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  • richardmitnick 8:37 am on April 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Omega Centauri’s lost stars", , , “Fimbulthul” contains 309 stars stretching over 18° in the sky, , CFHT - Canada France Hawaii Telescope, , We now know that Omega Centauri is the most massive globular cluster in the Milky Way   

    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope: “Omega Centauri’s lost stars” 

    CFHT icon
    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope

    4.22.19

    Mary Beth Laychak, Outreach manager
    Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
    laychak@cfht.hawaii.edu

    1
    The Milky Way, as seen by the Gaia satellite. Streams of co-moving stars are shown colored according to their motions as measured by Gaia. The “Fimbulthul” stream which is due to stars lost from the omega Centauri globular cluster (white box) has been highlighted. Credit R. Ibata.

    A team of researchers from the Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory, Bologna Observatory and the University of Stockholm has identified a stream of stars that was torn off the globular cluster Omega Centauri. Searching through the 1.7 billion stars observed by the ESA Gaia mission, they have identified 309 stars that suggest that this globular cluster may actually be the remnant of a dwarf galaxy that is being torn apart by the gravitational forces of our Galaxy.

    ESA/GAIA satellite

    In 1677, Edmond Halley gave the name “Omega Centauri” (ω Cen) to what he thought was a star in the Centaurus constellation. Later in 1830 John Herschel realized that it was in fact a globular cluster that could be resolved into individual stars. We now know that Omega Centauri is the most massive globular cluster in the Milky Way: it is about 18,000 light years from us and contains several million stars that are about 12 billion years old. The nature of this object has been the subject of much debate: is it really a globular cluster, or could it be the heart of a dwarf galaxy whose periphery has been dispersed by the Milky Way?

    This last hypothesis is based on the fact that ω Cen contains several stellar populations, with a large range of metallicities (i.e. heavy element content) that betray a formation over an extended period of time. An additional argument in favor of this hypothesis would be to find debris from the cluster scattered along its orbit in the Milky Way. Indeed, when a dwarf galaxy interacts with a massive galaxy like our own, stars are torn off by gravitational tidal forces, and these stars remain visible for a time as stellar streams, before becoming dispersed in the vast volumes of interstellar space surrounding the massive galaxy.

    By analyzing the motions of stars measured by the Gaia satellite with an algorithm called STREAMFINDER developed by the team, the researchers identified several star streams. One of them, named “Fimbulthul” (after one of the rivers in Norse mythology that existed at the beginning of the world), contains 309 stars stretching over 18° in the sky.

    By modeling the trajectories of the stars, the team showed that the Fimbulthul structure is a stellar tidal stream torn off ω Cen, extending up to 28° from the cluster. Spectroscopic observations of 5 stars of this stream with the Canada-France Hawaii Telescope show that their velocities are very similar, and that they have metallicities comparable to the stars of ω Cen itself, which reinforces the idea that the tidal stream is linked to ω Cen.

    “The stars that the team observed were quite faint for the instrument we were using,” says Dr. Nadine Manset, instrument scientist for Espadons and CFHT’s astronomy group manager. “It is great to see such challenging observations reinforce the Fimbulthul structure’s link to ω Cen.”

    The researchers were then able to show that the stream is also present in the very crowded area of sky in the immediate vicinity of the cluster. Further modeling of the tidal stream will constrain the dynamical history of the dwarf galaxy that was the progenitor of ω Cen, and allow us to find even more stars lost by this system into the halo of the Milky Way.

    The team’s paper appeared in the April 22nd edition of Nature.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    The CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

    CFHT Telescope

    CFHT

     
  • richardmitnick 10:27 am on April 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "VESTIGE Traces Ionized Gases of Messier 87", , , , CFHT - Canada France Hawaii Telescope, , Messier 87 - NGC 4486, Messier 87 hosts the powerful radio source Virgo A, Virgo Cluster   

    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope: “VESTIGE Traces Ionized Gases of Messier 87” 

    CFHT icon
    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope

    April 04 2019

    Media contact:
    Mary Beth Laychak
    Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
    laychak@cfht.hawaii.edu

    Science Contact:
    Alessandro Boselli
    Laboratorie d’Astrophsique de Marseille
    alessandro.boselli@lam.fr

    The VESTIGE team, lead by Alessandro Boselli, from the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, using MegaCam at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope has recently released an extremely deep image in the narrow-band Halpha filter of the elliptical galaxy Messier 87. Located at the heart of the Virgo Cluster, Messier 87 is one of the most studied galaxies in the Universe. The image, used on the cover of this month’s Astronomy & Astrophysics journal, reveals the presence of spectacular filaments of ionised gas extending several kilo parsecs from the galaxy. These filaments illustrate an ongoing interaction between Messier 87 and the surrounding environment.

    CFHT MegaCam

    1
    The pseudo-colour image of M87 obtained by combining Chandra 1.0-3.5 keV (blue), VESTIGE Halpha+[NII] (green), and the VLA radio continuum at 90 cm (red) frames of the galaxy. Image credit: VESTIGE team

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

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

    Messier 87 is the dominant elliptical galaxy in the Virgo cluster, the closest and richest cluster of galaxies located at 50 million light-years from Earth.

    Virgo Supercluster NASA

    The galaxy is located in the deep of the cluster potential well, and it is surrounded by hot and dense gas visible in the X-ray. Messier 87 hosts the powerful radio source Virgo A, whose presence can be detected by an extended radio jet visible at multiple wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum.

    2
    Messier 87 (M87), also known as Virgo A or the Smoking Gun, is a supergiant elliptical galaxy located in the core of the Virgo Cluster, in the southern constellation Virgo.

    The galaxy has an apparent magnitude of 9.59 and lies at a distance of 53.5 million light years from Earth. It has the designation NGC 4486 in the New General Catalogue.

    Virgo A occupies an area of 7.2 by 6.8 arc minutes of apparent sky, which corresponds to a linear diameter of 120,000 light years, roughly the same size as the Milky Way. It is the second brightest galaxy in the northern part of the Virgo Cluster, second only to Messier 49.

    The radio jet interacts with the surrounding diffuse hot gas, producing giant bubbles that disturb the superheated plasma or intracluster medium lying between the galaxies of the Virgo Cluster.

    [top left] – This radio image of the galaxy Messier 87, taken with the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope [above] in February 1989, shows giant bubble-like structures where radio emission is thought to be powered by the jets of subatomic particles coming from the galaxy’s central black hole. The false color corresponds to the intensity of the radio energy being emitted by the jet. Messier 87 is located 50 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo.
    [top right] – A visible light image of the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87, taken with NASA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in February 1998, reveals a brilliant jet of high-speed electrons emitted from the nucleus (diagonal line across image). The jet is produced by a 3-billion-solar-mass black hole.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    NASA/Hubble WFPC2. No longer in service.


    [bottom] – A Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio image of the region close to the black hole, where an extragalactic jet is formed into a narrow beam by magnetic fields.

    NRAO/VLBA


    The false color corresponds to the intensity of the radio energy being emitted by the jet. The red region is about 1/10 light-year across. The image was taken in March 1999.
    Credit: NASA, National Radio Astronomy Observatory/National Science Foundation, John Biretta (STScI/JHU), and Associated Universities, Inc.

    “The very nature of these radio monsters, typical in the core of massive clusters, is still quite unclear”, says Alessandro Boselli, the VESTIGE primary investigator and lead author on the A&A paper. “They play a crucial role in galaxy evolution within high-density regions.”

    VESTIGE or A Virgo Environmental Survey Tracing Ionized Gas Emission, one of the large surveys currently being observed using CFHT, observes the Virgo Cluster in part to learn more about the role of radio monsters. With fifty nights of telescope time at CFHT over the course of two years, VESTIGE aims to understand the role of environment on galaxy evolution. As a follow-up of the Next Generation Virgo Survey (NGVS) which covered the area through broad filters (ugiz) with MegaCam, the VESTIGE team uses a narrow band Halpha filter on that same instrument to conduct a deep imaging survey of the area observed by the NGVS. These extremely deep images revealed the presence of spectacular filaments and plumes of ionised gas crossing the galaxy from the south-east to the north-west. Follow up spectroscopy taken with MUSE at the VLT (ESO) suggests that the gas is shock ionised.

    ESO MUSE on the VLT on Yepun (UT4)


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

    The geometry of the gas filament and its position in relation to the radio jet and the hot gas previously observed in X-rays suggest that the gas is ionised by the expanding bubbles. Local instabilities in the intracluser medium cause the gas to cool along magnetically supported filaments into the central elliptical. These filmants may also be the remnant of the cold gas disc of a star-forming galaxy recently accreted by M87 through galactic cannibalism. As the gas falls into galaxy, it may feed the AGN in the centre of Messier 87 and thus be at the origin of the strong radio activity of this intriguing object.

    The exceptional sensitivity and angular resolution of MegaCam coupled with narrow-band filters allows the VESTIGE team to detection of extended ionised gas low-surface brightness features associated to galaxies in high-density region and are thus a key instrument to witness an ongoing perturbation. “The observing technique used by the VESTIGE team is crucial for the study of the role of the environment on galaxy evolution,” says Todd Burdullis, queue observation specialist at CFHT. “The VESTIGE team’s research using Megacam is really probing one of the main questions in extragalactic astronomy.”

    The results of this research, as those of other works conducted by the VESTIGE team on this topic have been presented in a paper recently published in A&A.

    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 CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

    CFHT Telescope

    CFHT

     
  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , CFHT - Canada France Hawaii Telescope, , Quest for new worlds beyond our Solar System in the form of planetary systems of nearby red dwarfs like the one discovered around Trappist-1 or infant stars and their planet-forming accretion discs th, SPIRou (SpectroPolarimètre InfraRouge) spectropolarimeter   

    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope: “2019 January: Green light for SPIRou science at CFHT” 

    CFHT icon
    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope

    CFHT SPIRou Project at CFHT

    CFHT The Cryo-Cooled Adventures of SPIRou

    SPIRou passed the final acceptance review

    Almost exactly one year after reaching its new home atop Maunakea on the big island of Hawaii, and following one complete year of intense in-lab and on-sky testing at CFHT, SPIRou passed the final acceptance review on 2019 January 24, and is now ready to initiate its exciting scientific exploration.

    During this testing period, the performance of SPIRou was scrutinized by the project team on all aspects that matter for science observations (mainly wavelength domain, resolving power, spectral response, radial velocity precision and polarimetric capabilities) then compared to expectations to demonstrate that the instrument is mostly compliant with original specifications and ready to tackle the ambitious science programmes for which it was designed.

    Acceptance tests demonstrated that SPIRou behaves nominally, apart from a lower throughput in the bluest spectral region (YJ photometric band, spanning 1-1.4 µm) and a brighter thermal background in the reddest spectral region (coming from the warm components of the instrument whose thermal emission becomes strong at 2.3 µm and beyond, compared to the flux of the dim stars that SPIRou will observe).

    As a spectropolarimeter, SPIRou is also found to perform as expected; its velocimetric precision is estimated to be at least 2 m/s rms, with data reduction and the correction of telluric lines from the Earth atmosphere currently being the main limiting factor (more about this in a forthcoming news).

    SPIRou performances were outlined on 2019 January 23 by the project team for the final acceptance review panel, gathering Magali Deleuil (AMU/LAM), Pierre Kern (CNRS/INSU, panel chair), Gaspare LoCurto (ESO), Guy Perrin (CNRS/INSU), John Rayner (UH), Andy Sheinis (CFHT), Doug Simons (CFHT CEO, panel co-chair) and Michael Toplis (OMP). Following a discussion session on the following day, the panel members gave SPIRou a green light to begin its quest for new worlds beyond our Solar System, in the form of planetary systems of nearby red dwarfs like the one discovered around Trappist-1, or infant stars and their planet-forming accretion discs that are still evolving towards maturity.

    With 50 nights already scheduled in semester 2019a and 300 nights allocated over the next 4 years for a large programme (called the SPIRou Legacy Survey) on SPIRou main science goals, SPIRou is already the main bright-time instrument at CFHT and is expected to rapidly ramp up in the forthcoming semesters.

    The SPIRou project and science teams warmly thank the CFHT staff for its key participation in the successful implementation of SPIRou on the telescope, and the final acceptance review panel members for their time and insightful opinion on how to further improve the performance of SPIRou.

    1
    Illustrated summary of SPIRou activities in 2018 at CFHT (©SPIRou team)

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    stem
    Stem Education Coalition

    The CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

    CFHT Telescope
    CFHT Interior

     
  • richardmitnick 12:15 pm on October 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2MASS 0249 c and beta Pictoris b, 2MASS 0249 system, Astronomers Find a Famous Exoplanet's Doppelgänger, , , , CFHT - Canada France Hawaii Telescope, , Finding two exoplanets with almost identical appearances and yet having formed so differently opens a new window for understanding these objects   

    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope: “Astronomers Find a Famous Exoplanet’s Doppelgänger” 

    CFHT icon
    From Canada France Hawaii Telescope

    1
    Direct Wircam image of 2MASS 0249 system taken wiht CFHT’s infrared camera WIRCam. 2MASS 0249c is located 2000 astronomical units from the host brown dwarfs that are unresolved in this image. Credits: T. Dupuy, M. Liu

    When it comes to extrasolar planets, appearances can be deceiving. Astronomers have imaged a new planet, and it appears nearly identical to one of the best studied gas-giant planets. But this doppelgänger differs in one very important way: its origin.

    “We have found a gas-giant planet that is a virtual twin of a previously known planet, but it looks like the two objects formed in different ways,” said Trent Dupuy, astronomer at the Gemini Observatory and leader of the study.

    Emerging from stellar nurseries of gas and dust, stars are born like kittens in a litter, in bunches and inevitably wandering away from their birthplace. These litters comprise stars that vary greatly, ranging from tiny runts incapable of generating their own energy (called brown dwarfs) to massive stars that end their lives with supernova explosions. In the midst of this turmoil, planets form around these new stars. And once the stellar nursery exhausts its gas, the stars (with their planets) leave their birthplace and freely wander the Galaxy. Because of this exodus, astronomers believe there should be planets born at the same time from the same stellar nursery, but orbiting stars that have moved far away from each other over the eons, like long-lost siblings.

    “To date, exoplanets found by direct imaging have basically been individuals, each distinct from the other in their appearance and age. Finding two exoplanets with almost identical appearances and yet having formed so differently opens a new window for understanding these objects,” said Michael Liu, astronomer at the University of Hawai`i Institute for Astronomy, and a collaborator on this work.

    Dupuy, Liu, and their collaborators have identified the first case of such a planetary doppelgänger. One object has long been known: the 13-Jupiter-mass planet beta Pictoris b, one of the first planets discovered by direct imaging, back in 2009. The new object, dubbed 2MASS 0249 c, has the same mass, brightness, and spectrum as beta Pictoris b.

    After discovering this object with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), Dupuy and collaborators then determined that 2MASS 0249 c and beta Pictoris b were born in the same stellar nursery. On the surface, this makes the two objects not just look-alikes but genuine siblings.

    However, the planets have vastly different living situations, namely the types of stars they orbit. The host for beta Pictoris b is a star 10 times brighter than the Sun, while 2MASS 0249 c orbits a pair of brown dwarfs that are 2000 times fainter than the Sun. Furthermore, beta Pictoris b is relatively close to its host, about 9 astronomical units (AU, the distance from the Earth to the Sun), while 2MASS 0249 c is 2000 AU from its binary host.

    These drastically different arrangements suggest that the planets’ upbringings were not at all alike. The traditional picture of gas-giant formation, where planets start as small rocky cores around their host star and grow by accumulating gas from the star’s disk, likely created beta Pictoris b. In contrast, the host of 2MASS 0249 c did not have enough of a disk to make a gas giant, so the planet likely formed by directly accumulating gas from the original stellar nursery.

    “2MASS 0249 c and beta Pictoris b show us that nature has more than one way to make very similar looking exoplanets,” says Kaitlin Kratter, astronomer at the University of Arizona and a collaborator on this work. “beta Pictoris b probably formed like we think most gas giants do, starting from tiny dust grains. In contrast, 2MASS 0249 c looks like an underweight brown dwarf that formed from the collapse of a gas cloud. They’re both considered exoplanets, but 2MASS 0249 c illustrates that such a simple classification can obscure a complicated reality.”

    2
    The infrared spectra of 2MASS 0249c and beta Pictoris b are similar, as expected for two objects of comparable mass that formed in the same stellar nursery. Unlike 2MASS 0249c, beta Pictoris b orbits much closer to its massive host star and is imbedded in a bright circumstellar disk. Credits: T. Dupuy, ESO/A.-M. Lagrange et al.

    The team first identified 2MASS 0249 c using images from CFHT, and their repeated observations revealed this object is orbiting at a large distance from its host. The system belongs to the beta Pictoris moving group, a widely dispersed set of stars named for its famous planet-hosting star. The team’s observations with the W. M. Keck Telescope determined that the host is actually a closely separated pair of brown dwarfs.

    So altogether, the 2MASS 0249 system comprises two brown dwarfs and one gas-giant planet. Follow-up spectroscopy of 2MASS 0249 c with the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the Astrophysical Research Consortium 3.5-meter Telescope at Apache Point Telescope demonstrated that it shares a remarkable resemblance to beta Pictoris b.

    NASA Infrared Telescope facility Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level


    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft), above sea level, showing also NASA’s IRTF and NAOJ Subaru

    Astrophysical Research Consortium 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point, NM, USA

    ARC Astrophysics Research Consortium (ARC) Telescope The ARC 3.5m telescope is located at Apache Point ,Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft) II

    The 2MASS 0249 system is an appealing target for future studies. Most directly imaged planets are very close to their host stars, inhibiting detailed studies of the planets due to the bright light from the stars. In contrast, the very wide separation of 2MASS 0249 c from its host binary will make measurements of properties like its surface weather and composition much easier, leading to a better understanding of the characteristics and origins of gas-giant planets.

    This work is accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    stem
    Stem Education Coalition

    The CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

    CFHT Telescope
    CFHT Interior
    CFHT

     
  • richardmitnick 3:34 pm on February 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , CFHT - Canada France Hawaii Telescope, , , Widespread galactic cannibalism in Stephan's Quintet revealed by CFHT   

    From CFHT: “Widespread galactic cannibalism in Stephan’s Quintet revealed by CFHT” 

    CFHT icon
    Canada France Hawaii Telescope

    2.5.18

    Media contacts
    Mary Beth Laychak, Outreach manager
    Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
    808-885-3121
    mary@cfht.hawaii.edu

    Science contacts
    Pierre-Alain Duc
    Observatoire astronomique de Strasbourg
    pierre-alain.duc@astro.unistra.fr

    Jean-Charles Cuillandre
    CEA-Saclay et observatoire de Paris
    jc.cuillandre@cea.fr

    1
    Full field of view of the CFHT-MegaCam image in optical wavelengths (strong color saturation and contrast reveal the nature of the various components). Image: CFHT, Pierre-Alain Duc (Observatoire de Strasbourg) & Jean-Charles Cuillandre (CEA Saclay/Obs. de Paris).

    CFHT MegaCam

    An extremely deep multi-band optical image from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT, Hawaii. USA) casts a new light on the formation process of the famous group of 5 colliding galaxies. The image reveals structures undetected thus far, in particular a very extended red halo composed of old stars, and centered on an elliptical galaxy, NGC 7317, which had been ignored in previous studies on the dynamics of the global collision. These results are published in the Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society by a team from the Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg (France), CEA Saclay (France) and the Lund Observatory (Sweden).

    The wide field image captured with the 380 megapixel camera called MegaCam is focused on the nearby galaxy NGC 7331. The image exhibits several galactic and extragalactic features, some very extended and dim, including filaments of interstellar dust in the foreground (galactic cirrus). The scientists’ attention was however captured by the condensation of galaxies in the field, much further beyond NGC 7331: the famous Stephan’s Quintet named after the French astronomer Édouard Stephan who was the first to observe it in 1878.

    2
    oom on Stephan’s Quintet in true colors as featured in the CFHT/Coelum 2018 calendar. NGC 7317 is the lower right member of the group. Image: CFHT/Coelum, Jean-Charles Cuillandre (CFHT/CEA Saclay/Obs. de Paris) & Giovanni Anselmi (Coelum)

    Stephan’s Quintet is a compact group of 5 spiral and elliptical galaxies (excluding a spiral in appearance related to the system but actually present in the foreground, at the same distance as NGC 7331). The Hubble Space Telescope immortalized this region after observations of the group became one of the telescope’s iconic images. Stephan’s Quintet is the poster child for studies on the collective evolution of galaxies subjected to a range of effects such as interactions and slow collisions creating gravitational stellar streams, high speed galactic collision, gas ramming, starbursts and creation of intergalactic stellar systems.

    Due to its unique features, Stephan’s Quintet has been widely observed across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and has been the subject of many complex numerical simulations. The team detected a red halo composed of old stars centered on a galaxy, NGC 7317. NGC 7313 was thought to be in a stable state or recently arrived near the group. The detection of red stars implies the contrary, that this galaxy has been interacting for a very long time with the other members of the group. Interactions such as the one seen in these observations are called galactic cannibalism. Galactic cannibalism occurs when the gravitational forces from a larger galaxy or group of galaxies slowly tear apart a smaller galaxy. Characteristic features of galactic cannibalism are streams or halos of stars orbiting the larger galaxy, like the halo of red stars seen around NGC 7317. A first implication is that Stephan’s Quintet is far older than currently admitted. The models of formation and evolution of this emblematic system will have to be revised. This global case of galactic cannibalism should eventually lead to the formation of a giant elliptical galaxy.

    This new result illustrates the current renewed interest in the scientific field for deep imaging on nearby galaxies. Many observing programs, including several developed at CFHT which is particularly well suited for such studies, aim at decoding the past history of galaxies through the detection in their direct environment of faint extended features, a technique known as galactic archeology.

    Each year since 2000, CFHT produces in collaboration with the Italian editor Coelum the Hawaiian Starlight calendar based on beautiful images of the sky captured by MegaCam. These images result from special observations obtained through CFHT director’s discretionary time when atmospheric conditions, in particular the stability of the atmosphere, are not suitable for regular observations. Some of these images sometimes turn out to be of great scientific interest: such is the case here for Stephan’s Quintet.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

    CFHT Telescope
    CFHT Interior
    CFHT

     
  • richardmitnick 1:47 pm on October 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A new type of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) called "Blue Binaries", CFHT - Canada France Hawaii Telescope, , New clues about the early evolution of the Solar System revealed with simultaneous observations on Maunakea, OSSOS (Col-OSSOS) program   

    From CFHT: “New clues about the early evolution of the Solar System revealed with simultaneous observations on Maunakea.” 

    CFHT icon
    Canada France Hawaii Telescope

    4/04/2017 [Just found in social media]
    Media contact
    Mary Beth Laychak
    Outreach Manager
    Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
    +1 808 885 3121
    mary@cfht.hawaii.edu

    Peter Michaud
    Public Information and Outreach Manager
    Gemini Observatory
    Hilo, Hawai‘i
    Email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
    Desk: 808 974-2510
    Cell: 808 936-6643

    Science contacts:

    Wes Fraser
    Col-OSSOS principle investigator
    Queen’s University Belfast.
    Belfast, UK

    Michele Bannister
    Col-OSSOS collaborator, OSSOS Core member
    Queen’s University, Belfast
    Belfast UK
    +44 074 555 471 79
    m.bannister@qub.ac.uk

    JJ Kavelaars
    Col-OSSOS collaborator, OSSOS Co-PI
    NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    +1 778 677 3131
    jjk@uvic.ca

    Meg Schwamb
    Col-OSSOS collaborator
    Gemini North
    Hilo, Hawaii
    +1 808 974 2593 (office), +1 808 315 8014 (home)
    mschwamb@gemini.edu

    Todd Burdullis
    QSO specialist, Col-OSSOS collaborator
    CFHT
    Waimea, Hawaii
    +1 808 885 3170

    An international team of astronomers led by Wes Fraser of Queen’s University in Belfast used CFHT and Gemini simultaneously to discover a new type of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) called “Blue Binaries”. The wide separation and color of these cold classical Kuiper Belt objects are providing important clues on the early evolution of the solar system. Their findings are published in the April 4 edition of Nature Astronomy.

    Gemini/North telescope at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    CFHT, at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Simultaneous observing on Maunakea. Both telescope are pointing at the same object at the same time. Coordinating observations like this between two major observatories is quite a challenge but provides big returns. Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA, photo by Joy Pollard.

    The Kuiper Belt is a circumstellar disk in the outer Solar System extending from beyond the orbit of Neptune to about 50 AU from the Sun. The dynamical structure of the classical Kuiper Belt is divided in two components. The hot component is made of objects with eccentric and highly inclined orbits. They have a broad range of colors and about 10% of them are binaries. On the other hand, the cold component consist of objects with nearly circular orbits and low inclination. Their colors are typically red and have a higher occurrence of binaries, about 30%.

    In February 2013, CFHT started the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS), a Large Program that was awarded 560 hours of observing time over 4 years to find and track objects in the outer Solar System using Megaprime. OSSOS was completed in January 2017 and was highly successful, discovering nearly 1000 Trans Neptunian Objects that inhabit the outer Solar system.

    The Colors of OSSOS (Col-OSSOS) program aimed to measure the colors of the cold classical Kuiper belt objects found by the OSSOS program. The team used CFHT and Gemini to gather colors from the ultraviolet to the infrared. The need for simultaneous observations came from the fact that these bodies rotate reasonably fast, on the order of one to a few hours so sychronous observations are important to ensure the team observed the same position at the same time in different colors. “Facilitating the simultaneous observations with the Col-OSSOS team and Gemini Observatory was challenging, but paved the way for a greater understanding of the origins of these blue binaries. In tandem, the two facilities observed all the colors of the outer solar system for the Col-OSSOS team” said Todd Burdullis, queued service observing operations specialist at CFHT who was in charge the CFHT observations and a coauthor of the study. Dr. Meg Schwamb, an astronomer at the Gemini Observatory and also a coauthor on the paper added: “Like synchronized swimmers, Gemini North and the Canada-France-Hawaii telescopes coordinated their movements to observe the Col-OSSOS Kuiper belt objects at nearly the same time. This created a unique dataset that the planetesimals’ brightness changes as they rotate, and led to this discovery.”

    Five of the OSSOS objects are blue, very peculiar for objects belonging to the cold classical Kuiper Belt which are usually red. Additionally, these blue objects are wide binaries. The presence of so many widely separated blue binaries in the cold classical Kuiper Belt is difficult to explain.

    In their Nature paper, the team explored different mechanism that would lead to this configuration and estimated that the best model reproducing the observations is a “push out” by the early phases of the outward migration of Neptune. In order keep the binary systems intact i.e. not splitting them apart, the outward motion of Neptune had to be very smooth and eventless. “This research has opened the window to new aspects of understanding the early stages of planet growth. We now have a solid handle on how and where these blue binaries originated” said Wes Fraser, first author of the study.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

    CFHT Telescope
    CFHT Interior
    CFHT

     
  • richardmitnick 11:22 am on October 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , CFHT - Canada France Hawaii Telescope, Comet C/2017 K2, ,   

    From CFHT: “Interesting science news!” 

    CFHT icon
    Canada France Hawaii Telescope

    Observations of the recently discovered comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) show that it’s active despite being 1.5 billion miles away, putting it between the orbits of Uranus and Saturn.

    1
    The image shows C/2017 K2 in 2013 with CFHT and this year with Hubble

    The comet was discovered by the PAN-STARRS team on Maui in May.

    Pan-STARRS1 located on Haleakala, Maui, HI, USA

    It was further observed with Hubble by Dave Jewitt from UCLA and his collaborators, who discovered that the comet was active despite it’s immense distance from the sun. Comet C/2017 K2 is now the farthest active comet discovered yet.

    The team then looked at old CFHT images from 2013 and found the comet. At the time, the comet was too faint for detection, but once the team knew where to look they were able to detect it. The image below shows C/2017 K2 in 2013 with CFHT and this year with Hubble.

    Congrats to PAN-STARRS for discovering the comet and for Jewitt and his collaborators for unveiling some of it’s secrets.

    The full paper can be found here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1709.10079.pdf

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The CFHT observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFHT Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

    CFHT Telescope
    CFHT Interior
    CFHT

     
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