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  • richardmitnick 8:43 pm on May 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jodrell Bank,   

    From SETI@home: “Jodrell Bank to partner with Breakthrough Initiatives” 

    SETI@home
    SETI@home

    At Berkeley SETI Research Center, we’ve long been friends and collaborators with Professor Michael Garrett and the team at Jodrell Bank. We’re delighted to continue our collaboration as the Breakthrough Initiatives announce a formal partnership with Jodrell in the search for intelligent life beyond Earth: https://breakthroughinitiatives.org/News/11

    Although this partnership doesn’t involve data from telescopes at Jodrell flowing to SETI@home (at least at the present time), the sharing of data, algorithms, and strategies will benefit the science programs at Berkeley and Jodrell, as well as at other telescopes involved in Breakthrough Listen and in SETI in general. You can seen an interview with Mike, recorded a few weeks back, at https://youtu.be/ZRMiuCFACCw, and take a 3D tour of the Lovell telescope and control room at Jodrell at https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=B8UZb1joxsG.

    For more news from Berkeley SETI, follow us on social media:
    http://facebook.com/BerkeleySETI

    http://youtube.com/BerkeleySETI

    See the full article here.

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    The science of SETI@home
    SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

    Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver’s electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power.

    Previous radio SETI projects have used special-purpose supercomputers, located at the telescope, to do the bulk of the data analysis. In 1995, David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer composed of large numbers of Internet-connected computers, and he organized the SETI@home project to explore this idea. SETI@home was originally launched in May 1999.

    SETI@home is not a part of the SETI Institute

    The SET@home screensaver image
    SETI@home screensaver

    To participate in this project, download and install the BOINC software on which it runs. Then attach to the project. While you are at BOINC, look at some of the other projects which you might find of interest.

    My BOINC

     
  • richardmitnick 12:04 pm on January 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , JIVE, Jodrell Bank, Radio astronomers score high marks in the competition for EU funding, , RadioNet   

    From JIVE via Jodrell Bank: “Radio astronomers score high marks in the competition for EU funding” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    1

    JIVE

    2

    RadioNet

    01/12/2017

    RadioNet, a consortium of 28 leading institutions for radio astronomical research from 13 countries, has been awarded 10 million Euro by the European Commission, to be used over the next four years. The speaker of the RadioNet consortium is Prof. J. Anton Zensus from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn (Germany).

    [THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS FOR ME IS AT THIS SAME TIME, NSF IN THE U.S.A. IS CONSIDERING CUTTING FUNDING FOR VARIOUS AND SUNDRY RADIO ASTRONOMY ASSETS. ARE WE GONG TO AGAIN CEDE LEADERSHIP IN AN AREA OF THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES TO EUROPE? SOMEONE TELL ME SOMETHING TO BE HAPPY ABOUT WITH THE NSF.]

    RadioNet will provide support for various aspects of radio astronomical research in Europe; it will enable scientists from all over the world to use the radio telescopes and data archives of the consortium members for their research free of charge. The members will join forces to develop new radio receivers that can be used at many European radio observatories. RadioNet will foster the creation of new software necessary to process the enormous data flow expected from these new receivers and to ensure that they are of high quality and free from interferences.

    “RadioNet allows us not only to make more efficient use of the members’ radio telescopes; by combining the data from radio observatories all over Europe and world wide, we can achieve images with a resolving power that would normally require a telescope with a diameter of thousands of kilometres”, explains Prof. J. Anton Zensus, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and speaker of the RadioNet consortium. He leads the research department for Radio Astronomy and Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) at the MPIfR, one of the key centres of expertise for VLBI in Europe. Amongst other things, VLBI allows astronomers to study the events in the immediate vicinity of the cores of active radio galaxies.

    One activity of RadioNet will be the joint development by several of the RadioNet partners of a new receiver system named BRAND (BRoad bAND), which completely covers the wide frequency range from 1.5 to 15 gigahertz. “For astronomers and observatories, using the new BRAND receiver will have several advantages: there will be less maintenance necessary and more available time for astronomical observations since all frequency bands between 1.5 and 15 Giga Hertz can be used simultaneously”, explains Walter Alef, who leads the BRAND project at the MPIfR. “By using BRAND the European telescope network will assume a worldwide leading role in VLBI observations.”

    One declared goal of the Bonn astronomers is to study the details of the central regions of our Milky Way and other galaxies. The underlying assumption is that supermassive black holes provide the central energy sources of such galaxies. In the context of the Event Horizon Telescope, the scientists even hope to image the immediate vicinity of the black hole in the centre of our Galaxy at short wavelengths.

    Event Horizon Telescope Array

    Event Horizon Telescope map

    The locations of the radio dishes that will be part of the Event Horizon Telescope array. Image credit: Event Horizon Telescope sites, via University of Arizona at https://www.as.arizona.edu/event-horizon-telescope.

    Arizona Radio Observatory
    Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

    ESO/APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX)

    CARMA Array no longer in service
    Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

    IRAM NOEMA interferometer
    Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

    CfA Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO
    Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

    Future Array/Telescopes

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

    Plateau de Bure interferometer
    Plateau de Bure interferometer

    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

    “Each of the partners of our consortium possesses world class technology and expertise. We want to focus all these resources and thus expand European leadership in the area of radio astronomy”, says Anton Zensus, “We regard it as an acknowledgement of our work and our expertise that we are entrusted with coordinating this important project.”

    Training and knowledge transfer of researchers and engineers, as well as the common use of resources, are important aspects of the RadioNet project in order to ensure the leading role of European research institutions in global observatories such as the “Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array” (ALMA) or the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    SKA Square Kilometer Array
    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia
    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    Prof. Zensus is confident that the success of the RadioNet cooperation will eventually make it self-sustainable.

    The official start of RadioNet activities for the next four years is celebrated today. January 12th, 2017, in a kick off meeting at the Harnack House of the Max Planck Society in Berlin.

    ————————————–

    RadioNet is a consortium of 28 partner institutions from the following 13 countries: Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and South Africa and South Korea.

    See the full article here .

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    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics comprises research activities in astronomy and astrophysics at The University of Manchester, the world leading facilities of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility and the Project Development Office of the Square Kilometre Array.

    Jodrell Bank e-Merlin

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

     
  • richardmitnick 9:08 pm on December 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Jodrell Bank,   

    From BBC: “Jodrell Bank Observatory celebrates 70 years of radio astronomy” 

    BBC
    BBC

    14 December 2015

    1
    The observatory originally used Army radar equipment, with the radio telescope being built later. University of Manchester

    The 70th anniversary of an astronomer’s first steps into a “whole new science” at one of Britain’s most important stargazing sites has been marked.

    Sir Bernard Lovell began using radio astronomy in 1945 at the opening of the fledgling Jodrell Bank Observatory.

    The Cheshire site would later become home to the iconic radio telescope which bears the astrophysicist’s name.

    Its director Prof Tim O’Brien said his work had given astronomers the chance to look at “the invisible universe”.

    The anniversary has been marked with the launch of a year-long programme of events celebrating “the past, present and future of Jodrell Bank’s science, engineering and heritage”, a spokeswoman said.

    In April, the site was chosen as the worldwide headquarters for the Square Kilometre Array project, which will probe the early universe, test the theory of gravity and even search for alien life.

    Prof O’Brien said that achievement was a direct result of Sir Bernard’s work, as he pioneered a “whole new science [through which] we discovered a whole new universe out there, full of super massive black holes, exploding stars and the fading glow of the Big Bang.

    21
    Sir Bernard Lovell initially set up the observatory for a two-week period in 1945.

    3
    The Mark I Telescope, which was renamed the Lovell Telescope in 1987, was built in the 1950s. University of Manchester

    4
    The radio telescope, which is still used by astronomers, towers over the surrounding countryside. Mike Peel/University of Manchester

    Sir Bernard, who died in 2012, set up old Army radar equipment on the site to detect cosmic-rays and investigate meteors and began work on 14 December 1945.

    The huge Lovell Telescope was completed in 1957 and, during its first year, it was the only facility in the West able to track the rocket carrying the Russians’ first satellite, the Sputnik, into space.

    It went on to confirm the existence of pulsars – dying stars that send out pulses of electromagnetic radiation – in 1968 and, in 1979, was instrumental in proving Einstein’s theory of relativity for the first time.

    In 2006, it was named as Britain’s greatest unsung landmark in a BBC poll.

    What is radio astronomy?

    5

    Radio astronomy is the observation of radio waves that are emitted from celestial bodies, such as distant galaxies or stars
    Many strong sources of radio waves are invisible in normal light, so looking at radio waves reveals a completely different picture of the universe, with even objects like the Sun and planets revealing new features when viewed with radio telescopes
    Radio waves are better at travelling long distances than shorter wavelengths, so can provide a clearer ‘view’ of very distant objects than can be gathered using normal light
    Though the information gathered by radio telescopes is not in a visible form, it can be processed by computers to create images

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 8:09 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From RAS: “Astronomers see pebbles poised to make planets” 

    Royal Astronomical Society

    Royal Astronomical Society

    08 July 2015
    Media contacts

    Dr Robert Massey
    Royal Astronomical Society
    Mob: +44 (0)794 124 8035
    rm@ras.org.uk

    Ms Anita Heward
    Royal Astronomical Society
    Mob: +44 (0)7756 034 243
    anitaheward@btinternet.com

    Dr Sam Lindsay
    Royal Astronomical Society
    Mob: +44 (0)7957 566 861
    sl@ras.org.uk

    Science contacts

    Dr Jane Greaves
    University of St Andrews
    Mob: +44 (0)7599 628 268
    Jsg5@st-and.ac.uk

    Dr Anita Richards
    University of Manchester
    Mob: +44 (0)7766 065 049
    a.m.s.richards@manchester.ac.uk

    1
    An artist’s impression of the belt of ‘pebbles’ in orbit around the star DG Tauri. The inset is a close up view of a section of the belt. Credit: J. Ilee. Adapted from original work by ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/L. Calçada (ESO).

    A team of astronomers led from St Andrews and Manchester universities today (6 July) announced the discovery of a ring of rocks circling a very young star. This is the first time these ‘pebbles’, thought to be a crucial link in building planets, have been detected. Dr Jane Greaves of the University of St Andrews presented the work at the National Astronomy Meeting at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Wales.

    Planets are thought to form from the dust and gas that encircles young stars in a disk. Over time, dust particles stick together, until they build up bigger clumps. Eventually, these have enough mass that gravity becomes significant, and over millions of years the clumps crash together to make planets and moons. In our own Solar System, this process took place about 4500 million years ago, with the giant planet Jupiter the first to form.

    Since the 1990s, astronomers have found both disks of gas and dust, and nearly 2000 fully formed planets, but the intermediate stages of formation are harder to detect.

    Dr Greaves and team colleague Dr Anita Richards from the University of Manchester used the e-MERLIN array of radio telescopes centred on Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, and that stretches across England in a so-called interferometer, mimicking the resolution of a single large telescope. Richards took charge of the image processing, which was initially meant just to test the handling of the very large data stream that e-MERLIN generates.

    eMerlin Radio Telecope Array
    eMerlin Radio Telecope Array

    The scientists used the interferometer to observe the star DG Tauri, a relatively youthful star just 2.5 million years old and 450 light years away in the constellation of Taurus. Looking at radio wavelengths, they discovered a faint glow characteristic of rocks in orbit around the newly formed star.

    Richards said: “This was the first time for this project that we folded in data from the 76m-diameter Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, which is the heart of the e-MERLIN array.

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope

    We knew DG Tauri had a jet of hot gas flowing off its poles – a beacon for stars still in the process of forming – so we had an idea of what to look for.”

    ‘It was a real surprise to also see a belt of pebbles, with only a fraction of the data we hope to acquire. With the four-fold increase in radio bandwidth we are now working on, we hope to get similar images for a whole zoo of other young stars.”

    Dr Greaves added: “The extraordinarily fine detail we can see with the e-MERLIN telescopes was the key to this discovery. We could zoom into a region as small as the orbit of Jupiter would be in the Solar System. We found a belt of pebbles strung along a very similar orbit – just where they are needed if a planet is to grow in the next few million years. Although we thought this was how planets must get started, it’s very exciting to actually see the process in action!”

    2
    An e-MERLIN map of the star DG Tauri. The yellow and red areas show what is thought to be a ring of pebble-sized clumps in orbit around the star. Credit: J. Greaves / A. Richards / JCBA.

    The e-MERLIN observations were made at a wavelength of 4.6 cm (about a third of that used in microwave ovens). To give off these radio waves, rocky chunks at least a centimetre in size are needed, and the shape of the belt confirms the rocks as the source of the radio waves.

    Team member Dr John Ilee, also of St Andrews, is working on a related European project to investigate protoplanetary discs around young stars. He added: “Long wavelength data, such these fantastic e-MERLIN results, will be essential in constraining the next generation of computer models of discs around young stars. Having an accurate idea of the location and amount of the centimetre-sized material in the disc will bring us closer to a consistent picture of how planets may eventually form.”

    Greaves leads an international team known as PEBBLeS – the Planet Earth Building Blocks Legacy e-MERLIN Survey. By imaging the rocky belts of many stars, the team will look for clues to how often planets form, and where, around stars that will evolve into future suns like our own. The ultimate aim is to zoom in and see ‘extrasolar Earths’ being born, five times closer in to their host stars than Jupiter’s orbit. Upgrades to e-MERLIN’s capabilities in the next few years, as well as the construction of the new Square Kilometre Array (with its HQ at Jodrell Bank), make this a real possibility.

    See the full article here.

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    The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:05 am on April 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    From SKA: “World’s largest radio telescope has a permanent home for its headquarters” 

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    SKA

    April 29, 2015
    William Garnier
    SKA Organisation Communications and Outreach Manager
    Email: w.garnier@skatelescope.org
    Mob.: +44 7814 908932

    At their meeting yesterday Wednesday 29 April, the Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation decided that negotiations should start with the UK government to locate the permanent headquarters of the SKA project in the UK, at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank site.

    Jodrell Bank houses the headquarters of the multinational SKA project for the current pre-construction phase. These premises will eventually be expanded to support the project as it transitions into the construction phase.

    “I am delighted that a permanent home for the SKA headquarters has been identified”, said Professor Philip Diamond, Director General of the SKA Organisation. “Clarity over the location of the headquarters is an important step for SKA, ahead of international negotiations to form an inter-governmental organisation and the beginning of construction in 2018.”

    The process for selecting the permanent headquarters began in 2014 when, following an agreed plan, Members were invited to submit bids. Two bids were received, from Italy and the United Kingdom, both of which were judged to be excellent and both suitable for the project’s needs. After thorough consideration, the Members of the SKA Organisation expressed their preference for the United Kingdom’s Jodrell Bank site as the future home for the SKA headquarters, thanks to the strong package offered by the UK government.

    The UK plan, backed by the UK government via the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the University of Manchester and Cheshire East Council, as well as Oxford and Cambridge Universities, envisages designing and constructing a unique campus for one of the most inspirational science projects of the 21st Century. The headquarters will be constructed to meet the needs of the SKA project and there is space to grow if the project requires it in the future.

    Members thanked the Italian government for submitting such a compelling bid, which demonstrates the very high profile the project has acquired in Italy. The SKA Director General and the SKA Board will work with Italian representatives to ensure that the high visibility and political support for the project in Italy can continue to maximise Italy’s engagement in the project.

    “Italy has been a key partner of the SKA since the early stages of the project”, said Professor Diamond. “I am confident they will maintain a high level of engagement on all fronts and I look forward to working with them as well as with all the other partner countries as we move into the next phase of the SKA.”

    See the full article here.

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    SKA Banner

    SKA CSIRO  Pathfinder Telescope
    SKA ASKAP Pathfinder Telescope

    SKA Meerkat telescope
    SKA Meerkat Telescope

    SKA Murchison Widefield Array
    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array

    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:22 am on January 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jodrell Bank,   

    From Jodrell Bank: “Mapping The Universe” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    19 Jan 2015
    Sam Wood
    Media Relations Officer
    The University of Manchester
    Tel: 0161 275 8155
    Mob: 07886 473 422
    Email: samuel.wood@manchester.ac.uk

    1
    An artists rendition of how the SKA-MID dishes in Africa will look when contructed.

    Scientists from around the world have joined forces to lay the foundations for an experiment of truly astronomical proportions: putting together the biggest map of the Universe ever made.

    In a series of papers published today on the arXiv.org astrophysics website (http://arxiv.org/list/astro-ph/new), an international team of researchers, including a team from The University of Manchester, set out their plans for the mammoth survey.

    Researchers from the Cosmology Science Working Group of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) have worked out how to use the world’s largest telescope for the task. The SKA will be a collection of thousands of radio receivers and dishes spread across two sites in South Africa and Western Australia. When the first phase is completed in 2023, the SKA will have a total collecting area equivalent to 15 football pitches, and will produce more data in one day than several times the daily traffic of the entire internet. A second phase, due around 2030, will be ten times larger still.

    Such a huge atlas of the distribution of matter in the Universe will also open a new window to investigate the first moments after the Big Bang. “What happens on ultra-large distance scales tells us something about how the newborn Universe behaved when it was only a tiny fraction of a second old,” said Stefano Camera, at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. The measurements will allow researchers to more closely scrutinize “cosmic inflation“, the process that is believed to have sown the seeds of structures like galaxies and superclusters that we see today.

    The 2D maps will also provide a new way of seeing how light rays are bent by gravity – an early prediction of [Albert] Einstein’s theory that was first measured by[Sir]Arthur Eddington and others during a solar eclipse in 1919. “By measuring tiny distortions in the shapes of galaxies seen by the SKA, we hope to track the evolution of structures in dark matter over cosmic time” said Ian Harrison, also at The University of Manchester. The researchers hope that this will provide more vital clues about the nature of dark energy, and how structures formed in the Universe in the first place.

    Because of the vastness of the surveys, the SKA will be able to discover many rare objects such as strong gravitational lenses, where distant objects are magnified and multiply imaged by the gravitational action of foreground galaxies. “This allows accurate mass measurements of very distant objects, and is important for understanding galaxies as well as learning about cosmology.” said Dr Neal Jackson, University of Manchester.

    The key to mapping the cosmos is to detect the faint radio emission from hydrogen gas. “Hydrogen is the most common element in the Universe, so we see it everywhere” said Phil Bull, from the University of Oslo in Norway. “This makes it ideal for tracing the way matter is distributed throughout space”. This includes the mysterious dark matter, which is completely invisible to telescopes, but can be detected through its gravitational pull on other objects, like hydrogen-containing galaxies.

    In addition to 3D maps of the hydrogen radio emission, the SKA will also make two-dimensional maps using the total radio-wave emissions of galaxies. “These maps will contain hundreds of millions of galaxies, and billions in Phase 2, allowing us to test whether the shape of the Universe is as simple as our theory predicts”, said Matt Jarvis from Oxford University, UK.

    Jarvis is referring to a series of fundamental physical principles, dating back to [Nicolaus] Copernicus in the 16th Century, which state that the shape of the matter distribution should look about the same on average, regardless of the direction you point your telescope. Recent observations have revealed troubling hints that this property, called “statistical isotropy“, may not hold however. “If this turns out to be the case, there would be very serious ramifications for our understanding of the cosmos,” said Dominik Schwarz, at the University of Bielefeld in Germany.

    See the full article here.

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    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics comprises research activities in astronomy and astrophysics at The University of Manchester, the world leading facilities of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility and the Project Development Office of the Square Kilometre Array.

    Jodrell Bank e-Merlin

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

     
    • planetjules 10:13 am on January 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on planetjulesBlog and commented:
      I have visited here many times. Absolutely amazing place

      Like

  • richardmitnick 8:09 pm on December 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Jodrell Bank: “Giant radio loops: What are they?” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    07 Nov 2014
    Katie Brewin and Aeron Howarth
    Media Relations Officer
    The University of Manchester
    Tel: 0161 275 8387
    Email: katie.brewin@manchester.ac.uk or aeron.howarth@manchester.ac.uk

    The radio sky is full of giant loops and elongated features which have been known since the earliest days of radio astronomy. Using data from the WMAP satellite and reprocessed classic maps of the sky, a team of astronomers at Jodrell Bank suggest these loops may be produced by a nearby expanding shell driven by supernova explosions and the radiation from massive stars.

    NASA WMAP
    NASA WMAP satellite
    NASA/WMAP

    The study of the diffuse Galactic radio emission is nearly as old as radio-astronomy. The first extraterrestrial radio signal detected by Karl [Guth] Jansky in the early 1930s originated from the central region of our Galaxy.

    Later, in the 1950s, maps covering much of the sky were made which showed large elongated features and loops. Various different hypotheses for the origin of these structures are still being discussed today. The emission from the loops is produced by synchrotron radiation, where highly energetic electrons travel spiralling around magnetic field lines at almost the speed of light.

    m
    The famous 408 MHz map of the radio sky published by Haslam et al (1982). This version has been reprocessed by Remazeilles et al (2014).

    In 1982, Glyn Haslam and colleagues presented a full sky map at a radio frequency of 408 MHz. The map had taken more than a decade to produce and combined data from the Jodrell Bank, Effelsberg and Parkes radio telescopes. This is the most widely used synchrotron template of the sky. In this map, four Loops are visible but they are difficult to isolate from a smooth diffuse component.

    Max Planck Effelberg Radio telescope
    Effelsberg Readio Telescope

    CSIRO Parkes Observatory
    CSIRO/Parks

    Now, using data available from the WMAP satellite, we can see for the first time how the polarised radio sky looks at high radio frequencies (~30 GHz). Surprisingly, the sky is covered by a number of bright filaments, without the uniform smooth background which dominates the radio continuum maps.

    We have catalogued these new filaments and tested a model to explain the origin of some of these features. We believe that they might be caused by the interaction between an expanding shell in the solar vicinity with the magnetic field of the Galaxy. The expanding shell, powered by supernova events and the radiation from massive stars compresses the magnetic field around it, increasing the synchrotron emission from the shell. This simple model reproduces well the data in most of the areas studied.

    See the full article here.

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    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics comprises research activities in astronomy and astrophysics at The University of Manchester, the world leading facilities of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility and the Project Development Office of the Square Kilometre Array.

    Jodrell Bank e-Merlin

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

     
  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Jodrell Bank: “Massive neutrinos solve a cosmological conundrum” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    10 Feb 2014
    No Writer Credit

    Scientists have solved a major problem with the current standard model of cosmology identified by combining results from the Planck spacecraft and measurements of gravitational lensing in order to deduce the mass of ghostly sub-atomic particles called neutrinos.

    The team, from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham, used observations of the Big Bang and the curvature of space-time to accurately measure the mass of these elementary particles for the first time.

    The recent Planck spacecraft observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) – the fading glow of the Big Bang – highlighted a discrepancy between these cosmological results and the predictions from other types of observations. The CMB is the oldest light in the Universe, and its study has allowed scientists to accurately measure cosmological parameters, such as the amount of matter in the Universe and its age. But an inconsistency arises when large-scale structures of the Universe, such as the distribution of galaxies, are observed.
    Professor Richard Battye, from The University of Manchester School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “We observe fewer galaxy clusters than we would expect from the Planck results and there is a weaker signal from gravitational lensing of galaxies than the CMB would suggest.

    cmb
    Map of the cosmic microwave background made by the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft. The results of this work on neutrinos were based in part on these observations. Credit: ESA, Low Frequency Instrument and High Frequency Instrument Consortia (2013).

    “A possible way of resolving this discrepancy is for neutrinos to have mass. The effect of these massive neutrinos would be to suppress the growth of dense structures that lead to the formation of clusters of galaxies.”

    Neutrinos interact very weakly with matter and so are extremely hard to study. They were originally thought to be massless but particle physics experiments have shown that neutrinos do indeed have mass and that there are several types, known as flavours by particle physicists. The sum of the masses of these different types has previously been suggested to lie above 0.06 eV (much less than a billionth of the mass of a proton).

    In this paper (published in Physical Review Letters on 7th February 2014), Professor Battye and co-author Dr Adam Moss, from the University of Nottingham, have combined the data from Planck with gravitational lensing observations in which images of galaxies are warped by the curvature of space-time. They conclude that the current discrepancies can be resolved if massive neutrinos are included in the standard cosmological model. They estimate that the sum of masses of neutrinos is 0.320 +/- 0.081 eV (assuming active neutrinos with three flavours).

    Dr Moss said: “If this result is borne out by further analysis, it not only adds significantly to our understanding of the sub-atomic world studied by particle physicists, but it would also be an important extension to the standard model of cosmology which has been developed over the last decade.”

    The paper is published in Physical Review Letters on 7th February and has been selected as an Editor’s choice.

    Jodrell Bank’s role in Planck

    This paper makes use of CMB data from the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft and from the South Pole Telescope.

    spt
    The 10 metre South Pole Telescope

    The South Pole Telescope (SPT) is a 10 metre (394 in) diameter telescope located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. The telescope is designed for observations in the microwave, millimeter-wave, and submillimeter-wave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, with the particular design goal of measuring the faint, diffuse emission from the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).[1] The first major survey with the SPT–designed to find distant, massive, clusters of galaxies through their interaction with the CMB, with the goal of constraining the Dark Energy equation of state–was completed in October, 2011. In early 2012, a new camera was installed on the SPT with even greater sensitivity and the capability to measure the polarization of incoming light. This camera is designed to measure the so-called “B-mode” or “curl” component of the polarized CMB, leading to constraints on the mass of the neutrino and the energy scale of inflation.[2]

    The SPT collaboration is made up of over a dozen (mostly North American) institutions, including the University of Chicago, the University of California-Berkeley, Case Western Reserve University, Harvard/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the University of Colorado-Boulder, McGill University, University of California at Davis, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. It is funded by the National Science Foundation.

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is directly involved with the two lowest frequencies of the Low Frequency Instrument on board Planck, the 30 and 44 GHz radiometers. These have four and six detectors respectively, operating at 20 Kelvin (-253.15 degrees Celsius). The resolution on the sky is 33 and 27 arc minutes, and the sensitivity 1.6 and 2.4 micro K (over 12 months). The cryogenic low noise amplifiers which are the heart of the radiometers were developed at Jodrell Bank, with help from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Virginia, USA.

    Dr B Maffei and Dr G Pisano are involved in the other focal instrument, the HFI. First at Cardiff University and then at The University of Manchester, they have played a major role in the design, development and calibration of the Focal Plane Unit, in particular the cold optics, in collaboration with the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, France, Maynooth University, Ireland and JPL/Caltech, USA.

    The work to understand the Galactic emission seen by Planck is being co-led from Jodrell Bank by Emeritus Professor Rod Davies and Dr Clive Dickinson. A number of projects are led by Jodrell Bank scientists, including Professor Richard Davis and Dr Clive Dickinson. Each of the 14 projects focuses on one aspect of the Galaxy as seen by Planck, including the electrons that gyrate in the Galactic magnetic field, the ionized gas that pervades the interstellar medium and the dust grains that emit across the entire frequency range that Planck is sensitive to. Jodrell Bank is also leading the calibration and identifying systematics in the LFI data.

    See the full article here.

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics comprises research activities in astronomy and astrophysics at The University of Manchester, the world leading facilities of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility and the Project Development Office of the Square Kilometre Array.

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  • richardmitnick 5:58 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Jodrell Bank   

    From Jodrell Bank: “Former missile-tracking telescope helps reveal fate of baby pulsar” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    31st October 2013

    For further information contact:
    Aeron Haworth
    Media Relations
    Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
    The University of Manchester
    Tel: 0161 275 8387
    Mob: 07717 881563
    Email: aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk

    A radio telescope once used to track ballistic missiles has helped astronomers determine how the magnetic field structure and rotation of the young and rapidly rotating Crab pulsar evolves with time. The findings are published in the journal Science today (Friday).

    The Crab pulsar is a neutron star which formed in a massive cosmic explosion seen in both Europe and China in AD 1054 as a bright star in the daytime sky. Now rotating 30 times a second, this highly-compact star emits beams of radio waves that, like a lighthouse, produce flashes each time it rotates. The star itself is only about 25 km across but contains the mass of nearly 1 million Earths.

    cp

    Professor Andrew Lyne and his colleagues from The University of Manchester report on a steady change in these flashes during a 22-year experiment watching the star, telling us about its very strong magnetic field and helping us learn about the otherwise-inaccessible interior of the star.

    The flashes, or pulses, come in pairs. The new observations show that the spacing of these pairs of pulses is increasing by 0.6 degrees per century, an unexpectedly large rate of evolution. The scientists have shown that this means that the magnetic pole is moving towards the equator.

    The astronomers employed a 42-ft telescope that was formerly used to track the Blue Streak missile at the Woomera Rocket Test Range in Australia until 1981, when it was dismantled, transported and re-erected at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England. This relatively modest telescope has been used to observe the Crab pulsar almost daily for 31 years, during which time the pulsar has rotated 30 billion times, and Jodrell Bank has kept count of every rotation. The most accurate observations, made since 1991, show the small gradual change in the pulse spacing.


    The 42ft Radio Telescope at twilight.

    Study lead Andrew Lyne, an Emeritus Professor at Manchester, said that the most surprising aspect is that this change is happening so rapidly, when the interior of the star is superconducting, and the magnetic field should be frozen in position.

    Co-author Professor Sir Francis Graham Smith said: “This pulsar is just 960 years old, so while 22 years gives only a small sample of its lifetime, it is a much larger fraction of a stellar lifetime than astronomers usually get to study.”

    Dr Christine Jordan, who helps keep the telescope and observations running at Jodrell Bank, said: “It is amazing to think that this relatively small missile-tracking telescope, installed in Australia in 1974 by Marconi and donated to the Jodrell Bank Observatory in 1981 where it was converted to observe pulsars, has proved to be such a boon to astronomers. This is a real sword to ploughshare concept in action.”

    Dr Patrick Weltevrede, also of The University of Manchester, believes that this result will have important implications for our understanding of the evolution of pulsars and how they emit. He said: “The Crab pulsar is iconic; it is seen across the entire electromagnetic spectrum and is an exemplar and so this result provides vital clues about how these cosmic lighthouses shine and explaining a longstanding mystery about the way pulsars slow down over time.”

    See the full article here.

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics comprises research activities in astronomy and astrophysics at The University of Manchester, the world leading facilities of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility and the Project Development Office of the Square Kilometre Array.

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  • richardmitnick 2:18 pm on July 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Jodrell Bank: “Cosmic radio bursts point to cataclysmic origins” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    4th July 2013

    “Mysterious bursts of radio waves originating from billions of light years away have left the scientists who detected them speculating about their origins.

    The international research team, writing in the journal Science, rule out terrestrial sources for the four fast radio bursts and say their brightness and distance suggest they come from cosmological distances when the Universe was just half its current age.

    The burst energetics indicate that they originate from an extreme astrophysical event involving relativistic objects such as neutron stars or black holes.

    Study lead Dan Thornton, a PhD student at England’s University of Manchester and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, said the findings pointed to some extreme events involving large amounts of mass or energy as the source of the radio bursts.

    He said: ‘A single burst of radio emission of unknown origin was detected outside our Galaxy about six years ago but no one was certain what it was or even if it was real, so we have spent the last four years searching for more of these explosive, short-duration radio bursts. This paper describes four more bursts, removing any doubt that they are real. The radio bursts last for just a few milliseconds and the furthest one that we detected was several billion light years away.’

    Astonishingly, the findings – taken from a tiny fraction of the sky – also suggest that there should be one of these signals going off every 10 seconds. Max-Planck Institute Director and Manchester’s Professor Michael Kramer explained: ‘The bursts last only a tenth of the blink of an eye. With current telescopes we need to be lucky to look at the right spot at the right time. But if we could view the sky with ‘radio eyes’ there would be flashes going off all over the sky every day.’

    The team, which included researchers from the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia and the US, used the CSIRO Parkes 64metre radio telescope in Australia to obtain their results.

    ciro
    CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope

    Co-author Professor Matthew Bailes, from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, thinks the origin of these explosive bursts may be from magnetic neutron stars, known as ‘magnetars’. He said: ‘Magnetars can give off more energy in a millisecond than our Sun does in 300,000 years and are a leading candidate for the burst.’

    The researchers say their results will also provide a way of finding out the properties of space between the Earth and where the bursts occurred.

    Author Dr Ben Stappers, from Manchester’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: ‘We are still not sure about what makes up the space between galaxies, so we will be able to use these radio bursts like probes in order to understand more about some of the missing matter in the Universe. We are now starting to use Parkes and other telescopes, like the Lovell Telescope of the University of Manchester, to look for these bursts in real time.”

    See the full article here.

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics comprises research activities in astronomy and astrophysics at The University of Manchester, the world leading facilities of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility and the Project Development Office of the Square Kilometre Array.

    Jodrell Bank e-Merlin

    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

     
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