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  • richardmitnick 2:18 pm on July 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Jodrell Bank,   

    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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:39 pm on March 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Jodrell Bank: “Image of the Month – The Trifid Nebula, M20” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    All of the below images are of the Trifid Nebula

    trifid

    “The Trifid Nebula is a star formation region in the constellation of Sagittarius, the Archer, that lies at a distance of about 9,000 light years and spans a distance of about 10 light years. The three prominent dust lanes that come together in the centre give it its name. It is the ultra-violet light from a single massive star at its heart that excites the surrounding gas to glow whilst its visible light shows the wonderful detail in the dust lanes. This beautiful image is the work of Martin Pugh, who provided the colour data, and Robert Gendler who assemble the image using additional imaging data from the HST and Subaru Telescopes. Wonderful!”

    See the original article here.

    Credits Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space telescope, ESA,NASA, Martin Pugh; processing by Robert Gendler.

    trifid2
    Another view, Hubble

    spitzer
    Spitzer’s infrared view

    eso
    ESO’s view

    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

     
  • richardmitnick 4:13 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , e-Merlin, Jodrell Bank,   

    From Jodrell Bank: “e-MERLIN’s deep radio survey of the Hubble Deep Field: first results” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    27 March 2012 [in RSS Jan 25, 2013]

    “A team of astronomers at Jodrell Bank Observatory have begun the deepest ever high-resolution radio imaging of the region around the Hubble Deep Field (HDF), the images originally captured by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in the mid 1990s. The HDF led to the discovery of numerous galaxies billions of light years distant and provided direct visual evidence of the evolution of the Universe. First results from the new imaging, which uses observations from the UK’s newly upgraded e-MERLIN radio telescope array together with the EVLA radio array based in New Mexico, show galaxies some 7 billion light years away in unprecedented detail.

    hdf
    About 1,500 galaxies are visible in this deep view of the universe, taken by allowing the Hubble Space Telescope to stare at the same tiny patch of sky for 10 consecutive days in 1995. The image covers an area of sky only about width of a dime viewed from 75 feet away. Credit: Robert Williams and the Hubble Deep Field Team (STScI) and NASA

    e-MERLIN is an array of radio telescopes distributed across the United Kingdom connected together by optical fibres. Data from each telescope is sent across this network to Jodrell Bank where a device known as a ‘correlator’ processes them into a single image. This technique, known as interferometry, simulates a single radio telescope hundreds of kilometres across and produces exceptionally sharp images of astronomical objects.

    EVLA is a similar more compact array in New Mexico in the United States that shows the coarser structure of objects and complements the e-MERLIN observations. The two arrays started to survey the HDF region in 2011 and the team expect the project to be completed in the next few years.

    hdf2
    Image composed from e-MERLIN and EVLA observations in C-band. The width of the whole field is approximately 1/4 of a degree (the same diameter as half a full moon). The inset images illustrate the effectiveness of e-MERLIN’s capabilities in revealing the structure of galaxies even at distances of billions of the light years. Bottom left: An interesting example of an AGN galaxy with large lobes thought to be caused by jets, emanating from a central black hole, interacting with interstellar material. Bottom right: An FR1 type AGN galaxy. Top left: A more typical AGN type galaxy. Top right: An AGN with star formation characteristic emission detected at an estimated distance of 7.5 billion light-years. Credit: N. Wrigley / Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    The first wide-band images of the whole HDF region capture the brightest objects in the field at sub-arcsecond resolution, equivalent to being able to distinguish a ten pence piece at a distance of over 5 kilometres. The pictures were assembled by Mr [Nick] Wrigley under the supervision of Dr Rob Beswick and Dr Tom Muxlow at the Jodrell bank Centre for Astrophysics in Manchester. The image in the background, observed using the EVLA, shows the unresolved emission from whole galaxies, whereas the inset images produced using mapping in combination with e-MERLIN show the fine detail.

    This new work is just the start of a multi-year survey of the HDF and provides a glimpse of the capabilities of wide-band (broadband data transmission) synthesis imaging now possible with simultaneous use of the e-MERLIN and EVLA arrays. Crucially, the e-MERLIN and EVLA correlators now generate compatible data allowing future observations to be combined like never before.”

    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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:40 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Jodrell Bank: “Astronomers discover sandstorms in space” 

    Jodrell Bank Lovell Telescope
    Lovell

    Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

    11 April 2012

    Astronomers at The University of Manchester believe they have found the answer to the mystery of a powerful superwind which causes the death of stars.

    m82
    M82: Starburst Galaxy with a Superwind

    Writing in Nature, the team of researchers used new techniques which allowed them to look into the atmospheres of distant, dying stars.

    The team, lead by Barnaby Norris from the University of Sydney in Australia, includes scientists from the Universities of Manchester, Paris-Diderot, Oxford and Macquarie University, New South Wales. They used the Very Large Telescope in Chile, operated by the European Southern Observatory.

    ESO VLT At Night
    VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, Chile

    Stars like the Sun end their lives with a ‘superwind’, 100 million times stronger than the solar wind. This wind occurs over a period of 10,000 years, and removes as much as half the mass of the star. At the end, only a dying and fading remnant of the star will be left. The Sun will begin to throw out these gases in around five billion years. The cause of this superwind has remained a mystery. Scientists have assumed that they are driven by minute dust grains, which form in the atmosphere of the star and absorb its light. The star light pushes the dust grains (silicates) away from the star. However, models have shown that this mechanism does not work well. The dust grains become too hot, and evaporate before they can be pushed out.

    The scientists have now discovered that the grains grow to much larger sizes than had previously been thought. The team found sizes of almost a micrometre – as small as dust, but huge for stellar winds. Grains of this size behave like mirrors, and reflect starlight, rather than absorbing it. This leaves the grains cool, and the star light can push them out without destroying them. This may be the solution to the mystery of the superwind. The large grains are driven out by the star light at speeds of 10 kilometres per second, or 20 thousand miles per hour – the speed of a rocket. The effect is similar to a sandstorm. Compared to grains of sands, the silicates in the stellar winds are still tiny.”

    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

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

     
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