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  • richardmitnick 2:21 pm on April 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESO - European Southern Observatory   

    Postal Cards from ESO 


    European Southern Observatory

    If you want some beautiful postal cards to mail to your friends in Astronomy or just in general, ESO is your source.

    1
    Postcard Facilities set
    Price 2.49€
    A set of six postcards, at a reduced price, each one depicting one of ESO’s telescope facilities:
    E-ELT
    ALMA
    VLT
    VLT Auxiliary Telescopes
    VISTA
    La Silla

    2
    Postcards set with 6 astronomical images (new)
    Price 2.49€
    Centaurus A (NGC 5128) WFI
    Orion Nebula (Messier 42) VISTA
    Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) VST
    Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) VLT
    Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) VST
    Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359) VLT

    Individual cards are also available at .49€ or .99€

    Cards can be ordered at the ESOshop

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    LaSilla

    ESO VLT Interferometer
    VLT

    ESO Vista Telescope
    VISTA

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope

    ALMA Array
    ALMA

    ESO E-ELT
    E-ELT

    ESO APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) Telescope

     
  • richardmitnick 3:29 pm on April 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Biosphere the Video, , ESO - European Southern Observatory   

    From ESO: Biosphere Video 


    European Southern Observatory

    Sep 26, 2014

    Biosphere | First FULL 4K Film on YouTube. Produced by GALA MEDIA – ESO The European Southern Observatory & Cybermagic. A Film by Jennifer Athena Galatis & Dominique Müller. Aerial cinematography by Yousef Alghefari. Original Music by Jennifer Athena Galatis. CG Vector Companies Logos Biosphere Earth by Arunav Sharma. CG Animations 3DSMax – Eon Vue & Compositing Jennifer Athena Galatis.

    Description

    Biosphere is a groundbreaking non narrative documentary filmed in 4K around the globe in remote areas and dense cities showcasing our planet and its inhabitants in their daily lives. Global warming is also part of the documentary’s subject and is created with state of the art CG. The documentary was shot in Canada – Bhutan – Papua New Guinea and Chile. Is produced by the European Southern Observatory – Gala Media and Cybermagic. Music is a very important part being a non narrative film and is composed by award film composer Jennifer Athena Galatis.

    LINKS

    Biosphere Website
    http://biospherethemovie.com/

    [This is truly spectacular. A sort of antidote to Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi. If you have a good downloader with your browser, you can download in HD. I downloaded with a SeaMonkey Browser downloader in 720p.]

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    ESO Main

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    LaSilla

    ESO VLT Interferometer
    VLT

    ESO Vista Telescope
    VISTA

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope

    ALMA Array
    ALMA

    ESO E-ELT
    E-ELT

    ESO APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) Telescope

     
  • richardmitnick 4:05 pm on March 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: The 2015 Calendar on Sale 


    European Southern Observatory

    If you love Astronomy, then you need to know European Southern Observatory (ESO). And, you will love the 2015 Calendar. I have it, it is absolutley wonderful.
    Right now, it is on sale at the ESOShop for €4.99 instead of €9.99 . You can order it here.

    1
    Cover image description: The Milky Way above ALMA’s antennas. The stunning Milky Way forms a magnificent background above the antennas at the ALMA Observatory.

    Beautiful astronomical images together with unique pictures of ESO’s telescopes and breathtaking landscapes will inspire you each month in 2015 thanks to this ESO calendar. Inside, Lunar phases are also indicated.

    The calendar measures 42 x 42 cm when packed and has 14 pages, with a cardboard back. It is delivered in a cardboard box.

    Please visit ESO at the link above. Visit the Telescopes and Instruments page on the web site and get to know this astounding organization.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
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    Facebook

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    ESO Main

    ESO, European Southern Observatory, builds and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:36 pm on January 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA: “A New View of An Icon” 2012, but well worth it. 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    17 January 2012
    No Writer Credit

    1
    Stunning new Herschel and XMM-Newton image of the Eagle Nebula

    ESA Herschel
    Herschel

    ESA XMM Newton
    XMM Newton

    The Eagle Nebula as never seen before.

    In 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope’s ‘Pillars of Creation’ image of the Eagle Nebula became one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. Now, two of ESA’s orbiting observatories have shed new light on this enigmatic star-forming region.

    NASA Hubble Telescope
    NASA/ESA Hubble

    2
    Pillars of Creation
    The most famous astronomical image of the 20th century

    The Eagle Nebula is 6500 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens. It contains a young hot star cluster, NGC6611, visible with modest back-garden telescopes, that is sculpting and illuminating the surrounding gas and dust, resulting in a huge hollowed-out cavity and pillars, each several light-years long.

    The Hubble image hinted at new stars being born within the pillars, deeply inside small clumps known as evaporating gaseous globules or EGGs. Owing to obscuring dust, Hubble’s visible light picture was unable to see inside and prove that young stars were indeed forming.

    The ESA Herschel Space Observatory’s new image shows the pillars and the wide field of gas and dust around them. Captured in far-infrared wavelengths, the image allows astronomers to see inside the pillars and structures in the region.

    4
    XMM-Newton: hot stars in X-rays

    5
    Individual images that make up the final stunning new view

    In parallel, a new multi-energy X-ray image from ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope shows those hot young stars responsible for carving the pillars.

    Combining the new space data with near-infrared images from the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large Telescope at Paranal, Chile, and visible-light data from its Max Planck Gesellschaft 2.2m diameter telescope at La Silla, Chile, we see this iconic region of the sky in a uniquely beautiful and revealing way.

    ESO VLT Interferometer
    ESO/VLT

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope
    MPG 2.2m diameter telescope at LaSilla

    In visible wavelengths, the nebula shines mainly due to reflected starlight and hot gas filling the giant cavity, covering the surfaces of the pillars and other dusty structures.

    In far-infrared, Herschel detects this cold dust and the pillars reappear, this time glowing in their own light.
    Intricate tendrils of dust and gas are seen to shine, giving astronomers clues about how it interacts with strong ultraviolet light from the hot stars seen by XMM-Newton.
    In 2001, Very Large Telescope near-infrared images had shown only a small minority of the EGGs were likely to contain stars being born. However, Herschel’s image makes it possible to search for young stars over a much wider region and thus come to a much fuller understanding of the creative and destructive forces inside the Eagle Nebula.

    5
    Pillars of Creation in near-infrared

    6
    Herschel far-infrared view

    Earlier mid-infrared images from ESA’s Infrared Space Observatory and NASA’s Spitzer, and the new XMM-Newton data, have led astronomers to suspect that one of the massive, hot stars in NGC6611 may have exploded in a supernova 6000 years ago, emitting a shockwave that destroyed the pillars.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory
    ESA/ISO

    NASA Spitzer Telescope
    NASA/Spitzer

    However, because of the distance of the Eagle Nebula, we won’t see this happen for several hundred years yet.

    7
    ISO mid-infrared view of Pillars of Creation

    Powerful ground-based telescopes continue to provide astonishing views of our Universe, but images in far-infrared, mid-infrared and X-ray wavelengths are impossible to obtain owing to the absorbing effects of Earth’s atmosphere.

    Space-based observatories such as ESA’s Herschel and XMM-Newton help to peel back that veil and see the full beauty of the Universe across the electromagnetic spectrum.

    With regions like the Eagle Nebula, combining all of these observations helps astronomers to understand the complex yet amazing lifecycle of stars

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
    • richardmitnick 8:06 pm on January 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      A lesson for other bloggers. This was presented by a secondary source with the implication that it was new. But a little digging at ESA (five minutes) showed that it was from 2012. So much for secondary sources.

      Make sure that you have the right information before you post.

      Like

  • richardmitnick 9:13 pm on November 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory   

    From ALMA via ESO: “Seeing into the Heart of Mira A and its Partner” 

    ALMA Array
    ALMA

    NRAO Small

    ESO 50

    NAOJ


    European Southern Observatory

    Studying red giant stars tells astronomers about the future of the Sun — and about how previous generations of stars spread the elements needed for life across the Universe. One of the most famous red giants in the sky is called Mira A, part of the binary system Mira which lies about 400 light-years from Earth. In this image ALMA reveals Mira’s secret life.

    Mira A is an old star, already starting to throw out the products of its life’s work into space for recycling. Mira A’s companion, known as Mira B, orbits it at twice the distance from the Sun to Neptune.

    m
    ESO/S. Ramstedt (Uppsala University, Sweden) & W. Vlemmings (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden)

    Mira A is known to have a slow wind which gently moulds the surrounding material. ALMA has now confirmed that Mira’s companion is a very different kind of star, with a very different wind. Mira B is a hot, dense white dwarf with a fierce and fast stellar wind.

    New observations show how the winds from the two stars have created a fascinating, beautiful and complex nebula. The remarkable heart-shaped bubble at the centre is created by Mira B’s energetic wind inside Mira A’s more relaxed outflow. The heart, which formed some time in the last 400 years or so, and the rest of the gas surrounding the pair show that they have long been building this strange and beautiful environment together.

    By looking at stars like Mira A and Mira B scientists hope to discover how our galaxy’s double stars differ from single stars in how they give back what they have created to the Milky Way’s stellar ecosystem. Despite their distance from one another, Mira A and its companion have had a strong effect on one another and demonstrate how double stars can influence their environments and leave clues for scientists to decipher.

    Other old and dying stars also have bizarre surroundings, as astronomers have seen using both ALMA and other telescopes. But it’s not always clear whether the stars are single, like the Sun, or double, like Mira. Mira A, its mysterious partner and their heart-shaped bubble are all part of this story.

    The new observations of Mira A and its partner are presented in this paper.

    See the full article here.

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    ESO Main

    ESO, European Southern Observatory, builds and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:45 pm on October 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “Poland to Join the European Southern Observatory” 


    European Southern Observatory

    28 October 2014
    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    Today Professor Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education, signed an agreement that will lead to the country joining the European Southern Observatory (ESO) — the world’s most productive ground-based observatory. ESO is looking forward to welcoming Poland as a Member State, following subsequent ratification of the accession agreement.

    table

    Poland’s accession agreement was signed today in Warsaw, Poland, by Minister Kolarska-Bobińska and ESO’s Director General Tim de Zeeuw, in the presence of other senior officials from Poland and ESO. Since this agreement means accession to an international treaty, it must now be submitted to the Polish Parliament for ratification [1]. The signing of the agreement followed its unanimous approval by the ESO Council during an extraordinary meeting on 8 October 2014.

    “We’re very excited to have our membership of ESO on the horizon,” says Minister Kolarska-Bobińska. “This will open up many future opportunities for us, and drive Polish industry, science and technology forward. This will be the beginning of a fantastic partnership for European astronomy and will also strengthen our links with Chile, with whom we are already cooperating intensively, for instance, in the mining industry — another field where Chile’s natural conditions are outstanding.”

    The connection between ESO and Poland extends beyond their respective astronomical communities. For example, the most recent ESO Industry Day was hosted in Warsaw in January 2013. This event gave ESO the chance to inform Polish industry about ESO’s current facilities and its future plans, including the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

    “We are looking forward to having Poland as a member of our organisation,” says ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw. “Poland will bring a strong astronomical community, which will strengthen the expertise across the ESO Member States, for example in the time-series astronomy. Poland will gain access to some of the best telescopes and observatories in the world, including the Very Large Telescope on Paranal, ALMA at Chajnantor and, in the coming decade, also the European Extremely Large Telescope on Armazones which will be a tremendous step forward. Poland can now be part of the E-ELT construction effort.”

    Poland, the homeland of Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer who proposed that the Sun and not the Earth is at the centre of the Solar System, has a rich tradition in astronomy extending to the present. “Polish astronomers have contributed greatly to astronomical research in recent years, and with our accession to ESO this will only continue to grow,” says Minister Kolarska-Bobińska.
    Notes

    [1] After ratification of Poland’s membership of ESO, the ESO Member States will be Austria, Belgium, Brazil (pending ratification), the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 4:25 am on September 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “Unravelling the Mystery of Massive Star Birth ” 2010 


    European Southern Observatory

    14 July 2010
    Contacts
    Stefan Kraus
    University of Michigan
    USA
    Tel: +1 734 615 7374
    Email: stefankr@umich.edu

    Richard Hook
    ESO
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    Henri Boffin
    ESO, La Silla Paranal and E-ELT Press Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6222
    Cell: +49 174 515 43 24
    Email: hboffin@eso.org

    All Stars are Born the Same Way

    Astronomers have obtained the first image of a dusty disc closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars form in the same way as their smaller brethren. This discovery, made thanks to a combination of ESO’s telescopes, is described in an article in this week’s issue of Nature.

    star

    “Our observations show a disc surrounding an embryonic young, massive star, which is now fully formed,” says Stefan Kraus, who led the study. “One can say that the baby is about to hatch!”

    The team of astronomers looked at an object known by the cryptic name of IRAS 13481-6124. About twenty times the mass of our Sun and five times its radius, the young central star, which is still surrounded by its pre-natal cocoon, is located in the constellation of Centaurus, about 10 000 light-years away.

    From archival images obtained by the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope as well as from observations done with the APEX 12-metre submillimetre telescope, astronomers discovered the presence of a jet.

    NASA Spitzer Telescope
    NASA/Spitzer

    ESO APEX
    ESO/APEX

    “Such jets are commonly observed around young low-mass stars and generally indicate the presence of a disc,” says Kraus.

    Circumstellar discs are an essential ingredient in the formation process of low-mass stars such as our Sun. However, it is not known whether such discs are also present during the formation of stars more massive than about ten solar masses, where the strong light emitted might prevent mass falling onto the star. For instance, it has been proposed that massive stars might form when smaller stars merge.

    In order to discover and understand the properties of this disc, astronomers employed ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). By combining light from three of the VLTI’s 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes with the AMBER instrument, this facility allows astronomers to see details equivalent to those a telescope with a mirror of 85 metres in diameter would see. The resulting resolution is about 2.4 milliarcseconds, which is equivalent to picking out the head of a screw on the International Space Station, or more than ten times the resolution possible with current visible-light telescopes in space.

    ESO VLT Interferometer
    ESO VLT Interior
    ESO VLT

    With this unique capability, complemented by observations done with another of ESO’s telescopes, the 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope at La Silla, Kraus and colleagues were able to detect a disc around IRAS 13481-6124.

    ESO NTT
    ESO NTT Interior
    ESO/NTT

    ESO LaSilla Long View
    ESO/LaSilla

    “This is the first time we could image the inner regions of the disc around a massive young star”, says Kraus. “Our observations show that formation works the same for all stars, regardless of mass.”

    The astronomers conclude that the system is about 60 000 years old, and that the star has reached its final mass. Because of the intense light of the star — 30 000 times more luminous than our Sun — the disc will soon start to evaporate. The flared disc extends to about 130 times the Earth–Sun distance — or 130 astronomical units (AU) — and has a mass similar to that of the star, roughly twenty times the Sun. In addition, the inner parts of the disc are shown to be devoid of dust.

    “Further observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), currently being constructed in Chile, could provide much information on these inner parts, and allow us to better understand how baby massive stars became heavy,” concludes Kraus.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper to appear in this week issue of Nature (A hot compact dust disk around a massive young stellar object, by S. Kraus et al.).

    The team is composed of Stefan Kraus (University of Michigan, USA), Karl-Heinz Hofmann, Karl M. Menten, Dieter Schertl, Gerd Weigelt, Friedrich Wyrowski, and Anthony Meilland (Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn, Germany),Karine Perraut (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Grenoble, France), Romain Petrov and Sylvie Robbe-Dubois (Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis/CNRS/Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, France), Peter Schilke (Universität zu Köln, Germany), and Leonardo Testi (ESO).

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on August 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “Best View Yet of Merging Galaxies in Distant Universe” 


    European Southern Observatory

    See the full article here.

    Hugo Messias
    Universidad de Concepción, Chile / Centro de Astronomia e Astrofísica da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
    Tel: +351 21 361 67 47/30
    Email: hmessias@oal.ul.pt

    Richard Hook
    ESO, Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and many other telescopes on the ground and in space, an international team of astronomers has obtained the best view yet of a collision that took place between two galaxies when the Universe was only half its current age. They enlisted the help of a galaxy-sized magnifying glass to reveal otherwise invisible detail. These new studies of the galaxy H-ATLAS J142935.3-002836 have shown that this complex and distant object looks like the well-known local galaxy collision, the Antenna Galaxies.

    image

    ALMA Array
    ALMA Array

    The famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes used a magnifying lens to reveal barely visible but important evidence. Astronomers are now combining the power of many telescopes on Earth and in space [1] with a vastly larger form of cosmic lens to study a case of vigorous star formation in the early Universe.

    “While astronomers are often limited by the power of their telescopes, in some cases our ability to see detail is hugely boosted by natural lenses, created by the Universe,” explains lead author Hugo Messias of the Universidad de Concepción (Chile) and the Centro de Astronomia e Astrofísica da Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal). “[Albert]Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity that, given enough mass, light does not travel in a straight line but will be bent in a similar way to light refracted by a normal lens.”

    These cosmic lenses are created by massive structures like galaxies and galaxy clusters, which deflect the light from objects behind them due to their strong gravity — an effect, called gravitational lensing. The magnifying properties of this effect allow astronomers to study objects which would not be visible otherwise and to directly compare local galaxies with much more remote ones, seen when the Universe was significantly younger.

    But for these gravitational lenses to work, the lensing galaxy, and the one far behind it, need to be very precisely aligned.

    “These chance alignments are quite rare and tend to be hard to identify,” adds Hugo Messias, “but, recent studies have shown that by observing at far-infrared and millimetre wavelengths we can find these cases much more efficiently.”

    H-ATLAS J142935.3-002836 (or just H1429-0028 for short) is one of these sources and was found in the Herschel Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey (H-ATLAS). Although very faint in visible light pictures, it is among the brightest gravitationally lensed objects in the far-infrared regime found so far, even though we are seeing it at a time when the Universe was just half its current age.

    Probing this object was at the limit of what is possible, so the international team of astronomers started an extensive follow-up campaign using the most powerful telescopes — both on the ground as well as in space — including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, ALMA, the Keck Observatory, the Karl Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA), and others. The different telescopes provided different views, which could be combined to get the best insight yet into the nature of this unusual object.

    NASA Hubble Telescope
    NASA/ESA Hubble

    Keck Observatory
    Keck Observatory Interior
    Keck

    NRAO VLA
    NRAO VLA

    The Hubble and Keck images revealed a detailed gravitationally-induced ring of light around the foreground galaxy. These high resolution images also showed that the lensing galaxy is an edge-on disc galaxy — similar to our galaxy, the Milky Way — which obscures parts of the background light due to the large dust clouds it contains.

    But this obscuration is not a problem for ALMA and the JVLA, since these two facilities observe the sky at longer wavelengths, which are unaffected by dust. Using the combined data the team discovered that the background system was actually an ongoing collision between two galaxies. From this point on, ALMA and the JVLA started to play a key role in further characterising this object.

    In particular, ALMA traced carbon monoxide, which allows detailed studies of star formation mechanisms in galaxies. The ALMA observations also allowed the motion of the material in the more distant object to be measured. This was essential to show that the lensed object is indeed an ongoing galactic collision forming hundreds of new stars each year, and that one of the colliding galaxies still shows signs of rotation; an indication that it was a disc galaxy just before this encounter.

    The system of these two colliding galaxies resembles an object that is much closer to us: the Antennae Galaxies. This is a spectacular collision between two galaxies, which are believed to have had a disc structure in the past. While the Antennae system is forming stars at a rate of only a few tens of the mass of our Sun each year, H1429-0028 turns more than 400 times the mass of the Sun of gas into new stars each year.

    Rob Ivison, ESO’s Director of Science and a co-author of the new study, concludes: “ALMA enabled us to solve this conundrum because it gives us information about the velocity of the gas in the galaxies, which makes it possible to disentangle the various components, revealing the classic signature of a galaxy merger. This beautiful study catches a galaxy merger red handed as it triggers an extreme starburst.”
    Notes

    [1] Among the armada of instruments that were used to provide evidence to help unravel the mysteries of this case were no fewer than three ESO telescopes — ALMA, APEX and VISTA. The other telescopes and surveys that were brought to bear were: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the Gemini South telescope, the Keck-II telescope, the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope, the Jansky Very Large Array, CARMA, IRAM and SDSS and WISE.
    More information

    ESO APEX
    ESO/APEX

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO Vista

    Gemini South telescopeGemini South Interior
    Gemini South

    NASA Spitzer Telescope
    NASA/Spitzer

    Carma
    Caltech CARMA

    IRAM
    IRAM

    Sloan Digital Sky Survey Telescope
    SSDS Telescope

    NASA Wise Telescope
    NASA/Wise

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan. ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    This research was presented in a paper entitled “Herschel-ATLAS and ALMA HATLAS J142935.3-002836, a lensed major merger at redshift 1.027”, by Hugo Messias et al., to appear online on 26 August 2014 in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    The team is composed of Hugo Messias (Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario, Chile; Centro de Astronomia e Astrofísica da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal), Simon Dye (School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, UK), Neil Nagar (Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario, Chile), Gustavo Orellana (Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario, Chile), R. Shane Bussmann (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA), Jae Calanog (Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of California, USA), Helmut Dannerbauer (Universität Wien, Institut für Astrophysik, Austria), Hai Fu (Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology, USA), Edo Ibar (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, Chile), Andrew Inohara (Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of California, USA), R. J. Ivison (Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, UK; ESO, Garching, Germany), Mattia Negrello (INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy), Dominik A. Riechers (Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology, USA; Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, USA), Yun-Kyeong Sheen (Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario, Chile), Simon Amber (The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK), Mark Birkinshaw (H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, UK; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA), Nathan Bourne (School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, UK), Dave L. Clements (Astrophysics Group, Imperial College London, UK), Asantha Cooray (Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of California, USA; Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology, USA), Gianfranco De Zotti (INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy), Ricardo Demarco (Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario, Chile), Loretta Dunne (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, UK), Stephen Eales (School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University,UK), Simone Fleuren (School of Mathematical Sciences, University of London, UK), Roxana E. Lupu (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, USA), Steve J. Maddox (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, UK), Michał J. Michałowski (Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, UK), Alain Omont (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, UPMC Univ. Paris, France), Kate Rowlands (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of St Andrews, UK), Dan Smith (Centre for Astrophysics Research, Science & Technology Research Institute, University of Hertfordshire, UK), Matt Smith (School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University,UK) and Elisabetta Valiante (School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, UK).

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    ESO, European Southern Observatory, builds and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes.

    DSee the full article here.

    Just for reference:

    https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/30/Antennae_Galaxies_reloaded.jpg/604px-Antennae_Galaxies_reloaded.jpg

    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has snapped the best ever image of the Antennae Galaxies. Hubble has released images of these stunning galaxies twice before, once using observations from its Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) in 1997, and again in 2006 from the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). Each of Hubble’s images of the Antennae Galaxies has been better than the last, due to upgrades made during the famous servicing missions, the last of which took place in 2009.

    The galaxies — also known as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 — are locked in a deadly embrace. Once normal, sedate spiral galaxies like the Milky Way, the pair have spent the past few hundred million years sparring with one another. This clash is so violent that stars have been ripped from their host galaxies to form a streaming arc between the two. In wide-field images of the pair the reason for their name becomes clear — far-flung stars and streamers of gas stretch out into space, creating long tidal tails reminiscent of antennae.

    This new image of the Antennae Galaxies shows obvious signs of chaos. Clouds of gas are seen in bright pink and red, surrounding the bright flashes of blue star-forming regions — some of which are partially obscured by dark patches of dust. The rate of star formation is so high that the Antennae Galaxies are said to be in a state of starburst, a period in which all of the gas within the galaxies is being used to form stars. This cannot last forever and neither can the separate galaxies; eventually the nuclei will coalesce, and the galaxies will begin their retirement together as one large elliptical galaxy.
    This image uses visible and near-infrared observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), along with some of the previously-released observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

    NASA Hubble WFC3
    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    NASA Hubble ACS
    NASA/ESA Hubble ACS

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  • richardmitnick 3:42 pm on August 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory   

    From ESO: “New ALMA Equipment Designed in Chile” 


    European Southern Observatory

    25 August 2014
    Richard Hook
    ESO, Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    ALMA Array
    ALMA Array

    New equipment for transporting one of the most sensitive components of the ALMA array — the antenna Front Ends (cryogenic refrigerators) — has been delivered to ALMA by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the North American associate of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. This new vehicle, which will save lots of time and increase safety during manoeuvers, was completely designed and built in Chile. It is the first shipment of one of four vehicles for handling the Front Ends that hold the set of detectors inside ALMA´s antennas, and is part of the technological exchange policy with the host country.

    set3

    The Front End Handling Vehicle (FEHV) — a robust elevator-crane car — is the result of a three year design and manufacturing collaboration between NRAO and a team of Chilean professionals from the Prolaser and Maestranza Walper companies, located in the city of Valdivia in the south of Chile. The main tourist attractions of this region inspired the names of each of these four vehicles, being the first one called after a river: Calle-Calle.

    The FEHV will help to shorten the time needed to set up and remove the receivers from the antennas. “This replacement job takes place every five days. Over the 30 year lifetime projected for the observatory using this vehicle will save a huge amount of resources, considering that this specific task takes 2000 person hours a year, approximately”, proudly stated Rodrigo Brito, team leader supervising the official shipment of the manufacturing contribution from the North American partner of ALMA.

    Each cryostat, together with the receivers comprising each Front End, costs about one million dollars, weighs around 750 kilogrammes and must be lifted up almost two metres to be positioned precisely in the confined space inside the antennas cubicles. The FEHV has a built-in platform to lift its load in a safe way, move it and rotate it for perfect alignment during the setup. It weighs 709 kilogrammes and is 2.20 metres long, 1.05 metres wide and 1.50 metres tall.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on August 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA/Goddard: “NASA’s 3-D Study of Comets Reveals Chemical Factory at Work” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    NASA Goddard Space flight Center

    August 11, 2014
    Elizabeth Zubritsky
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
    301-614-5438
    elizabeth.a.zubritsky@nasa.gov

    Nancy Neal-Jones
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
    301-286-0039
    nancy.n.jones@nasa.gov

    A NASA-led team of scientists has created detailed 3-D maps of the atmospheres surrounding comets, identifying several gases and mapping their spread at the highest resolution ever achieved.

    “We achieved truly first-of-a-kind mapping of important molecules that help us understand the nature of comets,” said Martin Cordiner, a researcher working in the Goddard Center for Astrobiology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Cordiner led the international team of researchers.

    Almost unheard of for comet studies, the 3-D perspective provides deeper insight into which materials are shed from the nucleus of the comet and which are produced within the atmosphere, or coma. This helped the team nail down the sources of two key organic, or carbon-containing, molecules.

    The observations were conducted in 2013 on comets Lemmon and ISON using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, a network of high-precision antennas in Chile. These comets are the first to be studied with ALMA.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA

    The ALMA observations combine a high-resolution 2-D image of a comet’s gases with a detailed spectrum at each point. From these spectra, researchers can identify the molecules present at every point and determine their velocities (speed plus direction) along the line-of-sight; this information provides the third dimension – the depth of the coma.

    “So, not only does ALMA let us identify individual molecular species in the coma, it also gives us the ability to map their locations with great sensitivity,” said Anthony Remijan, a scientist with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, one of the organizations that operates ALMA, and a co-author of the study.

    The researchers reported results for three molecular species, focusing primarily on two whose sources have been difficult to discern (except in comet Halley). The 3-D maps indicated whether each molecule was flowing outward evenly in all directions or coming off in jets or in clumps.

    In each comet, the team found that two species – formaldehyde and HNC (made of one hydrogen, one nitrogen and one carbon) – were produced in the coma. For formaldehyde, this confirmed what researchers already suspected, but the new maps contained enough detail to resolve clumps of the material moving into different regions of the coma day-by-day and even hour-by-hour.

    For HNC, the maps settled a long-standing question about the material’s source. Initially, HNC was thought to be pristine interstellar material coming from the nucleus of a comet, whereas later work suggested other possible sources. The new study provided the first proof that HNC is produced during the breakdown of large molecules or organic dust in the coma.

    “Understanding organic dust is important, because such materials are more resistant to destruction during atmospheric entry, and some could have been delivered intact to early Earth, thereby fueling the emergence of life,” said Michael Mumma, Director of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology, and a co-author on the study. “These observations open a new window on this poorly known component of cometary organics.”

    The observations, published today by the Astrophysical Journal Letters, also were significant because modest comets like Lemmon and ISON contain relatively low concentrations of crucial molecules, making them difficult to probe in depth with Earth-based telescopes. The few comprehensive studies of this kind so far have been conducted on bright, blockbuster comets, such as Hale-Bopp. The present results extend them to comets of only moderate brightness.

    This research was funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute through the Goddard Center for Astrobiology and by NASA’s Planetary Atmospheres and Planetary Astronomy programs. ALMA is an international astronomy facility. Its construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by the European Southern Observatory, on behalf of North America by the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

    See the full article here.

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.

    NASA

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