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  • richardmitnick 4:52 pm on August 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Preparations complete in Western Australia for construction of world’s largest telescope", , , , , , ICRAR-International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, ,   

    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research: “Preparations complete in Western Australia for construction of world’s largest telescope” 

    ICRAR Logo
    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

    June 10, 2020

    Professor Steven Tingay (ICRAR / Curtin University)
    +61 61 401 103 635
    Steven.Tingay@icrar.org

    Pete Wheeler (Media Contact, ICRAR)
    +61 423 982 018
    Pete.Wheeler@icrar.org

    April Kleer (Media Contact, Curtin University)
    +61 9266 3353
    April.Kleer@curtin.edu.au

    Following seven years of design and prototyping work, the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has completed its preparations for the construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Western Australia, which will begin next year.

    130,000 individual radio antennas, along with associated electronics, will be built and spread over thousands of square kilometres at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), approximately 800 km north of Perth. This will work in tandem with an array of 197 dishes located in the Karoo in South Africa, north of Cape Town.

    1
    A 20-second exposure showing the Milky Way overhead a test array of SKA-Low antennas. Credit: Michael Goh and ICRAR/Curtin. [Never showed this design before.]

    To be built by a global collaboration of 14 countries, the SKA will be one of the world’s largest science facilities, exploring the entire history and evolution of the Universe, and uncovering advances in fundamental physics.

    Preparatory work in Western Australia has accelerated over the last two years through an international partnership of SKA countries (Australia, China, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, and the UK) driven by ICRAR’S Curtin University node and Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (National Institute of Astrophysics). Recently, this significant effort culminated in a successful System Critical Design Review conducted by the SKA Organisation, located near Manchester, UK, which coordinates the activities of the global collaboration.[Cannot help but notice that the U.S is missing from this list.]

    2
    Installing a test array of SKA-Low antennas. Credit: ICRAR/Curtin. [Interesting that SKA has not to my knowledge shown this design before.]

    The ICRAR-Curtin University leader, John Curtin Distinguished Professor Steven Tingay said, “We have now passed the last major technical milestone before the international community commences construction of the SKA, with a budget of 1.87 billion euros over its first ten years.

    “Over the last seven years, the Commonwealth Government has supported my team with $10.1M to reach this milestone, and a significant fraction of these funds has helped Western Australian industry to get ready for SKA construction contracts, especially around Geraldton and the State’s Mid-West.”

    Alongside the engineering preparations, scientific preparations continue apace, with big discoveries in astrophysics led by Western Australian astronomers using the SKA precursor telescopes ASKAP and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) [below in template], over the last decade.

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.

    The search for the first stars 13 billion years ago, the discovery of missing matter in the Universe, and galaxy surveys of unprecedented scale feature among fundamental advances from the precursor telescopes, ready to be taken to the next level with the SKA.

    4
    An aerial view of the construction of the Aperture Array Verification System (AAVS) station—a test array of SKA-Low antennas. Credit: ICRAR/Curtin.

    Both the Commonwealth Government and the Government of Western Australia have strongly supported the development of the SKA project over a significant period of time, and preparing Western Australian industry, particularly in our regions, for when construction starts is especially important in light of the impacts of COVID-19.

    Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the SKA project will play a part in economic recovery, injecting hundreds of millions of much-needed dollars into the regional, Western Australian and Australian economies, as well as those of other SKA countries, over many years.

    “All West Australians can be proud that our State is going to be the home to the SKA, one of the biggest science projects in human history,” said Western Australian Minister for Science, the Hon Dave Kelly MLA.

    “Since 2009 the WA Government has provided funding of $71 million for ICRAR to attract the SKA to Western Australia and maximise benefits for the State through research, job creation, diversification of the economy and innovation,” he said.

    “Through this investment, Western Australia has become a global hub for radio astronomy.”

    Engineers from Australia and Italy are paving the way for the world’s biggest radio telescope—the Square Kilometre Array.

    Professor Steven Tingay said Western Australia had placed itself at the forefront of international scientific research, including the readiness of Western Australian industry.

    “We are looking forward to commencing SKA construction, along with our international partners, between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia via ICRAR, with CSIRO as Australia’s SKA host organisation, with our Western Australian industry partners, and with the SKA Observatory in the UK,” he said.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    ICRAR is an equal joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia with funding support from the State Government of Western Australia. The Centre’s headquarters are located at UWA, with research nodes at both UWA and the Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy (CIRA).
    ICRAR has strong support from the government of Australia and is working closely with industry and the astronomy community, including CSIRO and the Australian Telescope National Facility, <a
    ICRAR is:

    Playing a key role in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world's biggest ground-based telescope array.

    Attracting some of the world’s leading researchers in radio astronomy, who will also contribute to national and international scientific and technical programs for SKA and ASKAP.
    Creating a collaborative environment for scientists and engineers to engage and work with industry to produce studies, prototypes and systems linked to the overall scientific success of the SKA, MWA and ASKAP.

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    A Small part of the Murchison Widefield Array

    Enhancing Australia’s position in the international SKA program by contributing to the development process for the SKA in scientific, technological and operational areas.
    Promoting scientific, technical, commercial and educational opportunities through public outreach, educational material, training students and collaborative developments with national and international educational organisations.
    Establishing and maintaining a pool of emerging and top-level scientists and technologists in the disciplines related to radio astronomy through appointments and training.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA science, with emphasis on the signature science themes associated with surveys for neutral hydrogen and variable (transient) radio sources.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA capability with respect to developments in the areas of Data Intensive Science and support for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:14 am on May 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cosmic bursts unveil Universe’s missing matter", , , , , ICRAR-International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research,   

    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research: “Cosmic bursts unveil Universe’s missing matter” 

    ICRAR Logo
    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

    May 27, 2020
    A/Prof Jean-Pierre Macquart (ICRAR / Curtin University)
    Ph: +61 9266 9248
    jean-pierre.macquart@icrar.org

    Kirsten Gottschalk (Media Contact, ICRAR)
    Ph: +61 438 361 876
    kirsten.gottschalk@icrar.org

    April Kleer (Media Contact, Curtin University)
    Ph: +61 9266 3353
    april.kleer@curtin.edu.au

    Astronomers have used mysterious fast radio bursts to solve a decades-old mystery of ‘missing matter’, long predicted to exist in the Universe but never detected—until now.

    The researchers have now found all of the missing ‘normal’ matter in the vast space between stars and galaxies, as detailed today in the journal Nature.

    Lead author Associate Professor Jean-Pierre Macquart, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said astronomers have been searching for the missing matter for almost thirty years.

    “We know from measurements of the Big Bang how much matter there was in the beginning of the Universe,” he said.

    “But when we looked out into the present Universe, we couldn’t find half of what should be there. It was a bit of an embarrassment.”

    “Intergalactic space is very sparse,” he said. “The missing matter was equivalent to only one or two atoms in a room the size of an average office.”

    “So it was very hard to detect this matter using traditional techniques and telescopes.”

    The researchers were able to directly detect the missing matter using the phenomenon known as fast radio bursts—brief flashes of energy that appear to come from random directions in the sky and last for just milliseconds.

    Scientists don’t yet know what causes them but it must involve incredible energy, equivalent to the amount released by the Sun in 80 years. They have been difficult to detect as astronomers don’t know when and where to look for them.

    Associate Professor Macquart said the team detected the missing matter by using fast radio bursts as “cosmic weigh stations”.

    “The radiation from fast radio bursts gets spread out by the missing matter in the same way that you see the colours of sunlight being separated in a prism,” he said.

    “We’ve now been able to measure the distances to enough fast radio bursts to determine the density of the Universe,” he said. “We only needed six to find this missing matter.”

    The missing matter in this case is baryonic or ‘normal’ matter—like the protons and neutrons that make up stars, planets and you and me.

    It’s different from dark matter, which remains elusive and accounts for about 85 per cent of the total matter in the Universe.

    Co-author Professor J. Xavier Prochaska, from UC Santa Cruz, said we have unsuccessfully searched for this missing matter with our largest telescopes for more than 20 years.

    “The discovery of fast radio bursts and their localisation to distant galaxies were the key breakthroughs needed to solve this mystery,” he said.

    Associate Professor Ryan Shannon, another co-author from Swinburne University of Technology, said the key was the telescope used, CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.

    “ASKAP both has a wide field of view, about 60 times the size of the full Moon, and can image in high resolution,” he said. “This means that we can catch the bursts with relative ease and then pinpoint locations to their host galaxies with incredible precision.”

    “When the burst arrives at the telescope, it records a live action replay within a fraction of a second,” said Dr Keith Bannister from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, who designed the pulse capture system used in this research.

    “This enables the precision to determine the location of the fast radio burst to the width of a human hair held 200m away,” he said.

    Associate Professor Macquart said the research team had also pinned down the relationship between how far away a fast radio burst is and how the burst spreads out as it travels through the Universe.

    “We’ve discovered the equivalent of the Hubble-Lemaitre Law for galaxies, only for fast radio bursts,” he said.

    “The Hubble-Lemaitre Law, which says the more distant a galaxy from us, the faster it is moving away from us, underpins all measurements of galaxies at cosmological distances.”

    The fast radio bursts used in the study were discovered using ASKAP, which is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in outback Western Australia. The international team involved in the discovery included astronomers from Australia, the United States and Chile.

    ASKAP is a precursor for the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

    The SKA could observe large numbers of fast radio bursts, giving astronomers greater capability to study the previously invisible structure in the Universe.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    ICRAR is an equal joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia with funding support from the State Government of Western Australia. The Centre’s headquarters are located at UWA, with research nodes at both UWA and the Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy (CIRA).
    ICRAR has strong support from the government of Australia and is working closely with industry and the astronomy community, including CSIRO and the Australian Telescope National Facility, <a
    ICRAR is:

    Playing a key role in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world's biggest ground-based telescope array.

    Attracting some of the world’s leading researchers in radio astronomy, who will also contribute to national and international scientific and technical programs for SKA and ASKAP.
    Creating a collaborative environment for scientists and engineers to engage and work with industry to produce studies, prototypes and systems linked to the overall scientific success of the SKA, MWA and ASKAP.

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    A Small part of the Murchison Widefield Array

    Enhancing Australia’s position in the international SKA program by contributing to the development process for the SKA in scientific, technological and operational areas.
    Promoting scientific, technical, commercial and educational opportunities through public outreach, educational material, training students and collaborative developments with national and international educational organisations.
    Establishing and maintaining a pool of emerging and top-level scientists and technologists in the disciplines related to radio astronomy through appointments and training.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA science, with emphasis on the signature science themes associated with surveys for neutral hydrogen and variable (transient) radio sources.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA capability with respect to developments in the areas of Data Intensive Science and support for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:41 am on May 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Supercomputer time to explore how black holes and jets have changed our Universe", , , , , ICRAR-International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research,   

    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research: “Supercomputer time to explore how black holes and jets have changed our Universe” 

    ICRAR Logo
    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

    April 23, 2020

    A/Prof. Chris Power (ICRAR / University of Western Australia)
    +61 478 906 421
    chris.power@icrar.org

    Kirsten Gottschalk (Media Contact, ICRAR)
    +61 438 361 876
    kirsten.gottschalk@icrar.org

    Fujistu Lenovo GADI supercomputer at the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) at the Australian National University (ANU)

    Astronomers have been awarded 45 million units of supercomputing time to study the influence of supermassive black holes on their host galaxies.

    The team from WA, Tasmania and the UK were awarded the time on Australia’s largest research supercomputing facility, the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI Australia) in Canberra.

    They will use it to combine computer models of black holes—and the jets that shoot out of them—with large-scale cosmological simulations of the Universe.

    Associate Professor Chris Power, from the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), is leading the research.

    He said black holes can have a profound effect on how galaxies evolve.

    “Black holes produce very powerful jets and winds,” he said.

    “We know they can stop stars forming, and create the different kinds of galaxies we see in the Universe today.

    “But the problem is that we have a very cartoonish understanding of how this process works.”

    The researchers will use the supercomputer time to study how powerful jets from black holes impact their larger galactic and cosmic environments.

    They will combine sophisticated cosmological simulations of galaxy formation, developed at ICRAR, with detailed models of black hole jets, developed by Dr Stanislav Shabala and PhD student Patrick Yates at the University of Tasmania.

    The team also includes researchers from the University of Hertfordshire.

    Associate Professor Power said running the simulations on a laptop computer would take almost 5,000 years.

    “On the supercomputer, we’ll probably get results in a couple of days,” he said.

    “So we want to be able to run hundreds of these kinds of simulations. We’re basically treating them as experiments.”

    The astronomers will tweak their models with each simulation, improving our understanding of how black holes change their host galaxies.

    “It’s a bit like when we go into a lab and we’re pouring combinations of chemicals into test tubes—we can see what kinds of things happen,” Associate Professor Power said.

    The study will be one of the first to run on NCI’s brand new supercomputer Gadi, and will be undertaken over the next six to nine months.

    It was one of four awarded time through the Australasian Leadership Computing Grants program, which attracts bids from researchers all over the country.

    The other projects will conduct research in global climate modelling, decadal climate forecasts and combustion for low emissions gas turbines. More at NCI Australia.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    ICRAR is an equal joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia with funding support from the State Government of Western Australia. The Centre’s headquarters are located at UWA, with research nodes at both UWA and the Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy (CIRA).
    ICRAR has strong support from the government of Australia and is working closely with industry and the astronomy community, including CSIRO and the Australian Telescope National Facility, <a
    ICRAR is:

    Playing a key role in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world's biggest ground-based telescope array.

    Attracting some of the world’s leading researchers in radio astronomy, who will also contribute to national and international scientific and technical programs for SKA and ASKAP.
    Creating a collaborative environment for scientists and engineers to engage and work with industry to produce studies, prototypes and systems linked to the overall scientific success of the SKA, MWA and ASKAP.

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    A Small part of the Murchison Widefield Array

    Enhancing Australia’s position in the international SKA program by contributing to the development process for the SKA in scientific, technological and operational areas.
    Promoting scientific, technical, commercial and educational opportunities through public outreach, educational material, training students and collaborative developments with national and international educational organisations.
    Establishing and maintaining a pool of emerging and top-level scientists and technologists in the disciplines related to radio astronomy through appointments and training.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA science, with emphasis on the signature science themes associated with surveys for neutral hydrogen and variable (transient) radio sources.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA capability with respect to developments in the areas of Data Intensive Science and support for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:02 am on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Strange Black Hole Is Shooting Out Wobbly Jets Because It's Dragging Spacetime", A most peculiar black hole. It's called V404 Cygni., , , , , ICRAR-International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research,   

    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research via Science Alert: “A Strange Black Hole Is Shooting Out Wobbly Jets Because It’s Dragging Spacetime” 

    ICRAR Logo
    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert

    1 JAN 2020
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    ICRAR

    Some 7,800 light-years away, in the constellation of Cygnus, lies a most peculiar black hole. It’s called V404 Cygni, and in 2015, telescopes around the world stared in wonder as it woke from dormancy to devour material from a star over the course of a week.

    The research was published in Nature.

    That one event provided such a wealth of information that astronomers are still analysing it. And they have just discovered an amazing occurrence: relativistic jets wobbling so fast their change in direction can be seen in mere minutes.

    And, as they do so, they puff out high-speed clouds of plasma.

    “This is one of the most extraordinary black hole systems I’ve ever come across,” said astrophysicist James Miller-Jones of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) at Curtin University in Australia back in April.

    V404 Cygni is a binary microquasar system consisting of a black hole about nine times the mass of the Sun and a companion star, an early red giant slightly smaller than the Sun.

    The black hole is slowly devouring the red giant; the material siphoned away from the star is orbiting the black hole in the form of an accretion disc, a bit like water circling a drain. The closest regions of the disc are incredibly dense and hot, and extremely radiant; and, as the black hole feeds, it shoots out powerful jets of plasma, presumably from its poles.

    Scientists don’t know the precise mechanism behind jet production. They think material from the innermost rim of the accretion disc is funnelled along the black hole’s magnetic field lines, which act as a synchrotron to accelerate the particles before launching them at tremendous velocities.

    But V404 Cygni’s wobbly jets, shooting out in different directions at different times, on such rapidly changing timescales, and at velocities up to 60 percent of the speed of light, are in a class of their own.

    “We think the disc of material and the black hole are misaligned,” Miller-Jones said. “This appears to be causing the inner part of the disc to wobble like a spinning top and fire jets out in different directions as it changes orientation.”

    It’s a bit like a spinning top that starts to wobble as it’s slowing down, the researchers said. This change in the rotational axis of a spinning body is called precession. In this particular instance, we have a handy explanation for it courtesy of Albert Einstein.

    In his theory of general relativity, Einstein predicted an effect called frame-dragging. As it spins, a rotating black hole’s gravitational field is so intense that it essentially drags spacetime with it.

    In the case of V404 Cygni, the accretion disc is about 10 million kilometres (6.2 million miles) across. The misalignment of the black hole’s rotational axis with the accretion disc has warped the inner few thousand kilometres of said disc.

    The frame-dragging effect then pulls the warped part of the disc along with the black hole’s rotation, which sends the jet careening off in all directions. In addition, that inner section of the accretion disc is puffed up like a solid doughnut that also precesses.

    “This is the only mechanism we can think of that can explain the rapid precession we see in V404 Cygni,” Miller-Jones said.

    It’s so fast that the usual method radio telescopes use for imaging space were practically useless. Usually, these devices rely on long exposures, observing a region for several hours at a time, moving across the sky to track their target. But in this case, the method produced images too blurred to be of use.

    So the team had to use a different method, taking 103 separate images with exposure times of just 70 seconds and stitching them together to create a movie – and sure enough, there were the wibbly wobbly spacetimey jets.

    “We were gobsmacked by what we saw in this system – it was completely unexpected,” said physicist Greg Sivakoff of the University of Alberta.

    “Finding this astronomical first has deepened our understanding of how black holes and galaxy formation can work. It tells us a little more about that big question: ‘How did we get here?'”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    ICRAR is an equal joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia with funding support from the State Government of Western Australia. The Centre’s headquarters are located at UWA, with research nodes at both UWA and the Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy (CIRA).
    ICRAR has strong support from the government of Australia and is working closely with industry and the astronomy community, including CSIRO and the Australian Telescope National Facility, <a
    ICRAR is:

    Playing a key role in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world's biggest ground-based telescope array.

    Attracting some of the world’s leading researchers in radio astronomy, who will also contribute to national and international scientific and technical programs for SKA and ASKAP.
    Creating a collaborative environment for scientists and engineers to engage and work with industry to produce studies, prototypes and systems linked to the overall scientific success of the SKA, MWA and ASKAP.

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    A Small part of the Murchison Widefield Array

    Enhancing Australia’s position in the international SKA program by contributing to the development process for the SKA in scientific, technological and operational areas.
    Promoting scientific, technical, commercial and educational opportunities through public outreach, educational material, training students and collaborative developments with national and international educational organisations.
    Establishing and maintaining a pool of emerging and top-level scientists and technologists in the disciplines related to radio astronomy through appointments and training.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA science, with emphasis on the signature science themes associated with surveys for neutral hydrogen and variable (transient) radio sources.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA capability with respect to developments in the areas of Data Intensive Science and support for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:38 am on August 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Millions of High-Speed Black Holes Could Be Zooming Around The Milky Way", , , , , , ICRAR-International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research,   

    From Curtin University and ICRAR via Science Alert: “Millions of High-Speed Black Holes Could Be Zooming Around The Milky Way” 

    From Curtin University

    and

    ICRAR Logo
    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert

    30 AUG 2019
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    (StudioM1/iStock)

    How are black holes born? Astrophysicists have theories, but we don’t actually know for certain. It could be massive stars quietly imploding with a floompf, or perhaps black holes are born in the explosions of colossal supernovas. New observations now indicate it might indeed be the latter.

    In fact, the research suggests that those explosions are so powerful, they can kick the black holes across the galaxy at speeds greater than 70 kilometres per second (43 miles per second).

    “This work basically talks about the first observational evidence that you can actually see black holes moving with high velocities in the galaxy and associate it to the kick the black hole system received at birth,” astronomer Pikky Atri of Curtin University and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) told ScienceAlert.

    And it means there are potentially millions stellar-mass black holes zooming around the galaxy at high speed. The paper has been accepted into the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    The study was based on 16 black holes in binary systems. Unless they’re actively feeding, we can’t actually find black holes, since no detectable electromagnetic radiation can escape their insane gravity. But if they’re in a binary pair and actively feeding on the other star, the matter swirling around the black hole gives off powerful X-rays and radio waves.

    Once we can see these black hole beacons, we can see how the black hole is behaving. The international team of researchers used this behaviour to try and reconstruct the black hole’s history.

    “We tracked how these systems were moving in our galaxy – so, figured out their velocities today, moved back in time, and tried to understand what the velocity was of the system when it was born, individually for each of these 16 systems,” Atri explained.

    “Based on the velocities, you can actually find out if they were born with a supernova explosion, or if the stars just directly collapsed onto themselves without a supernova explosion.”

    We know that neutron stars can be violently punted out across space at high speeds by their own supernova explosions – this is called a Blaauw kick, or natal kick, and it happens when the supernova explosion is lopsided, resulting in a recoil.

    It was unknown if black holes could be kicked in the same way. Hypothetically, they might – and indeed seven black hole x-ray binaries have been previously associated with natal kicks.

    The new research has analysed these, as well as nine others, in greater detail, combining measured proper motions, systemic radial velocities, and distances to these systems for the most detailed analysis yet.

    The motion of one of these black holes as calculated by the team can be seen in the video below.

    The researchers found that 12 of these 16 black hole X-ray binaries did indeed have high velocities and trajectories that indicated a natal kick. That’s 75 percent of the sample. If this scales up to the estimated 10 million black holes in the Milky Way, that might mean around 7.5 million high-speed black holes careening out there. And 10 million is a low estimate.

    In line with previous theories, these speeding black holes are slower than kicked neutron stars by a factor of about three or four, due to their higher mass. Interestingly, there seemed to be no correlation between black hole mass and velocity, which means we don’t yet know if there’s a correlation between progenitor star mass and the likelihood of a supernova.

    This is a relatively small sample size of black holes, of course. But, according to Atri, it’s a step towards building up a larger sample that can help us to understand how stars evolve and die, and give rise to black holes.

    “Eventually, all of this will feed into how many black holes we expect in our galaxy, how many black holes that will actually merge to give those gravitational wave detections that LIGO finds,” she added.

    To continue to build on the research, the team will keep watching the sky. These binary systems aren’t always bright – they come and go, transient. So the researchers are hoping to find more of these binary systems to continue building a census of Milky Way black holes, whether speeding or not.

    And, in case you’re worried right now abut a black hole cruising right into our Solar System, you don’t really need to panic.

    “The closest black hole, we think it’s two kiloparsecs away [6,523 light-years],” Atri said.

    “It’s very, very far away. So there’s no chance that we’re getting sucked up by any black hole any time soon.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ICRAR is an equal joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia with funding support from the State Government of Western Australia. The Centre’s headquarters are located at UWA, with research nodes at both UWA and the Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy (CIRA).
    ICRAR has strong support from the government of Australia and is working closely with industry and the astronomy community, including CSIRO and the Australian Telescope National Facility, <a
    ICRAR is:

    Playing a key role in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world's biggest ground-based telescope array.

    Attracting some of the world’s leading researchers in radio astronomy, who will also contribute to national and international scientific and technical programs for SKA and ASKAP.
    Creating a collaborative environment for scientists and engineers to engage and work with industry to produce studies, prototypes and systems linked to the overall scientific success of the SKA, MWA and ASKAP.

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    A Small part of the Murchison Widefield Array

    Curtin University (formerly known as Curtin University of Technology and Western Australian Institute of Technology) is an Australian public research university based in Bentley and Perth, Western Australia. The university is named after the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with over 58,000 students (as of 2016).

    Curtin was conferred university status after legislation was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia in 1986. Since then, the university has been expanding its presence and has campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius. It has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries. The University comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. The University formerly had a Sydney campus between 2005 & 2016. On 17 September 2015, Curtin University Council made a decision to close its Sydney campus by early 2017.

    Curtin University is a member of Australian Technology Network (ATN), and is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields, including Resources and Energy (e.g., petroleum gas), Information and Communication, Health, Ageing and Well-being (Public Health), Communities and Changing Environments, Growth and Prosperity and Creative Writing.

    It is the only Western Australian university to produce a PhD recipient of the AINSE gold medal, which is the highest recognition for PhD-level research excellence in Australia and New Zealand.

    Curtin has become active in research and partnerships overseas, particularly in mainland China. It is involved in a number of business, management, and research projects, particularly in supercomputing, where the university participates in a tri-continental array with nodes in Perth, Beijing, and Edinburgh. Western Australia has become an important exporter of minerals, petroleum and natural gas. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005.

     
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