton’s honor. Additionally, Penn State’s Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.

    Early 20th century

    In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state’s largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

    In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

    Modern era

    In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State’s alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women’s Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.

    In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy.


    Penn State is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Over 10,000 students are enrolled in the university’s graduate school (including the law and medical schools), and over 70,000 degrees have been awarded since the school was founded in 1922.

    Penn State’s research and development expenditure has been on the rise in recent years. For fiscal year 2013, according to institutional rankings of total research expenditures for science and engineering released by the National Science Foundation , Penn State stood second in the nation, behind only Johns Hopkins University and tied with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , in the number of fields in which it is ranked in the top ten. Overall, Penn State ranked 17th nationally in total research expenditures across the board. In 12 individual fields, however, the university achieved rankings in the top ten nationally. The fields and sub-fields in which Penn State ranked in the top ten are materials (1st), psychology (2nd), mechanical engineering (3rd), sociology (3rd), electrical engineering (4th), total engineering (5th), aerospace engineering (8th), computer science (8th), agricultural sciences (8th), civil engineering (9th), atmospheric sciences (9th), and earth sciences (9th). Moreover, in eleven of these fields, the university has repeated top-ten status every year since at least 2008. For fiscal year 2011, the National Science Foundation reported that Penn State had spent $794.846 million on R&D and ranked 15th among U.S. universities and colleges in R&D spending.

    For the 2008–2009 fiscal year, Penn State was ranked ninth among U.S. universities by the National Science Foundation, with $753 million in research and development spending for science and engineering. During the 2015–2016 fiscal year, Penn State received $836 million in research expenditures.

    The Applied Research Lab (ARL), located near the University Park campus, has been a research partner with the Department of Defense since 1945 and conducts research primarily in support of the United States Navy. It is the largest component of Penn State’s research efforts statewide, with over 1,000 researchers and other staff members.

    The Materials Research Institute was created to coordinate the highly diverse and growing materials activities across Penn State’s University Park campus. With more than 200 faculty in 15 departments, 4 colleges, and 2 Department of Defense research laboratories, MRI was designed to break down the academic walls that traditionally divide disciplines and enable faculty to collaborate across departmental and even college boundaries. MRI has become a model for this interdisciplinary approach to research, both within and outside the university. Dr. Richard E. Tressler was an international leader in the development of high-temperature materials. He pioneered high-temperature fiber testing and use, advanced instrumentation and test methodologies for thermostructural materials, and design and performance verification of ceramics and composites in high-temperature aerospace, industrial, and energy applications. He was founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM), which supported many faculty and students from the College of Earth and Mineral Science, the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, the Materials Research Laboratory and the Applied Research Laboratories at Penn State on high-temperature materials. His vision for Interdisciplinary research played a key role in creating the Materials Research Institute, and the establishment of Penn State as an acknowledged leader among major universities in materials education and research.

    The university was one of the founding members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a partnership that includes 17 research-led universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. The network provides funding, facilitates collaboration between universities, and coordinates exchanges of faculty members and graduate students among institutions. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier is a former vice-chair of the WUN.

    The Pennsylvania State University Libraries were ranked 14th among research libraries in North America in the 2003–2004 survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The university’s library system began with a 1,500-book library in Old Main. In 2009, its holdings had grown to 5.2 million volumes, in addition to 500,000 maps, five million microforms, and 180,000 films and videos.

    The university’s College of Information Sciences and Technology is the home of CiteSeerX, an open-access repository and search engine for scholarly publications. The university is also the host to the Radiation Science & Engineering Center, which houses the oldest operating university research reactor. Additionally, University Park houses the Graduate Program in Acoustics, the only freestanding acoustics program in the United States. The university also houses the Center for Medieval Studies, a program that was founded to research and study the European Middle Ages, and the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), one of the first centers established to research postsecondary education.

  • richardmitnick 4:58 pm on November 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , "Study inspects subdwarf B stars in the open cluster NGC 6791", Asteroseismology, Astronomers are especially interested in finding and characterizing pulsating subdwarf B (sdBV) stars., , , , , It was found that KIC 2438324 (B4) is a binary system containing a sdBV star and a main sequence companion with an orbital period of about 9.5 hours., , The effective temperatures of B3 B4 and B5 were measured to be 24250 K; 24786 K; and 23844 K respectively., The open cluster NGC 6791 is about 8 billion years old., The team identified three sdBVs in NGC 6791 namely: KIC 2569576 (B3); KIC 2438324 (B4); and KIC 2437937 (B5).   

    From phys.org : “Study inspects subdwarf B stars in the open cluster NGC 6791” 

    From phys.org

    November 29, 2021
    Tomasz Nowakowski

    Kepler image showing NGC 6791. Credit: The NASA Ames Research Center (US)/JPL/Caltech-NASA(US)

    Using NASA’s Kepler spacecraft and the MMT telescope in Arizona, an international team of astronomers has investigated a population of subdwarf B stars in an open cluster known as NGC 6791.

    NASA Kepler Space Telescope (US).

    U Arizona Multi Mirror Telescope in Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, located near Amado, Arizona on the slopes of Mount Hopkins, Altitude 2,606 m (8,550 ft)

    Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory located near Amado, Arizona on the slopes of Mount Hopkins, Altitude 2,606 m (8,550 ft)

    Results of the study, published November 18 in MNRAS, deliver essential information regarding the properties of these stars, which could be crucial in advancing our knowledge about this cluster.

    In general, hot subdwarf B (sdB) stars are extreme horizontal branch objects composed of helium burning cores and very thin hydrogen envelopes. They are compact objects, typically about half as massive as the sun, with radii between 0.1 and 0.3 solar radii and effective temperatures ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 K.

    Astronomers are especially interested in finding and characterizing pulsating subdwarf B (sdBV) stars, which showcase two types of flux variation. The first is associated with short period pressure modes (p-modes) with pulsation periods of the order of minutes and amplitudes of pulsation modes reaching tens of mmag. The second is due to long-period gravity modes (g-modes) exhibiting pulsation periods of the order of hours and amplitudes of pulsation modes below 10 mmag.

    Recently, a group of researchers led by Sachu Sanjayan of The Pedagogical University of Krakow [Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny](PL), has conducted a search for sdBVs in the open cluster NGC 6791—at about 8 billion years old, it’s one of the oldest and most metal-rich clusters in the Milky Way. The cluster is located some 13,300 light years away in the Lyra constellation and is unusually massive (with a mass of around 4,000 solar masses), hosting a high population of stars.

    “The goal of our work was to find all sdBV stars in NGC 6791, provide the mode identification of detected modes, derive parameters by means of asteroseismology, and compare them with parameters of field counterparts,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.

    Sanjayan’s team identified three sdBVs in NGC 6791 namely: KIC 2569576 (B3); KIC 2438324 (B4); and KIC 2437937 (B5). Although these stars were classified as pulsators by previous research, the astronomers now managed to obtain extended time coverage and therefore higher-quality data. This allowed them to confirm already reported frequencies in the g-mode region and to detect additional ones.

    The effective temperatures of B3 B4 and B5 were measured to be 24250 K; 24786 K; and 23844 K respectively. It was found that B4 is a binary system containing a sdBV star and a main sequence companion with an orbital period of about 9.5 hours. The authors of the paper do not exclude the possibility that B3 and B5 may also be binaries, as they detected hints of radial velocity variability in the case of these two stars.

    Moreover, the astronomers also analyzed spectra of four other hot stars that were identified as cluster members. However, it turned out that these objects showcase no photometric variability. The researchers added that the remaining known sdBs in NGC 6791 do not show any pulsation-related light variation down to their detection thresholds.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 8:48 pm on August 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Unparalleled bounty of oscillating red giant stars detected", Asteroseismology, , , , , , , University of Hawaiʻi-Manoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA)(US)   

    From University of Hawai’i-Manoa (US) : “Unparalleled bounty of oscillating red giant stars detected” 

    From University of Hawai’i-Manoa (US)

    August 4, 2021

    Illustration of red giant stars near and far sweeping across the sky. Credit: Chris Smith (KBRwyle) NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    An unprecedented collection of pulsating giant red stars has been identified by astronomers at the University of Hawaiʻi-Manoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA)(US). Using observations from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the researchers detected the stars, whose rhythms arise from internal sound waves and provide the opening chords of a symphonic exploration of our galactic neighborhood.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    NASA/MIT Tess in the building.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US) TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite replaced the Kepler Space Telescope in search for exoplanets. TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Center for Astrophysics – Harvard and Smithsonian; MIT Lincoln Laboratory; and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore.


    Since its launch in 2018, TESS has primarily hunted for exoplanets–worlds beyond our solar system. But its sensitive measurements of changing stellar brightness make the telescope ideal for observing stellar oscillations or material within the internal structure of stars. It’s an area of research called asteroseismology.

    “Our initial result, using only a month of stellar measurements from TESS’s first two years, shows that we can determine the masses and sizes of these oscillating giants with high precision that will only improve as TESS goes on,” said Marc Hon, a NASA Hubble Fellow at IfA. “What’s really unparalleled is that TESS’s broad coverage allows us to make these measurements uniformly across almost the entire sky.”

    This large bounty of oscillating red giants will be used for unprecedented detailed studies using the ground-based telescopes on Maunakea.

    “We have already started follow-up observations of some of the most intriguing oddballs we have uncovered in our large TESS dataset, which will tell us more about their origin,” said Hon. “We have just scratched the surface of the treasure trove of data enabled by TESS.”

    Hon presented the research on Wednesday during the TESS Science Conference, an event held virtually, August 2–6 and supported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) in Cambridge, where scientists discuss the latest results of the mission. He is the lead author of the study that is accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal, with co-authors including fellow IfA colleagues Jamie Tayar and Daniel Huber.

    Widening opportunities

    TESS has identified more than 158,000 pulsating red giants over nearly the entire sky. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (KBRwyle).

    Oscillations in the Sun were first observed in the 1960s. But solar-like oscillations in thousands of stars weren’t detected until the French-led Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits space telescope, which operated from 2006 to 2013. NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions, which surveyed from 2009 to 2018, found tens of thousands of oscillating giants. TESS is expanding access to these oscillations through its observations in space.

    NASA Kepler Space Telescope (US).

    “With a sample this large, giants that might occur only one percent of the time become pretty numerous,” said Tayar, a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at IfA. “Now we can start thinking about finding even rarer stars.”

    TESS monitors large swaths of the sky for about a month at a time using its four cameras, covering about 75% of the sky during its two-year primary mission. Each camera captures a full image 24-by-24 degrees (48 times the size of the Moon in our sky) across, every 30 minutes. Since late summer 2020, the cameras have been collecting these images at an even faster rate.

    The images are used to generate light curves—graphs of changing brightness—for nearly 24 million stars, each spanning 27 days, the length of time TESS stares at one patch of the sky. To sift through this immense accumulation of measurements, Hon and his colleagues taught a computer how to recognize pulsating giants. The team used machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that trains computers to make decisions based on general patterns without explicitly programming them.

    To train the system, the team used Kepler light curves for more than 150,000 stars, of which about 20,000 were oscillating red giants. When the neural network finished processing all of the TESS data, it had identified 158,505 pulsating giants.

    The team determined colors and distances for each giant using data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission, and plotted the masses of these stars across the sky. A fundamental prediction in galactic astronomy is that younger, higher-mass stars should lie closer to the plane of the galaxy, marked by the high density of stars that create the glow of the Milky Way in the night sky.

    “Our map demonstrates for the first time that this is indeed the case across nearly the whole sky,” said Huber. “With the help of Gaia, TESS has now given us tickets to a red giant concert in the sky.”

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) GAIA satellite

    This research is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise, one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan, updated in December 2020.

    See the full article here .


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    System Overview

    The University of Hawai‘i (US) includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the Hawaiian Islands. As the public system of higher education in Hawai‘i, UH offers opportunities as unique and diverse as our Island home.

    The 10 UH campuses and educational centers on six Hawaiian Islands provide unique opportunities for both learning and recreation.

    UH is the State’s leading engine for economic growth and diversification, stimulating the local economy with jobs, research and skilled workers.

    The University of Hawaiʻi system, formally the University of Hawaiʻi (US) is a public college and university system that confers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment training center, three university centers, four education centers and various other research facilities distributed across six islands throughout the state of Hawaii in the United States. All schools of the University of Hawaiʻi system are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The U.H. system’s main administrative offices are located on the property of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu CDP.

    The University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa (US) is the flagship institution of the University of Hawaiʻi (US) system. It was founded as a land-grant college under the terms of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. Programs include Hawaiian/Pacific Studies, Astronomy, East Asian Languages and Literature, Asian Studies, Comparative Philosophy, Marine Science, Second Language Studies, along with Botany, Engineering, Ethnomusicology, Geophysics, Law, Business, Linguistics, Mathematics, and Medicine. The second-largest institution is the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on the “Big Island” of Hawaiʻi, with over 3,000 students. The University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu in Kapolei primarily serves students who reside in Honolulu’s western and central suburban communities. The University of Hawaiʻi Community College system comprises four community colleges island campuses on O’ahu and one each on Maui, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi. The schools were created to improve accessibility of courses to more Hawaiʻi residents and provide an affordable means of easing the transition from secondary school/high school to college for many students. University of Hawaiʻi education centers are located in more remote areas of the State and its several islands, supporting rural communities via distance education.

    Research facilities

    Center for Philippine Studies
    Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi
    East-West Center
    Haleakalā Observatory
    Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute
    Institute for Astronomy
    Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
    Institute of Marine Biology
    Lyon Arboretum
    Mauna Kea Observatory
    W. M. Keck Observatory
    Waikīkī Aquarium

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth.

    The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes near the summit of Maunakea on the island of Hawai’i feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrographs and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

  • richardmitnick 10:55 am on May 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Alien stars found in our Milky Way", Archeoastronomy, Asteroseismology, , , , , , , , ,   

    From University of Birmingham (UK) via EarthSky : “Alien stars found in our Milky Way” 

    From University of Birmingham (UK)




    May 25, 2021
    Theresa Wiegert

    Infrared image of stars at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, via the Spitzer Space Telescope.

    Observing in infrared makes it possible to peer behind the gas clouds that otherwise cover the central region of the galaxy. There are around 10 million stars within just 3.3 light-years of the galactic center. These are dominated by red giants, the same kind of old stars found to be from another galaxy in this study. Image via National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/ JPL-Caltech (US)/ S. Stolovy (NASA Spitzer Science Center (US)/California Institute of Technology (US)).

    Astronomers used a new technique – asteroseismology combined with spectroscopy – to pinpoint the ages of a sample of around 100 old red giant stars in the Milky Way.

    They were able to reach a much higher accuracy of the stars’ ages, they said in a statement on May 17, 2021. And they also found that a number of those red giant stars did not originate in the Milky Way! They are instead alien stars, which came here from another galaxy. Their original home in space was Gaia Enceladus (also known as the Gaia Sausage), a dwarf galaxy that collided and merged with our Milky way galaxy about 10 billion years ago.

    Artist’s concept of the stars from dwarf galaxy Gaia Enceladus, which merged with the Milky Way some 10 billion years ago. The Milky Way is in the center of the illustration, shown from above, and the Gaia Enceladus stars – debris of the dwarf galaxy – are represented by little arrows – vectors – that show their position and the direction in which they move. The data are from a computer simulation. Image via European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).

    This Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of a dense swarm of stars shows the central region of the globular cluster NGC 2808 and its 3 generations of stars. NASA, European Space Agency, A. Sarajedini (University of Florida (US)) and G. Piotto (University of Padua [Università degli Studi di Padova] (IT))

    This new research was published on May 17, 2021, in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Astronomy.

    What do alien stars tell us?

    So the idea here is that the Milky Way galaxy had already started forming many of its stars before a dwarf galaxy came by and merged with our galaxy, bringing its own stars with it. This event took place around 8-11 billion years ago. In contrast, the age of the Milky Way is about 13.6 billion years, give or take a few.

    This merger, then, happened early in our galaxy’s history.

    The dwarf galaxy – or the remnants of it – go today under the name Gaia Enceladus or the Gaia Sausage [above], because of the highly elongated shape it forms – like a sausage – as seen from data from the Gaia mission.

    In Greek mythology, Enceladus was the offspring of the goddess Gaia. It is also, incidentally, the name for one of Saturn’s moons.

    In this new research, the astronomers were able to identify stars that are remnants of the merger. These stars provide a way of looking back to the distant past, when the merger took place. Josefina Montalbán at the University of Birmingham is the lead author on the paper. She said:

    “The chemical composition, location and motion of the stars we can observe today in the Milky Way contain precious information about their origin. As we increase our knowledge of how and when these stars were formed, we can start to better understand how the merger of Gaia-Enceladus with the Milky Way affected the evolution of our galaxy.”

    How did astronomers find the stars?

    These astronomers had targeted a sample of 100 old stars observed with the Kepler mission.

    These are red giant stars, at the end of their lives.

    The team used data from three Milky Way research instruments to measure the stars’ ages, all with the task of mapping and analyzing Milky Way stars. One instrument was Kepler, as mentioned previously. The other two were the Gaia satellite and APOGEE.

    With data from these instruments, the astronomers used the technique of asteroseismology that studies how stars oscillate. That is, the technique measures regular variations within the star. Asteroseismology is similar to helioseismology, the study of oscillations in the sun. Learning how a star oscillates lets astronomers gain info about a star’s size and internal structure, which, in turn, will let them estimate the star’s age.

    Team member Mathieu Vrard at Ohio State University’s (US) Department of Astronomy, said:

    “[It] allows us to get very precise ages for the stars, which are important in determining the chronology of when events happened in the early Milky Way.”

    In addition, the astronomers also used spectroscopy – the study of the stellar spectrum – to learn the chemical composition of the stars. This also helps with age determination, and in combination, the methods let the astronomers determine the ages to an unprecedented precision.

    The astronomers noticed that a number of them were of the same age, and that this age was a bit younger than most of the stars that we know started their lives in the Milky Way.

    Team member Andrea Miglio at the University of Bologna [Alma mater studiorum – Università di Bologna](IT) added:

    “We have shown the huge potential of asteroseismology in combination with spectroscopy to deliver precise, accurate relative ages for individual, very old, stars. Taken together, these measurements contribute to sharpen our view on the early years of our galaxy and promise a bright future for [Milky Way] archeoastronomy.”

    Now the researchers want to apply their approach to larger samples of stars to get a better view of the Milky Way’s formation history and evolution.

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

    University of Birmingham (UK) has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.

    The University of Birmingham is a public research university located in Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Queen’s College, Birmingham (founded in 1825 as the Birmingham School of Medicine and Surgery), and Mason Science College (established in 1875 by Sir Josiah Mason), making it the first English civic or ‘red brick’ university to receive its own royal charter. It is a founding member of both the Russell Group (UK) of British research universities and the international network of research universities, Universitas 21.

    The student population includes 23,155 undergraduate and 12,605 postgraduate students, which is the 7th largest in the UK (out of 169). The annual income of the institution for 2019–20 was £737.3 million of which £140.4 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £667.4 million.

    The university is home to the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, housing works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Monet; the Shakespeare Institute; the Cadbury Research Library, home to the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts; the Lapworth Museum of Geology; and the 100-metre Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower, which is a prominent landmark visible from many parts of the city. Academics and alumni of the university include former British Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin, the British composer Sir Edward Elgar and eleven Nobel laureates.

    Scientific discoveries and inventions

    The university has been involved in many scientific breakthroughs and inventions. From 1925 until 1948, Sir Norman Haworth was Professor and Director of the Department of Chemistry. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science and acted as Vice-Principal from 1947 until 1948. His research focused predominantly on carbohydrate chemistry in which he confirmed a number of structures of optically active sugars. By 1928, he had deduced and confirmed the structures of maltose, cellobiose, lactose, gentiobiose, melibiose, gentianose, raffinose, as well as the glucoside ring tautomeric structure of aldose sugars. His research helped to define the basic features of the starch, cellulose, glycogen, inulin and xylan molecules. He also contributed towards solving the problems with bacterial polysaccharides. He was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1937.

    The cavity magnetron was developed in the Department of Physics by Sir John Randall, Harry Boot and James Sayers. This was vital to the Allied victory in World War II. In 1940, the Frisch–Peierls memorandum, a document which demonstrated that the atomic bomb was more than simply theoretically possible, was written in the Physics Department by Sir Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch. The university also hosted early work on gaseous diffusion in the Chemistry department when it was located in the Hills building.

    Physicist Sir Mark Oliphant made a proposal for the construction of a proton-synchrotron in 1943, however he made no assertion that the machine would work. In 1945, phase stability was discovered; consequently, the proposal was revived, and construction of a machine that could surpass proton energies of 1 GeV began at the university. However, because of lack of funds, the machine did not start until 1953. The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (US) managed to beat them; they started their Cosmotron in 1952, and had it entirely working in 1953, before the University of Birmingham.

    In 1947, Sir Peter Medawar was appointed Mason Professor of Zoology at the university. His work involved investigating the phenomenon of tolerance and transplantation immunity. He collaborated with Rupert E. Billingham and they did research on problems of pigmentation and skin grafting in cattle. They used skin grafting to differentiate between monozygotic and dizygotic twins in cattle. Taking the earlier research of R. D. Owen into consideration, they concluded that actively acquired tolerance of homografts could be artificially reproduced. For this research, Medawar was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He left Birmingham in 1951 and joined the faculty at University College London (UK), where he continued his research on transplantation immunity. He was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1960.

  • richardmitnick 9:39 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mixing Massive Stars", Asteroseismology, , , , , , ,   

    From University of California-Santa Barbara (US) : “Mixing Massive Stars” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    From University of California-Santa Barbara (US)

    May 13, 2021
    Harrison Tasoff
    (805) 893-7220

    A simulation of a 3-solar-mass star shows the central, convective core and the waves it generates in the rest of the star’s interior. Photo Credit: Philipp Edelmann.

    Astronomers commonly refer to massive stars as the chemical factories of the Universe. They generally end their lives in spectacular supernovae, events that forge many of the elements on the periodic table. How elemental nuclei mix within these enormous stars has a major impact on our understanding of their evolution prior to their explosion. It also represents the largest uncertainty for scientists studying their structure and evolution.

    A team of astronomers led by May Gade Pedersen, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Santa Barbara’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, have now measured the internal mixing within an ensemble of these stars using observations of waves from their deep interiors. While scientists have used this technique before, this paper marks the first time this has been accomplished for such a large group of stars at once. The results, published in Nature Astronomy, show that the internal mixing is very diverse, with no clear dependence on a star’s mass or age.

    Stars spend the majority of their lives fusing hydrogen into helium deep in their cores. However, the fusion in particularly massive stars is so concentrated at the center that it leads to a turbulent convective core similar to a pot of boiling water. Convection, along with other processes like rotation, effectively removes helium ash from the core and replaces it with hydrogen from the envelope. This enables the stars to live much longer than otherwise predicted.

    Astronomers believe this mixing arises from various physical phenomena, like internal rotation and internal seismic waves in the plasma excited by the convecting core. However, the theory has remained largely unconstrained by observations as it occurs so deep within the star. That said, there is an indirect method of peering into stars: asteroseismology, the study and interpretation of stellar oscillations. The technique has parallels to how seismologists use earthquakes to probe the interior of the Earth.

    “The study of stellar oscillations challenges our understanding of stellar structure and evolution,” Pedersen said. “They allow us to directly probe the stellar interiors and make comparisons to the predictions from our stellar models.”

    Pedersen and her collaborators from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven [Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven] (BE), the Hasselt University [Universiteit Hasselt] (BE), and the The University of Newcastle (AU) have been able to derive the internal mixing for an ensemble of such stars using asteroseismology. This is the first time such a feat has been achieved, and was possible thanks only to a new sample of 26 slowly pulsating B-type stars with identified stellar oscillations from NASA’s Kepler mission.

    Mixing transports fused material away and replaces it with more hydrogen fuel from the star’s outer layers.

    Slowly pulsating B-type stars are between three and eight times more massive than the Sun. They expand and contract on time scales of the order of 12 hours to 5 days, and can change in brightness by up to 5%. Their oscillation modes are particularly sensitive to the conditions near the core, Pedersen explained.

    “The internal mixing inside stars has now been measured observationally and turns out to be diverse in our sample, with some stars having almost no mixing while others reveal levels a million times higher,” Pedersen said. The diversity turns out to be unrelated to the mass or age of the star. Rather, it’s primarily influenced by the internal rotation, though that is not the only factor at play.

    “These asteroseismic results finally allow astronomers to improve the theory of internal mixing of massive stars, which has so far remained uncalibrated by observations coming straight from their deep interiors,” she added.

    The precision at which astronomers can measure stellar oscillations depends directly on how long a star is observed. Increasing the time from one night to one year results in a thousand-fold increase in the measured precision of oscillation frequencies.

    “May and her collaborators have really shown the value of asteroseismic observations as probes of the deep interiors of stars in a new and profound way,” said KITP Director Lars Bildsten, the Gluck Professor of Theoretical Physics. “I am excited to see what she finds next.”

    The best data currently available for this comes from the Kepler space mission, which observed the same patch of the sky for four continuous years. The slowly pulsating B-type stars were the highest mass pulsating stars that the telescope observed. While most of these are slightly too small to go supernova, they do share the same internal structure as the more massive stellar chemical factories. Pedersen hopes insights gleaned from studying the B type stars will shed light on the inner workings of their higher mass, O type counterparts.

    She plans to use data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to study groups of oscillating high-mass stars in OB associations.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Center for Astrophysics – Harvard and Smithsonian; MIT Lincoln Laboratory; and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore.

    These groups comprise 10 to more than 100 massive stars between 3 and 120 solar masses. Stars in OB associations are born from the same molecular cloud and share similar ages, she explained. The large sample of stars, and constraint from their common ages, provides exciting new opportunities to study the internal mixing properties of high-mass stars.

    In addition to unveiling the processes hidden within stellar interiors, research on stellar oscillations can also provide information on other properties of the stars.

    “The stellar oscillations not only allow us to study the internal mixing and rotation of the stars, but also determine other stellar properties such as mass and age,” Pedersen explained. “While these are both two of the most fundamental stellar parameters, they are also some of the most difficult to measure.”

    See the full article here .

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    UC Santa Barbara Seal

    The University of California-Santa Barbara (US) is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California(US) system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944, and is the third-oldest undergraduate campus in the system.

    The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges and schools offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation(US), UC Santa Barbara spent $235 million on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 100th in the nation. In his 2001 book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities, author Howard Greene labeled UCSB a “Public Ivy”.

    UC Santa Barbara is a research university with 10 national research centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (US) and the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems and Computation. Current UCSB faculty includes six Nobel Prize laureates; one Fields Medalist; 39 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering; and 34 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. UCSB was the No. 3 host on the ARPANET and was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1995. The faculty also includes two Academy and Emmy Award winners and recipients of a Millennium Technology Prize; an IEEE Medal of Honor; a National Medal of Technology and Innovation; and a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

    The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos compete in the Big West Conference of the NCAA Division I. The Gauchos have won NCAA national championships in men’s soccer and men’s water polo.


    UCSB traces its origins back to the Anna Blake School, which was founded in 1891, and offered training in home economics and industrial arts. The Anna Blake School was taken over by the state in 1909 and became the Santa Barbara State Normal School which then became the Santa Barbara State College in 1921.

    In 1944, intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State Legislature, Gov. Earl Warren, and the Regents of the University of California to move the State College over to the more research-oriented University of California system. The State College system sued to stop the takeover but the governor did not support the suit. A state constitutional amendment was passed in 1946 to stop subsequent conversions of State Colleges to University of California campuses.

    From 1944 to 1958, the school was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California, before taking on its current name. When the vacated Marine Corps training station in Goleta was purchased for the rapidly growing college Santa Barbara City College moved into the vacated State College buildings.

    Originally the regents envisioned a small several thousand–student liberal arts college a so-called “Williams College (US) of the West”, at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, UCSB is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after UC Berkeley (US) and UCLA (US) (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the UC system). The original campus the regents acquired in Santa Barbara was located on only 100 acres (40 ha) of largely unusable land on a seaside mesa. The availability of a 400-acre (160 ha) portion of the land used as Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara until 1946 on another seaside mesa in Goleta, which the regents could acquire for free from the federal government, led to that site becoming the Santa Barbara campus in 1949.

    Originally only 3000–3500 students were anticipated but the post-WWII baby boom led to the designation of general campus in 1958 along with a name change from “Santa Barbara College” to “University of California, Santa Barbara,” and the discontinuation of the industrial arts program for which the state college was famous. A chancellor- Samuel B. Gould- was appointed in 1959.

    In 1959 UCSB professor Douwe Stuurman hosted the English writer Aldous Huxley as the university’s first visiting professor. Huxley delivered a lectures series called The Human Situation.

    In the late ’60s and early ’70s UCSB became nationally known as a hotbed of anti–Vietnam War activity. A bombing at the school’s faculty club in 1969 killed the caretaker Dover Sharp. In the spring of 1970 multiple occasions of arson occurred including a burning of the Bank of America branch building in the student community of Isla Vista during which time one male student Kevin Moran was shot and killed by police. UCSB’s anti-Vietnam activity impelled then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to impose a curfew and order the National Guard to enforce it. Armed guardsmen were a common sight on campus and in Isla Vista during this time.

    In 1995 UCSB was elected to the Association of American Universities– an organization of leading research universities with a membership consisting of 59 universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

    On May 23, 2014 a killing spree occurred in Isla Vista, California, a community in close proximity to the campus. All six people killed during the rampage were students at UCSB. The murderer was a former Santa Barbara City College student who lived in Isla Vista.

    Research activity

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), UC Santa Barbara spent $236.5 million on research and development in fiscal 2013, ranking it 87th in the nation.

    From 2005 to 2009 UCSB was ranked fourth in terms of relative citation impact in the U.S. (behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), California Institute of Technology(US), and Princeton University (US)) according to Thomson Reuters.

    UCSB hosts 12 National Research Centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies, an affiliate of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Eight of these centers are supported by the National Science Foundation. UCSB is also home to Microsoft Station Q, a research group working on topological quantum computing where American mathematician and Fields Medalist Michael Freedman is the director.

    Research impact rankings

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked UCSB 48th worldwide for 2016–17, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 ranked UCSB 42nd in the world; 28th in the nation; and in 2015 tied for 17th worldwide in engineering.

    In the United States National Research Council rankings of graduate programs, 10 UCSB departments were ranked in the top ten in the country: Materials; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Marine Science Institute; Geography; History; and Theater and Dance. Among U.S. university Materials Science and Engineering programs, UCSB was ranked first in each measure of a study by the National Research Council of the NAS.

    The Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at

  • richardmitnick 7:32 pm on April 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Spinning stars speedier than expected", Asteroseismology, , , , , ,   

    From University of Birmingham (UK) via COSMOS (AU)</a: "Spinning stars speedier than expected" 

    From University of Birmingham (UK)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    23 April 2021
    Lauren Fuge

    The study of vibrations within stars (called asteroseismology) can be used to measure properties such as a star’s rotation, mass and age. Credit: Mark Garlick / University of Birmingham.

    Asteroseismologists confirm older stars rotate faster than previously thought.

    From planets to galaxies, asteroids to black holes, everything in the universe moves and spins, largely thanks to the good old conservation of angular momentum.

    Stars are born spinning too, but as they age, they begin to slow down. Astronomers theorise that this is due to a process called “magnetic braking”, where solar winds are caught by the star’s magnetic field and rob it of angular momentum.

    Now, a new study led by the UK’s University of Birmingham shows that old stars aren’t slowing down as quickly as the magnetic braking theory predicts.

    This confirms previous observations made back in 2016, which studied the spinning of stars by tracking the movement of dark spots across their surface. But this new paper – published in Nature Astronomy – uses a different method called asteroseismology.

    Seismology may be a more familiar field: it’s the study of seismic waves (vibrations) through the Earth’s crust, used to predict and understand earthquakes. Asteroseismology uses a similar principle to study the sound waves that move through the internal structure of stars.

    These waves cause oscillations of certain frequencies, which are visible on the surface of the star as vibrations. As the stars spin, the frequencies change slightly – imagine listening to the sirens of two ambulances change as they drive around a roundabout.

    By observing how the surface vibrations vary over time, the research team could calculate the star’s rate of rotation – as well as other properties like its mass and age.

    “Although we’ve suspected for some time that older stars rotate faster than magnetic braking theories predict, these new asteroseismic data are the most convincing yet to demonstrate that this ‘weakened magnetic braking’ is actually the case,” says lead author Oliver Hall from the University of Birmingham.

    “Models based on young stars suggest that the change in a star’s spin is consistent throughout their lifetime, which is different to what we see in these new data.”

    The team is now working on understanding how a star’s magnetic field interacts with its rotation, which may be key to solving this inconsistency.

    This kind of research could also help astronomers understand how our Sun will evolve over the next few billion years.

    “This work helps place in perspective whether or not we can expect reduced solar activity and harmful space weather in the future,” concludes co-author Guy Davies, also from the University of Birmingham.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Birmingham (UK) has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.

  • richardmitnick 1:27 pm on January 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Starquake Observations Near Their Teenage Years", , Asteroseismologists study stellar oscillations in the form of tiny waves that ripple within a star and across its surface., Asteroseismology, Kepler allowed us to study long timeframes. We could not do that by any other means., ,   

    From “Physics”: “Starquake Observations Near Their Teenage Years” 

    About Physics

    From “Physics”

    January 21, 2021
    Katherine Wright

    Researchers can use waves traveling through a star to understand the properties of the star’s interior. Credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz/Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (ES).

    An observational target for more than a century, researchers have only very recently spotted “starquakes”—periodic fluctuations in brightness that can reveal secrets about a star’s interior.

    Conny Aerts knew she was playing the long game when, in the 1990s, she started her career in asteroseismology—a field that aims to understand the internal structure of stars through variations in their luminosity. At the time, the phenomenon was mainly explorable theoretically, but that changed dramatically in 2009 when NASA’s Kepler mission launched.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope, and K2 March 7, 2009 until November 15, 2018.

    Designed to find exoplanets, the spacecraft could also collect the stellar brightness data that Aerts, who works at KU Leuven in Belgium, and others had long sought to study. In a paper published today in Reviews of Modern Physics, Aerts outlines the major achievements of the field’s first decade as an observational science and the hopes for its future.

    Asteroseismologists study stellar oscillations in the form of tiny waves that ripple within a star and across its surface. These wave phenomena—or “good vibrations” as Beach-Boy-fan Aerts calls them—have a variety of sources including the boiling of a star’s outer gas layers and the gravitational tugging of nearby planets or stars. The oscillations usually go by the term “starquakes” because of their resemblance to seismic waves that reverberate across the Earth. It is this resemblance that gave Aerts and others the hope that they could use starquakes to understand the swirling plasma inside stars—just as seismiologists use earthquakes to probe our planet’s rocky interior. But until Kepler’s arrival in 2009, asteroseismologists’ plans were foiled either by Earth’s atmosphere or by short mission durations.

    The waves from a starquake cause the stellar surface to swell and contract, causing its light output to increase or decrease by a tiny amount. Astronomers on Earth are forced to look for those changes through an atmosphere that also fluctuates in its opacity. Those atmospheric fluctuations are thousands of times bigger than the one-part-in-a-million brightness changes caused by starquakes, making starquakes extremely hard to observe using ground-based telescopes. The Kepler telescope—which breached the atmosphere—changed that. “All of a sudden we had new eyes,” Aerts says. “We could see what was happening.”

    During its four-year mission, Kepler tracked the brightness changes of over 200,000 stars. Those observations allowed researchers to unravel starquake behaviors with different periods, from the roughly minute-spaced rhythms of Sun-like stars to the day-long cycles of heavier stars. Hundreds of quakes may be rippling through a star at any one time, which, along with other factors, can mean the overall beating pattern of a large star can take years to repeat, Aerts says. “Kepler allowed us to study long timeframes. We could not do that by any other means.”

    The data have thrown up surprises, the main one being that the theories of stellar rotation did not match observations. The general picture was that as a star ages, the outer layers of its gas expand and the inner layers contract, causing the core to rotate faster. The data confirmed this trend—finding faster core rotation in older stars compared to younger ones, but the measured spin-up was 10 to 100 times slower than theories predicted. This mismatch had implications for models of how chemical species mix inside a star and for expectations of a star’s lifetime. “We hadn’t anticipated that our theory could be so wrong,” Aerts says. “For me, finding that problem was the biggest achievement of the field in the last ten years.”

    The reasons behind the mismatch have yet to be fully understood, but Aerts and others hope that some of the missing pieces will be filled in by other missions, such as NASA’s TESS, which is currently orbiting Earth, and the European Space Agency’s PLATO, which is expected to launch at the end of 2026.

    NASA/MIT Tess in the building.

    NASA/MIT TESS replaced Kepler in search for exoplanets.

    ESA PLATO spacecraft depiction

    Unlike TESS and Kepler, PLATO is specifically designed to collect starquake data and—for at least two years—will capture the brightness data every 32 seconds (as compared to 30 minutes for Kepler) for tens of thousands of stars, allowing researchers to study quakes in a wider mass range of stars. “Our field has a very bright future,” Aerts says. Saskia Hekker, an astrophysicist at the University of Heidelberg and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, both in Germany, agrees. Even without future data, she notes that researchers have barely scratched the surface on the asteroseismology information contained in the Kepler and TESS data. “There is still so much to be learned,” she says.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Physicists are drowning in a flood of research papers in their own fields and coping with an even larger deluge in other areas of physics. How can an active researcher stay informed about the most important developments in physics? Physics highlights a selection of papers from the Physical Review journals. In consultation with expert scientists, the editors choose these papers for their importance and/or intrinsic interest. To highlight these papers, Physics features three kinds of articles: Viewpoints are commentaries written by active researchers, who are asked to explain the results to physicists in other subfields. Focus stories are written by professional science writers in a journalistic style and are intended to be accessible to students and non-experts. Synopses are brief editor-written summaries. Physics provides a much-needed guide to the best in physics, and we welcome your comments (physics@aps.org).

  • richardmitnick 12:00 pm on June 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Las Cumbres Observatory Robotic Telescopes Provide Vital Data for Recent Astronomical Discoveries", Asteroseismology, , , , , Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network   

    From Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network: “Las Cumbres Observatory Robotic Telescopes Provide Vital Data for Recent Astronomical Discoveries” 

    LCOGT bloc

    From Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network

    LCO 2m and 1m telescope enclosures at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

    While many telescopes around the world have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Las Cumbres Observatory has continued to operate their global network of robotic telescopes where it is safe and allowed to do so. Traditional telescopes can be dangerous for humans during a pandemic because they rely on astronomers to travel to the facility and on teams of human operators and engineers working together in sometimes close quarters. In contrast, robotic facilities operate with no human intervention, except astronomers submitting new observations over the internet, and occasional software and hardware maintenance.

    “Las Cumbres Observatory is fortunate to be able to continue to provide rich data to scientists around the world during these challenging times,” said Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, the President and Observatory Director. LCO observations are featured in several recent discoveries.

    A study led by Tim Bedding of the University of Sydney, using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in conjunction with LCO, was published on May 14 in Nature.

    NASA/MIT TESS replaced Kepler in search for exoplanets

    The study showed that certain types of stars slightly more massive than the Sun, known as delta Scuti stars, pulsate with previously unknown frequencies. This solves a longstanding mystery, and will allow scientists to learn about their interiors by studying their pulsations through asteroseismology, analogous to how seismologists can learn about the Earth’s interior from studying Earthquakes. While NASA’s TESS satellite is sensitive to small stellar pulsations, it can’t split the star’s like up into a spectrum (a rainbow), which can provide complementary information. That was the job of LCO’s robotic NRES spectrographs.

    Artist’s impression of a Delta Scuti pulsating star, courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The stars rotate so rapidly that they are slightly flattened.

    On May 26, the University of Hawai’i announced that the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) had discovered an unusual comet.

    ATLAS telescope, First Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert system (ATLAS) fully operational 8/15/15 Haleakala , Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,205 m (13,796 ft)

    Recent data have shown that the Jupiter Trojan object 2019 LD2 is in fact a comet with an unusual orbit. The ATLAS discovery was confirmed with follow-up observations by the LCO network. The object was reclassified from an asteroid to a comet by the Minor Planet Center, as its orbit is unstable compared to Jupiter Trojans and it has a distinctive tail. Observations of this rare comet are continuing.

    (Left) ATLAS image of P/2019 LD2 (indicated by two red lines) is almost lost in the field of stars, courtesy University of Hawai’i.

    A study led by Monash University in Australia has observed, for the first time, the full process of an accreting neutron star reaching an x-ray outburst. While the process was previously thought to take place over 3 or 4 days, the new study revealed activity over 12 days. LCO provided rapid ground-based observations, while telescopes in space, like NASA’s Swift satellite, and the NICER instrument on the International Space Station provided ultraviolet and X-ray data that cannot be taken from Earth.

    NASA Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory

    NASA/NICER on the ISS

    An accreting pulsar, courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LCOGT Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network

    Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network is an integrated set of robotic telescopes, distributed around the world. The network currently includes two 2-meter telescopes, sited in Hawaii and eastern Australia, nine 1-meter telescopes, sited in Chile, South Africa, eastern Australia, and Texas, and three 0.4-meter telescopes, sited in Chile and the Canary Islands.

    LCOGT map

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