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  • richardmitnick 12:52 pm on June 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , DAVID SOBRAL, IAC   

    From IAC: DAVID SOBRAL interview 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    Jun. 8, 2017
    DAVID SOBRAL: “There is so much to be discovered about the universe that astronomy is certainly an area worth pursuing”

    1
    Astronomer Dr David Sobral is on a quest to trace the origins of the Universe and understand how galaxies like our own formed and evolved from the end of the cosmic dark ages to galaxies we see today, much like our own Milky Way. He credits a boyhood passion for stargazing in the dark skies of Alentejo (Portugal), coupled with early help from the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) and Lisbon’s Astronomical Observatory. Since 2016, David Sobral is part of the new Observational Astrophysics group at Lancaster University (United Kingdom). This young astronomer has obtained very high impact results, including measuring, with a single technique, the decline of the star formation history of the Universe, and e.g. the discovery of the CR7 galaxy, the brightest of the early Universe and with hints of light sources similar to first generation stars or black holes. David Sobral recently visited the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) within the Severo Ochoa Program of Visiting Researchers, which seeks to deepen scientific collaborations among leading research institutions.

    By Viktor Rivera and Elena Mora (IAC)

    “Looking in a different direction is always worth it, even if you think you won’t find anything. That’s when we discover the unknown unknowns”

    “Apart from being an exciting way to figure out what Science is all about, astronomy really teaches us to be humble”

    “Astronomy will provide future generations with valuable tools that can be applied in virtually all areas of society and that will help making the world a better place”.

    Question: What projects are you currently working here at the IAC?

    Answer: Currently I’m collaborating with the “Estallidos” group. We have a lot of questions in common and we all want to understand how different kinds of galaxies form, evolve and how they work, from the early/young Universe until now. In order to do that we need to identify galaxies at a variety of cosmic times, so we can then study them in detail and try to understand how they evolve. In practice, we use some of the largest telescopes in the world, to time travel to the early universe and witness how those galaxies looked like and what physical processes were happening at different times. I’m confident that together with the “Estallidos” group we will be able to join forces and make a few more contributions towards our understanding with telescopes in La Palma.

    Q: What impression did the IAC give you after your visit?

    A: I think it is quite impressive. I visited the IAC for the first time in 2012 and was already impressed, specifically because in Portugal, where I am from, the astronomy community is completely different. We don’t have and we never had our own large telescopes. There is no institute like this that competes with the best international ones. It is really exciting to have people working on all different areas as well, including on the instrumentation for the telescopes here in the Canary Islands.

    Q: You led the team that discovered the “CR7” galaxy, the brightest galaxy of the early universe with hints of the first generations of stars. What made this discovery so special to the point of being among the top ten of discoveries of ESO?

    A: This was quite an exciting discovery which is part of the research I’ve been pushing for and leading over the last three to four years with my outstanding students. It essentially began when we started looking at very early galaxies in the very distant universe. Instead of using the Hubble Space telescope (HST) and looking at a very tiny area in the sky, we wanted to do it differently and explore a new parameter space.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    We were aiming to look for bright rare galaxies in the early universe so it was clear we needed to cover very large areas, and would not be able to go as deep as observations in tiny areas. This was of course very challenging and led to quite a lot of dead ends along the way, but we kept improving our methods, persevered, and in the end showed that it really pays off.

    We have now found quite a few very bright galaxies in the early Universe, which we are studying in detail, and showed that they are about 30 times more common than previously thought. The brightest one we have found so far in a specific hydrogen line is the galaxy we have called COSMOS Redshift 7 or “CR7”. “C” is because it was discovered in the field that is called “COSMOS”. “R” is for its redshift of 7, which basically give us the distance to the object. That is why we called it “CR7”. We thought we should give it a name instead of been just the coordinates that people will never remember. At the same time, we also understood that it could be quite nice for outreach purposes and to reach a much wider public, due the potential association with the football player Cristiano Ronaldo. In addition, the brightest in the ultra-violet of these galaxies was also the fifth to be discovered, and we named it “VR7”, in honour of Vera Rubin, astronomer who found outstanding evidence for dark matter.

    Q: Instead of conducting a deep study of a small area you broadened the scope to produce the widest survey of very distant galaxies ever attempted. Why did you chose to do that?

    A: I guess that the fundamental reason has to do with the way I like to do research. If everyone else is doing something, I see no point in also doing it, unless we come up with a new twist or a new approach. What we usually do is to take different paths, try new methods, new approaches, and also take risks when we can. Looking in a different direction is always worth it, even if you think you won’t find anything. That’s when we discover the unknown unknowns. Of course, this approach makes things much harder, and many searches fail.

    Q: But that time was successful.

    A: Yes, after a lot of attempts and a lot of hard work, we were able to show that large area surveys can be very successful. That really encouraged us to continue and expand our surveys.

    Q: Would you encourage future generations to study astronomy? Which message would you give them?

    A: Definitely! Astronomy is a really exciting way to figure out what Science is all about and, as a bonus, it really teaches us to be humble. Astronomy shows us how meaningless we are in the face of the vast Universe; yet, together, as a community, we can make outstanding discoveries of sources billions of light-years away. And while it’s true that we’ve discovered so much about the Universe, most of it is still completely unknown. There is actually so much to be discovered that it is certainly an area worth pursuing. It will also provide future generations with valuable tools that can be applied in virtually all areas of society and that will help making the world a better place.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teaching and outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.


    Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 10:46 am on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , IAC,   

    From IAC Lee: ” The Chandra Observatory of NASA found new evidence about the origin of supernovas. The supernova remnant of Tycho” 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    5.18.17
    Manu Garcia‎

    1
    The supernova remnant of Tycho. Credit: NASA / Cxc / Chinese Academy of sciences / f. Lu et al.

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    This image is an image of the supernova remnant of Tycho, Tycho for short, contains new evidence of what was the mechanism that originated the supernova explosion in the skies of earth 1.572 CE. Tycho originated by a supernova explosion type 1a supernovae, these are used to measure the cosmic distance and the expansion of the universe due to his tremendous starshine.

    X-Rays of medium and low energy is represented in red showing us the remains of the debris from the supernova explosion, x-Rays of high-Energy Blue represented reveal the shockwave of the blast, a shell of high-energy electrons. Also shown in bottom left region of tycho a blue bow of x-Ray emission. Several lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that this bow is due to a shock wave created when a white dwarf exploded and blew the surface material from a companion star nearby. Previously, the studies with optical telescopes have revealed a star within the remnant that is moving much more quickly than their neighbours, indicating that it could be the companion of the white dwarf that erupted giving the supernova explosion a cosmic kick to this star who made That displace so abruptly.

    Other details of the arch support the idea of who was cast out away from the companion star. For example, the emission of x-Ray shows a remnant of the “Shadow” apparent next to the arch, consistent with the blocking of the remains of the explosion by the cone of expansion of the material he was robbed of his partner. This shadow is more obvious in x-Ray very high energy showing traces of iron.

    This evidence supported a popular scenario to be triggered a type ia supernova, where a white dwarf extracted material from a companion star “normal”, or similar to the sun, until it produces a thermonuclear explosion. In the other main competitive theory, happens a fusion of two white dwarfs, and in this case, no star partner or evidence of material ripped from a partner must exist. Both scenarios can happen really under different conditions, but the final result of Chandra of tycho supports the previous one.

    The shape of a bow is different from any other feature seen in the remnant. Other features inside the remnant include the stripes announced recently that have a different way and you think to be features in the wave of external explosion caused by the acceleration of the cosmic ray.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition
    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

     
  • richardmitnick 6:26 pm on March 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , IAC, Jellyfish by Cesar Blanco   

    From IAC: “Jellyfish by Cesar Blanco” 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    1

    In the picture above, we have an excellent work of Cesar Blanco Gonzalez, from deep sky show IC 443, which is a supernova remnant located in the constellation of Gemini. Is believed to have originated from a supernova that exploded in a period of between 3.000 and 30.000 years ago, and that the core of the star parent responsible for this event has formed the neutron star cxou j061705. 3 + 222.127. it is a subject very studied, due to their interaction with other molecular clouds. IC 443 has an angular diameter of 50 Arc minutes, at a distance of 5.000 Light-years is equivalent to a real size of about 70 Light-years away. The Nebula, in both the visible as in radio waves, is shaped like a shell, which consists of two halves with different radio, and in the center, a third layer nebula, originally attributed to IC 443, is now recognised as the Supernova Remnant oldest called G189. 6 + 3.3. through observations with the observatory chandra x-Ray and the xmm-Newton, he has identified a pulsar near the southern bypass.

    IC 443 is located in the direction of the galactic plane. Many objects are found in this area of the sky, as the region hii s249, and several young stars. The Nebula thrives in an environment rich and complex, with strong influence over its morphology; comments in long wavelengths conducted in this area of sky shows the presence of mysterious gradients and different shapes of the clouds. We know that massive stars have a relatively short life (about 30 million years ago) and end their lives when they are still within the cloud parent; the most massive stars (Stars of the class or) illuminate the environment with his mighty wind Stellar.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, Spain
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 11:55 am on March 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , IAC, Primordial black holes, Quasar microlensing   

    From IAC: “A new look at the nature of dark matter” 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    Mar. 2, 2017
    Evencio Mediavilla (IAC)
    emg@iac.es
    +34 922 605 318

    A new study suggests that the gravitational waves detected by the LIGO experiment must have come from black holes generated during the collapse of stars, and not in the earliest phases of the Universe.

    The nature of the dark matter which apparently makes up 80% of the mass of the particles in the universe is still one of the great unsolved mysteries of present day sciences. The lack of experimental evidence, which could allow us to identify it with one or other of the new elementary particles predicted by the theorists, as well as the recent discovery of gravitational waves coming from the merging of two black holes (with masses some 30 times that of the Sun) by LIGO the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) have revived interest in the possibility that dark matter might take the form of primordial black holes with masses between 10 and 1000 times that of the Sun.

    LIGO bloc new
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project
    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Primordial black holes, which would have originated in high density fluctuations of matter during the first moments of the Universe, are in principle very interesting. As opposed to those which form from stars, whose abundance and masses are limited by models of stellar formation and evolution, primordial black holes could exist with a wide range of masses and abundances. They would be found in the halos of galaxies, and the occasional meeting between two of them having masses 30 times that of the Sun, followed by a subsequent merger, might have given rise to the gravitational waves detected by LIGO.

    “Microlensing effect”

    1

    If there were an appreciable number of black holes in the halos of galaxies, some of them intercept the light coming towards us from a distant quasar. Because of their strong gravitational fields, their gravity could concentrate the rays of light, and cause an increase in the apparent brightness of the quasar. This effect, known as “gravitational microlensing” is bigger the bigger the mass of the black hole, and the probability of detecting it would be bigger the more the presence of these black holes. So although the black holes themselves cannot be directly detected, they would be detected by increases in the brightness of observed quasars.

    On this assumption, a group of scientists has used the microlensing effect on quasars to estimate the numbers of primordial black holes of intermediate mass in galaxies. The study, led by the researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), Evencio Mediavilla Gradolph, shows that normal stars like the Sun cause the microlensing effects, thus ruling out the existence of a large population of primordial black holes with intermediate mass.

    Computer simulations

    Using computer simulations, they have compared the rise in brightness, in visible light and in X-rays, of 24 distant quasars with the values predicted by the microlensing effect. They have found that the strength of the effect is relatively low, as would be expected from objects with a mass between 0.05 and 0.45 times that of the Sun, and well below that of intermediate mass black holes. In addition they have estimated that these microlenses form roughly 20% of the total mass of a galaxy, equivalent to the mass expected to be found in stars. So their results show that, with high probability, it is normal stars and not primordial intermediate mass black holes which are responsible for the observed microlensing.

    “This study implies “says Evencio Mediavilla, “that it is not at all probable that black holes with masses between 10 and 100 times the mass of the Sun make up a significant fraction of the dark matter”. For that reason the black holes whose merging was detected by LIGO were probably formed by the collapse of stars, and were not primordial black holes”.

    Astronomers participating in this research include Jorge Jiménez-Vicente and José Calderón-Infante (University of Granada) and José A. Muñoz Lozano, and Héctor Vives-Arias, (University of Valencia).

    Article: Limits on the Mass and Abundance of Primordial Black Holes from Quasar Gravitational Microlensing, by E. Mediavilla et al. Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Reference: E. Mediavilla et al 2017 ApJL 836 L18.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on October 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , IAC,   

    From Rafa Leon at IAC: The Helix Nebula 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    1

    The Helix Nebula, are already 10 shots that are few but it’s what’s up, this is the first that sack of this object,
    The Helix Nebula, HELIX NEBULA OR NGC 7293, is a planetary nebula in the constellation of Aquarius, approximately 680 light years away. It is one of the planetary nebulae closest to the earth and was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding before 1824., they look very similar to the ring nebula (M57) and its physical characteristics are similar to those of the Dumbbell Nebula (M27 ).

    This nebula is an example of a planetary nebula formed by a sun-like star in the last stages of his life. The gases expelled by the star appear from our perspective as if we saw a propeller from the top, where it comes from his name. The Remnant Star is a white dwarf. The age of the nebula, based on his pace of expansion, is estimated at about 10,600 years or so.

    A team of astronomers has established that the structure of this nebula is more complex than what was initially believed, consisting of two discs gaseous placed almost perpendicular in relation to each other. X-ray observations provide evidence on the existence of a companion star. So, one of the disks may be perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the dying star, while the other is located in the orbital plane of the two stars. It was also believed that the records were formed during two different periods in where there was loss of mass on the part of the dying star. So, while the inner disc was formed about 6600 years ago, the outside came 12 000 years ago. In addition, the inner disc is expanding something faster than the outside.

    Despite his apparent large size, it is a difficult object to see due to its spread, requiring dark skies and the use of instruments as light as possible, like binoculars or a telescope operating at Low Magnification. A Nebular Filter attached to the eye of the telescope can help enough to your comment.

    Rafael Leon Batista © 2016 Gran Canaria

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 12:44 pm on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , IAC, NGC 7129   

    From J. Marcoleta at IAC: “Young Suns of NGC 7129” 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    1
    Credit: Robert Gendler, Roberto Colombari, Eric Recurt, Adam Block.
    Additional Data: Subaru (NAOJ).

    Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129, some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus.

    While these stars are at a relatively tender age, only a few million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a similar stellar nursery some five billion years ago. Most noticeable in the sharp image are the lovely bluish dust clouds that reflect the youthful starlight.

    But the compact, deep red crescent shapes are also markers of energetic, young stellar objects. Known as Herbig-Haro objects, their shape and color is characteristic of glowing hydrogen gas shocked by jets streaming away from newborn stars. Paler, extended filaments of reddish emission mingling with the bluish clouds are caused by dust grains effectively converting the invisible ultraviolet starlight to visible red light through photoluminesence.

    Ultimately the natal gas and dust in the region will be dispersed, the stars drifting apart as the loose cluster orbits the center of the Galaxy. The processing of this remarkable composite image has revealed the faint red strands of emission at the upper right. They are recently recognized as a likely supernova remnant and are currently being analyzed by Bo Reipurth (Univ. Hawaii) who obtained the image data at the Subaru telescope.

    NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USANAOJ Subaru Telescope interior
    NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USA

    At the estimated distance of NGC 7129, this telescopic view spans over 40 light-years.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, Spain
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 12:16 pm on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , IAC, Superluminous supernovas,   

    From IAC: “Light shed on a superluminous supernova which appears to have exploded twice” 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    Jul. 11, 2016
    By Javier Pérez Barbuzano

    1
    A supernova illustration. Credit: NASA

    Supernovae are among the most violent phenomena in the universe. They are huge explosions which put an end to the lives of certain types of stars. These explosions release immense amounts of energy, so much that sometimes we can see them from Earth with the naked eye, as points of light which for a short time are brighter than all the millions of stars in the galaxies where they are found. After an intense burst of light lasting a few weeks, supernovae start to fade gradually until they have effectively burned out.

    2
    This graph shows the evolution of the apparent brigntness of the new supernova it is shown according to data collected by the Dark Energy Survey. It can be seen how an initial increase in brightness occurs which is then reduced for several days. Subsequently, the brightness increases again during the main sequence of the supernova. Credit: Mathew Smith.

    There are several different types of supernovae. The astronomers classify them by their observable characteristics, which in turn give clues about how they have originated, among the most well known are those of Type Ia, which occur when a white dwarf (which is the final state of a star slightly more massive than the Sun) absorbs mass from another nearby star, or merges with another white dwarf. When that happens its mass grows until it becomes unstable (1), and a thermonuclear explosion is triggered. As these events produce a characteristic luminosity, they can be used by astronomers as “standard candles” to measure large distances in the universe, in a similar way to that used by sailors to infer the distance of a known lighthouse at night by estimating its brightness.

    The other types of supernovae are produced when very massive stars exhaust their fuel, so that nuclear fusion in their interiors comes to an end. This fusion not only causes stars to emit light and heat, but keeps them in equilibrium so that they don’t collapse under their own gravity. When the fusion stops, the centre of the star collapses and the outer layers are flung outwards with violence, causing a supernova, while the centre implodes, leaving a neutron star, or for very massive stars, a black hole.

    In recent years a new type of supernova has been discovered, about which still very little is known, and which are brighter and longer lasting, so that they have been called superluminous supernovae (SLSN). Although only about a dozen of them are known, an international group of researchers has been able to use the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) to observe a superluminous supernova almost from the moment it occurred. The research has revealed surprising behaviour, because this supernova showed an initial increase in brightness which later declined for a few days, and later increased again much more strongly. The scientists have used the data observed at the GTC and has combined them with other observations in order to try to explain the origin of the phenomenon.

    “Superluminous supernovas are up to a hundred times more energetic than Type 1a’s because they can remain bright for up to six months before fading rather than just a few weeks” explained Mathew Smith, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southampton (UK) and the person directing this study, whose results have been published in the specialized journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “What we have managed to observe, which is completely new” adds Smith, “is that before the major explosion there is a shorter, less luminous outburst, which we can pick out because it is followed by a dip in the light curve, and which lasts just a few days”. It is the first time that something like this has been observed in a supernova. “From our data we have tried to determine if this is a characteristic unique to this object, or whether it is a common feature of all superluminous supernovas, but has not been observed before, which is perfectly possible given their unpredictable nature” comments the scientist.

    This new, intriguing object, given the cryptic name of “DES14X3taz” by the astronomers, was discovered on December 21st 2014 by the Dark Energy Survey (2) an international project which surveys the night sky making precision measurements of over 300 million galaxies which are situated thousands of millions of light years from Earth, and incidentally detecting thousands of supernovae and other transient phenomena. The objective of this survey is to help explain the expansion of the universe, and to find clues to the nature of the elusive dark energy (3). To do this astronomers are using an extremely sensitive digital camera, of 570 Megapixels, on the four metre Victor M. Blanco telescope at the Inter-American Observatory at Cerro Tololo (Chile).

    Once DES14X3taz had been identified as a possible superluminous supernova an immediate observation was requested on the GTC, which turned its powerful eye towards it during the two nights of observation: January 26th and February 6th 2915. This could be done because the GTC devotes some of its observing time to “targets of opportunity” so that other, programmed observations which can be made at another time are postponed to give priority to transient phenomena, which may offer unrepeatable opportunities.

    “The GTC, with its huge 10.4m mirror, and its OSIRIS instrument, is the ideal tool to observer this SNSL, which is at a vast distance and because we are looking for information in the visible and the near infrared” commented Smith, who is a participant in the Dark Energy Survey. Thanks to the observations made with the GTC and other telescopes, Smith and his collaborators could reconstruct the evolution of the brightness of DES14X3taz from almost the moment of its detection. They have also determined its absolute brightness with great precision, as well as its distance, some 6,400 million light years (4),

    After comparing their observations with several physical models the astronomers concluded in their article that the most plausible explanation is that the mechanism which causes this supernova is the birth of a “magnetar”, a neutron star which rotates very rapidly on its axis. In the data the initial peak of the brightness graph is followed by rapid cooling of the object, after which there is a new, and quicker rise in brightness. This is consistent with the emission of a huge bubble of material into the surrounding space, with cools rapidly as it grows in size. “We think that a very massive star, some 200 times the mass of the Sun, collapses to form a magnetar. In the process the first explosion occurs, which expels into space a quantity of matter equivalent to the mass of our Sun, and this gives rise to the first peak of the graph. The second peak occurs when the star collapses to form the magnetar, which is a very dense object rotating rapidly on its axis, and which heats up the matter expelled from the first explosion. This heating is what generates the second peak in the luminosity” explains Smith.

    Research of this type allows us to get to know the physical phenomena which cause the superluminous supernovas, and this understanding may allow us to “standardize” it (as has been done for the type Ia’s) so we could use it as a reference source for distance measurement on large scales in the universe. Its high luminosity may make these objects very useful for making distances on larger scales, and with greater accuracy than we can do at the moment. However before we get to that point we need a much deeper understanding of their origin and their nature.

    Another mystery about this new type of supernovae is that, up to now, all the cases detected have been in small galaxies with low metallicity (low content in heavy elements) and we have no explanation of this. “It is a part of the mystery of these objects “says Smith, in humorous vein, and adds that among future priorities we need to detect more superluminous supernovae, and oberve them since the moment they explode, and in real time with a telescope of the size of the GTC.

    Notes:

    (1) The Chandrasekhar limit is the maximum mass which a white dwarf can attain without collapsing into a neutron star (or black hole) under its own gravity. This limit is at 1.4 times the mass of the Sum.

    (2) The Dark Energy Survey is an international collaboration of over 400 scientists from 25 institutions in 7 countries: The US, Spain, the UK, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia.

    Dark Energy Survey

    (3) Dark energy is a form of energy present throughout space, which produces a pressure tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe. This acts as a type of gravitational repulsion.

    (4) A light year, in spite of its name, is really a distance, defined by the distance light travels in a year. The light emitted by the explosion of DES14X3taz has taken 6,400 million years to reach the Earth. The age of the universe is almost 14 thousand million years.

    Article:

    DES14X3taz: A type I superluminous supernova showins a luminous, rapidly cooling initial pre-peak bump by M. Smith (University of Southampton), M. Sullivan (University of Southampton), C. B. D’Andrea (University of Southampton, Southampton), F. J. Castander (Institut de Ci`encies de l’Espai, IEEC-CSIC), R. Casas (Institut de Ci`encies de l’Espai, IEEC-CSIC), S. Prajs (University of Southampton) and others.

    Contact:

    Mathew Smith: School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. mat.smith@soton.ac.uk

    See the full article here.

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    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, Spain
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 1:24 pm on July 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , IAC, ,   

    From Raul Lopez Ramirez at IAC: The Horsehead Nebula 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    1

    I went back to process the photo of this striking nebula since the previous version ne convince me of everything.
    There are 46 pictures of 360 sec, ISO 1600, with Canon 60 d chilled to-4º C + Telescope Takahashi 102 with Focal Reducer (about 30) increases.
    The Horsehead Nebula is a cloud of gas cold and dark, located approximately 1.500 light years from earth in the constellation of Orion. Measures Approximately 3,5 light-years across.

    The reddish color of the emission nebula originated by the recombination of electrons with protons of atoms of hydrogen. The Brightest Star, located to the left of the nebula, is the popular alnitak.

    In the photo of the surroundings are also nebulae of reflection, which reflect preferably the blue light of nearby stars.
    In Photography can also be seen, in orange, the Flame Nebula, in the bottom left. It is given this name because of its resemblance to a bonfire. A Dark Strip of Interstellar Dust Absorbent Stands out in silhouette against the glare of the issuance of the hydrogen and, in fact, it hides the true source of energy of the Flame Nebula. Behind the dark strip lies a cluster of stars young and hot. A massive star young of this cluster is the likely source of the intense Ultraviolet radiation that ionizes the hydrogen gas in the Flame Nebula.
    In the picture is also appreciated, under the horse’s head, the little nebula NGC 2023, is a reflection nebula, hence its characteristic color blue.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, Spain
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 3:28 pm on July 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , IAC,   

    From Raul Lopez Ramirez and Fotographia-EsmuySimple at IAC 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    1

    A few celestial objects very curious, little known and rarely photographed, as only you can see in the southern hemisphere and a little bit from the Canary Islands. Taking advantage of that for these dates could photographed a few hours. I had the opportunity to do so. It took a lot of the processed for dredging up the entire contents of the image and your dark cloud of dust. There were 30 shots of 500 SEC ISO 1600 Canon 60 D+ 102 mm refracting telescope.
    NGC 6726 is a reflection nebula located in the constellation of Corona Australis. This region is considered to be an accidental association of dust and stars.
    The two bright blue fogs are the reflection of the light of the stars embedded against the particles of dust that surrounds them. The dark side amarronada is a very active place of formation of new stars.
    We also note, almost in the top right corner the globular cluster NGC 6723 it was discovered by James Dunlop from paramatta in new south Wales, Australia on 3 June 1826 it is close to 30 000 Light years away. – in Gran Canaria.

    Received via email.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, Spain
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 8:04 am on July 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , IAC, Omega nebula,   

    From Rafa Leon at IAC: The Omega Nebula 

    IAC

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    7.13.16
    Rafa Leon

    1
    Omega nebula by Rafa Leon

    The Omega Nebula (aka the Swan Nebula, Shoehorn Nebula, Lobster Nebula, M17 and NGC 6618) is an H II region in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Cheseaux in 1745. Charles Messier cataloged it in 1764.

    The Omega Nebula is located at a distance between 5000 and 6000 Light-years, and has a size of about 15 light years in diameter, being associated with a molecular cloud of about 40 light years in diameter and a Mass of 30000 solar masses. The total mass of the Nebula Omega is estimated at about 800 solar masses and is one of the most brilliant hii regions and mass of our galaxy; if it does not appear more impressive is starting to be practically “singing”.

    There is a cluster (NGC 6618) in the nebula, which contains in its centre two stars of the spectral type o4v, plus two stars of type o5v, and 100 stars of spectral type sooner than the b9. is the radiation of These young stars and hot-especially that of the two o4v-LA that excites and makes shine the fumes of the nebula; recent studies show that this is one of the youngest clusters known, with an age that can’t come to the million Years and that the nebula surely houses between 8000 and 10000 stars that have been born in her, 1/3 of them in the cluster NGC 6618.

    To the southeast of the nebula can also be found the stars hipergigantes HD 168607 and HD 168625.
    First processing of the M17 hope to improve eye Canon 550D without any modification, Tube APO TS 106 F / 5 400s are 40 outlets to 800 outlets calibration iso more.
    Rafael Leon Batista © 2016 Gran Canaria

    Received via email, no link.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
    The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teachingand outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

    Gran Telescopio  Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC
    Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
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