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  • richardmitnick 12:34 pm on June 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Astronomers Find Elusive Target Hiding Behind Dust, Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA, VLA finds hidden hot corino   

    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory: “Astronomers Find Elusive Target Hiding Behind Dust” 

    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    June 8, 2020
    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.ed

    1
    Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    Astronomers acting on a hunch have likely resolved a mystery about young, still-forming stars and regions rich in organic molecules closely surrounding some of them. They used the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) [below] to reveal one such region that previously had eluded detection, and that revelation answered a longstanding question.

    The regions around the young protostars contain complex organic molecules that can further combine into prebiotic molecules that are the first steps on the road to life. The regions, dubbed “hot corinos” by astronomers, are typically about the size of our Solar System and are much warmer than their surroundings, though still quite cold by terrestrial standards.

    The first hot corino was discovered in 2003, and only about a dozen have been found so far. Most of these are in binary systems, with two protostars forming simultaneously.

    Astronomers have been puzzled by the fact that, in some of these binary systems, they found evidence for a hot corino around one of the protostars but not the other.

    “Since the two stars are forming from the same molecular cloud and at the same time, it seemed strange that one would be surrounded by a dense region of complex organic molecules, and the other wouldn’t,” said Cecilia Ceccarelli, of the Institute for Planetary Sciences and Astrophysics at the University of Grenoble (IPAG) in France.

    The complex organic molecules were found by detecting specific radio frequencies, called spectral lines, emitted by the molecules. Those characteristic radio frequencies serve as “fingerprints” to identify the chemicals. The astronomers noted that all the chemicals found in hot corinos had been found by detecting these “fingerprints” at radio frequencies corresponding to wavelengths of only a few millimeters.

    “We know that dust blocks those wavelengths, so we decided to look for evidence of these chemicals at longer wavelengths that can easily pass through dust,” said Claire Chandler of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and principal investigator on the project. “It struck us that dust might be what was preventing us from detecting the molecules in one of the twin protostars.”

    The astronomers used the VLA to observe a pair of protostars called IRAS 4A, in a star-forming region about 1,000 light-years from Earth. They observed the pair at wavelengths of centimeters. At those wavelengths, they sought radio emissions from methanol, CH3OH (wood alcohol, not for drinking). This was a pair in which one protostar clearly had a hot corino and the other did not, as seen using the much shorter wavelengths.

    The result confirmed their hunch.

    “With the VLA, both protostars showed strong evidence of methanol surrounding them. This means that both protostars have hot corinos, and the reason we didn’t see the one at shorter wavelengths was because of dust,” said Marta de Simone, a graduate student at IPAG who led the data analysis for this object.

    The astronomers caution that, while both hot corinos now are known to contain methanol, there still may be some chemical differences between them. That, they said, can be settled by looking for other molecules at wavelengths not obscured by dust.

    “This result tells us that using centimeter radio wavelengths is necessary to properly study hot corinos,” Claudio Codella of Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory in Florence, Italy, said. “In the future, planned new telescopes such as the next-generation VLA [below] and SKA, will be very important to understanding these objects.”

    The astronomers reported their findings in the June 8 edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    See the full article here .


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    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA)

    NRAO ngVLA

    NRAO/VLBA


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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:15 pm on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: (COSMIC SETI)-Commensal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, A technosignature is considered by SETI scientists to be a proxy for the existence of a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization., Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA, , , The new ethernet interface will be able to access raw data from each antenna routing it through new more flexible signal processing software to search for technosignatures in real-time.   

    From SETI Institute: “SETI Institute and National Radio Astronomy Observatory Team Up for SETI Science at the Very Large Array” 


    SETI Logo new


    From SETI Institute

    Feb 13, 2020
    Press Release

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    The SETI Institute and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) are announcing a collaboration to bring a state-of-the-art search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) instrument to the Very Large Array (VLA) for the first time. Thanks to a new, cost-effective Ethernet interface, it will be possible to employ the VLA to search for technosignatures 24 hours a day – 7 days a week, as well as explore other natural astrophysical phenomena in novel ways. The new system is called the Commensal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (COSMIC SETI).

    Located in New Mexico, the VLA is the most productive radio telescope in the world, consisting of twenty-seven 25-meter telescopes that are used by astronomers to observe black holes, conduct research about the formation of the universe and study young stars to understand how planets form. Despite being prominently featured in the 1997 film Contact, featuring Jodie Foster as an astronomer searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, the VLA has never before hosted a dedicated SETI instrument.

    “The SETI Institute will develop and install an interface on the VLA permitting unprecedented access to the rich data stream continuously produced by the telescope as it scans the sky,“ said Andrew Siemion, Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute and Principal Investigator for the Breakthrough Listen Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley. “This interface will allow us to conduct a powerful, wide-area SETI survey that will be vastly more complete than any previous such search,”

    “As the VLA conducts standard observations, this new system will allow for an additional and important use for the data we’re already collecting,” added NRAO Director Tony Beasley. “Determining whether we are alone in the universe as technologically capable life is among the most compelling questions in science, and NRAO telescopes can play a major role in answering it,” Beasley continued.

    “Having access to the most sensitive radio telescope in the northern hemisphere for SETI observations is perhaps the most transformative opportunity yet in the history of SETI programs,” said Bill Diamond, President and CEO of the SETI Institute. “We are delighted to have this opportunity to partner with NRAO, especially as we now understand the candidate pool of relevant planets numbers in the billions.”

    The new ethernet interface will be able to access raw data from each antenna, routing it through new, more flexible signal processing software to search for technosignatures in real-time. A technosignature is considered by SETI scientists to be a proxy for the existence of a technologically advanced, extraterrestrial civilization. The software will also be able to detect Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), another possible type of technosignature. This research will be part of the VLA’s 5-year Sky Survey, which encompasses 75% of the entire sky, everything that is viewable from the VLA location.

    Dr. Jack Hickish (SETI Institute / Real-Time Radio Systems Ltd.), who is leading the development of the COSMIC interface said “When the VLA digital instrumentation was originally conceived, the idea that astronomers could be provided with access to every bit of the data flowing through the system was laughable. Once the COSMIC interface is complete, the door opens to perform new types of signal analysis, helping to further cement the VLA’s history as one of the world’s most productive, powerful, and versatile radio telescopes.”

    John Giannandrea, a trustee of the SETI Institute, funded the development of the COSMIC interface with a generous philanthropic gift, along with his wife, Carol. While NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) fund much of the scientific research conducted by the SETI Institute, SETI science receives virtually no government funding.

    Testing of the COSMIC Ethernet interface is already underway. The SETI Institute and NRAO hope to begin work on building the digital search system, for which they are seeking additional funding, and be ready when the VLA begins the 2nd epoch of its Sky Survey in 2021.

    See the full article here .

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    SETI Institute


    About the SETI Institute
    What is life? How does it begin? Are we alone? These are some of the questions we ask in our quest to learn about and share the wonders of the universe. At the SETI Institute we have a passion for discovery and for passing knowledge along as scientific ambassadors.

    The SETI Institute is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit scientific research institute headquartered in Mountain View, California. We are a key research contractor to NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and we collaborate with industry partners throughout Silicon Valley and beyond.

    Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute employs more than 130 scientists, educators, and administrative staff. Work at the SETI Institute is anchored by three centers: the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe (research), the Center for Education and the Center for Outreach.

    The SETI Institute welcomes philanthropic support from individuals, private foundations, corporations and other groups to support our education and outreach initiatives, as well as unfunded scientific research and fieldwork.

    A Special Thank You to SETI Institute Partners and Collaborators
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    SETI/Allen Telescope Array situated at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, 290 miles (470 km) northeast of San Francisco, California, USA, Altitude 986 m (3,235 ft)

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    Also in the hunt, but not a part of the SETI Institute


    SETI@home, a BOINC project originated in the Space Science Lab at UC Berkeley

    BOINCLarge

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:06 pm on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study probes the origin of the very high energy gamma-ray source VER J1907+062", , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA, Laura Duvidovich of the University of Buenos Aires Argentina, , The nature of VER J1907+062 is still unknown.   

    From phys.org: “Study probes the origin of the very high energy gamma-ray source VER J1907+062” 


    From phys.org

    January 10, 2020
    Tomasz Nowakowski

    1
    Radio continuum image at 1.5 GHz covering the whole extension of the TeV source VER J1907+062. Credit: Duvidovich et al., 2019.

    A new study based on high-quality radio observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) has investigated the origin of a very high-energy gamma-ray source known as VER J1907+062.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    Results of the study, published December 27 on arXiv.org [MNRAS], suggest that VER J1907+062 consists of two separate gamma-ray sources.

    Sources emitting gamma radiation with photon energies between 100 GeV and 100 TeV are called very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray sources. Observations show that these sources are often blazars or binary star systems containing a compact object. However, the nature of many VHE gamma-ray sources is still not well understood.

    This is the case with VER J1907+062, a TeV source first identified in 2007. Previous studies have shown a strong TeV emission from this source near the location of the pulsar PSR J1907+0602, extending toward the supernova remnant SNR G40.5−0.5.

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, discovered pulsars with radio astronomy. Jocelyn Bell at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge University, taken for the Daily Herald newspaper in 1968. Denied the Nobel.

    The nature of VER J1907+062 is still unknown. Based on the strong TeV emission around PSR J1907+0602, some astronomers suggest that this source could be a TeV pulsar wind nebula (PWN) powered by this pulsar. Moreover, it was also proposed that VER J1907+062 may be the superposition of two sources, either separated or interacting.

    To clarify these uncertainties and to shed more light on the origin and true nature of VER J1907+062, a team of astronomers led by Laura Duvidovich of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has carried out new high-quality radio observations of this source using VLA.

    “In this paper, we present new high-quality radio images of a large region containing the extended TeV source VER J1907+062 at 1.5 GHz and a region toward the PSR J1907+0602 at 6 GHz, in both cases with data obtained using the VLA in its D configuration,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.

    The VLA observations found no nebular radio emission toward PSR J1907+0602 or the other two pulsars in the region. Moreover, the new images show no evidence of extended radio emission in coincidence with PSR J1907+0602 and also no evidence of extended nor point-like emission toward the pulsar. These results seem to disfavor the scenario suggesting that the non-thermal X-ray emission around the pulsar may be a PWN.

    The research found molecular clouds in the vicinity of SNR G40.5−0.5, which match the eastern, southern and western borders of the remnant and partially overlap peaks of the TeV emission from VER J1907+062. The finding suggests an association of the studied TeV source with this SNR.

    Summing up the results, the astronomers proposed two hypotheses that could explain the origin of VER J1907+062. According to them, this source could be the superposition in the line of sight of two distinct gamma-ray sources powered by different emission mechanisms and located at different distances. They find this scenario as the most plausible, but do not exclude the possibility that VER J1907+062 could be a single source whose VHE emission is produced by two particle accelerators (the pulsar and the supernova remnant) located at the same distance.

    See the full article here .

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    About Science X in 100 words

    Science X™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004 (Physorg.com), Science X’s readership has grown steadily to include 5 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Science X publishes approximately 200 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Science X community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.
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  • richardmitnick 10:11 am on April 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA, , VLA Makes First Direct Image of Key Feature of Powerful Radio Galaxies   

    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory: “VLA Makes First Direct Image of Key Feature of Powerful Radio Galaxies” 

    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    April 2, 2019

    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

    1
    Artist’s conception of the dusty, doughnut-shaped object surrounding the supermassive black hole, disk of material orbiting the black hole, and jets of material ejected by the disk, at the center of a galaxy. Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    2
    Artist’s conception of active galactic nucleus, with labels. Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    3
    VLA image of the central region of the powerful radio galaxy Cygnus A, showing the doughnut-shaped torus surrounding the black hole and accretion disk. Credit: Carilli et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF

    4

    VLA image of Cygnus A’s central region, with labels.
    Credit: Carilli et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF

    Astronomers used the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to make the first direct image of a dusty, doughnut-shaped feature surrounding the supermassive black hole at the core of one of the most powerful radio galaxies in the Universe — a feature first postulated by theorists nearly four decades ago as an essential part of such objects.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    The scientists studied Cygnus A, a galaxy some 760 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy harbors a black hole at its core that is 2.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. As the black hole’s powerful gravitational pull draws in surrounding material, it also propels superfast jets of material traveling outward at nearly the speed of light, producing spectacular “lobes” of bright radio emission.

    Black hole-powered “central engines” producing bright emission at various wavelengths, and jets extending far beyond the galaxy are common to many galaxies, but show different properties when observed. Those differences led to a variety of names, such as quasars, blazars, or Seyfert galaxies. To explain the differences, theorists constructed a “unified model” with a common set of features that would show different properties depending on the angle from which they are viewed.

    The unified model includes the central black hole, a rotating disk of infalling material surrounding the black hole, and the jets speeding outward from the poles of the disk. In addition, to explain why the same type of object looks different when viewed from different angles, a thick, dusty, doughnut-shaped “torus” is included, surrounding the inner parts. The torus obscures some features when viewed from the side, leading to apparent differences to the observer, even for intrinsically similar objects. Astronomers generically call this common set of features an active galactic nucleus (AGN).

    “The torus is an essential part of the AGN phenomenon, and evidence exists for such structures in nearby AGN of lower luminosity, but we’ve never before directly seen one in such a brightly-emitting radio galaxy,” said Chris Carilli, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). “The torus helps explain why objects known by different names actually are the same thing, just observed from a different perspective,” he added.

    In the 1950s, astronomers discovered objects that strongly emitted radio waves, but appeared point-like, similar to distant stars, when later observed with visible-light telescopes. In 1963, Maarten Schmidt of Caltech discovered that one of these objects was extremely distant, and more such discoveries quickly followed. To explain how these objects, dubbed quasars, could be so bright, theorists suggested that they must be tapping the tremendous gravitational energy of supermassive black holes. The combination of black hole, the rotating disk, called an accretion disk, and the jets was termed the “central engine” responsible for the objects’ prolific outpourings of energy.

    The same type of central engine also appeared to explain the output of other types of objects, including radio galaxies, blazars, and Seyfert Galaxies. However, each showed a different set of properties. Theorists worked to develop a “unification scheme” to explain how the same thing could appear differently. In 1977, obscuration by dust was suggested as one element of that scheme. In a 1982 paper, Robert Antonucci, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, presented a drawing of an opaque torus — a doughnut-shaped object — surrounding the central engine. From that point on, an obscuring torus has been a common feature of astronomers’ unified view of all types of active galactic nuclei.

    “Cygnus A is the closest example of a powerful radio-emitting galaxy — 10 times closer than any other with comparably powerful radio emission. That proximity allowed us to find the torus in a high-resolution VLA image of the galaxy’s core,” said Rick Perley, also of NRAO. “Doing more work of this type on weaker and more distant objects will almost certainly need the order-of-magnitude improvement in sensitivity and resolution that the proposed Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) would bring,” he added.

    The VLA observations directly revealed the gas in Cygnus A’s torus, which has a radius of nearly 900 light-years. Longstanding models for the torus suggest that the dust is in clouds embedded in the somewhat-clumpy gas.

    “It’s really great to finally see direct evidence of something that we’ve long presumed should be there,” Carilli said. “To more accurately determine the shape and composition of this torus, we need to do further observing. For example, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) can observe at the wavelengths that will directly reveal the dust,” he added.

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

    Carilli and Perley, with their colleagues Vivek Dhawan, also of NRAO, and Daniel Perley of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, discovered the torus when following up their surprising discovery in 2016 of a new, bright object near the center of Cygnus A. That new object, they said, is most likely a second supermassive black hole that only recently encountered new material it could devour, causing it to produce bright emission the same way the central black hole does. The existence of the second black hole, they said, suggests that Cygnus A merged with another galaxy in the astronomically recent past.

    Cygnus A, so named because it is the most powerful radio-emitting object in the constellation Cygnus, was discovered in 1946 by English physicist and radio astronomer J.S. Hey. It was matched to a visible-light, giant galaxy by Walter Baade and Rudolf Minkowski in 1951. It became an early target for the VLA soon after its completion in the early 1980s. Detailed VLA images of Cygnus A published in 1984 produced major advances in astronomers’ understanding of such galaxies.

    The scientists are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    See the full article here .


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    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 9:52 pm on February 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Space Cow Mystifies Astronomers", , , , , Could we be witnessing a dying star giving birth to an X-ray engine?, , , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA   

    From ESOblog: “Space Cow Mystifies Astronomers” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    1
    Science Snapshots – ALMA

    Could we be witnessing a dying star giving birth to an X-ray engine?

    15 February 2019

    One night in June 2018, telescopes spotted an extremely bright point of light in the sky that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, made using telescopes from around the world, suggest that the light is likely to be the explosive death of a star giving birth to a neutron star or black hole. If so, this would be the first time ever that this has been observed. We find out more from Anna Ho, who led a team that used a variety of telescopes to figure out what exactly this mysterious object — classified as a transient and nicknamed The Cow — is.

    2
    Anna Ho

    Q. What is a transient, and why it is interesting to study them?

    A. The night sky appears calm but it is actually incredibly dynamic, with stars exploding in distant galaxies, visible through our telescopes as flashes of light. The word “transient” refers to a short-lived phenomenon in the night sky, which could be the explosion of a dying star, a tidal disruption event, or a flare from a star in the Milky Way. And there are probably many other types of transients out there that we have not even discovered!

    Q. So given that transients are sudden phenomena that you can’t predict, how can you possibly plan for studying them?

    A. It’s kind of a case of reacting to their appearance. In the past few years, we’ve entered this amazing new era of astronomy where telescopes can map out the entire sky every night. By comparing tonight’s map to last night’s map, we can see exactly what has changed over the previous 24 hours. The transients I study are very short-lived explosions — lasting between a few hours and a few months — so when an interesting one happens, we have to drop everything and react. Luckily I love my research enough to do this!

    It is only by using lots of different telescopes that we can really get a full picture of a transient.

    3
    ALMA and Very Large Array (VLA) images of the mysterious transient, The Cow.
    Credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF; R. Margutti, W.M. Keck Observatory; Ho, et al.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    Q. In June 2018, you observed an unusual transient that was named AT2018cow, or The Cow. Can you describe this phenomenon? What made it so remarkable?

    A. One night, astronomers saw a point of light in the sky that had not been there before: a new transient! The Cow was particularly special for two reasons: firstly, it was VERY bright, and secondly, it had achieved that brightness VERY quickly. This was exciting, because usually if a transient appears very quickly, it is not so bright, and a very bright transient takes a long time to become bright. So we realised immediately that this was something strange.

    Q. You chose to study this transient with two millimetre telescopes: the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array). What do millimetre telescopes offer over other telescopes?

    CfA Submillimeter Array Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,080 m (13,390 ft)

    A. In the early stages of a transient (in its first few weeks of existence), we can see the shockwave emitted by an explosion by capturing light at millimetre wavelengths — this is exactly what SMA and ALMA can see. In particular, thanks to ALMA we were able to learn that in the case of The Cow, the shockwave was travelling at one-tenth of the speed of light, that it is very energetic, and that it is travelling into a very dense environment.

    We also used the Australia Telescope Compact Array to look at light from the transient with longer wavelengths. It is only by using lots of different telescopes that we can really get a full picture of a transient.

    CSIRO Australia Compact Array, six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    By combining ALMA data with publicly available X-ray data, we were also able to conclude that there must be some ongoing energy production — a kind of continuously-running “engine” at the heart of the explosion. This could be an accreting black hole or a rapidly-spinning neutron star with a strong magnetic field (a magnetar). If The Cow does turn out to have either of these at its centre, it would be very exciting, since it would be the first time that astronomers have witnessed the birth of a central engine.

    Q. It seems that nobody’s quite sure what The Cow is. Why is there so much uncertainty still surrounding this object?

    A. It’s because the combination of The Cow’s properties is so unusual. It’s like that parable of the blind man and the elephant — where several blind men each feel a different part of an elephant and come to different conclusions about what it might look like. If you look at the visible light from The Cow, you might conclude that it is a tidal disruption event. On the other hand, if you look at the longer-wavelength light you see the properties of the shockwave and the density of the surrounding matter, and might conclude that it’s a stellar explosion. It’s incredibly difficult to reconcile all of the properties into one big picture.

    4
    Artist’s impression of a cosmic blast with a “central engine,” such as that suggested for The Cow. At the moment, the central engine is surrounded by dust and gas.
    Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    Q. How will you find out what The Cow really is?

    A. Right now, the heart of the explosion is shrouded in gas and dust so it’s difficult to see it. Over the next months, this gas and dust will expand out into space, becoming thinner and more transparent, and allowing us to peer inside. When we are able to see into that central engine, we will be able to learn more about what it there, whether it’s a black hole, a neutron star, or something else entirely.

    Q. What do you think The Cow is, and why?

    A. Personally, I think it’s most likely to be a stellar explosion. Our ALMA observations enabled us to measure the surrounding environment to be incredibly dense — 300 000 particles per cubic centimetre! This kind of density is typical of a stellar explosion. Some people suggest it’s a tidal disruption event, but I think this would be difficult to explain. That said, I’m far from an expert on tidal disruption, so I look forward to hearing more from theorists on how to reconcile that model with our observations.

    Q. So what are the implications of this discovery? What does The Cow teach us about transients?

    A. From my perspective, The Cow is incredibly exciting for two reasons. One is astrophysical — what it can teach us about the death of stars. We think we’ve witnessed the birth of a central engine, an accreting black hole or a spinning neutron star, for the first time.

    The second reason is technological — we learned that this is a member of a whole class of explosions that in their youth emitted bright light at millimetre wavelengths. In the past, millimetre observatories like ALMA were rarely used to study cosmic explosions, but this study has opened the curtain on a new class of transients that are prime targets for millimetre observatories. Over the next few years, we hope to discover many more members of this class, and now we know that we should use millimetre telescopes to study them!

    See the full article here .


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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

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

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

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun


    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).


    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

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

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

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 12:24 pm on August 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA,   

    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory via Manu: “VLA Detects Possible Extrasolar Planetary-Mass Magnetic Powerhouse” 


    From Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    NRAO Icon
    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    August 2, 2018

    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

    Object is at boundary between giant planet and brown dwarf.

    1
    Artist’s conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473, an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter, but a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter’s. This object is 20 light-years from Earth. Credit: Caltech/Chuck Carter; NRAO/AUI/NSF

    Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have made the first radio-telescope detection of a planetary-mass object beyond our Solar System. The object, about a dozen times more massive than Jupiter, is a surprisingly strong magnetic powerhouse and a “rogue,” traveling through space unaccompanied by any parent star.

    “This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or ‘failed star,’ and is giving us some surprises that can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets,” said Melodie Kao, who led this study while a graduate student at Caltech, and is now a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at Arizona State University.

    Brown dwarfs are objects too massive to be considered planets, yet not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores — the process that powers stars. Theorists suggested in the 1960s that such objects would exist, but the first one was not discovered until 1995. They originally were thought to not emit radio waves, but in 2001 a VLA discovery of radio flaring in one revealed strong magnetic activity.

    Subsequent observations showed that some brown dwarfs have strong auroras, similar to those seen in our own Solar System’s giant planets. The auroras seen on Earth are caused by our planet’s magnetic field interacting with the solar wind. However, solitary brown dwarfs do not have a solar wind from a nearby star to interact with. How the auroras are caused in brown dwarfs is unclear, but the scientists think one possibility is an orbiting planet or moon interacting with the brown dwarf’s magnetic field, such as what happens between Jupiter and its moon Io.

    The strange object in the latest study, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, has a magnetic field more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter’s. The object was originally detected in 2016 as one of five brown dwarfs the scientists studied with the VLA to gain new knowledge about magnetic fields and the mechanisms by which some of the coolest such objects can produce strong radio emission. Brown dwarf masses are notoriously difficult to measure, and at the time, the object was thought to be an old and much more massive brown dwarf.

    Last year, an independent team of scientists discovered that SIMP J01365663+0933473 was part of a very young group of stars. Its young age meant that it was in fact so much less massive that it could be a free-floating planet — only 12.7 times more massive than Jupiter, with a radius 1.22 times that of Jupiter. At 200 million years old and 20 light-years from Earth, the object has a surface temperature of about 825 degrees Celsius, or more than 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. By comparison, the Sun’s surface temperature is about 5,500 degrees Celsius.

    The difference between a gas giant planet and a brown dwarf remains hotly debated among astronomers, but one rule of thumb that astronomers use is the mass below which deuterium fusion ceases, known as the “deuterium-burning limit”, around 13 Jupiter masses.

    Simultaneously, the Caltech team that originally detected its radio emission in 2016 had observed it again in a new study at even higher radio frequencies and confirmed that its magnetic field was even stronger than first measured.

    “When it was announced that SIMP J01365663+0933473 had a mass near the deuterium-burning limit, I had just finished analyzing its newest VLA data,” said Kao.

    The VLA observations provided both the first radio detection and the first measurement of the magnetic field of a possible planetary mass object beyond our Solar System.

    Such a strong magnetic field “presents huge challenges to our understanding of the dynamo mechanism that produces the magnetic fields in brown dwarfs and exoplanets and helps drive the auroras we see,” said Gregg Hallinan, of Caltech.

    “This particular object is exciting because studying its magnetic dynamo mechanisms can give us new insights on how the same type of mechanisms can operate in extrasolar planets — planets beyond our Solar System. We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets,” Kao said.

    “Detecting SIMP J01365663+0933473 with the VLA through its auroral radio emission also means that we may have a new way of detecting exoplanets, including the elusive rogue ones not orbiting a parent star,” Hallinan said.

    Kao and Hallinan worked with J. Sebastian Pineda who also was a graduate student at Caltech and is now at the University of Colorado Boulder, David Stevenson of Caltech, and Adam Burgasser of the University of California San Diego. They are reporting their findings in The Astrophysical Journal.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

    See the full article here .


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    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 3:07 pm on July 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blazar, , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA, , , , , ,   

    From NRAO via newswise: “VLA Gives Tantalizing Clues About Source of Energetic Cosmic Neutrino” 

    NRAO Icon
    From National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    via

    2

    newswise

    1
    Supermassive black hole at core of galaxy accelerates particles in jets moving outward at nearly the speed of light. In a Blazar, one of these jets is pointed nearly straight at Earth. Credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    A single, ghostly subatomic particle that traveled some 4 billion light-years before reaching Earth has helped astronomers pinpoint a likely source of high-energy cosmic rays for the first time. Subsequent observations with the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) [depicted below] have given the scientists some tantalizing clues about how such energetic cosmic rays may be formed at the cores of distant galaxies.

    On September 22, 2017, an observatory called IceCube, made up of sensors distributed through a square kilometer of ice under the South Pole, recorded the effects of a high-energy neutrino coming from far beyond our Milky Way Galaxy.

    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube DeepCore annotated

    IceCube PINGU annotated


    DM-Ice II at IceCube annotated

    Neutrinos are subatomic particles with no electrical charge and very little mass. Since they interact only very rarely with ordinary matter, neutrinos can travel unimpeded for great distances through space.

    Follow-up observations with orbiting and ground-based telescopes from around the world soon showed that the neutrino likely was coming from the location of a known cosmic object — a blazar called TXS 0506+056, about 4 billion light-years from Earth.

    3

    Like most galaxies, blazars contain supermassive black holes at their cores. The powerful gravity of the black hole draws in material that forms a hot rotating disk. Jets of particles traveling at nearly the speed of light are ejected perpendicular to the disk. Blazars are a special class of galaxies, because in a blazar, one of the jets is pointed almost directly at Earth.

    Theorists had suggested that these powerful jets could greatly accelerate protons, electrons, or atomic nuclei, turning them into the most energetic particles known in the Universe, called ultra-high energy cosmic rays. The cosmic rays then could interact with material near the jet and produce high-energy photons and neutrinos, such as the neutrino detected by IceCube.

    Cosmic rays were discovered in 1912 by physicist Victor Hess, who carried instruments in a balloon flight. Subsequent research showed that cosmic rays are either protons, electrons, or atomic nuclei that have been accelerated to speeds approaching that of light, giving some of them energies much greater than those of even the most energetic electromagnetic waves. In addition to the active cores of galaxies, supernova explosions are probable sites where cosmic rays are formed. The galactic black-hole engines, however, have been the prime candidate for the source of the highest-energy cosmic rays, and thus of the high-energy neutrinos resulting from their interactions with other matter.

    “Tracking that high-energy neutrino detected by IceCube back to TXS 0506+056 makes this the first time we’ve been able to identify a specific object as the probable source of such a high-energy neutrino,” said Gregory Sivakoff, of the University of Alberta in Canada.

    Following the IceCube detection, astronomers looked at TXS 0506+056 with numerous telescopes and found that it had brightened at wavelengths including gamma rays, X-rays, and visible light. The blazar was observed with the VLA six times between October 5 and November 21, 2017.

    “The VLA data show that the radio emission from this blazar was varying greatly at the time of the neutrino detection and for two months afterward. The radio frequency with the brightest radio emission also was changing,” Sivakoff said.

    TXS 0506+056 has been monitored over a number of years with the NSF’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a continent-wide radio telescope system that produces extremely detailed images. The high-resolution VLBA images have shown bright knots of radio emission that travel outward within the jets at speeds nearly that of light. The knots presumably are caused by denser material ejected sporadically through the jet.

    “The behavior we saw with the VLA is consistent with the emission of at least one of these knots. It’s an intriguing possibility that such knots may be associated with generating high-energy cosmic rays and thus the kind of high-energy neutrino that IceCube found,” Sivakoff said.

    The scientists continue to study TXS 0506+056. “There are a lot of exciting phenomena going on in this object,” Sivakoff concluded.

    “The era of multi-messenger astrophysics is here,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “Each messenger — from electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves and now neutrinos — gives us a more complete understanding of the Universe, and important new insights into the most powerful objects and events in the sky. Such breakthroughs are only possible through a long-term commitment to fundamental research and investment in superb research facilities.”

    Sivakoff and numerous colleagues from institutions around the world are reporting their findings in the journal Science.

    See the full article here .


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    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 6:57 am on March 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: $23 Million in New Funding for Dunlap Institute Astronomers, , , , , , , , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA,   

    From Dunlap: “$23 Million in New Funding for Dunlap Institute Astronomers” 

    Dunlap Institute bloc
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics

    Oct 12,2017

    Prof. Bryan Gaensler, Director
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto
    p: 416-978-6623
    e: bgaensler@dunlap.utoronto.ca
    web: http://www.dunlap.utoronto.ca/prof-bryan-gaensler/

    Prof. Suresh Sivanandam
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto
    p: 416-978-6779
    e: sivanandam@dunlap.utoronto.ca
    web: http://www.dunlap.utoronto.ca/suresh-sivanandam/

    Chris Sasaki
    Communications Coordinator | Press Officer
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto
    p: 416-978-6613
    e: csasaki@dunlap.utoronto.ca

    Astronomers from the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics have received $23 million in new funding: $10 million for the development of a radio astronomy data centre and $13 million for a new infrared spectrograph.

    The awards represent a significant milestone in the Dunlap’s mandate of developing innovative astronomical technology.

    “The Dunlap Institute’s main mission is to develop innovative new approaches to astronomy, and these two new large grants are a terrific endorsement that we’re on the right track,” says Dunlap Director Prof. Bryan Gaensler.

    “In particular, these projects superbly position the Dunlap Institute for national and international leadership. We’re excited to now flex our muscles and build big, new teams that will develop the tools and equipment needed for 21st century astronomy.”

    Gaensler, who became the Institute’s director in January 2015, will be leading a project to build the infrastructure, computing capability, and expertise needed to process the overwhelming flood of information being produced by next-generation radio telescopes. The goal is to turn raw data into images and catalogues that astronomers can use to investigate cosmic magnetism, the evolution of galaxies, cosmic explosions, and more.

    The Dunlap’s Prof. Suresh Sivanandam will develop an infrared spectrograph for the Gemini Observatory that will produce the most detailed and sensitive infrared images of the sky. With it, astronomers will be able to study some of the faintest, oldest and most distant objects in the Universe; probe the formation of stellar and planetary systems; and investigate galaxies in the early Universe.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    Gaensler’s project will allow Canada to play a major role in the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS), an ambitious new project to make a radio map of almost the entire sky in unprecedented detail. It will also help build the Canadian capacity needed to participate in what will be the largest and most powerful radio telescope ever constructed: the Square Kilometre Array.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    Major partners include observatories and researchers at various universities across North America, including the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, and the National Research Council. It also includes collaborators from three significant new radio telescopes: the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).

    CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment A partnership between the University of British Columbia McGill University, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia

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

    The Gemini InfraRed Multi-Object Spectrograph (GIRMOS) is unlike any astronomical spectrograph in existence or being planned for the current suite of large telescopes, and will serve as a precursor to a spectrograph for the Thirty-Meter Telescope, now under construction in Hawaií.

    Gemini InfraRed Multi-Object Spectrograph (GIRMOS) for TMT

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed and now approved for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    The spectrograph is designed for use on the 8-metre telescopes of the Gemini Observatory, the largest telescopes available to Canadian astronomers.


    Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


    Gemini/North telescope at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Major partners include Dalhousie University, the National Research Council, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, Laval University, and Saint Mary’s University.

    Plus, both projects provide ample opportunities for training students and postdoctoral fellows, and help position Canadian astronomers at the forefront of the next generation of astronomical discovery.

    The annual CFI Innovation Fund awards support transformative and innovative research or technology development in areas where Canada currently is, or has the potential to be, competitive at a global level.

    For Gaensler, the awards consist of $3.5 million from CFI, and nearly $6 million from provincial and other partners. The CFI money will flow to U of T and then on to the other partners; the rest will go directly to or stay with partners. For Sivanandam, over $5 million comes from CFI, with $7.8 million from provincial and other partners.

    The awards were announced today by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, in a ceremony at the University of Manitoba, as part of a CFI investment of more than $554 million in 117 new infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges and research hospitals across Canada.

    Additional notes:

    1) In addition to those noted above, Prof. Gaensler’s project also includes the following partners: McGill University, Queen’s University, University of British Columbia, Cornell University, University of Minnesota, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, and University of California Berkeley.

    2) In addition to those partners noted above, Prof. Sivanandam’s project also includes York University and University of Manitoba.

    3) The following statement has been added to the original release: “The CFI money will flow to U of T and then on to the other partners; the rest will go directly to or stay with partners.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Dunlap Institute campus

    The Dunlap Institute is committed to sharing astronomical discovery with the public. Through lectures, the web, social and new media, an interactive planetarium, and major events like the Toronto Science Festival, we are helping to answer the public’s questions about the Universe.
    Our work is greatly enhanced through collaborations with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, David Dunlap Observatory, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Toronto Public Library, and many other partners.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:35 pm on December 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA, , ,   

    From NRAO: “Next-generation U.S. Radio Telescope Development Begins” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    September 14, 2017
    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

    Planning begins for next leap forward in research capability.

    1
    Artist’s conception of the multi-antenna Next generation VLA (ngVLA). Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) are launching a new initiative to design a next-generation radio telescope with scientific capabilities far beyond those provided by any existing or currently proposed observatory.

    Building on the success of one of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) flagship observatories, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), NRAO and AUI are beginning a two-year project to explore the science opportunities, design concepts, and technologies needed to construct a new class of radio telescope.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    This proposed array, consisting of more than 200 antennas, would extend across the desert southwest of the United States and into northern Mexico.

    Currently dubbed the next-generation Very Large Array, or ngVLA for short, the new research facility will be designed to provide the next leap forward in our understanding of planets, galaxies, black holes, and fundamental physics.

    “The capabilities of the ngVLA are the only means of answering a broad range of critical scientific questions in modern astronomy,” said NRAO Director Tony Beasley. “The ngVLA will open a new window on the Universe, and its scientific and technological innovations promise great contributions to society across many dimensions, including economic development, education, and others,” he added.

    Funding for the new initiative was provided by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Astronomical Sciences, allowing NRAO to re-profile $11M in funding planned for instrument development over a longer time period into a focused two-year effort. This large telescope initiative was included in AUI’s successful proposal to the NSF to manage NRAO over the decade just starting, and NSF’s decision allows NRAO to accelerate the early design studies. This will enable the ngVLA concept to be more fully developed for the next U.S. astronomy Decadal Survey, commencing in 2019-2020, where all major new instruments and capabilities are considered by the research community. A key use of the funding will be exploration of the high-performance antennas that will collect the astronomical signals for analysis.

    “We’re very eager to get this effort underway,” said ngVLA Project Scientist Eric Murphy. “Along with partners and advisors from throughout the astronomical community, we look forward to the challenge of meeting the research needs of the coming decades,” he added.

    “Associated Universities, Inc., recognizes ngVLA as the future of radio astronomy in North America, and we are excited to start developing this new concept,” said AUI President Ethan Schreier. “New Mexico is home to many great astronomical facilities, and ngVLA will continue this proud tradition,“ he said.

    NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences is responsible for funding the VLA, the North American share of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, and other ground-based astronomical observatories. NSF is an independent federal agency that supports research and education in all non-medical fields of science, and in 2017 provided $75 Million to NRAO to support radio astronomy research in the U.S. and in Chile.

    In New Mexico, planning has begun for the design effort. Last June, NRAO hosted a workshop in Socorro on requirements and concepts for the new telescope. The workshop was attended by astronomers from a variety of specialties and institutions. In the near future, NRAO anticipates working with university and industrial partners as the project advances.

    More information on ngVLA can be found here and here.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 3:43 pm on December 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Karl V Jansky NRAO VLA, , Toothbrush Cluster   

    From CfA: “The Toothbrush Cluster” 

    Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


    Center For Astrophysics

    1
    A multiwavelength false-color image of the “Toothbrush” cluster of galaxies, 1RXS J0603.3+4214. The intensity in red shows the radio emission, blue is X -ray, and the background color composite is optical emission. Astronomers studying the cluster with new radio observations combined with other wavelengths have been able to confirm the galaxy merger scenario and estimate the magnetic field strength in the shocks. van Weeren et al.

    Most galaxies lie in clusters containing from a few to thousands of objects. Our Milky Way, for example, belongs to a cluster of about fifty galaxies called the Local Group whose other large member is the Andromeda galaxy about 2.3 million light-years away.

    Local Group. Andrew Z. Colvin 3 March 2011

    Andromeda Galaxy Adam Evans

    Clusters are the most massive gravitationally bound objects in the universe and form (according to current ideas) in a “bottoms-up” fashion with smaller structures developing first and larger groupings assembling later in cosmic history. Dark matter plays an important role in this growth process.

    Dark matter cosmic web and the large-scale structure it forms The Millenium Simulation, V. Springel et al

    Caterpillar Project A Milky-Way-size dark-matter halo and its subhalos circled, an enormous suite of simulations . Griffen et al. 2016

    Dark matter halo Image credit: Virgo consortium / A. Amblard / ESA

    Exactly how they grow, however, appears to depend on several competing physical processes including the behavior of the intracluster gas. There is more mass in this gas than there is in all the stars of a cluster’s galaxies, and the gas can have a temperature of ten million kelvin or even higher. As a result, the gas plays an important role in the cluster’s evolution. The hot intracluster gas contains rapidly moving charged particles that radiate strongly at radio wavelengths, sometimes revealing long filamentary structures.

    The “Toothbrush” galaxy cluster, 1RXS J0603.3+4214, hosts three of these radio structures as well as a large halo. The most prominent radio feature extends over more than six million light years, with three distinct components that resemble the brush and handle of a toothbrush. The handle is particularly enigmatic because, besides being large and very straight, it is off center from the axis of the cluster. The halo is thought to result from turbulence produced by the merger of galaxies, although some other possibilities have been suggested.

    CfA astronomers Reinout van Weeren, Bill Forman, Felipe Andrade-Santos, Ralph Kraft, and Christine Jones and their colleagues used the Very Large Array (VLA) facility to observe the relativistic particles in the cluster with precise, sensitive radio imaging, which they compared with Chandra X-ray and other datasets.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    In the radio, the Toothbrush has a very narrow ridge, created by a huge shock resulting from the merger, and at least thirty-two previously undetected compact sources. The halo’s radio and X-ray morphologies are very similar and lend support to the merger scenario. Astronomers are also able to estimate the strength of the magnetic field, and combined with other results, use it to conclude that the merger scenario is most suitable.

    Reference(s):

    Deep VLA Observations of the Cluster 1RXS J0603.3+4214 in the Frequency Range 1-2 GHz, K. Rajpurohit, M. Hoeft, R. J. van Weeren, L. Rudnick, H. J. A. R ottgering, W. R. Forman, M. Bruggen, J. H. Croston, F. Andrade-Santos, W. A. Dawson, H. T. Intema, R. P. Kraft, C. Jones, and M. James Jee, http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1712.01327

    See the full article here .

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    The Center for Astrophysics combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under a single director to pursue studies of those basic physical processes that determine the nature and evolution of the universe. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, founded in 1890. The Harvard College Observatory (HCO), founded in 1839, is a research institution of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, and provides facilities and substantial other support for teaching activities of the Department of Astronomy.

     
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