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  • richardmitnick 8:01 pm on January 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…", , , Betelgeuse Betelgeuse ah Betelgeuse!, Betelgeuse is so huge that if it were to lie at the centre of our Solar System in place of our Sun it would extend almost all the way out to Jupiter - 464 million mi - 5.2 astronomical units away from, , , Ground based Optical Astronomy, Humans have gazed at the stars wondering if we could ever travel away from our own planet., If Betelgeuse would go supernova the explosion would be so bright it would be visible during the day for over three months!, , The Centauris, What better device to tackle these questions than science fiction?   

    From ESOblog (EU): “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” 

    From ESOblog (EU)


    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte] (EU) (CL)

    14 January 2022

    Juliet Hannay

    Biography: Juliet Hannay

    Juliet Hannay is part of the science communications team at ESO. She is a former student of The University of Glasgow (SCT) acquiring a Bachelors and Masters degree in Astronomy and Physics. Juliet found a passion for science outreach and communication through her roles as Outreach Convenor, Vice President and President for the Women in STEM society and specialist editor for the Glasgow Insight into Science and Technology magazine.


    For millennia, humans have gazed at the stars wondering if we could ever travel away from our own planet and if so, what lies to infinity and beyond. The discovery of more galaxies, stars and other worlds alongside the boom of space travel has allowed us to escape into our imaginations and try to answer some of the mysterious questions posed by the cosmos. What better device to tackle these questions than science fiction (or ‘sci-fi’), which allows us to let out creativity roam free in the realms of science?

    While many portrayals of science in sci-fi are inaccurate and sometimes outrageous, a large proportion of stories are actually based on real planets, stars and galaxies, some of which we will explore here…

    Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!

    Betelgeuse-a superluminous red giant star 650 light-years away in the infrared from the European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)Herschel Space Observatory (EU) Stars like Betelgeuse, end their lives as supernovae. Credit: Decin et al.

    Betelgeuse is one of the brightest stars in the night sky, visible with just the naked eye. This red supergiant –– an evolved massive star –– lies within the constellation of Orion, famous for its belt.

    In one of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced, NASA ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured an unprecedented look at the Orion Nebula. This extensive study took 105 Hubble orbits to complete. All imaging instruments aboard the telescope.

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

    Orion Molecular Cloud Complex showing the distinctive three stars of Orion’s belt. Credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo Wikimedia Commons.

    Betelgeuse is so huge that if it were to lie at the centre of our Solar System in place of our Sun, it would extend almost all the way out to Jupiter, far beyond Earth, engulfing us whole. Perhaps most notoriously, it is known for leaving astronomers scratching their heads after becoming visibly darker in late 2019 and early 2020, with the public wondering if Betelgeuse was about to reach the end of its life.

    These images, taken with the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope [below], show the surface of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse during its unprecedented dimming, which happened in late 2019 and early 2020.

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

    The image on the far left, taken in January 2019, shows the star at its normal brightness, while the remaining images, from December 2019, January 2020, and March 2020, were all taken when the star’s brightness had noticeably dropped, especially in its southern region. The brightness returned to normal in April 2020. Credit: M. Montargès et al./ESO.

    If this was to occur, Betelgeuse would go supernova, an explosion that would be so bright it would be visible during the day for over three months! Unfortunately for space enthusiasts, the true cause for its dimming was uncovered by astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and it was simply a sheet of dust (itself the result of changes in Betelgeuse’s surface) shading this stellar beast.

    Not only has Betelgeuse made headlines recently, it has also leant itself to the sci-fi community for many years. Perhaps the most famous use of Betelgeuse is in the 1988 film Beetlejuice directed by Tim Burton. The main antagonist of the film is Betelgeuse (pronounced ‘Beetlejuice’), an undead ‘bio-exorcist’ whose job was to get rid of the living! If his name is said three times, he will appear and haunt you. The alternate spelling of his name is revealed by a game of charades to prevent unsuspecting victims from accidentally summoning him.

    Beetlejuice isn’t the only film to use a homophone for Betelgeuse. The long awaited adaptation of the beloved sci-fi novel Dune by Frank Herbert hit the big screens in 2021, and also features a play on the star’s name. A creative homophone of Betelgeuse is used as a colloquial name for the planet Kuentsing V, a politically important planet for the freedom-fighting Fremen people, which they call Bela Tegeuse.

    But Betelgeuse’s reach extends beyond homophones. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), a novel and radio series by Douglas Adams, this massive star hosts a planetary system home to carbon-based aliens, including the former president of the galaxy himself. In Planet of the Apes (1963), a novel by Pierre Boulle, scientific genius Professor Antelle invents a spaceship that can travel at nearly the speed of light –– something sadly still out of our grasp in real life. He and his companions voyage to the star Betelgeuse, said to be “emit[ting] red and orange lights”: not too different to what we observe nowadays!

    In real life, Betelgeuse has provided astronomers with an abundance of stunning research that may sound like something from sci-fi. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer [below], astronomers have revealed how Betelgeuse ejects huge plumes of gas and dust, which helps us understand how supergiant stars lose mass.

    29 July 2009
    Using different state-of-the-art techniques on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, two independent teams of astronomers have obtained the sharpest ever views of the supergiant star Betelgeuse. They show that the star has a vast plume of gas almost as large as our Solar System and a gigantic bubble boiling on its surface. These discoveries provide important clues to help explain how these mammoths shed material at such a tremendous rate.

    Zoom in on the supergiant star Betelgeuse.
    Credit: P. Kervella and A. Fujii/ESO/ Digitized Sky Survey 2. Music by John Dyson from the CD darklight.

    Our friendly neighbourhood aliens

    Alpha Centauri (α Centauri) is a triple star system made up of α Centauri A (Rigil Kentaurus), α Centauri B (Toliman), and α Centauri C (Proxima Centauri).

    Centauris Alpha, Beta, Proxima, 27 February 2012. Skatebiker.

    Proxima Centauri is slightly closer to Earth than the other two stars, making it our closest stellar neighbour. It is no surprise many have dreamed of being able to travel there.

    In the television series Lost in Space, created by Irwin Allen, the Robinson family, their pilot and a robot, set out from an overpopulated Earth in the spacecraft Jupiter 2. The crew is frozen in suspended animation for the five-and-a-half year voyage to a “known” habitable planet of Alpha Centauri, on which they are to establish a colony; however, they get lost en route.

    More recently, Alpha Centauri made an appearance in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). The film is set in 2154 on Pandora, a lush habitable moon of the gas giant Polyphemus of α Centauri A. Pandora, whose atmosphere is poisonous to humans, is inhabited by the Na’vi, 3-metre-tall blue-skinned intelligent humanoids who live in harmony with nature.

    Of course any mention of Alpha Centauri would not be complete without talking about the world-wide phenomenon Star Trek. Our neighbouring star system is mentioned in many episodes including Metamorphosis (1967), in which Captain Kirk whimsically claims, “I’m a little green man from Alpha Centauri, a beautiful place, you ought to see it!”.

    Though Alpha Centauri has fascinated creatives for a long time, astronomers know more about the star system than science fiction might suggest. In 2016, researchers found clear evidence of an Earth-mass planet around Proxima Centauri, bringing a dose of reality to the stories. Using different instruments, including HARPS at ESO’s La Silla Observatory [below], astronomers detected the subtle wobble that the planet induces on its host star as it moves around it. But there’s more! Using the Atacama Large Milimeter/submilimeter Array [below], in which ESO is a partner, the same team discovered a dusty belt around Proxima Centauri, so this star could host a more complex planetary system.

    The location of Proxima Centauri in the southern skies.
    24 August 2016
    Image showing the location of the Alpha Centauri triple system, as seen from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The large dome hosts the ESO 3.6-metre telescope and the HARPS spectrograph used to find an exoplanet around Proxima Centauri.
    This picture combines a view of the southern skies over the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile with images of the stars Proxima Centauri (lower-right) and the double star Alpha Centauri AB (lower-left) from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Solar System and is orbited by the planet Proxima b, which was discovered using the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope. Credit: Y. Beletsky (Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network)/ESO/The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/M. Zamani/The National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US).

    Clash of the Titans

    The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth, or 770 kiloparsecs if we use the unit of measure preferred by both Star Trek and professional astronomers.

    Andromeda Galaxy Messier 31. Credit: Adam Evans.

    It is in fact the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way and, under a perfectly clear and dark sky, it is just visible to the unaided eye. The Andromeda galaxy is the most studied galaxy so far besides our own, and has provided astronomers with an abundance of breathtaking images.

    It is orbited by several dwarf galaxies, making it a very busy galactic neighbourhood with plenty of potential for astronomers to get their teeth into. In fact, the Andromeda Galaxy is actually hurtling towards the Milky Way at 400,000 kilometres per hour and is set to pass through us in a few billion years.

    Milkdromeda with Andromeda on the left-Earth’s night sky in 3.75 billion years. No one will be here on Earth to see it. Maybe humans will have escaped the Sun’s becoming a Red Giant and observe it from a new home. Credit: NASA.

    While this collision may sound catastrophic, it will in fact be rather peaceful: while the gravitational interaction will distort both galaxies, the stars themselves won’t collide with each other due to the large separation between them.

    It is no wonder that our closest galactic neighbour is of such interest to the sci-fi community. It is the host of many fictional alien species: the Guardians of the Galaxy films take place primarily within it, and according to some comics Superman’s home planet Krypton is located there. Andromeda is also a recurrent location in shows like Doctor Who.

    However, alien species from Andromeda are not always a threat to humankind. In the first series of the British comedy sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus, blancmanges from the planet Skyron in the Andromeda galaxy were major comedic characters. For instance, they are seen to convert people into stereotypical Scotsmenin (Scots people) in order to win the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

    As you can see, astronomy and science fiction have always gone hand by hand. The next decade of space exploration — with telescopes such as ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope [below] in Chile — will bring a new generation of other worlds to feed creative sci-fi minds and allow us to travel beyond our wildest imaginations.

    See the full article here.


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    Stem Education Coalition

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

    European Southern Observatory(EU) La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun).

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

    MPG Institute for Astronomy [Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie](DE) 2.2 meter telescope at/European Southern Observatory(EU) Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    European Southern Observatory(EU)La Silla Observatory 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

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

    European Southern Observatory(EU)VLTI Interferometer image, Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope.

    ESO Very Large Telescope 4 lasers on Yepun (CL)

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO’s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT, a major asset of the Adaptive Optics system.

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

    Part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory, the VLT Survey Telescope (VISTA) observes the brilliantly clear skies above the Atacama Desert of Chile. It is the largest survey telescope in the world in visible light, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    European Southern Observatory/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP) ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres.

    European Southern Observatory(EU) ELT 39 meter telescope to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    European Southern Observatory(EU)/MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) ESO’s Atacama Pathfinder Experiment(CL) high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft).

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

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey telescopes, an array of twelve robotic 20-centimetre telescopes at Cerro Paranal,(CL) 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Speculoos telescopes four 1 meter robotic telescopes at ESO Paranal Observatory 2635 metres 8645 ft above sea level.[/caption]

    TAROT telescope at Cerro LaSilla, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    European Southern Observatory(EU) ExTrA telescopes at erro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    A novel gamma ray telescope under construction on Mount Hopkins, Arizona. A large project known as the Čerenkov Telescope Array composed of hundreds of similar telescopes to be situated in the Canary Islands and Chile at, ESO Cerro Paranal site The telescope on Mount Hopkins will be fitted with a prototype high-speed camera, assembled at the. University of Wisconsin–Madison and capable of taking pictures at a billion frames per second. Credit: Vladimir Vassiliev.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), The new Test-Bed Telescope 2is housed inside the shiny white dome shown in this picture, at ESO’s LaSilla Facility in Chile. The telescope has now started operations and will assist its northern-hemisphere twin in protecting us from potentially hazardous, near-Earth objects.The domes of ESO’s 0.5 m and the Danish 0.5 m telescopes are visible in the background of this image.Part of the world-wide effort to scan and identify near-Earth objects, the European Space Agency’s Test-Bed Telescope 2 (TBT2), a technology demonstrator hosted at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, has now started operating. Working alongside its northern-hemisphere partner telescope, TBT2 will keep a close eye on the sky for asteroids that could pose a risk to Earth, testing hardware and software for a future telescope network.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) The open dome of The black telescope structure of the‘s Test-Bed Telescope 2 peers out of its open dome in front of the rolling desert landscape. The telescope is located at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, which sits at a 2400 metre altitude in the Chilean Atacama desert.a desert.

  • richardmitnick 5:58 pm on January 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Twelve for dinner-The Milky Way’s feeding habits shine a light on dark matter", , , , Ground based Optical Astronomy, , ,   

    From The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) : “Twelve for dinner-The Milky Way’s feeding habits shine a light on dark matter” 

    From The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA)


    University of Toronto (CA)


    For comment on the paper, contact:
    Professor Ting Li
    Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto, Canada

    For additional information, contact:
    Meaghan MacSween
    Communications Officer,
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto

    Astronomers are one step closer to revealing the properties of dark matter enveloping our Milky Way galaxy, thanks to a new map of twelve streams of stars orbiting within our Galactic halo.

    Artist’s representation of Milky Way Galaxy surrounded by dozens of stellar streams. Credit: James Josephides; S5 Collaboration.

    Understanding these star streams is very important for astronomers. As well as revealing the Dark Matter that holds the stars in their orbits, they also tell us about the formation history of the Milky Way, revealing that the Milky Way has steadily grown over billions of years by shredding and consuming smaller stellar systems.

    “We are seeing these streams being disrupted by the Milky Way’s gravitational pull, and eventually becoming part of the Milky Way. This study gives us a snapshot of the Milky Way’s feeding habits, such as what kinds of smaller stellar systems it ‘eats’. As our Galaxy is getting older, it is getting fatter.” said University of Toronto Professor Ting Li, the lead author of the paper.

    Professor Li and her international team of collaborators initiated a dedicated program — the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5)– to measure the properties of stellar streams: the shredded remains of neighboring small galaxies and star clusters that are being torn apart by our own Milky Way.

    Li and her team are the first group of scientists to study such a rich collection of stellar streams, measuring the speeds of stars using the Anglo-Australian Telescope
    (AAT), a 4-meter optical telescope in Australia.

    The Australian Astronomical Observatory AAT Anglo Australian Telescope, at Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia, at an altitude of 1,165 m (3,822 ft).

    Siding Spring Mountain Observatory – Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (AU) with Anglo-Australian Telescope dome visible near centre of image Coonabarabran, Warrumbungle National Park, NSW, Siding Spring Mountain [Mount Woorat] at an altitude of 1,165 m (3,822 ft).

    Li and her team used the Doppler shift of light, used by the police radar guns to capture speeding drivers, to find out how fast individual stars are moving.

    Doppler method – The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL).

    Unlike previous studies that have focused on one stream at a time, “S5 is dedicated to measuring as many streams as possible, which we can do very efficiently with the unique capabilities of the AAT,” comments co-author Professor Daniel Zucker of Macquarie University (AU).

    Location of the stars in the dozen streams as seen across the sky. The background shows the stars in our Milky Way from the ESA’s Gaia mission.

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

    The AAT is a Southern Hemisphere telescope so only streams in the Southern sky are observed by S5 (Credit: Ting Li, S5 Collaboration and The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)).

    Artist’s impression of 12 stellar streams observed by S5, seen from the Galactic South Pole. Credit: Geraint F. Lewis, S5 Collaboration.

    The properties of stellar streams reveal the presence of the invisible dark matter of the Milky Way. “Think of a Christmas tree”, says co-author Professor Geraint F. Lewis
    of The University of Sydney (AU). “On a dark night, we see the Christmas lights, but not the tree they are wrapped around. But the shape of the lights reveals the shape of the tree,” he said. “It is the same with stellar streams – their orbits reveal the dark matter.”

    A crucial ingredient for the success of S5 were observations from the European Gaia space mission. “Gaia provided us with exquisite measurements of positions and motions of stars, essential for identifying members of the stellar streams” says Dr. Sergey Koposov, reader in observational astronomy in The University of Edinburgh (SCT) and a co-author of the study.

    As well as measuring their speeds, the astronomers can use these observations to work out the chemical compositions of the stars, telling us where they were born. “Stellar streams can come either from disrupting galaxies or star clusters,” says Professor Alex Ji at the University of Chicago, a co-author on the study. “These two types of streams provide different insights into the nature of dark matter.”

    According to Professor Li, these new observations are essential for determining how our Milky Way arose from the featureless universe after the Big Bang. “For me, this is one of the most intriguing questions, a question about our ultimate origins”, Li said. “It is the reason why we founded S5 and built an international collaboration to address this.”

    Li and her team plan to produce more measurements on stellar streams in the Milky Way. In the meantime, she is pleased with these results as a starting point. “Over the next decade, there will be a lot of dedicated studies looking at stellar streams,” Li says.

    “We are trail-blazers and pathfinders on this journey. It is going to be very exciting!”

    Science paper:
    The Astrophysical Journal

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Dunlap Institute campus

    The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA) at University of Toronto (CA) is an endowed research institute with nearly 70 faculty, postdocs, students and staff, dedicated to innovative technology, ground-breaking research, world-class training, and public engagement. The research themes of its faculty and Dunlap Fellows span the Universe and include: optical, infrared and radio instrumentation; Dark Energy; large-scale structure; the Cosmic Microwave Background; the interstellar medium; galaxy evolution; cosmic magnetism; and time-domain science.

    The Dunlap Institute (CA), University of Toronto Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA), Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CA), and Centre for Planetary Sciences (CA) comprise the leading centre for astronomical research in Canada, at the leading research university in the country, the University of Toronto (CA).

    The Dunlap Institute (CA) is committed to making its science, training and public outreach activities productive and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality or religion.

    Our work is greatly enhanced through collaborations with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (CA), Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CA), David Dunlap Observatory (CA), Ontario Science Centre (CA), Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (CA), the Toronto Public Library (CA), and many other partners.

    NIROSETI team from left to right Rem Stone UCO Lick Observatory Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley; Jérôme Maire, U Toronto; Shelley Wright, UCSD; Patrick Dorval, U Toronto; Richard Treffers, Starman Systems. (Image by Laurie Hatch).

    The University of Toronto(CA) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College, the oldest university in the province of Ontario.

    Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed its present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution.

    As a collegiate university, it comprises eleven colleges each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs and significant differences in character and history. The university also operates two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.

    University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

    Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School.

    The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first electron microscope in North America; the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1; multi-touch technology, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness.

    The university was one of several universities involved in early research of deep learning. It receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university and is one of two members of the Association of American Universities (US) outside the United States, the other being McGill(CA).

    The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with ties to gridiron football, rowing and ice hockey. The earliest recorded instance of gridiron football occurred at University of Toronto’s University College in November 1861.

    The university’s Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual, and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

    The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, three foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of March 2019, ten Nobel laureates, five Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the university.

    Early history

    The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York, the colonial capital. As an University of Oxford (UK)-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United States. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in York.

    On March 15, 1827, a royal charter was formally issued by King George IV, proclaiming “from this time one College, with the style and privileges of a University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King’s College.” The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the college’s first president. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was built on the present site of Queen’s Park.

    Under Strachan’s stewardship, King’s College was a religious institution closely aligned with the Church of England and the British colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy’s control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly elected responsible government of the Province of Canada voted to rename King’s College as the University of Toronto and severed the school’s ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity College as a private Anglican seminary. University College was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War the threat of Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866. The Corps was part of the Reserve Militia lead by Professor Henry Croft.

    Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was the precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicine opened in 1843 medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887 when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees. The university opened the Faculty of Law in 1887, followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were first admitted to the university in 1884.

    A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and destroyed 33,000 volumes from the library but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades a collegiate system took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges including Strachan’s Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museum from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as Canada’s first academic publishing house. The Faculty of Forestry founded in 1907 with Bernhard Fernow as dean was Canada’s first university faculty devoted to forest science. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schools.

    World wars and post-war years

    The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill opened in 1935 followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened satellite campuses in Scarborough in 1964 and in Mississauga in 1967. The university’s former affiliated schools at the Ontario Agricultural College and Glendon Hall became fully independent of the University of Toronto and became part of University of Guelph (CA) in 1964 and York University (CA) in 1965 respectively. Beginning in the 1980s reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts.

    Since 2000

    In 2000 Kin-Yip Chun was reinstated as a professor of the university after he launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination. In 2017 a human rights application was filed against the University by one of its students for allegedly delaying the investigation of sexual assault and being dismissive of their concerns. In 2018 the university cleared one of its professors of allegations of discrimination and antisemitism in an internal investigation after a complaint was filed by one of its students.

    The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than c. $1 billion in 2007. On September 24, 2020 the university announced a $250 million gift to the Faculty of Medicine from businessman and philanthropist James C. Temerty- the largest single philanthropic donation in Canadian history. This broke the previous record for the school set in 2019 when Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman jointly donated $100 million for the creation of a 750,000-square foot innovation and artificial intelligence centre.


    Since 1926 the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $878 million in 2010. In 2018 the University of Toronto was named the top research university in Canada by Research Infosource with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $1,147.584 million in 2017. In the same year the university’s faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $428,200 while graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $63,700. The federal government was the largest source of funding with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About eight percent of research funding came from corporations- mostly in the healthcare industry.

    The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II the university developed the G-suit- a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots later adopted for use by astronauts.Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1963 the asteroid 2104 Toronto was discovered in the David Dunlap Observatory (CA) in Richmond Hill and is named after the university. In 1972 studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranian moons of Caliban and Sycorax; the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III; and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology the university designed and built UTEC- one of the world’s first operational computers- and later purchased Ferut- the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration walls. The AeroVelo Atlas which won the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 was developed by the university’s team of students and graduates and was tested in Vaughan.

    The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963 forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia; brain tumors; and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index; the infant cereal Pablum; the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery; and the first artificial cardiac pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981 followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988; and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division and discovered the T-cell receptor which triggers responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia; cystic fibrosis; and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972 the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories- now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

    The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world’s largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the university grounds in Toronto’s Discovery District conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery District is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university’s technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer in Canada.

  • richardmitnick 2:19 pm on January 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "MaNGA team releases largest-ever collection of 3D maps of nearby galaxies", All MaNGA data has been made publicly available., Ground based Optical Astronomy, MaNGA measures spectra at multiple points in the same galaxy using a newly created fiber bundle technology., Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) project, Over 500 papers have already been published using MaNGA data., ,   

    From The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) : “MaNGA team releases largest-ever collection of 3D maps of nearby galaxies” 

    From The University of California-Santa Cruz (US)

    January 12, 2022
    Jordan Raddick

    MaNGA measures spectra at multiple points in the same galaxy using a newly created fiber bundle technology. This image shows the Sloan Foundation Telescope and a close-up of the tip of the fiber bundle on the left, while the bottom right illustrates how each fiber observes a different section of each galaxy. The top right shows data gathered by two fibers observing two different part of the galaxy, showing how the spectrum of the central regions differs dramatically from outer regions. Credit: Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital, David Law, SDSS Collaboration

    Just over a month ago, scientists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) released the complete dataset of 10,000 galaxies observed by the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) project, making MaNGA the largest galaxy survey of its kind.

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Apache Point Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Kevin Bundy, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, is MaNGA’s principal investigator.

    “Observing such a large sample with MaNGA allows us to see how the detailed internal properties of galaxies vary in systematic ways with other factors, like galaxy mass or where galaxies live in the universe,” Bundy said. “These patterns are the key to understanding the physical processes that shape galaxy evolution.”

    MaNGA is a special kind of galaxy survey, using an innovative fiber-bundling technology to make detailed spectral maps of thousands of nearby galaxies. Spectra are graphs that show the amount of light given off by a galaxy at different wavelengths, much like a rainbow shows the amount of sunlight in various colors. Most previous galaxy surveys have either taken detailed images in one or a handful of colors, or measured just a single spectrum for an entire galaxy, but MaNGA works differently.

    With fiber-optic cables bundled into tightly-packed hexagonal arrays, the team measured spectra at tens to hundreds of separate points in each galaxy, resulting in a “datacube” containing full spectroscopic information at each point. MaNGA was able to observe seventeen galaxies at once, while similar surveys could only observe one galaxy at a time. Six years of observing in this mode created the largest sample size of this kind ever obtained.

    Researchers study each data cube to reveal its galaxy’s detailed chemical composition; find the ages, chemical makeup, and motions of the stars inside it; and map ionized interstellar gas. MaNGA has created over 30 different maps for each galaxy. These maps can be used for lots of different applications, for example, to estimate how many baby stars are being formed at every position in the galaxy, or to find the influence of the central supermassive black hole. MaNGA dramatically increases the number of galaxies with this detailed information, and a sister project, the MaNGA Stellar Library (MaStar), helped it along.

    Galaxies are made of stars, so understanding them in detail requires a detailed library of spectra of stars. Alongside the complete release of MaNGA, SDSS scientists announced the completion of MaStar, which made use of otherwise unused time on the MaNGA instrument to observe over 24,000 stars, enabling the scientists to more accurately extract information from the MaNGA data.

    The leader of the MaStar project, Renbin Yan of The Chinese University of Hong Kong [香港中文大学](HK), explained, “MaStar is a special kind of library that includes spectra for as many types of stars as possible. Using these data, we can figure out how many of each type of star add up to make each of the many spectra from a MaNGA galaxy and reconstruct the most accurate view ever of when and where stars formed in that galaxy’s cosmic history.”

    For example, MaNGA data have been used to make movies showing how the location where baby stars form moves around through spiral arms and other features in galaxies. Identifying which spectra came from which internal structure turns out to be tricky for computers, but with the help of citizen scientists, the MaNGA team have been able to do this, providing in this release maps showing where the structures are. And the kinematics of galaxies can reveal previously unknown galaxy interactions.

    All of this MaNGA data has been made publicly available, and the SDSS team have also created a specially designed tool dubbed “Marvin” to help with data access. Marvin allows anyone to have a quick look at the data of each galaxy in an easy-to-use web interface, and is also available as a powerful set of python modules which allow anyone familiar with coding to access and visualize this complex data. Brian Cherinka at The Space Telescope Science Institute (US), one of the lead developers of Marvin, explains, “Marvin was designed specifically to access the complex MaNGA data and help researchers to avoid some of the common pitfalls in data visualization and access.”

    Using MaNGA data and an early version of Marvin, scientists have already been discovering many new things about galaxies, with over 500 papers already published using the data. For example, MaNGA team members discovered a new class of galaxy, dubbed a red geyser, in which outflows from the supermassive black hole, revealed in MaNGA maps of ionized gas, are preventing new stars from forming. And to scientists’ surprise, this happens even in the smallest galaxies.

    Making MaNGA data publicly available and accessible will fuel science analyses for years to come and puts the full power of MaNGA data into the hands of anyone who wants to use it. “It’s important to us that the data is not just available, but also accessible, so that anyone with an interest in galaxies can use MaNGA data for their research, education, or just for fun, can explore the cubes, spectra, and maps to learn more about these galaxies,” said Anne-Marie Weijmans of The University of St. Andrews (SCT), who led the part of the SDSS team in charge of data releases. “You don’t need to be a galaxy expert to work with MaNGA data: we have many tutorials on our website to get you started.”

    The instrumentation innovations developed for MaNGA will reverberate into the future. The next generation of SDSS (SDSS-V) is expanding on the novel fiber-packing methods developed for MaNGA to construct even larger fiber bundles for its Local Volume Mapper program. This survey will also study gas and newly-formed stars, but in an environment much closer to home—our own Milky Way and its nearby smaller neighbors. By combining these data with what MaNGA has learned from thousands of more distant galaxies, astronomers will gain a much deeper understanding of how gas and stars coexist and interact throughout a galaxy’s lifetime.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Cruz (US) campus.

    The University of California-Santa Cruz (US) , opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    UCO Lick Observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building.

    UC Santa Cruz (US) Lick Observatory Since 1888 Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    UC Observatories Lick Automated Planet Finder fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA.

    The UCO Lick C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft).

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch.)
    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    Alumna Shelley Wright, now an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego (US), discusses the dichroic filter of the NIROSETI instrument, developed at the U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) and brought to UCSD and installed at the UC Santa Cruz (US) Lick Observatory Nickel Telescope (Photo by Laurie Hatch). “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at The University of California-San Diego (US) who led the development of the new instrument while at the U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA).

    Shelley Wright of UC San Diego with (US) NIROSETI, developed at U Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CA) at the 1-meter Nickel Telescope at Lick Observatory at UC Santa Cruz
    NIROSETI team from left to right Rem Stone UCO Lick Observatory Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley; Jérôme Maire, U Toronto; Shelley Wright, UCSD; Patrick Dorval, U Toronto; Richard Treffers, Starman Systems. (Image by Laurie Hatch).

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by University of California-Berkeley (US) researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    Frank Drake with his Drake Equation. Credit Frank Drake.

    Drake Equation, Frank Drake, Seti Institute (US).

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

  • richardmitnick 11:36 pm on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dwarf Galaxies Shed Light on Black Hole Origins", , , , , , Ground based Optical Astronomy, , , The Montana State University (US)   

    From The Montana State University (US) via Sky & Telescope : “Dwarf Galaxies Shed Light on Black Hole Origins” 


    From The Montana State University (US)


    Sky & Telescope

    January 11, 2022
    Govert Schilling

    Artist’s impression of an outflow coming from a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Astronomers can find massive black holes even in dwarf galaxies by looking for emission related to their outflows.
    Credit: Lynette Cook NASA / SOFIA | The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)/The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/DLR German Aerospace [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE)SOFIA airborne telescope and cameras

    Massive black holes in the cores of puny dwarf galaxies are much more common than previously thought, according to new results presented at an American Astronomical Society (US) press conference Monday. The findings will help astronomers to understand how the newly born universe spawned supermassive black holes in the first place.

    Most large galaxies like our own Milky Way harbor supermassive black holes, weighing in at millions or even billions of solar masses. If actively accreting material from their surroundings, they can sometimes outshine their host galaxy. Such quasars have been observed in the early universe, indicating that massive black holes grew incredibly fast from smaller “seeds.”

    However, astronomers don’t know the nature of these first seeds. Maybe the growth process started with the ubiquitous remnants of the very first generation of extremely massive stars, known as Population III stars. These black hole “seeds” would have had up to about 100 times the mass of the Sun and could have gained additional bulk through subsequent collisions and mergers.

    Alternatively, huge unstable masses of primordial gas could have fallen into galactic centers, directly collapsing into very massive black holes (up to a few hundred thousand solar masses) in one fell swoop.

    Since the early universe is difficult to study in detail, astronomers focus on nearby dwarf galaxies. While larger galaxies like the Milky Way are the result of mergers, “dwarf galaxies have remained relatively untouched over cosmic time,” explains Mallory Molina (The Montana State University (US)). So if dwarfs host massive black holes, these provide a window into the past.

    So far, a handful of giant black holes have been found in dwarf galaxies, mainly in rather massive ones with little star-forming activity. But in a December 1st paper in The Astrophysical Journal, a team led by Molina and Amy Reines (also at Montana State) presents evidence for the existence of supermassive black holes in 81 dwarfs that are both smaller and more actively forming stars.

    This mosaic shows dwarf galaxies that are part of Molina’s sample.
    Credit: Mallory Molina.

    Previous surveys missed these black holes because their broad visible-light emission is washed out by the stronger glow of star-forming regions. To see past the light of newborn stars, the astronomers looked for a red emission line of highly ionized iron atoms in spectroscopic data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey for tens of thousands of dwarf galaxies.

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Apache Point Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Starlight is not energetic enough to produce this extreme level of ionization, but X-rays from hot gas blown away by a central black hole can do the trick.

    The team’s systematic search only revealed active black holes, so the total percentage of dwarf galaxies harboring supermassive black holes is still unknown. “That’s the million-dollar question in the field,” says Molina. “What we have found is only the tip of the iceberg.” Still, the new result has implications for our ideas about the growth of supermassive black holes in the early universe.

    As Ryan Hickox (Dartmouth College (US)) explains, the direct collapse scenario cannot have been very common. “It’s hard to compress large volumes of gas in a tiny region of space, as they would tend to fragment,” he says. So the more supermassive black holes you find in dwarf galaxies, the less likely it is that they are all due to direct collapse.

    Mrk 462 is a dwarf galaxy in Canes Venatici, lying to the right of the HCG 68 group of compact galaxies in this image. X-rays from the dwarf galaxy’s massive black hole are shown in the inset.
    Credit: J. Parker & R. Hickox X-ray: The NASA Chandra X-ray Center (US)/ Dartmouth College (US); Optical / IR:The University of Hawai’i (US) Pan-STARRS telescope.

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

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

    At the same press conference, Hickox presented unpublished Chandra X-ray Observatory data of the dwarf galaxy Markarian 462, which indicate the presence of a supermassive black hole heavily obscured by dust. “This is one of the first obscured black holes in a dwarf galaxy,” he says. “Such objects might have been missed so far in earlier surveys, so this also points to a much larger population.”

    “Both studies seem to support the idea that big black holes are actually pretty common in dwarf galaxies, just harder to detect than supermassive black holes in ‘normal’-size galaxies,” says Sera Markoff (The University of Amsterdam [Universiteit van Amsterdam](NL)), who was not involved in either study. “And that would favor the Population III model [for the origin of supermassive black holes], although it’s still a big problem how exactly they would grow so fast.”

    Unfortunately, observations of dwarf galaxies in the local universe are not going to entirely answer the question of the origin of supermassive black holes. “Although growth from smaller seeds now starts to look like the more reasonable scenario,” Molina says, “what we really need is to watch their formation in the early universe. The James Webb Space Telescope may finally nail it down.”

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The Montana State University (US) is a public land-grant research university in Bozeman, Montana. It is the state’s largest university. The Montana State University offers baccalaureate degrees in 60 fields, master’s degrees in 68 fields, and doctoral degrees in 35 fields through its nine colleges. More than 16,700 students attended Montana State University in fall 2019, taught by 796 full-time and 547 part-time faculty.

    The Montana State University is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” and had research expenditures of $129.6 million in 2017.

    Located on the south side of Bozeman, the university’s 1,170 acres (470 ha) campus is the largest in the state. The university’s main campus in Bozeman is home to KUSM Television, KGLT Radio, and The Museum of the Rockies. The Montana State University provides outreach services to citizens and communities statewide through its agricultural experiment station and 60 county and reservation extension offices. The elevation of the campus is 4,900 feet (1,500 m) above sea level.

    Montana became a state on 8 November 1889. Several cities competed intensely to be the state capital, the city of Bozeman among them. In time, the city of Helena was named the state capital. As a consolation, the state legislature agreed to put the state’s land-grant college in Bozeman. Gallatin County donated half of its 160-acre poor farm for the campus, and money for an additional 40 acres, which had been planned to hold a state capital, was raised by the community, including a $1,500 donation from rancher and businessman Nelson Story, Sr. This land, as well as additional property and monetary contributions, was now turned over to the state for the new college.

    The Montana State University was founded in 1893 as the Agricultural College of the State of Montana. It opened on 16 February with five male and three female students. The first classes were held in rooms in the county high school, and later that year in the shuttered Bozeman Academy (a private preparatory school). The first students were from Bozeman Academy, and were forced to transfer to the college. Only two faculty existed on opening day: Luther Foster, a horticulturalist from South Dakota who was also Acting President, and Homer G. Phelps, who taught business. Within weeks, they were joined by S.M. Emery (who ran the agricultural experiment station) and Benjamin F. Maiden (an English teacher from the former Bozeman Academy). Augustus M. Ryon, a coal mine owner, was named the first president of the college on 17 April 1893. Ryon immediately clashed with the board of trustees and faculty. Where the trustees wanted the college to focus on agriculture, Ryon pointed out that few of its students intended to go back to farming. While the rapidly expanding faculty wanted to establish a remedial education program to assist unprepared undergraduates (Montana’s elementary and secondary public education system was in dire shape at the time), Ryon refused. The donation of the Story land to the college occurred in 1894, but Ryon was forced out in 1895 and replaced by the Rev. Dr. James R. Reid, a Presbyterian minister who had been president of the Montana College at Deer Lodge since 1890.

    The college grew quickly under Reid, who provided 10 years of stability and harmony. The student body grew so fast that the high school building was completely taken over by the college. A vacant store on Main Street was rented to provide additional classroom space. Both the Agricultural Experiment Station (now known as Taylor Hall) and the Main Building (now known as Montana Hall) were constructed in 1896, although the agricultural building was the first to open. Both structures were occupied in 1898. The university football team was established in 1897, and the college graduated its first four students that same year. The curriculum expanded into civil and electrical engineering in 1898.

    The college suffered greatly during the Great Depression. The price of agricultural products (Montana’s economic mainstay) soared during World War I, as European and Russian farms were devastated by military campaigns, in which American and European armies demanded food. For a few years after the war, these prices remained high. But as European agriculture began to improve, an agricultural depression swamped the United States beginning about 1923. State tax revenues plunged, and fewer buildings were constructed on campus after 1923. The United States entered the Great Depression in 1929. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1933 to provide federal funding for public works construction as a means of economic stimulus. But President Atkinson was strongly opposed to Roosevelt’s New Deal, and refused to accept PWA funds to expand the college. With the state unable to assist, Montana State College stagnated through the 1930s.

    President Atkinson resigned in 1937 to become president of The University of Arizona (US). A. L. Strand, an entomologist who had discovered ways of controlling the devastating locust invasions in Montana, was named the new president. Strand was the first graduate of the college to become its president. An upsurge in campus drinking occurred after the end of Prohibition, and in 1940 the Student Union Building (now Strand Union Building) was built to provide students with a gathering spot on campus that (it was hoped) would keep them away from the saloons downtown.

    President Strand resigned his office in 1942 to accept the presidency of The Oregon State University (US) (in which role he served for 19 years). With Montana still not yet having emerged from the Great Depression, the college struggled to find a new president. Engineering professor William Cobleigh took over as Acting President until from 1942 to 1943 while a replacement for Strand was found. During Cobleigh’s year as president, college enrollment plunged as young men entered the armed forces or left to work in war industry plants on the West Coast. Nonetheless, federal funding increased as the United States Department of War sought rapid, significant increases in the number of chemical, engineering, and physics graduates to feed the war effort.

    In 1943, the state board of higher education appointed Montana State College economist Roland “Rollie” Renne to be the new acting president of the college. Renne was a protege of nationally known liberal economists Richard T. Ely and John R. Commons and a strong proponent of the New Deal. He’d taught at The Montana State University since 1930, although he’d taken a leave of absence in 1942 to become the director of Montana’s Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply (a federal wartime agency). Renne was named the permanent president of the college on 1 July 1944.

    Renne was president of the college for 21 years, the third-longest of any individual (as of 2013). With the passage of the G.I. Bill just eight days before his appointment and the end of the war in sight, Renne realized that servicemen returning from the war were going to flood college campuses. Renne quickly began hiring additional faculty and recycled wartime wooden buildings from around the state to build temporary classroom and housing space. His foresight helped the college survive the rapid rise in enrollment, which doubled from 1,155 in 1945 to 2,014 in 1946 and then nearly doubled again in 1947 to 3,591. Faculty numbers also skyrocketed, from 132 in 1945 to 257 in 1950. Believing that a college education was as much about instilling democratic values as teaching skills and trades, Renne rapidly changed the curriculum to emphasize liberal arts such as anthropology, archeology, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Although The University of Montana (US) (long considered the state’s “liberal arts college”, while Montana State College was the “ag school”) opposed much expansion in this area, Renne successfully established a Department of Education, reconstituted the School of Business, and established new undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture, geography, geology, military science, and other disciplines.

    Throughout the 1950s, Renne worked to rapidly expand the college’s physical plant. During his presidency, 18 major buildings were constructed on campus — more than double the number that had been built between 1893 and 1944, and almost as many as were built between 1966 and 2013. These included the 1949 Library Building (now Renne Library), the campus’ first dedicated library (it had previously been housed in a few rooms on the second floor of Montana Hall), and the 1958 Brick Breeden Fieldhouse (which supplemented the aging, outdated Romney Gym). The construction program included a chapel (Danforth Chapel in 1950), five large classroom buildings (McCall Hall in 1952, A.J.M. Johnson Hall in 1954, Reid Hall in 1959, Cooley Laboratory in 1960, and Gaines Hall in 1961), and seven residential and dining halls (Hannon Hall in 1954; Johnstone Hall in 1955; Culbertson Hall, Harrison Dining Hall, Mullan Hall, and Langford Hall in 1955; and Hapner Hall in 1959). Begun under his presidency but completed the year after he left were three more residential and dining halls (North Hedges, South Hedges, and Miller Dining Hall).

    There was some criticism that Renne did not pay full attention to the college in the 1950s. His governance style was somewhat authoritarian, and his extended absences led to leadership vacuums. He agreed to consulting roles with the Water Resources Policy Commission, Mutual Security Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The Department of State (US), and The Department of Health, Education and Welfare (US) throughout the 1950s that often took him away from campus for weeks at a time. He took a leave of absence from the college to become Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs from 1963 to 1964.

    Dr. Renne resigned as president of Montana State College effective 1 January 1964, to run for Governor of Montana. He lost the election, 51.4 to 48.6 percent, to incumbent governor Tim Babcock.

    Campus life was not without its controversy during Renne’s tenure, either. With McCarthyism and anti-communist feeling running high in the country, Renne sought to protect the campus from political investigations by restricting student speech and assembly. He also restricted the kind of speakers who visited the campus, most famously denying former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and literary critic Leslie Fiedler the right to speak on campus. Other incidents also brought notoriety to campus. On 7 March 1957, 1,000 male students engaged in a “panty raid” on Hannon Hall. It turned into a riot that took all night to control.

    In February 1964, Dr. Leon H. Johnson was appointed president of Montana State College. A research chemist who joined the college in 1943, he had most recently been the executive director of school’s Endowed and Research Foundation (at the time, Montana State College’s largest research unit) and Dean of the Graduate Division. Deeply committed to the college’s research function, he pushed for Montana State College to be named a university — a change Renne had since the early 1950s, and which the Montana state legislature approved on 1 July 1965. At that time, the school received its new name, Montana State University. Bachelor’s degree programs in economics, English, history, music, political science, and other disciplines were quickly established, as was the first university honors program. Johnson was a devoted admirer of the arts, and Montana State University’s art and music programs blossomed. Johnson quickly worked to end the acrimonious relationship with the University of Montana, and the two schools began to present a united front to the state legislature.

    In 1966, Johnson altered and enlarged the university’s administrative structure to help cope with increasing enrollment and increasing campus complexity. These changes included creating a 12-member executive council to advise him. The council included newly created vice presidents — overseeing areas such as academic affairs, administration, finance and research.

    Johnson was deeply conservative — fiscally, socially, and politically. He was deeply committed to continuing Renne’s educational plan, but declined to spend money on new buildings (preferring to consolidate and renovate rather than expand). He also continued Renne’s policies largely barring from campus speakers who were not clearly in the political mainstream. Johnson’s policies were largely supported by the student body and the taxpaying public. Montana State University practiced a policy known as in loco parentis, in which it acted as a “parent” toward the “children” attending school there. Students themselves accepted these restrictions, which included dress codes, older adult chaperones at dances, a ban on alcohol, and mandatory military training for freshmen and sophomores. Although many American college campuses were engulfed by student radicalism, Montana State University’s student body was as conservative as Johnson was, however, and for many years the biggest issues on campus were ending Saturday morning classes and building student parking lots.

    There were some campus protests, however. The first protest against the Vietnam War occurred in 1966 (drawing about 100 students), two underground student newspapers briefly appeared, and some students organized clubs to debate issues of the day. There were minor faculty and student protests when Johnson attempted to prevent English professor James Myers from assigning students to read James Baldwin’s novel Another Country, and in the summer of 1968 a few faculty organized a symposium on the war. When about 150 students rallied in front of Montana Hall in 1969 to ask for co-ed and “open visitation” dorms (e.g., to allow men into women’s dorm rooms, and vice versa), Johnson threatened to call out the city police.

    Montana State University’s Bobcat Stadium saw its genesis during the Johnson years. Growing student unrest over the football team’s use of decrepit Gatton Field (while the basketball team used modern Brick Breeden Fieldhouse) led to a proposal by Johnson in April 1968 to build a 16,000-seat stadium funded by student fees. The proposal failed in December 1968 after students argued that the university should concurrently build a new fitness center as well.

    President Johnson died of a heart attack on 18 June 1969. He’d suffered a heart attack in October 1968, and then underwent surgery out of state in April 1969.

    William Johnstone, a professor of education and Vice President for Administration at Montana State University, took over as Acting President. He was the first and (as of 2013) the only Montanan to become president of Montana State University. Johnstone pledged to build the fitness center first, and in December 1969 the student body approved the finance plan for the new football stadium. On 2 April 1970, about 250 students engaged in a sit-in in Montana Hall to protest Myers’ termination, but it ended peacefully a day later. Myers was terminated, and another eight faculty resigned in protest. But during his year in office, the university completed Cobleigh Hall (ironically named for the last individual to be named acting president).

    Dr. Carl W. McIntosh was named Montana State University’s eighth president in June 1970. Previously the president of 28,000-student The California State University-Long Beach (US), McIntosh brought a consultative and deliberate style of decision-making to the university. He faced a poor fiscal climate: The state was entering a decade-long depression brought about by a steep drop in commodity prices, the state’s higher education system had grown too large and unwieldy, and Governor Thomas L. Judge had established a blue-ribbon committee to close several of the state’s colleges. In 1974, women faculty at Montana State University sued, alleging gender discrimination. They won their suit in 1976, leading to a $400,000 damages award, a back-pay award, and extensive promotions (which also increased salaries). To accommodate these fiscal realities, McIntosh ordered several doctoral and master’s degree programs terminated, and all advanced degree programs in the social sciences and liberal arts canceled.

    But McIntosh also scored a number of successes. In 1972, he persuaded the legislature to allow Montana State University to participate in the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) medical education program, which allowed 20 (now 30) Montana citizens per year to begin medical school at Montana State University before completing studies at The University of Washington (US). The college of nursing (Sherrick Hall) was finished in 1973, and after three long years of construction Reno H. Sales Stadium (now Bobcat Stadium and Martel Field) and the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center both opened. In 1974, the long-planned Creative Arts Complex (Cheever Hall, Haynes Hall, and Howard Hall) was also completed. Unfortunately, major increases in inflation led to significant design changes. Instead of a 1,200-seat concert hall with superb acoustics, a cramped and aurally dead 260-seat auditorium was built. Finally, in 1976, the university completed the new medical science building, Leon Johnson Hall.

    In 1976, the “hidden million” controversy ended McIntosh’s tenure as president. In 1975, Montana’s first Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Lawrence K. Pettit (a former Montana State University professor of political science) launched an investigation of several Montana colleges and universities. He was particularly interested in Montana State University, where McIntosh’s laid-back governance style was widely considered to have hurt the university. In March 1976, Pettit announced he was confiscating $1 million in surplus student fees from Montana State University — money he argued the university was trying to hide from state auditors and the legislature. In fact, the monies were the result of excessively high enrollment in the 1974–1975 school year, and were intended to help see the university through the 1975–1976 school year (when the legislature would not meet, and thus could not provide the needed budgetary boost to handle the over-enrollment). Pettit all but accused Montana State University and McIntosh of fraud, and McIntosh refused to attack Pettit’s statements as mischaracterizations and slander. The public outcry about the “hidden million” led the Board of Regents to request McIntosh’s resignation on 30 June 1977, which he tendered. (Pettit resigned the following year, his combative attempt to turn the commissioner’s office into a sort of chancellorship having failed.)

    Dr. William Tietz, Montana State University’s ninth president, arrived in August 1977 just as economic conditions in the state were improving. With three of the four vice presidencies at the university open, Tietz imposed his stamp on the administration almost immediately. This included a strong emphasis on research, faculty development, better teaching, and diversity (particularly for Native Americans, the handicapped, and women). His aggressiveness, energy, and immediate rebudgeting of funds into faculty sabbaticals helped win over professors, who voted against unionization in 1978. Tietz’s major goal, increasing research funding, was greatly helped by a 1981 decision of the legislature to refund indirect cost payments back to the university. This led to an immediate 15 percent recovery of in federal funds, and in time private foundation funding rose significantly as well.

    Only two buildings were constructed during Tietz’s presidency — the Visual Communications Building in 1983 and the Plant Growth Center in 1987. Most of his focus as president was on raising salaries. A third building, the modern home of the Museum of the Rockies, opened in 1989. But this structure was paid for by bonds. Faculty salaries had declined 23 percent during the 1970s (due to wage freezes) and Montana State University was in the bottom 10 percent of salaries for faculty nationwide. Cooperative Extension Service salaries were dead last in the nation. The state legislature implemented a new salary funding formula that rectified many of these problems. Some university programs were also reestablished, such as the honors program, and some new ones formed, such as the Writing Center.

    The state once more entered a severe economic downturn in the mid-1980s. Budget cuts totaling nearly 10 percent, coupled with an enrollment shortfall, led to significant retrenchment. Tietz argued Montana State University should focus on its strongest programs. Thus, a wide array of programs were terminated: Membership in the Center for Research Libraries; sports like skiing, women’s gymnastics, and wrestling; degree programs like engineering science, business education, and industrial arts; and the office of institutional research. Departments were merged and downsized, and Tietz proposed closing the School of Architecture. A battle broke out to save it, and Tietz backed off his decision. Tietz increasingly blamed Governor Ted Schwinden for a failure to support higher education, and lashed out repeatedly against the governor when Schwinden publicly ridiculed Montana State University’s new Tech Park (a 90-acre (360,000 m2) project designed to function as a technology incubator). Although a second faculty unionization effort failed in 1989, Tietz resigned in March 1990, frustrated by the constant battles with an “old guard” resistant to turning Montana State University toward high technology.

    Michael P. Malone was named Montana State University’s Acting President on 1 January 1991, and permanently appointed to the position in March 1991, Malone was named Montana State University’s 10th president. He had served as Montana State University’s Dean of Graduate Studies from 1979 to 1988, and then three one-year temporary appointments as vice president for Academic Affairs while a fruitless nation search occurred for a permanent replacement. As Dean of Graduate Studies, he’d been critical of what he perceived as the state’s unwillingness to invest in high technology education.

    Malone’s governance style was democratic, friendly, and personal. His friendly style made him personally popular with legislators and earned their respect. Nonetheless, he was criticized for focusing too much about how little money Montana State University had and for criticizing the legislature too much for not investing in higher education.

    Malone was the first Montana State University president to preside over the Billings, Great Falls, and Havre campuses. On 1 July 1994, Montana restructured the Montana University System. The Eastern Montana College in Billings, The Montana Northern College in Havre, and the Vocational-Technical Center in Great Falls lost their independence and were made satellite campuses of Montana State University. Although Montana’s seven tribal colleges remained independent (as they are sponsored by sovereign nations), the state required them to integrate their teaching, operations, and academic operations with both Montana State University and The University of Montana (US) in order to continue to receive state funding.

    Montana State University celebrated its centennial in 1993.

    During Malone’s presidency, Montana State University witnessed “one of the greatest expansions in campus history”, as a large number of new buildings were constructed. These included the $1 million Centennial Mall (1993), the $22 million Engineering and Physical Sciences Building, the $10 million Bobcat Stadium renovation, the $13.5 million renovation of Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, the $12 million Agricultural Biosciences Building (1999), and the $7.5 million Renne Library renovation (1999). A strong sports fan, Malone’s focus extended to sports personnel as well as sports facilities. In 1999, he fired Bobcats football head coach Cliff Hysell after eight losing seasons and hired Mike Kramer, the winning coach at The Eastern Washington University (US). In October 1999, he fired Montana State University women’s basketball head coach Tracey Sheehan and assistant coach Jeff Malby after an NCAA investigation revealed that the two coaches were overworking their team and causing injuries to student-athletes.

    Like William Tietz before him, Malone also pushed hard for faculty and the university to seek and win federal funding for scientific research. Federal research funding grew from just $13 million in the late 1980s to more than $50 million in 1999. The undergraduate curriculum was revamped, enrollment hit a historic high of 11,746 students in 1999, and the Burns Telecommunications Center was established. Malone benefitted from a strong economy that eased many of the fiscal pressures Tietz faced. He expanded alumni fund-raising programs, and pushed the Montana State University Foundation to redouble its fund-raising efforts. But the legislature was not forthcoming with salary increases. He weathered a strike by clerical and administrative support staff in 1992. He was later criticized, however, for initiating projects without having the money to complete them and then using the subsequent construction crisis to raise the funds to finish the project. Tuition doubled during his time in office, angering students, and some faculty criticized his willingness to construct new buildings while declining to pay for teaching equipment.

    The Montana State University community was shocked when Malone died of a heart attack on 21 December 1999, at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. He was the second Montana State University president to die in office, and the second to die of heart failure.

    Malone’s successor, Geoffrey Gamble, was named the 11th president of Montana State University on 5 October 2000. His governance style was open and consultative. In addition to making the president’s executive council more representative and reaching out to the Faculty Senate, he established a new 25-member University Planning, Budget and Analysis Committee to establish the budget. Legislatively, Gamble promoted Montana State University’s accomplishments, praised legislators for their financial support (even when it was not forthcoming), and spoke of state funding for the university in terms of investment that led to economic and job growth. According to Cathy Conover, Montana State University’s chief legislative lobbyist, Gamble’s style was “a sea change” that led the Republican-dominated state legislature to rave about him.

    Montana State University also implemented the “Core 2.0 curriculum” during Gamble’s tenure as president. This program encourages undergraduate students to engage in research or practice their art prior to graduation.

    Gamble also focused on research. Between 2000 and 2009, federal research funding at Montana State University grew by 61 percent to $98.4 million. Gamble trademarked the name “University of the Yellowstone” to reflect the high level of research Montana State University conducted in the greater Yellowstone National Park ecosystem.

    Gamble also made diversity a major effort of his presidency. He appointed the university’s first permanent female vice president, and by 2009 women outnumbered men among Montana State University’s deans, five to four. He appointed Dr. Henrietta Mann (chair of the Montana State University Department of Native American Studies, and one of the most prominent Indian educators in the United States) his personal representative to the seven tribal colleges which participate in the Montana University System and created a Council of Elders to bring leaders of the tribal colleges together twice a year at Montana State University for discussions. Native American enrollment at Montana State University rose 79 percent (to a historic high of 377 students) during Gamble’s time in office.

    In 2006, a major sports scandal engulfed Montana State University. On 30 June 2006, former Montana State University basketball player Branden Miller and former Montana State University football player John LeBrum were charged with murdering local cocaine dealer Jason Wright. After an 18-month investigation, six additional current and former Montana State University athletes were charged with buying and selling cocaine. Three of the six were charged with running a cocaine smuggling ring that sold 26 pounds (12 kg) of cocaine in Bozeman between June 2005 to May 2007.

    Court records later revealed that some Montana State University coaches knew Miller carried handguns in his athletic bag at school and that the murder weapon and other handguns had been secreted in Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. In August 2007, Sports Illustrated ran a front-page article, Trouble in Paradise, that recounted drug use, violence, theft, intimidation, and illegal activities by current and former Montana State University student athletes and the complicity of low-level coaching staff. An investigation by the NCAA revealed significantly lower graduation rates for Montana State University football and basketball players under football coach Mike Kramer as well as men’s basketball coach Mick Durham, and a large number of athletes on or flirting with academic probation. Gamble quickly fired Kramer, who then sued Montana State University for unlawful dismissal. Kramer and Montana State University settled out of court, and Kramer received a payment of $240,000. In 2009, Gamble said his hardest time as president was dealing with the sports scandal.

    Gamble announced his retirement on 22 March 2009.

    Waded Cruzado, the former president of The New Mexico State University (US), succeeded Gamble as president, taking office on 4 January 2010. Since her arrival, the university’s headcount enrollment has grown from 13,559 in the fall of 2010 to a record 16,902 in the fall of 2018 – a 24.66 percent increase – making Montana State University the largest university in the state of Montana.

    In addition to enrollment increases, the campus has seen the completion of numerous major construction and renovation projects since Cruzado’s arrival. In the fall of 2010, the university reopened one of its most heavily used classroom buildings on campus, Gaines Hall, after a $32 million renovation funded by the Montana Legislature.

    That same fall, the university opened its new, 40,000-square-foot Animal Bioscience Building. The $15.7 million building was funded, in part, by donations from Montana’s livestock and grains industry. In addition to classroom and teaching laboratory space, the building is home to the Montana State University College of Agriculture’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences.

    While the Gaines Hall renovation and the Animal Biosciences building were underway before Cruzado took office, in the fall of 2010 she launched an ambitious 90-day campaign to raise $6 million in private donations for a $10 million project to replace and expand the 38-year-old south end zone of the university’s football stadium. The university would cover the remaining $4 million for the project, paying it back from revenues generated by Montana State University athletics, including ticket sales. The campaign was successful and resulted in a new end zone opening for the fall 2011 season. The end zone project resulted in a net gain of 5,200 seats for the stadium for a total capacity of 17,500. However, through additional standing-room-only attendance, the stadium thrice exceeded 21,000 spectators in the fall of 2013.

    The fall of 2010 also marked the official opening of Gallatin College programs at Montana State University, offering two-year degrees. The program was previously known as Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology in Bozeman and was located away from the central campus, but with the renaming, Gallatin College was also given offices and classrooms in Hamilton Hall, located in the campus center. The program’s first dean, Bob Hietala, oversaw a period of steady enrollment growth, with Gallatin College growing from 100 students at its start to more than 800 in fall 2019. The program also expanded into new spaces, leasing empty classrooms in the local high school and space in a commercial building off-campus.

    Montana State University marked its 125th anniversary in 2018 with a year of celebratory events. Several thousand attended daylong events on 16–17 Feb. featuring family activities, music, fireworks and speeches commemorating the university’s history. A newly installed statue of Abraham Lincoln by Bozeman-area artist Jim Dolan was unveiled at a ceremony honoring the former president’s contributions to land-grant universities.

    In November 2019, the Board of Regents voted to raise Cruzado’s salary by $150,000, citing her performance as president and amid reports Cruzado had received a larger offer from another university. Cruzado declined to name the university that wanted to hire her. The 50% raise received support for putting Cruzado’s salary in-line with other universities’ presidents’ salaries but also criticism given Montana’s median salary ($53,000) and the pay of lower-level employees. In 2020, Cruzado’s salary stood at $476,524 per year.

    Severe snow and cold during the winter of 2019 contributed to the collapses of two gymnasium roofs at the university’s Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center. The center’s south gym roof fell during the early morning hours of 7 March, followed two days later by the north gym roof. No one was injured in the collapses, and the entire fitness center was closed for the remainder of that spring semester for repair and demolition work. Two inflatable gym structures were opened as temporary replacements in October of that year while plans were made for permanent replacements.

    The COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 forced Montana’s public university system to switch to online and remote course delivery midway through the spring semester. To help stem the spread of the disease, the university canceled events, encouraged students not to return after spring break, and asked employees to work from home, essentially emptying the campus. The in-person spring commencement ceremony was also replaced by an online alternative.


    College of Agriculture
    College of Arts and Architecture
    Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship
    College of Education, Health & Human Development
    Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering
    College of Letters & Science
    College of Nursing
    Graduate School
    Gallatin College
    Honors College
    Roland R. Renne Library


    Montana State University maintains extensive research programs, providing opportunities for undergraduates, graduates, and advanced graduate students. The university is in the top 3 percent of colleges and universities in the United States in research expenditures and regularly reports annual research expenditures in excess of $100 million, including a record $138.8 million in the fiscal year that ended in June 2019. In that same year the university said its faculty wrote 1,100 grant proposals, which led to grant awards worth about $485 million which will be spent over several years.

    Montana State University’s Office of Research and Economic Development coordinates programs that encourage faculty to pursue externally funded research. Its Office of Research Compliance oversees programs that promotes ethical and responsible research and ensures compliance with local, state, and federal regulations for research. The Office of Sponsored programs manages financial, reporting, compliance, auditing and related tasks for externally funded research.

    The university maintains a technology transfer office to commercialize Montana State University faculty inventions, spur businesses based on those technologies and network with businesses looking to license Montana State University technologies. The office manages more than 500 technologies and 375 patents, trademarks and copyrights.

    Research and Education Centers, Institutes, and Programs:

    Montana State University’s Office of Research and Economic Development maintains a listing of the university’s research and educational centers, institutes and programs.

    Agricultural Marketing Policy Center
    American Indian Research Opportunities
    Animal Resource Center
    Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center
    Barley and Plant Biotechnology Programs
    Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership
    Blackstone LaunchPad – Montana State
    Burns Technology Center
    Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity
    Center for Biofilm Engineering
    Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery
    Center for Research on Rural Education
    Center for Science, Technology, Ethics and Society
    Cold Regions Research Center
    Energy Research Institute
    Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)
    Functional Genomics Core Facility
    Image and Chemical Analysis Laboratory (ICAL)
    Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Research
    Ivan Doig Center for the Study of the Lands and Peoples of the North American West
    Local Government Center
    Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP)
    Montana and Northern Plains Troops-to-Teachers
    Montana Area Health Education Center
    Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit
    Montana IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Opportunities (INBRE)
    Montana Institute on Ecosystems
    Montana Manufacturing Extension Center
    Montana Microfabrication Facility
    Montana Office of Rural Health (MORH)
    Montana Public Television – KUSM
    Montana Space Grant Consortium
    Montana Water Center
    Museum of the Rockies
    Northern Plains Transition to Teaching
    Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
    Optical Technology Center
    Plant Growth Center
    Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE)
    Renne Library
    Science Math Resource Center
    Spatial Sciences Center
    Spectrum Lab
    TechLink Center
    Thermal Biology Institute
    Western Transportation Institute
    Zero Emissions Research and Technology (ZERT)

  • richardmitnick 9:50 am on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Creates Largest 3D Map of the Cosmos", , , , DESI is only about 10% of the way through its five-year mission., , Ground based Optical Astronomy, In the distribution of the galaxies in the 3D map there are huge clusters; filaments and voids.   

    From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US): “Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Creates Largest 3D Map of the Cosmos” 

    From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US)

    DESI’s three-dimensional “CT scan” of the Universe. The earth is in the lower left, looking out over 5 billion light years in the direction of the constellation Virgo. As the video progresses, the perspective sweeps toward the constellation Bootes. Each colored point represents a galaxy, which in turn is composed of hundreds of billions of stars. Gravity has pulled the galaxies into a “cosmic web” of dense clusters, filaments and voids. Credit: D. Schlegel/Berkeley Lab using data from DESI.

    DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory(US) DESI spectroscopic instrument on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, in the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft).

    National Optical Astronomy Observatory (US) Mayall 4 m telescope at NSF NOIRLab NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory (US) in the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft).

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

    The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) has capped off the first seven months of its survey run by smashing through all previous records for three-dimensional galaxy surveys, creating the largest and most detailed map of the universe ever.

    Yet it’s only about 10% of the way through its five-year mission. Once completed, that phenomenally detailed 3D map will yield a better understanding of dark energy, and thereby give physicists and astronomers a better understanding of the past – and future – of the universe. Meanwhile, the impressive technical performance and literally cosmic achievements of the survey thus far are helping scientists reveal the secrets of the most powerful sources of light in the universe.

    DESI is an international science collaboration managed by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) with primary funding for construction and operations from DOE’s Office of Science.

    DESI scientists are presenting the performance of the instrument, and some early astrophysics results, this week at a Berkeley Lab-hosted webinar called CosmoPalooza, which will also feature updates from other leading cosmology experiments.

    “There is a lot of beauty to it,” said Berkeley Lab scientist Julien Guy, one of the speakers. “In the distribution of the galaxies in the 3D map, there are huge clusters, filaments, and voids. They’re the biggest structures in the universe. But within them, you find an imprint of the very early universe, and the history of its expansion since then.”

    DESI has come a long way to reach this point. Originally proposed over a decade ago, construction on the instrument started in 2015. It was installed at the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter telescope[above] at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona [above]. Kitt Peak National Observatory is a program of The National Science Foundation’s (US) NOIRLab, which The Department of Energy (US) contracts with to operate the Mayall Telescope for the DESI survey. The instrument saw first light in late 2019. Then, during its validation phase, the coronavirus pandemic hit, shutting down the telescope for several months, though some work continued remotely. In December 2020, DESI turned its eyes to the sky again, testing out its hardware and software, and by May 2021 it was ready to start its science survey.

    But work on DESI itself didn’t end once the survey started. “It’s constant work that goes on to make this instrument perform,” said physicist Klaus Honscheid of Thee Ohio State University (US), co-Instrument Scientist on the project, who will deliver the first paper of the CosmoPalooza DESI session. Honscheid and his team ensure the instrument runs smoothly and automatically, ideally without any input during a night’s observing. “The feedback I get from the night observers is that the shifts are boring, which I take as a compliment,” he said.

    But that monotonous productivity requires incredibly detailed control over each of the 5000 cutting-edge robots that position optical fibers on the DESI instrument, ensuring their positions are accurate to within 10 microns. “Ten microns is tiny,” said Honscheid. “It’s less than the thickness of a human hair. And you have to position each robot to collect the light from galaxies billions of light-years away. Every time I think about this system, I wonder how could we possibly pull that off? The success of DESI as an instrument is something to be very proud of.”

    Seeing dark energy’s true colors

    Photo Credits: Before A slice through the 3-D map of galaxies from the completed Sloan Digital Sky Survey (left) and from the first few months of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI; right) [to operate the slide see the full article].

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Apache Point Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    The earth is at the center, with the furthest galaxies over 10 billion light years away. Each point represents one galaxy. This 2D slice of the 3D DESI map shows only about 800,000 of the 7.5 million galaxies currently surveyed, which is itself just a fraction of the 35 million galaxies that will be in the final map. Credit: D. Schlegel/Berkeley Lab using data from DESI.

    That level of accuracy is needed to accomplish the primary task of the survey: collecting detailed color spectrum images of millions of galaxies across more than a third of the entire sky. By breaking down the light from each galaxy into its spectrum of colors, DESI can determine how much the light has been redshifted – stretched out toward the red end of the spectrum by the expansion of the universe during the billions of years it traveled before reaching Earth. It is those redshifts that let DESI see the depth of the sky.

    The more redshifted a galaxy’s spectrum is, in general, the farther away it is. With a 3D map of the cosmos in hand, physicists can chart clusters and superclusters of galaxies. Those structures carry echoes of their initial formation, when they were just ripples in the infant cosmos. By teasing out those echoes, physicists can use DESI’s data to determine the expansion history of the universe.

    “Our science goal is to measure the imprint of waves in the primordial plasma,” said Guy. “It’s astounding that we can actually detect the effect of these waves billions of years later, and so soon in our survey.”

    Understanding the expansion history is crucial, with nothing less than the fate of the entire universe at stake. Today, about 70% of the content of the universe is dark energy, a mysterious form of energy driving the expansion of the universe ever faster. As the universe expands, more dark energy pops into existence, which speeds up the expansion more, in a cycle that is driving the fraction of dark energy in the universe ever upwards. Dark energy will ultimately determine the destiny of the universe: will it expand forever? Will it collapse onto itself again, in a Big Bang in reverse? Or will it rip itself apart? Answering these questions means learning more about how dark energy has behaved in the past – and that’s exactly what DESI is designed to do. And by comparing the expansion history with the growth history, cosmologists can check whether Einstein’s theory of general relativity holds over these immense spans of space and time.

    Black holes and bright galaxies

    But understanding the fate of the universe will have to wait until DESI has completed more of its survey. In the meantime, DESI is already driving breakthroughs in our understanding of the distant past, more than 10 billion years ago when galaxies were still young.

    “It’s pretty amazing,” said Ragadeepika Pucha, a graduate student in astronomy at The University of Arizona (US) working on DESI. “DESI will tell us more about the physics of galaxy formation and evolution.”

    Pucha and her colleagues are using DESI data to understand the behavior of intermediate-mass black holes in small galaxies. Enormous black holes are thought to inhabit the cores of nearly every large galaxy, like our own Milky Way. But whether small galaxies always contain their own (smaller) black holes at their cores is still not known. Black holes on their own can be nearly impossible to find – but if they attract enough material, they become easier to spot. When gas, dust, and other material falling into the black hole heats up (to temperatures hotter than the core of a star) on its way in, an active galactic nucleus (AGN) is formed. In large galaxies, AGNs are among the brightest objects in the known universe. But in smaller galaxies, AGNs can be much fainter, and harder to distinguish from newborn stars. The spectra taken by DESI can help solve this problem – and its wide reach across the sky will yield more information about the cores of small galaxies than ever before. Those cores, in turn, will give scientists clues about how bright AGNs formed in the very early universe.

    A new quasar discovered using DESI gives a glimpse of the universe as it was nearly 13 billion years ago, less than a billion years after the Big Bang. This is the most distant quasar discovered with DESI to date, from a DESI very high-redshift quasar selection. The background shows this quasar and its surroundings in the DESI Legacy imaging surveys. Credit: Jinyi Yang, Steward Observatory/University of Arizona.

    U Arizona Steward Observatory at NSF’s NOIRLab NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory (US) in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona in the Quinlan Mountains of the Tohono O’odham Nation, altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    Quasars – a particularly bright variety of galaxies – are among the brightest and most distant objects known. “I like to think of them as lampposts, looking back in time into the history of the universe,” said Victoria Fawcett, an astronomy graduate student at The Durham University (UK). Quasars are excellent probes of the early universe because of their sheer power; DESI’s data will go back in time 11 billion years.

    Fawcett and her colleagues are using DESI data to understand the evolution of quasars themselves. It is thought that quasars start out surrounded by an envelope of dust, which reddens the light they give off, like the sun through haze. As they age, they drive off this dust and become bluer. But it has been hard to test this theory, because of the paucity of data on red quasars. DESI is changing that, finding more quasars than any prior survey, with an estimated 2.4 million quasars expected in the final survey data.

    “DESI is really great because it’s picking up much fainter and much redder objects,” said Fawcett. That, she adds, allows scientists to test ideas about quasar evolution that just couldn’t be tested before. And this isn’t just limited to quasars. “We’re finding quite a lot of exotic systems, including large samples of rare objects that we just haven’t been able to study in detail before,” Fawcett said.

    There’s more to come for DESI. The survey has already cataloged over 7.5 million galaxies and is adding more at a rate of over a million a month. In November 2021 alone, DESI cataloged redshifts from 2.5 million galaxies. By the end of its run in 2026, DESI is expected to have over 35 million galaxies in its catalog, enabling an enormous variety of cosmology and astrophysics research.

    “All this data is just there, and it’s just waiting to be analyzed,” said Pucha. “And then we will find so much amazing stuff about galaxies. For me, that’s exciting.”

    DESI is supported by the DOE Office of Science and by The DOE’s NERSC National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (US), a DOE Office of Science user facility. Additional support for DESI is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation, The Science and Technologies Facilities Council (UK), The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (US), The Heising-Simons Foundation (US)3, The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission [Commission des énergies Alternatives et de l’énergie Atomique](CEA)(FR), The National Council on Science and Technology [Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de México](MX)3, The Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness [Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad de España](ES), and by the DESI member institutions.

    The DESI collaboration is honored to be permitted to conduct scientific research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak), a mountain with particular significance to the Tohono O’odham Nation.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    LBNL Molecular Foundry

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World

    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) (US) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the The National Academy of Sciences (US), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the The National Academy of Engineering (US), and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (US) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the University of California- Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a University of California-Berkeley (US) physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.



    The laboratory was founded on August 26, 1931, by Ernest Lawrence, as the Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, associated with the Physics Department. It centered physics research around his new instrument, the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939.

    LBNL 88 inch cyclotron.

    LBNL 88 inch cyclotron.

    Throughout the 1930s, Lawrence pushed to create larger and larger machines for physics research, courting private philanthropists for funding. He was the first to develop a large team to build big projects to make discoveries in basic research. Eventually these machines grew too large to be held on the university grounds, and in 1940 the lab moved to its current site atop the hill above campus. Part of the team put together during this period includes two other young scientists who went on to establish large laboratories; J. Robert Oppenheimer founded DOE’s Los Alamos Laboratory (US), and Robert Wilson founded Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US).


    Leslie Groves visited Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory in late 1942 as he was organizing the Manhattan Project, meeting J. Robert Oppenheimer for the first time. Oppenheimer was tasked with organizing the nuclear bomb development effort and founded today’s Los Alamos National Laboratory to help keep the work secret. At the RadLab, Lawrence and his colleagues developed the technique of electromagnetic enrichment of uranium using their experience with cyclotrons. The “calutrons” (named after the University) became the basic unit of the massive Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Lawrence’s lab helped contribute to what have been judged to be the three most valuable technology developments of the war (the atomic bomb, proximity fuse, and radar). The cyclotron, whose construction was stalled during the war, was finished in November 1946. The Manhattan Project shut down two months later.


    After the war, the Radiation Laboratory became one of the first laboratories to be incorporated into the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) (now Department of Energy (US). The most highly classified work remained at Los Alamos, but the RadLab remained involved. Edward Teller suggested setting up a second lab similar to Los Alamos to compete with their designs. This led to the creation of an offshoot of the RadLab (now the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (US)) in 1952. Some of the RadLab’s work was transferred to the new lab, but some classified research continued at Berkeley Lab until the 1970s, when it became a laboratory dedicated only to unclassified scientific research.

    Shortly after the death of Lawrence in August 1958, the UC Radiation Laboratory (both branches) was renamed the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory. The Berkeley location became the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in 1971, although many continued to call it the RadLab. Gradually, another shortened form came into common usage, LBNL. Its formal name was amended to Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1995, when “National” was added to the names of all DOE labs. “Ernest Orlando” was later dropped to shorten the name. Today, the lab is commonly referred to as “Berkeley Lab”.

    The Alvarez Physics Memos are a set of informal working papers of the large group of physicists, engineers, computer programmers, and technicians led by Luis W. Alvarez from the early 1950s until his death in 1988. Over 1700 memos are available on-line, hosted by the Laboratory.

    The lab remains owned by the Department of Energy (US), with management from the University of California (US). Companies such as Intel were funding the lab’s research into computing chips.

    Science mission

    From the 1950s through the present, Berkeley Lab has maintained its status as a major international center for physics research, and has also diversified its research program into almost every realm of scientific investigation. Its mission is to solve the most pressing and profound scientific problems facing humanity, conduct basic research for a secure energy future, understand living systems to improve the environment, health, and energy supply, understand matter and energy in the universe, build and safely operate leading scientific facilities for the nation, and train the next generation of scientists and engineers.

    The Laboratory’s 20 scientific divisions are organized within six areas of research: Computing Sciences; Physical Sciences; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Biosciences; Energy Sciences; and Energy Technologies. Berkeley Lab has six main science thrusts: advancing integrated fundamental energy science; integrative biological and environmental system science; advanced computing for science impact; discovering the fundamental properties of matter and energy; accelerators for the future; and developing energy technology innovations for a sustainable future. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab tradition that continues today.

    Berkeley Lab operates five major National User Facilities for the DOE Office of Science (US):

    The Advanced Light Source (ALS) is a synchrotron light source with 41 beam lines providing ultraviolet, soft x-ray, and hard x-ray light to scientific experiments.


    DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US) Advanced Light Source .
    The ALS is one of the world’s brightest sources of soft x-rays, which are used to characterize the electronic structure of matter and to reveal microscopic structures with elemental and chemical specificity. About 2,500 scientist-users carry out research at ALS every year. Berkeley Lab is proposing an upgrade of ALS which would increase the coherent flux of soft x-rays by two-three orders of magnitude.

    The DOE Joint Genome Institute (US) supports genomic research in support of the DOE missions in alternative energy, global carbon cycling, and environmental management. The JGI’s partner laboratories are Berkeley Lab, DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (US), DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (US)(ORNL), DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (US) (PNNL), and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (US). The JGI’s central role is the development of a diversity of large-scale experimental and computational capabilities to link sequence to biological insights relevant to energy and environmental research. Approximately 1,200 scientist-users take advantage of JGI’s capabilities for their research every year.

    The LBNL Molecular Foundry (US) [above] is a multidisciplinary nanoscience research facility. Its seven research facilities focus on Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures; Nanofabrication; Theory of Nanostructured Materials; Inorganic Nanostructures; Biological Nanostructures; Organic and Macromolecular Synthesis; and Electron Microscopy. Approximately 700 scientist-users make use of these facilities in their research every year.

    The DOE’s NERSC National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (US) is the scientific computing facility that provides large-scale computing for the DOE’s unclassified research programs. Its current systems provide over 3 billion computational hours annually. NERSC supports 6,000 scientific users from universities, national laboratories, and industry.

    DOE’s NERSC National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center(US) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    Cray Cori II supercomputer at National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center(US) at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory(US), named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science.

    NERSC Hopper Cray XE6 supercomputer.

    NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer.

    NERSC GPFS for Life Sciences.

    The Genepool system is a cluster dedicated to the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s computing needs. Denovo is a smaller test system for Genepool that is primarily used by NERSC staff to test new system configurations and software.

    NERSC PDSF computer cluster in 2003.

    PDSF is a networked distributed computing cluster designed primarily to meet the detector simulation and data analysis requirements of physics, astrophysics and nuclear science collaborations.

    Cray Shasta Perlmutter SC18 AMD Epyc Nvidia pre-exascale supercomputer.

    NERSC is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    The DOE’s Energy Science Network (US) is a high-speed network infrastructure optimized for very large scientific data flows. ESNet provides connectivity for all major DOE sites and facilities, and the network transports roughly 35 petabytes of traffic each month.

    Berkeley Lab is the lead partner in the DOE’s Joint Bioenergy Institute (US) (JBEI), located in Emeryville, California. Other partners are the DOE’s Sandia National Laboratory (US), the University of California (UC) campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science (US), and DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (US) (LLNL). JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels – liquid fuels derived from the solar energy stored in plant biomass. JBEI is one of three new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs).

    Berkeley Lab has a major role in two DOE Energy Innovation Hubs. The mission of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) is to find a cost-effective method to produce fuels using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The lead institution for JCAP is the California Institute of Technology (US) and Berkeley Lab is the second institutional center. The mission of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) is to create next-generation battery technologies that will transform transportation and the electricity grid. DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory (US) leads JCESR and Berkeley Lab is a major partner.

    The University of California-Berkeley US) is a public land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the state’s first land-grant university, it was the first campus of the University of California (US) system and a founding member of the Association of American Universities (US). Its 14 colleges and schools offer over 350 degree programs and enroll some 31,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students. Berkeley is ranked among the world’s top universities by major educational publications.

    Berkeley hosts many leading research institutes, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory. It founded and maintains close relationships with three national laboratories at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory(US), DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US) and DOE’s Los Alamos National Lab(US), and has played a prominent role in many scientific advances, from the Manhattan Project and the discovery of 16 chemical elements to breakthroughs in computer science and genomics. Berkeley is also known for student activism and the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.

    Berkeley alumni and faculty count among their ranks 110 Nobel laureates (34 alumni), 25 Turing Award winners (11 alumni), 14 Fields Medalists, 28 Wolf Prize winners, 103 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients, 30 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 19 Academy Award winners. The university has produced seven heads of state or government; five chief justices, including Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren; 21 cabinet-level officials; 11 governors; and 25 living billionaires. It is also a leading producer of Fulbright Scholars, MacArthur Fellows, and Marshall Scholars. Berkeley alumni, widely recognized for their entrepreneurship, have founded many notable companies.

    Berkeley’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA, primarily in the Pac-12 Conference, and are collectively known as the California Golden Bears. The university’s teams have won 107 national championships, and its students and alumni have won 207 Olympic medals.

    Made possible by President Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Act in 1862, the University of California was founded in 1868 as the state’s first land-grant university by inheriting certain assets and objectives of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College. Although this process is often incorrectly mistaken for a merger, the Organic Act created a “completely new institution” and did not actually merge the two precursor entities into the new university. The Organic Act states that the “University shall have for its design, to provide instruction and thorough and complete education in all departments of science, literature and art, industrial and professional pursuits, and general education, and also special courses of instruction in preparation for the professions”.

    Ten faculty members and 40 students made up the fledgling university when it opened in Oakland in 1869. Frederick H. Billings, a trustee of the College of California, suggested that a new campus site north of Oakland be named in honor of Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley. The university began admitting women the following year. In 1870, Henry Durant, founder of the College of California, became its first president. With the completion of North and South Halls in 1873, the university relocated to its Berkeley location with 167 male and 22 female students.

    Beginning in 1891, Phoebe Apperson Hearst made several large gifts to Berkeley, funding a number of programs and new buildings and sponsoring, in 1898, an international competition in Antwerp, Belgium, where French architect Émile Bénard submitted the winning design for a campus master plan.

    20th century

    In 1905, the University Farm was established near Sacramento, ultimately becoming the University of California-Davis. In 1919, Los Angeles State Normal School became the southern branch of the University, which ultimately became the University of California-Los Angeles. By 1920s, the number of campus buildings had grown substantially and included twenty structures designed by architect John Galen Howard.

    In 1917, one of the nation’s first ROTC programs was established at Berkeley and its School of Military Aeronautics began training pilots, including Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Berkeley ROTC alumni include former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Army Chief of Staff Frederick C. Weyand as well as 16 other generals. In 1926, future fleet admiral Chester W. Nimitz established the first Naval ROTC unit at Berkeley.

    In the 1930s, Ernest Lawrence helped establish the Radiation Laboratory (now DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US)) and invented the cyclotron, which won him the Nobel physics prize in 1939. Using the cyclotron, Berkeley professors and Berkeley Lab researchers went on to discover 16 chemical elements—more than any other university in the world. In particular, during World War II and following Glenn Seaborg’s then-secret discovery of plutonium, Ernest Orlando Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory began to contract with the U.S. Army to develop the atomic bomb. Physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer was named scientific head of the Manhattan Project in 1942. Along with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley founded and was then a partner in managing two other labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory (1943) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1952).

    By 1942, the American Council on Education ranked Berkeley second only to Harvard University (US) in the number of distinguished departments.

    In 1952, the University of California reorganized itself into a system of semi-autonomous campuses, with each campus given its own chancellor, and Clark Kerr became Berkeley’s first Chancellor, while Sproul remained in place as the President of the University of California.

    Berkeley gained a worldwide reputation for political activism in the 1960s. In 1964, the Free Speech Movement organized student resistance to the university’s restrictions on political activities on campus—most conspicuously, student activities related to the Civil Rights Movement. The arrest in Sproul Plaza of Jack Weinberg, a recent Berkeley alumnus and chair of Campus CORE, in October 1964, prompted a series of student-led acts of formal remonstrance and civil disobedience that ultimately gave rise to the Free Speech Movement, which movement would prevail and serve as precedent for student opposition to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

    In 1982, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) was established on campus with support from the National Science Foundation and at the request of three Berkeley mathematicians — Shiing-Shen Chern, Calvin Moore and Isadore M. Singer. The institute is now widely regarded as a leading center for collaborative mathematical research, drawing thousands of visiting researchers from around the world each year.

    21st century

    In the current century, Berkeley has become less politically active and more focused on entrepreneurship and fundraising, especially for STEM disciplines.

    Modern Berkeley students are less politically radical, with a greater percentage of moderates and conservatives than in the 1960s and 70s. Democrats outnumber Republicans on the faculty by a ratio of 9:1. On the whole, Democrats outnumber Republicans on American university campuses by a ratio of 10:1.

    In 2007, the Energy Biosciences Institute was established with funding from BP and Stanley Hall, a research facility and headquarters for the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, opened. The next few years saw the dedication of the Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, funded by a lead gift from billionaire Li Ka-shing; the opening of Sutardja Dai Hall, home of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society; and the unveiling of Blum Hall, housing the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Supported by a grant from alumnus James Simons, the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing was established in 2012. In 2014, Berkeley and its sister campus, Univerity of California-San Fransisco (US), established the Innovative Genomics Institute, and, in 2020, an anonymous donor pledged $252 million to help fund a new center for computing and data science.

    Since 2000, Berkeley alumni and faculty have received 40 Nobel Prizes, behind only Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) among US universities; five Turing Awards, behind only MIT and Stanford; and five Fields Medals, second only to Princeton University (US). According to PitchBook, Berkeley ranks second, just behind Stanford University, in producing VC-backed entrepreneurs.

    UC Berkeley Seal

  • richardmitnick 8:22 am on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers discover first supernova explosion of a Wolf-Rayet star", , , , Ground based Optical Astronomy, ,   

    From IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES) : “Astronomers discover first supernova explosion of a Wolf-Rayet star” 

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía

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


    Antonio Cabrera

    David García

    A Wolf-Rayet star and the nebula surrounding it captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Gal-Yam and colleagues are the first to discover a rare-type supernova originating from this star. Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

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

    An international study, with the participation of researchers from the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC or Grantecan) [below] affiliated to the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has discovered a first-of-its-kind exploding star, thought to have existed only in theory. The findings are being published today in Nature.

    In the not-so-distant past, the discovery of a supernova – an exploding star – was considered a rare occasion. Today, advanced measuring instruments and analysis methods make it possible to detect fifty such explosions on a daily basis, which has also increased the probability that researchers would be able to spot rarer types of explosions that have so far existed only as theoretical constructs.

    Recently, an international team of scientists, led by researcher Avishay Gal-Yam of The Weizmann Institute of Science (IL)’s Particle Physics and Astrophysics Department discovered a supernova that has never been observed before. It is an explosion originating from a Wolf-Rayet star, a type of highly evolved massive star that loses a large amount of mass due to intense stellar winds.

    Evolution of Wolf-Rayet stars

    The core of every star is fueled by nuclear fusion, wherein the nuclei of lighter elements fuse together to form heavier elements. The fusion of four hydrogen nuclei results in the formation of a helium atom, while several helium nuclei combined result in the formation of carbon, oxygen, and so on. The last element that will naturally form through nuclear fusion is iron, which is the most stable atomic nucleus. In normal circumstances, the energy produced at the star’s core maintains extremely high temperatures that cause its gaseous matter to expand, thus preserving the fine balance with the force of gravity, drawing the star’s mass toward its center. Once the star runs out of elements to fuse and stops producing energy, this balance is disrupted, leading either to a gaping black hole that tears open at the heart of the star, causing it to collapse in on itself, or to the star’s explosion, which releases the heavy elements, fused during its evolution, into the universe.

    The life spans of massive stars are considered relatively short, a few million years at most. The Sun, in comparison, has a life expectancy of about 10 billion years. The subsequent processes of nuclear fusion at the core of massive stars lead to their stratification, in which the heavy elements are concentrated at the core, and gradually lighter elements compose the outer layers.

    Wolf-Rayet stars are particularly massive stars that are missing one or more of the external layers that are made up of lighter elements. In this way, instead of hydrogen – the lightest element – the star’s surface is characterized by the presence of helium, or even carbon and heavier elements. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that strong winds blowing due to high pressure at the star’s envelope, disperse its outermost layer, thus causing the star to lose one layer after the other over several hundred thousand years.

    The first exploding star of its kind

    Despite their relatively short life spans and their state of progressive disintegration, analysis of the ever-growing number of supernova discoveries has led to the hypothesis that Wolf-Rayet stars simply don’t explode – they just quietly collapse into black holes – otherwise, we would have been able to observe one by now. This hypothesis, however, has just been shattered owing to the recent discovery.

    Credit: Weizmann Institute of Science.

    Spectroscopic analysis of the light emitted from the explosion led to the discovery of spectral signatures that are associated with specific elements. In this way, the researchers were able to show that the explosion contained carbon, oxygen and neon atoms, the latter an element that has not yet been observed in this manner in any supernova to date. Moreover, the researchers identified that the matter spouting cosmic radiation did not in itself participate in the blast but rather originated from the space surrounding the volatile star. This, in turn, strengthened their hypothesis in favor of strong winds that took part in stripping the star of its outer envelope.

    Since this observation is the first of its kind, Gal-Yam states that it may be too early to unequivocally determine the fate of all such stars. “We can’t say at this stage whether all Wolf-Rayet stars end their lives with a bang or not. It might be that some of them do collapse quietly into a black hole,” he says.

    Researchers estimate that the mass that dispersed during the explosion is probably equal to that of the Sun or a slightly smaller star; the star that exploded was significantly heavier – having a mass at least ten times greater than that of the Sun, so scientists wonder where the majority of mass end up.

    Gal-Yam suggests a midway scenario, in which both possible fates are fulfilled at the same time: once nuclear fusion is exhausted at the star’s core, an explosion takes place that blasts some of the mass into space, while the remaining mass collapses in on itself, forming a black hole. “One thing’s certain,” says Gal-Yam, “This is not the ‘silent’ collapse often referred to in the past.”

    The study has used observations made with different telescopes, including the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC or Grantecan) located at The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory | Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias • IAC(ES) (Garafía, La Palma). For Antonio Cabrera Lavers, head of scientific operations at Grantecan and affiliated researcher at the IAC who participated in the study, “It is worth mentioning that since this discovery was first made, another similar explosion of a Wolf-Rayet star has been observed, implying that this phenomenon is indeed not a single occurrence.”

    David García Álvarez, co-author of the paper and Grantecan astronomer affiliated to the IAC, believes that “It is possible that the better our detection and measurement instruments become, the more this type of explosion – today considered rare and exotic – will become a common sight.”

    Telescope operator at Grantecan, Antonio Marante Barreto, who also participated in the observations, adds that “Supernovae may seem like colossal events happening far, far away that they have no direct impact on our lives. But, truth be told, they are at the heart of life itself. Planet Earth and all its various and diverse lifeforms (including us) are the result of such an occurrence.”

    The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and the Observatories of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) are part of the Spanish network of Singular Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS).

    See the full article here .


    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 9:50 pm on January 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA catches 'intruder' redhanded in rarely detected stellar flyby event", , , , , , Ground based Optical Astronomy,   

    From ESO/NRAO/NAOJ/ALMA (CL): “ALMA catches ‘intruder’ redhanded in rarely detected stellar flyby event” 

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


    Valeria Foncea
    Education and Public Outreach Officer
    Joint ALMA Observatory Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6258
    Cell phone: +56 9 7587 1963
    Email: valeria.foncea@alma.cl

    Daisuke Iono
    Interim EA ALMA EPO officer
    Observatory, Tokyo – Japan
    Email: d.iono@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    All general references:
    ALMA Observatory (CL)
    European Southern Observatory(EU)
    National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP)
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)

    Full identification of an astronomical asset will be presented once in the first instance of that asset.

    Scientists have captured an intruder object disrupting the protoplanetary disk—birthplace of planets—in Z Canis Majors (Z CMa), a star in the Canis Majoris constellation. This artist’s impression shows the perturber leaving the star system, pulling a long stream of gas from the protoplanetary disk along with it. Observational data from the Subaru Telescope, Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, and Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array suggest the intruder object was responsible for the creati on of these gaseous streams, and its “visit” may have other as yet unknown impacts on the growth and development of planets in the star system. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), B. Saxton (NRAO/The Associated Universities Inc.(US)/The National Science Foundation(US))

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

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

    As stars grow up, they often interact with their sibling stars—stars growing up near to them in space—but have rarely been observed interacting with outside, or intruder, objects. Scientists have now made observations of an intruder object disturbing the protoplanetary disk around Z Canis Majoris, a star in the Canis Major constellation, which could have major implications for the development of baby planets. Perturbations, including long streams of gas, were observed in detail by the Subaru Telescope in the H-band, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in the Ka-band, and using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array’s Band 6 receiver. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Dagnello (NRAO/AUI/NSF), NAOJ.

    Scientists have made the first comprehensive multi-wavelength observational study of an intruder object disturbing the protoplanetary disk—or birthplace of planets—surrounding the Z Canis Majoris star (Z CMa) in the constellation Canis Major. This composite image includes data from the Subaru Telescope, Jansky Very Large Array, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, revealing in detail the perturbations, including long streams of material, made in Z CMa’s protoplanetary disk by the intruding object. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Dagnello (NRAO/AUI/NSF), NAOJ.

    Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) made a rare detection of a likely stellar flyby event in the Z Canis Majoris (Z CMa) star system. An intruder—not bound to the system—object came in close proximity to and interacted with the environment surrounding the binary protostar, causing the formation of chaotic, stretched-out streams of dust and gas in the disk surrounding it.

    While such intruder-based flyby events have previously been witnessed with some regularity in computer simulations of star formation, few convincing direct observations have ever been made, and until now, the events have remained largely theoretical.

    “Observational evidence of flyby events is difficult to obtain because these events happen fast and it is difficult to capture them in action. What we have done with our ALMA Band 6 and VLA observations is equivalent to capturing lightning striking a tree,” said Ruobing Dong, an astronomer at The University of Victoria (CA) and the principal investigator on the new study. “This discovery shows that close encounters between young stars harboring disks do happen in real life, and they are not just theoretical situations seen in computer simulations. Prior observational studies had seen flybys, but hadn’t been able to collect the comprehensive evidence we were able to obtain of the event at Z CMa.”

    Perturbations, or disturbances, like those at Z CMa aren’t typically caused by intruders, but rather by sibling stars growing up together in space. Hauyu Baobab Liu, an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics [中央研究院天文及天文物理研究所](TW) and a co-author on the paper, said, “Most often, stars do not form in isolation. The twins, or even triplets or quadruplets, born together may be gravitationally attracted and, as a result, closely approach each other. During these moments, some material on the stars’ protoplanetary disks may be stripped off to form extended gas streams that provide clues to astronomers about the history of past stellar encounters.”

    Nicolás Cuello, an astrophysicist and Marie Curie Fellow at The Grenoble Alps University [Université Grenoble Alpes](FR) and a co-author on the paper added that in the case of Z CMa, it was the morphology, or structure, of these streams that helped scientists to identify and pinpoint the intruder. “When a stellar encounter occurs, it causes changes in disk morphology—spirals, warps, shadows, etc.—that could be considered as flyby fingerprints. In this case, by looking very carefully at Z CMa’s disk, we revealed the presence of several flyby fingerprints.”

    These fingerprints not only helped scientists to identify the intruder, but also led them to consider what these interactions might mean for the future of Z CMa and the baby planets being born in the system, a process that so far has remained a mystery to scientists. “What we now know with this new research is that flyby events do occur in nature and that they have major impacts on the gaseous circumstellar disks, which are the birth cradles of planets, surrounding baby stars,” said Cuello. “Flyby events can dramatically perturb the circumstellar disks around participant stars, as we’ve seen with the production of long streamers around Z CMa.”

    Liu added, “These perturbers not only cause gaseous streams but may also impact the thermal history of the involved host stars, like Z CMa. This can lead to such violent events as accretion outbursts, and also impact the development of the overall star system in ways that we haven’t yet observed or defined.”

    Dong said that studying the evolution and growth of young star systems throughout the galaxy helps scientists to better understand our own Solar System’s origin. “Studying these types of events gives a window into the past, including what might have happened in the early development of our own Solar System, critical evidence of which is long since gone. Watching these events take place in a newly forming star system provides us with the information needed to say, ‘Ah ha! This is what may have happened to our own Solar System long ago.’ Right now, VLA and ALMA have given us the first evidence to solve this mystery, and the next generations of these technologies will open windows on the Universe that we have yet only dreamed of.”

    Recently, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) received approval for its Central Development Laboratory (CDL) to develop a multi-million dollar upgrade to ALMA’s Band 6 receiver, and the Observatory’s next generation VLA (ngVLA) received strong support from the astronomical community in the Astro2020 Decadal Survey.

    ngVLA to be located near the location of the NRAO Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (US) site on the plains of San Agustin, fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m) with additional mid-baseline stations currently spread over greater New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Mexico.

    Technological advancements for both telescopes will lead to better observations, and a potentially significant increase in the discovery of difficult-to-see objects, like Z CMa’s stellar intruder. Both projects are funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF). “These observations highlight the synergy that can come from a newer instrument working in concert with a more seasoned one, and how good a workhorse the ALMA Band 6 receiver is,” said Dr. Joe Pesce, astrophysicist and ALMA Program Director at the NSF. “I look forward to the even-better results the upgraded ALMA Band 6 receiver will enable.”

    Additional information

    These research results are published in Nature Astronomy.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) (CL) , an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) (EU), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) (CA) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

    ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by European Southern Observatory(EU), on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (US) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.
    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

    ALMA is a time machine!

    ALMA-In Search of our Cosmic Origins

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of 66 radio telescopes in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, which observe electromagnetic radiation at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. The array has been constructed on the 5,000 m (16,000 ft) elevation Chajnantor plateau – near the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory and the ESO Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (CL). This location was chosen for its high elevation and low humidity, factors which are crucial to reduce noise and decrease signal attenuation due to Earth’s atmosphere. ALMA provides insight on star birth during the early Stelliferous era and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation.

    ALMA is an international partnership among Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Chile. Costing about US$1.4 billion, it is the most expensive ground-based telescope in operation. ALMA began scientific observations in the second half of 2011 and the first images were released to the press on 3 October 2011. The array has been fully operational since March 2013.


    The initial ALMA array is composed of 66 high-precision antennas, and operates at wavelengths of 3.6 to 0.32 millimeters (31 to 1000 GHz). The array has much higher sensitivity and higher resolution than earlier submillimeter telescopes such as the single-dish James Clerk Maxwell Telescope or existing interferometer networks such as the Submillimeter Array or the Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique Plateau de Bure interferometer(FR) Plateau de Bure facility.

    East Asian Observatory James Clerk Maxwell Telescope MaunaKea Hawai’i(US) altitude 4207 m (13802 ft) above sea level.

    CFA Harvard Smithsonian Submillimeter Array on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,205 m (13,796 ft).

    IRAM-Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique Plateau de Bure interferometer (FR) at an elevation of 2550 meters, the telescope currently consists of ten antennas, each 15 meters in diameter.interferometer, Located in the French Alpes on the wide and isolated Plateau de Bure at an elevation of 2550 meters.

    The antennas can be moved across the desert plateau over distances from 150 m to 16 km, which will give ALMA a powerful variable “zoom”, similar in its concept to that employed at the centimetre-wavelength Very Large Array (VLA) site in New Mexico, United States.

    The high sensitivity is mainly achieved through the large numbers of antenna dishes that will make up the array.

    The telescopes were provided by the European, North American and East Asian partners of ALMA. The American and European partners each provided twenty-five 12-meter diameter antennas, that compose the main array. The participating East Asian countries are contributing 16 antennas (four 12-meter diameter and twelve 7-meter diameter antennas) in the form of the Atacama Compact Array (ACA), which is part of the enhanced ALMA.

    By using smaller antennas than the main ALMA array, larger fields of view can be imaged at a given frequency using ACA. Placing the antennas closer together enables the imaging of sources of larger angular extent. The ACA works together with the main array in order to enhance the latter’s wide-field imaging capability.

    ALMA has its conceptual roots in three astronomical projects — the Millimeter Array (MMA) of the United States, the Large Southern Array (LSA) of Europe, and the Large Millimeter Array (LMA) of Japan.

    The first step toward the creation of what would become ALMA came in 1997, when the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) agreed to pursue a common project that merged the MMA and LSA. The merged array combined the sensitivity of the LSA with the frequency coverage and superior site of the MMA. ESO and NRAO worked together in technical, science, and management groups to define and organize a joint project between the two observatories with participation by Canada and Spain (the latter became a member of ESO later).

    A series of resolutions and agreements led to the choice of “Atacama Large Millimeter Array”, or ALMA, as the name of the new array in March 1999 and the signing of the ALMA Agreement on 25 February 2003, between the North American and European parties. (“Alma” means “soul” in Spanish and “learned” or “knowledgeable” in Arabic.) Following mutual discussions over several years, the ALMA Project received a proposal from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) whereby Japan would provide the ACA (Atacama Compact Array) and three additional receiver bands for the large array, to form Enhanced ALMA. Further discussions between ALMA and NAOJ led to the signing of a high-level agreement on 14 September 2004 that makes Japan an official participant in Enhanced ALMA, to be known as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 6, 2003 and the ALMA logo was unveiled.

    During an early stage of the planning of ALMA, it was decided to employ ALMA antennas designed and constructed by known companies in North America, Europe, and Japan, rather than using one single design. This was mainly for political reasons. Although very different approaches have been chosen by the providers, each of the antenna designs appears to be able to meet ALMA’s stringent requirements. The components designed and manufactured across Europe were transported by specialist aerospace and astrospace logistics company Route To Space Alliance, 26 in total which were delivered to Antwerp for onward shipment to Chile.


    European Southern Observatory (EU) and the European Regional Support Centre
    National Science Foundation (US) via the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (US) and the North American ALMA Science Center (US)
    National Research Council Canada [Conseil national de recherches Canada] (CA)
    National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (JP) under the National Institute of Natural Sciences (自然科学研究機構, Shizenkagaku kenkyuukikou) (JP)
    ALMA-Taiwan at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics [中央研究院天文及天文物理研究所](TW)
    Republic of Chile

  • richardmitnick 12:53 pm on January 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cosmic explosions offer new clue to how stars become Black Holes", As a very massive star enters its "death throes" it starts shedding material at high speeds in dense "winds" or in much smaller eruptions., , , , Ground based Optical Astronomy, Most very large stars explode in a fiery supernova explosion that leaves behind a neutron star in a process frequently witnessed by Earth’s most powerful telescopes., Some-the most massive stars-are believed to undergo a less visible metamorphosis and transform into black holes without the same cosmic fireworks produced by smaller stars., , , The Liverpool John Moores University (UK), The space around the star is filled with enriched gas in the months or even years before the final explosion.   

    From The Liverpool John Moores University (UK): “Cosmic explosions offer new clue to how stars become Black Holes” 

    From The Liverpool John Moores University (UK)


    Scientists have witnessed for the first time exactly what happens to the most massive stars at the end of their lives.

    Most very large stars explode in a fiery supernova explosion that leaves behind a neutron star in a process frequently witnessed by Earth’s most powerful telescopes.

    But some – the most massive, 30 times the size of the Sun or more – are believed to undergo a less visible metamorphosis and transform into black holes without the same cosmic fireworks produced by smaller stars.

    Now, a group of astronomers have described what may be one of these in detail, by detecting unusual behaviour in the explosion of a star within a galaxy 1.2 billion light years from Earth.

    Big surprise

    “Normally, when a massive star dies, almost the entire star is blown apart by the explosion” explains Dr. Daniel Perley, an astrophysicist at Liverpool John Moores University and lead author on a paper accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

    “What we witnessed in this case is something quite different: a much briefer explosion caused by collisions between a small amount of material exiting the star at extremely high speeds with other material that had built up in its vicinity before it collapsed.”

    While collisions of this nature are not entirely unusual, the big surprise was what happened next.

    “Once the collisions were over, we had expected to see signs of the bulk of the star dissipating into space after being blown apart. But we saw no sign of this – suggesting only a tiny fraction of the star was released in the explosion. We infer that the rest of it collapsed inward to produce a massive black hole.”

    “Death throes”

    Although this explosion was very unusual, the team, which includes scientists from The Weizmann Institute of Science (IL), The Oskar Klein Centre (SE), The California Institute of Technology (US) and The University of California-Berkeley (US) believes this scenario may actually be quite common.

    They say that as a very massive star enters its “death throes” it starts shedding material at high speeds in dense “winds” or in much smaller eruptions. The result is that the space around the star is filled with enriched gas in the months or even years before the final explosion. However, the amount of material released varies from star to star.

    In this case, telescopes got lucky because there was a particularly large amount of pre-existing material around the star, which made the explosion very bright and easy to find.

    “The same scenario could happen far more frequently and not produce enough light for us to be able to detect most of the time,” added Dr. Perley, who is based at The Liverpool John Moores University Astrophysics Research Institute and collaborated on the research with Professor Chris Copperwheat.

    “In fact, if a similar explosion occurred without an environment rich in gas, we might never know it even happened.”

    Liverpool Telescope’s role

    The explosion was discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility at Palomar, California and tracked by the Liverpool Telescope on La Palma – a robotic scope which reacts immediately to events in the night-sky – the Hubble Space Telescope, the Nordic Optical Telescope, the Keck Observatory and NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

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

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

    2-metre Liverpool Telescope interior

    2-metre Liverpool Telescope at The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory | IAC Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES), altitude 2,363 m (7,753 ft)

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

    Nordic Optical Telescope [funded by Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and (since 1997) Iceland], at IAC Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES) The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in The Canary Islands[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias ](ES) Altitude 2,396 m (7,861 ft).

    W.M. Keck Observatory two ten meter telescopes operated by California Institute of Technology(US) and The University of California(US), at Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii USA, altitude 4,207 m (13,802 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

    Dr. Perley and collaborators unveiled their findings at a media conference for The American Astronomical Society(US) in California at 9.15pm (GMT).

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Liverpool John Moores University (UK) is a public research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It has 21,875 students, of which 18,375 are undergraduate students and 3,500 are postgraduate, making it the 33rd largest university in the UK by total student population.

    The university can trace its origins to the Liverpool Mechanics’ School of Arts, established in 1823 making it a contestant as the third-oldest university in England; this later merged to become Liverpool Polytechnic. In 1992, following an Act of Parliament the Liverpool Polytechnic became what is now The Liverpool John Moores University.

    It is a member of The University Alliance, a mission group of British universities which was established in 2007. and The European University Association.

    The Liverpool John Moores University now has more than 24,000 students from over 100 countries world-wide, 2,400 staff and 250 degree courses. The Liverpool John Moores University was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2005.

    Currently, Liverpool John Moores University is receiving more applications than previously seen; according to data in 2009, the total number of applications submitted to LJMU was 27,784.

    On 14 April 2008, Brian May was inducted into the university as the fourth Chancellor of The Liverpool John Moores University. May is also the lead guitarist for the rock band Queen. He replaced outgoing Chancellor Cherie Booth QC, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Honorary fellows in attendance at the ceremony included Sir Patrick Moore and Pete Postlethwaite. May was succeeded as Chancellor in 2013 by Sir Brian Leveson.

    The Liverpool John Moores University is a founding member of The Northern Consortium, an educational charity, owned by eleven universities in the north of England.


    The university is organised into five faculties (which are each split into schools or centres), most of the faculties are based at a particular campus site however, with many joint honours degrees and some conventional degrees, the faculties overlap meaning students’ degrees are from both faculties. The five faculties are:

    Faculty of Business & Law

    Liverpool Business School
    School of Law

    Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies

    Liverpool School of Art and Design
    Liverpool Screen School
    School of Education
    School of Humanities and Social Science
    School of Justice Studies
    Institute of Culture Capital

    Faculty of Health

    School of Nursing and Allied Health
    Public Health Institute

    Faculty of Science

    School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
    School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
    School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

    Faculty of Engineering and Technology

    Astrophysics Research Institute
    Department of Applied Mathematics
    Department of the Built Environment
    Department of Civil Engineering
    Department of Computer Science
    Department of Electronics and Electronic Engineering
    Department of Maritime and Mechanical Engineering
    LJMU Maritime Centre
    Centre for Entrepreneurship

    LJMU is highly ranked for teaching and research in Sports and Exercise Sciences. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) awarded LJMU £4.5 million over five years for the establishment of a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). The CETL award recognises LJMU’s record for Physical Education; Dance; Sport and Exercises Sciences. LJMU is the only United Kingdom university to be awarded an Ofsted Grade A in Physical Education and it is also the premier institution for both teaching and research in Sport and Exercise Sciences.


    In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), LJMU reported notable research strengths in general engineering and sports-related sciences. By the 2008 RAE, LJMU was the top-performing post-92 university for Anthropology; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; General Engineering; Physics (Astrophysics) and Sports-Related Studies. According to the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2014 (RAE 2014), every unit of assessment submitted was rated as at least 45% internationally excellent or better.

    Liverpool John Moores University was included in the new 2013 Times Higher Education 100 under 50, ranking 72 out of 100. The list aims to show the rising stars in the global academy under the age of 50 years.

    First Destination Survey results show that 89% of LJMU graduates are in employment or undertaking postgraduate study within six months of graduating.

  • richardmitnick 2:07 pm on January 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cosmic 'Spider' Found to Be Source of Powerful Gamma-Rays", About 80 extremely low-mass white dwarfs are known but this is the first precursor to an extremely low-mass white dwarf found that is likely orbiting a neutron star., , Gamma ray source called 4FGL J1120.0-2204, Ground based Optical Astronomy, , Most millisecond pulsars emit gamma rays and X-rays., , , Vhite dwarf stars   

    From The National Science Foundation (US)’ NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) (US): “Cosmic ‘Spider’ Found to Be Source of Powerful Gamma-Rays” 

    From The National Science Foundation (US)’ NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) (US)

    12 January 2022

    Samuel Swihart
    National Research Council Research Associate
    The National Academy of Sciences (US), resident at The Naval Research Laboratory (US)
    +1 269 944 9282

    Amanda Kocz
    NSF’s NOIRLab Communications
    +1 520 318 8591

    Investigated by the SOAR Telescope [below] operated by NOIRLab , the binary system is the first to be found at the penultimate stage of its evolution.

    Using the 4.1-meter SOAR Telescope in Chile, astronomers have discovered the first example of a binary system where a star in the process of becoming a white dwarf is orbiting a neutron star that has just finished turning into a rapidly spinning pulsar. The pair, originally detected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, is a “missing link” in the evolution of such binary systems.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Fermi Large Area Telescope.
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope.

    A bright, mysterious source of gamma rays has been found to be a rapidly spinning neutron star — dubbed a millisecond pulsar — that is orbiting a star in the process of evolving into an extremely-low-mass white dwarf. These types of binary systems are referred to by astronomers as “spiders” because the pulsar tends to “eat” the outer parts of the companion star as it turns into a white dwarf.

    The duo was detected by astronomers using the 4.1-meter SOAR Telescope on Cerro Pachón in Chile, part of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)[below], a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab.

    NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope [above] has been cataloging objects in the Universe that produce copious gamma rays since its launch in 2008, but not all of the sources of gamma rays that it detects have been classified. One such source, called 4FGL J1120.0-2204 by astronomers, was the second brightest gamma-ray source in the entire sky that had gone unidentified, until now.

    Astronomers from the United States and Canada, led by Samuel Swihart of the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., used the Goodman Spectrograph on the SOAR Telescope to determine the true identity of 4FGL J1120.0-2204.

    Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph. Credit: NOIRLab.

    The gamma-ray source, which also emits X-rays, as observed by NASA’s Swift and ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescopes, has been shown to be a binary system consisting of a “millisecond pulsar” that spins hundreds of times per second, and the precursor to an extremely-low-mass white dwarf. The pair are located over 2600 light-years away.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) XMM Newton X-ray telescope. http://sci.esa.int/xmm-newton/

    The Michigan State University (US)’s dedicated time on the SOAR Telescope, its location in the southern hemisphere and the precision and stability of the Goodman spectrograph, were all important aspects of this discovery,” says Swihart.

    “This is a great example of how mid-sized telescopes in general, and SOAR in particular, can be used to help characterize unusual discoveries made with other ground and space-based facilities”, notes Chris Davis, NOIRLab Program Director at The National Science Foundation (US). “We anticipate that SOAR will play a crucial role in the follow-up of many other time-variable and multi-messenger sources over the coming decade.”

    The optical spectrum of the binary system measured by the Goodman spectrograph showed that light from the proto-white dwarf companion is Doppler shifted — alternately shifted to the red and the blue — indicating that it orbits a compact, massive neutron star every 15 hours.

    Doppler method – The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL).

    “The spectra also allowed us to constrain the approximate temperature and surface gravity of the companion star,” says Swihart, whose team was able to take these properties and apply them to models describing how binary star systems evolve. This allowed them to determine that the companion is the precursor to an extremely-low-mass white dwarf, with a surface temperature of 8200 °C (15,000 °F), and a mass of just 17% that of the Sun.

    When a star with a mass similar to that of the Sun or less reaches the end of its life, it will run out of the hydrogen used to fuel the nuclear fusion processes in its core. For a time, helium takes over and powers the star, causing it to contract and heat up, and prompting its expansion and evolution into a red giant that is hundreds of millions of kilometers in size. Eventually, the outer layers of this swollen star can be accreted onto a binary companion and nuclear fusion halts, leaving behind a white dwarf about the size of Earth and sizzling at temperatures exceeding 100,000 °C (180,000 °F).

    The proto-white dwarf in the 4FGL J1120.0-2204 system hasn’t finished evolving yet. “Currently it’s bloated, and is about five times larger in radius than normal white dwarfs with similar masses,” says Swihart. “It will continue cooling and contracting and, in about two billion years, it will look identical to many of the extremely low mass white dwarfs that we already know about.”

    Millisecond pulsars twirl hundreds of times every second. They are spun up by accreting matter from a companion, in this case from the star that became the white dwarf. Most millisecond pulsars emit gamma rays and X-rays, often when the pulsar wind, which is a stream of charged particles emanating from the rotating neutron star, collides with material emitted from a companion star.

    About 80 extremely low-mass white dwarfs are known, but “this is the first precursor to an extremely low-mass white dwarf found that is likely orbiting a neutron star,” says Swihart. Consequently, 4FGL J1120.0-2204 is a unique look at the tail-end of this spin-up process. All the other white dwarf–pulsar binaries that have been discovered are well past the spinning-up stage.

    “Follow-up spectroscopy with the SOAR Telescope, targeting unassociated Fermi gamma-ray sources, allowed us to see that the companion was orbiting something,” says Swihart. “Without those observations, we couldn’t have found this exciting system.”

    Science paper:
    The Astrophysical Journal

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    What is NOIRLab?

    NSF’s NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) (US), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the international Gemini Observatory (US) (a facility of National Science Foundation (US), NRC–Canada, ANID–Chile, MCTIC–Brazil, MINCyT–Argentina, and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute [한국천문연구원] (KR)), NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory (in cooperation with DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (US)). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) (US) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawaiʻi, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.

    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab’s Gemini North Frederick C Gillett telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory Hawai’i (US) Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

    NSF NOIRLab(US) NOAO(US) Gemini South telescope (US) on the summit of Cerro Pachón at an altitude of 7200 feet. There are currently two telescopes commissioned on Cerro Pachón, Gemini South and the Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope. A third, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, is under construction.

    NSF (US) NOIRLab (US) NOAO (US) Vera C. Rubin Observatory [LSST] 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 NSF (US) NOIRLab (US) NOAO (US) AURA (US) Gemini South Telescope and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope.

    Carnegie Institution for Science (US)’s Las Campanas Observatory on Cerro Pachón in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile in the Atacama Region approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena,near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

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

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

    The NOAO-Community Science and Data Center(US)

    The NSF NOIRLab Vera C. Rubin Observatory. It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawaiʻi, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.

    This work is supported in part by The Department of Energy (US) Office of Science (US). The Dark Energy Survey is a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions in seven countries. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the US Department of Energy Office of Science, The National Science Foundation (US), Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, The Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), The Higher Education Funding Council for England (UK), The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH), The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (US) at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US), The Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (US) at The University of Chicago (US), Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics at The Ohio State University (US), Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at The Texas A&M University (US), Brazil Funding Authority for Studies and Projects for Scientific and Technological Development [Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos ] (BR) , Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio de Janeiro [Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro](BR), The Ministry of Science and Technology [Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico and Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia(BR), German Research Foundation [Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft](DE), and the collaborating institutions in the Dark Energy Survey.

    The National Center for Supercomputing Applications(US) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, The University of Illinois (US) faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one-third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

    DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (US) is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A Department of Energy (US) Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a joint partnership between The University of Chicago (US) and The Universities Research Association, Inc (US).

    The DOE Office of Science (US) is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

  • richardmitnick 10:00 pm on January 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New treasure trove of globular clusters holds clues about galaxy evolution", , , , , Ground based Optical Astronomy, ,   

    From The University of Arizona (US) : “New treasure trove of globular clusters holds clues about galaxy evolution” 

    From The University of Arizona (US)


    Daniel Stolte
    Science Writer, University Communications

    Using observations of the nearby elliptical galaxy Centaurus A, a team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona found an unprecedented number of possible globular clusters – old, dense groups of thousands of stars that all formed at the same time.

    Centaurus A is an elliptical galaxy located about 13 million light-years from Earth. This color composite image reveals the lobes and jets emanating from the active galaxy’s central black hole. ESO Wide Field Imager on MG/ESO 2.2 millimeter telescope at Cerro LaSilla (Optical); A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre)/ESO MPIfR Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (CL)/ R.Kraft et al. (X-ray) NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory(US).

    WFI Wide Field Imager on the 2.2 meter MPG/ESO telescope at Cerro LaSilla (CL).

    MPG Institute for Astronomy [Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie](DE)European Southern Observatory(EU)2.2 meter telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO operates the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, APEX, for The MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) at one of the highest observatory sites on Earth, at an elevation of 5100 metres, high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region.

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

    A survey completed using a combination of ground and space-based telescopes yielded a treasure trove of previously unknown globular clusters – old, dense groups of thousands of stars that all formed at the same time – in the outer regions of the elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. The work presents a significant advance in understanding the architecture and cosmological history of this galaxy and offers new insights into galaxy formation in general and the distribution of dark matter in the universe.

    Allison Hughes, a doctoral student in the University of Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory, is the first author of a peer-reviewed paper summarizing the findings, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal in June. She presented the study Tuesday during an American Astronomical Society (US) press briefing. While the in-person AAS 239th meeting was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, press briefings were held virtually on Zoom.

    Centaurus A, also known as NGC 5128, is a visually stunning, elliptical galaxy featuring a relativistic jet spewing from a supermassive black hole at its center and spectacular streams of scattered stars left behind by past collisions and mergers with smaller galaxies orbiting Centaurus A. Located in the constellation Centaurus, 13 million light-years from Earth, Centaurus A is too far away to allow astronomers to see individual stars, but star clusters can be identified and used as “fossil evidence” of the galaxy’s tumultuous evolution.

    Hughes and her colleagues present a new catalog of approximately 40,000 globular cluster candidates in Centaurus A, recommending follow-up observations focused on a set of 1,900 that are most likely to be true globular clusters. The researchers surveyed globular cluster candidates out to a projected radius of approximately 150 kiloparsecs, nearly half a million light-years from the galaxy’s center. The data combines observations from the following sources: the Panoramic Imaging Survey of Centaurus and Sculptor, or PISCeS; Gaia, a space observatory of the European Space Agency; and the NOAO Source Catalog, which combines publicly accessible images from telescopes in both hemispheres covering nearly the entire sky.

    Centaurus A has been a leading target for extragalactic globular cluster studies due to its richness and proximity to Earth, but the majority of studies have focused on the inner 40 kiloparsecs (about 130,500 light-years) of the galaxy, Hughes explained, leaving the outer reaches of the galaxy largely unexplored. Ranking the candidates based on the likelihood that they are true globular clusters, the team found that approximately 1,900 are highly likely to be confirmed as such and should be the highest priority for follow-up spectroscopic confirmation.

    “We’re using the Gaia satellite, which mostly focuses on surveys within our own galaxy, the Milky Way, in a new way in that we link up its observations with telescopes on the ground, in this case the Magellan Clay telescope in Chile and the Anglo-Australian Telescope in Australia.”

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

    Carnegie Institution for Science (US) Las Campanas Clay Magellan telescope, located at Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory(US)(CL), approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    Carnegie Institution for Science (US)’s Las Campanas Observatory in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile in the Atacama Region approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena,near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The Australian Astronomical Observatory AAT Anglo Australian Telescope, at Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia, at an altitude of 1,165 m (3,822 ft).

    Centaurus A’s structure tells astronomers that it went through several major mergers with other galaxies, leading to its glob-like appearance with river-like regions that have many more stars than the surrounding areas, Hughes said. Providing the closest example of an elliptical galaxy, Centaurus A offers astronomers an opportunity to study up close a galaxy that is very unlike our own. The Milky Way, as well as its closest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, are both spiral galaxies.
    Credit: R. Hurt/NASA JPL-Caltech(US) Milky Way The bar is visible in this image.

    Andromeda Galaxy Messier 31 with Messier 32 -a satellite galaxy Credit:Terry Hancock- Down Under Observatory (US).

    [The future:

    Milkdromeda with Andromeda on the left-Earth’s night sky in 3.75 billion years. No one will be here on Earth to see it. Maybe humans will have escaped the Sun’s becoming a Red Giant and observe it from a new home. Credit: NASA.

    The Milky Way and Andromeda will merge in 4-5 biollion years. After quite some time (millions of years) when the merger is complete the result will be an elliptical galaxy.]

    With their familiar, pinwheel-like appearance, spiral galaxies may seem like the “typical” galaxy, but it turns out that their less orderly elliptical cousins outnumber them in the cosmos.

    “Centaurus A may look like an odd outlier, but that’s only because we can get close enough to see its nitty gritty details,” Hughes said. “More likely than not, both elliptical and spiral galaxies like the Milky Way are messier than we realize as soon as we look a little bit deeper than just on the surface.”

    Globular clusters serve as evidence of processes that happened a long time ago, Hughes said.

    “For example, if you see a line of these globular clusters that all have similar metallicity (chemical composition) and move with similar radial velocity, we know they must have come from the same dwarf galaxy or some similar object that collided with Centaurus A and is now in the process of being assimilated.”

    Star clusters form from dense patches of gas in the interstellar medium. Almost every galaxy has globular clusters, including the Milky Way, which boasts around 150 of them, but most stars are not arranged in such clumps. By studying globular clusters, astronomers can gather clues about the galaxy hosting them, such as its mass, its history of interactions with nearby galaxies and even the distribution of Dark Matter within, according to Hughes.

    “Globular clusters are interesting because they can be used as tracers of structures and processes in other galaxies where we can’t resolve individual stars,” Hughes said. “They hold on to chemical signatures, such as the elemental composition of their individual stars, so they tell us something about the environment in which they formed.”

    The researchers specifically looked for globular clusters far from the center of the galaxy because Centaurus A’s substructure hints at a large, undiscovered population of such clusters, Hughes explained. Previous observations had found just under 600 clusters in the more central regions, but the outer regions of the galaxy had remained largely uncharted.

    “We looked farther out and discovered more than 100 new clusters already, and most likely there are more, because we haven’t even finished processing the data,” Hughes said. “We can then use that data to reconstruct the architecture and movements in that galaxy, and also figure out its mass. From that, we can eventually subtract all its stars and see what’s left – that invisible mass must be its Dark Matter.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    As of 2019, the The University of Arizona (US) enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association(US). The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university (Arizona State University(US) was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by they time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.


    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally. The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech(US)-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US), a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) just outside Tucson. Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope(CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, 21 meters, to be at the NOIRLab(US) National Optical Astronomy Observatory(US) Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) NOIRLab(US) NOAO(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US) mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory(US), a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory(US), operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    The National Science Foundation(US) funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why the UA is a university unlike any other.

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

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