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  • richardmitnick 9:42 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Detection and imaging technologies, ESO - European Southern Observatory, EU ATTRACT initiative   

    From European Southern Observatory: “€17 Million Fund to Power European Detection and Imaging Innovation” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    5 September 2018

    Virginia Mercouri
    Media Adviser
    Science|Business
    Tel: + 32 489 095 044
    Email: virginia.mercouri@sciencebusiness.net

    Anna Alsina Bardagí
    Research Impact Manager
    ESADE Business School
    Tel: +34 690 957 506
    Email: anna.alsina@esade.edu

    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    Head of the education and Public Outreach Department
    European Southern Observatory
    Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
    Cell: +49 173 38 72 621
    Email: lars@eso.org

    1
    The pioneering ATTRACT initiative couples world-class research laboratories and business management experts to create a European innovation ecosystem that will accelerate the development of disruptive technologies and their progress to market. The initiative, in which ESO is a partner, will fund 170 breakthrough detection and imaging ideas with market potential, and aims to create products, services, companies and jobs based on new detection and imaging technologies.

    To trigger disruptive innovation, the ATTRACT project will commit €17 million as seed funding for 170 projects developing breakthrough detection and imaging technologies in Europe.

    ESO builds and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes, and thus relies on cutting-edge detection and imaging technology. As a partner in the ATTRACT, ESO stands to benefit from detector breakthroughs fostered by the ATTRACT project.

    “The process of developing new science into technologies that enable breakthrough innovation often happens by chance. ATTRACT aims to create and deploy mechanisms and a permanent pipeline for systematically achieving such transformation,” says Henry Chesbrough, who coined the term “Open Innovation” and is a special advisor to ATTRACT. “In contrast to incremental innovation, which generates reactive or adaptive responses to a problem, breakthrough innovation is driven by a desire to anticipate emerging or future needs.”

    The ATTRACT seed fund is open to researchers and entrepreneurs from organisations all over Europe. The call for proposals is already open and will collect breakthrough ideas until 31 October 2018. A high-level, independent Research, Development and Innovation Committee will evaluate proposals and select those to be funded based on a combination of their scientific merit, innovation readiness and potential societal impact. The successful proposals will be announced in early 2019.

    The 170 breakthrough projects funded by ATTRACT will have one year to develop their ideas. During this phase, business and innovation experts from the ATTRACT Project Consortium’s Aalto University, EIRMA and ESADE Business School will help project teams explore how their disruptive technology can be transformed into breakthrough innovations with strong market potential.

    Most scientific advances, technical applications, commercially worthwhile products and businesses targeting emerging societal challenges rely on detection and imaging technologies in some way. Disruptive innovations emerging from ATTRACT will trigger transformations that will have real impact on people’s lives.

    Examples of future applications for society could include: portable scanners for out-patient treatment; sensors to help the visually impaired navigate the world more easily; networks of sensors to make agriculture more productive and less energy-intensive; smarter use of monitoring and big data analysis to make factories work more efficiently; better forms of online learning; and new ways to accurately monitor climate change.

    Led by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the ATTRACT initiative involves the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European XFEL, Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), Aalto University, the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) and ESADE. The initiative is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
    More information

    ATTRACT is a pioneering initiative bringing together Europe’s fundamental research and industrial communities to lead the next generation of detection and imaging technologies. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, the project aims to help revamp Europe’s economy and improve people’s lives by creating products, services, companies and jobs. More information is available at http://www.attract-eu.com .

    State-of-the-art detection and imaging technologies form the cornerstone of several industrial sectors, including information and communications technology, energy, process industries, manufacturing, aeronautics, medicine, robotics, space and transport. These technologies drive an annual market of over €100 billion (Frost & Sullivan Report, “Top Technologies in Sensors & Control”).

    The market for medical imaging and radiation detectors is worth €21 billion a year.
    Satellite imaging is a €2 billion market, and is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 14.2% from 2018 to 2023.
    Open data can unlock over €2.7 trillion in value.
    The ICT sector represents 4% of the EU’s GDP, and includes technologies such as advanced manufacturing, robotic arms, remote sensors, and opto-mechanical assemblies.

    European research already excels in these areas. The availability of ATTRACT funding will accelerate the development of breakthrough solutions, as well as improving Europe’s return on its scientific investment by capturing the interest of private investors — business angels, venture capital firms and corporate investors. ATTRACT will also create multiple ways in which private investment can get involved in supporting the resultant businesses, thus creating economic growth for years to come.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

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    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 EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres



    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude 3,046 m (9,993 ft)

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

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  • richardmitnick 7:17 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, , Stars v. Dust in the Carina Nebula   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Stars v. Dust in the Carina Nebula” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    29 August 2018
    Jim Emerson
    School of Physics & Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London
    London, UK
    Email: j.p.emerson@qmul.ac.uk

    Calum Turner
    Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    VISTA gazes into one of the largest nebulae in the Milky Way in infrared

    1
    The Carina Nebula, one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the night sky, has been beautifully imaged by ESO’s VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. By observing in infrared light, VISTA has peered through the hot gas and dark dust enshrouding the nebula to show us myriad stars, both newborn and in their death throes.

    2
    This image is a colour composite made from exposures from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2). The field of view is approximately 4.7 x 4.9 degrees. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin.


    ESOcast 175 Light: Stars and Dust in the Carina Nebula (4K UHD)
    The VISTA telescope has allowed us to peer through the hot gas and dark dust shrouding the spectacular Carina nebula to show us myriad stars, both newborn and in their death throes.

    The video is available in 4K UHD.

    The ESOcast Light is a series of short videos bringing you the wonders of the Universe in bite-sized pieces. The ESOcast Light episodes will not be replacing the standard, longer ESOcasts, but complement them with current astronomy news and images in ESO press releases. Credit: ESO.
    Directed by: Nico Bartmann.
    Editing: Nico Bartmann.
    Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida.
    Written by: Ivana Kurecic and Calum Turner.
    Music: tonelabs.
    Footage and photos: ESO, G. Hüdepohl (atacamaphoto.com), DSS, N. Risinger (skysurvey.org), M. Kornmesser.
    Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen


    The VISTA telescope has allowed us to peer through the hot gas and dark dust shrouding the spectacular Carina nebula to show us myriad stars, both newborn and in their death throes. This visualisation shows a 3D conversion of images of the Carina Nebula. Credit: ESO, M. Kornmesser

    About 7500 light-years away, in the constellation of Carina, lies a nebula within which stars form and perish side-by-side. Shaped by these dramatic events, the Carina Nebula is a dynamic, evolving cloud of thinly spread interstellar gas and dust.

    The massive stars in the interior of this cosmic bubble emit intense radiation that causes the surrounding gas to glow. By contrast, other regions of the nebula contain dark pillars of dust cloaking newborn stars. There’s a battle raging between stars and dust in the Carina Nebula, and the newly formed stars are winning — they produce high-energy radiation and stellar winds which evaporate and disperse the dusty stellar nurseries in which they formed.

    Spanning over 300 light-years, the Carina Nebula is one of the Milky Way’s largest star-forming regions and is easily visible to the unaided eye under dark skies. Unfortunately for those of us living in the north, it lies 60 degrees below the celestial equator, so is visible only from the Southern Hemisphere.

    Within this intriguing nebula, Eta Carinae takes pride of place as the most peculiar star system.

    4
    The Carina Nebula (catalogued as NGC 3372; also known as the Grand Nebula, Great Nebula in Carina, or Eta Carinae Nebula) is a large, complex area of bright and dark nebulosity in the constellation Carina, and is located in the Carina–Sagittarius Arm. The nebula lies at an estimated distance between 6,500 and 10,000 light-years (2,000 and 3,100 pc) from Earth.

    This stellar behemoth — a curious form of stellar binary— is the most energetic star system in this region and was one of the brightest objects in the sky in the 1830s. It has since faded dramatically and is reaching the end of its life, but remains one of the most massive and luminous star systems in the Milky Way.

    Eta Carinae can be seen in this image as part of the bright patch of light just above the point of the “V” shape made by the dust clouds. Directly to the right of Eta Carinae is the relatively small Keyhole Nebula — a small, dense cloud of cold molecules and gas within the Carina Nebula — which hosts several massive stars, and whose appearance has also changed drastically over recent centuries.

    4
    Colour-composite image of the Keyhole, a dark nebula within the Carina Nebula.
    Date 12 February 2009 (released)
    Source http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0905a/
    Author ESO

    The Carina Nebula was discovered from the Cape of Good Hope by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the 1750s and a huge number of images have been taken of it since then. But VISTA — the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy — adds an unprecedentedly detailed view over a large area; its infrared vision is perfect for revealing the agglomerations of young stars hidden within the dusty material snaking through the Carina Nebula. In 2014, VISTA was used to pinpoint nearly five million individual sources [Astronomy and Astrophysics] of infrared light within this nebula, revealing the vast extent of this stellar breeding ground. VISTA is the world’s largest infrared telescope dedicated to surveys and its large mirror, wide field of view and exquisitely sensitive detectors enable astronomers [1] to unveil a completely new view of the southern sky.

    Notes

    [1] The Principal Investigator of the observing proposal which led to this spectacular image was Jim Emerson (School of Physics & Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, UK). His collaborators were Simon Hodgkin and Mike Irwin (Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit, Cambridge University, UK). The data reduction was performed by Mike Irwin and Jim Lewis (Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit, Cambridge University, UK).

    Links

    More information about VISTA
    Photos of VISTA
    More ESO images of the Carina Nebula

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    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 EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude 3,046 m (9,993 ft)

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 10:24 am on July 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, First Successful Test of Einstein’s General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole   

    From European Southern Observatory: “First Successful Test of Einstein’s General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    Reinhard Genzel
    Director, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 30000 3280
    Email: genzel@mpe.mpg.de

    Frank Eisenhauer
    GRAVITY Principal Investigator, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 (89) 30 000 3563
    Email: eisenhau@mpe.mpg.de

    Stefan Gillessen
    Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 30000 3839
    Email: ste@mpe.mpg.de

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

    Hannelore Hämmerle
    Public Information Officer, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 (89) 30 000 3980
    Email: hannelore.haemmerle@mpe.mpg.de

    1
    Observations made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time revealed the effects predicted by Einstein’s general relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way. This long-sought result represents the climax of a 26-year-long observation campaign using ESO’s telescopes in Chile.

    2
    This artist’s impression shows the path of the star S2 as it passes very close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. As it gets close to the black hole the very strong gravitational field causes the colour of the star to shift slightly to the red, an effect of Einstein’s general thery of relativity. In this graphic the colour effect and size of the objects have been exaggerated for clarity. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

    3
    This simulation shows the orbits of stars very close to the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. One of these stars, named S2, orbits every 16 years and is passing very close to the black hole in May 2018. This is a perfect laboratory to test gravitational physics and specifically Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Credit:ESO/L. Calçada/http://www.spaceengine.org


    Observations made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time revealed the effects predicted by Einstein’s general relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way. This long-sought result represents the climax of a 26-year-long observation campaign using ESO’s telescopes in Chile. Credit: ESO Directed by: Calum Turner and Herbert Zodet. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Calum Turner and Richard Hook. Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa. Music: STAN DART (www.stan-dart.com) and Johan B. Monell (www.johanmonell.com). Footage and photos: ESO, MPE, M. Kornmesser, L. Calçada, spaceengine.org, N. Risinger (skysurvey.org), Digitized Sky Survey 2, GRAVITY Collaboration, C. Malin (christophmalin.com), Liam Young/Unknown Fields, Gianluca Lombardi (glphoto.it), B. Tafreshi (twanight.org), Naumann Film GmbH (naumann-film.de), H. Zodet and John Colosimo (colosimophotography.com). Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.

    Obscured by thick clouds of absorbing dust, the closest supermassive black hole to the Earth lies 26 000 light-years away at the centre of the Milky Way. This gravitational monster, which has a mass four million times that of the Sun, is surrounded by a small group of stars orbiting around it at high speed. This extreme environment — the strongest gravitational field in our galaxy — makes it the perfect place to explore gravitational physics, and particularly to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

    New infrared observations from the exquisitely sensitive GRAVITY [1], SINFONI and NACO instruments on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have now allowed astronomers to follow one of these stars, called S2, as it passed very close to the black hole during May 2018. At the closest point this star was at a distance of less than 20 billion kilometres from the black hole and moving at a speed in excess of 25 million kilometres per hour — almost three percent of the speed of light [2].

    ESO/SINFONI

    ESO/NACO

    The team compared the position and velocity measurements from GRAVITY and SINFONI respectively, along with previous observations of SO-2 using other instruments, with the predictions of Newtonian gravity, general relativity and other theories of gravity. The new results are inconsistent with Newtonian predictions and in excellent agreement with the predictions of general relativity.

    SO-2 Image UCLA Galactic Center Groupe via S. Sakai and Andrea Ghez at Keck Observatory

    These extremely precise measurements were made by an international team led by Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany, in conjunction with collaborators around the world, at the Paris Observatory–PSL, the Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the University of Cologne, the Portuguese CENTRA – Centro de Astrofisica e Gravitação and ESO. The observations are the culmination of a 26-year series of ever-more-precise observations of the centre of the Milky Way using ESO instruments [3].

    “This is the second time that we have observed the close passage of S2 around the black hole in our galactic centre. But this time, because of much improved instrumentation, we were able to observe the star with unprecedented resolution,” explains Genzel. “We have been preparing intensely for this event over several years, as we wanted to make the most of this unique opportunity to observe general relativistic effects.”

    The new measurements clearly reveal an effect called gravitational redshift. Light from the star is stretched to longer wavelengths by the very strong gravitational field of the black hole. And the change in the wavelength of light from S2 agrees precisely with that predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. This is the first time that this deviation from the predictions of the simpler Newtonian theory of gravity has been observed in the motion of a star around a supermassive black hole.

    The team used SINFONI to measure the velocity of S2 towards and away from Earth and the GRAVITY instrument in the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) to make extraordinarily precise measurements of the changing position of S2 in order to define the shape of its orbit. GRAVITY creates such sharp images that it can reveal the motion of the star from night to night as it passes close to the black hole — 26 000 light-years from Earth.

    ESO GRAVITY in the VLTI

    “Our first observations of S2 with GRAVITY, about two years ago, already showed that we would have the ideal black hole laboratory,” adds Frank Eisenhauer (MPE), Principal Investigator of GRAVITY and the SINFONI spectrograph. “During the close passage, we could even detect the faint glow around the black hole on most of the images, which allowed us to precisely follow the star on its orbit, ultimately leading to the detection of the gravitational redshift in the spectrum of S2.”

    More than one hundred years after he published his paper setting out the equations of general relativity, Einstein has been proved right once more — in a much more extreme laboratory than he could have possibly imagined!

    Françoise Delplancke, head of the System Engineering Department at ESO, explains the significance of the observations: “Here in the Solar System we can only test the laws of physics now and under certain circumstances. So it’s very important in astronomy to also check that those laws are still valid where the gravitational fields are very much stronger.”

    Continuing observations are expected to reveal another relativistic effect very soon — a small rotation of the star’s orbit, known as Schwarzschild precession — as S2 moves away from the black hole.

    Xavier Barcons, ESO’s Director General, concludes: “ESO has worked with Reinhard Genzel and his team and collaborators in the ESO Member States for over a quarter of a century. It was a huge challenge to develop the uniquely powerful instruments needed to make these very delicate measurements and to deploy them at the VLT in Paranal. The discovery announced today is the very exciting result of a remarkable partnership.”
    Notes

    [1] GRAVITY was developed by a collaboration consisting of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (Germany), LESIA of Paris Observatory–PSL / CNRS / Sorbonne Université / Univ. Paris Diderot and IPAG of Université Grenoble Alpes / CNRS (France), the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Germany), the University of Cologne (Germany), the CENTRA–Centro de Astrofisica e Gravitação (Portugal) and ESO.

    [2] S2 orbits the black hole every 16 years in a highly eccentric orbit that brings it within twenty billion kilometres — 120 times the distance from Earth to the Sun, or about four times the distance from the Sun to Neptune — at its closest approach to the black hole. This distance corresponds to about 1500 times the Schwarzschild radius of the black hole itself.

    [3] Observations of the centre of the Milky Way must be made at longer wavelengths (in this case infrared) as the clouds of dust between the Earth and the central region strongly absorb visible light.

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper entitled “Detection of the Gravitational Redshift in the Orbit of the Star S2 near the Galactic Centre Massive Black Hole“, by the GRAVITY Collaboration, to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on 26 July 2018.

    The GRAVITY Collaboration team is composed of: R. Abuter (ESO, Garching, Germany), A. Amorim (Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal), N. Anugu (Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal), M. Bauböck (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany [MPE]), M. Benisty (Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, Grenoble, France [IPAG]), J.P. Berger (IPAG; ESO, Garching, Germany), N. Blind (Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, Versoix, Switzerland), H. Bonnet (ESO, Garching, Germany), W. Brandner (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany [MPIA]), A. Buron (MPE), C. Collin (LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris Diderot, Meudon, France [LESIA]), F. Chapron (LESIA), Y. Clénet (LESIA), V. Coudé du Foresto (LESIA), P. T. de Zeeuw (Sterrewacht Leiden, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands; MPE), C. Deen (MPE), F. Delplancke-Ströbele (ESO, Garching, Germany), R. Dembet (ESO, Garching, Germany; LESIA), J. Dexter (MPE), G. Duvert (IPAG), A. Eckart (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany; Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany), F. Eisenhauer (MPE), G. Finger (ESO, Garching, Germany), N.M. Förster Schreiber (MPE), P. Fédou (LESIA), P. Garcia (Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal), R. Garcia Lopez (MPIA), F. Gao (MPE), E. Gendron (LESIA), R. Genzel (MPE; University of California, Berkeley, California, USA), S. Gillessen (MPE), P. Gordo (Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal), M. Habibi (MPE), X. Haubois (ESO, Santiago, Chile), M. Haug (ESO, Garching, Germany), F. Haußmann (MPE), Th. Henning (MPIA), S. Hippler (MPIA), M. Horrobin (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany), Z. Hubert (LESIA; MPIA), N. Hubin (ESO, Garching, Germany), A. Jimenez Rosales (MPE), L. Jochum (ESO, Garching, Germany), L. Jocou (IPAG), A. Kaufer (ESO, Santiago, Chile), S. Kellner (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany), S. Kendrew (MPIA, ESA), P. Kervella (LESIA; MPIA), Y. Kok (MPE), M. Kulas (MPIA), S. Lacour (LESIA), V. Lapeyrère (LESIA), B. Lazareff (IPAG), J.-B. Le Bouquin (IPAG), P. Léna (LESIA), M. Lippa (MPE), R. Lenzen (MPIA), A. Mérand (ESO, Garching, Germany), E. Müller (ESO, Garching, Germany; MPIA), U. Neumann (MPIA), T. Ott (MPE), L. Palanca (ESO, Santiago, Chile), T. Paumard (LESIA), L. Pasquini (ESO, Garching, Germany), K. Perraut (IPAG), G. Perrin (LESIA), O. Pfuhl (MPE), P.M. Plewa (MPE), S. Rabien (MPE), J. Ramos (MPIA), C. Rau (MPE), G. Rodríguez-Coira (LESIA), R.-R. Rohloff (MPIA), G. Rousset (LESIA), J. Sanchez-Bermudez (ESO, Santiago, Chile; MPIA), S. Scheithauer (MPIA), M. Schöller (ESO, Garching, Germany), N. Schuler (ESO, Santiago, Chile), J. Spyromilio (ESO, Garching, Germany), O. Straub (LESIA), C. Straubmeier (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany), E. Sturm (MPE), L.J. Tacconi (MPE), K.R.W. Tristram (ESO, Santiago, Chile), F. Vincent (LESIA), S. von Fellenberg (MPE), I. Wank (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany), I. Waisberg (MPE), F. Widmann (MPE), E. Wieprecht (MPE), M. Wiest (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany), E. Wiezorrek (MPE), J. Woillez (ESO, Garching, Germany), S. Yazici (MPE; University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany), D. Ziegler (LESIA) and G. Zins (ESO, Santiago, Chile).

    See the full article here .


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    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 EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude 3,046 m (9,993 ft)

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 8:22 am on March 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, ESO Remains World’s Most Productive Ground-based Observatory   

    From ESO: “ESO Remains World’s Most Productive Ground-based Observatory” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    8 March 2018

    Uta Grothkopf
    ESO Librarian
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6280
    Email: uta.grothkopf@eso.org

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

    1
    Publication source not named.

    The latest survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers published during 2017 has shown that ESO remains the world’s most productive ground-based observatory. Astronomers used observational data from ESO facilities to produce an all-time high of 1085 refereed papers last year. This is the first time in ESO’s history that the number of refereed articles published by the ESO users community has exceeded 1000 papers in a single year.

    The largest contribution to the total is the 629 papers credited to ESO in 2017 that used data acquired with either the Very Large Telescope (VLT) or the VLT Interferometer facilities on Cerro Paranal.

    2009 ESO VLT Interferometer image, Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    The three most productive VLT instruments in terms of papers are UVES, FORS2 and X-shooter, which featured in 133, 106 and 103 papers, respectively. The X-shooter and MUSE instruments saw large increases from the previous year, along with VIMOS, VISIR and the VLT Survey Telescope (VST). Data from the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) and the VST on Cerro Paranal led to 101 and 55 papers, respectively.

    ESO VLT UVES

    ESO FORS2 VLT

    ESO X-shooter on VLT at Cerro Paranal, Chile

    Facilities located at La Silla provided data for almost 230 papers in total. HARPS remains La Silla’s most productive instrument, with 97 papers to its name.

    ESO/HARPS at La Silla

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    The two highest-ranking papers of the ESO Top 20 list (Riess et al. 1998 and Perlmutter et al. 1999; Table 4 of the Basic ESO Publication Statistics) — which used data from EMMI and EFOSC2, amongst other facilities — are now the top two refereed papers on the ADS server, with more than 10 600 citations each.

    European observing time with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) accounted for 152 papers in 2017, bringing the total number of such papers to 462 by the end of 2017 [1]. Observations made with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX) in ESO-APEX observing time led to 46 papers in 2017, taking the total of such papers to 350 by the end of 2017 [2]. The continued success of ALMA and APEX contributed significantly to ESO’s record-high number of publications.

    A comparison of the number of papers produced using facilities at major observatories worldwide puts ESO’s observatories at the top of the list. Note that the methods used to obtain these numbers differ from one observatory to another, so the figures cannot be compared precisely. Nevertheless, it is clear that ESO continues to significantly surpass any other ground-based observatory and since 2012 has also continued to increase its lead over the runner-up, the single 2.4-metre orbiting NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, according to the available figures.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    These results highlight ESO’s major contribution to astronomical research. The publication statistics give an idea of how much scientific work is carried out with data from the individual observatories, but do not address the wider impact they have on science.

    The figures are published in the annual Basic ESO Publication Statistics [3] published by ESO’s Library and calculated using the ESO Telescope Bibliography (telbib), a database containing refereed publications that use ESO data [4]. ESO makes extensive efforts to identify all refereed papers that use ESO data and considers telbib essentially complete.

    Interactive graphs of selected statistics are also available online. These graphs display the entire content of the telbib database [5], which contains records for publications from 1996 to the present. They can be used to explore many aspects of the publication history, including the development of science papers using data from ESO instruments and the use of archival data.

    Notes

    [1] ALMA is a partnership of ESO, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

    The ALMA bibliography is maintained jointly by the librarians at ESO and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) as well as by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). Publications based on data from all ALMA partners are recorded in telbib, but only those based on ESO observing time are counted in the ESO statistics, unless otherwise noted.

    [2] APEX is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the Onsala Space Observatory and ESO, and is operated by ESO close to ALMA on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama region.

    Publications based on data from all APEX partners are recorded in telbib, but only those based on ESO observing time are counted in the ESO statistics, unless otherwise noted.

    [3] Basic ESO Publication Statistics (DOI 10.18727/docs/1)

    [4] Telbib information and access to the database.

    [5] Interactive telbib statistics.

    See the full article here .

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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

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    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
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 10:57 am on February 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Chilean Astronomy, , ESO - European Southern Observatory, , , LSST telescope   

    From Forbes: “Chile’s Pristine Skies Are Key To Astronomy’s Next Generation Of Telescopes” 

    ForbesMag

    Forbes Magazine

    Jan 31, 2018
    Bruce Dorminey

    Long known for its copper, sea bass and merlot wine, Chile’s most profound export may be data that its astronomical observatories mine nightly from its pristine skies.

    1
    Exoplanet hunters at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. ESO.

    Because Chile’s ground-based window onto our Milky Way’s galactic center is arguably unmatched, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) first set up shop here more than a half century ago. Today, their 15 member states enjoy facilities at three major observatories.

    “ESO spends 80 million euros [$100 million] a year for its operations in Chile and is the biggest astronomical operation here,” astrophysicist Fernando Comeron, ESO’s Representative in Chile, told me during a recent visit to ESO’s offices in Vitacura, a tony enclave of Santiago.

    To its credit, ESO never rests on its laurels. When I first arrived here two decades ago during research for my book Distant Wanderers, I was amazed that even before ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) was finished, there was already talk of the next big thing.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

    Initially, that next big thing was to be a 100-meter Overwhelming Large Telescope (OWL). But after several years of study, ESO put that concept in stasis and instead pursued a project that it felt was more practical and technologically feasible. Thus, in 2014, ESO broke ground for its European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) at Paranal Observatory in northern Chile’s Atacama desert.

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude 3,046 m (9,993 ft)

    Due for scientific first light in November 2024, once completed it will be the world’s largest optical/infrared telescope. That is, a $1.4 billion behemoth with a 39.3-meter primary mirror; itself a composition of 798 individual 1.4-meter segments.

    The best telescopes in the world are now in the Southern hemisphere says Comeron, noting that the Chilean government takes its responsibility in preserving observing conditions very seriously. In fact, he says, even through the country’s turbulent political history, ESO continued to function here.

    “We have 50 years of dealing with the Chilean government and it’s been a very fruitful relationship and is not subjected to changes of government or politics,” said Comeron.

    And more are coming. The E-ELT and other new telescopes being built in Chile, like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), are forever changing the Chilean astronomical landscape.


    LSST telescope, currently under construction at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

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

    “The Chilean astronomy community is growing; universities are opening undergraduate and graduate programs in astronomy and attracting international researchers to be part of their institutions,” Barbara Rojas-Ayala, an astronomer at the Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago, told me.

    What makes Chile so astronomically special?

    Very dry northern deserts which border a lengthy coastline and the Humboldt Current.

    The Humboldt Current, sometimes referred to as the Peru Current, is a 550-mile-wide cold ocean current that originates in Antarctica and runs north along the South American coastline. Its temperatures help keep Chile’s northern desert air even drier. Cloud cover is confined to altitudes of about 3000 feet, says Comeron.

    As a result, he says you find very dry conditions at much lower altitudes in Chile. But it’s also why despite Chile’s thousands of miles of extraordinarily beautiful coastline, the country is not known for beach-life.

    “The water is even freezing in summer,” said Comeron.

    What will the E-ELT bring to the table?

    The ability to see earth-like planets at one Earth-Sun distance from their star to look for the spectroscopic signatures of life.

    And Comeron predicts the E-ELT will give astronomers at least some spectra that will be debated as containing biosignatures.

    In terms of cosmology, the new telescope should also shed light on:

    — Whether the laws of nature are truly universal;

    — Individual stellar populations within galaxies out to distances of tens of millions of light-years; and,

    — Observe back in cosmic time to before the onset of the first stars which will help astronomers determine how galaxies formed and evolved across the breadth of the cosmos.

    And as for the burgeoning Chilean astronomy community?

    “Chile is on the way to becoming a net producer of astronomers with more going abroad than staying here,” said Comeron. “For ESO, we have about 600 astronomers coming here per year.”

    However, Comeron says a few thousand astronomers per year use all of Chile’s facilities.

    Considering all the data that will be acquired with observatories within our country, there is a lack of funding for local researchers who could data-mine these large astronomical projects, says Rojas-Ayala.

    In central Santiago, Rojas-Ayala says it’s impossible to distinguish the Milky Way and the Magellan Clouds. As a result, she says there are now initiatives to restrict blue light emissions and luminous LED/plasma signs in an effort to protect northern Chile’s precious night skies.

    As for the E-ELT’s ultimate legacy?

    It has a nominal operating lifetime of at least 30 years. But Comeron expects it will still be operational well into the 22nd century and although astronomers have some ideas about what this new behemoth will observe in its first few years, beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

    “It’s almost science fiction as to what we will be observing,” said Comeron. “I haven’t a clue but it’s going to be exciting.”

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 12:50 pm on February 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, TRAPPIST-1 Planets Probably Rich in Water   

    From ESO: “TRAPPIST-1 Planets Probably Rich in Water” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    Simon Grimm
    SAINT-EX Research Group, University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability
    Bern, Switzerland
    Tel: +41 31 631 3995
    Email: simon.grimm@csh.unibe.ch

    Brice-Olivier Demory
    SAINT-EX Research Group, University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability
    Bern, Switzerland
    Tel: +41 31 631 5157
    Email: brice.demory@csh.unibe.ch

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

    1
    This infographic lists the main properties of the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets, along with the four innermost planets in the Solar System at the same scale. Credit: NASA/JPL.

    A new study has found that the seven planets orbiting the nearby ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 are all made mostly of rock, and some could potentially hold more water than Earth. The planets’ densities, now known much more precisely than before, suggest that some of them could have up to 5 percent of their mass in the form of water — about 250 times more than Earth’s oceans. The hotter planets closest to their parent star are likely to have dense steamy atmospheres and the more distant ones probably have icy surfaces. In terms of size, density and the amount of radiation it receives from its star, the fourth planet out is the most similar to Earth. It seems to be the rockiest planet of the seven, and has the potential to host liquid water.

    Planets around the faint red star TRAPPIST-1, just 40 light-years from Earth, were first detected by the TRAPPIST-South telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in 2016.


    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist-South National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    In the following year further observations from ground-based telescopes, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, revealed that there were no fewer than seven planets in the system, each roughly the same size as the Earth. They are named TRAPPIST-1b,c,d,e,f,g and h, with increasing distance from the central star [1].

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope

    Further observations have now been made, both from telescopes on the ground, including the nearly-complete SPECULOOS facility at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, and from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Kepler Space Telescope.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope

    A team of scientists led by Simon Grimm at the University of Bern in Switzerland have now applied very complex computer modelling methods to all the available data and have determined the planets’ densities with much better precision than was possible before [2].

    Simon Grimm explains how the masses are found: “The TRAPPIST-1 planets are so close together that they interfere with each other gravitationally, so the times when they pass in front of the star shift slightly. These shifts depend on the planets’ masses, their distances and other orbital parameters. With a computer model, we simulate the planets’ orbits until the calculated transits agree with the observed values, and hence derive the planetary masses.”

    Team member Eric Agol comments on the significance: “A goal of exoplanet studies for some time has been to probe the composition of planets that are Earth-like in size and temperature. The discovery of TRAPPIST-1 and the capabilities of ESO’s facilities in Chile and the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope in orbit have made this possible — giving us our first glimpse of what Earth-sized exoplanets are made of!”

    The measurements of the densities, when combined with models of the planets’ compositions, strongly suggest that the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets are not barren rocky worlds. They seem to contain significant amounts of volatile material, probably water [3], amounting to up to 5% the planet’s mass in some cases — a huge amount; by comparison the Earth has only about 0.02% water by mass!

    “Densities, while important clues to the planets’ compositions, do not say anything about habitability. However, our study is an important step forward as we continue to explore whether these planets could support life,” said Brice-Olivier Demory, co-author at the University of Bern.

    TRAPPIST-1b and c, the innermost planets, are likely to have rocky cores and be surrounded by atmospheres much thicker than Earth’s. TRAPPIST-1d, meanwhile, is the lightest of the planets at about 30 percent the mass of Earth. Scientists are uncertain whether it has a large atmosphere, an ocean or an ice layer.

    Scientists were surprised that TRAPPIST-1e is the only planet in the system slightly denser than Earth, suggesting that it may have a denser iron core and that it does not necessarily have a thick atmosphere, ocean or ice layer. It is mysterious that TRAPPIST-1e appears to be so much rockier in its composition than the rest of the planets. In terms of size, density and the amount of radiation it receives from its star, this is the planet that is most similar to Earth.

    TRAPPIST-1f, g and h are far enough from the host star that water could be frozen into ice across their surfaces. If they have thin atmospheres, they would be unlikely to contain the heavy molecules that we find on Earth, such as carbon dioxide.

    “It is interesting that the densest planets are not the ones that are the closest to the star, and that the colder planets cannot harbour thick atmospheres,” notes Caroline Dorn, study co-author based at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

    The TRAPPIST-1 system will continue to be a focus for intense scrutiny in the future with many facilities on the ground and in space, including ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

    Astronomers are also working hard to search for further planets around faint red stars like TRAPPIST-1. As team member Michaël Gillon explains [4]: “This result highlights the huge interest of exploring nearby ultracool dwarf stars — like TRAPPIST-1 — for transiting terrestrial planets. This is exactly the goal of SPECULOOS, our new exoplanet search that is about to start operations at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.”
    Notes

    [1] The planets were discovered using the ground-based TRAPPIST-South at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile; TRAPPIST-North in Morocco; the orbiting NASA Spitzer Space Telescope; ESO’s HAWK-I instrument on the Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile; the 3.8-metre UKIRT in Hawaii; the 2-metre Liverpool and 4-metre William Herschel telescopes on La Palma in the Canary Islands; and the 1-metre SAAO telescope in South Africa.

    ESO HAWK-I on the ESO VLT


    UKIRT, located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, USA as part of Mauna Kea Observatory,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    2-metre Liverpool Telescope at La Palma in the Canary Islands, Altitude 2,363 m (7,753 ft)


    ING 4 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands, 2,396 m (7,861 ft)


    SAAO 1.9 meter Telescope, at the SAAO observation station 15Kms from the small Karoo town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape, a 4-hour drive from Cape Town.

    [2] Measuring the densities of exoplanets is not easy. You need to find out both the size of the planet and its mass. The TRAPPIST-1 planets were found using the transit method — by searching for small dips in the brightness of the star as a planet passes across its disc and blocks some light.

    Planet transit. NASA/Ames

    This gives a good estimate of the planet’s size. However, measuring a planet’s mass is harder — if no other effects are present planets with different masses have the same orbits and there is no direct way to tell them apart. But there is a way in a multi-planet system — more massive planets disturb the orbits of the other planets more than lighter ones. This in turn affects the timing of transits. The team led by Simon Grimm have used these complicated and very subtle effects to estimate the most likely masses for all seven planets, based on a large body of timing data and very sophisticated data analysis and modelling.

    [3] The models used also consider alternative volatiles, such as carbon dioxide. However, they favour water, as vapour, liquid or ice, as the most likely largest component of the planets’ surface material as water is the most abundant source of volatiles for solar abundance protoplanetary discs.

    [4] The SPECULOOS survey telescopes facility is nearly complete at ESO’s Paranal Observatory.

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper entitled The nature of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets, by S. Grimm et al., to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    The team is composed of Simon L. Grimm (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland) , Brice-Olivier Demory (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland), Michaël Gillon (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Caroline Dorn (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland; University of Zurich, Institute of Computational Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland), Eric Agol (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA; NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory, Seattle, Washington, USA; Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, Paris, France), Artem Burdanov (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Laetitia Delrez (Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, UK; Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Marko Sestovic (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland), Amaury H.M.J. Triaud (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK; University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK), Martin Turbet (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, IPSL, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS, Paris, France), Émeline Bolmont (Université Paris Diderot, AIM, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CEA, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France), Anthony Caldas (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France), Julien de Wit (Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), Emmanuël Jehin (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Jérémy Leconte (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France), Sean N. Raymond (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France), Valérie Van Grootel (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Adam J. Burgasser (Center for Astrophysics and Space Science, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA), Sean Carey (IPAC, Calif. Inst. of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA), Daniel Fabrycky (Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA), Kevin Heng (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland), David M. Hernandez (Department of Physics and Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), James G. Ingalls (IPAC, Calif. Inst. of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA), Susan Lederer (NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, USA), Franck Selsis (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France) and Didier Queloz (Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, UK).

    See the full article here .
    See the Hubble article here.
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    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
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 8:13 am on October 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , EOSC Declaration, EOSC-European Open Science Cloud, ESO - European Southern Observatory, European Commission   

    From ESO: “ESO Endorses the European Open Science Cloud Declaration” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    6 October 2017
    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    rhook@eso.org

    Andrew Williams
    ESO International Relations Officer
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6278
    awilliam@eso.org

    Martino Romaniello
    ESO
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6565
    mromanie@eso.org

    ESO has endorsed the EOSC Declaration and expressed its support for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative on open access to scientific data. The EOSC is an exciting initiative of the European Commission, that recognises the vital need for open access to trusted and reliable data in today’s world of scientific research. In a letter to the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, and EC Director-General of Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, ESO’s Director General Xavier Barcons offered ESO’s expertise towards supporting the governance of the EOSC and in particular with helping to improve the stewardship of archive data in order to enable further scientific discoveries.

    The EOSC aims to bring about and support changes that accelerate the transition to more effective open science and open innovation by removing barriers to the re-use of research data and tools. The ultimate goal is a globally accessible environment, operating under well-defined and trusted conditions, in which researchers, innovators, companies and citizens can publish, find and re-use each other’s data and tools for research, innovation and educational purposes.

    Astronomy has long been at the forefront of offering well-managed, curated and open access to data. ESO itself has a long tradition in this area and fostered scientific advancements from the La Silla, Paranal and ALMA Observatories by providing data processing tools and by developing and operating their respective science archives. Furthermore, ESO’s own history is testament to the scientific benefits from intergovernmental cooperation and the fluid transfer of ideas, resources and people across borders. In light of this, ESO can expect to play a leading role in the push towards open science in Europe and beyond.

    The EOSC aims to bring about and support changes that accelerate the transition to more effective open science and open innovation by removing barriers to the re-use of research data and tools. The ultimate goal is a globally accessible environment, operating under well-defined and trusted conditions, in which researchers, innovators, companies and citizens can publish, find and re-use each other’s data and tools for research, innovation and educational purposes.

    Astronomy has long been at the forefront of offering well-managed, curated and open access to data. ESO itself has a long tradition in this area and fostered scientific advancements from the La Silla, Paranal and ALMA Observatories by providing data processing tools and by developing and operating their respective science archives. Furthermore, ESO’s own history is testament to the scientific benefits from intergovernmental cooperation and the fluid transfer of ideas, resources and people across borders. In light of this, ESO can expect to play a leading role in the push towards open science in Europe and beyond.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

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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
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

     
  • richardmitnick 11:43 am on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, ,   

    From Pale Red Dot: “HARPS data release #3, independent analyzes & more” 

    Pale Red Dot

    Pale Red Dot

    1
    This unusual Picture of the Week showcases the latest data on Proxima Cenaturi gathered by ESO’s exoplanet hunter, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), during the ongoing Red Dots campaign. The top left graph displays the 2016 data that confirmed the existence of Proxima b, showing how the planet is causing its parent star, Proxima Centauri, to move towards and away from Earth over time. The curved line represents the wobbling signal of the star, with the regular pattern of changing radial velocities (RV) repeating every 11.2 days. The top right graph shows new measurements made with HARPS during the Red Dots campaign in 2017. The new data once again supports the presence of Proxima b’s signal (in yellow), but also includes additional patterns visible here as a downward slope in both the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, hinting that there may be more to be discovered. To make a firmer statement on what is causing these patterns, astronomers need to use quantitative mathematical tools. One such mathematical tool is called a periodogram, which searches for repeating signals in the data displayed here as prominent peaks. Several periods seem promising but it is hard to make a quantitative argument favouring one or another. This typically happens on poorly sampled signals and when the variability is caused by stellar activity.

    As featured in the current ESO picture of the Week, Proxima Centauri keeps showing extra variability beyond the wobble caused by Proxima b. The nature of the variability remains unclear so conclusive evidence will require the combination of all available data (HARPS, UVES spectrometers; but also photometric time-series being collected in both professional and Pro-Am observatories). We will be posting the photometric measurements in short.

    The new radial velocity measurements are now available for download on our website. Share your thoughts or analyses in the comments or via social media Twitter @RedDotsSpace or Facebook.

    For example, our colleagues Mario Damasso and Fabio Del Sordo also have been looking at the new Proxima data (based on HARPS data release #2). This is what they have found so far.

    Proxima re-reloaded! Vol. 1

    by Mario Damasso and Fabio Del Sordo

    We have analysed the radial velocities of Proxima including the new dataset, for a total of 248 measurements. We have modeled the stellar “noise” component through a Gaussian process regression, as we did in our previous work (Damasso & Del Sordo, A&A, 599A 126D, 2017), using a quasi-periodic covariance function, which is particularly suitable when a signal with a frequency related to the stellar rotation period is present in the data.

    Here we briefly summarize the results of the first model we have tested, that takes into account the existence of only one planet. Our discussion is based on the results corresponding to the Maximum a Posteriori likelihood (MAP), i.e. we are presenting single values for all the free parameters of our model corresponding to the maximum of the likelihood function we have used as figure of merit.

    First of all, we recover a planetary signal with semi-amplitude K=1.46 m/s, with orbital period P=11.186 days, moving on a nearly circular orbit (see fig 1.): the signal, already evident in the previous dataset, is therefore once again clearly confirmed.

    2
    Fig 1: Folded phase curve for all the radial velocities collected for Proxima. The red curve represents the best-fit planetary signal we have derived for Proxima b.

    These new data also confirm our previous results. The rotation period of Proxima is present in the radial velocity dataset, because we find a signal with rotational period of about 87 days modeled as correlated noise. One parameter of our model can be seen as the average lifetime of the active regions, for which we find a value of 312 days. The correlated stellar noise induced by stellar activity has an estimated amplitude of 1.82 m/s. All these results are consistent with our previous findings.

    We have analysed the residuals of this model, and we do not find evidence for additional, significant frequencies left in the data. We are now running a model which includes two planets. Stay tuned!
    Links

    European Southern Observatory; Picture of the Week, https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1737a/
    Damasso & Del Sordo, “Proxima Centauri reloaded: Unravelling the stellar noise in radial velocities”, Astronomy & Astrophysics 2017, Vol 26A, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017A%26A…599A.126D

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Centauris Alpha Beta Proxima 27, February 2012. Skatebiker

    What is PALE RED DOT?

    It is an outreach project to show to the public how scientists are working to address a major question that could affect us all, namely are there Earth-like planets around the nearest stars?

    Why we call it PALE RED DOT?

    In 1990, Voyager 1, on its trek towards interstellar space, sent back a picture of the Inner Solar System on which the Earth occupied less than a pixel. This image of Earth was called Pale Blue Dot, and inspired the late Carl Sagan’s essay ‘Pale Blue Dot : A vision of the human future in Space’, which in turn has been the source of inspiration for a generation of exoplanet hunters. Given that Proxima Centauri — or just Proxima — is a red dwarf star, such a planet would show reddish tints. Even if successful, we will only obtain information about its orbital period and mass — even less than Voyager 1’s pale blue pixel… at least for now!

    What is special about the project?

    Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to the Sun. The discovery of a planet with some characteristics like Earth in our immediate vicinity would be momentous. After years of data acquisition by many researchers and teams, a signal has been identified which may indicate the presence of an Earth-like planet. The Pale Red Dot project will carry out further detailed observations with the aim to confirm or refute the presence of the planet. By broadcasting the progress and results of the observations through all media channels available e.g. press, website, and social media, the Pale Red Dot project aims to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the broader society, inform the public and hopefully inspire a new generation of scientists.

    How such a scientific program is organized?

    The planned observation campaign is based on a proposal submitted by the involved scientists to ESO, LCOGT and BOOTES observatories. The proposals, in turn, are based on the analysis of data accumulated and obtained over the years by ourselves or by other researchers abroad. Observatories and other advanced research facilities are mostly supported by public resources, large international consortia and private foundations.

    How the results will be reported?

    As in any professional scientific work, final results need to be reviewed by the community before being announced. After the campaign is finished by April 1st, the really tough process of analyzing the data, drawing conclusions and presenting them in a credible manner will begin. After that, the analysis will be summarized in an article and submitted to a scientific journal. At that point, one or more scientists NOT involved in the project will critically revise the work, suggest modifications and even reject its publication if fundamental flaws are spotted. This last step of peer-review can take any time between a few months to a year or two. Hopefully, the data will prove to be high quality and the observations will have a straightforward interpretation, but that is just a hope. A few key milestones of the peer-review process will also be reported on the website, which might remain active at a lower activity level after the observing campaign has finished.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:21 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, , ESO’s VLT Detects Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars, ,   

    From ESO: “ESO’s VLT Detects Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    26 October 2016 [Just found this. Don’t know how I missed it.]
    Elena Borisova
    ETH Zurich
    Switzerland
    Tel: +41 44 633 77 09
    Email: borisova@phys.ethz.ch

    Sebastiano Cantalupo
    ETH Zurich
    Switzerland
    Tel: +41 44 633 70 57
    Email: cantalupo@phys.ethz.ch

    Mathias Jäger
    Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 176 62397500
    Email: mjaeger@partner.eso.org

    1
    An international team of astronomers has discovered glowing gas clouds surrounding distant quasars. This new survey by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope indicates that halos around quasars are far more common than expected. The properties of the halos in this surprising find are also in striking disagreement with currently accepted theories of galaxy formation in the early Universe.

    An international collaboration of astronomers, led by a group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, has used the unrivalled observing power of MUSE on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory to study gas around distant active galaxies, less than two billion years after the Big Bang.

    ESO MUSE on the VLT

    These active galaxies, called quasars, contain supermassive black holes in their centres, which consume stars, gas, and other material at an extremely high rate. This, in turn, causes the galaxy centre to emit huge amounts of radiation, making quasars the most luminous and active objects in the Universe.

    The study involved 19 quasars, selected from among the brightest that are observable with MUSE. Previous studies have shown that around 10% of all quasars examined were surrounded by halos, made from gas known as the intergalactic medium. These halos extend up to 300 000 light-years away from the centres of the quasars. This new study, however, has thrown up a surprise, with the detection of large halos around all 19 quasars observed — far more than the two halos that were expected statistically. The team suspects this is due to the vast increase in the observing power of MUSE over previous similar instruments, but further observations are needed to determine whether this is the case.

    “It is still too early to say if this is due to our new observational technique or if there is something peculiar about the quasars in our sample. So there is still a lot to learn; we are just at the beginning of a new era of discoveries”, says lead author Elena Borisova, from the ETH Zurich.

    The original goal of the study was to analyse the gaseous components of the Universe on the largest scales; a structure sometimes referred to as the cosmic web, in which quasars form bright nodes [1].

    Dark matter cosmic web and the large-scale structure it forms The Millenium Simulation, V. Springel et al

    The gaseous components of this web are normally extremely difficult to detect, so the illuminated halos of gas surrounding the quasars deliver an almost unique opportunity to study the gas within this large-scale cosmic structure.

    The 19 newly-detected halos also revealed another surprise: they consist of relatively cold intergalactic gas — approximately 10 000 degrees Celsius. This revelation is in strong disagreement with currently accepted models of the structure and formation of galaxies, which suggest that gas in such close proximity to galaxies should have temperatures upwards of a million degrees.

    The discovery shows the potential of MUSE for observing this type of object [2]. Co-author Sebastiano Cantalupo is very excited about the new instrument and the opportunities it provides: “We have exploited the unique capabilities of MUSE in this study, which will pave the way for future surveys. Combined with a new generation of theoretical and numerical models, this approach will continue to provide a new window on cosmic structure formation and galaxy evolution.”

    Notes

    [1] The cosmic web is the structure of the Universe at the largest scale. It is comprised of spindly filaments of primordial material (mostly hydrogen and helium gas) and dark matter which connect galaxies and span the chasms between them. The material in this web can feed along the filaments into galaxies and drive their growth and evolution.

    [2] MUSE is an integral field spectrograph and combines spectrographic and imaging capabilities. It can observe large astronomical objects in their entirety in one go, and for each pixel measure the intensity of the light as a function of its colour, or wavelength.

    This research was presented in the paper Ubiquitous giant Lyα nebulae around the brightest quasars at z ~ 3.5 revealed with MUSE, to appear in The Astrophysical Journal.

    The team is composed of Elena Borisova, Sebastiano Cantalupo, Simon J. Lilly, Raffaella A. Marino and Sofia G. Gallego (Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Roland Bacon and Jeremy Blaizot (University of Lyon, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, Saint-Genis-Laval, France), Nicolas Bouché (Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Toulouse, France), Jarle Brinchmann (Leiden Observatory, Leiden, The Netherlands; Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Porto, Portugal), C Marcella Carollo (Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Joseph Caruana (Department of Physics, University of Malta, Msida, Malta; Institute of Space Sciences & Astronomy, University of Malta, Malta), Hayley Finley (Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Toulouse, France), Edmund C. Herenz (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany), Johan Richard (Univ Lyon, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, Saint-Genis-Laval, France), Joop Schaye and Lorrie A. Straka (Leiden Observatory, Leiden, The Netherlands), Monica L. Turner (MIT-Kavli Center for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), Tanya Urrutia (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany), Anne Verhamme (University of Lyon, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, Saint-Genis-Laval, France), Lutz Wisotzki (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

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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
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

     
  • richardmitnick 1:53 pm on August 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, ,   

    From ESO: “First Evidence for Relativity Effects in Stars Orbiting Supermassive Black Hole at Centre of Galaxy” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    9 August 2017
    Marzieh Parsa
    I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
    Köln, Germany
    Tel: +49(0)221/470-3495
    Email: parsa@ph1.uni-koeln.de

    Andreas Eckart
    I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
    Köln, Germany
    Tel: +49(0)221/470-3546
    Email: eckart@ph1.uni-koeln.de

    Vladimir Karas
    Astronomical Institute, Academy of Science
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Tel: +420-226 258 420
    Email: vladimir.karas@cuni.cz

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

    1
    A new analysis of data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope and other telescopes [I have asked ESO repeatedly to credit all telscopes used in any project, as they are all supported by public money. They apparently prefer to leave us in the dark.] they reveals for the first time that the orbits of stars around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way show the subtle effects predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The orbit of the star S2 is found to be deviating slightly from the path calculated using classical physics. This tantalising result is a prelude to much more precise measurements and tests of relativity that will be made using the GRAVITY instrument as star S2 passes very close to the black hole in 2018.

    ESO GRAVITY insrument on The VLT

    This artist’s impression shows the orbits of three of the stars very close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. Analysis of data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope and other telescopes has revealed that the orbits of these stars show the subtle effects predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The orbit of the star called S2 is found to be deviating slightly from the path calculated using classical physics.
    The position of the supermassive black hole is marked with a white circle with a blue halo. Credit: ESO/M. Parsa/L. Calçada


    The orbit of the star S2 is found to be deviating slightly from the path calculated using classical physics. This tantalising result is a prelude to much more precise measurements and tests of relativity that will be made using the GRAVITY instrument as star S2 passes very close to the black hole in 2018.

    At the centre of the Milky Way, 26 000 light-years from Earth, lies the closest supermassive black hole, which has a mass four million times that of the Sun. This monster is surrounded by a small group of stars orbiting at high speed in the black hole’s very strong gravitational field. It is a perfect environment in which to test gravitational physics, and particularly Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

    A team of German and Czech astronomers have now applied new analysis techniques to the very rich set of existing observations of the stars orbiting the black hole, accumulated using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and others over the last twenty years [1]. They compare the measured star orbits to predictions made using classical Newtonian gravity as well as predictions from general relativity.

    The team found evidence for a small change in the motion of one of the stars, known as S2, that is consistent with the predictions of general relativity [2]. The change due to relativistic effects amounts to only a few percent in the shape of the orbit, as well as only about one sixth of a degree in the orientation of the orbit [3]. This is the first time that a measurement of the strength of the general relativistic effects has been achieved for stars orbiting a supermassive black hole.

    Marzieh Parsa, PhD student at the University of Cologne, Germany and lead author of the paper [The Astropysical Journel], is delighted: “The Galactic Centre really is the best laboratory to study the motion of stars in a relativistic environment. I was amazed how well we could apply the methods we developed with simulated stars to the high-precision data for the innermost high-velocity stars close to the supermassive black hole.”

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    The central parts of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, as observed in the near-infrared with the NACO instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The position of the centre, which harbours the (invisible) black hole known as Sgr A*,with a mass 4 million times that of the Sun, is marked by the orange cross.

    The star S2 will make a close pass around the black hole in 2018 when it will be used as a unique probe of the strong gravity and act as a test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Credit: ESO/MPE/S. Gillessen et al.

    The high accuracy of the positional measurements, made possible by the VLT’s near-infrared adaptive optics instruments, was essential for the success of the study [4]. These were vital not only during the star’s close approach to the black hole, but particularly during the time when S2 was further away from the black hole. The latter data allowed an accurate determination of the shape of the orbit and how it is changing under the influence of relativity.

    “During the course of our analysis we realised that to determine relativistic effects for S2 one definitely needs to know the full orbit to very high precision,” comments Andreas Eckart, team leader at the University of Cologne.

    As well as more precise information about the orbit of the star S2, the new analysis also gives the mass of the black hole and its distance from Earth to a higher degree of accuracy [5].

    Co-author Vladimir Karas from the Academy of Sciences in Prague, the Czech Republic, is excited about the future: “It is very reassuring that S2 shows relativistic effects as expected on the basis of its proximity to the extreme mass concentration at the centre of the Milky Way. This opens up an avenue for more theory and experiments in this sector of science.”

    This analysis is a prelude to an exciting period for observations of the Galactic Centre by astronomers around the world. During 2018 the star S2 will make a very close approach to the supermassive black hole. This time the GRAVITY instrument, developed by a large international consortium led by the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik in Garching, Germany [6], and installed on the VLT Interferometer [7], will be available to help measure the orbit much more precisely than is currently possible. Not only is this expected to reveal the general relativistic effects very clearly, but also it will allow astronomers to look for deviations from general relativity that might reveal new physics.
    Notes

    [1] Data from the near-infrared NACO camera now at VLT Unit Telescope 1 (Antu) and the near-infrared imaging spectrometer SINFONI at the Unit Telescope 4 (Yepun) were used for this study. Some additional published data obtained at the Keck Observatory were also used.

    ESO/NACO

    ESO/SINFONI


    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA

    [2] S2 is a 15-solar-mass star on an elliptical orbit around the supermassive black hole. It has a period of about 15.6 years and gets as close as 17 light-hours to the black hole — or just 120 times the distance between the Sun and the Earth.

    [3] A similar, but much smaller, effect is seen in the changing orbit of the planet Mercury in the Solar System. That measurement was one of the best early pieces of evidence in the late nineteenth century suggesting that Newton’s view of gravity was not the whole story and that a new approach and new insights were needed to understand gravity in the strong-field case. This ultimately led to Einstein publishing his general theory of relativity, based on curved spacetime, in 1915.

    When the orbits of stars or planets are calculated using general relativity, rather than Newtonian gravity, they evolve differently. Predictions of the small changes to the shape and orientation of orbits with time are different in the two theories and can be compared to measurements to test the validity of general relativity.

    [4] An adaptive optics system compensates for the image distortions produced by the turbulent atmosphere in real time and allows the telescope to be used at much angular resolution (image sharpness), in principle limited only by the mirror diameter and the wavelength of light used for the observations.

    [5] The team finds a black hole mass of 4.2 × 106 times the mass of the Sun, and a distance from us of 8.2 kiloparsecs, corresponding to almost 27 000 light-years.

    [6] The University of Cologne is part of the GRAVITY team (http://www.mpe.mpg.de/ir/gravity) and contributed the beam combiner spectrometers to the system.

    [7] GRAVITY First Light was in early 2016 and it is already observing the Galactic Centre.

    The team is composed of Marzieh Parsa, Andreas Eckart (I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany; Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany), Banafsheh Shahzamanian (I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany), Christian Straubmeier (I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany), Vladimir Karas (Astronomical Institute, Academy of Science, Prague, Czech Republic), Michal Zajacek (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany; I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany) and J. Anton Zensus (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany).

    See the full article here .

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    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
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

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    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

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    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

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    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

     
    • Jose 3:04 pm on September 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Here you may find a simple post-Newtonian solution for Mercury’s orbit precession
      Gravity is a little big bigger than in Newton’s law; it increases with speed -kinetic energy- where the maximum is the double gravity in the case of light.
      Global Physics also predicts the anomalous precession of Mercury’s orbit as Paul Gerber did 20 years before Einstein. https://molwick.com/en/gravitation/077-mercury-orbit.html

      Like

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