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  • richardmitnick 4:38 pm on February 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Gemini South Telescope Captures Exquisite Planetary Nebula", , , , , Gemini Observatory, The striking planetary nebula CVMP 1   

    From Gemini Observatory: “Gemini South Telescope Captures Exquisite Planetary Nebula” 

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    February 20, 2020

    Peter Michaud
    NewsTeam Manager
    NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory
    Gemini Observatory, Hilo HI
    Desk: +1 808-974-2510
    Cell: +1 808-936-6643
    Email: pmichaud@gemini.edu

    1
    International Gemini Observatory composite color image of the planetary nebula CVMP 1 imaged by the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on the Gemini South telescope [below] on Cerro Pachón in Chile. Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/AURA

    Gemini Observatory GMOS on Gemini South

    Gemini Observatory Image Release

    The latest image from the International Gemini Observatory showcases the striking planetary nebula CVMP 1. This object is the result of the death throes of a giant star and is a glorious but relatively short-lived astronomical spectacle. As the progenitor star of this planetary nebula slowly cools, this celestial hourglass will run out of time and will slowly fade from view over many thousands of years.

    Located roughly 6500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Circinus (The Compass) this astronomical beauty formed during the final death throes of a massive star. CVMP 1 is a planetary nebula; it emerged when an old red giant star blew off its outer layers in the form of a tempestuous stellar wind [1]. As this cast-aside stellar atmosphere sped outwards into interstellar space, the hot, exposed core of the progenitor star began to energize the ejected gases and cause them to glow. This formed the beautiful hourglass shape captured in this observation from the International Gemini Observatory, a facility of NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory.

    Planetary nebulae like CVMP 1 are formed by only certain stars — those with a mass somewhere between 0.8 and 8 times that of our own Sun [2]. Less massive stars will gently fizzle out, transitioning into white dwarfs at the end of their long lives, whereas more massive stars live fast and die young, ending their lives in gargantuan explosions known as supernovae. For stars lying between these extremes, however, the final stretch of their lives results in a striking astronomical display such as the one seen in this image. Unfortunately, the spectacle provided by a planetary nebula is as brief as it is glorious; these objects typically persist for only 10,000 years — a tiny stretch of time compared to the lifespan of most stars, which lasts billions of years.

    These short-lived planetary nebulae come in myriad shapes and sizes, and several particularly striking forms are well known, such as the Helix Nebula which is captured in this image from 2003 which combined OIR Lab facilities at Kitt Peak National Observatory with the Hubble Space Telescope.

    2
    Helix Nebula

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

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    The great diversity of shapes stems from the diversity of progenitor star systems, whose characteristics can greatly influence the ensuing planetary nebula. The presence of companion stars, orbiting planets, or even the rotation of the original red giant star can help determine the shape of a planetary nebula, but we don’t yet have a detailed understanding of the processes sculpting these beautiful astronomical fireworks displays.

    But CVMP 1 is intriguing for more than just its aesthetic value. Astronomers have found that the gases making up the hourglass are highly enriched with helium and nitrogen, and that CVMP 1 is one of the largest planetary nebulae known. These clues together suggest that CVMP 1 is highly evolved, making it an ideal object to help astronomers understand the later lives of planetary nebulae.

    Astronomical measurements have revealed the characteristics of CVMP 1’s central star. By measuring the light emitted from the gas in the planetary nebula, astronomers infer that the temperature of the central star is at least 130,000 degrees C (230,000 degrees F). Despite this scorching temperature, the star is doomed to steadily cool over thousands of years. Eventually, the light it emits will have too little energy to ionize gas in the planetary nebula, causing the striking hourglass shown in this image to fade from view.

    The International Gemini Observatory, comprises telescopes in the northern and southern hemispheres, which together can access the entire night sky. Similar to many large observatories, a small fraction of the observing time of the Gemini telescopes is set aside for the creation of color images that can share the beauty of the Universe with the public. Objects are chosen for their aesthetic appeal — such as this striking celestial hourglass.

    Notes

    [1] Despite their name, planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets. This misnomer originates from the round, planet-like appearance of these objects when viewed through early telescopes. As telescopes improved, the striking beauty and stellar origin of planetary nebulae became more obvious, but their original name has persisted.[2] Which in turn implies that our own Sun will form a planetary nebula after burning through its hydrogen fuel, around 5 billion years from now.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


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    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on January 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Gemini Observatory, , , ,   

    From Science Node: “How does a planet form?” 

    Science Node bloc
    From Science Node

    15 Jan, 2020
    Jan Zverina

    New simulations of terrestrial planet formation raise questions about the ingredients of life.

    1
    Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

    NASA JPL


    Most of us are taught in grade school how planets come to be: dust particles clump together and over millions of years continue to collide until one is formed. This lengthy and complicated process was recently modeled using a novel approach with the help of the Comet [below] supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

    SDSC Triton HP supercomputer

    SDSC Gordon-Simons supercomputer

    SDSC Dell Comet supercomputer

    2
    Accumulations of dust, like this disk around a young star, may eventually become planets. A new study models this complicated process. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    The modeling enabled scientists at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to implement a new software package, which in turn allowed them to create a simulation of planet formation that provides a new baseline for future studies of this mysterious field.

    “Specifically, we modeled the formation of terrestrial planets such as Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars,” said Kevin Walsh, SwRI researcher and lead author of the paper published in the Icarus Journal.

    “The problem of planet formation is to start with a huge amount of very small dust that interacts on super-short timescales (seconds or less), and the Comet-enabled simulations finish with the final big collisions between planets that continue for 100 million years or more.”

    What’s out there? And who?

    As Earthlings, these models give us insight into the key physics and timescales involved in our own solar system, according to the researchers. They also allow us to better understand how common planets such as ours could be in other solar systems. This may also mean that environments similar to Earth may exist.

    “One big consideration is these models traced the material in the solar system that we know is rich with water, and seeing what important mechanisms can bring those to Earth and where they would have done so.”

    3
    Two large rocky bodies collide. New simulation models give insight into key physics and timescales involved in the formation of our own solar system. Courtesy Gemini Observatory/AURA.

    Studying the formation and evolution of the solar system—events that happened over four billion years ago–helps shed light on the distribution of different material throughout the solar system, explained Walsh.

    “While some of these tracers of solar system history are slight differences in the molecular makeup of different rocks, other differences can be vast and include the distribution of water-rich asteroids. Knowing the history and compositions of these smaller bodies could one day help as more distant and ambitious space travel may require harvesting some of their materials for fuel.”

    How did Comet (the supercomputer) help?

    The number, sizes, and times of the physics of planet formation makes it impossible to model in a single code or simulation. As the researchers learned more about the formation process, they realized that where one starts these final models (i.e. how many asteroids or proto-planets and their locations in a solar system) is very important, and that past models to produce those initial conditions were most likely flawed.

    4
    Simulation of formation of terrestrial planets. Top row shows how eccentric each particle’s orbit is at the four times of 1, 2, 10 and 20 million years (where “eccentric” relates to the orbit’s elongation, where 0 is circular and 1 is a straight line). Black circles are particles that have grown to reach the mass of the Earth’s Moon. Bottom row shows the radius of each particle as a function of its distance from the Sun at the same four times. The black particles are again those that are as massive as the Moon, and the coloring of the particles relates to the mass (and radius). These glimpses show how the smaller particles are quickly gobbled up by the growing planets and that the planets stir and re-shape the orbits of the smaller bodies shown by their increases in eccentricity. Courtesy Kevin Walsh, Southwest Research Institute.

    “In this work we finally deployed a new piece of software that can model a much larger swath of this problem and start with the solar system full of 50 to 100-kilometer asteroids and build them all the way to planets and consider the complications of the gas disk around the sun and the effects of collisions blasting apart some of the material,” said Walsh.

    “We needed a supercomputer such as Comet to be able to crunch the huge amount of calculations required to complete the models and the power of this supercomputer allows us to dream up even bigger problems to attack in the future.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Science Node is an international weekly online publication that covers distributed computing and the research it enables.

    “We report on all aspects of distributed computing technology, such as grids and clouds. We also regularly feature articles on distributed computing-enabled research in a large variety of disciplines, including physics, biology, sociology, earth sciences, archaeology, medicine, disaster management, crime, and art. (Note that we do not cover stories that are purely about commercial technology.)

    In its current incarnation, Science Node is also an online destination where you can host a profile and blog, and find and disseminate announcements and information about events, deadlines, and jobs. In the near future it will also be a place where you can network with colleagues.

    You can read Science Node via our homepage, RSS, or email. For the complete iSGTW experience, sign up for an account or log in with OpenID and manage your email subscription from your account preferences. If you do not wish to access the website’s features, you can just subscribe to the weekly email.”

     
  • richardmitnick 2:07 pm on January 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , FRB 180916.J0158+65, , Gemini Observatory   

    From Gemini Observatory: “Fast Radio Burst Observations Deepen Astronomical Mystery” 

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    January 6, 2020

    Peter Michaud
    NewsTeam Manager
    NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory
    Gemini Observatory, Hilo HI
    Desk:: +1 808-974-2510
    Cell: +1 808-936-6643
    Email: pmichaud@gemini.edu

    Jason Hessels
    University of Amsterdam & ASTRON
    Email: j.w.t.hessels@uva.nl
    Phone: +31 610260062

    Shriharsh Tendulkar
    McGill University
    Email: shriharsh@physics.mcgill.ca

    Astronomers have pinpointed the origin of a repeating Fast Radio Burst to a nearby spiral galaxy, challenging theories on the unknown source of these pulses.

    1
    Image of the host galaxy of FRB 180916 (center) acquired on Hawaii’s Maunakea with the 8-meter Gemini North telescope of the international Gemini Observatory (a program of the NSF’s OIR Lab). Images acquired in SDSS g’, r’, and z’ filters are used for the blue, green, and red colors, respectively. The position of the FRB in the spiral arm of the galaxy is marked by a green circle. Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF’s Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/AURA

    Observations with the 8-meter Gemini North telescope [below], a program of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, have allowed astronomers to pinpoint the location of a Fast Radio Burst in a nearby galaxy — making it the closest known example to Earth and only the second repeating burst source to have its location pinpointed in the sky. The source of this burst of radio waves is located in an environment radically different from that seen in previous studies. This discovery challenges researchers’ assumptions on the origin of these already enigmatic extragalactic events.

    An unsolved mystery in astronomy has become even more puzzling. The source of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) — sudden bursts of radio waves lasting a few thousandths of a second — has remained unknown since their discovery in 2007. Research published today in the scientific journal Nature, and presented at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, has pinpointed the origin of an FRB to an unexpected environment in a nearby spiral galaxy. Observations with the Gemini North telescope of NSF’s Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (OIR Lab) on Maunakea in Hawai‘i, played a vital role in this discovery, which renders the nature of these extragalactic radio pulses even more enigmatic.

    The sources of FRBs and their nature are mysterious — many are one-off bursts but very few of them emit repeated flashes. The recently discovered FRB — identified by the unpoetic designation FRB 180916.J0158+65 — is one of only five sources with a precisely known location and only the second such source that shows repeated bursts. Such FRB’s are referred to as localized and can be associated with a particular distant galaxy, allowing astronomers to make additional observations that can provide insights into the origin of the radio pulse.

    “This object’s location is radically different from that of not only the previously located repeating FRB, but also all previously studied FRBs,” elaborates Kenzie Nimmo, PhD student at the University of Amsterdam and a fellow lead author of this paper. “This blurs the differences between repeating and non-repeating fast radio bursts. It may be that FRBs are produced in a large zoo of locations across the Universe and just require some specific conditions to be visible.”

    Pinpointing the location of FRB 180916.J0158+65 required observations at both radio and optical wavelengths. FRBs can only be detected with radio telescopes, so radio observations are fundamentally necessary to accurately determine the position of an FRB on the sky. This particular FRB was first discovered by the Canadian CHIME radio telescope array in 2018[1].

    CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment -A partnership between the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, McGill University, Yale and the National Research Council in British Columbia, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, British Columbia, CA Altitude 545 m (1,788 ft)

    The new research used the European VLBI Network (EVN)[2] to precisely localize the source, but measuring the precise distance and local environment of the radio source was only possible with follow-up optical observations with the Gemini North telescope.

    Global mm-VLBI Array

    The international Gemini Observatory comprises telescopes in both the northern and southern hemispheres, which together can access the entire night sky.

    “We used the cameras and spectrographs on the Gemini North telescope to image the faint structures of the host galaxy where the FRB resides, measure its distance, and analyze its chemical composition,” explains Shriharsh Tendulkar, a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University in Montreal, Canada who led the Gemini observations[3] and subsequent data analysis. “These observations showed that the FRB originates in a spiral arm of the galaxy, in a region which is rapidly forming stars.”

    However, the source of FRB 180916.J0158+65 — which lies roughly 500 million light-years from Earth — was unexpected and shows that FRB’s may not be linked to a particular type of galaxy or environment, deepening this astronomical mystery[4].

    “This is the closest FRB to Earth ever localised,” explains Benito Marcote, of the Joint Institute for VLBI European Research Infrastructure Consortium and a lead author of the Nature paper. “Surprisingly, it was found in an environment radically different from that of the previous four localised FRBs — an environment that challenges our ideas of what the source of these bursts could be.”

    The researchers hope that further studies will reveal the conditions that result in the production of these mysterious transient radio pulses, and address some of the many unanswered questions they pose. Corresponding author Jason Hessels of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and the University of Amsterdam states that “our aim is to precisely localize more FRBs and, ultimately, understand their origin.”

    “It’s a pleasure to see different observing facilities complement one another during challenging high-priority investigations such as this,” concludes Luc Simard, Gemini Board member and Director General of NRC-Herzberg, which hosts CHIME, as well as the Canadian Gemini Office. “We are particularly honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical observations on Maunakea in Hawai’i. This site’s exceptional observing conditions are vital to making astronomical discoveries such as this.”

    Chris Davis, National Science Foundation Program Officer for Gemini adds, “understanding the origin of FRBs will undoubtedly be an exciting challenge for astronomers in the 2020s; we’re confident that Gemini will play an important role, and it seems fitting that Gemini has made these important observations at the dawn of the new decade.”

    Notes

    [1] The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) collaboration operates an innovative radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Canada. The CHIME telescope’s novel construction makes it particularly adept at discovering FRBs such as FRB 180916.J0158+65.

    [2] Radio observations were made using eight radio telescopes of the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (EVN) following the discovery of FRB 180916.J0158+65 by the CHIME/FRB Collaboration.

    [3] The Gemini observations were made between July and September of 2019 using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Maunakea.

    [4] Prior to the observations announced today, the evidence hinted at the possibility that repeating and non-repeating FRBs were formed in very different environments. The only repeating FRB apart from FRB 180916.J0158+65 with a precisely determined location was found to inhabit a region of massive star formation inside a dwarf galaxy. Conversely, the three localized non-repeating FRBs were all found in massive galaxies and appear not to be associated with star-forming regions, leading to speculation that there were two separate types of FRB.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:18 pm on December 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Galactic Dance", , , , , Gemini Observatory, NGC 5394 and NGC 5395 also known collectively known as Arp 84 or the Heron Galaxy   

    From Gemini Observatory: “A Galactic Dance” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    1
    Image of the interacting galaxy pair NGC 5394/5 obtained with NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory’s Gemini North 8-meter telescope on Hawai’i’s Maunakea using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph in imaging mode. This four-color composite image has a total exposure time of 42 minutes. Credit: NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/Gemini Observatory/AURA

    “Everything is determined by forces over which we have no control… Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” — Albert Einstein

    Galaxies lead a graceful existence on cosmic timescales. Over millions of years, they can engage in elaborate dances that produce some of Nature’s most exquisite and striking grand designs. Few are as captivating as the galactic duo known as NGC 5394/5, sometimes nicknamed the Heron Galaxy. This image, obtained by the Gemini Observatory of NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, captures a snapshot of this compelling interacting pair.

    The existence of our Universe is dependent upon interactions — from the tiniest subatomic particles to the largest clusters of galaxies. At galactic scales, interactions can take millions of years to unfold, a process seen in this image of two galaxies released today by the Gemini Observatory. The new image captures the slow and intimate dance of a pair of galaxies some 160 million light-years distant and reveals the sparkle of subsequent star formation fueled by the pair’s interactions.

    The two galaxies, astronomers have concluded, have already “collided” at least once. However, galactic collisions can be a lengthy process of successive gravitational encounters, which over time can morph the galaxies into exotic, yet unrecognizable forms. These galaxies, as in all galactic collisions, are engaged in a ghostly dance as the distances between the stars in each galaxy preclude actual stellar collisions and their overall shapes are deformed only by each galaxy’s gravity.

    One byproduct of the turbulence caused by the interaction is the coalescence of hydrogen gas into regions of star formation. In this image, these stellar nurseries are revealed in the form of the reddish clumps scattered in a ring-like fashion in the larger galaxy (and a few in the smaller galaxy). Also visible is a dusty ring that is seen in silhouette against the backdrop of the larger galaxy. A similar ring structure is seen in this previous image from the Gemini Observatory, likely the result of another interacting galactic pair.

    A well-known target for amateur astronomers, the light from NGC 5394/5 first piqued humanity’s interest when it was observed by William Herschel in 1787. Herschel used his giant 20-foot-long telescope to discover the two galaxies in the same year that he discovered two moons of Uranus. Many stargazers today imagine the two galaxies as a Heron. In this interpretation, the larger galaxy is the bird’s body and the smaller one is its head — with its beak preying upon a fish-like background galaxy!

    NGC 5394 and NGC 5395, also known collectively known as Arp 84 or the Heron Galaxy, are interacting spiral galaxies 160 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Canes Venatici. The larger galaxy, NGC 5395 (on the left), is 140,000 light-years across and the smaller one, NGC 5394, is 90,000 light-years across.

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:17 pm on December 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Gemini Observatory, Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South   

    From Gemini Observatory: “The exoplanet Beta Pictoris b. And yet it moves” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    December 5, 2019
    Franck Marchis

    1
    This artist’s view shows the planet orbiting the young star Beta Pictoris. This exoplanet is the first to have its rotation rate measured. Its eight-hour day corresponds to an equatorial rotation speed of 100 000 kilometres/hour — much faster than any planet in the Solar System.

    Eric Nielsen, formerly a post-doc at the SETI Institute and now a researcher at Stanford University, led a study of the planet beta Pictoris b that combined direct observation of the planet recorded with the Gemini Planet Imager with additional data from space and ground-based observations.

    NOAO Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South

    The team estimated the mass of this distant planet to be eight to sixteen times that of Jupiter and found that it likely has an elliptical orbit. A video shows the motion of the planet around its star, something that was inconceivable fifteen years ago.

    Since it was installed on the Gemini-South telescope in 2013, GPI has been continually observing beta Pictoris, studying its debris disk, atmosphere, and orbit, and searching for additional planets in the system. What makes beta Pictoris b special in the family of directly imaged exoplanets is that it is close enough to its star to complete an orbit in just twenty-five years, which means astronomers are less than a decade from observing a full beta Pic b year since its discovery in 2003. The orientation of the planet’s orbit with respect to Earth is more edge on than other imaged planets—in fact, it just misses passing directly in front of its star.

    Seeing the exoplanet β Pic b from Franck Marchis on Vimeo.

    A new paper [AJ) from the GPIES team determined the planet’s orbit based on a decade and a half of images, as well as radial velocity measurements of both star and planet, and space-based astrometry, which measures the star’s reflex motion. Since the amount the star moves in response to the planet depends on the planet’s mass, this combination of different techniques has been key to learning about the mass of beta Pic b, a rarity among directly imaged planets. This movie shows the combination of all GPI images of beta Pic b from 2013 until 2018, including the gap between 2016 and 2018 when the planet’s orbit took it too close to the star to be detected.

    GPI will shortly move to Gemini-North, from which beta Pic is unfortunately not visible; here it will instead search for planets not visible from Gemini-South. Other instruments, including VLT/SPHERE, will continue to monitor the orbit of beta Pic b in coming years.

    ESO SPHERE extreme adaptive optics system and coronagraphic facility on the extreme adaptive optics system and coronagraphic facility on the VLT MELIPAL UT3, Cerro Paranal, Chile, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

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

    Many surprises about this system will no doubt be uncovered in the near future. For instance, a recent paper led by Anne-Marie Lagrange showed evidence for a second planet in the system, beta Pic c, based on radial velocity measurements of the star. This planet is expected to have a mass (and thus a brightness) similar to beta Pic b, but be about four times closer to the star. Future observations, especially with upgraded instruments in the southern hemisphere such as the ELT, may be sensitive enough to image this second planet as well, which is expected to be in a similar edge-on orbit as beta Pic b.

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    What a feast it will be for astronomers when they can study and understand more of these multiple systems by directly imaging their planets!

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:56 am on September 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Record-Breaking Protocluster Takes Fast-track", , , , , Gemini Observatory, Puzzling protocluster z660D   

    From Gemini Observatory: “Record-Breaking Protocluster Takes Fast-track” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    September 26, 2019

    Science Contacts:

    Yuichi Harikane
    JSPS fellow
    National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka, Japan
    Email: yuichi.harikane”at”nao.ac.jp
    Desk: +81 80 6914 7660

    Chien-Hsiu Lee
    Assistant Scientist
    National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ
    Email: lee”at”noao.edu
    Desk: (520) 318-8386

    Media Contacts:

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

    Alyssa Grace
    Public Information and Outreach Assistant
    Gemini Observatory, Hilo, Hawaiʻi
    Email: agrace”at”gemini.edu
    Desk: (808) 974-2531

    Hideaki Fujiwara
    Public Information Officer/Scientist
    Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Hilo, Hawaiʻi
    Email: hideaki”at”naoj.org
    Desk: (808) 934-5922

    The discovery of the most distant large-scale cluster of galaxies in the very young Universe has astronomers puzzling over how it formed so rapidly.

    1
    The red objects are zoomed-in figures of the 12 galaxies found in the most distant protocluster. Six of these galaxies were found by Gemini Observatory. Credit: NAOJ/Harikane et al.

    Crucial observations by a collaboration of telescopes including Gemini Observatory, Subaru Telescope, and W. M. Keck Observatory, all on Hawaii’s Maunakea, have helped an international team of astronomers to discover the most distant cosmic collection of galaxies caught in the act of forming in the early Universe.


    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level


    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    Known as z660D, this puzzling protocluster — a large and scattered collection of young gas-rich galaxies — is feverishly creating stars some 13 billion light years away. It is the most distant large-scale structure of galaxies ever detected. Full details are published in the 30 September 2019 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

    “This discovery suggests that large-scale structures already existed when our Universe was only about 800 million years old,” explained lead author Yuichi Harikane from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “That’s just 6% of the Universe’s current age of 13.8 billion years. In addition to its impressive age, this protocluster is in the fast lane to formation.”

    “As we continue to find rare and essential objects like this protocluster of galaxies in the early history of our universe, collaboration of major facilities often becomes necessary,” added Chris Davis of the National Science Foundation, which provides support for the international Gemini Observatory. “Big telescopes can bring something unique to the table. In Gemini’s case, optical spectroscopy has always been a great strength and a powerful tool for discovery.”

    The study began with a wide-field search for protocluster candidates using the wide-field Hyper Suprime-Cam imager on the 8-meter Subaru telescope on Maunakea, Hawai‘i.

    NAOJ Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam

    “During the survey the team encountered z660D, where galaxies are 15 times more concentrated than average,” said Chien-Hsiu Lee of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) who participated in the imaging survey. The team then used the sensitive Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the 8-meter Gemini North telescope also on Maunakea to capture the chemical fingerprints of half of the individual galaxies in the protocluster.

    GEMINI/North GMOS

    These data, coupled with similar spectroscopic data from the neighboring Keck Observatory and the Magellan Telescope in Chile, confirmed that z660D was unmistakably the most distant protocluster ever detected, lying 13.0 billion light years away.

    Las Campanas Clay Magellan telescope, located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    Low-Dispersion Survey Spectrograph 3 (LDSS-3), mounted on the Magellan Clay telescope in Chile

    “Confirmations by Gemini led to Keck follow-up for fainter galaxies in z66OD,” said Harikane. “With Gemini data we confirmed the first six galaxies in the protocluster were indeed present, instead of just being foreground objects and we found the most surprising aspect about this protocluster, the location of its Himiko.”

    One of the 12 galaxies in z66OD is a “Himiko” object — an enormous protogalaxy with a huge gas halo caught at the moment of its formation. Masami Ouchi, a team member at National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the University of Tokyo, discovered the first object of this type in 2009 and named it after a legendary queen in ancient Japan.

    “It is reasonable to find a giant and massive object like Himiko in a protocluster which is also thought to be massive,” Ouchi said. But what is surprising is that the Himiko in z660D does not lie near the center of the galaxy distribution. “Strangely enough, it lies on the edge, 500 million light years away from the cluster’s center. Deciphering the reason will be key to understanding its role in the formation of the protocluster.”

    The galaxies in z66OD appear to be powered by prodigious bursts of star formation. Indeed, the team’s further studies of the galaxies with the Subaru telescope, United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope revealed surprisingly active star formation in the z66OD protocluster. The number of stars forming per year in the protocluster is a startling five times larger than that in other galaxy groupings with similar masses that have been observed in the early Universe. Each galaxy is an efficient star factory, probably due to the large amount of gas (the principal ingredient of stars) that the very massive z660D system provides.

    Equally curious is that while previous observations have suggested that protoclusters this early in the universe should contain a massive dusty galaxy, z660D does not appear to have one. “Although we haven’t found such a galaxy in z66OD yet,” commented Seiji Fujimoto, team member at Waseda University, Japan, “future observations, for example with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, should reveal more of the structure of z66OD.”

    Until then, objects like z660D pose a formidable challenge to astronomers trying to understand the formation of some of the largest structures in the Universe.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:19 pm on August 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ‘Alopeke/Zorro, , , , Gemini Observatory   

    From Gemini Observatory: “Exoplanets Can’t Hide Their Secrets from Innovative New Instrument” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    August 29, 2019

    Media Contacts:

    Peter Michaud
    Public Information and Outreach Manager
    Gemini Observatory, Hilo, HI
    email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
    Desk: (808) 974-2510
    Cell: (808) 936-6643

    Alyssa Grace
    Public Information and Outreach Assistant
    Gemini Observatory, Hilo, HI
    email: agrace”at”gemini.edu
    Desk: (808) 974-2531

    Science Contacts:

    Steve B. Howell
    Space Science and Astrobiology Division
    NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
    email: steve.b.howell”at”nasa.gov
    Desk: (650) 604-4238
    Cell: (520) 461-6925

    Andrew Stephens
    Instrument Scientist
    Gemini Observatory, Hilo, HI
    email: astephens”at”gemini.edu
    Desk: (808) 974-2611

    In an unprecedented feat, an American research team discovered hidden secrets of an elusive exoplanet using a powerful new instrument at the 8-meter Gemini North telescope on Maunakea in Hawai‘i [below]. The findings not only classify a Jupiter-sized exoplanet in a close binary star system, but also conclusively demonstrate, for the first time, which star the planet orbits.

    The breakthrough occurred when Steve B. Howell of the NASA Ames Research Center and his team used a high-resolution imaging instrument of their design — named ‘Alopeke (a contemporary Hawaiian word for Fox).

    2
    ‘Alopeke at Gemini North

    The team observed exoplanet Kepler-13b as it passed in front of (transited) one of the stars in the Kepler-13AB binary star system some 2,000 light years distant. Prior to this attempt, the true nature of the exoplanet was a mystery.

    3
    Artist’s conception of the Kepler-13AB binary star system as revealed by observations including the new Gemini Observatory data. The two stars (A and B) are large, massive bluish stars (center) with the transiting “hot Jupiter” (Kepler-13b) in the foreground (left corner). Star B and its low mass red dwarf companion star are seen in the background to the right. Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Artwork by Joy Pollard

    “There was confusion over Kepler-13b: was it a low-mass star or a hot Jupiter-like world? So we devised an experiment using the sly instrument ‘Alopeke,” Howell said. The research was recently published in The Astronomical Journal. “We monitored both stars, Kepler A and Kepler B, simultaneously while looking for any changes in brightness during the planet’s transit,” Howell explained. “To our pleasure, we not only solved the mystery, but also opened a window into a new era of exoplanet research.”

    “This dual win has elevated the importance of instruments like ‘Alopeke in exoplanet research,” said Chris Davis of the National Science Foundation, one of Gemini’s sponsoring agencies. “The exquisite seeing and telescope abilities of Gemini Observatory, as well as the innovative ‘Alopeke instrument made this discovery possible in merely four hours of observations.”

    ‘Alopeke performs “speckle imaging,” collecting a thousand 60-millisecond exposures every minute. After processing this large amount of data, the final images are free of the adverse effects of atmospheric turbulence — which can bloat, blur, and distort star images.

    “About one half of all exoplanets orbit a star residing in a binary system, yet, until now, we were at a loss to robustly determine which star hosts the planet,” said Howell.

    The team’s analysis revealed a clear drop in the light from Kepler A, proving that the planet orbits the brighter of the two stars. Moreover, ‘Alopeke simultaneously provides data at both red and blue wavelengths, an unusual capability for speckle imagers. Comparing the red and blue data, the researchers were surprised to discover that the dip in the star’s blue light was about twice as deep as the dip seen in red light. This can be explained by a hot exoplanet with a very extended atmosphere, which more effectively blocks the light at blue wavelengths. Thus, these multi-color speckle observations give a tantalizing glimpse into the appearance of this distant world.

    Early observations once pointed to the transiting object being either a low-mass star or a brown dwarf (an object somewhere between the heaviest planets and the lightest stars). But Howell and his team’s research almost certainly shows the object to be a Jupiter-like gas-giant exoplanet with a “puffed up” atmosphere due to exposure to the tremendous radiation from its host star.

    ‘Alopeke has an identical twin at the Gemini South telescope in Chile [below], named Zorro, which is the word for fox in Spanish. Like ‘Alopeke, Zorro is capable of speckle imaging in both blue and red wavelengths. The presence of these instruments in both hemispheres allows Gemini Observatory to resolve the thousands of exoplanets known to be in multiple star systems.

    “Speckle imaging is experiencing a renaissance with technology like fast, low noise detectors becoming more easily available,” said team member and ‘Alopeke instrument scientist Andrew Stephens at the Gemini North telescope. “Combined with Gemini’s large primary mirror, ‘Alopeke has real potential to make even more significant exoplanet discoveries by adding another dimension to the search.”

    First proposed by French astronomer Antoine Labeyrie in 1970, speckle imaging is based on the idea that atmospheric turbulence can be “frozen” when obtaining very short exposures. In these short exposures, stars look like collections of little spots, or speckles, where each of these speckles has the size of the telescope’s optimal limit of resolution. When taking many exposures, and using a clever mathematical approach, these speckles can be reconstructed to form the true image of the source, removing the effect of atmospheric turbulence. The result is the highest-quality image that a telescope can produce, effectively obtaining space-based resolution from the ground — making these instruments superb probes of extrasolar environments that may harbor planets.

    The discovery of planets orbiting other stars has changed the view of our place in the Universe. Space missions like NASA’s Kepler/K2 Space Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have revealed that there are twice as many planets orbiting stars in the sky than there are stars visible to the unaided eyes; to date the total discovery count hovers around 4,000. While these telescopes detect exoplanets by looking for tiny dips in the brightness of a star when a planet crosses in front of it, they have their limits.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope, and K2 March 7, 2009 until November 15, 2018

    NASA/MIT TESS replaced Kepler in search for exoplanets

    “These missions observe large fields of view containing hundreds of thousands of stars, so they don’t have the fine spatial resolution necessary to probe deeper,” Howell said. “One of the major discoveries of exoplanet research is that about one-half of all exoplanets orbit stars that reside in binary systems. Making sense of these complex systems requires technologies that can conduct time sensitive observations and investigate the finer details with exceptional clarity.”

    “Our work with Kepler-13b stands as a model for future research of exoplanets in multiple star systems,” Howell continued. “The observations highlight the ability of high-resolution imaging with powerful telescopes like Gemini to not only assess which stars with planets are in binaries, but also robustly determine which of the stars the exoplanet orbits.”

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:11 pm on August 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Revealing the Intimate Lives of MASSIVE Galaxies", , , , , Gemini Observatory   

    From Gemini Observatory: “Revealing the Intimate Lives of MASSIVE Galaxies” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    August 22, 2019

    Every galaxy has a story, and every galaxy has been many others in the past (unlike for humans, this is not purely metaphorical, as galaxies grow via hierarchical assembly). Generally speaking, the most massive galaxies have led the most interesting lives, often within teeming galactic metropolises where they are subject to frequent interactions with assorted neighbors. These interactions influence the structure and motions of the stars, gas, and dark matter that make up the galaxies. They also affect the growth of the supermassive black holes at the galaxies’ centers.

    Although the detailed life stories of most galaxies will remain forever uncertain, the key thematic elements may be surmised in various ways. A particularly powerful probe of a galaxy’s dynamical structure is called integral field spectroscopy (IFS), which dissects a galaxy’s light at each point within the spectrograph’s field of view. In this way, it is possible to construct a map of the motions of the stars within the galaxy and infer the distribution of the mass, both visible and invisible. IFS observations of the outskirts of a galaxy can provide insight into its global dynamics and past interactions, while IFS data on the innermost region can measure the mass of the supermassive black hole and the motions of the stars in its vicinity.

    The MASSIVE Galaxy Survey, led by Chung-Pei Ma of the University of California, Berkeley, is a major effort to uncover the internal structures and formation histories of the most massive galaxies within 350 million light years of our Milky Way. A recent study by the MASSIVE team presents high angular resolution IFS observations of 20 high-mass galaxies obtained with GMOS at Gemini North, combined with wide-field IFS data on the same galaxies from the 2.7-meter Harlan J Smith 2.7-meter Telescope telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas.

    GEMINI/North GMOS

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

    U Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory Harlan J Smith 2.7-meter Telescope , Altitude 2,026 m (6,647 ft)

    The study, led by Berkeley graduate student Irina Ene, appears in the June issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

    The accompanying figure shows example maps of four indicators, or “moments” (called v, σ, h3 , and h4), of the stellar motions within two galaxies in the MASSIVE survey. The maps, based on the GMOS IFS data, cover the central regions of the galaxies. The figure also shows graphs of how these indicators vary with distance from the centers of these galaxies. Although both galaxies exhibit ordered central rotation, they are strikingly different in how the motions of the stars vary within the galaxy. Interestingly, for galaxies in the MASSIVE Survey, the directions of the motions of the stars in the central regions are often unaligned with the motions at large radius. This indicates complex and diverse merger histories.

    3
    Figure caption. Example distributions of the first four velocity “moments” (called v, σ, h3 and h4 ) measured from the GMOS-N IFS data for two of the MASSIVE survey galaxies. For each galaxy, the top row shows two-dimensional maps, while the bottom row shows two-sided radial profiles from Gemini/GMOS-N (magenta circles) and McDonald Observatory (green squares) data. For more information, see the study by Berkeley graduate student Irina Ene.

    As a proof of concept, the new study performs detailed dynamical modeling of the IFS data for NGC 1453, the galaxy in the sample with the fastest rotation rate. The team’s analysis reveals the amount of dark matter in this galaxy and shows how the shapes of the stars’ orbits change with radius. In addition, the team found an impressively large mass for the central black hole, more than three billion times the mass of our Sun. The MASSIVE Survey team is currently performing detailed modeling for all the rest of the galaxies in the sample. The results will provide further insight into the assembly histories of the largest galaxies in the local Universe and refine our understanding of the coevolution of galaxies and their central black holes up to the most extreme masses.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on August 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Astronomical geology, , , , , Gemini Observatory, The Jupiter Moon Io and its vulcanism   

    From Gemini Observatory: “Discovering Patterns in Io’s Volcanoes” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    August 5, 2019

    1
    Orbital Resonnances of the Galilean Moons of Jupiter. Animation of the 1:2:4 Laplace resonance between Ganymede, Europa, and Io. The labels indicate the ratios of orbital periods: Europa’s is twice Io’s, and Ganymede’s is four times Io’s. Credit: Matma Rex/Wikicommons.

    Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io brought astronomers and geologists together to reveal that this moon’s hot spots fluctuate on unexpected timescales.

    4
    NASA’s Galileo spacecraft acquired its highest resolution images of Jupiter’s moon Io on 3 July 1999 during its closest pass to Io since orbit insertion in late 1995. This color mosaic uses the near-infrared, green and violet filters (slightly more than the visible range) of the spacecraft’s camera and approximates what the human eye would see. Most of Io’s surface has pastel colors, punctuated by black, brown, green, orange, and red units near the active volcanic centers. A false color version of the mosaic has been created to enhance the contrast of the color variations.

    The improved resolution reveals small-scale color units which had not been recognized previously and which suggest that the lavas and sulfurous deposits are composed of complex mixtures (Cutout A of false color image). Some of the bright (whitish), high-latitude (near the top and bottom) deposits have an ethereal quality like a transparent covering of frost (Cutout B of false color image). Bright red areas were seen previously only as diffuse deposits. However, they are now seen to exist as both diffuse deposits and sharp linear features like fissures (Cutout C of false color image). Some volcanic centers have bright and colorful flows, perhaps due to flows of sulfur rather than silicate lava (Cutout D of false color image). In this region bright, white material can also be seen to emanate from linear rifts and cliffs.

    Comparison of this image to previous Galileo images reveals many changes due to the ongoing volcanic activity.

    Galileo will make two close passes of Io beginning in October of this year. Most of the high-resolution targets for these flybys are seen on the hemisphere shown here.

    North is to the top of the picture and the sun illuminates the surface from almost directly behind the spacecraft. This illumination geometry is good for imaging color variations, but poor for imaging topographic shading. However, some topographic shading can be seen here due to the combination of relatively high resolution (1.3 kilometers or 0.8 miles per picture element) and the rugged topography over parts of Io. The image is centered at 0.3 degrees north latitude and 137.5 degrees west longitude. The resolution is 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) per picture element. The images were taken on 3 July 1999 at a range of about 130,000 kilometers (81,000 miles) by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on NASA’s Galileo spacecraft during its twenty-first orbit.

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the Galileo mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, DC.
    This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at URL http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov. Background information and educational context for the images can be found at URL http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/sepo.

    The team utilized the Gemini North telescope [below] and the W.M. Keck Observatory, both located on Maunakea, Hawaiʻi Island.

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    The Gemini observations, which provided about 80% of the data for the study, employed the high-resolution adaptive optics system ALTAIR combined with the Gemini Near InfraRed Imager and spectrograph (NIRI). The researchers conducted a total of 271 observations between 2013 and 2018 and published their results in the July 2019 issue of The Astronomical Journal and the June 28, 2019 issue Geophysical Research Letters.

    While whizzing around Jupiter in an elliptical orbit with a period of only 1.8 days, Io’s interior is warmed by the varying pull of Jupiter’s gravity, roughly similar to how the Earth’s moon causes tides on our planet. This “tidal heating” powers Io’s volcanoes. However, the shape of Io’s orbit also changes, becoming alternately rounder and then more elliptical, over a longer period of about 480 days. The variation in Io’s orbital shape is caused by the more subtle effects of the varying gravitational pulls from Jupiter’s other large moons, mainly Europa and Ganymede.

    By studying changes in Io’s surface brightness due to its volcanic activity, researchers discovered a pattern in the volcanism that appears to coincide with the 480-day variation in the moon’s orbital shape. This was unexpected because there is no detectable pattern associated with the 1.8-day period of a single orbit, even though this is the amount of time over which the most dramatic variations in the pull of gravity occur. To understand this puzzling result, the researchers note that the magma is likely too viscous to react to the changing gravity on the timescale of one orbit, but it can adjust its flow rate with the slower variation in the shape of Io’s orbit. This explains the long-term variations in the degree of volcanic activity.

    Read more about this discovery and Io’s most powerful, persistent volcano, Loki Patera in this story from the American Geophysical Union.

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:27 am on June 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Gemini Observatory, GPI-Gemini Planet Imager South, It appears more and more likely that large planets and brown dwarfs have very different roots.   

    From Gemini Observatory: “The Formative Years: Giant Planets vs. Brown Dwarfs” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    June 12, 2019

    Science Contacts:

    Eric Nielsen
    Stanford University
    Email: enielsen”at”standard.edu
    Phone: (408) 394-4582

    Bruce Macintosh
    Stanford University
    Email: bmacint”at”standard.edu
    Phone: (650) 793-0969

    Franck Marchis
    SETI Institute
    Email: fmarchis”at”seti.org
    Phone: (510) 599-0604

    Media Contact:

    Peter Michaud
    Gemini Observatory, PIO Manager
    Email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
    Desk phone: 808-974-2510
    Cell phone: 808-936-6643

    Based on preliminary results from a new Gemini Observatory survey of 531 stars with the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), it appears more and more likely that large planets and brown dwarfs have very different roots.

    The GPI Exoplanet Survey (GPIES), one of the largest and most sensitive direct imaging exoplanet surveys to date, is still ongoing at the Gemini South telescope [below] in Chile. “From our analysis of the first 300 stars observed, we are already seeing strong trends,” said Eric L. Nielsen of Stanford University, who is the lead author of the study, published in The Astronomical Journal.

    In November 2014, GPI Principal Investigator Bruce Macintosh of Stanford University and his international team set out to observe almost 600 young nearby stars with the newly commissioned instrument.

    NOAO Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South

    GPI was funded with support from the Gemini Observatory partnership, with the largest portion from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF, and the Canadian National Research Council (NRC; also a Gemini partner), funded researchers participating in GPIES.

    Imaging a planet around another star is a difficult technical challenge possible with only a few instruments. Exoplanets are small, faint, and very close to their host star — distinguishing an orbiting planet from its star is like resolving the width of a dime from several miles away. Even the brightest planets are ten thousand times fainter than their parent star. GPI can see planets up to a million times fainter, much more sensitive than previous planet-imaging instruments. “GPI is a great tool for studying planets, and the Gemini Observatory gave us time to do a careful, systematic survey,” said Macintosh.

    GPIES is now coming to an end. From the first 300 stars, GPIES has detected six giant planets and three brown dwarfs. “This analysis of the first 300 stars observed by GPIES represents the largest, most sensitive direct imaging survey for giant planets published to date,” added Macintosh.

    Brown dwarfs are more massive than planets, but not massive enough to fuse hydrogen like stars. “Our analysis of this Gemini survey suggests that wide-separation giant planets may have formed differently from their brown dwarf cousins,” Nielsen said.

    The team’s paper advances the idea that massive planets form due to the slow accumulation of material surrounding a young star, while brown dwarfs come about due to rapid gravitational collapse. “It’s a bit like the difference between a gentle light rain and a thunderstorm,” said Macintosh.

    “With six detected planets and three detected brown dwarfs from our survey, along with unprecedented sensitivity to planets a few times the mass of Jupiter at orbital distances well beyond Jupiter’s, we can now answer some key questions, especially about where and how these objects form,” Nielsen said.

    This discovery may answer a longstanding question as to whether brown dwarfs — intermediate-mass objects — are born more like stars or planets. Stars form from the top down by the gravitational collapse of large primordial clouds of gas and dust, while planets are thought — but have not been confirmed — to form from the bottom up by the assembly of small rocky bodies that then grow into larger ones, a process also termed “core accretion.”

    “What the GPIES team’s analysis shows is that the properties of brown dwarfs and giant planets run completely counter to each other,” said Eugene Chiang, professor of astronomy at the University of California Berkeley and a co-author of the paper. “Whereas more massive brown dwarfs outnumber less massive brown dwarfs, for giant planets the trend is reversed: less massive planets outnumber more massive ones. Moreover, brown dwarfs tend to be found far from their host stars, while giant planets concentrate closer in. These opposing trends point to brown dwarfs forming top-down, and giant planets forming bottom-up.”

    More Surprises

    Of the 300 stars surveyed thus far, 123 are at least 1.5 times more massive than our Sun. One of the most striking results of the GPI survey is that all hosts of detected planets are among these higher-mass stars — even though it is easier to see a giant planet orbiting a fainter, more Sun-like star. Astronomers have suspected this relationship for years, but the GPIES survey has unambiguously confirmed it. This finding also supports the bottom-up formation scenario for planets.

    One of the study’s greatest surprises has been how different other planetary systems are from our own. Our Solar System has small rocky planets in the inner parts and giant gas planets in the outer parts. But the very first exoplanets discovered reversed this trend, with giant planets skimming closer to their stars than does moon-sized Mercury. Furthermore, radial-velocity studies — which rely on the fact that a star experiences a gravitationally induced “wobble” when it is orbited by a planet — have shown that the number of giant planets increases with distance from the star out to about Jupiter’s orbit.

    But the GPIES team’s preliminary results, which probe still larger distances, has shown that giant planets become less numerous farther out.

    “The region in the middle could be where you’re most likely to find planets larger than Jupiter around other stars,” added Nielsen, “which is very interesting since this is where we see Jupiter and Saturn in our own Solar System.” In this regard, the location of Jupiter in our own Solar System may fit the overall exoplanet trend.

    But a surprise from all exoplanet surveys is how intrinsically rare giant planets seem to be around Sun-like stars, and how different other solar systems are. The Kepler mission discovered far more small and close-in planets — two or more “super-Earth” planets per Sun-like star, densely packed into inner solar systems much more crowded than our own.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope, and K2 March 7, 2009 until November 15, 2018

    Extrapolation of simple models suggested GPI would find a dozen giant planets or more, but it only saw six. Putting it all together, giant planets may be present around only a minority of stars like our own.

    In January 2019, GPIES observed its 531st, and final, new star, and the team is currently following up the remaining candidates to determine which are truly planets and which are distant background stars impersonating giant planets.

    The next-generation telescopes — such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and WFIRST mission, the Giant Magellan Telescope, Thirty Meter Telescope, and Extremely Large Telescope — should be able to push the boundaries of study, imaging planets much closer to their star and overlapping with other techniques, producing a full accounting of giant planet and brown dwarf populations from 1 to 1,000 AU.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    NASA/WFIRST

    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

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed and now approved for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    “Further observations of additional higher mass stars can test whether this trend is real,” said Macintosh, “especially as our survey is limited by the number of bright, young nearby stars available for study by direct imagers like GPI.”

    See the full article here .


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    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

     
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