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  • richardmitnick 8:10 am on October 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How satellites harm astronomy - what’s being done", Astrophysics, , , , , , International Telecommunication Union, , , Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO),   

    From “EarthSky” : “How satellites harm astronomy – what’s being done” 

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    From “EarthSky”

    10.6.22
    Kelly Kizer Whitt

    1
    Artist’s concept shows the 30,000 planned satellites from the Starlink Generation 2 constellation as of 2022. Different sub-constellations are in different colors. Learn more about how mega constellations of satellites harm astronomy. Image via The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral] [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL).

    You may have heard the growing complaints from astronomers as companies such as SpaceX add more satellites to our sky. Astronomers are not against the communication networks that the satellites provide, but they have valid concerns for the future of ground-based explorations of the universe. And there is only so much astronomers can do on their own to mitigate the problem. A report from the 2021 conference for Dark and Quiet Skies stated:

    “The advantages to society that the communication constellations are offering cannot be disputed, but their impact on the pristine appearance of the night sky and on astronomy must be considered with great attention because they affect both the cultural heritage of humanity and the progress of science.”

    How satellites harm astronomy: The problem with increasing satellites

    Astronomers face a variety of problems with the increasing numbers of satellites filling low-Earth orbit. Optical and near-infrared telescopes feel the impacts from these mega constellations. Some of the biggest are on wide-field surveys, longer exposures and evening and morning twilight observations when sunlight reflects off the satellites. The European Southern Observatory, the European Space Organization, reported these findings from a 2021 study [Astronomy & Astrophysics(below)]:

    “The effect is more pronounced for long exposures, up to three percent of which may be ruined during twilight. The study also found that the greatest impact of new satellite constellations will be on wide-field surveys made by telescopes such as the US National Science Foundation’s Vera C. Rubin Observatory. Up to 30-50 percent of twilight observations being seriously impacted.”

    And because we’re talking about scientists, of course they’ve officially started studying the issue. Studies in 2020 [ Astronomy and Astrophysics (below)] and 2021 [Astronomy & Astrophysics (below)] showed the impact on optical and near-infrared telescopes. They found that telescopes such as the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the future Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will be “moderately affected” by new satellite mega constellations.

    Some telescopes, such as the Rubin Observatory under construction in Chile, will experience greater impacts. These telescopes scan wide areas quickly. This makes them crucial in spotting supernovae or potentially dangerous asteroids.

    The impact on radio astronomy

    Radio astronomy has its own particular concerns. Radio telescopes don’t look in the visible wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, so it’s not the same “visibility” issue. For radio telescopes, the main problem is with the signals the satellites transmit down to Earth. Plus, radio telescopes aren’t only looking at dim lights in the night. They’re looking at the sky 24/7. So, satellites are a problem every hour of the day, not just at twilight.

    But there’s more. A satellite’s signal is much, much stronger than the faint background sources that radio astronomers study. And a satellite doesn’t have to pass right in front of the object of study to cause interference. Satellite sources in a radio telescope’s “peripheral vision” also interfere.

    The European Southern Observatory (ESO) described the potential impact of satellites on radio astronomy:

    “They amount to hundreds of radio transmitters above the observatory’s horizon, which will affect the measurements made by our highly sensitive radio telescopes.”

    Radio astronomy has some protection against interference. Radio astronomers call this spectrum management, and the Radio Communication Sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R) create regulations that help protect astronomers studying certain frequency bands and wavelength ranges. But the recent large constellations of telecommunication satellites pose new threats.

    One recommendation is for satellite designs that avoid direct illumination of radio telescopes and radio-quiet zones. Also, the cumulative background electromagnetic noise created by satellite constellations should be kept below the limit already agreed to by the ITU.

    Philip Diamond of the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) summed up the issue:

    “The deployment of thousands of satellites in low-Earth orbit in the coming years will inevitably change this landscape by creating a much larger number of fast-moving radio sources in the sky, which will interfere with humanity’s ability to explore the universe.”

    What can visual astronomers do?

    It would be great if a computer program could quickly eliminate all the satellites trails or interference from astronomers’ data. But it’s not quite that easy. One recent report outlined the problem of low-Earth orbit satellites on images:

    “They leave traces of their transit on astronomical images, significantly decreasing the scientific usability of the collected data. Post-processing of the affected images only partially remedies the problem: the brighter trails may saturate the detectors, making portions of images unusable, while the removal of the fainter trails leaves residual effects that seriously affect important scientific programs, as, for example, statistical, automated surveys of faint galaxies.”

    But there are some things astronomers could do, and have been doing thus far. They can avoid observing where satellites will pass, limit observations to areas of the sky that are in Earth’s shadow and close the shutter precisely when a satellite crosses the field of view. This all takes a lot of knowledge of the paths of thousands of satellites and plenty of pre-planning. Obviously, these are not realistic possibilities for many situations.

    What can satellite operators do?

    Another way to mitigate the problem is for satellite operators to adjust their designs (for example, darkening the satellite). They can also operate the satellites in a way that would raise their orbits out of vision of the optical telescopes, deorbit satellites that are no longer functioning, as well as other considerations for minimizing disruption. In several cases, the satellite operators have shown willingness to cooperate on this.

    Unfortunately, the companies planning these mega satellite constellations did not warn astronomers in advance. So many of these satellites were already filling the skies without any restrictions as astronomers scrambled to figure out how to save their observations and lessen the impact. Their efforts led to the creation of a new center that is collecting data from the community, astronomers and the general public, among others, to learn more about the effects on the night sky.

    Official efforts to reduce harm from satellites

    In June 2022, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), together with the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) and SKAO, opened the Center for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference (CPS). The center highlights the dramatically increased risk of interference from low-Earth orbit satellites – both planned and already in orbit – that provide broadband services. On their website, you can see a running total of the number of operational constellation satellites (2,994) and the number of planned constellation satellites (431,713), among other stats.

    Co-director Connie Walker from NOIRLab said:

    “Three years ago SpaceX launched the first 60 Starlink satellites. The number of satellites from this and other companies is increasing exponentially and impacting the field of astronomy. During the last two years, four key workshops identified issues and recommended mitigation solutions with the help of astronomers, satellite industry folk, space lawyers and people from the general community worldwide.”

    In the peer-reviewed journal Air & Space Law [below], scientists at ESO published a study in September 2021 extensively warning of the dangers of unlimited satellites on astronomy. They’re trying to address satellite constellations’ impact on astronomy. They’re making efforts to coordinate solutions so both satellites and observational astronomy can continue developing without harmful interference.

    A reminder of what we’re losing when satellites harm astronomy

    One of ESO’s studies estimated that in the future, up to 100 satellites could be visible to the unaided eye during twilight. Imagine how that will change your own view of the night sky. Then imagine if your profession depended upon seeing what is beyond the satellites. How will we learn about the universe or detect potential threats to Earth?

    The IAU created the Dark and Quiet Skies Working Group. As Debra Elmegreen, IAU President, summed up:

    “Interference of our view of the sky caused by ground-based artificial lights, optical and infrared trails of satellite constellations and radio transmission on the ground and in space is an existential threat to astronomical observations. Viewing the night sky has been culturally important throughout humanity’s history, and dark skies are important for wildlife as well.”

    Science papers:
    Astronomy & Astrophysics
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020
    Astronomy & Astrophysics 2021
    Air & Space Law 2021
    See the science papers for instructive material.

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:24 pm on October 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Brigham Young University scientists collaborate with astronomers around the world to understand distant galaxy", , Astrophysics, , Brigham Young University,   

    From Brigham Young University : “Brigham Young University scientists collaborate with astronomers around the world to understand distant galaxy” 

    From Brigham Young University

    10.4.22
    Tyler Stahle

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    Artistic rendering of the BL Lac jet with a spiral magnetic field. Photo by Iris Nieh.

    A team of 86 scientists from 13 countries recently carried out extensive high-time resolution optical monitoring of a distant active galaxy, BL Lacertae (BL Lac). Mike Joner, BYU research professor of physics and astronomy, was one of the astronomers contributing to the project.

    Dr. Joner and BYU undergraduate student Gilvan Apolonio secured over 200 observations of the galaxy using the 0.9-meter reflecting telescope at the BYU West Mountain Observatory. Their measurements were combined with observations made by other scientists around the world in a collaboration known as the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope (WEBT). The WEBT network makes it possible to monitor objects around the clock from different locations during times of high variability.

    Using the WEBT observations made in the summer of 2020, astronomers discovered surprisingly rapid oscillations of brightness in the central jet of the galaxy BL Lac. The scientists attribute these cycles of brightness change to twists in the jet’s magnetic field. Their study was recently published in the scientific journal Nature [below].

    BYU’s West Mountain Observatory was one of 37 ground-based telescopes throughout the world monitoring the optical variations of BL Lac – an active galaxy classified as a blazar that is roughly 1 billion light years away. Joner and Apolonio alternated working different groups of nights at the observatory throughout the spring and summer of 2020 – a task that was extra burdensome during the height of the pandemic. This atypical work schedule was necessary since observations were needed on every clear night and there were no other trained student observers remaining in the Provo area.

    An analysis of the high-cadence optical observations was critical to understanding the high-energy observations from the space-based Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope.

    “You need to combine data from high-energy space observatories with optical ground-based monitoring data. The billion-dollar space telescopes that are used on projects like this often need to compare results with optical ground-based observations,” said Joner. “Correlating what was seen in the high energy observations with the ground-based light curves helped confirm the rapid periodic oscillations that were observed in the high-energy data from space.”

    Although he’s an established expert in astrophysical research, Joner says he continues to be amazed at the level of detail scientists are capturing through such observations. And he’s grateful for the chance to explore the far reaches of the cosmos with his students at BYU.

    “On a galactic scale, the central jet of a blazar is quite small. It is amazing to be able to see the variations of the jet so clearly. The variability of the jet is easily seen even though it is combined with the light from the hundreds of billions of stars in the host galaxy,” he said.

    “It is noteworthy that in this age of giant telescopes and space-based research, it is still necessary to rely on modest sized and well-equipped facilities like we have available at BYU to explore the unknown reaches of the Universe.”

    Boston University doctoral student Melissa Hallum, a BYU graduate and former student of Dr. Joner’s, was also a co-author of the paper.

    Science paper:
    Nature

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Brigham Young University is a private research university in Provo, Utah. It was founded in 1875 by religious leader Brigham Young, and is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

    Brigham Young University offers a variety of academic programs, including liberal arts, engineering, agriculture, management, physical and mathematical sciences, nursing, and law. It has 186 undergraduate majors, 64 master’s programs, and 26 doctoral programs. It is broadly organized into 11 colleges or schools at its main Provo campus, with certain colleges and divisions defining their own admission standards. The university also administers two satellite campuses, one in Jerusalem and one in Salt Lake City, while its parent organization the Church Educational System (CES) sponsors sister schools in Hawaii and Idaho. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    Almost all Brigham Young University students are members of the LDS Church. Students attending BYU agree to follow an honor code, which mandates behavior in line with teachings of the church, such as academic honesty, adherence to dress and grooming standards, abstinence from extramarital sex, from same-sex romantic behavior, and from the consumption of drugs and alcohol. Undergraduate students are also required to complete curriculum in LDS religious education for graduation regardless of their course of study. Due in part to the church’s emphasis on missionary service, nearly 50% of BYU students have lived outside the United States, 65% speak a second language, and 63 languages are taught at the university regularly.

    BYU’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the BYU Cougars. Their football team is a D1 Independent, while their other sports teams compete in either the West Coast Conference or Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. BYU’s sports teams have won a total of 12 NCAA championships and 26 non-NCAA championships. On September 10, 2021, BYU formally accepted an invitation to the Big 12 Conference and will start participating in the conference in the 2023–24 school year.

    According to the National Science Foundation, Brigham Young University spent $40.7 million on research and development in 2018. Scientists associated with Brigham Young University have created some notable inventions. Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor and pioneer of the electronic television, began college at Brigham Young University, and later returned to do fusion research, receiving an honorary degree from the university in 1967. Alumnus Harvey Fletcher, inventor of stereophonic sound, went on to carry out the now famous oil-drop experiment with Robert Millikan, and was later Founding Dean of the Brigham Young University College of Engineering. H. Tracy Hall, inventor of the man-made diamond, left General Electric in 1955 and became a full professor of chemistry and Director of Research at Brigham Young University. While there, he invented a new type of diamond press, the tetrahedral press. In student achievements, Brigham Young University Ad Lab teams won both the 2007 and 2008 L’Oréal National Brandstorm Competition, and students developed the Magnetic Lasso algorithm found in Adobe Photoshop. In prestigious scholarships, Brigham Young University has produced 10 Rhodes Scholars, four Gates Scholars in the last six years, and in the last decade has claimed 41 Fulbright scholars and 3 Jack Kent Cooke scholars.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:49 pm on October 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "PEARLS": Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science project, "Webb images reveal interstellar discovery", Astrophysics, , , , , The VV191 galaxy pair, The Webb images are combined with Hubble data to accurately model both the original light from the background elliptical galaxy and how much it was reddened by the foreground spiral., This is a distant galaxy seen within the first few billion years after the Big Bang. Its light was gravitationally distorted by the enormous mass of the elliptical galaxy., This is a rather unique opportunity to measure how much dust has been produced in this spiral galaxy-like our own-by previous generations of stars., Webb scientists are now able to delineate how star formation can happen in these kinds of galaxies from the gas and the dust that formed in the past., Webb’s technology allows for a better visualization of the attenuation by dust that Hubble was not able to do.   

    From The Arizona State University: “Webb images reveal interstellar discovery” 

    From The Arizona State University

    10.5.22

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    Above the white elliptical galaxy at left, a faint red arc appears in the inset at 10 o’clock. This is a very distant galaxy whose appearance is warped. Its light is bent by the gravity of the elliptical foreground galaxy. Plus, its appearance is duplicated. The stretched red arc is warped where it reappears — as a dot — at 4 o’clock.

    Researchers traced light that was emitted by the bright white elliptical galaxy on the left through the spiral galaxy at right. As a result, they were able to identify the effects of interstellar dust in the spiral galaxy. Webb’s near-infrared data also shows us the galaxy’s longer, extremely dusty spiral arms in far more detail, giving them an appearance of overlapping with the central bulge of the bright white elliptical galaxy on the left, though the pair are not interacting.

    In this image, green, yellow and red were assigned to Webb’s near-infrared data taken in 0.9, 1.5 and 3.56 microns. Blue was assigned to two Hubble filters, ultraviolet data taken in 0.34 microns and visible light in 0.61 microns. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Rogier Windhorst (ASU), William Keel (University of Alabama), Stuart Wyithe JWST PEARLS Team.

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    Second-year astrophysics and math student Jake Summers (left) looks on as research scientist Seth Cohen and Regents Professor Rogier Windhorst examine a new image from the Webb telescope in Windhorst’s lab. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News.

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    Research scientist Seth Cohen talks during a Zoom meeting. Students, staff and faculty had gathered in the lab to analyze data and images coming in from the new James Webb Space Telescope, the older Hubble Space Telescope as well as ground-based telescopes based around the globe. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News.

    Arizona State University astronomers are sharing one of their first and most beautiful NASA James Webb Space Telescope images of a galaxy pair at a distance of about 700 million light-years away from us.

    Using Webb’s new images and data, the scientists were able to trace the light that was emitted by the bright white elliptical galaxy through the winding spiral galaxy in front of it, allowing astronomers to identify the effects of interstellar dust in the spiral galaxy.

    Webb interdisciplinary scientist and ASU Regents Professor Rogier Windhorst and his team obtained the data used in these images from early results of the telescope’s Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science (PEARLS) project.

    “This is a rather unique opportunity to measure how much dust has been produced in this spiral galaxy-like our own-by previous generations of stars. Mind you that this is the kind of dust that the next generation of stars and planets, and in our case people, are also formed from,” Windhorst said.

    Webb scientists are now able to delineate how star formation can happen in these kinds of galaxies from the gas and the dust that formed in the past. They folded in Hubble images to provide some of the bluish light, but almost all of this light is coming from Webb.

    The Webb images used for this study observe wavelengths longer than those visible to the naked eye, but they are mapped onto our familiar family of colors to make our images. They are combined with Hubble data observing visible light to accurately model both the original light from the background elliptical galaxy, and how much it was reddened by the foreground spiral.

    A sunset at the horizon, for example in Arizona, appears red because of dust in the atmosphere, and because our atmosphere transmits red light better than the blue light. The same principle applies in the Webb images.

    The infrared light that Webb observes from the elliptical galaxy is very well visible in the images, even when passing through the dust of the foreground spiral. Windhorst says that most of this light is rendered as false color. You’re not actually looking at blue or violet light, but at near-infrared light that has been rendered for the eye to see.

    Webb’s technology allows for a better visualization of the attenuation by dust that Hubble was not able to do. Webb’s eight new infrared filters allow for a more accurate analysis when mapping the attenuation by dust.

    Windhorst explained that by comparing images of Hubble and Webb, the dust lanes in the foreground spiral become visible, the same dust that our solar system is made from when it formed our sun and its planets.

    This dust now becomes visible because that background elliptical galaxy acts like a flashlight. It is the dust attenuation in this spiral galaxy that Windhorst and his team are trying to map, and it can be traced very well with the new Webb infrared images.

    The Windhorst group combined data from Hubble and Webb to get some other surprising results. The image and data showed not only this a rather unique alignment of an elliptical in the background and a spiral galaxy they were trying to measure in the foreground, but they saw a strange-looking arc-shaped object behind the elliptical galaxy.

    This is a distant galaxy seen within the first few billion years after the Big Bang. Its light was gravitationally distorted by the enormous mass of the elliptical galaxy, which is close to the mass of a hundred billion suns. And the very large mass of the elliptical galaxy stretches the very distant small galaxy into an arc.

    The light from that distant galaxy is in reality almost directly behind the center of the elliptical, but its light comes around via two gravitationally bent paths: One is a stretched arc-like image, and the other is a faint counterimage on the other side of the elliptical galaxy center.

    “We got more than we bargained for by combining data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope,” Windhorst said. “Webb’s new data allowed us to trace the light that was emitted by the bright white elliptical galaxy, at left, through the winding spiral galaxy at right — and identify the effects of interstellar dust in the spiral galaxy.”

    Video by Steve Filmer/ASU Media Relations

    The scientific paper was submitted recently to The Astrophysical Journal [below]. The research has also allowed ASU-NASA Space Grant intern Jake Summers to be part of the working for the ASU Cosmology Research Group as part of the Webb Telescope PEARLS team.

    “I find it astonishing how Webb can provide for completely unexpected findings, such as the lensed galaxy behind the elliptical galaxy in the VV191 system, with relative ease and with only half an hour of exposure time,” Summers said. “The resolution of Webb never ceases to amaze me — I was blown away by the fact that it can resolve individual globular clusters in the main elliptical galaxy.”

    William Keel of the University of Alabama is the lead author of this study, with co-authors including Windhorst, and Seth Cohen and Rolf Jansen from the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

    The VV191 galaxy pair was called to the attention of researchers by citizen science group Galaxy Zoo. Keel has been involved Galaxy Zoo for nearly 15 years and was initially drawn to the group for the ability of participants to pick out rare galaxy types, especially silhouetted or overlapping galaxy systems.

    “VV191 is the latest addition to a small number of galaxies that helps researchers like us directly compare the properties of galactic dust,” Keel said. “This target was selected from nearly 2,000 superimposed galaxy pairs identified by Galaxy Zoo citizen science volunteers.”

    Science paper:
    The Astrophysical Journal
    See the science paper for instructive images.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Arizona State University Tempe Campus

    The Arizona State University is a public research university in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Founded in 1885 by the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature, ASU is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the U.S.

    One of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents, The Arizona State University is a member of the Universities Research Association and classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity.” The Arizona State University has nearly 150,000 students attending classes, with more than 38,000 students attending online, and 90,000 undergraduates and more nearly 20,000 postgraduates across its five campuses and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona. The Arizona State University offers 350 degree options from its 17 colleges and more than 170 cross-discipline centers and institutes for undergraduates students, as well as more than 400 graduate degree and certificate programs. The Arizona State Sun Devils compete in 26 varsity-level sports in the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference and is home to over 1,100 registered student organizations.

    The Arizona State University ‘s charter, approved by the board of regents in 2014, is based on the New American University model created by The Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow upon his appointment as the institution’s 16th president in 2002. It defines The Arizona State University as “a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but rather by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.” The model is widely credited with boosting The Arizona State University ‘s acceptance rate and increasing class size.

    The university’s faculty of more than 4,700 scholars has included 5 Nobel laureates, 6 Pulitzer Prize winners, 4 MacArthur Fellows, and 19 National Academy of Sciences members. Additionally, among the faculty are 180 Fulbright Program American Scholars, 72 National Endowment for the Humanities fellows, 38 American Council of Learned Societies fellows, 36 members of the Guggenheim Fellowship, 21 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 3 members of National Academy of Inventors, 9 National Academy of Engineering members and 3 National Academy of Medicine members. The National Academies has bestowed “highly prestigious” recognition on 227 Arizona State University faculty members.
    History

    The Arizona State University was established as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe on March 12, 1885, when the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature passed an act to create a normal school to train teachers for the Arizona Territory. The campus consisted of a single, four-room schoolhouse on a 20-acre plot largely donated by Tempe residents George and Martha Wilson. Classes began with 33 students on February 8, 1886. The curriculum evolved over the years and the name was changed several times; the institution was also known as Tempe Normal School of Arizona (1889–1903), Tempe Normal School (1903–1925), Tempe State Teachers College (1925–1929), Arizona State Teachers College (1929–1945), Arizona State College (1945–1958) and, by a 2–1 margin of the state’s voters, The Arizona State University in 1958.

    In 1923, the school stopped offering high school courses and added a high school diploma to the admissions requirements. In 1925, the school became the Tempe State Teachers College and offered four-year Bachelor of Education degrees as well as two-year teaching certificates. In 1929, the 9th Arizona State Legislature authorized Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees as well, and the school was renamed The Arizona State Teachers College. Under the 30-year tenure of president Arthur John Matthews (1900–1930), the school was given all-college student status. The first dormitories built in the state were constructed under his supervision in 1902. Of the 18 buildings constructed while Matthews was president, six are still in use. Matthews envisioned an “evergreen campus,” with many shrubs brought to the campus, and implemented the planting of 110 Mexican Fan Palms on what is now known as Palm Walk, a century-old landmark of the Tempe campus.

    During the Great Depression, Ralph Waldo Swetman was hired to succeed President Matthews, coming to The Arizona State Teachers College in 1930 from The Humboldt State Teachers College where he had served as president. He served a three-year term, during which he focused on improving teacher-training programs. During his tenure, enrollment at the college doubled, topping the 1,000 mark for the first time. Matthews also conceived of a self-supported summer session at the school at The Arizona State Teachers College, a first for the school.

    1930–1989

    In 1933, Grady Gammage, then president of The Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, became president of The Arizona State Teachers College at Tempe, beginning a tenure that would last for nearly 28 years, second only to Swetman’s 30 years at the college’s helm. Like President Arthur John Matthews before him, Gammage oversaw the construction of several buildings on the Tempe campus. He also guided the development of the university’s graduate programs; the first Master of Arts in Education was awarded in 1938, the first Doctor of Education degree in 1954 and 10 non-teaching master’s degrees were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1956. During his presidency, the school’s name was changed to Arizona State College in 1945, and finally to The Arizona State University in 1958. At the time, two other names were considered: Tempe University and State University at Tempe. Among Gammage’s greatest achievements in Tempe was the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed construction of what is Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium/ASU Gammage. One of the university’s hallmark buildings, Arizona State University Gammage was completed in 1964, five years after the president’s (and Wright’s) death.

    Gammage was succeeded by Harold D. Richardson, who had served the school earlier in a variety of roles beginning in 1939, including director of graduate studies, college registrar, dean of instruction, dean of the College of Education and academic vice president. Although filling the role of acting president of the university for just nine months (Dec. 1959 to Sept. 1960), Richardson laid the groundwork for the future recruitment and appointment of well-credentialed research science faculty.

    By the 1960s, under G. Homer Durham, the university’s 11th president, The Arizona State University began to expand its curriculum by establishing several new colleges and, in 1961, the Arizona Board of Regents authorized doctoral degree programs in six fields, including Doctor of Philosophy. By the end of his nine-year tenure, The Arizona State University had more than doubled enrollment, reporting 23,000 in 1969.

    The next three presidents—Harry K. Newburn (1969–71), John W. Schwada (1971–81) and J. Russell Nelson (1981–89), including and Interim President Richard Peck (1989), led the university to increased academic stature, the establishment of The Arizona State University West campus in 1984 and its subsequent construction in 1986, a focus on computer-assisted learning and research, and rising enrollment.

    1990–present

    Under the leadership of Lattie F. Coor, president from 1990 to 2002, The Arizona State University grew through the creation of the Polytechnic campus and extended education sites. Increased commitment to diversity, quality in undergraduate education, research, and economic development occurred over his 12-year tenure. Part of Coor’s legacy to the university was a successful fundraising campaign: through private donations, more than $500 million was invested in areas that would significantly impact the future of The Arizona State University. Among the campaign’s achievements were the naming and endowing of Barrett, The Honors College, and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; the creation of many new endowed faculty positions; and hundreds of new scholarships and fellowships.

    In 2002, Michael M. Crow became the university’s 16th president. At his inauguration, he outlined his vision for transforming The Arizona State University into a “New American University”—one that would be open and inclusive, and set a goal for the university to meet Association of American Universities criteria and to become a member. Crow initiated the idea of transforming The Arizona State University into “One university in many places”—a single institution comprising several campuses, sharing students, faculty, staff and accreditation. Subsequent reorganizations combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced staff and administration as the university expanded its West and Polytechnic campuses. The Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus was also expanded, with several colleges and schools relocating there. The university established learning centers throughout the state, including The Arizona State University Colleges at Lake Havasu City and programs in Thatcher, Yuma, and Tucson. Students at these centers can choose from several Arizona State University degree and certificate programs.

    During Crow’s tenure, and aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, The Arizona State University began a years-long research facility capital building effort that led to the establishment of the Biodesign Institute at The Arizona State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and several large interdisciplinary research buildings. Along with the research facilities, the university faculty was expanded, including the addition of five Nobel Laureates. Since 2002, the university’s research expenditures have tripled and more than 1.5 million square feet of space has been added to the university’s research facilities.

    The economic downturn that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Arizona, resulting in large cuts to The Arizona State University ‘s budget. In response to these cuts, The Arizona State University capped enrollment, closed some four dozen academic programs, combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced university faculty, staff and administrators; however, with an economic recovery underway in 2011, the university continued its campaign to expand the West and Polytechnic Campuses, and establish a low-cost, teaching-focused extension campus in Lake Havasu City.

    As of 2011, an article in Slate reported that, “the bottom line looks good,” noting that:

    “Since Crow’s arrival, The Arizona State University’s research funding has almost tripled to nearly $350 million. Degree production has increased by 45 percent. And thanks to an ambitious aid program, enrollment of students from Arizona families below poverty is up 647 percent.”

    In 2015, the Thunderbird School of Global Management became the fifth Arizona State University campus, as the Thunderbird School of Global Management at The Arizona State University. Partnerships for education and research with Mayo Clinic established collaborative degree programs in health care and law, and shared administrator positions, laboratories and classes at the Mayo Clinic Arizona campus.

    The Beus Center for Law and Society, the new home of The Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, opened in fall 2016 on the Downtown Phoenix campus, relocating faculty and students from the Tempe campus to the state capital.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:39 pm on October 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Astrophysics, , , "A Stellar ‘Light Switch’ Orbiting a Black Hole", The event was called AT2018fyk and further analysis found that the emission was coming from the nucleus of a galaxy named LCRS B224721.6−450748., 600 days after the initial discovery there was a sharp decrease in the brightness of the X-ray and UV emission., 600 days after the dimming began the ‘light switch’ was flipped and the X-ray and UV emission from AT2018fyk have returned to close to pre-dimming levels.   

    From Astrobites : “A Stellar ‘Light Switch’ Orbiting a Black Hole” 

    Astrobites bloc

    From Astrobites

    10.5.22
    Evan Lewis

    Title: The rebrightening of AT2018fyk as a repeating partial tidal disruption event

    Authors: T. Wevers, E.R. Coughlin, D.R. Pasham, M. Guolo, Y. Sun, S. Wen, P.G. Jonker, A. Zabludoff, A. Malyali, R. Arcodia, Z. Liu, A. Merloni, A. Rau, I. Grotova, P. Short, Z. Cao

    First Author’s Institution: The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral] [Observatoire européen austral][Europaiche Sûdsternwarte] (EU)(CL)
    Status: Submitted to ApJ Letters [open access]

    Out in the center of a distant galaxy, a star is being torn apart as it circles the drain around an enormous black hole! Today’s paper reports on the re-emergence of X-ray and UV emission from a star orbiting a supermassive black hole (SMBH). After being discovered, this emission suddenly flicked off and stayed undetectable for ~600 days, before it quickly returned like a light switch being turned back on after a blackout– making this a very dynamic system to study.

    In 2018, optical emission from the star was discovered by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASASSN), a supernova search using 24 telescopes around the world which can see objects 50,000 times dimmer than we can see with our naked eyes!

    The event was called AT2018fyk and further analysis found that the emission was coming from the nucleus of a galaxy named LCRS B224721.6−450748. These super catchy and memorable names are thanks to astronomers using astrometric coordinates and dates of discovery to name new objects, since there are too many in the sky to give each a unique name! But 600 days after the initial discovery there was a sharp decrease in the brightness of the X-ray and UV emission, with the X-ray emission plummeting to less than 1/6,000th of its original brightness. For 600 days, this dimming persisted, suggesting that the star had been torn apart by the gravitational pull of the black hole, and all of the stellar material had fallen onto the surface of the black hole, leaving nothing behind. This is known as a tidal disruption event (TDE), since the tidal forces (yes, the same ones that cause the ocean tides on Earth!) rip the star apart.

    However, today’s authors report that 600 days after the dimming began the ‘light switch’ was flipped and the X-ray and UV emission from AT2018fyk have returned to close to pre-dimming levels. In most tidal disruptions, the star is totally torn apart and the emission slowly fades, never to return– so their hypothesis is that this event was only a partial TDE, where the core of the star remained intact while only the outer layers were stripped away.

    1
    Figure 1: Cartoons illustrating the evolution of the star/SMBH system over time. The binary system is torn apart in panels a) and b), the stellar material begins to fall onto the black hole in panel c), the star moves away from the black hole in panel e), and the tidal disruption begins once again in panel f). Figure 3 from today’s paper.

    Figure 1 shows a schematic which illustrates the key phases of AT2018fyk’s history. The origins of this system are unique- given the previously estimated SMBH mass, a star should theoretically take at least a few thousand years to make one full orbit around the central black hole– way longer than the timescales of a few years that we’re seeing! But, if the star was originally part of a binary system, the black hole can disrupt the binary, pulling one star into an orbit around the black hole while the other star is shot at extremely high speeds away from the galaxy. Panels a) and b) of Figure 1 show this process, with the yellow dot representing the star’s ex-binary companion (now called a hypervelocity star) which is flung off into space.

    Panel c), at t=0, matches up with the initial discovery of the system, with material falling onto the surface of the supermassive black hole and getting heated up, which creates X-rays. This process is called accretion, or stellar fallback. Panel e), at t=600 days after discovery, shows that at this point the core of the star has moved farther away from the SMBH, and the stellar material remains gravitationally attracted to the stellar core, so it has stopped falling onto the SMBH– this is the point at which the X-ray and UV emission got much dimmer. At t=1200 days (the focus of this paper), what remains of the star has moved back into the region where the outer material of the star will be pulled onto the SMBH, and the emission ‘turns on’ once again.

    2
    Figure 2- the light curve of the stellar/SMBH system over time, since its discovery. Both the UV (green diamond; from Swift) and X-ray (black, from Swift/XMM-Newton/Chandra/eROSITA) light curves are shown. The x-axis is measured in days, with t=0 equal to the discovery of the system. Top left panel of Figure 1 from today’s paper.

    Figure 2 shows the light curve, or the luminosity of the emission over time, in the UV (green) and X-ray (black) wavelength ranges over the course of the observational history of AT2018fyk. Letters A-D represent the first 600 days of bright emission: at first, the UV emission is brighter (higher up on the y-axis) than the X-ray emission, but they switch around letter C. Why do we observe this behavior? At early times, the gas surrounding SMBH will be optically thick, but when the star moves away and the rate of fallback declines, the gas is able to expand and cool, becoming more optically thin (puffier) so it’s easier to see through to the hot inner region of the system, leading to brighter X-ray emission. At letter E, the dimming period begins as the star moves away from the SMBH, and the emission brightness drops sharply into its “quiescent” state. Finally, at letter F, the bright emission returns at similar luminosity levels to before, implying that the same star has orbited back around to a point where material is falling onto the SMBH.

    The authors predict that there will be another sharp brightness decline in August 2023 and, if the star survives this second encounter, a third episode of re-brightening should begin around March 2025. This gives astronomers an exciting prediction to look forward to confirming or denying, as we continue to learn about exotic systems like this!

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    What do we do?

    Astrobites is a daily astrophysical literature journal written by graduate students in astronomy. Our goal is to present one interesting paper per day in a brief format that is accessible to undergraduate students in the physical sciences who are interested in active research.
    Why read Astrobites?

    Reading a technical paper from an unfamiliar subfield is intimidating. It may not be obvious how the techniques used by the researchers really work or what role the new research plays in answering the bigger questions motivating that field, not to mention the obscure jargon! For most people, it takes years for scientific papers to become meaningful.

    Our goal is to solve this problem, one paper at a time. In 5 minutes a day reading Astrobites, you should not only learn about one interesting piece of current work, but also get a peek at the broader picture of research in a new area of astronomy.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:18 am on October 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers find a 'cataclysmic' pair of stars with the shortest orbit yet", , Astrophysics, , , Scientists caught this system in the act of switching from hydrogen to helium accretion., , , The newly discovered system tagged ZTF J1813+4251, This is the first time such a transitioning system has been observed directly.,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology And The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: “Astronomers find a ‘cataclysmic’ pair of stars with the shortest orbit yet” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    And

    The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    10.5.22
    Jennifer Chu

    1
    An artist’s illustration shows a white dwarf (right) circling a larger, sun-like star (left) in an ultra-short orbit, forming a “cataclysmic” binary system. Credit: M.Weiss/Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.

    Nearly half the stars in our galaxy are solitary like the sun. The other half comprises stars that circle other stars, in pairs and multiples, with orbits so tight that some stellar systems could fit between Earth and the moon.

    Astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have now discovered a stellar binary, or pair of stars, with an extremely short orbit, appearing to circle each other every 51 minutes. The system seems to be one of a rare class of binaries known as a “cataclysmic variable,” in which a star similar to our sun orbits tightly around a white dwarf — a hot, dense core of a burned-out star.

    A cataclysmic variable occurs when the two stars draw close, over billions of years, causing the white dwarf to start accreting, or eating material away from its partner star. This process can give off enormous, variable flashes of light that, centuries ago, astronomers assumed to be a result of some unknown cataclysm.

    The newly discovered system, which the team has tagged ZTF J1813+4251, is a cataclysmic variable with the shortest orbit detected to date. Unlike other such systems observed in the past, the astronomers caught this cataclysmic variable as the stars eclipsed each other multiple times, allowing the team to precisely measure properties of each star.

    With these measurements, the researchers ran simulations of what the system is likely doing today and how it should evolve over the next hundreds of millions of years. They conclude that the stars are currently in transition, and that the sun-like star has been circling and “donating” much of its hydrogen atmosphere to the voracious white dwarf. The sun-like star will eventually be stripped down to a mostly dense, helium-rich core. In another 70 million years, the stars will migrate even closer together, with an ultrashort orbit reaching just 18 minutes, before they begin to expand and drift apart.

    Decades ago, researchers at MIT and elsewhere predicted that such cataclysmic variables should transition to ultrashort orbits. This is the first time such a transitioning system has been observed directly.

    “This is a rare case where we caught one of these systems in the act of switching from hydrogen to helium accretion,” says Kevin Burdge, a Pappalardo Fellow in MIT’s Department of Physics. “People predicted these objects should transition to ultrashort orbits, and it was debated for a long time whether they could get short enough to emit detectable gravitational waves. This discovery puts that to rest.”​

    Burdge and colleagues report their discovery today in Nature [below]. The study’s co-authors include collaborators from multiple institutions, including the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

    Sky search

    The astronomers discovered the new system within a vast catalog of stars, observed by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a survey that uses a camera attached to a telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California to take high-resolution pictures of wide swaths of the sky.

    The survey has taken more than 1,000 images of each of the more than 1 billion stars in the sky, recording each star’s changing brightness over days, months, and years.

    Burdge combed through the catalog, looking for signals of systems with ultrashort orbits, the dynamics of which can be so extreme that they should give off dramatic bursts of light and emit gravitational waves.

    “Gravitational waves are allowing us to study the universe in a totally new way,” says Burdge, who is searching the sky for new gravitational-wave sources.

    For this new study, Burdge looked through the ZTF data for stars that appeared to flash repeatedly, with a period of less than an hour — a frequency that typically signals a system of at least two closely orbiting objects, with one crossing the other and briefly blocking its light.

    He used an algorithm to weed through over 1 billion stars, each of which was recorded in more than 1,000 images. The algorithm sifted out about 1 million stars that appeared to flash every hour or so. Among these, Burdge then looked by eye for signals of particular interest. His search zeroed in on ZTF J1813+4251 — a system that resides about 3,000 light years from Earth, in the Hercules constellation.

    “This thing popped up, where I saw an eclipse happening every 51 minutes, and I said, OK, this is definitely a binary,” Burdge recalls.

    A dense core

    He and his colleagues further focused on the system using the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawai’i and the Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain.

    They found that the system was exceptionally “clean,” meaning they could clearly see its light change with each eclipse. With such clarity, they were able to precisely measure each object’s mass and radius, as well as their orbital period.

    They found that the first object was likely a white dwarf, at 1/100th the size of the sun and about half its mass. The second object was a sun-like star near the end of its life, at a tenth the size and mass of the sun (about the size of Jupiter). The stars also appeared to orbit each other every 51 minutes.

    Yet, something didn’t quite add up.

    “This one star looked like the sun, but the sun can’t fit into an orbit shorter than eight hours — what’s up here?” Burdge says.

    He soon hit upon an explanation: Nearly 30 years ago, researchers including MIT Professor Emeritus Saul Rappaport had predicted that ultrashort-orbit systems should exist as cataclysmic variables. As the white dwarf eats orbits the sun-like star and eats away its light hydrogen, the sun-like star should burn out, leaving a core of helium — an element that is more dense than hydrogen, and heavy enough to keep the dead star in a tight, ultrashort orbit.

    Burdge realized that ZTF J1813+4251 was likely a cataclysmic variable, in the act of transitioning from a hydrogen- to helium-rich body. The discovery both confirms the predictions made by Rappaport and others, and also stands as the shortest orbit cataclysmic variable detected to date.

    “This is a special system,” Burdge says. “We got doubly lucky to find a system that answers a big open question, and is one of the most beautifully behaved cataclysmic variables known.”

    This research was supported, in part, by the European Research Council.

    Science paper:
    Nature

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the CfA leads a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, Earth and space sciences, as well as science education. The CfA either leads or participates in the development and operations of more than fifteen ground- and space-based astronomical research observatories across the electromagnetic spectrum, including the forthcoming Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA’s Great Observatories.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s NSF NOIRLab NOAO Las Campanas Observatory(CL) some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope.

    Hosting more than 850 scientists, engineers, and support staff, the CfA is among the largest astronomical research institutes in the world. Its projects have included Nobel Prize-winning advances in cosmology and high energy astrophysics, the discovery of many exoplanets, and the first image of a black hole. The CfA also serves a major role in the global astrophysics research community: the CfA’s Astrophysics Data System, for example, has been universally adopted as the world’s online database of astronomy and physics papers. Known for most of its history as the “Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics”, the CfA rebranded in 2018 to its current name in an effort to reflect its unique status as a joint collaboration between Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. The CfA’s current Director (since 2004) is Charles R. Alcock, who succeeds Irwin I. Shapiro (Director from 1982 to 2004) and George B. Field (Director from 1973 to 1982).

    The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian is not formally an independent legal organization, but rather an institutional entity operated under a Memorandum of Understanding between Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. This collaboration was formalized on July 1, 1973, with the goal of coordinating the related research activities of the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under the leadership of a single Director, and housed within the same complex of buildings on the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The CfA’s history is therefore also that of the two fully independent organizations that comprise it. With a combined lifetime of more than 300 years, HCO and SAO have been host to major milestones in astronomical history that predate the CfA’s founding.

    History of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)

    Samuel Pierpont Langley, the third Secretary of the Smithsonian, founded the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory on the south yard of the Smithsonian Castle (on the U.S. National Mall) on March 1,1890. The Astrophysical Observatory’s initial, primary purpose was to “record the amount and character of the Sun’s heat”. Charles Greeley Abbot was named SAO’s first director, and the observatory operated solar telescopes to take daily measurements of the Sun’s intensity in different regions of the optical electromagnetic spectrum. In doing so, the observatory enabled Abbot to make critical refinements to the Solar constant, as well as to serendipitously discover Solar variability. It is likely that SAO’s early history as a solar observatory was part of the inspiration behind the Smithsonian’s “sunburst” logo, designed in 1965 by Crimilda Pontes.

    In 1955, the scientific headquarters of SAO moved from Washington, D.C. to Cambridge, Massachusetts to affiliate with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO). Fred Lawrence Whipple, then the chairman of the Harvard Astronomy Department, was named the new director of SAO. The collaborative relationship between SAO and HCO therefore predates the official creation of the CfA by 18 years. SAO’s move to Harvard’s campus also resulted in a rapid expansion of its research program. Following the launch of Sputnik (the world’s first human-made satellite) in 1957, SAO accepted a national challenge to create a worldwide satellite-tracking network, collaborating with the United States Air Force on Project Space Track.

    With the creation of National Aeronautics and Space Administration the following year and throughout the space race, SAO led major efforts in the development of orbiting observatories and large ground-based telescopes, laboratory and theoretical astrophysics, as well as the application of computers to astrophysical problems.

    History of Harvard College Observatory (HCO)

    Partly in response to renewed public interest in astronomy following the 1835 return of Halley’s Comet, the Harvard College Observatory was founded in 1839, when the Harvard Corporation appointed William Cranch Bond as an “Astronomical Observer to the University”. For its first four years of operation, the observatory was situated at the Dana-Palmer House (where Bond also resided) near Harvard Yard, and consisted of little more than three small telescopes and an astronomical clock. In his 1840 book recounting the history of the college, then Harvard President Josiah Quincy III noted that “…there is wanted a reflecting telescope equatorially mounted…”. This telescope, the 15-inch “Great Refractor”, opened seven years later (in 1847) at the top of Observatory Hill in Cambridge (where it still exists today, housed in the oldest of the CfA’s complex of buildings). The telescope was the largest in the United States from 1847 until 1867. William Bond and pioneer photographer John Adams Whipple used the Great Refractor to produce the first clear Daguerrotypes of the Moon (winning them an award at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London). Bond and his son, George Phillips Bond (the second Director of HCO), used it to discover Saturn’s 8th moon, Hyperion (which was also independently discovered by William Lassell).

    Under the directorship of Edward Charles Pickering from 1877 to 1919, the observatory became the world’s major producer of stellar spectra and magnitudes, established an observing station in Peru, and applied mass-production methods to the analysis of data. It was during this time that HCO became host to a series of major discoveries in astronomical history, powered by the Observatory’s so-called “Computers” (women hired by Pickering as skilled workers to process astronomical data). These “Computers” included Williamina Fleming; Annie Jump Cannon; Henrietta Swan Leavitt; Florence Cushman; and Antonia Maury, all widely recognized today as major figures in scientific history. Henrietta Swan Leavitt, for example, discovered the so-called period-luminosity relation for Classical Cepheid variable stars, establishing the first major “standard candle” with which to measure the distance to galaxies. Now called “Leavitt’s Law”, the discovery is regarded as one of the most foundational and important in the history of astronomy; astronomers like Edwin Hubble, for example, would later use Leavitt’s Law to establish that the Universe is expanding, the primary piece of evidence for the Big Bang model.

    Upon Pickering’s retirement in 1921, the Directorship of HCO fell to Harlow Shapley (a major participant in the so-called “Great Debate” of 1920). This era of the observatory was made famous by the work of Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin, who became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College (a short walk from the Observatory). Payne-Gapochkin’s 1925 thesis proposed that stars were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, an idea thought ridiculous at the time. Between Shapley’s tenure and the formation of the CfA, the observatory was directed by Donald H. Menzel and then Leo Goldberg, both of whom maintained widely recognized programs in solar and stellar astrophysics. Menzel played a major role in encouraging the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to move to Cambridge and collaborate more closely with HCO.

    Joint history as the Center for Astrophysics (CfA)

    The collaborative foundation for what would ultimately give rise to the Center for Astrophysics began with SAO’s move to Cambridge in 1955. Fred Whipple, who was already chair of the Harvard Astronomy Department (housed within HCO since 1931), was named SAO’s new director at the start of this new era; an early test of the model for a unified Directorship across HCO and SAO. The following 18 years would see the two independent entities merge ever closer together, operating effectively (but informally) as one large research center.

    This joint relationship was formalized as the new Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics on July 1, 1973. George B. Field, then affiliated with University of California- Berkeley, was appointed as its first Director. That same year, a new astronomical journal, the CfA Preprint Series was created, and a CfA/SAO instrument flying aboard Skylab discovered coronal holes on the Sun. The founding of the CfA also coincided with the birth of X-ray astronomy as a new, major field that was largely dominated by CfA scientists in its early years. Riccardo Giacconi, regarded as the “father of X-ray astronomy”, founded the High Energy Astrophysics Division within the new CfA by moving most of his research group (then at American Sciences and Engineering) to SAO in 1973. That group would later go on to launch the Einstein Observatory (the first imaging X-ray telescope) in 1976, and ultimately lead the proposals and development of what would become the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra, the second of NASA’s Great Observatories and still the most powerful X-ray telescope in history, continues operations today as part of the CfA’s Chandra X-ray Center. Giacconi would later win the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics for his foundational work in X-ray astronomy.

    Shortly after the launch of the Einstein Observatory, the CfA’s Steven Weinberg won the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on electroweak unification. The following decade saw the start of the landmark CfA Redshift Survey (the first attempt to map the large scale structure of the Universe), as well as the release of the Field Report, a highly influential Astronomy & Astrophysics Decadal Survey chaired by the outgoing CfA Director George Field. He would be replaced in 1982 by Irwin Shapiro, who during his tenure as Director (1982 to 2004) oversaw the expansion of the CfA’s observing facilities around the world.

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

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration SOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency NASA Kepler Space Telescope

    CfA-led discoveries throughout this period include canonical work on Supernova 1987A, the “CfA2 Great Wall” (then the largest known coherent structure in the Universe), the best-yet evidence for supermassive black holes, and the first convincing evidence for an extrasolar planet.

    The 1990s also saw the CfA unwittingly play a major role in the history of computer science and the internet: in 1990, SAO developed SAOImage, one of the world’s first X11-based applications made publicly available (its successor, DS9, remains the most widely used astronomical FITS image viewer worldwide). During this time, scientists at the CfA also began work on what would become the Astrophysics Data System (ADS), one of the world’s first online databases of research papers. By 1993, the ADS was running the first routine transatlantic queries between databases, a foundational aspect of the internet today.

    The CfA Today

    Research at the CfA

    Charles Alcock, known for a number of major works related to massive compact halo objects, was named the third director of the CfA in 2004. Today Alcock overseas one of the largest and most productive astronomical institutes in the world, with more than 850 staff and an annual budget in excess of $100M. The Harvard Department of Astronomy, housed within the CfA, maintains a continual complement of approximately 60 Ph.D. students, more than 100 postdoctoral researchers, and roughly 25 undergraduate majors in astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard College. SAO, meanwhile, hosts a long-running and highly rated REU Summer Intern program as well as many visiting graduate students. The CfA estimates that roughly 10% of the professional astrophysics community in the United States spent at least a portion of their career or education there.

    The CfA is either a lead or major partner in the operations of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, the Submillimeter Array, MMT Observatory, the South Pole Telescope, VERITAS, and a number of other smaller ground-based telescopes. The CfA’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan includes the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope as a driving priority for the Center.

    CFA Harvard Smithsonian Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, Altitude 4,205 m (13,796 ft).

    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL. The SPT collaboration is made up of over a dozen (mostly North American) institutions, including The University of Chicago ; The University of California-Berkeley ; Case Western Reserve University; Harvard/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; The University of Colorado- Boulder; McGill (CA) University, The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; The University of California- Davis; Ludwig Maximilians Universität München(DE); DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory; and The National Institute for Standards and Technology.

    Along with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the CfA plays a central role in a number of space-based observing facilities, including the recently launched Parker Solar Probe, Kepler Space Telescope, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), and HINODE. The CfA, via the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, recently played a major role in the Lynx X-ray Observatory, a NASA-Funded Large Mission Concept Study commissioned as part of the 2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics (“Astro2020”). If launched, Lynx would be the most powerful X-ray observatory constructed to date, enabling order-of-magnitude advances in capability over Chandra.

    [caption id="attachment_60988" align="alignnone" width="632"] NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus named to honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Dynamics Observatory.

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構] (JP)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration HINODE spacecraft.

    SAO is one of the 13 stakeholder institutes for the Event Horizon Telescope Board, and the CfA hosts its Array Operations Center. In 2019, the project revealed the first direct image of a black hole.

    Messier 87*, The first image of the event horizon of a black hole. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. Image via The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released on 10 April 2019 via National Science Foundation.

    The result is widely regarded as a triumph not only of observational radio astronomy, but of its intersection with theoretical astrophysics. Union of the observational and theoretical subfields of astrophysics has been a major focus of the CfA since its founding.

    In 2018, the CfA rebranded, changing its official name to the “Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian” in an effort to reflect its unique status as a joint collaboration between Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. Today, the CfA receives roughly 70% of its funding from NASA, 22% from Smithsonian federal funds, and 4% from the National Science Foundation. The remaining 4% comes from contributors including the United States Department of Energy, the Annenberg Foundation, as well as other gifts and endowments.

    MIT Seal

    [caption id="attachment_116504" align="alignnone" width="632"] USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities.

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However, six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched “OpenCourseWare” to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

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

     
  • richardmitnick 7:55 am on October 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Researchers reveal a galaxy sparkling with the universe’s oldest star clusters", Astrophysics, , , , ,   

    From The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) At The University of Toronto (CA): “Researchers reveal a galaxy sparkling with the universe’s oldest star clusters” 

    From The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA)

    At

    The University of Toronto (CA)

    10.3.22
    Josslyn Johnstone

    1
    Thousands of galaxies flood this near-infrared, high-resolution image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 (Photo courtesy of NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.)

    A team of Canadian astronomers, including experts from the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science, have used the James Webb Telescope (JWST) to identify the most distant globular clusters ever discovered – dense groups of millions of stars that may be relics containing the first and oldest stars in the universe.

    The early analysis of Webb’s First Deep Field image, which depicts some of the universe’s earliest galaxies, was published Sept. 29 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters [below].

    “Webb was built to find the first stars and the first galaxies and to help us understand the origins of complexity in the universe, such as the chemical elements and the building blocks of life,” says Lamiya Mowla, a post-doctoral researcher at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics and co-lead author of the study, which was carried out by the CAnadian NIRISS Unbiased Cluster Survey (CANUCS) team.

    “This discovery in Webb’s First Deep Field is already providing a detailed look at the earliest phase of star formation, confirming the incredible power of Webb.”

    3
    The researchers studied the Sparkler galaxy located in Webb’s First Deep Field and used JWST to determine that five of the sparkling objects around it are globular clusters (image via Canadian Space Agency with images from NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Mowla, Iyer et al. 2022.)

    In the finely detailed Webb’s First Deep Field image, the researchers zeroed in on what they’ve dubbed “the Sparkler galaxy,” which is nine billion light years away. This galaxy got its name for the compact objects appearing as small yellow-red dots surrounding it, referred to by the researchers as “sparkles.” The team posited that these sparkles could either be young clusters actively forming stars – born three billion years after the Big Bang at the peak of star formation – or old globular clusters. Globular clusters are ancient collections of stars from a galaxy’s infancy and contain clues about its earliest phases of formation and growth.

    From their initial analysis of 12 of these compact objects, the researchers determined that five of them are not only globular clusters but among the oldest ones known.

    “Looking at the first images from JWST and discovering old globular clusters around distant galaxies was an incredible moment – one that wasn’t possible with previous Hubble Space Telescope imaging,” says Kartheik G. Iyer, a post-doctoral researcher at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics and co-lead author of the study.

    “Since we could observe the sparkles across a range of wavelengths, we could model them and better understand their physical properties – like how old they are and how many stars they contain. We hope the knowledge that globular clusters can be observed at from such great distances with Webb will spur further science and searches for similar objects.”

    The Milky Way galaxy is known to have about 150 globular clusters, but how and when exactly these dense clumps of stars formed is not well understood. Astronomers know that globular clusters can be extremely old, but it is incredibly challenging to measure their ages. Using very distant globular clusters to age-date the first stars in distant galaxies has not been done before and is only possible with Webb.

    “These newly identified clusters were formed close to the first time it was even possible to form stars,” says Mowla. “Because the Sparkler galaxy is much farther away than our own Milky Way, it is easier to determine the ages of its globular clusters. We are observing the Sparkler as it was nine billion years ago, when the universe was only four-and-a-half billion years old, looking at something that happened a long time ago. Think of it as guessing a person’s age based on their appearance – it’s easy to tell the difference between a five- and 10-year-old, but hard to tell the difference between a 50- and 55-year-old.”

    Until now, astronomers could not see the surrounding compact objects of the Sparkler galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope. This changed with Webb’s increased resolution and sensitivity, unveiling the tiny dots surrounding the galaxy for the first time in Webb’s First Deep Field image. The Sparkler galaxy is special because it is magnified by a factor of 100 due to an effect called gravitational lensing – where the SMACS 0723 galaxy cluster in the foreground distorts what is behind it, much like a giant magnifying glass. Moreover, gravitational lensing produces three separate images of the Sparkler, allowing astronomers to study the galaxy in greater detail.

    4
    Gravitational lensing is used by astronomers to study very distant and very faint galaxies (image courtesy of NASA, ESA & L. Calçada)

    “Our study of the Sparkler highlights the tremendous power in combining the unique capabilities of Webb with the natural magnification afforded by gravitational lensing,” says CANUCS team lead Chris Willott from the National Research Council’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre. “The team is excited about more discoveries to come when JWST turns its eye on the CANUCS galaxy clusters next month.”

    The researchers combined new data from Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) with Hubble Space Telescope archival data.

    NIRCam detects faint objects using longer and redder wavelengths to observe past what is visible to the human eye and even the Hubble Space Telescope. Both magnifications due to the lensing by the galaxy cluster and the high resolution of JWST are what made observing compact objects possible.

    The Canadian-made Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) instrument on Webb provided independent confirmation that the objects are old globular clusters because the researchers did not observe oxygen emission lines – emissions with measurable spectra given off by young clusters that are actively forming stars. NIRISS also helped unravel the geometry of the triply lensed images of the Sparkler.

    “Webb’s made-in-Canada NIRISS instrument was vital in helping us understand how the three images of the Sparkler and its globular clusters are connected,” says Marcin Sawicki, a professor at Saint. Mary’s University who is Canada Research Chair in Astronomy and co-author of the study. “Seeing several of the Sparkler’s globular clusters imaged three times made it clear that they are orbiting around the Sparkler galaxy rather than being simply in front of it by chance.”

    Webb will observe the CANUCS fields starting in October 2022, leveraging its data to examine five massive clusters of galaxies, around which the researchers expect to find more such systems. Future studies will also model the galaxy cluster to understand the lensing effect and execute more robust analyses to explain the star formation histories.

    Collaborating institutions include York University and institutions in the United States and Europe. The research was supported by the Canadian Space Agency and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

    Science paper:
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters
    See the science paper for instructive imagery.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Dunlap Institute campus

    The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA) at the University of Toronto (CA) is an endowed research institute with nearly 70 faculty, postdocs, students and staff, dedicated to innovative technology, ground-breaking research, world-class training, and public engagement. The research themes of its faculty and Dunlap Fellows span the Universe and include: optical, infrared and radio instrumentation; Dark Energy; large-scale structure; the Cosmic Microwave Background; the interstellar medium; galaxy evolution; cosmic magnetism; and time-domain science.

    The Dunlap Institute (CA), Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA), Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CA), and Centre for Planetary Sciences (CA) comprise the leading centre for astronomical research in Canada, at the leading research university in the country, the University of Toronto (CA).

    The Dunlap Institute (CA) is committed to making its science, training and public outreach activities productive and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality or religion.

    Our work is greatly enhanced through collaborations with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA), Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CA), David Dunlap Observatory (CA), Ontario Science Centre (CA), Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (CA), the Toronto Public Library (CA), and many other partners.

    The University of Toronto participates in the CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment at The Canada NRCC Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, British Columbia(CA) Altitude 545 m (1,788 ft).


    The The University of Toronto (CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    The University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, The University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities outside the United States, the other being McGill University [Université McGill] (CA) .

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.

    Research

    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at The University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:37 am on October 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "15 spectacular photos from the Dark Energy Camera", Astrophysics, , , , , ,   

    From “Symmetry”: “15 spectacular photos from the Dark Energy Camera” Photo Essay 

    Symmetry Mag

    From “Symmetry”

    10.4.22
    Lauren Biron

    ___________________________________________________________________
    The Dark Energy Survey

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam] built at The DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

    NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CL) Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the Dark-Energy-Camera – DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile at an altitude of 7200 feet.

    NOIRLabNSF NOIRLab NOAO Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) approximately 80 km to the East of La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 2200 meters.

    The Dark Energy Survey is an international, collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies, detect thousands of supernovae, and find patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of our Universe. The Dark Energy Survey began searching the Southern skies on August 31, 2013.

    According to Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, gravity should lead to a slowing of the cosmic expansion. Yet, in 1998, two teams of astronomers studying distant supernovae made the remarkable discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up.

    _______________________________________________________________________
    Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 Expansion of the Universe

    4 October 2011

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011

    with one half to

    Saul Perlmutter
    The Supernova Cosmology Project
    The DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The University of California-Berkeley,

    and the other half jointly to

    Brian P. SchmidtThe High-z Supernova Search Team, The Australian National University, Weston Creek, Australia.

    and

    Adam G. Riess

    The High-z Supernova Search Team,The Johns Hopkins University and The Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD.

    Written in the stars

    “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice…” *

    What will be the final destiny of the Universe? Probably it will end in ice, if we are to believe this year’s Nobel Laureates in Physics. They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the Laureates themselves.

    In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Saul Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Brian Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Adam Riess was to play a crucial role.

    The research teams raced to map the Universe by locating the most distant supernovae. More sophisticated telescopes on the ground and in space, as well as more powerful computers and new digital imaging sensors (CCD, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009), opened the possibility in the 1990s to add more pieces to the cosmological puzzle.

    The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called Type 1a supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected – this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.

    For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice.

    The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma – perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.

    *Robert Frost, Fire and Ice, 1920
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    To explain cosmic acceleration, cosmologists are faced with two possibilities: either 70% of the universe exists in an exotic form, now called Dark Energy, that exhibits a gravitational force opposite to the attractive gravity of ordinary matter, or General Relativity must be replaced by a new theory of gravity on cosmic scales.

    The Dark Energy Survey is designed to probe the origin of the accelerating universe and help uncover the nature of Dark Energy by measuring the 14-billion-year history of cosmic expansion with high precision. More than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia are working on the project. The collaboration built and is using an extremely sensitive 570-Megapixel digital camera, DECam, mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, high in the Chilean Andes, to carry out the project.

    Over six years (2013-2019), the Dark Energy Survey collaboration used 758 nights of observation to carry out a deep, wide-area survey to record information from 300 million galaxies that are billions of light-years from Earth. The survey imaged 5000 square degrees of the southern sky in five optical filters to obtain detailed information about each galaxy. A fraction of the survey time is used to observe smaller patches of sky roughly once a week to discover and study thousands of supernovae and other astrophysical transients.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    3
    Photo by Reidar Hahn, Fermilab.

    The powerful camera built for the Dark Energy Survey has taken more than 1 million photos from its perch in Chile. Here are some of the best.

    From high atop a mountain in the Chilean Andes, the Dark Energy Camera has snapped more than one million exposures of the southern sky. The images have captured around 2.5 billion astronomical objects, including galaxies and galaxy clusters, stars, comets, asteroids, dwarf planets, and supernovae.

    Now 10 years since the Dark Energy Camera first saw stars, the impressive 570-megapixel camera was originally built at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for the Dark Energy Survey. The international DES collaboration uses the deep-space data to investigate dark energy, a phenomenon that is accelerating the expansion of space.

    The Dark Energy Survey, whose scientists are now analyzing the data collected from 2013-2019, isn’t the only experiment to benefit from the powerful piece of equipment. Other research groups have also used the camera to conduct additional astronomical observations and surveys. Here are some of the many stellar photos created using the Dark Energy Camera.

    3
    Acknowledgment: M. Soraisam (University of Illinois). Image processing: Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mahdi Zamani & Davide de Martin CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA.

    The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 83 or NGC 5236) is about 15 million lightyears from Earth. It took DECam more than 11 hours of exposure time to capture this image. The camera is mounted on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, a program of NSF’s NOIRLab.

    4
    Acknowledgments: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab) and D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab) Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA.

    The Dark Energy Survey imaged one-eighth of the sky, capturing light from galaxies up to 8 billion lightyears away. The survey repeatedly imaged 10 “deep fields” like the one shown here. By returning to certain sections of the sky, scientists are able to build up and collect different wavelengths of light to image incredibly distant galaxies and faint objects. These deep fields can be used to calibrate the rest of the DES data and to hunt for supernovae.

    5
    Marty Murphy, Nikolay Kuropatkin, Huan Lin and Brian Yanny, Dark Energy Survey.

    While the Dark Energy Survey typically looks at objects millions or billions of lightyears away, sometimes closer objects come into view. In 2014, the Dark Energy Survey spotted Comet Lovejoy traveling about 51 million miles from Earth. Each rectangle in the image represents one of the 62 CCDs that DECam uses, each one a sophisticated sensor designed to capture light from distant galaxies.

    6
    Dark Energy Survey.

    The spiral galaxy NGC 1566, sometimes called the Spanish Dancer, is about 69 million lightyears from Earth. Each photo from DECam is the result of choices made during image processing. The camera uses five filters that each record a different wavelength of light (between 400 and 1,080 nanometers) and can be combined to make color images.

    7
    W. Clarkson (UM-Dearborn)/CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF /AURA/STScI, C. Johnson (STScI), and M. Rich (UCLA)

    This DECam photo, taken looking toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy, covers an area roughly twice as wide as the full moon and contains more than 180,000 stars. You can also see a wider version encompassing more of the Milky Way’s bulge. While beautiful, the stars and dust of the Milky Way block out distant galaxies needed to study dark energy—so the Dark Energy Survey typically aims the telescope in the opposite direction, away from the plane of our galaxy.

    8
    Erin Sheldon, Dark Energy Survey.

    From our position on Earth, we see the spiral galaxy NGC 681 from the side (or edge-on). The galaxy, also known as the Little Sombrero Galaxy, is about 66.5 million lightyears away. To keep images of distant objects as sharp as possible, DECam uses a mechanism called a Hexapod, which uses six pneumatically driven pistons to align the camera’s many optical elements between exposures. In addition to the five light filters, DECam also has five optical lenses, the biggest of which is more than 3 feet wide and weighs 388 pounds.

    6
    Image processing: Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mahdi Zamani and Davide de Martin
    CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/SMASH/D. Nidever (Montana State University)

    This image shows a wide-angle view of the Small Magellanic Cloud. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are dwarf satellite galaxies to the Milky Way, and their proximity makes them a valuable place to study star formation. The Dark Energy Camera captured deep looks at our galactic neighbors for the Survey of the Magellanic Stellar History, or SMASH.

    10
    Image processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), J. Miller (Gemini Observatory/NSF’s NOIRLab), M. Zamani and D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab) Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

    The large galaxy at the center of this image is NGC 1515, a spiral galaxy with several neighboring galaxies in the Dorado Group. When looking at the large-scale structure of the universe, astronomers find galaxies are not distributed randomly but instead cluster together, forming a sort of cosmic web. The Dark Energy Survey has made some of the most precise maps of the universe’s structure and its evolution over time.

    11
    Robert Gruendl, Dark Energy Survey

    NGC 288 is a globular cluster of stars located about 28,700 lightyears from Earth. These stars are bound together by gravity and are concentrated toward the center of the sphere. Globular clusters are an interesting way to study how stars and our own Milky Way evolved, though the Dark Energy Survey looks at distant galaxies and galaxy clusters to better understand dark energy.

    12
    PI: M. Soraisam (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign/NSF’s NOIRLab) Image processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab) and D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab) CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA

    This Dark Energy Camera image shows light from Centaurus A, a galaxy more than 12 million lightyears away. It is partially obscured by dark bands of dust caused by the collision of two galaxies.

    13
    Image processing: DES, Jen Miller (Gemini Observatory/NSF’s NOIRLab), Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mahdi Zamani and Davide de Martin DES/DOE/Fermilab/NCSA and CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

    The Dark Energy Survey has found several new dwarf galaxies and used the data to limit how big potential dark matter particles could be. This irregular dwarf galaxy, IC 1613, is about 2.4 million lightyears away and contains around 100 million stars. Dwarf galaxies are considered small and faint by astronomical standards; for comparison, our Milky Way galaxy is estimated to contain between 100 and 400 billion stars.

    14
    Rob Morgan, Dark Energy Survey

    The Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) is a planetary nebula about 650 lightyears from Earth. It is shown here extending over several of the Dark Energy Camera’s CCDs. Planetary nebulae, so named because they appeared round and sharp-edged like planets, are actually the remains of stars. Here, a dying star has ejected its outer layers, leaving a small white dwarf surrounded by gas. In billions of years, our own sun will experience a similar fate.

    15
    Dark Energy Survey

    The spiral Sculptor Galaxy is about 11 million lightyears away. It’s one of more than 500 million galaxies imaged by the Dark Energy Survey across 5000 square degrees of sky. To optimize observations, DES used automated software to point the camera and capture exposures. The software could factor in what part of the sky was overhead, weather conditions, moonlight, and which areas had been recently imaged.

    16
    Image processing: DES, Jen Miller (Gemini Observatory/NSF’s NOIRLab), Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mahdi Zamani and Davide de Martin DES/DOE/Fermilab/NCSA and CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

    The wispy shells around elliptical galaxy NGC 474 (center) are actually hundreds of millions of stars. To the left is a spiral galaxy, and in the background there are thousands of other, more distant galaxies—visible in this zoomable version. DECam images contain vast amounts of information; each one is about a gigabyte in size. The Dark Energy Survey would take a few hundred images per session, producing up to 2.5 terabytes of data in a single night.

    17
    Dark Energy Survey

    The Dark Energy Camera captured the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 in its very first photographs in 2012. The galaxy sits in the Fornax cluster, about 60 million lightyears from Earth. This close-up comes from the camera’s much wider field of view, which you can explore in the interactive DECam viewer.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 10:09 am on October 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The world's biggest digital camera is almost ready to be installed on its telescope", Astrophysics, , , , National Public Radio, NSF NOIRLab NOAO Vera C. Rubin Observatory [LSST] Telescope,   

    From National Public Radio : “The world’s biggest digital camera is almost ready to be installed on its telescope” 

    From National Public Radio

    9.23.22
    Joe Palca

    Technicians are putting the final touches on the world’s largest digital camera at the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The camera will be sent to Chile and installed on a telescope in the Andes.


    _________________________________________________________________
    MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

    The world’s largest digital camera is nearly complete. Scientists expect exciting discoveries once the 3.2 billion-pixel camera is paired with its telescope. NPR’s science correspondent Joe Palca recently visited the lab where the camera was built.

    JOE PALCA: The camera is being built at the Department of Energy-funded SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. This camera is huge. It weighs three tons, and it’s two stories tall. When I visited earlier this month, it was lying horizontal on a large steel platform.

    AARON ROODMAN: The lens cover is still on, so we can’t look in the business end.

    PALCA: Aaron Roodman is the camera program lead. We’re inside a high-ceiling clean room, wearing Tyvek hoods, jumpsuits and booties, and latex gloves to avoid contaminating the equipment inside the camera. Sitting on its side, the camera body looks to me a bit like a jet engine.

    ROODMAN: So you want to go up on the – should we go up on the platform to take a closer look?

    PALCA: We clamber up the half-dozen metal steps to the platform. We’re now just inches away from the camera body – so close I could touch it. Roodman says, don’t.

    ROODMAN: It’s OK if you did, but let’s try not to.

    PALCA: Oh, OK.

    ROODMAN: Yeah. Let’s not…

    PALCA: Well, you know, every kid wants to touch it.

    ROODMAN: I know. Let’s try not touching it. I think nothing would happen if you did…

    PALCA: OK.

    ROODMAN: …But just a good practice not to.

    PALCA: Roodman’s caution is understandable. If I spent $168 million for a camera, I wouldn’t want people messing with it either. And there’s nothing quite like this camera. There are custom-built lenses, filters, bespoke electronics, a giant shutter and special refrigeration to keep the equipment cool, all packed into the cylindrical camera body.

    ROODMAN: In this configuration, it is just – it just looks jam-packed, but seeing everything together like this is fantastic.

    PALCA: The Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile, where the camera is headed, is also unique.

    Its telescope is designed to see a large chunk of the sky at a time, so it needs a huge camera to capture the images. Each night, the camera is expected to generate 20 terabytes of data.

    ROODMAN: Right now, we’re scheduled to ship the camera to Chile in April.

    PALCA: This should be a time of elation for people working on this project. The camera’s nearly finished. The telescope is also nearly complete, and Roodman and his colleagues are pretty upbeat. But there’s a problem nobody thought of when the telescope was conceived – communications satellites, thousands already in orbit, many more to come. To the naked eye, they’re usually invisible. But to the telescope camera, they’re bright objects.

    ROODMAN: They’re going to be anywhere from a medium nuisance to a major nuisance. It’s not a good development for us at all.

    PALCA: You can write a computer program that will digitally eliminate the satellites. But because the Vera Rubin telescope sees such a large chunk of the sky at once and there are so many satellites, it will be hard to remove them all. Tony Tyson is chief scientist for the new observatory. He says it was designed to find what Tyson calls things that go bump in the night – objects that are not there one night, but appear a day or so later. These could be exploding stars or stellar collisions or something entirely new to science. The satellites could make this a problem. Tyson says, when the telescope sees something unusual like that, it will alert other telescopes to look at that part of the sky so whatever went bump in the night can be studied in depth.

    TONY TYSON: I think that we’re going to have a very big background of false events – of bogus alerts. That’s what worries me most.

    PALCA: Things that the software misidentifies as new, but are really just a reflection from a satellite. A false tip will send other telescopes off on a wild goose chase. Tyson says some companies, such as Starlink, have agreed to take steps to mitigate the problem, such as using less reflective material in their satellites. Other companies haven’t been as accommodating. Tyson says they won’t know for sure how big a nuisance these satellites are until they install the camera in the telescope and start looking at the sky. Joe Palca, NPR News.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Great storytelling and rigorous reporting. These are the passions that fuel us. Our business is telling stories, small and large, that start conversations, increase understanding, enrich lives and enliven minds.

    We are reporters in Washington D.C., and in bunkers, streets, alleys, jungles and deserts around the world. We are engineers, editors, inventors and visionaries. We are Member stations around the country who are deeply connected to our communities. We are listeners and donors who support public radio because we know how it has enriched our own lives and want it to grow strong in a new age.

    We are NPR. And this is our story.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:36 pm on October 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "SOAR Telescope Catches Dimorphos’s Expanding Comet-like Tail After DART Impact", , , Astrophysics, , ,   

    From The National Science Foundation/ National Optical Astronomy Observatory NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) : “SOAR Telescope Catches Dimorphos’s Expanding Comet-like Tail After DART Impact” 

    From The National Science Foundation/ National Optical Astronomy Observatory NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory)

    10.3.22
    Charles Blue
    Public Information Officer
    NSF’s NOIRLab
    Tel: +1 202 236 6324
    Email: charles.blue@noirlab.edu

    1
    The SOAR Telescope in Chile [below], operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, imaged the more than 10,000 kilometers long trail of debris blasted from the surface of Dimorphos two days after the asteroid was impacted by NASA’s DART spacecraft.

    NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft intentionally crashed into Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet in the double-asteroid system of Didymos, on Monday 26 September 2022.

    This was the first planetary defense test in which an impact of a spacecraft attempted to modify the orbit of an asteroid.

    Two days after DART’s impact, astronomers Teddy Kareta (Lowell Observatory) and Matthew Knight (US Naval Academy) used the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) Telescope [1], at NSF’s NOIRLab’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, to capture the vast plume of dust and debris blasted from the asteroid’s surface. In this new image, the dust trail — the ejecta that has been pushed away by the Sun’s radiation pressure, not unlike the tail of a comet — can be seen stretching from the center to the right-hand edge of the field of view, which at SOAR is about 3.1 arcminutes using the Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph. At Didymos’s distance from Earth at the time of the observation, that would equate to at least 10,000 kilometers (6000 miles) from the point of impact.

    “It is amazing how clearly we were able to capture the structure and extent of the aftermath in the days following the impact,” said Kareta.

    “Now begins the next phase of work for the DART team as they analyze their data and observations by our team and other observers around the world who shared in studying this exciting event,” said Knight. We plan to use SOAR to monitor the ejecta in the coming weeks and months. The combination of SOAR and AEON [2] is just what we need for efficient follow-up of evolving events like this one.”

    These observations will allow scientists to gain knowledge about the nature of the surface of Dimorphos, how much material was ejected by the collision, how fast it was ejected, and the distribution of particle sizes in the expanding dust cloud — for example, whether the impact caused the moonlet to throw off big chunks of material or mostly fine dust. Analyzing this information will help scientists protect Earth and its inhabitants by better understanding the amount and nature of the ejecta resulting from an impact, and how that might modify an asteroid’s orbit.

    SOAR’s observations demonstrate the capabilities of NSF-funded AURA facilities in planetary-defense planning and initiatives. In the future, Vera C. Rubin Observatory, funded by NSF and the US Department of Energy and currently under construction in Chile, will conduct a census of the Solar System to search for potentially hazardous objects.

    Didymos was discovered in 1996 with the UArizona 0.9-meter Spacewatch Telescope located at Kitt Peak National Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab.
    Notes

    [1] SOAR is designed to produce the best quality images of any observatory in its class. Located on Cerro Pachón, SOAR is a joint project of the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovações do Brasil (MCTI/LNA), NSF’s NOIRLab, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Michigan State University (MSU).

    [2] The Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON) is a facility ecosystem for accessible and efficient follow up of astronomical transients and Time Domain science. At the heart of the network, NOIRLab, with its SOAR 4.1-meter and Gemini 8-meter telescopes (and soon the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at CTIO), has joined forces with Las Cumbres Observatory to build such a network for the era of Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). SOAR is the pathfinder facility for incorporating the 4-meter-class and 8-meter-class telescopes into AEON.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    What is NOIRLab?

    NSF’s NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the international Gemini Observatory (a facility of National Science Foundation, NRC–Canada, ANID–Chile, MCTIC–Brazil, MINCyT–Argentina, and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute [한국천문연구원] (KR)), NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory (in cooperation with DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Mauna Kea in Hawaiʻi, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.

    National Science Foundation NOIRLab’s Gemini North Frederick C Gillett telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawai’i Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    The National Science Foundation NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Gemini South telescope on the summit of Cerro Pachón at an altitude of 7200 feet. There are currently two telescopes commissioned on Cerro Pachón, Gemini South and the SOAR Telescope — Southern Astrophysics Research Telescope. A third, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, is under construction.

    The National Science Foundation NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Vera C. Rubin Observatory [LSST] Telescope currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing NSF NOIRLab NOAO The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Gemini South Telescope and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope.

    Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory on Cerro Pachón in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile in the Atacama Region approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena, near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    National Science Foundation NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Kitt Peak National Observatory on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft), annotated.

    NSF NOIRLab NOAO Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) approximately 80 km to the East of La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 2200 meters.

    The NOAO-Community Science and Data Center

    This work is supported in part by The Department of Energy Office of Science. The Dark Energy Survey is a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions in seven countries. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the US Department of Energy Office of Science, The National Science Foundation, Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, The Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), The Higher Education Funding Council for England (UK), The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH), The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at The University of Chicago, Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics at The Ohio State University, Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at The Texas A&M University, Brazil Funding Authority for Studies and Projects for Scientific and Technological Development [Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos ](BR) , Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio de Janeiro [Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro](BR), Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications [Ministério da Ciência, Tecnolgia, Inovação e Comunicações](BR), German Research Foundation [Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft](DE), and the collaborating institutions in the Dark Energy Survey.

    The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides
    supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, The University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one-third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

    DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a joint partnership between The University of Chicago and The Universities Research Association, Inc.

    The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

     
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