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  • richardmitnick 8:36 am on May 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "12 rare Einstein crosses discovered with Gaia", Gravitational Lensing, , , ,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) via Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC-Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES): “12 rare Einstein crosses discovered with Gaia” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    via


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC-Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES).

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    7 April 2021 [Missed the first time around.]

    Timo Prusti
    Gaia Project Scientist
    European Space Agency
    Email: tprusti@cosmos.esa.int ​​​​​​​

    Thanks to ESA’s star mapping spacecraft Gaia and machine learning, astronomers have discovered 12 quasars whose light is so strongly deflected by foreground galaxies that they are each visible as four distinct images, called an ‘Einstein cross’. These crosses are unique tools to learn more about dark matter and the expansion rate of the Universe.

    1
    12 Einstein crosses. Credit: The GraL Collaboration.

    The idea that gravity could cause massive objects like galaxies to bend the fabric of spacetime, and thereby act like a lens and deflect the light coming from distant objects, was already predicted by Einstein as early as 1912. But the first double image of a lensed quasar was only discovered in 1979, and the first quadruple image in 1985.

    Einstein crosses are rare, and since 1985 only around 50 had been discovered. “Finding new ones is difficult, because we have no clue where to search for them exactly. It requires high spatial resolution imaging just to locate candidates,” says Francois Mignard of the University of Côte d’Azur in France and member of the Gaia Gravitational Lenses working group (GraL) [1] who published their latest findings in The Astrophysical Journal.

    Gaia is a game changer in this field, because it is able to survey the whole sky every few months with unprecedented spatial resolution. The 12 newly discovered Einstein crosses increase the number of confirmed crosses by 25 percent.

    The team used tailored machine learning methods to point out strongly lensed quasars as candidates in Gaia’s Data Release 2.

    “Then we needed to confirm that the four closely packed images were not a pure chance alignment of four independent sources, but really four images of a single, distant source, lensed by an intervening galaxy,” says team member Christine Ducourant of The University of Bordeaux [Université de Bordeaux](FR).

    As Gaia’s spectrophotometric measurements are not yet published, photometry obtained by the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) was used to pre-select the most promising candidates for follow-up spectroscopy with ground-based telescopes [2], which confirmed that the 12 candidates were indeed quadruply-imaged quasars.

    2
    Lensing explained. Credit: R. Hurt (The Caltech NASA Infrared Processing and Analysis Center)/The GraL Collaboration.

    Multiply-imaged lensed quasars are unique tools to measure fundamental cosmological parameters like the Hubble-Lemaître constant, the Universe’s present rate of expansion, the value of which is still disputed.

    “Quasars are intrinsically variable objects, and because the light in each lensed image has crossed different paths in the Universe, fluctuations in the quasar’s light show up in the images at different times. From this it is possible to estimate the Hubble-Lemaître constant,” explains team member Alberto Krone-Martins of The University of California-Irvine, and from the Center for Astrophysics and Gravitation of The University of Lisbon [Universidade de Lisboa] (PT).

    Another reason why astronomers search for multiply-imaged quasars, is that they can give valuable information about the distribution of dark matter in the foreground galaxies. “Based on general relativity and the distribution of matter in the galaxy, we can predict where the images of the lensed quasar should be. The difference between what we predict and what we observe, tells us something about the properties of different dark matter models,” says Alberto. This requires further optical, radio and X-ray follow-up observations that are currently underway.

    The Gaia Gravitational Lenses working group expects that many more multiply-imaged quasars can be found in the upcoming Gaia data releases, including the recently published Early Data Release 3.

    “After the final data release, we hope that Gaia will discover hundreds of these sources. Thanks to Gaia and the collaboration between machine learning, space and ground-based observations, we are getting more and more effective at finding these unique objects,” Christine adds.

    [1] The Gaia Gravitational Lenses working group (GraL) is a collaboration with members from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Portugal, Switzerland and the USA.

    [2] Spectroscopic follow-up for the GraL program has used the Keck I telescope at Maunakea, Hawaii, the 200″ Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory, California, the 3.6-m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla, Chile, and the Gemini-South telescope at Cerro Pachon, Chile.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme
    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt (DE)
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (FR)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres (FR)
    The University of Central Lancashire (UK)

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, The Canadian Space Agency [Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC] (CA) takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO” exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organizations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

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

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency[La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation]Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.

    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency[中国国家航天局] (CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside, The Russian Federal Space Agency Государственная корпорация по космической деятельности «Роскосмос»](RU) one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:30 pm on May 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stanford scientists describe a gravity telescope that could image exoplanets", , , , Gravitational Lensing, Scientists could use the gravitational field of the sun to magnify light from the exoplanet as it passes by.,   

    From Stanford University: “Stanford scientists describe a gravity telescope that could image exoplanets” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University

    May 2, 2022
    Emily Moskal

    1
    Diagram showing a conceptual imaging technique that uses the sun’s gravitational field to magnify light from exoplanets. This would allow for highly advanced reconstructions of what exoplanets look like. Credit: Alexander Madurowicz.

    In the time since the first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, astronomers have detected more than 5,000 planets orbiting other stars. But when astronomers detect a new exoplanet, we don’t learn a lot about it: we know that it exists and a few features about it but the rest is a mystery.

    To sidestep the physical limitations of telescopes, Stanford University astrophysicists have been working on a new conceptual imaging technique that would be 1,000 times more precise than the strongest imaging technology currently in use. By taking advantage of gravity’s warping effect on space-time, called lensing, scientists could potentially manipulate this phenomenon to create imaging far more advanced than any present today.

    In a paper published on May 2 in The Astrophysical Journal, the researchers describe a way to manipulate solar gravitational lensing to view planets outside our solar system. By positioning a telescope, the sun, and exoplanet in a line with the sun in the middle, scientists could use the gravitational field of the sun to magnify light from the exoplanet as it passes by. As opposed to a magnifying glass which has a curved surface that bends light, a gravitational lens has a curved space-time that enables imaging far away objects.

    “We want to take pictures of planets that are orbiting other stars that are as good as the pictures we can make of planets in our own solar system,” said Bruce Macintosh, a physics professor at in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford and deputy director of The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC). “With this technology, we hope to take a picture of a planet 100 light-years away that has the same impact as Apollo 8’s picture of Earth.”

    The catch, at present, is that their proposed technique would require more advanced space travel than is currently available. Still, the promise of this concept and what it could reveal about other planets, makes it worth continued consideration and development, said the researchers.

    2
    An example of a reconstruction of Earth, using the ring of light around the Sun, projected by the solar gravitational lens. The algorithm that enables this reconstruction can be applied to exoplanets for superior imaging. Image credit: Alexander Madurowicz.

    The perks of light bending

    Gravitational lensing wasn’t experimentally observed until 1919 during a solar eclipse. With the moon obstructing the light from the sun, scientists were able to see stars near the sun offset from their known positions. This was unequivocal proof that gravity could bend light and the first observational evidence that Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was correct. Later, in 1979, Von Eshleman, a Stanford professor, published a detailed account of how astronomers and spacecraft could exploit the solar gravitational lens. (Meanwhile, astronomers including many at Stanford’s KIPAC now routinely use the powerful gravity of the most massive galaxies to study the early evolution of the universe.)

    But it wasn’t until 2020 that the imaging technique was explored in detail in order to observe planets. Slava Turyshev of California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory described a technique where a space-based telescope could use rockets to scan around the rays of light from a planet to reconstruct a clear picture, but the technique would require a lot of fuel and time.

    Building on Turyshev’s work, Alexander Madurowicz, a PhD student at KIPAC, invented a new method that can reconstruct a planet’s surface from a single image taken looking directly at the sun. By capturing the ring of light around the sun formed by the exoplanet, the algorithm Madurowicz designed can undistort the light from the ring by reversing the bending from the gravitational lens, which turns the ring back into a round planet.

    Madurowicz demonstrated his work by using images of the rotating Earth taken by the satellite DSCOVR that sits between Earth and the sun.

    Then, he used a computer model to see what Earth would look like peering through the warping effects of the sun’s gravity. By applying his algorithm to the observations, Madurowicz was able to recover the images of Earth and prove that his calculations were correct.

    In order to capture an exoplanet image through the solar gravitational lens, a telescope would have to be placed at least 14 times farther away from the sun than Pluto, past the edge of our solar system, and further than humans have ever sent a spacecraft. But, the distance is a tiny fraction of the light-years between the sun and an exoplanet.

    “By unbending the light bent by the sun, an image can be created far beyond that of an ordinary telescope,” Madurowicz said. “So, the scientific potential is an untapped mystery because it’s opening this new observing capability that doesn’t yet exist.”

    Sights set beyond the solar system

    Currently, to image an exoplanet at the resolution the scientists describe, we would need a telescope 20 times wider than the Earth. By using the sun’s gravity like a telescope, scientists can exploit this as a massive natural lens. A Hubble-sized telescope in combination with the solar gravitational lens would be sufficient to image exoplanets with enough power to capture fine details on the surface.

    “The solar gravitational lens opens up an entirely new window for observation,” said Madurowicz. “This will allow investigation of the detailed dynamics of the planet atmospheres, as well as the distributions of clouds and surface features, which we have no way to investigate now.”

    Madurowicz and Macintosh both say that it will be a minimum of 50 years before this technology could be deployed, likely longer. In order for this to be adopted, we will need faster spacecraft because, with current technology, it could take 100 years to travel to the lens. Using solar sails or the sun as a gravitational slingshot, the time could be as short as 20 or 40 years. Despite the timeline’s uncertainty, the possibility to see whether some exoplanets have continents or oceans, Macintosh said, drives them. The presence of either is a strong indicator that there may be life on a distant planet.

    “This is one of the last steps in discovering whether there’s life on other planets,” Macintosh said. “By taking a picture of another planet, you could look at it and possibly see green swatches that are forests and blue blotches that are oceans – with that, it would be hard to argue that it doesn’t have life.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.

    Land

    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University, the University of Texas System, and Yale University had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and University of California- Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.

    Athletics

    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Traditions

    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 10:48 am on April 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers detect first potential 'rogue' black hole", , , Gravitational Lensing   

    From Astronomy Magazine: “Astronomers detect first potential ‘rogue’ black hole” 

    From Astronomy Magazine

    April 12, 2022
    Ashley Balzer

    We’ve seen plenty of black holes tearing material off a companion, but not sitting alone in space. Now, we might have spotted one.

    1
    A lone black hole gives off no light – but its gravity does distort the path of light traveling around it.
    Credit: Ute Kraus (background Milky Way panorama: Axel Mellinger), Institute of Physics, University of Hildesheim [[Universität Hildesheim](DE).

    Each second, a brand new baby black hole is born somewhere in the cosmos as a massive star collapses under its own weight.

    But black holes themselves are invisible. Historically, astronomers have only been able to detect these stellar-mass black holes when they are acting on a companion.

    Now, a team of scientists has made the first-ever confirmed detection of a stellar-mass black hole that’s completely alone. The discovery opens up the possibility of finding even more — an exciting prospect, considering there should be around 100 million such “rogue” black holes drifting through our galaxy unseen.

    Relying on the neighbors

    Black holes are difficult to find because they don’t shine like stars. Anything with mass warps the fabric of space-time, and the greater the mass, the more extreme the warp. Black holes pack so much mass into such a tiny area that space folds back in on itself. That means that if anything, even light, gets too close, its path will always bend back toward the center of the black hole.

    Astronomers have found a couple hundred of these ghostly goliaths indirectly, by seeing how they influence their surroundings. They’ve identified around 20 black holes of the small, stellar-mass variety in our galaxy by watching as stars are devoured by invisible companions. As the black hole pulls matter from its neighbor, the material forms a swirling, glowing accretion disk that signals the black hole’s presence.

    After decades of searching, astronomers have finally found an isolated stellar-mass black hole. Located about 5,200 light-years away toward the center of our galaxy, the yet-to-be-named rogue black hole weighs in at just over seven times the Sun’s mass. It’s moving faster than nearly all the visible stars in its area, which hints at how it formed.

    Scientists think that when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses, the supernova explosion it experiences may be uneven. “This black hole seems to have gotten a natal kick at birth that sent it speeding away,” says Kailash Sahu, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, who led the study. The team’s results have been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal.

    2
    Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive foreground object bends and magnifies the light of a background object far behind it. When the lensing object is small (a star, planet, or black hole), this phenomenon is called gravitational microlensing.

    Seeing the Unseeable

    The team combined two cosmic techniques to spot the black hole: gravitational lensing and astrometry. The first works because when gravity warps space-time, it changes the path light takes when it passes close by. When a celestial object passes very close to a more distant star in the sky from our line of sight, the starlight bends as it travels past the closer object. If the foreground object doing the bending is relatively small — say, a planet, star, or black hole, rather than an entire galaxy or galaxy cluster — the process is called, specifically, microlensing.

    Microlensing makes the nearer object act as a natural magnifying glass, temporarily brightening the distant star’s light — an effect telescopes can pick up. Astronomers can roughly estimate how massive the nearer object is by how long the spike in starlight lasts; more massive objects create longer microlensing events. So, a long microlensing event caused by something we can’t see could signal a rogue black hole.

    But black holes can’t be confirmed by microlensing alone. A small, faint star moving slowly could masquerade as a black hole. It too would produce a long signal, due to its slow speed, and if the star is dim enough, astronomers might not see it, only able to detect light from the background star.

    That’s where astrometry comes in. This technique involves making precise measurements of an object’s position. By seeing how much the background star’s position appears to shift during a microlensing event, astronomers can very accurately find out how massive the nearer object is.

    “That’s how we knew we found a black hole,” Sahu says. “The object we detected is so massive that if it were a star, it would be shining brightly; yet we detected no light from it.”

    This discovery is the culmination of seven years of observations. The microlensing signals that can reveal small, solo black holes last almost a year. Two ground-based telescopes, the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) and Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) telescope, picked up on the event. It lasted long enough that astronomers suspected the lensing object could be a black hole.


    That’s when they began making astrometric measurements. The deflection the intervening object caused in the background star’s light was so small that only the Hubble Space Telescope could detect it. The team spent several more years analyzing the astrometric signal, which in general can last five to 10 times longer than its microlensing counterpart.

    “It’s extremely gratifying to be part of such a monumental discovery,” Sahu says. “I’ve been searching for rogue black holes for more than a decade, and it’s exciting to finally find one! I hope it will be the first of many.”

    Establishing the cosmic norm

    It’s still possible the object may not be a black hole after all. A separate team’s analysis of the same event puts the object somewhere between about 1.5 and 4 solar masses — lightweight enough that it could be either a black hole or a neutron star (the crushed core of a dead star that wasn’t quite massive enough to become a black hole). Considering that astronomers have never detected an isolated neutron star before either, this would still be a remarkable discovery. Both teams’ results are still being peer-reviewed.

    Regardless of this result, some astronomers think the stellar-mass black holes found in binary systems may represent a biased sample. Their masses only range from about 5 to 20 times the Sun’s mass, with most weighing in at around 7 solar masses. But the true range may be much broader.

    “Stellar-mass black holes that have been detected in other galaxies via gravitational waves are often far larger than those we’ve found in our galaxy — up to nearly 100 solar masses,” Sahu says. “By finding more that are isolated, we’ll be better able to understand what the true black hole population is like and learn even more about the ghosts that haunt our galaxy.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:14 am on December 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers find Milky Way analogue galaxy in the early universe", "The Cosmic Seahorse" galaxy, , , , , Gravitational Lensing, , ,   

    From IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES) : “Astronomers find Milky Way analogue galaxy in the early universe” 

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía

    From IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES)

    21/12/2021

    1
    Zoom-in on the Cosmic Seahorse in visual and near infrared light. The foreground giant elliptical galaxy, at the center of a galaxy cluster, magnifies and distorts the distant light coming from the strongly lensed galaxy. Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble.

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

    An international team, including researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), used combined data from different radio telescopes located in Spain to probe the mode of star formation in a galaxy when the universe had less than 30% of its current age. They revealed that the properties of the molecular gas reservoir are similar to the one of our own Galaxy, unseen up to now in the distant universe. The paper is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    A major question in the study of galaxies is on the mode of star formation, how efficient the conversion of cold gas into stars is. Up to now, galaxies in the early universe seem to form stars in a different manner than observed in our own Galaxy which is puzzling. To shed light onto this question, the cold molecular gas, the fuel for the formation of stars, gets observed with radio telescopes.

    Due to the physical properties of the molecular hydrogen gas (H2), it cannot be observed directly in the radio regime but it can traced via the carbon monoxide molecule (CO). And that is what the team led by Nikolaus Sulzenauer, a PhD student at The MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy[MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) has done.

    First, the researchers selected a galaxy whose brightness is boosted through gravitational lensing by an intervening cluster of galaxies. They then searched for archival data of infrared space missions in combination with the Hubble Space Telescope imaging.

    “The discovered galaxy is strongly lensed by a factor of about 10 and thus its morphology is distorted resembling a seahorse.

    Gravitational Lensing Gravitational Lensing National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) and European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).

    Therefore its nickname is “the Cosmic Seahorse” explains Sulzenauer, who carried out this study as a master’s thesis at The University of Vienna [Universität Wien](AT) under the supervision of IAC researcher Helmut Dannerbauer who is also co-author of the paper that is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    3
    Detail of the “cosmic seahorse”, a galaxy modified by gravitational lensing. Illustration: Carla Nicolin Schoder (Univ. Vienna)

    The researcher revealed the distance of this galaxy, the light travelled 9.6 billion years, through observations of the carbon monoxide lines with the 30 m radio telescope of the Instituto de Radioastronomía Milimétrica (IRAM) located in the Sierra Nevada.

    IRAM 30m Radio telescope in Spain.

    Together with observations of the Yebes 40 m radio telescope located at Yebes, 50 km north-east of Madrid and operated by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), the physical properties of the fuel of star formation through the observations of several molecular gas lines could be derived as well.

    4
    Yebes 40 m radio telescope located at Yebes, 50 km north-east of Madrid.

    “That it is the most distant galaxy detected with the Yebes 40 m radio telescope up to now” notes Dannerbauer, who also highlights the advantage that the method used in the research has brought to these radio telescopes: “The gravitational lensing virtually transforms the IRAM and Yebes telescopes into radio telescopes with sizes of single dishes of 300 resp. 400 m, impossible to construct.”

    Through the analysis of the cold molecular gas, the researchers found the presence of previously unseen star-formation mechanism at cosmic noon, the peak epoch of star formation and black hole activity of the universe. “Our research has shown that this is a so-called main-sequence galaxy with slowly evolving star formation at the epoch of maximum star formation in the Universe” adds Bodo Ziegler from the University of Vienna and co-author of the article.

    “This seems to be the missing link between systems with high and low star formation rate such as the Cosmic Seahorse” explains Anastasio Díaz Sánchez of The Polytechnic University of Cartagena[Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena](ES) who also participated in the study. Likewise, Susana Iglesias Groth, IAC researcher and co-author of the article, emphasises the relevance of this discovery considering the difficulty of studying this type of galaxy: “Without the gravitational lensing it would have been impossible to detect this galaxy, with calm star formation activity, with these large radio telescopes.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES) operates two astronomical observatories in the Canary Islands:

    Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma
    Teide Observatory on Tenerife.

    The Instituto de Astrofísica the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).

    Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos at La Palma (ES) at an altitude of 2400m.

    The seeing statistics at ORM make it the second-best location for optical and infrared astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere, after Mauna Kea Observatory Hawaii (US).

    Maunakea Observatories Hawai’i (US) altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    The site also has some of the most extensive astronomical facilities in the Northern Hemisphere; its fleet of telescopes includes the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias, the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope as of July 2009, the William Herschel Telescope (second largest in Europe), and the adaptive optics corrected Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope.

    Gran Telescopio Canarias [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias ](ES) sited on a volcanic peak 2,267 metres (7,438 ft) above sea level.

    Isaac Newton Group 4.2 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands(ES), 2,396 m (7,861 ft).

    The Swedish 1m Solar Telescope SST at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on La Palma Spain, Altitude 2,360 m (7,740 ft).

    The observatory was established in 1985, after 15 years of international work and cooperation of several countries with the Spanish island hosting many telescopes from Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, and other countries. The island provided better seeing conditions for the telescopes that had been moved to Herstmonceux by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, including the 98 inch aperture Isaac Newton Telescope (the largest reflector in Europe at that time). When it was moved to the island it was upgraded to a 100-inch (2.54 meter), and many even larger telescopes from various nations would be hosted there.

    Tiede Observatory, Tenerife, Canary Islands (ES)

    Teide Observatory [Observatorio del Teide], IAU code 954, is an astronomical observatory on Mount Teide at 2,390 metres (7,840 ft), located on Tenerife, Spain. It has been operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias since its inauguration in 1964. It became one of the first major international observatories, attracting telescopes from different countries around the world because of the good astronomical seeing conditions. Later the emphasis for optical telescopes shifted more towards Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:40 pm on October 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Eerie Discovery of 2 'Identical' Galaxies in Deep Space Is Finally Explained", , , , , Gravitational Lensing,   

    From Science Alert (US) : “Eerie Discovery of 2 ‘Identical’ Galaxies in Deep Space Is Finally Explained” 

    ScienceAlert

    From Science Alert (US)

    13 OCTOBER 2021
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    Hamilton’s Object. (Joseph DePasquale/Space Telescope Science Institute (US))

    Galaxies are a bit like fingerprints, or snowflakes. There are many of them out there, and they can have a lot of characteristics in common, but no two are exactly alike.

    So, back in 2013, when two galaxies were spotted side-by-side in the distant reaches of the Universe, and which looked to be startlingly similar, astronomers were flummoxed.

    Now, they’ve finally solved the mystery of these strange “identical objects” – and the answer could have implications for understanding dark matter.

    The object, now named Hamilton’s Object, was discovered by astronomer Timothy Hamilton of Shawnee State University (US) by accident, in data obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope nearly a decade ago.

    The two galaxies appeared to be the same shape, and had the same nearly parallel dark streaks across the galactic bulge – the central region of the galaxy where most of the stars live.

    “We were really stumped,” Hamilton said. “My first thought was that maybe they were interacting galaxies with tidally stretched-out arms. It didn’t really fit well, but I didn’t know what else to think.”

    It wasn’t until 2015 that a more plausible answer would emerge. Astronomer Richard Griffiths of The University of Hawaii (US), on seeing Hamilton present his object at a meeting, suggested that the culprit might be a rare phenomenon: gravitational lensing.

    This is a phenomenon that results purely from a chance alignment of massive objects in space. If a massive object sits directly between us and a more distant object, a magnification effect occurs due to the gravitational curvature of space-time around the closer object.

    Any light that then travels through this space-time follows this curvature and enters our telescopes smeared and distorted to varying degrees – but also often magnified and duplicated.

    This made a lot more sense than two identical galaxies, especially when Griffiths found yet another duplication of the galaxy (as can be seen in the picture below).

    A huge problem, however, remained: What was causing the gravitational curvature? So Griffiths and his team set about searching sky survey data for an object massive enough to produce the lensing effect.

    And they found it. Between us and Hamilton’s Object lurks a cluster of galaxies that had only been poorly documented. Usually, these discoveries go the other way – first the cluster is identified, and then astronomers go looking for lensed galaxies behind them.

    The team’s work revealed that Hamilton’s Object is around 11 billion light-years away, and a different team’s work revealed that that the cluster is about 7 billion light-years away.

    The galaxy itself is a barred spiral galaxy with its edge facing us, undergoing clumpy and uneven star formation, the researchers determined. Computer simulations then helped determine that the three duplicated images could only be created if the distribution of dark matter is smooth at small scales.

    3
    (Joseph DePasquale/STScI)

    “It’s great that we only need two mirror images in order to get the scale of how clumpy or not dark matter can be at these positions,” said astronomer Jenny Wagner of the The Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE).

    “Here, we don’t use any lens models. We just take the observables of the multiple images and the fact they can be transformed into one another. They can be folded into one another by our method. This already gives us an idea of how smooth the dark matter needs to be at these two positions.”

    The two identical side-by-side images were created because they straddle a “ripple” in space-time – an area of greatest magnification created by the gravity of a filament of dark matter. Such filaments are thought to connect the Universe in a vast, invisible cosmic web, joining galaxies and galaxy clusters and feeding them with hydrogen gas.

    But we don’t actually know what dark matter is, so any new discovery that lets us map where it is, how it’s distributed, and how it affects the space around it is another drop of evidence that will ultimately help us solve the mystery.

    “We know it’s some form of matter, but we have no idea what the constituent particle is,” Griffiths explained.

    “So we don’t know how it behaves at all. We just know that it has mass and is subject to gravity. The significance of the limits of size on the clumping or smoothness is that it gives us some clues as to what the particle might be. The smaller the dark matter clumps, the more massive the particles must be.”

    The research has been published in the MNRAS3.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 10:08 am on August 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble Captures a Stunning 'Einstein Ring' Magnifying The Depths of The Universe", , , Gravitational Lensing, ,   

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) via Science Alert (US) : “Hubble Captures a Stunning ‘Einstein Ring’ Magnifying The Depths of The Universe” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (US)

    20 AUGUST 2021
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    Credit: T. Treu NASA/ESA Hubble; Acknowledgment: J. Schmidt.

    Gravity is the weird, mysterious glue that binds the Universe together, but that’s not the limit of its charms. We can also leverage the way it warps space-time to see distant objects that would be otherwise much more difficult to make out.

    This is called gravitational lensing, an effect predicted by Einstein, and it’s beautifully illustrated in a new release from the Hubble Space Telescope.

    In the center in the image (below) is a shiny, near-perfect ring with what appear to be four bright spots threaded along it, looping around two more points with a golden glow.

    2
    Credit: T. Treu NASA/ESA Hubble; Acknowledgment: J. Schmidt.

    This is called an Einstein ring, and those bright dots are not six galaxies, but three: the two in the middle of the ring, and one quasar behind it, its light distorted and magnified as it passes through the gravitational field of the two foreground galaxies.

    Because the mass of the two foreground galaxies is so high, this causes a gravitational curvature of space-time around the pair. Any light that then travels through this space-time follows this curvature and enters our telescopes smeared and distorted – but also magnified.

    3
    Illustration of gravitational lensing. (NASA/ESA & L. Calçada)

    This, as it turns out, is a really useful tool for probing both the far and near reaches of the Universe. Anything with enough mass can act as a gravitational lens. That can mean one or two galaxies, as we see here, or even huge galaxy clusters, which produce a wonderful mess of smears of light from the many objects behind them.

    Astronomers peering into deep space can reconstruct these smears and replicated images to see in much finer detail the distant galaxies thus lensed. But that’s not all gravitational lensing can do. The strength of a lens depends on the curvature of the gravitational field, which is directly related to the mass it’s curving around.

    So gravitational lenses can allow us to weigh galaxies and galaxy clusters, which in turn can then help us find and map dark matter – the mysterious, invisible source of mass that generates additional gravity that can’t be explained by the stuff in the Universe we can actually detect.


    Detecting Black Holes with Gravitational Microlensing.
    This animation illustrates the concept of gravitational microlensing with a black hole. When the black hole appears to pass nearly in front of a background star, the light rays of the source star become bent due to the warped space-time around the foreground black hole. It becomes a virtual magnifying glass, amplifying the brightness of the distant background star. Unlike when a star or planet is the lensing object, black holes warp space-time so much that it noticeably alters the distant star’s apparent location in the sky.

    The larger animation shows the brightening and splitting of the image during microlensing. The inset shows the shift of the image caused by a black hole lens. The two images caused by lensing are too close to be spatially resolved, but changing brightness of the two images produce a shift in the position of the source. To illustrate the shift, the inset only shows how the position of the source changes without showing the brightening.

    Read more: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/…

    Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab
    Adriana Manrique Gutierrez (USRA): Lead Animator
    Scott Wiessinger (USRA): Lead Producer
    Claire Andreoli (NASA/GSFC): Communications Lead
    Ashley Balzer (GSFC Interns): Lead Science Writer

    This video, along with other supporting visualizations, can be downloaded from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/20315

    A bit closer to home, gravitational lensing – or microlensing, to be more precise – can help us find objects within the Milky Way that would be too dark for us to see otherwise, such as stellar-mass black holes.

    And it gets smaller. Astronomers have managed to detect rogue exoplanets – those unattached from a host star, wandering the galaxy, cold and alone – from the magnification that occurs when such exoplanets pass between us and distant stars. And they’ve even used gravitational microlensing to detect exoplanets in other galaxies.

    It’s pretty wild what the Universe has up its gravitational sleeves.

    You can download a wallpaper-sized version of the above image on ESA’s website.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL)in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency(US), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme

    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres
    University of Central Lancashire

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organisations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.


    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 3:52 pm on January 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "COOL-LAMPS" is short for ChicagO Optically-selected strong Lenses – Located At the Margins of Public Surveys., "UChicago undergrads discover bright lensed galaxy in the early universe", , , , , Gravitational Lensing,   

    From University of Chicago: “UChicago undergrads discover bright lensed galaxy in the early universe” 

    U Chicago bloc

    From University of Chicago

    Jan 13, 2021
    Katrina Miller

    1
    A class of undergraduate astrophysics students at the University of Chicago helped discover a galaxy that dates back to a time when the universe was only 1.2 billion years old, about one-tenth of its current age.

    Class turned research collaboration uses ‘nature’s telescope’ to reach across cosmic time.

    The night sky is a natural time machine, used by cosmologists to explore the origins and evolution of the universe. Reaching into the depths of the past, a class of undergraduate students at the University of Chicago sought to do the same—and uncovered an extraordinarily distant galaxy in the early cosmos.

    Light emitted from faraway celestial objects takes a long time to reach Earth-side observers. That means the stars and galaxies we see in the sky appear to us as they would have existed millions, or even billions, of years ago.

    The discovered galaxy’s light comes from a time when the universe was only 1.2 billion years old, about one-tenth of its current age. By this point, the young galaxy had already accumulated a mass impressively comparable to the present-day version of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

    “This galaxy that we’ve observed, by looking out and back into the past, is already grown up. It’s already formed almost a Milky Way’s worth of stars,” said Michael Gladders, a professor in UChicago’s astronomy and astrophysics department. “It’s quite mature, but at a much earlier stage in the Universe.”

    The discovery was a climactic milestone in the first iteration of a field course developed for the new astrophysics major offered by UChicago. Students in the two-quarter class formed a new research collaboration, COOL-LAMPS, and surveyed public imaging databases in search of lensed galaxies. The remarkable find was confirmed by observations from ground-based instruments: the Magellan Telescopes in Chile and the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii.

    Carnegie 6.5 meter Magellan Baade and Clay Telescopes located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    NSF’s NOIRLab Frederick C Gillett Gemini North Telescope Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    ‘Nature’s telescope’

    A lensed galaxy is one whose emitted light has been bent by the gravity of a massive object lying between the galaxy and the point of observation. This effect, known as gravitational lensing, creates a distorted, arc-like image of the galaxy with an intensely magnified brightness.

    Gravitational Lensing

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA.

    2
    COOL-LAMPS I. An Extraordinarily Bright Lensed Galaxy at Redshift 5.04∗
    An effect called gravitational lensing creates a distorted, arc-like image of a galaxy behind it that may not have been visible otherwise-such as this extremely ancient galaxy. Credit: Khullar et al.

    Gladders, who taught the field course in the first half of 2020, calls gravitational lensing ‘nature’s telescope.’ “It’s a rare, peculiar form of focusing and magnification that allows us to study galaxies with much greater detail than we ever normally could,” he said.

    Light from the discovered galaxy was so strongly magnified by a cluster of other galaxies in its foreground that it rivaled images of the sky taken from space.

    “This was a ground-based telescope taking data of this absolutely beautiful arc,” said Gourav Khullar, a UChicago PhD candidate who served as teaching assistant for the field course and is first author of the paper describing the findings. “It’s approximately a hundred times brighter than classical images of similarly distant galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope!”

    A comprehensive study of the stellar populations of this galaxy, undertaken by the student collaborators, concluded in the realization that this was the brightest lensed galaxy ever observed in this time period of the early universe.

    Without gravitational lensing, though, the distant galaxy would appear much dimmer, if visible at all.

    “The arc has been magnified by the intermediate lens in such a way that it’s extremely bright,” said Khullar. “But an un-lensed version of the galaxy wouldn’t look like this; it would be much fainter and not at all detectable by current ground-based facilities.”

    Pushing through the pandemic

    The field course was designed to provide astrophysics majors with a real-life, cutting-edge research opportunity. Originally modest in ambition, Gladders convinced the department and the College to invest in a complete field experience, including a visit to the Magellan Telescopes to participate in astronomical observing time over spring break.

    But the coronavirus pandemic thwarted those plans, ripping away what was intended to be the core experience of the class.

    “Everything was booked,” said Gladders. “I’d already arranged trips to other observatory sites, construction sites to see telescopes that were currently being built, and to see Chile itself.”

    In the midst of dark times, the COOL-LAMPS students pushed on with the scan of public sky data, eventually reaching their illuminating galactic discovery.

    “For me, it was a shock that we had found something so important,” said Emily Sisco, a fourth-year astrophysics major who participated in the field course during the last academic year. “All of the work we had been doing was leading up to that moment, but I was still shocked!”

    Intriguing first results have encouraged the COOL-LAMPS collaboration to pursue observation time for a second wave of study. Plans are set to observe the galaxy using ground-based telescopes in New Mexico and Europe, as well as two of NASA’s orbiting space telescopes, Hubble and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope.

    NASA Chandra X-ray Space Telescope

    “With higher resolution imaging from space, astronomers will be able to resolve the structure of this galaxy,” said Ezra Sukay, who joined the COOL-LAMPS collaboration as a third-year student in the College. “This will reveal details about star formation in very massive galaxies early in the Universe.”

    Gladders expected the class to be successful in some way, but did not anticipate a galaxy so exceptionally bright, far back in time, or mature as what was discovered. “It’s just absolutely fantastic,” he said. “I’m so proud of them—they’ve done really great work.”

    In January, Gladders will begin teaching a second version of the field course, adding new students to COOL-LAMPS who will continue to probe the formation and evolution of galaxies across cosmic time.

    “One of the great goals in studying the cosmos is answering the fundamental question of where we come from,” said Gladders. “Us as a species, but also the planet we live on, the solar system that planet is in, and the galaxy that our solar system is in.

    “We’re addressing this deep yearning to understand where it all comes from and ultimately, how do we fit in?”

    COOL-LAMPS is short for ChicagO Optically-selected strong Lenses – Located At the Margins of Public Surveys. The UChicago undergraduate authors of the paper are Katya Gozman, Jason J. Lin, Michael N. Martinez, Owen S. Matthews Acuña, Elisabeth Medina, Kaiya Merz, Jorge A. Sanchez, Emily E. Sisco, Daniel J. Kavin Stein, Ezra O. Sukay and Kiyan Tavangar.

    The study also includes co-authors from the University of Michigan, the University of Cincinnati, Argonne National Laboratory, Harvard University, the University of Oslo, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Chicago Campus

    An intellectual destination

    One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

    The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

    We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

    UChicago research has led to such breakthroughs as discovering the link between cancer and genetics, establishing revolutionary theories of economics, and developing tools to produce reliably excellent urban schooling. We generate new insights for the benefit of present and future generations with our national and affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

    The University of Chicago is enriched by the city we call home. In partnership with our neighbors, we invest in Chicago’s mid-South Side across such areas as health, education, economic growth, and the arts. Together with our medical center, we are the largest private employer on the South Side.

    In all we do, we are driven to dig deeper, push further, and ask bigger questions—and to leverage our knowledge to enrich all human life. Our diverse and creative students and alumni drive innovation, lead international conversations, and make masterpieces. Alumni and faculty, lecturers and postdocs go on to become Nobel laureates, CEOs, university presidents, attorneys general, literary giants, and astronauts.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:06 am on December 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rings of Relativity", , , , , , Gravitational Lensing,   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope: “Rings of Relativity” 

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    1
    The narrow galaxy elegantly curving around its spherical companion in this image is a fantastic example of a truly strange and very rare phenomenon. This image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, depicts GAL-CLUS-022058s, located in the southern hemisphere constellation of Fornax (The Furnace). GAL-CLUS-022058s is the largest and one of the most complete Einstein rings ever discovered in our Universe. The object has been nicknamed by the Principal Investigator and his team who are studying this Einstein ring as the “Molten Ring”, which alludes to its appearance and host constellation. Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble, S. Jha. Acknowledgement: L. Shatz.

    First theorised to exist by Einstein in his general theory of relativity, this object’s unusual shape can be explained by a process called gravitational lensing, which causes light shining from far away to be bent and pulled by the gravity of an object between its source and the observer. In this case, the light from the background galaxy has been distorted into the curve we see by the gravity of the galaxy cluster sitting in front of it. The near exact alignment of the background galaxy with the central elliptical galaxy of the cluster, seen in the middle of this image, has warped and magnified the image of the background galaxy around itself into an almost perfect ring. The gravity from other galaxies in the cluster is soon to cause additional distortions.

    2
    The “Cosmic Horseshoe” is another example of an Einstein Ring. Credit:NASA/ESA Hubble.

    Objects like these are the ideal laboratory in which to research galaxies too faint and distant to otherwise see.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Major Instrumentation

    Wide Field Camera 3 [WFC3]

    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    Advanced Camera for Surveys [ACS]

    NASA Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys.

    Cosmic Origins Spectrograph [COS]

    NASA Hubble Cosmic Origins Spectrograph.

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 3:05 pm on December 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Nugget Galaxies Cross in the Sky", , , , , , Gravitational Lensing   

    From AAS NOVA: “Nugget Galaxies Cross in the Sky” 

    AASNOVA

    From AAS NOVA

    9 December 2020
    Susanna Kohler

    1
    The iconic Einstein Cross, the quadruply lensed quasar Q2237+030, is seen in this Hubble image. A new study has found two additional Einstein Crosses created by the lensing of compact galaxies. [NASA, ESA, and STScI]

    Gravitational Lensing

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA.

    Seeing quadruple? In a rare phenomenon, some distant objects can appear as four copies arranged in an “Einstein cross”. A new study has found two more of these unusual sights — with an unexpected twist.

    Searching for Rare Crosses

    Gravitational lensing [above]— the bending of light by the gravity of massive astronomical objects — can do some pretty strange things. One of lensing’s more striking creations is the Einstein cross, a configuration of four images of a distant, compact source created by the gravitational pull of a foreground object (which is usually visible in the center of the four images).

    2
    Diagram illustrating how light from a distant source can be bent by a foreground object to produce four identical images of the source. Credit: NASA/ESA/D. Player (STScI).

    The iconic example of this phenomenon is the Einstein Cross, a gravitationally lensed object called QSO 2237+0305, seen in the cover image above. In this case, as with the majority of known Einstein crosses, the background source is a distant quasar — the small and incredibly bright nucleus of an active galaxy. But other sources can be lensed into Einstein crosses as well, under the right circumstances.

    In a new study led by Nicola Napolitano (Sun Yat-sen University Zhuhai Campus, China), a team of scientists presents confirmation of two new Einstein crosses discovered within the 1,000 square degrees imaged in the Kilo-Degree Survey using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

    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.

    Einstein crosses are unusual enough to begin with, but these two discoveries are especially rare: the lensed sources are not quasars. Instead, they’re entire galaxies.

    Galaxies, but Bite-Size

    When a distant galaxy is lensed by a foreground object, it’s commonly smeared out into an an arc or a ring; this is because galaxies are large, extended objects. But if a galaxy is compact enough, the entire galaxy can be lensed into quadruple images instead of a smeared-out ring. Such is the case with Napolitano and collaborators’ new discoveries, KIDS J232940-340922 and KIDS J122456+005048: they’re both quadruply lensed compact galaxies known as post-blue nuggets.

    1
    Detection and confirmation of the Einstein crosses, KIDS J232940-34092 (top two rows) and KIDS J122456+005048 (bottom two rows), via the KiDS survey and the MUSE integral field spectrograph on the VLT. Credit: Napolitano et al. 2020.

    What’s a blue nugget? This adorable categorization applies to a type of galaxy found only in the early universe. Blue nuggets are extremely small, quite massive, and undergoing a violent burst of star formation that produces lots of large, bright, blue stars.

    Blue nuggets are thought to be suddenly quenched — their star formation is cut off — early in their evolution. As their star population then evolves, these post-blue nuggets then transition into red nuggets, compact collections of red stars that are theorized to become the cores of today’s large elliptical galaxies.

    A Bright Future

    By spectroscopically following up their Einstein cross discoveries, Napolitano and collaborators show that the two sources are both very compact, massive galaxies with low specific star formation rates. Their properties are consistent with post-blue nuggets currently undergoing quenching — which means that these Einstein crosses are excellent sources to study to learn about galaxy evolution.

    The authors predict that, with future observatories like the Vera Rubin Observatory, Euclid, or the China Space Station Telescope, we may be able to find many thousands of Einstein crosses like these. There’s a lot to learn ahead!

    NOIRLab Vera C. Rubin Observatory Telescope currently under construction on the El Peñón peak 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, altitude 2,715 m (8,907 ft).

    ESA/Euclid spacecraft depiction

    Chinese Space Station Telescope depiction.

    Citation

    “Discovery of Two Einstein Crosses from Massive Post-blue Nugget Galaxies at z > 1 in KiDS,” N. R. Napolitano et al 2020 ApJL 904 L31.

    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/abc95b

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    1

    AAS Mission and Vision Statement

    The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.

    The Society, through its publications, disseminates and archives the results of astronomical research. The Society also communicates and explains our understanding of the universe to the public.
    The Society facilitates and strengthens the interactions among members through professional meetings and other means. The Society supports member divisions representing specialized research and astronomical interests.
    The Society represents the goals of its community of members to the nation and the world. The Society also works with other scientific and educational societies to promote the advancement of science.
    The Society, through its members, trains, mentors and supports the next generation of astronomers. The Society supports and promotes increased participation of historically underrepresented groups in astronomy.
    The Society assists its members to develop their skills in the fields of education and public outreach at all levels. The Society promotes broad interest in astronomy, which enhances science literacy and leads many to careers in science and engineering.

    Adopted June 7, 2009

     
  • richardmitnick 12:57 pm on October 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astrophysics Team Lights the Way for More Accurate Model of the Universe", , , , , Gravitational Lensing, ,   

    From The University of Texas at Dallas: “Astrophysics Team Lights the Way for More Accurate Model of the Universe” 

    From The University of Texas at Dallas

    Oct. 14, 2020
    Amanda Siegfried

    1
    Abell 370 is a galaxy cluster about 4 billion light-years away from Earth in which astronomers observe the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, the warping of space-time by the cluster’s gravitational field that distorts the light from galaxies lying far behind it. This manifests as arcs and streaks in the picture, which are the stretched images of background galaxies. Credit: NASA/STScI.

    Light from distant galaxies reveals important information about the nature of the universe and allows scientists to develop high-precision models of the history, evolution and structure of the cosmos.

    The gravity associated with massive pockets of dark matter that lie between Earth and these galaxies, however, plays havoc with those galactic light signals. Gravity distorts galaxies’ light — a process called gravitational lensing — and also slightly aligns the galaxies physically, resulting in additional gravitational lensing light signals that contaminate the true data.

    In a study first published Aug. 5 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, University of Texas at Dallas scientists demonstrated the first use of a method called self-calibration to remove contamination from gravitational lensing signals. The results should lead to more accurate cosmological models of the universe, said Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki, professor of physics in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the corresponding author of the study.

    “The self-calibration method is something others proposed about 10 years ago; many thought it was just a theoretical method and moved away from it,” Ishak-Boushaki said. “But I intuitively felt the promise. After eight years of persistent investigation maturing the method itself, and then the last two years applying it to the data, it bore fruit with important consequences for cosmological studies.”

    A Lens on the Universe

    Gravitational lensing is one of the most promising methods in cosmology to provide information on the parameters that underlie the current model of the universe.

    “It can help us map the distribution of dark matter and discover information about the structure of the universe. But the measurement of such cosmological parameters can be off by as much as 30% if we do not extract the contamination in the gravitational lensing signal,” Ishak-Boushaki said.

    Due to the way distant galaxies form and the environment they form in, they are slightly physically aligned with the dark matter close to them. This intrinsic alignment generates additional spurious lensing signals, or a bias, which contaminate the data from the galaxies and thus skew the measurement of key cosmological parameters, including those that describe the amount of dark matter and dark energy in the universe and how fast galaxies move away from each other.

    To complicate matters further, there are two types of intrinsic alignment that require different methods of mitigation. In their study, the research team used the self-calibration method to extract the nuisance signals from a type of alignment called intrinsic shape-gravitational shear, which is the most critical component.

    “Our work significantly increases the chances of success to measure the properties of dark energy in an accurate way, which will allow us to understand what is causing cosmic acceleration,” Ishak-Boushaki said. “Another impact will be to determine accurately whether Einstein’s general theory of relativity holds at very large scales in the universe. These are very important questions.”

    Impact on Cosmology

    Several large scientific surveys aimed at better understanding the universe are in the works, and they will gather gravitational lensing data. These include the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission and NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.

    NOIRLab Vera C. Rubin Observatory Telescope currently under construction on the El Peñón peak 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, altitude 2,715 m (8,907 ft).

    ESA/Euclid spacecraft depiction

    NASA Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.

    ______________________________________________

    “Our work significantly increases the chances of success to measure the properties of dark energy in an accurate way, which will allow us to understand what is causing cosmic acceleration. Another impact will be to determine accurately whether Einstein’s general theory of relativity holds at very large scales in the universe. These are very important questions.”

    Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki, professor of physics in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
    ______________________________________________

    “The big winner here will be these upcoming surveys of gravitational lensing. We will really be able to get the full potential from them to understand our universe,” said Ishak-Boushaki, who is a member and a convener of the LSST’s Dark Energy Science Collaboration.

    The self-calibration method to remove contaminated signals was first proposed by Dr. Pengjie Zhang, a professor of astronomy at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (CN) and a co-author of the current study.

    Ishak-Boushaki further developed the method and introduced it to the realm of cosmological observations, along with one of his former students, Michael Troxel MS’11, PhD’14, now an assistant professor of physics at Duke University. Since 2012 the research has been supported by two grants to Ishak-Boushaki from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    “Not everyone was sure that self-calibration would lead to such an important result. Some colleagues were encouraging; some were skeptical,” Ishak-Boushaki said. “I’ve learned that it pays not to give up. My intuition was that if it was done right, it would work, and I’m grateful to the NSF for seeing the promise of this work.”

    Other study authors are UT Dallas physics doctoral student Eske Pedersen, lead author; and Ji Yao PhD’18, a fellow at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (CN).

    The research was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy. The scientists also used the high-performance computing resources at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, an NSF-funded supercomputer center hosted by UT Austin.

    TACC Maverick HP NVIDIA supercomputer

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    Dell Poweredge U Texas Austin Stampede Supercomputer. Texas Advanced Computer Center 9.6 PF

    TACC HPE Apollo 8000 Hikari supercomputer


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    TACC Frontera Dell EMC supercomputer fastest at any university

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Texas at Dallas is a Carnegie R1 classification (Doctoral Universities – Highest research activity) institution, located in a suburban setting 20 miles north of downtown Dallas. The University enrolls more than 27,600 students — 18,380 undergraduate and 9,250 graduate —and offers a broad array of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs.

    Established by Eugene McDermott, J. Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green, the founders of Texas Instruments, UT Dallas is a young institution driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of its founders and their commitment to academic excellence. In 1969, the public research institution joined The University of Texas System and became The University of Texas at Dallas.

    A high-energy, nimble, innovative institution, UT Dallas offers top-ranked science, engineering and business programs and has gained prominence for a breadth of educational paths from audiology to arts and technology. UT Dallas’ faculty includes a Nobel laureate, six members of the National Academies and more than 560 tenured and tenure-track professors.

     
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