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  • richardmitnick 11:15 pm on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Radio footprints of galactic interactions discovered in the Shapely Supercluster", , , Cosmology, , , ,   

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation: “Radio footprints of galactic interactions discovered in the Shapely Supercluster” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    24 January 2022

    Rachel Rayner

    Interaction between clusters and groups of galaxies within a supercluster have been observed through the detection of radio waves by telescopes all over the world.

    ESA Planck Shapley Supercluster.

    A group of international radio astronomers led by INAF Italian National Institute for Astrophysics [Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica](IT), and including Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) Macquarie University (AU), have conducted a multi-frequency and multi-band study of the Shapley Supercluster, the largest constellation of galaxies in the local Universe. The astronomers discovered radio emission which was acting as a “bridge” between a cluster of galaxies and a group of galaxies.

    The observations, published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, were carried out with the Australian ASKAP radio telescope, the South African MeerKAT radio telescope, and the Indian Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). Optical data collected with ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and X-ray data from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope completed the study.

    SKA ASKAP Pathfinder Radio Telescope.

    SKA SARAO Meerkat telescope , 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA.

    GMRT Upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, an array of thirty telecopes, located near Pune in India.

    ESO VLT Survey Telescope [VST].

    European Space Agency [Agencia Espacial Europea][Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) XMM Newton X-ray Telescope.

    “The emission was triggered by the collision of these separate groupings of galaxies,” said co-author Professor Andrew Hopkins from AAO Macquarie. “Despite its difficulty to detect, this unique emission will now allow astronomers to better study the regions between clusters of galaxies.”

    Tiziana Venturi, Director of the INAF’s Radio Astronomy Institute and lead author of the article, explains: “This exceptional emission finally allows us to study the regions between clusters of galaxies, the ideal environments to look for traces of interaction between these structures. In the study, we also report the discovery of another couple of objects – a very peculiar head-tail radio galaxy and a ram-pressure stripped spiral galaxy, whose origin is traced back to the same collision phenomenon that generated the emission on the megaparsec scale”. The emission extends on the scale of millions of light-years, and it takes the form of an arc and a filament.

    “Ram pressure stripping can have a profound impact on the evolution of galaxies, removing the cooler gas that helps with star formation,” said Professor Hopkins. “This case shows that ram pressure stripping can involve both warm gas and radio-emitting plasma, and highlights the role of cluster-cluster interaction in triggering it,” said Professor Hopkins.

    “The head-tail radio galaxy, whose tail is broken and culminates in a misaligned bar, is now being observed in a number of clusters. Early analysis of this galaxy is showing some exciting results, which deserve further investigation.”

    The Shapley Supercluster covers a large area of the southern hemisphere sky 600 million light-years from the Milky Way in the Centaurus constellation. As a result, the region hosts over 1000 clusters and groups of galaxies, which allows an in-depth study of the role of the environment on the evolution of galaxies and on the thermal (gas) and non-thermal (radio emission and magnetic fields) components that make up the clusters of galaxies.

    This particular region first captured the interest of radio astronomers in the 1990s. However, before the development of ASKAP and MeerKAT (the two precursors of the SKA project, respectively managed by the Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory [SARAO]), it has basically been impossible to study it, in this fashion due to the lack of radio interferometers in the southern hemisphere with the necessary sensitivity.

    Venturi adds “Now, ASKAP and MeerKAT have both unlocked greater access to the Shapley Concentration with the higher resolution and sensitivity to study this area in more depth. The synergy between the very high-quality radio data and other X-ray and optical data allowed a very detailed study.”

    The radio data represent the state of the art of precursors of the SKA project and provide only a first taste of the wealth of information and discoveries that will come with the SKA radio telescopes (the construction will start in 2022 in Western Australia and South Africa), as well as the complexity of the data analysis that radio astronomers will have to face soon.

    The study aims to highlight the observational effects of the so-called minor merger phenomena. Until now, it was not clear whether scale relations between various clusters and groups would also apply to these phenomena, less striking but much more common in the Universe.

    “We were able to show through this study that these phenomena can be rather remarkable and that they leave detectable traces on single galaxies, on clusters and groups of galaxies, and even the regions between them,” said Professor Hopkins.

    The observations captured in this research also confirm the importance of technologies like SKA precursors on the understanding of the weak population of radio sources in clusters, both associated with individual galaxies and associated with the intra-cluster and inter-cluster medium.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Land and Water
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities
    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) Parkes Observatory, [ Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name] , located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) Mopra radio telescope.

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)”>CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown


    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

  • richardmitnick 7:28 pm on January 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A New Map of the Sun’s Local Bubble", , , , Cosmology, ,   

    From The New York Times : “A New Map of the Sun’s Local Bubble” 

    From The New York Times

    Jan. 20, 2022
    Dennis Overbye

    A view of the center of Milky Way from 2011. Scientists believe a series of supernova explosions 14 million years ago led to the creation of a 1,000-light-year-wide region bereft of the gas and dust needed to form new stars.Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US).

    Just a bit too late for New Year celebrations, astronomers have discovered that the Milky Way galaxy, our home, is, like champagne, full of bubbles.

    As it happens, our solar system is passing through the center of one of these bubbles. Fourteen million years ago, according to the astronomers, a firecracker chain of supernova explosions drove off all the gas and dust from a region roughly 1,000 light-years wide, leaving it bereft of the material needed to produce new generations of stars.

    As a result, all the baby stars in our neighborhood can be found stuck on the edges of this bubble. There, the staccato force of a previous generation of exploding stars has pushed gas clouds together into forms dense enough to collapse under their own ponderous if diffuse gravity and condense enough to ignite, as baby stars. Our sun, 4.5 billion years old, drifts through the middle of this space in a coterie of aged stars.

    “This is really an origin story,” Catherine Zucker said in a news release from The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “For the first time, we can explain how all nearby star formation began.”

    Dr. Zucker, now at The Space Telescope Science Institute (US), led a team that mapped what they call the Local Bubble in remarkable detail. They used data from a number of sources, particularly Gaia, a European spacecraft, that has mapped and measured more than a billion stars, to pinpoint the locations of gas and dust clouds.

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

    Last year, a group of scientists led by João Alves, an astrophysicist at The University of Vienna [Universität Wien](AT) announced the discovery of the Radcliffe Wave, an undulating string of dust and gas clouds 9,000 light-years long that might be the spine of our local arm of the galaxy. One section of the wave now appears to be part of our Local Bubble.

    An artist’s illustration of the Local Bubble with star formation occurring on the bubble’s surface.Credit: Leah Hustak (STScI)/CfA.

    The same group of scientists published their latest findings in Nature, along with an elaborate animated map of the Local Bubble and its highlights.

    New Local Bubble Map. Credit: CfA

    The results, the astronomers write, provide “robust observational support” for a long-held theory that supernova explosions are important in triggering star formation, perhaps by jostling gas and dust clouds into collapsing and starting on the long road to thermonuclear luminosity.

    Astronomers have long recognized the Local Bubble. What is new, said Alyssa Goodman, a member of the team also from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is the observation that all local star forming-regions lie on the Local Bubble’s surface. Researchers previously lacked the tools to map gas and dust clouds in three dimensions. “Thanks to 3-D dust-mapping, now we do,” Dr. Goodman said.

    According to the team’s calculations the Local Bubble began 14 million years ago with a massive supernova, the first of about 15; massive stars died and blew up. Their blast waves cleared out the region. As a result there are now no stars younger than 14 million years in the bubble, Dr. Goodman said.

    The bubble continues to grow at about 4 miles a second. “Still, more supernovae are expected to take place in the near future, like Antares, a red supergiant star near the edge of the bubble that could go any century now,” Dr. Alves said. “So the Local Bubble is not ‘done.’”

    With a score of well-known star-forming regions sitting on the surface of the bubble, the next generation of stars is securely on tap.

    The team plans to go on and map more bubbles in the our Milky Way flute of champagne. There must be more, Dr. Goodman said, because it would be too much of a coincidence for the sun to be smack in the middle of the only one.

    The sun’s presence in this one is nonetheless coincidental, Dr. Alves said. Our star wandered into the region only 5 million years ago, long after most of the action, and will exit about 5 million years from now.

    The motions of the stars are more irregular than commonly portrayed, as they are bumped gravitationally by other stars, clouds and the like, Dr. Alves said.

    “The sun is moving at a significantly different velocity than the average of the stars and gas in the solar neighborhood,” he noted. This would enable it to catch up and pass — or be passed by — the bubble.

    “It was a revelation,” Dr. Goodman said, “how kooky the sun’s path really is compared with a simple circle.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 2:33 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "TESS Science Office at MIT hits milestone of 5000 exoplanet candidates", , , Cosmology, Now in its extended mission TESS is observing the Northern Hemisphere and ecliptic plane including regions of the sky previously observed by the Kepler and K2 missions., , , The TESS Science Office at MIT released the most recent batch of TESS Objects of Interest on Dec. 21 2021.   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US): “TESS Science Office at MIT hits milestone of 5,000 exoplanet candidates” 

    MIT News

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    January 20, 2022
    MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
    MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.

    A map of the sky is now crowded with over 5,000 exoplanet candidates from NASA’s TESS mission. The TESS Science Office at MIT released the most recent batch of TESS Objects of Interest (large orange points on the map) on Dec. 21, boosting the catalog to this 5,000-count milestone. Image courtesy of NASA/MIT/TESS.

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

    NASA/MIT Tess in the building.

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

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (US)

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


    The catalog of planet candidates found with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently passed 5,000 TOIs, or TESS Objects of Interest.

    The catalog has been growing steadily since the start of the mission in 2018, and the batch of TOIs boosting the catalog to over 5,000 come mostly from the Faint Star Search led by MIT postdoc Michelle Kunimoto.

    Kunimoto reflects, “This time last year, TESS had found just over 2,400 TOIs. Today, TESS has reached more than twice that number — a huge testament to the mission and all the teams scouring the data for new planets. I’m excited to see thousands more in the years to come!”

    Now in its extended mission TESS is observing the Northern Hemisphere and ecliptic plane including regions of the sky previously observed by the Kepler and K2 missions.

    NASA Kepler Space Telescope (US) launched in 2009 and retired on October 30 2018.

    The TOIs added in late December are from the third year of the TESS mission, which ran from July 2020 to June 2021. TESS re-observed the sky visible in the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, revisiting stars it had first observed at the mission’s start in 2018.

    TOI manager Katharine Hesse remarks, “With data from the first year of the extended mission, we have found dozens of additional candidates to TOIs found during the prime mission. I am excited to see how many multi-planet systems we can find during the rest of the extended mission and in upcoming years with TESS.” Planned extensions of the TESS mission to 2025 and beyond should unveil many more new planet candidates.

    Discovering more planet candidates and adding them to the TESS Objects of Interest Catalog is the first step. In the coming months, astronomers around the world will study each of these TOIs to confirm whether they are bona fide planets, and the catalog of confirmed exoplanets from the TESS mission (175 as of Dec. 20) will continue to grow.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory(US) 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 (US) 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 (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    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 (US), 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 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) 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 (US) 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 (US) 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 (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘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 (US)’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, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’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. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) 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 (US) 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 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 (US) 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.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 (US) 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 (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    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 (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) 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 4:45 pm on January 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Any Single Galaxy Reveals the Composition of an Entire Universe", A group of scientists may have stumbled upon a radical new way to do cosmology., , Cosmic density of matter, Cosmology, , , , , , , The Cosmology and Astrophysics with Machine Learning Simulations (CAMELS) project, Theoretical Astrophysics   

    From Quanta Magazine (US): “Any Single Galaxy Reveals the Composition of an Entire Universe” 

    From Quanta Magazine (US)

    January 20, 2022
    Charlie Wood

    Credit: Kaze Wong / CAMELS collaboration.

    In the CAMELS project, coders simulated thousands of universes with diverse compositions, arrayed at the end of this video as cubes.

    A group of scientists may have stumbled upon a radical new way to do cosmology.

    Cosmologists usually determine the composition of the universe by observing as much of it as possible. But these researchers have found that a machine learning algorithm can scrutinize a single simulated galaxy and predict the overall makeup of the digital universe in which it exists — a feat analogous to analyzing a random grain of sand under a microscope and working out the mass of Eurasia. The machines appear to have found a pattern that might someday allow astronomers to draw sweeping conclusions about the real cosmos merely by studying its elemental building blocks.

    “This is a completely different idea,” said Francisco Villaescusa-Navarro, a theoretical astrophysicist at The Flatiron Institute Center for Computational Astrophysics (US) and lead author of the work. “Instead of measuring these millions of galaxies, you can just take one. It’s really amazing that this works.”

    It wasn’t supposed to. The improbable find grew out of an exercise Villaescusa-Navarro gave to Jupiter Ding, a Princeton University(US) undergraduate: Build a neural network that, knowing a galaxy’s properties, can estimate a couple of cosmological attributes. The assignment was meant merely to familiarize Ding with machine learning. Then they noticed that the computer was nailing the overall density of matter.

    “I thought the student made a mistake,” Villaescusa-Navarro said. “It was a little bit hard for me to believe, to be honest.”

    The results of the investigation that followed appeared on January 6 submitted for publication. The researchers analyzed 2,000 digital universes generated by The Cosmology and Astrophysics with Machine Learning Simulations (CAMELS) project [The Astrophysical Journal]. These universes had a range of compositions, containing between 10% and 50% matter with the rest made up of Dark Energy, which drives the universe to expand faster and faster. (Our actual cosmos consists of roughly one-third Dark Matter and visible matter and two-thirds Dark Energy.) As the simulations ran, Dark Matter and visible matter swirled together into galaxies. The simulations also included rough treatments of complicated events like supernovas and jets that erupt from supermassive black holes.

    Ding’s neural network studied nearly 1 million simulated galaxies within these diverse digital universes. From its godlike perspective, it knew each galaxy’s size, composition, mass, and more than a dozen other characteristics. It sought to relate this list of numbers to the density of matter in the parent universe.

    It succeeded. When tested on thousands of fresh galaxies from dozens of universes it hadn’t previously examined, the neural network was able to predict the cosmic density of matter to within 10%. “It doesn’t matter which galaxy you are considering,” Villaescusa-Navarro said. “No one imagined this would be possible.”

    “That one galaxy can get [the density to] 10% or so, that was very surprising to me,” said Volker Springel, an expert in simulating galaxy formation at The MPG Institute for Astrophysics [MPG Institut für Astrophysik](DE) who was not involved in the research.

    The algorithm’s performance astonished researchers because galaxies are inherently chaotic objects. Some form all in one go, and others grow by eating their neighbors. Giant galaxies tend to hold onto their matter, while supernovas and black holes in dwarf galaxies might eject most of their visible matter. Still, every galaxy had somehow managed to keep close tabs on the overall density of matter in its universe.

    One interpretation is “that the universe and/or galaxies are in some ways much simpler than we had imagined,” said Pauline Barmby, an astronomer at The Western University (CA). Another is that the simulations have unrecognized flaws.

    The team spent half a year trying to understand how the neural network had gotten so wise. They checked to make sure the algorithm hadn’t just found some way to infer the density from the coding of the simulation rather than the galaxies themselves. “Neural networks are very powerful, but they are super lazy,” Villaescusa-Navarro said.

    Through a series of experiments, the researchers got a sense of how the algorithm was divining the cosmic density. By repeatedly retraining the network while systematically obscuring different galactic properties, they zeroed in on the attributes that mattered most.

    Near the top of the list was a property related to a galaxy’s rotation speed, which corresponds to how much matter (dark and otherwise) sits in the galaxy’s central zone. The finding matches physical intuition, according to Springel. In a universe overflowing with Dark Matter, you’d expect galaxies to grow heavier and spin faster. So you might guess that rotation speed would correlate with the cosmic matter density, although that relationship alone is too rough to have much predictive power.

    The neural network found a much more precise and complicated relationship between 17 or so galactic properties and the matter density. This relationship persists despite galactic mergers, stellar explosions and black hole eruptions. “Once you get to more than [two properties], you can’t plot it and squint at it by eye and see the trend, but a neural network can,” said Shaun Hotchkiss, a cosmologist at The University of Auckland (NZ).

    While the algorithm’s success raises the question of how many of the universe’s traits might be extracted from a thorough study of just one galaxy, cosmologists suspect that real-world applications will be limited. When Villaescusa-Navarro’s group tested their neural network on a different property — cosmic clumpiness — it found no pattern. And Springel expects that other cosmological attributes, such as the accelerating expansion of the universe due to Dark Energy, have little effect on individual galaxies.

    The research does suggest that, in theory, an exhaustive study of the Milky Way and perhaps a few other nearby galaxies could enable an exquisitely precise measurement of our universe’s matter. Such an experiment, Villaescusa-Navarro said, could give clues to other numbers of cosmic import such as the sum of the unknown masses of the universe’s three types of neutrinos.

    Neutrinos- Universe Today

    But in practice, the technique would have to first overcome a major weakness. The CAMELS collaboration cooks up its universes using two different recipes. A neural network trained on one of the recipes makes bad density guesses when given galaxies that were baked according to the other. The cross-prediction failure indicates that the neural network is finding solutions unique to the rules of each recipe. It certainly wouldn’t know what to do with the Milky Way, a galaxy shaped by the real laws of physics. Before applying the technique to the real world, researchers will need to either make the simulations more realistic or adopt more general machine learning techniques — a tall order.

    “I’m very impressed by the possibilities, but one needs to avoid being too carried away,” Springel said.

    But Villaescusa-Navarro takes heart that the neural network was able to find patterns in the messy galaxies of two independent simulations. The digital discovery raises the odds that the real cosmos may be hiding a similar link between the large and the small.

    “It’s a very beautiful thing,” he said. “It establishes a connection between the whole universe and a single galaxy.”

    The Dark Energy Survey

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

    NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory(US) 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.

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

    Timeline of the Inflationary Universe WMAP.

    The 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.

    Saul Perlmutter (center) [The Supernova Cosmology Project] shared the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics with Brian P. Schmidt (right) and Adam Riess (left) [The High-z Supernova Search Team] for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

    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.

    Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter in the 1930s when observing the movement of the Coma Cluster., Vera Rubin a Woman in STEM, denied the Nobel, some 30 years later, did most of the work on Dark Matter.

    Fritz Zwicky.
    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble, the original example of Dark Matter discovered during observations by Fritz Zwicky and confirmed 30 years later by Vera Rubin.
    In modern times, it was astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in the 1930s, who made the first observations of what we now call dark matter. His 1933 observations of the Coma Cluster of galaxies seemed to indicated it has a mass 500 times more than that previously calculated by Edwin Hubble. Furthermore, this extra mass seemed to be completely invisible. Although Zwicky’s observations were initially met with much skepticism, they were later confirmed by other groups of astronomers.

    Thirty years later, astronomer Vera Rubin provided a huge piece of evidence for the existence of dark matter. She discovered that the centers of galaxies rotate at the same speed as their extremities, whereas, of course, they should rotate faster. Think of a vinyl LP on a record deck: its center rotates faster than its edge. That’s what logic dictates we should see in galaxies too. But we do not. The only way to explain this is if the whole galaxy is only the center of some much larger structure, as if it is only the label on the LP so to speak, causing the galaxy to have a consistent rotation speed from center to edge.

    Vera Rubin, following Zwicky, postulated that the missing structure in galaxies is dark matter. Her ideas were met with much resistance from the astronomical community, but her observations have been confirmed and are seen today as pivotal proof of the existence of dark matter.
    Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965, worked on Dark Matter (The Carnegie Institution for Science).

    Vera Rubin, with Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) image tube spectrograph attached to the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope, 1970.

    Vera Rubin measuring spectra, worked on Dark Matter(Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL).
    Dark Matter Research

    LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) xenon detector at Sanford Underground Research Facility(US) Credit: Matt Kapust.

    Lamda Cold Dark Matter Accerated Expansion of The universe http scinotions.com the-cosmic-inflation-suggests-the-existence-of-parallel-universes. Credit: Alex Mittelmann.

    DAMA at Gran Sasso uses sodium iodide housed in copper to hunt for dark matter LNGS-INFN.

    Yale HAYSTAC axion dark matter experiment at Yale’s Wright Lab.

    DEAP Dark Matter detector, The DEAP-3600, suspended in the SNOLAB (CA) deep in Sudbury’s Creighton Mine.

    The LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) Dark Matter project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA.

    DAMA-LIBRA Dark Matter experiment at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN’s) Gran Sasso National Laboratories (LNGS) located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy.

    DARWIN Dark Matter experiment. A design study for a next-generation, multi-ton dark matter detector in Europe at The University of Zurich [Universität Zürich](CH).

    PandaX II Dark Matter experiment at Jin-ping Underground Laboratory (CJPL) in Sichuan, China.

    Inside the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment U Washington (US) Credit : Mark Stone U. of Washington. Axion Dark Matter Experiment.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine (US) is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.” At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. All of our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked.

  • richardmitnick 10:18 am on January 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Snapshot-Sagittarius A* gives its compliments to the chef", , , , , , Cosmology,   

    From Astronomy Magazine : “Snapshot-Sagittarius A* gives its compliments to the chef” 

    From Astronomy Magazine

    January 7, 2022
    Caitlyn Buongiorno

    Credit: Gerald Cecil/The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (US)/The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)/The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU); Image Processing: Joseph DePasquale (The Space Telescope Science Institute (US)).

    Like any happy eater, our Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), belches every time it consumes a particularly hefty meal. The resulting small outbursts, or mini-jets, can be difficult to spot outright, but may leave traces in the surrounding gas.

    SCIENCE: Gerald Cecil (UNC-Chapel Hill)/NASA, ESA; IMAGE PROCESSING: Joseph DePasquale (STScI).

    Such evidence of a blowtorchlike jet released just a few thousand years ago was outlined in a paper published Dec. 6 in The Astrophysical Journal. Though the jet wasn’t spotted directly, the Hubble Space Telescope instead saw indirect evidence of the jet’s material pushing on a nearby hydrogen cloud.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope.

    Another lingering jet was previously spotted in 2013 by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope(US).

    National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)Karl G Jansky Very Large Array located in central New Mexico on the Plains of San Agustin, between the towns of Magdalena and Datil, ~50 miles (80 km) west of Socorro. The VLA comprises twenty-eight 25-meter radio telescopes.

    Both jets clearly indicate that the 4.1-million-solar-mass Sgr A* is far from a sleeping giant.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Astronomy is a magazine about the science and hobby of astronomy. Based near Milwaukee in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it is produced by Kalmbach Publishing. Astronomy’s readers include those interested in astronomy and those who want to know about sky events, observing techniques, astrophotography, and amateur astronomy in general.

    Astronomy was founded in 1973 by Stephen A. Walther, a graduate of The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (US) and amateur astronomer. The first issue, August 1973, consisted of 48 pages with five feature articles and information about what to see in the sky that month. Issues contained astrophotos and illustrations created by astronomical artists. Walther had worked part time as a planetarium lecturer at The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (US) and developed an interest in photographing constellations at an early age. Although even in childhood he was interested to obsession in Astronomy, he did so poorly in mathematics that his mother despaired that he would ever be able to earn a living. However he graduated in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and as a senior class project he created a business plan for a magazine for amateur astronomers. With the help of his brother David, he was able to bring the magazine to fruition. He died in 1977.

  • richardmitnick 9:34 am on January 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Spend some time observing in Auriga - Photo Essay", , , , , Cosmology   

    From Astronomy Magazine : “Spend some time observing in Auriga – Photo Essay” 

    From Astronomy Magazine

    January 11, 2022
    Michael E. Bakich

    With three Messier objects and loads of other bright targets, the Charioteer has a lot to offer.

    Credit: Richard Talcott and Roen Kelly/Astronomy.

    The constellation Auriga (pronounced or-EYE-guh) the Charioteer, a star pattern known by this name for several thousand years, is easy to recognize primarily because of its brightest star, Capella (Alpha [α] Aurigae). This luminary is the sixth-brightest nighttime star and shines with an intense yellow light. The constellation’s Beta star, magnitude 1.9 Menkalinan, is 40th brightest.

    The Charioteer is visible in the evening from mid-autumn through winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Its center lies at R.A. 6h01m and Dec. 42° north. Auriga ranks 21st in size out of the 88 constellations, covering 657.44 square degrees (1.59 percent) of the sky. Its size is a bit of a hindrance to its visibility, however. It lies in the middle of the constellation ladder (43rd) in terms of overall brightness.

    The best date each year to see Auriga is December 21, when it stands opposite the Sun in the sky and reaches its highest point at local midnight. With respect to visibility, anyone living north of latitude 34° south can see the entire figure at some time during the year. And it’s completely invisible only to those who live at latitudes south of 62° south.

    Auriga contains three Messier objects (all open clusters) and several other open clusters and emission nebulae. Because it lies along the Milky Way, it doesn’t contain any galaxies. As you can see, however, lots of targets lie within its borders for you to point a telescope at. Good luck!

    Auriga targets

    Credit: Anthony Ayiomamitis.

    Open cluster NGC 2281 glows at magnitude 5.4 and measures 14′ across. It lies 0.8° south-southwest of magnitude 5.0 Psi^⁷ (ψ^⁷) Aurigae. Through a 4-inch scope at 100x, you’ll spot two dozen stars. Four stars forming a parallelogram sit at the center of the cluster.

    Credit: Jaspal Chadha.

    NGC 1664 is an attractive open cluster 2° west of magnitude 3.0 Epsilon (ε) Aurigae. It glows at magnitude 7.6 and spans 18′. A 4-inch scope at 100x reveals three dozen stars. The background star field is rich, but you’ll have no trouble picking out the cluster.

    Credit: Martin C. Germano.

    NGC 1778 is a magnitude 7.7 open cluster with a diameter of 8′. You’ll find it 2° east-southeast of magnitude 5.1 Omega (ω) Aurigae. Through a 4-inch scope, you’ll see two dozen stars unevenly spread across this cluster’s face. Double the aperture to 8 inches, and you’ll raise that star count to 50.

    Credit: Martin C. Germano.

    Barnard 29 is a dark nebula that lies 2.4° southeast of magnitude 2.7 Iota (ι) Aurigae. Through a 12-inch scope, B29 appears as a gray, mottled region that blends gradually into its starry surroundings. The darkest area appears 15′ across.

    Credit: Alistair Symon.

    The Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405) appears as a dim 30′ by 20′ wisp of light. To observe it, first find AE Aurigae, which lies 4.2° east-northeast of Iota. Through a 6-inch scope, the nebula appears triangular.

    Credit: Martin C. Germano.

    Open cluster NGC 1857 sits 0.8° south-southeast of magnitude 4.7 Lambda (λ) Aurigae. It glows at magnitude 7.0 and measures 5′. Through an 8-inch scope, you’ll see 25 stars around 13th magnitude. The exception is SAO 57903, a magnitude 7.4 yellow star at the center.

    Credit: Mark Hanson.

    IC 410 is a large (40′ by 30′) emission nebula 2.4° west-northwest of magnitude 4.7 Chi (χ) Aurigae. The nebulosity glows brightest in an area 5′ in diameter on the northwestern edge. Use a 12-inch scope with an Oxygen-III filter and this object will knock your socks off.

    Credit: Martin C. Germano.

    NGC 1907 is a magnitude 8.2 open cluster that spans 6′. A 4-inch scope at 100x shows about a dozen stars. Use a low-power eyepiece and you’ll sweep up an even-brighter open cluster: M38, 0.5° to the north-northeast.

    Credit: Anthony Ayiomamitis.

    The Starfish Cluster (Messier 38) is the westernmost and faintest (magnitude 6.4) of the three Messier open clusters in this constellation. A 4-inch scope will reveal three dozen stars in an area 20′ across.

    Al and Andy Ferayomi/Adam Block/The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (US)/The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)(US)/The National Science Foundation (US).

    Emission nebula NGC 1931 sits 0.8° east-southeast of magnitude 5.1 Phi (ϕ) Aurigae. An 8-inch scope at 200x shows the nebula, which spans 4′. It orients northeast to southwest and shows non-uniform brightness across its face.

    Credit: Anthony Ayiomamitis.

    The Pinwheel Cluster (Messier 36) is the least spectacular of the Messier trio in Auriga. At magnitude 6.0, however, it still outshines 99.99 percent of the sky’s star clusters. Through a 4-inch scope, you’ll see several dozen stars strewn across an area 12′ wide.

    Credit: Anthony Ayiomamitis.

    The Salt and Pepper Cluster (Messier 37) displays an even distribution of stars — a rarity in open clusters. A 3-inch scope reveals 50 stars. Through a 10-inch scope, you’ll count 200, and a 16-inch will reveal 500. M37 glows at magnitude 5.6 and is 20′ across.

    Credit: Martin C. Germano.

    NGC 2126 lies midway between magnitude 1.9 Menkalinan (Beta [β] Aurigae) and magnitude 3.7 Delta (δ) Aurigae. It glows at magnitude 10.2 and spans 6′. Through a 6-inch telescope, you’ll see about 20 stars. The magnitude 6.0 star SAO 40801 lies 3′ northeast of the cluster.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Astronomy is a magazine about the science and hobby of astronomy. Based near Milwaukee in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it is produced by Kalmbach Publishing. Astronomy’s readers include those interested in astronomy and those who want to know about sky events, observing techniques, astrophotography, and amateur astronomy in general.

    Astronomy was founded in 1973 by Stephen A. Walther, a graduate of The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (US) and amateur astronomer. The first issue, August 1973, consisted of 48 pages with five feature articles and information about what to see in the sky that month. Issues contained astrophotos and illustrations created by astronomical artists. Walther had worked part time as a planetarium lecturer at The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (US) and developed an interest in photographing constellations at an early age. Although even in childhood he was interested to obsession in Astronomy, he did so poorly in mathematics that his mother despaired that he would ever be able to earn a living. However he graduated in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and as a senior class project he created a business plan for a magazine for amateur astronomers. With the help of his brother David, he was able to bring the magazine to fruition. He died in 1977.

  • richardmitnick 11:57 pm on January 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "RIT scientists confirm a highly eccentric black hole merger for the first time", , , Cosmology, Gravitational Wave Astronomy/Astrophysics, Multimessenger Astronomy/Astrophysics,   

    From The Rochester Institute of Technology (US): “RIT scientists confirm a highly eccentric black hole merger for the first time” 

    From The Rochester Institute of Technology (US)

    January 20, 2022
    Luke Auburn

    Artist’s impression of binary black holes about to collide. Credit: Mark Myers, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav)

    For the first time, scientists believe they have detected a merger of two black holes with eccentric orbits. According to a paper published in Nature Astronomy by researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation and The University of Florida (US), this can help explain how some of the black hole mergers detected by LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration are much heavier than previously thought possible.


    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA.

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation.

    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    KAGRA Large-scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope Project (JP)

    LIGO Virgo Kagra Masses in the Stellar Graveyard. Credit: Frank Elavsky and Aaron Geller at Northwestern University(US)

    Eccentric orbits are a sign that black holes could be repeatedly gobbling up others during chance encounters in areas densely populated with black holes such as galactic nuclei. The scientists studied the most massive gravitational wave binary observed to date, GW190521, to determine if the merger had eccentric orbits.

    “The estimated masses of the black holes are more than 70 times the size of our sun each, placing them well above the estimated maximum mass predicted currently by stellar evolution theory,” said Carlos Lousto, a professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences and a member of the CCRG. “This makes an interesting case to study as a second generation binary black hole system and opens up to new possibilities of formation scenarios of black holes in dense star clusters.”

    A team of RIT researchers including Lousto, Research Associate James Healy, Jacob Lange ’20 Ph.D. (astrophysical sciences and technology), Professor and CCRG Director Manuela Campanelli, Associate Professor Richard O’Shaughnessy, and collaborators from the University of Florida formed to give a fresh look at the data to see if the black holes had highly eccentric orbits before they merged. They found the merger is best explained by a high-eccentricity, precessing model. To achieve this, the team performed hundreds of new full numerical simulations in local and national lab supercomputers, taking nearly a year to complete.

    “This represents a major advancement in our understanding of how black holes merge,” said Campanelli. “Through our sophisticated supercomputer simulations and the wealth of new data provided by LIGO and Virgo’s rapidly advancing detectors, we are making new discoveries about the universe at astonishing rates.”

    An extension of this analysis by the same RIT and UFL team used a possible electromagnetic counterpart observed by the Zwicky Transient Facility to compute independently the cosmological Hubble constant with GW150521 as an eccentric binary black hole merger.

    Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) instrument installed on the 1.2m diameter Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California. Credit: Caltech Optical Observatories.

    Caltech Palomar Samuel Oschin 48 inch Telescope, located in San Diego County, California, U.S.A., altitude 1,712 m (5,617 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    They found excellent agreement with the expected values and recently published the work in The Astrophysical Journal.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Rochester Institute of Technology (US) is a private doctoral university within the town of Henrietta in the Rochester, New York metropolitan area.

    RIT is composed of nine academic colleges, including National Technical Institute for the Deaf(RIT)(US). The Institute is one of only a small number of engineering institutes in the State of New York, including New York Institute of Technology, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute(US). It is most widely known for its fine arts, computing, engineering, and imaging science programs; several fine arts programs routinely rank in the national “Top 10” according to US News & World Report.

    The university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctoral and professional degrees and online masters as well.

    The university was founded in 1829 and is the tenth largest private university in the country in terms of full-time students. It is internationally known for its science; computer; engineering; and art programs as well as for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf- a leading deaf-education institution that provides educational opportunities to more than 1000 deaf and hard-of-hearing students. RIT is known for its Co-op program that gives students professional and industrial experience. It has the fourth oldest and one of the largest Co-op programs in the world. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”.

    RIT’s student population is approximately 19,000 students, about 16,000 undergraduate and 3000 graduate. Demographically, students attend from all 50 states in the United States and from more than 100 countries around the world. The university has more than 4000 active faculty and staff members who engage with the students in a wide range of academic activities and research projects. It also has branches abroad, its global campuses, located in China, Croatia and United Arab Emirates (Dubai).

    Fourteen RIT alumni and faculty members have been recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.


    The university began as a result of an 1891 merger between Rochester Athenæum, a literary society founded in 1829 by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester and associates and The Mechanics Institute- a Rochester school of practical technical training for local residents founded in 1885 by a consortium of local businessmen including Captain Henry Lomb- co-founder of Bausch & Lomb. The name of the merged institution at the time was called Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). The Mechanics Institute however, was considered as the surviving school by taking over The Rochester Athenaeum’s charter. From the time of the merger until 1944 RAMI celebrated The former Mechanics Institute’s 1885 founding charter. In 1944 the school changed its name to Rochester Institute of Technology and re-established The Athenaeum’s 1829 founding charter and became a full-fledged research university.

    The university originally resided within the city of Rochester, New York, proper, on a block bounded by the Erie Canal; South Plymouth Avenue; Spring Street; and South Washington Street (approximately 43.152632°N 77.615157°W). Its art department was originally located in the Bevier Memorial Building. By the middle of the twentieth century, RIT began to outgrow its facilities, and surrounding land was scarce and expensive. Additionally in 1959 the New York Department of Public Works announced a new freeway- the Inner Loop- was to be built through the city along a path that bisected the university’s campus and required demolition of key university buildings. In 1961 an unanticipated donation of $3.27 million ($27,977,071 today) from local Grace Watson (for whom RIT’s dining hall was later named) allowed the university to purchase land for a new 1,300-acre (5.3 km^2) campus several miles south along the east bank of the Genesee River in suburban Henrietta. Upon completion in 1968 the university moved to the new suburban campus, where it resides today.

    In 1966 RIT was selected by the Federal government to be the site of the newly founded National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). NTID admitted its first students in 1968 concurrent with RIT’s transition to the Henrietta campus.

    In 1979 RIT took over Eisenhower College- a liberal arts college located in Seneca Falls, New York. Despite making a 5-year commitment to keep Eisenhower open RIT announced in July 1982 that the college would close immediately. One final year of operation by Eisenhower’s academic program took place in the 1982–83 school year on the Henrietta campus. The final Eisenhower graduation took place in May 1983 back in Seneca Falls.

    In 1990 RIT started its first PhD program in Imaging Science – the first PhD program of its kind in the U.S. RIT subsequently established PhD programs in six other fields: Astrophysical Sciences and Technology; Computing and Information Sciences; Color Science; Microsystems Engineering; Sustainability; and Engineering. In 1996 RIT became the first college in the U.S to offer a Software Engineering degree at the undergraduate level.


    RIT has nine colleges:

    RIT College of Engineering Technology
    Saunders College of Business
    B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
    Kate Gleason College of Engineering
    RIT College of Health Sciences and Technology
    College of Art and Design
    RIT College of Liberal Arts
    RIT College of Science
    National Technical Institute for the Deaf

    There are also three smaller academic units that grant degrees but do not have full college faculties:

    RIT Center for Multidisciplinary Studies
    Golisano Institute for Sustainability
    University Studies

    In addition to these colleges, RIT operates three branch campuses in Europe, one in the Middle East and one in East Asia:

    RIT Croatia (formerly the American College of Management and Technology) in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, Croatia
    RIT Kosovo (formerly the American University in Kosovo) in Pristina, Kosovo
    RIT Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    RIT China-Weihai Campus

    RIT also has international partnerships with the following schools:

    Yeditepe University İstanbul Eğitim ve Kültür Vakfı] (TR) in Istanbul, Turkey
    Birla Institute of Technology and Science [बिरला इंस्टिट्यूट ऑफ़ टेक्नोलॉजी एंड साइंस] (IN) in India
    Mother and Teacher Pontifical Catholic University[Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra] (DO)
    Santo Domingo Institute of Technology[Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo – INTEC] (DO) in Dominican Republic
    Central American Technological University [La universidad global de Honduras] (HN)
    University of the North [Universidad del Norte] (COL)in Colombia
    Peruvian University of Applied Sciences [Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas] (PE) (UPC) in Peru

    RIT’s research programs are rapidly expanding. The total value of research grants to university faculty for fiscal year 2007–2008 totaled $48.5 million- an increase of more than twenty-two percent over the grants from the previous year. The university currently offers eight PhD programs: Imaging science; Microsystems Engineering; Computing and Information Sciences; Color science; Astrophysical Sciences and Technology; Sustainability; Engineering; and Mathematical modeling.

    In 1986 RIT founded the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and started its first doctoral program in Imaging Science in 1989. The Imaging Science department also offers the only Bachelors (BS) and Masters (MS) degree programs in imaging science in the country. The Carlson Center features a diverse research portfolio; its major research areas include Digital Image Restoration; Remote Sensing; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Printing Systems Research; Color Science; Nanoimaging; Imaging Detectors; Astronomical Imaging; Visual Perception; and Ultrasonic Imaging.

    The Center for Microelectronic and Computer Engineering was founded by RIT in 1986. The university was the first university to offer a bachelor’s degree in Microelectronic Engineering. The Center’s facilities include 50,000 square feet (4,600 m^2) of building space with 10,000 square feet (930 m^2) of clean room space. The building will undergo an expansion later this year. Its research programs include nano-imaging; nano-lithography; nano-power; micro-optical devices; photonics subsystems integration; high-fidelity modeling and heterogeneous simulation; microelectronic manufacturing; microsystems integration; and micro-optical networks for computational applications.

    The Center for Advancing the Study of CyberInfrastructure (CASCI) is a multidisciplinary center housed in the College of Computing and Information Sciences. The Departments of Computer science; Software Engineering; Information technology; Computer engineering; Imaging Science; and Bioinformatics collaborate in a variety of research programs at this center. RIT was the first university to launch a Bachelor’s program in Information technology in 1991; the first university to launch a Bachelor’s program in Software Engineering in 1996 and was also among the first universities to launch a Computer science Bachelor’s program in 1972. RIT helped standardize the Forth programming language and developed the CLAWS software package.

    The Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation was founded in 2007. The CCRG comprises faculty and postdoctoral research associates working in the areas of general relativity; gravitational waves; and galactic dynamics. Computing facilities in the CCRG include gravitySimulator, a novel 32-node supercomputer that uses special-purpose hardware to achieve speeds of 4TFlops in gravitational N-body calculations, and newHorizons [image N/A], a state-of-the art 85-node Linux cluster for numerical relativity simulations.

    Gravity Simulator at the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, RIT, Rochester, New York, USA.

    The Center for Detectors was founded in 2010. The CfD designs; develops; and implements new advanced sensor technologies through collaboration with academic researchers; industry engineers; government scientists; and university/college students. The CfD operates four laboratories and has approximately a dozen funded projects to advance detectors in a broad array of applications, e.g. astrophysics; biomedical imaging; Earth system science; and inter-planetary travel. Center members span eight departments and four colleges.

    RIT has collaborated with many industry players in the field of research as well, including IBM; Xerox; Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle; Siemens; National Aeronautics Space Agency(US); and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (US) (DARPA). In 2005, it was announced by Russell W. Bessette- Executive Director New York State Office of Science Technology & Academic Research (NYSTAR), that RIT will lead the SUNY University at Buffalo (US) and Alfred University (US) in an initiative to create key technologies in microsystems; photonics; nanomaterials; and remote sensing systems and to integrate next generation IT systems. In addition, the collaboratory is tasked with helping to facilitate economic development and tech transfer in New York State. More than 35 other notable organizations have joined the collaboratory, including Boeing, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Intel, SEMATECH, ITT, Motorola, Xerox, and several Federal agencies, including as NASA.

    RIT has emerged as a national leader in manufacturing research. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy selected RIT to lead its Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute aimed at forging new clean energy measures through the Manufacturing USA initiative. RIT also participates in five other Manufacturing USA research institutes.

  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on January 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Is life possible on rogue planets and moons?", , A hydrogen-rich atmosphere can not only prevent free-floating planets from losing their internal radioactive heat to space but could also keep surface temperatures warm., , , Cosmology, Earth-like planets are not the only places where life could form., Just like Saturn’s moon Titan has a thick atmosphere a sufficiently massive moon of a free-floating planet could have one too., Microorganisms can hypothetically survive on ocean floors of Enceladus-like icy moons around free-floating planets., Oceans on worlds with no Suns but moons, Planets may have been ejected out of our solar system too over 4 billion years ago and now orbit our galaxy as dark worlds., Scientists think planets that don’t orbit any star-called free-floating planets or rogue planets-can harbor life too., Simulated hydrogen-rich environments in labs show that certain terrestrial microorganisms can thrive under such conditions., Starless free-floating worlds might represent the most common habitable real estate of the universe.,   

    From The Planetary Society (US): “Is life possible on rogue planets and moons?” 


    From The Planetary Society (US)

    Jan 18, 2022
    Jatan Mehta

    An artist’s illustration of a Jupiter-like planet floating freely in space without a star. Image: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US).

    Starless free-floating worlds might represent the most common habitable real estate of the universe.

    Our search for planets around other stars in our galaxy has yielded us more than 4,500 worlds. Quite a few of these exoplanets seem to be Earth-like, where surface conditions could sustain liquid water and life as we know it.

    But even as next generation telescopes aim to detect gases on such planets indicative of life, our search for such habitable worlds remains somewhat limited. Simply put: Earth-like planets are not the only places where life could form.

    We know from our own solar system that icy moons orbiting giant planets far away from the Sun — such as Europa, Ganymede and Enceladus — can have underground, habitable oceans too. Their liquid water isn’t due to the Sun’s heat but rather warmed by friction between parts of their interiors being tugged by their planets’ gravity. If sunlight, a surface and an atmosphere aren’t necessary to make a world habitable, then why confine our search for life to Earth-like worlds that orbit stars?

    Scientists think planets that don’t orbit any star, called free-floating planets or rogue planets, can harbor life too. These planets originally form around stars like any other but get kicked out of their system at some point due to gravitational effects of giant planets within.

    Planets may have been ejected out of our solar system too over 4 billion years ago and now orbit our galaxy as dark worlds. Without a star, how can these dark worlds conceivably host life as we know it? Our exploration of the solar system combined with two decades of exoplanet research tells us there are several possibilities.

    Oceans on worlds with no Suns but moons

    Getting kicked out of a star system early on does have at least one advantage: strong ultraviolet light from young stars can’t strip away hydrogen atmospheres of these planets, which helps retain heat.

    A 1999 research paper [Nature] suggests that a hydrogen-rich atmosphere can not only prevent free-floating planets from losing their internal radioactive heat to space but could also keep surface temperatures warm enough to sustain Earth-like oceans. Simulated hydrogen-rich environments in labs show that certain terrestrial microorganisms can thrive under such conditions. That said, life on free-floating worlds would still have to miraculously emerge using the planet’s miniscule internal energy, compared to over 99% of Earth’s energy coming from sunlight.

    Hypothetically, if a free-floating planet has a large enough moon, it could further heat the planet using tidal mechanisms, similar to our Moon and Earth. When the Moon formed more than 4.4 billion years ago, it was about 15 times closer to us than it is today. It induced such a strong tidal heating that scientists think the Moon may have played a key role in making the early Earth habitable. Even if such heating lasts only a few hundred million years, it could provide a richer source of energy than the free-floating planet’s own heat to keep an ocean warm, initiate complex geology and possibly develop microbial life.

    But how likely is it for free-floating planets to have moons in the first place?

    “There’s nothing theoretically stopping us from having a Moon-sized satellite around a free-floating planet,” said Nick Oberg, a researcher at The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute – University of Gronigen [Rijksuniversiteit Groningen] (NL) and The Delft University of Technology [Technische Universiteit Delft](NL) studying formation of Jupiter’s moons. “Orbital simulations show that more than 47% of moons can remain bound to exiled gas giant planets.” Likewise, simulations with ejected Earth-mass planets show that more than 4% of them retain their Moon-sized satellite.

    Habitable moons around starless worlds

    In addition to exiled free-floating planets being able to retain their moons, it’s also possible for free-floating planets and their satellites to coalesce directly from clouds of gas and dust in interstellar space just like stars do. We have already discovered a free-floating planet candidate surrounded by a disk from which moons like those around Jupiter could form.

    “Planets with multiple satellites, such as the Galilean moons of Jupiter, have even better chances of retaining those moons after being ejected,” said Patricio Javier Ávila, a Chilean researcher of free-floating planets at The University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción](CL). Just as tidal heating from Jupiter and Saturn creates underground oceans on some of their icy moons, such satellites around free-floating planets could have subsurface oceans too [Astronomy and Astrophysics].

    “If a free-floating planet retains multiple moons and their elliptical orbits, tidal heating could be sustained and with it the subsurface oceans,” Oberg said.

    Europa’s subsurface ocean cutaway An artist’s illustration of an underground liquid water ocean beneath the thick icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa. A similar ocean exists on Saturn’s moon Enceladus too.Image: NASA.

    When NASA’s Cassini spacecraft flew through water plumes erupting from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus — sourced from its underground ocean — it found a variety of organic molecules, which are building blocks of life.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    Cassini’s observations suggest that Enceladus’ ocean seems to have potentially habitable hydrothermal vents similar to those found in the deepest, darkest parts of Earth’s oceans. Not only do various microorganisms like methanogens thrive near such terrestrial vents, scientists think this is how life on Earth could’ve started in the first place [Nature Reviews Microbiology].

    Microorganisms can hypothetically survive [Nature Communications] on ocean floors of Enceladus-like icy moons around free-floating planets too, well protected from asteroid impacts and harmful radiation by thick icy crusts above.

    This graphic illustrates hydrothermal vents on Enceladus’ ocean floor that could provide habitable environments for microbial life to form and thrive.Image: NASA-JPL/Caltech (US).

    There’s another possibility, though. Just like Saturn’s moon Titan has a thick atmosphere a sufficiently massive moon of a free-floating planet could have one too. Coupled with tidal heating, Earth-mass exomoons of these could have high enough temperatures to sustain oceans on their surface for hundreds of millions of years, and be favorable to microbial life.

    Okay, but can we even detect starless worlds?

    For all their potential to host life, it’s incredibly difficult to detect dark, free-floating worlds in our galaxy using traditional exoplanet-catching methods. It’s hard enough already to find miniscule planets even when they have stars!

    Even though free-floating planets should be common, and at least one of them might be lying within (astronomically) merely 10 light years from us, we haven’t found any yet.

    “It’s challenging to verify these objects as true free-floating planets because their mass can be so difficult to accurately estimate,” said Oberg.

    In 2013, scientists directly imaged [The Astrophysical Journal] a Jupiter-like free-floating planet candidate 80 light years away, but it’s hard to tell it apart from a class of objects called brown dwarfs.

    Artist’s concept of a Brown dwarf [not quite a] star. NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Example of direct imaging-This false-color composite image traces the motion of the planet Fomalhaut b, a world captured by direct imaging. Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US), The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), and P. Kalas, The University of California-Berkeley (US) and The SETI Institute (US).

    These are more massive than Jupiter but are called “failed stars” because they aren’t massive enough to fuse hydrogen in their cores.

    Directly image free-floating world Direct image of the free-floating planet candidate PSO J318.5-22, visible as the dot with the reddish hue.Image: N. Metcalfe / Pan-STARRS 1

    U Hawaii (US) Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System is a 1.8-meter diameter telescope situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala, altitude 10,023 ft (3,055 m) on the Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA. It is equipped with the world’s largest digital camera, with almost 1.4 billion pixels.

    Fourteen more free-floating candidates have been detected using a technique called “gravitational microlensing”, wherein a planet’s gravitational field bends light from objects behind them and magnifies their view like a fish bowl. These are difficult to confirm too.

    Gravitational microlensing, S. Liebes, Physical Review B, 133 (1964): 835.

    “Gravitational microlensing detections are one-time events, making them harder to follow up on,” Ávila said. “It’s also difficult to distinguish a light brown dwarf from a free-floating planet as the technique favors more massive objects.”

    Nevertheless, brown dwarfs could host habitable moons in the same way free-floating planets do. Brown dwarfs have been observed too so there’s some hope.

    Interestingly, moons of free-floating worlds may be relatively easier to detect than their parent objects. Even as we haven’t yet found an exomoon around a typical exoplanet with a host star, we might spot a free-floating object’s moon first because there would be no noise from a glaring star when the moon passes in front of the planet from our view.

    Next generation space telescopes, such as NASA’s recently launched JWST and ESA’s upcoming PLATO telescope, could detect Moon- and Titan-sized satellites orbiting free-floating planets and brown dwarfs.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Infrared Space Telescope(US) annotated. Scheduled for launch in 2011 delayed to October 2021 finally launched December 25, 2021.

    ESA PLATO spacecraft depiction

    Wide-field surveys by NASA’s upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Telescope should increase our chances even more, as should better gravitational microlensing surveys in the future.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope [WFIRST] depiction.

    Detecting exomoons and the nature of their orbits will allow scientists to determine properties of their parent objects.

    Even if we discover no or few exomoons around free-floating worlds, next generation telescopes will still advance our understanding of moons in general.

    “JWST and future telescopes will vastly increase our understanding of moon-forming disks around regular exoplanets, which are not only easier to spot and study than exomoons but have already been detected,” said Jesper Tjoa, a researcher at the University of Heidelberg. An example of such a system is the moon-forming disk around the young Jupiter-like planet PDS 70c nearly 400 light years away.

    A moon-forming disk Wide and close-up views of the moon-forming disk surrounding PDS 70c, a young Jupiter-like planet nearly 400 light-years away, as seen with the ALMA telescope on Earth.Image: The Atacama Large Millimiter/submillimeter Array (CL) / The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europaiche Sûdsternwarte] (EU)(CL).

    European Southern Observatory/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP) ALMA Observatory (CL).

    European Southern Observatory(EU) , Very Large Telescope 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.

    Finding exomoons across the galaxy and understanding how they form and evolve would provide us insights into how moons in our solar system formed, and how common habitable moons are.

    The habitable worlds next door

    The possibility that icy moons of free-floating planets or of exoplanets with host stars could harbor life is tantalizing, and ties back to our solar system. Even if we do find habitable exomoons with great difficulty, there’s no way for us to be sure if they host life. The only place for us to definitively confirm alien exomoon life is our solar system, wherein we can send spacecraft to measure things with precision and even fetch samples. In fact, studying icy moons of our solar system with spacecraft is what helps us model the possibilities of habitable exomoons.

    This is precisely why some of the biggest planetary science missions launching this decade, like JUICE and Europa Clipper, are dedicated to finding if underground oceans of Jupiter’s icy moons are habitable.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU) Juice spacecraft depiction.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)Juice Schematic.

    NASA Europa Clipper depiction.
    NASA/Europa Clipper annotated.

    Future mission concepts such as the Enceladus Life Finder would look for direct signs of life in Enceladus’ water plumes. NASA is launching the Dragonfly mission later in the decade to explore Titan’s surface to understand possible starting ingredients for life on early Earth and elsewhere.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    In 1980, Carl Sagan, Louis Friedman, and Bruce Murray founded The Planetary Society (US) . They saw that there was enormous public interest in space, but that this was not reflected in government, as NASA’s budget was cut again and again.

    Today, The Planetary Society (US) continues this work, under the leadership of CEO Bill Nye, as the world’s largest and most influential non-profit space organization. The organization is supported by over 50,000 members in over 100 countries, and by hundreds of volunteers around the world.

    Our mission is to empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration. We advocate for space and planetary science funding in government, inspire and educate people around the world, and develop and fund groundbreaking space science and technology.

    We introduce people to the wonders of the cosmos, bridging the gap between the scientific community and the general public to inspire and educate people from all walks of life.

    We give every citizen of the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard in government and effect real change in support of space exploration.

    And we bring ordinary people directly to the frontier of exploration as we crowdfund innovative and exciting space technologies.

  • richardmitnick 10:38 pm on January 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Discovery of Extreme Superflares On Recurrent Nova V2487 Oph", , , Cosmology, Ground based visible and infra-red Astronomy, , , The superflares on V2487 Oph are by far the most extreme known for any superflare star.   

    From The Louisiana State University (US): “Discovery of Extreme Superflares On Recurrent Nova V2487 Oph” 

    From The Louisiana State University (US)

    The Louisiana State University (US) College of Science


    The Louisiana State University Department of Physics and Astronomy


    Prof. Bradley E. Schaefer
    Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Louisiana State University

    Mimi LaValle
    Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Louisiana State University

    Figure 1. Depiction of a close-up of the V2487 Oph system. This is an accurate depiction, although the exact placement and details of the starspots can only be representative. The ordinary star (in the upper right) is somewhat similar to our Sun, having a similar mass, a similar surface temperature (around 6000° K), and just twice the size. The polar regions in one hemisphere are illuminated by the intense light from the white dwarf and accretion disk, while the equatorial regions are in a shadow cast by the disk itself. This star has been spun up to the orbital period of 1.24 days, and with the fast rotation inevitably comes starspots and the associated loops of magnetic field lines. The two stars are in such a close orbit that gas from the ordinary star falls off continuously, forming a narrow stream that then merges into a large flat and circular accretion disk, a swirl of gas slowly relaxing onto the white dwarf star at its center. This white dwarf appears as a very small white dot, lost in the middle of the accretion disk.
    Photo credit: Prof. Robert Hynes, Louisiana State University, with his BinSim program.

    Figure 2. V2487 Oph with the magnetic field lines. The magnetic field lines are illustrated with the green curves. The configuration is not known for the magnetic fields for V2487 Oph, yet the picture shows a plausible case. The magnetic field lines will be anchored to gas, likely with the ‘footprints’ on the surface of the star near the starspots, and also anchored to gas in the accretion disk, or maybe even to the likely high-fields on the white dwarf itself. As the starspots roil the nearby gas, and as the footprints in the accretion disk gas gets wrapped up, the field lines will twist and be amplified. The field lines will be ‘stretched’ and wrapped, ultimately reaching a break point. In the illustration, we see many field lines twisting together, and this is where the magnetic reconnection will occur.
    Photo credit: Prof. Robert Hynes, Louisiana State University, with his BinSim program forming the base picture as in Figure 1.

    Figure 3. Superflare in the V2487 Oph system. When the magentic field lines (depicted as green curves) get all twisted to their breaking point, then their huge amount of magnetic energy gets released. This energy will mostly be radiated as light, resulting in optical flux visible as a brightening of the entire system. This energy release is depicted by the magenta rays radiating out of the site of the magnetic reconnection. This basic mechanism is very familiar to astronomers as being the cause of solar flares (including the Carrington Event), flares on ordinary flare stars, and superflares on other (much weaker) Superflare stars.
    Photo credit: Prof. Robert Hynes, Louisiana State University, with his BinSim program forming the base picture as in Figure 1.

    Figure 4. Superflare light curves for V2487 Oph. A light curve is just a graph showing the brightness as a function of time. For each of the six light curve for six individual Superflares, the vertical axis is the brightness as measured in flux (counts per second) from the Kepler spacecraft, while the horizontal axis is the time from the peak of the Superflare (in units of minutes). As we scan from left to right, we see that the Superflares all start suddenly, have a fast rise to a peak, then a fast fall in brightness, followed by a fairly long fading tail. As with all stellar magnetic reconnection events, the initial impulsive spike in brightness is from the immediate energy release, with the tail showing the light of the cooling gas heated up by the initial spike.
    Photo credit: Light curves from Schaefer, Pagnotta, & Zoppelt (2022).

    Startlingly, the Recurrent Nova V2487 Oph has been discovered to have extreme superflares, with the bursts more frequent and 100,000 times more powerful than any other known superflare star, in terms of energy per year. The energy in just one flare is up to 20 million times that of the infamous Carrington Event of 1859.

    “The startling discovery of extreme superflares from a Recurrent Nova is exciting because it presents astronomers with a profound astrophysics challenge, and because of the implications for life elsewhere in our galaxy,” said Schaefer.

    This discovery is being announced for the first time, in association with The American Astronomical Society (US), by three astronomers, Professor Bradley E. Schaefer, Louisiana State University, and Professor Ashley Pagnotta and Seth Zoppelt, undergraduate student, both with The College of Charleston (US).

    The authors discovered the superflares on V2487 Oph using data from the Kepler satellite, obtained via a proposal from Pagnotta and Schaefer, and confirmed their existence using the public-domain light curves of the Zwicky Transient Facility.

    NASA Kepler Space Telescope (US) launched in 2009 and retired on October 30 2018.

    Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) instrument installed on the 1.2m diameter Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California. Credit: Caltech Optical Observatories.

    Caltech Palomar Samuel Oschin 48 inch Telescope, located in San Diego County, California, U.S.A., altitude 1,712 m (5,617 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    “These flares occur about once per day, and they seem to have been occurring nearly continuously from at least 2016 to the present,” said Pagnotta. “They start with a sharp spike up in brightness, taking only about one minute to rise to peak, and then fade back down to their previous level. The typical duration of one flare is around one hour, and at the peak of the flares, the star can brighten by up to a factor of 2.8 (up to 1.1 magnitudes).”

    Superflares are massive explosions that occur on stars of all types, including 1.6 percent of stars that are similar to our Sun, with deep implications for life on planets around other stars as well as on far-future colonization of space. Superflares will variously sterilize life on exoplanet surfaces, fry all electronic technology, and strip the entire atmosphere off any exoplanet.

    Superflares were discovered and named in 1989 by Schaefer. “The recognition was that apparently-ordinary stars suffered stellar flares, solar flares on other stars, with many orders-of-magnitude times the energy of the most energetic solar flares,” said Schaefer. “These superflares occurred on ordinary stars of all types, hot and cold, young and old, and with high and low mass.” Some of the superflare stars are among the closest known twins of our own Sun.

    A great advance came in 2012, when the Kepler satellite provided long-term continuous brightness measures of a fraction of a million stars. Currently, superflares are known for ordinary stars of all classes, including main-sequence stars from B to M, brown dwarf, white dwarfs, subgiant stars, giant stars, Mira stars, and even three supergiant stars. All of the known Superflare stars are ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’, with V2487 Oph being the first case of superflares on any type of exotic star.

    The extreme superflares were discovered on the star V2487 Oph, named as the 2487th cataloged variable star in the constellation Ophiucus, the ‘Serpent-Bearer’. This star is a Recurrent Nova, the rarest class of variable stars, and is only the tenth known Recurrent Nova in our Milky Way galaxy. This nova most recently erupted on June 15, 1988, peaking at 9.5 magnitudes, barely visible in binoculars, and then faded fast over the next few weeks.

    “The recurrence of a prior nova event was discovered in 2009 as part of an intentional search of archival records from 1890 to 1998 by Pagnotta, 2012 LSU PhD alumna, when she found a record of an eruption on an old sky photograph, now archived at Harvard Observatory, dated 1900 June 20,” noted Schaefer. “Accounting for the number of missed eruptions from 1900 to 1998, the nova events likely recur with a timescale of around 20 years. With the last eruption in 1998, V2487 Oph is expected to erupt again any year now.”

    The superflares on V2487 Oph, are very energetic and the most powerful known. The estimate of the total energy for the average superflare is 2×1038 ergs, while the most energetic event, which occurred on May 6, 2016, had a total energy of 2×1039 ergs.

    “A mind-boggling comparison is that one of the daily superflares on V2487 Oph would be enough to power all of Earth’s humanity at its current rate for 24X the age of the Universe,” said Schaefer. “For a relevant comparison, the all-time most-energetic solar flare from our own Sun, the infamous Carrington Event of September 1, 1859, had a total energy of roughly 1032 ergs. The Carrington Event is known to be a small version of a superflare, caused by the energy released by magnetic reconnection of the field lines attached to sunspots, but the energy is more than 100X too low for the event to be called a ‘superflare’. With an energy scale of ‘MegaCarringtons’ (i.e., one million times the energy of the Carrington Event), V2487 Oph is producing superflares at the 20-MegaCarrington level.”

    The superflares on V2487 Oph are by far the most extreme known for any superflare star. The typical superflares on stars like our Sun have energies of 100 to 10,000 Carringtons, while the largest previously known event, the once-per-century superflare on S For, only reached two MegaCarringtons. So V2487 Oph has the most extreme energy on a flare-by-flare basis. Other superflare stars all have their most energetic events being very rare, so their yearly energy budgets are relatively small. V2487 Oph not only has a very high energy-per-flare, but also a very high flare rate. These combine to give V2487 Oph a total yearly energy budget that is greater than 100,000 times larger than any other known superflare star. The total energy budget is estimated as 1041 ergs (as much energy as a billion Carrington Events) every year.

    All other known superflare stars are ‘ordinary’, while V2487 Oph has its extreme energy presumably related somehow to its very rare status as a Recurrent Nova. While the magnetic-reconnection origin of the superflares can be demonstrated, this does not mean that the configuration of the magnetic field lines is known. A plausible idea is that the companion star has starspots generating field lines that get caught up in the accretion process, with overflowing gas carrying the field lines into the accretion disk, where it will rapidly get amplified and twisted until breakage. Thus, the extreme nature of the V2487 Oph superflares may be due to its rare condition with the high rate of mass transfer. Still, this does not explain the utter lack of any superflares for any other such similar binary, despite a tremendous amount of observation time of such stars over the last many decades. Especially, the ‘sister recurrent nova’ U Scorpii certainly has no superflares. So we are left with the mystery of what additional rare property sets V2487 Oph apart, allowing for the extreme superflares. Indeed, the microphysics of the magnetic reconnection is still an unsolved problem, despite much theoretical effort for solar flares.

    Now suddenly, V2487 Oph presents a profound challenge for astrophysics theory, as an explanation is needed for how it is possible for the system to generate such huge magnetic fields over such large volumes, only to have the reconnection destroy all the field lines, and to do this once a day. In all, the startling discovery of extreme superflares on V2487 Oph makes for a set of daunting challenges for astrophysics theory.

    Superflares have deep implications for the possibility of life on exoplanets going around any Superflare star. Superflares would destroy life by direct damage and sterilization from the Superflare radiation, and also by stripping away the atmosphere of all planets in orbit.

    “To take a recent and well-studied case, a superflare was seen coming from Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our Sun, with this star having a planet with roughly one Earth-mass and residing within the ‘habitable zone’,” said Schaefer. “That is, this Earth-like planet is the best possible case for finding life, and it is also the best case for sending out survey and colony ships in the future. But the superflares by themselves would quickly kill all life as we know it, and indeed, the superflares would ‘speedily’ strip the planet of all atmosphere. Thus, in this case of an Earth-like planet around the closest star, superflares preclude the formation of life on any planet in the system, and it makes the best and closest planet inhospitable for human colonization.”

    Science paper:

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Louisiana State University (US) (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College) is a public research university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current Louisiana State University main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and the main campus historic district occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    Louisiana State University is the flagship school of the state of Louisiana, as well as the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System, and is the most comprehensive university in Louisiana. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of Louisiana State University’s graduate schools, such as the E. J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution, Louisiana State University is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (US), the National Science Foundation (US), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US). Louisiana State University is one of eight universities in the United States with dental, law, veterinary, medical, and Master of Business Administration programs. The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the country and the only one in Louisiana.

    Louisiana State University’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.


    19th century

    Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College had its origin in several land grants made by the United States government in 1806, 1811, and 1827 for use as a seminary of learning. It was founded as a military academy and is still today steeped in military tradition, giving rise to the school’s nickname “The Ole War Skule”. In 1853, the Louisiana General Assembly established the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana near Pineville in Rapides Parish in Central Louisiana. Modeled initially after Virginia Military Institute, the institution opened with five professors and nineteen cadets on January 2, 1860, with Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. The original location of the Old Louisiana State University Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On January 26, 1861, after only a year at the helm, Sherman resigned his position because Louisiana became the sixth state to secede from the Union. The school closed on June 30, 1861, with the start of the American Civil War.

    During the war, the university reopened briefly in April 1863 but was closed once again with the invasion of the Red River Valley by the Union Army. The losses sustained by the institution during the Union occupation were heavy, and after 1863 the seminary remained closed for the remainder of the Civil War. Following the surrender of the Confederates at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, General Sherman donated two cannons to the institution. These cannons had been captured from Confederate forces after the close of the war and had been used during the initial firing upon Fort Sumter in April 1861. The cannons are still displayed in front of Louisiana State University’s Military Science/Aerospace Studies Building.

    The seminary officially reopened its doors on October 2, 1865, only to be burned October 15, 1869. On November 1, 1869, the institution resumed its exercises in Baton Rouge, where it has since remained. In 1870, the name of the institution was officially changed to Louisiana State University.

    Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College was established by an act of the legislature, approved April 7, 1874, to carry out the United States Morrill Act of 1862, granting lands for this purpose. It temporarily opened in New Orleans, June 1, 1874, where it remained until it merged with Louisiana State University in 1877. This prompted the final name change for the university to the Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College.

    20th century

    In 1905, Louisiana State University admitted its first female student, R. O. Davis. She was admitted into a program to pursue a master’s degree. The following year, 1906, Louisiana State University admitted sixteen female students to its freshman class as part of an experimental program. Before this, Louisiana State University’s student body was all-male. In 1907, Louisiana State University’s first female graduate, Martha McC. Read, was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. After this two year experimental program, the university fully opened its doors to female applicants in 1908, and thus coeducation was born at Louisiana State University.

    On April 30, 1926, the present Louisiana State University campus was formally dedicated, following the school’s history at the federal garrison grounds (now the site of the state capitol) where it had been since 1886. Before this, Louisiana State University used the quarters of the Institute for the Deaf, Mute, and Blind. Land for the present campus was purchased in 1918, construction started in 1922, and the move began in 1925; however, the move was not completed until 1932. The campus was originally designed for 3000 students but was cut back due to budget problems. After years of enrollment fluctuation, student numbers began a steady increase, new programs were added, curricula and faculty expanded, and a true state university emerged.

    In 1928, Louisiana State University was a small-time country school that generated little interest or attention in the state. Labeled a “third-rate” institution by the Association of State Universities, the school had only 1800 students, 168 faculty members, and an annual operating budget of $800,000. In 1930, Huey Pierce Long Jr., the governor, began a massive building program to expand the physical plant and add departments.

    By 1936, Louisiana State University had the finest facilities in the South, a top-notch faculty of 394 professors, a new medical school, more than 6,000 students, and a winning football team. In only eight years, it had risen in size from 88th in the nation to 20th, and it was the 11th largest state university in the nation. Long financed these improvements by arranging for the state to purchase acreage from the old Louisiana State University campus, which adjoined the grounds of the new State Capitol building in downtown Baton Rouge. To the consternation of his critics, Long essentially diverted $9 million for Louisiana State University’s expansion and increased the annual operating budget to $2.8 million.

    Louisiana State University was hit by scandal in 1939 when James Monroe Smith, appointed by Huey Long as president of Louisiana State University, was charged with embezzling a half-million dollars. In the ensuing investigation, at least twenty state officials were indicted. Two committed suicide as the scandal enveloped Governor Richard W. Leche, who received a 10-year federal prison sentence as a result of a kickback scheme. Paul M. Hebert, Dean of Louisiana State University’s law school at the time, then assumed interim presidency in Smith’s place.

    During World War II, Louisiana State University was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    Although some African-Americans students tried to enroll in Louisiana State University in 1946, the university did not admit African-Americans until the 1950s. In 1953 A. P. Tureaud Jr. enrolled under court order, but his enrollment was canceled when a higher court overturned the ruling. His case was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Tureaud returned to Louisiana State University in 1956. A classroom building on the Louisiana State University campus is named for his father, the late A. P. Tureaud Sr., a noted Civil Rights leader. The federal courts mandated full integration for Louisiana State University in 1964. The first African-American graduate of the LSU Louisiana State University Law School was New Orleans’s first African-American mayor, the late Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial.

    In 1969, mandatory ROTC for freshmen and sophomores was abolished; however, Louisiana State University continues to maintain Air Force and Army ROTC. In 1978, Louisiana State University was named a sea-grant college, the 13th university in the nation to be so designated. In 1992, the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors approved the creation of the Louisiana State University Honors College.

    21st century

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana State University accepted an additional 2,300 displaced students from the greater New Orleans area, such as Tulane University (US), The Loyola University New Orleans (US), The Xavier University of Louisiana (US), and The University of New Orleans (US). In addition to accepting displaced students, university officials also took on the challenge of housing and managing many hurricane victims, converting the Pete Maravich Assembly Center into a fully functional field hospital. Around 3,000 Louisiana State University students volunteered during the months after Katrina, assisting with the administration of medical treatment to some 5,000 evacuees and screening another 45,000 for various diseases.

    In 2013, F. King Alexander was named President of Louisiana State University.

    In fall 2020, Louisiana State University broke its record for the most diverse and largest freshman class in history. Of the record 6,690 freshmen, more than 30% identified as students of color, African-Americans made up the most at 16.8%. Additionally, Louisiana State University reached its all-time highest enrollment at 34,290 undergraduate and graduate students.

    An November 2020 investigative report in USA Today accused Louisiana State University of mishandling sexual misconduct claims against the football players. Louisiana State University hired Husch Blackwell LLP to review policies in response to the report, which released a 262-page report in March 2021 confirming the USA Today story, adding the problems within Louisiana State University went far beyond the allegations detailed in the investigation, with many of the problems being widespread across the university. In the fallout of the report, former Louisiana State University Tigers football coach Les Miles and former Louisiana State University president F. King Alexander were forced to resign from their jobs at The University of Kansas (US) and The Oregon State University (US), respectively. In April 2021, seven women filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Louisiana State University and its leadership based on their inability to report their incidents to the university’s Title IX office. The seven women are six former students (three of which were a part of the women’s tennis team at Louisiana State University and two who were student employees in the football recruiting office) and one current student. In June 2021, football coach Ed Orgeron was added as a defendant to the Title IX lawsuit under the notion Orgeron was aware and failed to report the rape allegation of former running back Derrius Guice.

    Dr. William F. Tate IV was named the new president of the school on May 6, 2021, effective in July. He will be the first African-American president in Louisiana State University’s history.

    Colleges and schools

    College of Agriculture
    College of Art & Design
    College of Humanities & Social Sciences
    College of Science
    E. J. Ourso College of Business
    College of Music & Dramatic Arts
    College of Human Sciences & Education
    College of Engineering
    Paul M. Hebert Law Center

    University College
    Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College
    Graduate School
    Manship School of Mass Communication
    School of Veterinary Medicine
    College of the Coast & Environment
    School of Social Work
    Continuing Education


    Louisiana State University is ranked 153rd in the national universities category and 72nd among public universities by the 2020 U.S. News & World Report ranking of U.S. colleges. Louisiana State University is also ranked as the 192nd best overall university in the nation by Forbes Magazine in 2019. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked Louisiana State University as the 16th most popular university in the nation. Louisiana State University was listed for academic censure by The National Association of University Professors for its alleged mistreatment of faculty on June 16, 2012.

    Louisiana State University was ranked 11th most LGBTQ-unfriendly campus by The Princeton Review in its 2020 rankings of American campuses by student survey. It was also featured as one of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s 2016 “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” due to its firing of a professor.

    Programs that have received recognition within Louisiana State University include the following:

    The E. J. Ourso College of Business has two professional programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report: in 2015, The Public Administration Institute ranked 73rd nationally according to the magazine, and the Flores MBA program was ranked 65th nationally. Additionally,
    Louisiana State University students have won the International Student High Achievement Award, an accolade given to students who score the highest possible score on the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam, seventeen times during the last twenty-one years.
    In 2007, the Flores MBA Program was ranked seventh in the nation “for attracting corporate MBA recruiters who recruit regionally” by The Wall Street Journal.
    The Louisiana State University College of Engineering undergraduate program was ranked 91st by U.S. News & World Report while the graduate program was ranked 94th.
    The Paul M. Hebert Law Center is ranked as the 75th best law school in the nation by the 2010 U.S. News Rankings of Best Law Schools. Louisiana State University law graduates have the highest first-time bar passage rate in Louisiana.
    In 2009, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Louisiana State University among the top 12 Entrepreneurial Colleges and Universities in the nation.
    The university’s Robert S. Reich School of Landscape Architecture was ranked No. 1 nationally in undergraduate and No. 2 in graduate programs by DesignIntelligence in its 2011 and 2012 editions of “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools”. The journal has ranked the school in the top five since 2004.
    The Louisiana State University College of Education graduate program was ranked 86th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
    The Louisiana State University French program, comprising the Department of French Studies and the Center for French and Francophone Studies, is recognized by the Cultural Services office of the French Ambassador to the United States as a centre d’excellence, an honor given to only 15 university French programs in the United States, and is ranked as one of the top 20 undergraduate French programs in the nation.
    The Louisiana State University graduate program in fine arts is ranked 62nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
    The Louisiana State University graduate program in library and information studies is ranked 27th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
    The Louisiana State University School of Social Work is ranked 79th in the nation by the 2015 U.S. News & World Report.[80]
    The Louisiana State University College of Science is the top producer of African American Ph.D. graduates and women graduates in chemistry in the United States.


    The Daily Reveille, the university’s student newspaper, has been keeping students informed for more than a century. It publishes five days a week during the fall and spring semesters and twice a week during the summer semester. The paper has a circulation of 11,000 or more. The Daily Reveille, which is funded by advertising and student fees, employs more than 80 students each semester in jobs ranging from writing and editing to design and illustration. The Daily Reveille was recognized for its outstanding coverage in the 2002–2003 school year with a Pacemaker Award from The Associated Collegiate Press and The Newspaper Association of America Foundation, the highest award granted to student publications in the United States. Princeton Review named The Daily Reveille as the 12th best college newspaper in the nation in its 2008 edition of The Best 361 Colleges. The Daily Reveille won the Editor & Publisher award, or EPpy, in 2008 for best college newspaper Web site. The Society of Professional Journalists named The Reveille “Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper” in its 2012 Mark of Excellence awards.

    KLSU is an FCC-licensed non-commercial educational (NCE) college radio station, public broadcasting with 5,000 watts of power at 91.1 on the FM dial. Radio on the Media

    The Daily Reveille, the university’s student newspaper, has been keeping students informed for more than a century. It publishes five days a week during the fall and spring semesters and twice a week during the summer semester. The paper has a circulation of 11,000 or more. The Daily Reveille, which is funded by advertising and student fees, employs more than 80 students each semester in jobs ranging from writing and editing to design and illustration. The Daily Reveille was recognized for its outstanding coverage in the 2002–2003 school year with a Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, the highest award granted to student publications in the United States. Princeton Review named The Daily Reveille as the 12th best college newspaper in the nation in its 2008 edition of The Best 361 Colleges. The Daily Reveille won the Editor & Publisher award, or EPpy, in 2008 for best college newspaper Web site.[93] The Society of Professional Journalists named The Reveille “Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper” in its 2012 Mark of Excellence awards.

    KLSU is an FCC-licensed non-commercial educational (NCE) college radio station, public broadcasting with 5,000 watts of power at 91.1 on the FM dial. Radio on the Louisiana State University campus began in 1915 when Dr. David Guthrie, a physics professor, patched together a radio transmitter from spare parts. Call letters KFGC were assigned in the early 1920s. In 1924 the station covered the first football game played in Tiger Stadium and thus provided the first broadcast of a football game in the South. In the 1950s, it switched to FM and became the first educational station in the country to broadcast a college opera. And in the 1990s, it was the first college station to stream audio on the Net. The station is on the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a format of college alternative music and specialty programming. All programming and operations are managed by the student staff.

    Broadcasting on campus cable channel 75, Tiger TV shares its production equipment and facilities with the Manship School of Mass Communication and is one of the most modern student television stations in the country.

    Broadcasting on campus cable channel 75, Tiger TV shares its production equipment and facilities with the Manship School of Mass Communication and is one of the most modern student television stations in the country.


    LSU Press is a nonprofit book publisher dedicated to the publication of scholarly, general interest, and regional books. It publishes approximately 80 titles per year and continues to garner national and international accolades, including four Pulitzer Prizes. John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces is among its best-known publications.
    Southern Review is a literary journal published by Louisiana State University. It was co-founded in 1935 by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Penn Warren, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate and wrote the classic novel All the King’s Men, and renowned literary critic of the New Criticism school, Cleanth Brooks. It publishes fiction, poetry, and essays, with an emphasis on southern culture and history.
    Legacy is a student-run magazine that publishes a variety of feature-length stories. In both 2001 and 2005, it was named the best student magazine in the nation by The Society of Professional Journalists.
    Louisiana State University RESEARCH Magazine informs readers about university research programs.
    Apollo’s Lyre is a poetry and fiction magazine published each semester by the Honors College.
    Louisiana State University Alumni Magazine is a quarterly which focuses on Alumni success and current University news sent out to alumni everywhere.
    Gumbo is the university’s yearbook, which may be purchased.
    Louisiana State University Today magazine keeps faculty and staff updated with university news.
    New Delta Review is a literary quarterly funded by Louisiana State University that publishes a wide range of fiction, poetry, and interviews from new, up-and-coming, and established writers.

  • richardmitnick 1:54 pm on January 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "There are 40 billion billions of Black Holes in the Universe!", A remarkable amount-around 1% of the overall ordinary (baryonic) matter of the Universe-is locked up in stellar mass black holes., , , , Cosmology, , How many black holes are out there in the Universe? This is one of the most relevant and pressing questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology., , The International School for Advanced Studies [Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati](IT), With a new computational approach SISSA researchers have been able to make the fascinating calculation.   

    From The International School for Advanced Studies [Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati](IT): “There are 40 billion billions of Black Holes in the Universe!” 


    From The International School for Advanced Studies [Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati](IT)


    Nico Pitrelli
    T +39 040 3787462
    M +39 339 1337950

    Donato Ramani
    T +39 040 3787513
    M +39 342 8022237

    There are 40 billion billions of Black Holes in the Universe!

    Image by PIxabay

    With a new computational approach SISSA researchers have been able to
    make the fascinating calculation. Moreover, according to their work, around
    1% of the overall ordinary (baryonic) matter is locked up in stellar mass
    black holes. Their results have just been published in the prestigious The
    Astrophysical Journal

    How many black holes are out there in the Universe? This is one of the most
    relevant and pressing questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology. The
    intriguing issue has recently been addressed by the SISSA Ph.D. student Alex
    Sicilia, supervised by Prof. Andrea Lapi and Dr. Lumen Boco, together with other
    collaborators from SISSA and from other national and international institutions. In
    a first paper of a series just published in The Astrophysical Journal, the authors have investigated the demographics of stellar mass black holes, which are black
    holes with masses between a few to some hundred solar masses, that originated
    at the end of the life of massive stars. According to the new research, a
    remarkable amount around 1% of the overall ordinary (baryonic) matter of
    the Universe is locked up in stellar mass black holes. Astonishingly, the
    researchers have found that the number of black holes within the
    observable Universe (a sphere of diameter around 90 billions light years) at
    present time is about 40 trillions, 40 billion billions (i.e., about 40 x 1018, i.e.
    4 followed by 19 zeros!).

    A new method to calculate the number of black holes

    As the authors of the research explain: “This important result has been obtained
    thanks to an original approach which combines the state-of-the-art stellar and
    binary evolution code SEVN developed by SISSA researcher Dr. Mario Spera to
    empirical prescriptions for relevant physical properties of galaxies, especially the
    rate of star formation, the amount of stellar mass and the metallicity of the
    interstellar medium (which are all important elements to define the number and
    the masses of stellar black holes). Exploiting these crucial ingredients in a self-
    consistent approach, thanks to their new computation approach, the researchers
    have then derived the number of stellar black holes and their mass distribution
    across the whole history of the Universe. Alex Sicilia, first author of the study,
    comments: “The innovative character of this work is in the coupling of a detailed
    model of stellar and binary evolution with advanced recipes for star formation and
    metal enrichment in individual galaxies. This is one of the first, and one of the
    most robust, ab initio computation of the stellar black hole mass function across
    cosmic history.”

    What’s the origin of most massive stellar black holes?

    The estimate of the number of black holes in the observable Universe is not the
    only issue investigated by the scientists in this piece of research. In collaboration
    with Dr. Ugo Di Carlo and Prof. Michela Mapelli from The University of Padua [Università degli Studi di Padova](IT),they
    have also explored the various formation channels for black holes of different
    masses, like isolated stars, binary systems and stellar clusters. According to their
    work, the most massive stellar black holes originate mainly from dynamical
    events in stellar clusters. Specifically, the researchers have shown that such
    events are required to explain the mass function of coalescing black holes as
    estimated from gravitational wave observations by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration.

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo at Hanford, WA(US), Livingston, LA(US) and VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa(IT).

    Lumen Boco, co-author of the paper, comments: “Our work provides a robust
    theory for the generation of light seeds for (super)massive black holes at high
    redshift, and can constitute a starting point to investigate the origin of ‘heavy
    seeds’, that we will pursue in a forthcoming paper.

    A multidisciplinary work carried out in the context of “BiD4BESt – Big Data
    Application for Black Hole Evolution Studies”

    Prof. Andrea Lapi, Sicilia’s supervisor and coordinator of the Ph.D. in
    Astrophysics and Cosmology at SISSA, adds: “This research is really
    multidisciplinary, covering aspects of, and requiring expertise in stellar
    astrophysics, galaxy formation and evolution, gravitational wave and multi-messenger astrophysics; as such it needs collaborative efforts from various
    members of the SISSA Astrophysics and Cosmology group, and a strong
    networking with external collaborators.”

    Alex Sicilia’s work occurs in the context of a prestigious Innovative Training
    Network Project “BiD4BESt – Big Data Application for Black Hole Evolution
    Studies” co-PIed by Prof. Andrea Lapi from SISSA (H2020-MSCAITN-2019
    Project 860744), that has been funded by the European Union with about 3.5
    million Euros overall; it involves several academic and industrial partners, to
    provide Ph.D. training to 13 early stage researchers in the area of black hole
    formation and evolution, by exploiting advanced data science techniques.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste. Credit: Mike Peel (http://www.mikepeel.net)

    The International School for Advanced Studies [Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati] (IT) (SISSA) is an international, state-supported, post-graduate-education and research institute, located in Trieste, Italy.

    SISSA is active in the fields of mathematics, physics, and neuroscience, offering both undergraduate and post-graduate courses. Each year, about 70 PhD students are admitted to SISSA based on their scientific qualifications. SISSA also runs master’s programs in the same areas, in collaboration with both Italian and other European universities.


    SISSA was founded in 1978, as a part of the reconstruction following the Friuli earthquake of 1976. Although the city of Trieste itself did not suffer any damage, physicist Paolo Budinich asked and obtained from the Italian government to include in the interventions the institution of a new, post-graduate teaching and research institute, modeled on the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa(IT). The school became operative with a PhD course in theoretical physics, and Budinich himself was appointed as general director. In 1986, Budinich left his position to Daniele Amati, who at the time was at the head of the theoretical division at The European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire](CH)[CERN]. Under his leadership, SISSA expanded its teaching and research activity towards the field of neuroscience, and instituted a new interdisciplinary laboratory aiming at connecting humanities and scientific studies. From 2001 to 2004, the director was the Italian geneticist Edoardo Boncinelli, who fostered the development of the existing research areas. Other directors were appointed in the following years, which saw the strengthening of SISSA collaboration with other Italian and European universities in offering master’s degree programs in the three areas of the School (mathematics, physics and neuroscience). The physicist Stefano Ruffo, the current director, was appointed in 2015. He signed a partnership with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology to set up a new PhD program in Molecular Biology, with teaching activity organized by both institutions.


    SISSA houses the following research groups:

    Astroparticle Physics
    Condensed Matter
    Molecular and Statistical Biophysics
    Statistical Physics
    Theoretical Particle Physics
    Cognitive Neuroscience
    Molecular Biology
    Applied Mathematics
    Mathematical Analysis
    Mathematical Physics

    In addition, there is the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Natural and Humanistic Sciences (now LISNU – Laboratorio Interdisciplinare Scienze Naturali e Umanistiche), which is endowed with the task of making connections between science, humanities, and the public. It currently offers a course in Scientific Communication and Scientific journalism.

    SISSA also enjoys special teaching and scientific links with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and the Elettra Synchrotron Light Laboratory.

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