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  • richardmitnick 12:07 pm on June 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Monster Black Hole Found in the Early Universe", , , , , Keck Observatory, Quasar j1007+2115 or pōniuāʻena   

    From Keck Observatory: “Monster Black Hole Found in the Early Universe” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    June 25, 2020
    Mari-Ela Chock
    Communications Officer
    W. M. Keck Observatory
    (808) 554-0567 mobile
    mchock@keck.hawaii.edu

    The Second-most Distant Quasar Ever Discovered Now Has a Hawaiian Name.

    1
    Quasar j1007+2115, or pōniuāʻena
    Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Marenfeld

    Astronomers have discovered the second-most distant quasar ever found using three Maunakea Observatories in Hawai‘i: W. M. Keck Observatory [above], the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, and the University of Hawai‘i-owned United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT). It is the first quasar to receive an indigenous Hawaiian name, Pōniuāʻena, which means “unseen spinning source of creation, surrounded with brilliance” in the Hawaiian language.


    Frederick C Gillett Gemini North Telescope Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    UKIRT, located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, USA as part of Mauna Kea Observatory,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Pōniuāʻena is only the second quasar yet detected at a distance calculated at a cosmological redshift greater than 7.5 and it hosts a black hole twice as large as the other quasar known in the same era. The existence of these massive black holes at such early times challenges current theories of how supermassive black holes formed and grew in the young universe.

    The research has been accepted in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    Quasars are the most energetic objects in the universe powered by their supermassive black holes and since their discovery, astronomers have been keen to determine when they first appeared in our cosmic history. By systematically searching for these rare objects in wide-area sky surveys, astronomers discovered the most distant quasar (named J1342+0928) in 2018 and now the second-most distant, Pōniuāʻena (or J1007+2115, at redshift 7.515). The light seen from Pōniuāʻena traveled through space for over 13 billion years since leaving the quasar just 700 million years after the Big Bang.

    Spectroscopic observations from Keck Observatory and Gemini Observatory show the supermassive black hole powering Pōniuāʻena is 1.5 billion times more massive than our Sun.

    2
    An artist’s impression of the formation of the quasar Pōniuāʻena, starting with a seed black hole 100 million years after the Big Bang (left), then growing into a billion solar mass black hole 700 million years after the Big Bang (right). Astronomers discovered Pōniuāʻena, the second-most distant quasar ever found, using three Maunakea Observatories on Hawaii Island: W. M. Keck Observatory, Gemini Observatory, and UKIRT, as well as the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on the Island of Maui. It is the first quasar to receive an indigenous Hawaiian name. Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Marenfeld

    “Pōniuāʻena is the most distant object known in the universe hosting a black hole exceeding one billion solar masses,” said Jinyi Yang, a postdoctoral research associate at the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona and lead author of the study.

    For a black hole of this size to form this early in the universe, it would need to start as a 10,000 solar mass “seed” black hole about 100 million years after the Big Bang, rather than growing from a much smaller black hole formed by the collapse of a single star.

    “How can the universe produce such a massive black hole so early in its history?” said Xiaohui Fan, Regents’ professor and associate department head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. “This discovery presents the biggest challenge yet for the theory of black hole formation and growth in the early universe.”

    Current theory holds the birth of stars and galaxies as we know them started during the Epoch of Reionization, beginning about 400 million years after the Big Bang. The growth of the first giant black holes is thought to have occurred during that same era in the universe’s history.

    The discovery of quasars like Pōniuāʻena, deep into the reionization epoch, is a big step towards understanding this process of reionization and the formation of early supermassive black holes and massive galaxies. Pōniuāʻena has placed new and important constraints on the evolution of the matter between galaxies (intergalactic medium) in the reionization epoch.

    “Pōniuāʻena acts like a cosmic lighthouse. As its light travels the long journey towards Earth, its spectrum is altered by diffuse gas in the intergalactic medium which allowed us to pinpoint when the Epoch of Reionization occurred,” said co-author Joseph Hennawi, a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    METHODOLOGY

    Yang’s team first detected Pōniuāʻena as a possible quasar after combing through large area surveys such as the UKIRT Hemisphere Survey and data from the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope on the Island of Maui.

    In 2019, the researchers observed the object using Gemini Observatory’s GNIRS instrument as well as Keck Observatory’s Near Infrared Echellette Spectrograph (NIRES) to confirm the existence of Pōniuāʻena.

    “The preliminary data from Gemini suggested this was likely to be an important discovery. Our team had observing time scheduled at Keck just a few weeks later, perfectly timed to observe the new quasar using Keck’s NIRES spectrograph in order to confirm its extremely high redshift and measure the mass of its black hole,” said co-author Aaron Barth, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.

    In honor of its discovery from atop Maunakea, 30 Hawaiian immersion school teachers named the quasar Pōniuāʻena through the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i’s A Hua He Inoa program led by renowned Hawaiian language expert Dr. Larry Kimura.

    “We recognize there are different ways of knowing the universe,” said John O’Meara, chief scientist at Keck Observatory. “Pōniuāʻena is a wonderful example of interconnectedness between science and culture, with shared appreciation for how different knowledge systems enrich each other.”

    “I am extremely grateful to be a part of this educational experience – it is a rare learning opportunity,” said Kauʻi Kaina, a high school Hawaiian immersion teacher from Kahuku, Oʻahu who was involved in the naming workshop. “Today it is relevant to apply these cultural values in order to further the well-being of the Hawaiian language beyond ordinary contexts such as in school, but also to ensure the language lives throughout the universe.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on June 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Astronomers Find Cosmic Golden Needle Buried for Two Decades, , , , , Discovery Sheds New Light on Famous Einstein Ring, Gravitationally lens, , Keck Observatory, The first discovered Einstein ring named MG 1131+0456 which was observed in 1987 with the Very Large Array.   

    From Keck Observatory: “Astronomers Find Cosmic Golden Needle Buried for Two Decades; Discovery Sheds New Light on Famous Einstein Ring” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    Mari-Ela Chock
    Communications Officer
    W. M. Keck Observatory
    (808) 554-0567 mobile
    mchock@keck.hawaii.edu

    Social Distance Science Made Possible with Public W. M. Keck Observatory and NASA Archive Data.

    1
    A radio image of mg 1131+0456, the first known einstein ring observed in 1987 using the very large array.
    IMAGE CREDIT: VLA

    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)

    Determined to find a needle in a cosmic haystack, a pair of astronomers time traveled through archives of old data from W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauankea in Hawaii and old X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to unlock a mystery surrounding a bright, lensed, heavily obscured quasar.

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    This celestial object, which is an active galaxy emitting enormous amounts of energy due to a black hole devouring material, is an exciting object in itself. Finding one that is gravitationally lensed, making it appear brighter and larger, is exceptionally exciting. While slightly over 200 lensed unobscured quasars are currently known, the number of lensed obscured quasars discovered is in the single digits. This is because the feeding black hole stirs up gas and dust, cloaking the quasar and making it difficult to detect in visible light surveys.

    Not only did the researchers uncover a quasar of this type, they found the object happens to be the first discovered Einstein ring, named MG 1131+0456, which was observed in 1987 with the Very Large Array network of radio telescopes in New Mexico. Remarkably, though widely studied, the quasar’s distance or redshift remained a question mark.

    “As we dug deeper, we were surprised that such a famous and bright source never had a distance measured for it,” said Daniel Stern, senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and author of the study. “Having a distance is a necessary first step for all sorts of additional studies, such as using the lens as a tool to measure the expansion history of the universe and as a probe for dark matter.”

    Stern and co-author Dominic Walton, an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy (UK), are the first to calculate the quasar’s distance, which is 10 billion light-years away (or a redshift of z = 1.849).

    The result is published in the June 1 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    “This whole paper was a bit nostalgic for me, making me look at papers from the early days of my career, when I was still in graduate school. The Berlin Wall was still up when this Einstein ring was first discovered, and all the data presented in our paper are from the last millennium,” said Stern.

    METHODOLOGY

    At the time of their research, telescopes around the planet were shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic (Keck Observatory has since reopened as of May 16); Stern and Walton took advantage of their extended time at home to creatively keep science going by combing through data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) to search for gravitationally lensed, heavily obscured quasars.

    NASA/WISE NEOWISE Telescope

    While dust hides most active galaxies in visible light surveys, that obscuring dust makes such sources very bright in infrared surveys, such as provided by WISE.

    Though quasars are often extremely far away, astronomers can detect them through gravitational lensing, a phenomenon that acts as nature’s magnifying glass.

    Gravitational Lensing

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA

    This occurs when a galaxy closer to Earth acts as a lens and makes the quasar behind it look extra bright. The gravitational field of the closer galaxy warps space itself, bending and amplifying the light of the quasar in the background. If the alignment is just right, this creates a circle of light called an Einstein ring, predicted by Albert Einstein in 1936. More typically, gravitationally lensing will cause multiple images of the background object to appear around the foreground object.

    2
    Examples of Einstein ring gravitational lenses taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA/ESA/SLACS Survey team: A. Bolton (Harvard/Smithsonian), S. Burles (MIT), L. Koopmans (Kapteyn), T. Treu (UCSB), L. Moustakas (JPL/Caltech)

    Once Stern and Walton rediscovered MG 1131+0456 with WISE and realized its distance remained a mystery, they meticulously combed through old data from the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) and found the Observatory observed the quasar seven times between 1997 and 2007 using the Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS) on the Keck I telescope, as well as the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSPEC) and the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) on the Keck II telescope.

    UCO Keck LRIS

    Nirspec on Keck 2

    KECK Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) on Keck II

    “We were able to extract the distance from Keck’s earliest data set, taken in March of 1997, in the early years of the observatory,” said Walton. “We are grateful to Keck and NASA for their collaborative efforts to make more than 25 years of Keck data publicly available to the world. Our paper would not have been possible without that.”

    The team also analyzed NASA’s archival data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2000, in the first year after the mission launched.

    NEXT STEPS

    With MG 1131+0456’s distance now known, Walton and Stern were able to determine the mass of the lensed galaxy with exquisite precision and use the Chandra data to robustly confirm the obscured nature of the quasar, accurately determining how much intervening gas lies between us and its luminous central regions.

    “We can now fully describe the unique, fortuitous geometry of this Einstein ring,” said Stern. “This allows us to craft follow-up studies, such as using the soon-to-launch James Webb Space Telescope to study the dark matter properties of the lensing galaxy.”

    “Our next step is to find lensed quasars that are even more heavily obscured than MG 1131+0456,” said Walton. “Finding those needles is going to be even harder, but they’re out there waiting to be discovered. These cosmic gems can give us a deeper understanding of the universe, including further insight into how supermassive black holes grow and influence their surroundings,” says Walton.

    3
    Adhering to social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, astronomers Dominic Walton (left) and Daniel Stern (right) collaborated remotely via Zoom to conduct their study of the lensed, obscured quasar MG 1131+0456 and determine its distance. Image credit: D. Stern, NASA JPL/D. Walton, University of Cambridge IoA

    __________________________________________

    ABOUT LRIS

    The Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS) is a very versatile and ultra-sensitive visible-wavelength imager and spectrograph built at the California Institute of Technology by a team led by Prof. Bev Oke and Prof. Judy Cohen and commissioned in 1993. Since then it has seen two major upgrades to further enhance its capabilities: the addition of a second, blue arm optimized for shorter wavelengths of light and the installation of detectors that are much more sensitive at the longest (red) wavelengths. Each arm is optimized for the wavelengths it covers. This large range of wavelength coverage, combined with the instrument’s high sensitivity, allows the study of everything from comets (which have interesting features in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum), to the blue light from star formation, to the red light of very distant objects. LRIS also records the spectra of up to 50 objects simultaneously, especially useful for studies of clusters of galaxies in the most distant reaches, and earliest times, of the universe. LRIS was used in observing distant supernovae by astronomers who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011 for research determining that the universe was speeding up in its expansion.

    ABOUT NIRSPEC

    The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSPEC) is a unique, cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph that captures spectra of objects over a large range of infrared wavelengths at high spectral resolution. Built at the UCLA Infrared Laboratory by a team led by Prof. Ian McLean, the instrument is used for radial velocity studies of cool stars, abundance measurements of stars and their environs, planetary science, and many other scientific programs. A second mode provides low spectral resolution but high sensitivity and is popular for studies of distant galaxies and very cool low-mass stars. NIRSPEC can also be used with Keck II’s adaptive optics (AO) system to combine the powers of the high spatial resolution of AO with the high spectral resolution of NIRSPEC. Support for this project was provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

    ABOUT ESI

    The Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) is a medium-resolution visible-light spectrograph that records spectra from 0.39 to 1.1 microns in each exposure. Built at UCO/Lick Observatory by a team led by Prof. Joe Miller, ESI also has a low-resolution mode and can image in a 2 x 8 arc min field of view. An upgrade provided an integral field unit that can provide spectra everywhere across a small, 5.7 x4.0 arc sec field. Astronomers have found a number of uses for ESI, from observing the cosmological effects of weak gravitational lensing to searching for the most metal-poor stars in our galaxy.

    ABOUT KOA

    The Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) is a collaboration between the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) and the W. M. Keck Observatory (WMKO). NExScI is sponsored by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, and operated by the California Institute of Technology in coordination with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The ‘Cow’ Mystery Strikes Back: Two More Rare Explosive Events Captured", , , , , Keck Observatory, The ‘Koala’ and a similar mysterious bright object called CSS161010.   

    From Keck Observatory: “The ‘Cow’ Mystery Strikes Back: Two More Rare, Explosive Events Captured” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    May 26, 2020

    Mari-Ela Chock
    Communications Officer
    W. M. Keck Observatory
    (808) 554-0567 mobile
    mchock@keck.hawaii.edu

    Discoveries Reveal New Class of Fast Blue Optical Transient Events.

    1
    An artist’s illustration of a fast blue optical transient, or FBOT. Credit: Bill Saxton,NRAO/AUI/NSF

    The ‘Cow’ is not alone; with the help of W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii, astronomers have discovered two more like it – the ‘Koala’ and a similar mysterious bright object called CSS161010. This trio of fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) appear to be relatives, all belonging to a highly-luminous family that has a track record for surprising astronomers with their fast, powerful bursts of energy.

    The ‘Koala,’ which is a nickname derived from the tail end of its official name ZTF18abvkwla, suddenly appeared as a bright new source in the optical sky before disappearing within just a few nights. A team of astronomers at Caltech realized this behavior was similar to the ‘Cow’ and requested radio observations to see if the two were connected.

    “When I reduced the data, I thought I made a mistake,” said Anna Ho, graduate student of astronomy at Caltech and lead author of the study. “The ‘Koala’ resembled the ‘Cow’ but the radio emission was ten times brighter – as bright as a gamma-ray burst!”

    Ho and her research team’s paper is published in today’s issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

    Another cosmic explosion of this type, CSS161010, fascinated a team of astronomers led by Northwestern University. Based on radio observations, they calculated this transient launched material into space faster than 0.55 times the speed of light.

    “This was unexpected,” said Deanne Coppejans, postdoctoral associate at Northwestern University and lead author of the study on CSS161010. “We know of energetic stellar explosions that can eject material at almost the speed of light, specifically gamma-ray bursts, but they only launch a small amount of mass – about 1 millionth the mass of the Sun. CSS161010 launched 1 to 10 percent the mass of the Sun to relativistic speeds – evidence that this is a new class of transient!”

    Coppejans and her team’s paper is published in today’s issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    These three strange events make up a new subtype of FBOTs, which first dazzled the world in the summer of 2018 when the ‘Cow,’ short for AT2018cow, exploded in the sky.

    Three months later, Ho’s team captured the ‘Koala.’ Though the ‘Cow’ was the first to make world headlines, CSS161010 was actually the first FBOT discovered with luminous radio and X-ray emission, but astronomers did not know how to interpret these findings yet.

    “At that time, there was really no theoretical model that predicted bright radio emission from bright FBOTs,” said Coppejans. “It wasn’t until we conducted follow-up radio and X-ray observations that the true nature of CSS161010 revealed itself. Seeing it at these wavelengths is important because the data showed we were looking at something new and highly energetic.”

    What makes these luminous FBOTs strange is they look like supernova explosions, but flare up and vanish much faster. They’re also extremely hot, making them appear bluer in color than your standard supernovae.

    2
    Artist’s illustration comparing FBOTs to normal supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    Also, while these new FBOTs explosions are just as violent as long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and can also launch outflows at relativistic velocities, their observational signatures are different in that they are surrounded by a lot of circumstellar matter. And unlike GRBs, the ‘Cow’ and CSS161010 contain hydrogen.

    “We don’t see these two elements in GRB-supernova spectra because we think GRBs come from dying stars that were ‘stripped’ of their hydrogen and helium envelopes prior to collapsing into a new black hole,” said Ho.

    ORIGIN OF LUMINOUS FBOTS

    The two teams used Keck Observatory’s Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS) and DEep Imaging and Multi-Object Spectrograph (DEIMOS) to characterize the host galaxies of the ‘Koala’ and CSS161010; they found both FBOTs come from low-mass dwarf galaxies, just like the ‘Cow.’

    UCO Keck LRIS

    Keck/DEIMOS on Keck 2

    “The host galaxy of CSS161010 is so small that only a 10-meter class telescope like Keck can collect enough light to allow us to physically model the emission,” said co-author Giacomo Terreran, postdoctoral associate at Northwestern University’s CIERA (Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research for Astrophysics). “Remarkably, the Keck data showed the host galaxies of CSS161010, the ‘Koala’, and the ‘Cow,’ while tiny, are actively forming stars, indicating their home base has a very small stellar mass typical of dwarf galaxies.”

    4
    A direct image of CSS161010’s host galaxy taken with W. M. Keck Observatory’s DEIMOS instrument, shown in the bottom square and magnified in the larger top square. Observations show it is a dwarf galaxy located 500,000,000 light years away in the direction of the constellation Eridanus. Image credit: G. Terreran, Northwestern University.

    “This likely indicates the dwarf galaxy properties, such as the metallicity or formation history, might allow some very rare evolutionary paths of stars that lead to the most violent explosions,” said Coppejans.

    While both teams attribute the explosions of massive stars as the most likely cause of these new FBOTs, another possibility still under consideration is they originate from stars being devoured by black holes. If so, this new class of FBOTs could be key in the hunt for medium-sized black holes, which have yet to be detected. In general, the more massive a galaxy is, the heavier its central black hole; following this trend, it is expected that dwarf galaxies are candidates for hosting intermediate mass black holes.

    “One idea is that FBOTs could be the flare of a star being ripped apart by an intermediate mass black hole. If this is the case, then they could potentially be beacons to help find these elusive black holes,” said CSS161010 co-author Rafaella Margutti, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University and faculty member of Northwestern’s CIERA.

    While the origin of this type of FBOT is still hotly debated, the new data provide fresh insight on how they may have formed.

    “The observations prove the most luminous FBOTs have a ‘central engine’ – a source like a neutron star or black hole that powers the transient,” said Margutti. “It’s not yet clear if these bright FBOTs are rare supernovae, stars being shredded by black holes, or other energetic phenomena. Multi-wavelength observations of more FBOTs and their environment will answer this question.”

    METHODOLOGY AND NEXT STEPS

    Due to their extremely rapid rise to maximum light, these rare FBOTs are difficult to detect. But recent developments in high-cadence optical surveys scanning huge swaths of the sky every night make the hunt for rare, short-duration transients more feasible. The key to determining their true nature is to conduct follow-up multi-wavelength observations.

    The ‘Koala’ was first detected using the Zwicky Transient Facility at Palomar Observatory. Ho’s team then used the Hale Telescope to obtain spectra, followed by the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) to conduct radio observations.

    Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) instrument installed on the 1.2m diameter Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California. Courtesy Caltech Optical Observatories

    Caltech Palomar 200 inch Hale Telescope, Altitude 1,713 m (5,620 ft), located in San Diego County, California, United States

    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)

    Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, an array of thirty telecopes, located near Pune in India

    CSS161010 was first captured by the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey and independently discovered by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae. Coppejans and her team then conducted follow-up radio observations with the VLA and GMRT, and X-ray observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    4
    Artist’s illustration detailing the structure of FBOTs. Image credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    The radio emission is produced by the shock wave of the material slamming into the surrounding medium at more than 0.55 times the speed of light, but the X-ray emission cannot be explained this way. The team speculates they might be directly seeing the central engine in X-rays, like in the ‘Cow.’

    “One lesson learned is while FBOTs have proven rarer and harder to find than some of us were hoping, in the radio band they’re also much more luminous than we’d guessed, allowing us to provide quite comprehensive data even on events that are far away,” said Daniel Perley, senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University’s Astrophysics Research Institute and co-author of the ‘Koala’ study.

    “These observations of the ‘Koala’ and CSS161010 show how much we can learn from radio and X-ray observations of FBOTs,” said Ho. “The challenge going forward is to delineate different FBOT subtypes and to develop more precise vocabulary. It’s exciting to help investigate a new and unexpected phenomenon. In science, you sometimes don’t find what you were expecting to find, but along the way you uncover new directions.”

    The CSS161010 study was supported by grants from the Heising-Simons Foundation, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 11:07 am on May 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers See ‘Cosmic Ring of Fire, , , ’ 11 Billion Years Ago", “Collisional ring galaxy”, , , Keck Observatory, The ring galaxy R5519   

    From Keck Observatory: “Astronomers See ‘Cosmic Ring of Fire,’ 11 Billion Years Ago” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    May 25, 2020
    Media Contact
    Mari-Ela Chock
    Telephone (808) 881-3827
    Cell (808) 554-0567
    mchock@keck.hawaii.edu

    1
    An artist’s impression of the ring galaxy. Credit: James Josephides, Swinburne Astronomy Productions

    2
    A composite image of the ring galaxy R5519 compiled from single-color images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: Tiantian Yuan/Hubble Space Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Astronomers have captured an image of a super rare type of galaxy – described as a “cosmic ring of fire” – as it existed 11 billion years ago.

    The galaxy, which has roughly the mass of the Milky Way, is circular with a hole in the middle, like a titanic doughnut; its discovery is set to shake up theories about the earliest formation of galactic structures and how they evolve.

    The study, which includes data from W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii, is published in today’s issue of the journal Nature Astronomy.

    “It is a very curious object that we’ve never seen before,” said lead researcher Tiantian Yuan, from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D). “It looks strange and familiar at the same time.”

    The galaxy, named R5519, is 11 billion light-years from the Solar System. The hole at its center is truly massive, with a diameter two billion times longer than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. To put it another way, it is three million times bigger than the diameter of Pōwehi, the supermassive black hole in the galaxy Messier 87, which in 2019 became the first ever to be directly imaged.

    “It is making stars at a rate 50 times greater than the Milky Way,” said Yuan, who is an ASTRO 3D Fellow based at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, in the state of Victoria. “Most of that activity is taking place on its ring – so it truly is a ring of fire.”

    To identify the unusual structure, Yuan worked with colleagues from around the U.S., Australia, Canada, Belgium and Denmark, using Keck Observatory’s adaptive optics combined with its OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (OSIRIS), as well as the Observatory’s Multi-Object Spectrograph for Infrared Exploration (MOSFIRE) to gather spectroscopic data of the ring galaxy. The team also used images recorded by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

    UCO Keck OSIRIS

    Keck/MOSFIRE on Keck 1, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    The evidence suggests R5519 is a type known as a “collisional ring galaxy,” making it the first one ever located in the early universe. There are two kinds of ring galaxies. The more common type forms because of internal processes. The other type forms from immense and violent collisions with other galaxies.

    In the nearby “local” universe, collisional ring galaxies are 1000 times rarer than the internally created type. Images of the much more distant R5519 stem from about 10.8 billion years ago, just three billion years after the Big Bang. They indicate that collisional ring galaxies have always been extremely uncommon.

    ASTRO 3D co-author Ahmed Elagali, who is based at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Western Australia, said studying R5519 would help determine when spiral galaxies began to develop.

    “Further, constraining the number density of ring galaxies through cosmic time can also be used to put constraints on the assembly and evolution of local-like galaxy groups,” said Elagali.

    Another co-author, Kenneth Freeman, Duffield Professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University, said the discovery has implications for understanding how galaxies like the Milky Way formed.

    “The collisional formation of ring galaxies requires a thin disk to be present in the ‘victim’ galaxy before the collision occurs,” he explained. “The thin disk is the defining component of spiral galaxies: before it assembled, the galaxies were in a disorderly state, not yet recognizable as spiral galaxies.”

    Freeman added, “In the case of this ring galaxy, we are looking back into the early universe by 11 billion years, into a time when thin disks were only just assembling. For comparison, the thin disk of our Milky Way began to come together only about nine billion years ago. This discovery is an indication that disk assembly in spiral galaxies occurred over a more extended period than previously thought.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 12:57 pm on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Confirm Existence of Two Giant Newborn Planets in PDS 70 System", , , , , Keck Observatory   

    From Keck Observatory: “Astronomers Confirm Existence of Two Giant Newborn Planets in PDS 70 System” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    May 18, 2020

    1

    New Direct Images Captured with W. M. Keck Observatory’s Upgraded Adaptive Optics System Lead to First Independent Confirmation of PDS 70 Protoplanets

    New evidence shows the first-ever pictures capturing the birth of a pair of planets orbiting the star PDS 70 are in fact authentic.

    Using a new infrared pyramid wavefront sensor for adaptive optics (AO) correction at W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii, a Caltech-led team of astronomers applied a new method of taking family photos of the baby planets, or protoplanets, and confirmed their existence.

    The team’s results are published in today’s issue of The Astronomical Journal.

    PDS 70 is the first known multiplanetary system where astronomers can witness planet formation in action. The first direct image of one of its planets, PDS 70b, was taken in 2018 followed by multiple images taken at different wavelengths of its sibling, PDS 70c, in 2019. Both Jupiter-like protoplanets were discovered by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).

    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,

    “There was some confusion when the two protoplanets were first imaged,” said Jason Wang, a Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellow at Caltech and lead author of the study. “Planet embryos form from a disk of dust and gas surrounding a newborn star. This circumstellar material accretes onto the protoplanet, creating a kind of smokescreen that makes it difficult to differentiate the dusty, gaseous disk from the developing planet in an image.”

    To help provide clarity, Wang and his team developed a method to disentangle the image signals from the circumstellar disk and the protoplanets.

    “We know the disk’s shape should be a symmetrical ring around the star whereas a planet should be a single point in the image,” said Wang. “So even if a planet appears to sit on top of the disk, which is the case with PDS 70c, based on our knowledge of how the disk looks throughout the whole image, we can infer how bright the disk should be at the location of the protoplanet and remove the disk signal. All that’s left over is the planet’s emission.”

    2
    Artist’s impression of the PDS 70 system. The two planets are seen clearing a gap in the protoplanetary disk from which they were born. The planets are heated by infalling material that they are actively accreting and are glowing red. Note that the planets and star are not to scale and would be much smaller in size compared to their relative separations. Image Credit: W. M. Keck Observatory/Adam Makarenko

    The team snapped images of PDS 70 with the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRC2) on the Keck II telescope, marking first science for a vortex coronagraph installed in NIRC2 as part of a recent upgrade, combined with the Observatory’s upgraded AO system consisting of a new infrared pyramid wavefront sensor and real-time control computer.

    Keck NIRC2 Camera

    “The new infrared detector technology used in our pyramid wavefront sensor has dramatically improved our ability to study exoplanets, especially those around low-mass stars where planet formation is actively occurring,” said Sylvain Cetre, software engineer at Keck Observatory and one of the lead developers of the AO upgrade. “It will also allow us to improve the quality of our AO correction for harder to image targets like the center of our galaxy.”

    This project benefited from the innovative infrared sensor that measures distortions in light caused by the Earth’s atmosphere.

    “New technology is a science multiplier,” says Peter Kurczynski, program director at the National Science Foundation, which contributed funding to this project. “It enables investigations that were never before possible.”

    AO is a technique used to remove the atmospheric blurring that distorts astronomical images. With the new infrared pyramid wavefront sensor and real-time controller installed, Keck Observatory’s AO system is able to deliver sharper, more detailed images.

    “The PDS 70 imagery Jason’s team captured was among the first tests of the scientific quality produced by Keck’s pyramid wavefront sensor,” said AO scientist Charlotte Bond, who played a key role in the design and installation of the technology. “It’s exciting to see just how precise the new AO system corrects for the atmospheric turbulence of dusty objects like the young stars where protoplanets are expected to reside, allowing for the clearest, sharpest view of baby versions of our solar system.”

    The W. M. Keck Observatory Adaptive Optics Near-Infrared Pyramid Wavefront Sensor development was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Advanced Telescopes and Instrumentation program and conducted in collaboration with the University of Hawaii and Caltech, as well as colleages from the Subaru Telescope, Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, and the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille.

    __________________________________________
    ABOUT ADAPTIVE OPTICS

    W. M. Keck Observatory is a distinguished leader in the field of adaptive optics (AO), a breakthrough technology that removes the distortions caused by the turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. Keck Observatory pioneered the astronomical use of both natural guide star (NGS) and laser guide star adaptive optics (LGS AO) and current systems now deliver images three to four times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. Keck AO has imaged the four massive planets orbiting the star HR8799, measured the mass of the giant black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, discovered new supernovae in distant galaxies, and identified the specific stars that were their progenitors.

    The original Keck II AO system was built with funding from the W. M. Keck Foundation and NASA. The new RTC will build on a laser guide star facility upgrade completed in 2016 with the generous financial support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, W. M. Keck Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and other Friends of Keck including The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, Change Happens Foundation, Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation, and Sanford and Jeanne Robertson.
    __________________________________________
    ABOUT NIRC2

    The Near-Infrared Camera, second generation (NIRC2) works in combination with the Keck II adaptive optics system to obtain very sharp images at near-infrared wavelengths, achieving spatial resolutions comparable to or better than those achieved by the Hubble Space Telescope at optical wavelengths. NIRC2 is probably best known for helping to provide definitive proof of a central massive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Astronomers also use NIRC2 to map surface features of solar system bodies, detect planets orbiting other stars, and study detailed morphology of distant galaxies.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on May 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hawaii Astronomers Help Decipher Rhythm Among Young Stars", , , , , Delta scuti variable stars, Keck Observatory,   

    From Keck Observatory: “Hawaii Astronomers Help Decipher Rhythm Among Young Stars” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    1
    The delta scuti variable star called hd 31901. Credit: Chris Boshuizen, Simon Murphy, Tim Bedding

    By “listening” to the “beating hearts” of stars, an international team of astronomers, including researchers from the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy (UH IfA), detected a rhythm of life for a class of stellar objects that puzzled scientists until now.

    The findings are an important contribution to the overall understanding of what goes on inside trillions of stars across the cosmos.

    UH IfA Assistant Professor Daniel Huber and School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) Professor Eric Gaidos co-authored the study, which includes observations from W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii; the paper published today in the science journal Nature.

    “The signals from these stars have been a mystery for over a hundred years,” Huber said. “We knew that brightness variations in these stars are caused by sound waves traveling in their interior, but we just couldn’t make any sense of them.”

    The international team led by Professor Tim Bedding at the University of Sydney used data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a space telescope used to detect planets around nearby stars.

    NASA/MIT TESS replaced Kepler in search for exoplanets

    It provided the team with brightness measurements of thousands of stars, allowing them to find 60 whose pulsations were ripe for study.

    “NASA’s TESS data has delivered precise detections in a much larger number of these stars than we had before. This has now finally cleared up the picture, and we were able to identify regular structures. It’s like notes of a song finally falling into place to play a beautiful melody,” Huber explained.


    Simulation of pulsations in the Delta Scuti variable star called HD 31901, based on brightness measurements by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The simulation has been sped up by a factor of 2646 so that 24 hours of TESS data lasts 33 seconds. CREDIT: C. BOSHUIZEN/S. MURPHY/T. BEDDING

    A WINDOW TO OUR PAST

    The stars analyzed in the study are about 1.5 to 2.5 times more massive than the Sun and are known as Delta Scuti stars. Within the past few decades, astronomers have been able to detect the internal oscillations of stars, revealing their structure by studying stellar pulsations using careful and precise measurements of changes in light output. Over periods of time, brightness variations reveal intricate—and often regular—patterns, allowing researchers to stare into the very heart of the massive nuclear furnaces that light the universe. This branch of science, known as asteroseismology, enables astronomers to understand the insides of distant stars similar to how earthquakes are used to decipher the interior structure of our planet.

    The research team’s identification of regular patterns in Delta Scuti stars will dramatically expand the reach of asteroseismology.

    “Young stars like these are among the most intriguing and important objects in astronomy,” said Gaidos. “They allow us to see how stars and their planets form and change with time much as the Solar System did more than 4 billion years ago. They are a window into our past.”

    KECK OBSERVATORY CONTRIBUTES

    Observations using Keck Observatory’s High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) provided critical information during the study to explain the brightness variations of the stars recorded by TESS.

    Keck Keck High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES), at the Keck I telescope, Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    “Our observations with Keck showed that most Delta Scuti stars with regular patterns appear to be spinning slower than normal,” Huber said. “We believe that this is one of the key pieces to explain their clear frequency patterns, and this will be critical to find more of them in the future.”

    “This is really exciting work,” said John O’Meara, chief scientist at Keck Observatory. “It uses the combination of HIRES and TESS, data usually focused on finding exoplanets, to look deep into the hearts of stars and start to solve another mystery about them. I look forward to more of these types of measurements as the TESS mission goes on; Keck and HIRES are ready.”

    NASA has funded multiple TESS-related research projects at UH totaling nearly one million dollars at the university since the launch of the TESS telescope in April 2018.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on April 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Keck Observatory, Kepler-88 d - a planet three times the mass of Jupiter in a distant planetary system.   

    From Keck Observatory: “Newly Discovered Exoplanet Dethrones Former King of Kepler-88 Planetary System” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    Hawaii Astronomer Discovers Massive Extrasolar Planet with Maunakea Telescope.

    Our solar system has a king. The planet Jupiter, named for the most powerful god in the Greek pantheon, has bossed around the other planets through its gravitational influence. With twice the mass of Saturn, and 300 times that of Earth, Jupiter’s slightest movement is felt by all the other planets. Jupiter is thought to be responsible for the small size of Mars, the presence of the asteroid belt, and a cascade of comets that delivered water to young Earth.

    Do other planetary systems have gravitational gods like Jupiter?

    A team of astronomers led by the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (UH IfA) has discovered a planet three times the mass of Jupiter in a distant planetary system.

    The discovery is based on six years of data taken at W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaiʻi. Using the High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) instrument on the 10-meter Keck I telescope, the team confirmed that the planet, named Kepler-88 d, orbits its star every four years, and its orbit is not circular, but elliptical.

    Keck Keck High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES), at the Keck I telescope, Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    At three times the mass of Jupiter, Kepler-88 d is the most massive planet in this system.

    The system, Kepler-88, was already famous among astronomers for two planets that orbit much closer to the star, Kepler-88 b and c (planets are typically named alphabetically in the order of their discovery).

    Those two planets have a bizarre and striking dynamic called mean motion resonance. The sub-Neptune sized planet b orbits the star in just 11 days, which is almost exactly half the 22-day orbital period of planet c, a Jupiter-mass planet. The clockwork-like nature of their orbits is energetically efficient, like a parent pushing a child on a swing. Every two laps planet b makes around the star, it gets pumped. The outer planet, Kepler-88 c, is twenty times more massive than planet b, and so its force results in dramatic changes in the orbital timing of the inner planet.

    Kepler-88 Planetary System from Keck Observatory on Vimeo.
    Kepler-88 d has three times the mass of Kepler-88 c, making the newly found planet the most massive one known in this system. ANIMATION CREDIT: W. M. KECK OBSERVATORY/ADAM MAKARENKO

    Astronomers observed these changes, called transit timing variations, with the NASA Kepler space telescope, which detected the precise times when Kepler-88 b crossed (or transited) between the star and the telescope. Although transit timing variations (TTVs for short) have been detected in a few dozen planetary systems, Kepler-88 b has some of the largest timing variations. With transits arriving up to half a day early or late, the system is known as “the King of TTVs.”

    The newly discovered planet adds another dimension to astronomers’ understanding of the system.

    “At three times the mass of Jupiter, Kepler-88 d has likely been even more influential in the history of the Kepler-88 system than the so-called King, Kepler-88 c, which is only one Jupiter mass,” says Dr. Lauren Weiss, Beatrice Watson Parrent Postdoctoral Fellow at UH IfA and lead author on the discovery team. “So maybe Kepler-88 d is the new supreme monarch of this planetary empire – the empress.”

    Perhaps these extrasolar sovereign leaders have had as much influence as Jupiter did for our solar system. Such planets might have promoted the development of rocky planets and directed water-bearing comets toward them. Dr. Weiss and colleagues are searching for similar royal planets in other planetary systems with small planets.

    Their paper announcing the discovery of Kepler-88 d is published in today’s issue of The Astronomical Journal.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 2:31 pm on April 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ALPINE SURVEY-"ALMA Large Program to Investigate C+ at Early Times", , , , , , , Keck Observatory, , ,   

    From Caltech: “Rotating Galaxies Galore” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    April 21, 2020
    Whitney Clavin
    (626) 395‑1944
    wclavin@caltech.edu

    New results from an ambitious sky survey program, called ALPINE, reveal that rotating disk-shaped galaxies may have existed in large numbers earlier in the universe than previously thought.

    The ALPINE program, formally named “ALMA Large Program to Investigate C+ at Early Times,” uses data obtained from 70 hours of sky observations with the ALMA observatory (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) in Chile, in combination with data from previous observations by a host of other telescopes, including the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. Specifically, the survey looked at a patch of sky containing dozens of remote galaxies.

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

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope. No longer in service.

    “This is the first multi-wavelength study from ultraviolet to radio waves of distant galaxies that existed between 1 billion and 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang,” says Andreas Faisst, a staff scientist at IPAC, an astronomy center at Caltech, and a principal investigator of the ALPINE program, which includes scientists across the globe.

    One of ALPINE’s key functions is using ALMA to observe the signature of an ion known as C+, which is a positively charged form of carbon. When ultraviolet light from newborn stars hits clouds of dust, it creates the C+ atoms. By measuring the signature of this atom, or “emission line,” in galaxies, astronomers can see how the galaxies are rotating; as the gas containing C+ in the galaxies spins toward us, its light signature shifts to bluer wavelengths, and as it spins away, the light shifts to redder wavelengths. This is similar to a police car’s siren increasing in pitch as it races toward you and decreasing as it moves away.

    The ALPINE team made the C+ measurements on 118 remote galaxies to create a catalog of not only their rotation speeds but also other features such as gas density and the number of stars that are formed.

    The survey revealed rotating mangled galaxies that were in the process of merging, in addition to seemingly perfectly smooth spiral-shaped galaxies. About 15 percent of the galaxies observed had a smooth, ordered rotation that is expected for spiral galaxies. However, the authors note, the galaxies may not be spirals but rotating disks with clumps of material. Future observations with the next generation of space-based telescopes will pinpoint the detailed structure of these galaxies.

    “We are finding nicely ordered rotating galaxies at this very early and quite turbulent stage of our universe,” says Faisst. “That means they must have formed by a smooth process of gathering gas and haven’t collided with other galaxies yet, as many of the other galaxies have.”

    By combining the ALMA data with measurements from other telescopes, including the now-retired Spitzer, which specifically helped measure the masses of the galaxies, the scientists are better able to study how these young galaxies evolve over time.

    “How do galaxies grow so much so fast? What are the internal processes that let them grow so quickly? These are questions that ALPINE is helping us answer,” says Faisst. “And with the upcoming launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, we will be able to follow-up on these galaxies to learn even more.”

    The study, led by Faisst, titled, “The ALPINE-ALMA [CII] Survey: Multi-Wavelength Ancillary Data and Basic Physical Measurements,” [The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series] was funded by NASA and the European Southern Observatory.

    A brief overview of the survey, produced by a team led by Olivier LeFèvre of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), is at https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019arXiv191009517L/abstract; the ALMA data is detailed in another paper by a team led by Matthieu Béthermin of LAM, available at https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020arXiv200200962B/abstract.

    ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its Member States), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), MOST and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ. More information about ALMA is at
    https://www.almaobservatory.org/.

    1
    A collage of 21 galaxies imaged by the ALPINE survey. The images are based on light emitted by singly ionized carbon, or C+. These data show the variety of different galaxy structures already in place less than 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang (our universe is 13.8 billion years old). Some of the images actually contain merging galaxies; for example, the object in the top row, second from left, is actually three galaxies that are merging. Other galaxies appear to be more smoothly ordered and may be spirals; a clear example is in the second row, first galaxy from the left. Our Milky Way galaxy is shown to scale to help visualize the small sizes of these infant galaxies. Credit: Michele Ginolfi (ALPINE collaboration); ALMA(ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

    2
    Using ALMA, scientists can measure the rotation of galaxies in the early universe with a precision of several 10 kilometers per second. This is made possible by observing light emitted by singly ionized carbon in the galaxies, also known as C+. The C+ emission from gas clouds rotating toward us is shifted to bluer, shorter wavelengths, while the clouds rotating away from us emit light shifted to longer, redder wavelengths. By measuring this shift in light, astronomers can determine how fast the galaxies are rotating.
    Credit: Andreas Faisst (ALPINE collaboration)

    3
    The object pictured above is DC-818760, which consists of three galaxies that are likely on collision course. Like all the galaxies in the ALPINE survey, it has been imaged by different telescopes. This “multi-wavelength” approach allows astronomers to study in detail the structure of these galaxies. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (blue) reveals regions of active star formation not obscured by dust; NASA’s now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope (green) shows the location of older stars that are used to measure the stellar mass of galaxies; and ALMA (red) traces gas and dust, allowing the amount of star formation hidden by dust to be measured. The picture at the top of the image combines light from all three telescopes. The velocity map on the bottom shows gas in the rotating galaxies approaching us (blue) or receding (red).
    Credit: Gareth Jones & Andreas Faisst (ALPINE collaboration); ALMA(ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); NASA/STScI; JPL-Caltech/IPAC (R. Hurt)

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 1:10 pm on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Catch Rare Eclipse of a Double Brown Dwarf System", , , , , ESO Speculoos telescopes, Keck Observatory   

    From Keck Observatory: “Astronomers Catch Rare Eclipse of a Double Brown Dwarf System” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    March 9, 2020

    Astronomers working on “first light” data from a newly commissioned telescope in Chile made a chance discovery that led to the identification of a rare eclipse of two brown dwarfs. The result, which includes data taken from W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii to help confirm the discovery, published today in the journal Nature Astronomy.

    Sometimes called “failed stars,” brown dwarfs occupy a grey zone between stars and giant planets. They are unable to sustain the fusion of hydrogen into helium, a process that powers the light from normal stars like the sun; yet they appear to form like stars, only with less mass. They provide a critical link in scientists’ understanding of star and planet formation.

    The chance discovery was led by an international team of researchers, including scientists at UC San Diego, working on a project called SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars), which aims to find planets orbiting the smallest stars, including brown dwarfs.

    SPECULOOS finds planets by detecting periodic dips in a star’s brightness as a planet passes in front of it, an event called a planetary transit.

    Planet transit. NASA/Ames.

    Astronomers predict that the smallest stars and brown dwarfs could host large populations of close-in, potentially habitable rocky planets, like the famous seven-planet system TRAPPIST-1 that was discovered in 2017 by members of the same team.

    “This is a great example of scientific serendipity,” explained Adam Burgasser, professor of physics at UC San Diego and co-leading author on the study. “While searching for planets, we found an eclipsing brown dwarf binary, a system that is uniquely suited for studying the fundamental physics of these faint celestial objects.”

    Soon after the construction of the first SPECULOOS telescopes in Chile, and during early testing observations, the team targeted the brown dwarf “2MASSW J1510478-281817,” also known as 2M1510, in the constellation Libra. In this case, the SPECULOOS observations picked up a distinct signal that led the researchers to speculate that 2M1510 might be two brown dwarfs instead of one, in orbit around each other.

    ESO Speculoos telescopes four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes at ESO Paranal Observatory 2635 metres 8645 ft above sea level

    “Among the first test observations we performed, we turned one of our telescopes to a known brown dwarf. But suddenly the object appeared to get dimmer for about 90 minutes, which indicated an eclipse just took place,” reported Michaël Gillon, principal investigator of the SPECULOOS project.

    Artem Burdanov, a postdoctoral researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author on the study concurred, adding, “We rapidly realized that we were probably looking at two eclipsing brown dwarfs, one passing in front of the other, a configuration which is much rarer than planetary systems.”

    The researchers were able to confirm their hypothesis using two powerful telescopes – the 10-meter Keck II telescope and the 8-meter Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal in Chile, the same site as the SPECULOOS telescopes.

    Keck 2 telescope Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    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,

    Keck Observatory and VLT are each equipped with sensitive spectrometers (the Near-Infrared Spectrograph, or NIRSPEC, at Keck Observatory and VLT’s UV-Visual Échelle Spectrograph, or UVES) that can measure the velocities of celestial objects. In the case of 2M1510, the astronomers detected the velocities of both brown dwarfs as they orbit one another.

    Nirspec on Keck 2

    UVES spectrograph mounted on the VLT at the Nasmyth B focus of UT2

    In this case, the SPECULOOS observations picked up a distinct signal that led the researchers to speculate that 2M1510 might be two brown dwarfs instead of one, in orbit around each other.

    “From the very first spectrum we obtained, we could tell we had an exciting binary discovery,” said Burgasser, who led the spectroscopic analysis with current and former graduate students at UC San Diego’s Cool Star Lab. “It was thrilling to see the absorption lines move back and forth in perfect synchronicity, which allowed us to measure the mass of the binary.”

    The detection of an eclipsing brown dwarf binary is extremely rare because the system needs to be precisely aligned with our line-of-sight to move in front of each other. Only one other such system has been identified to date. These systems allow astronomers to measure both the radii and masses of the brown dwarfs directly. 2M1510 is also unique in that it is among the few brown dwarfs that have a known age, due to its membership in a nearby cluster of young stars called the Argus moving group. The eclipsing binary is also part of a brown dwarf triple system—another rarity—with a third component orbiting at a much wider separation.

    “Collecting a combination of mass, radius, and age is really rare for a star, let alone for a brown dwarf,” explained Amaury Triaud, Birmingham Fellow at the University of Birmingham in the UK who was the primary author of the study. “Usually one or more of these measurements is missing. By drawing all these elements together, we were able to verify theoretical models for how brown dwarfs cool, models which are over 30 years old. We found the models match remarkably well with the observations, a testament to human ingenuity.”

    ABOUT NIRSPEC

    The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSPEC) is a unique, cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph that captures spectra of objects over a large range of infrared wavelengths at high spectral resolution. Built at the UCLA Infrared Laboratory by a team led by Prof. Ian McLean, the instrument is used for radial velocity studies of cool stars, abundance measurements of stars and their environs, planetary science, and many other scientific programs. A second mode provides low spectral resolution but high sensitivity and is popular for studies of distant galaxies and very cool low-mass stars. NIRSPEC can also be used with Keck II’s adaptive optics (AO)system to combine the powers of the high spatial resolution of AO with the high spectral resolution of NIRSPEC. Support for this project was provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 4:50 pm on February 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Distant Giant Planets Form Differently Than ‘Failed Stars’", , , , , Keck Observatory, , NIRC2 camera at Keck observatory in Hawaii., The University of Texas at Austin   

    From Keck Observatory: “Distant Giant Planets Form Differently Than ‘Failed Stars’” 

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    From Keck Observatory

    February 10, 2020

    A team of astronomers led by Brendan Bowler of The University of Texas at Austin has probed the formation process of giant exoplanets and brown dwarfs, a class of objects that are more massive than giant planets, but not massive enough to ignite nuclear fusion in their cores to shine like true stars.

    1
    This image of the low-mass brown dwarf GJ 504 b was taken by Bowler and his team using adaptive optics with the NIRC2 camera [below] at Keck observatory in Hawaii. the image has been processed to remove light from the host star (whose position is marked with an “x”). the companion is located at a separation of about 40 times the earth-sun distance and has an orbital period of about 240 years. By returning to this and other systems year after year, the team is able to slowly trace out part of the companion’s orbit to constrain its shape, which provides clues about its formation and history.
    Credit: Brendan Bowler (UT-Austin)/W. M. Keck Observatory

    Using direct imaging with ground-based telescopes in Hawaii – W. M. Keck Observatory and NAOJ Subaru Telescope on Maunakea – the team studied the orbits of these faint companions orbiting stars in 27 systems. These data, combined with modeling of the orbits, allowed them to determine that the brown dwarfs in these systems formed like stars, but the gas giants formed like planets.


    NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    The research is published in the current issue of The Astronomical Journal.

    In the last two decades, technological leaps have allowed telescopes to separate the light from a parent star and a much-dimmer orbiting object. In 1995, this new capability produced the first direct images of a brown dwarf orbiting a star. The first direct image of planets orbiting another star followed in 2008.

    “Over the past 20 years, we’ve been leaping down and down in mass,” Bowler said of the direct imaging capability, noting that the current limit is about 1 Jupiter mass. As the technology has improved, “One of the big questions that has emerged is ‘What’s the nature of the companions we’re finding?’”

    2
    By patiently watching giant planets and brown dwarfs orbit their host stars, Bowler and his team were able to constrain the orbit shapes even though only a small portion of the orbit has been monitored. The longer the time baseline, the smaller the range of possible orbits. These plots show nine of the 27 systems from their study. Credit: Brendan Bowler (UT-Austin)

    Brown dwarfs, as defined by astronomers, have masses between 13 and 75 Jupiter masses. They have characteristics in common with both planets and with stars, and Bowler and his team wanted to settle the question: Are gas giant planets on the outer fringes of planetary systems the tip of the planetary iceberg, or the low-mass end of brown dwarfs? Past research has shown that brown dwarfs orbiting stars likely formed like low-mass stars, but it’s been less clear what is the lowest mass companion this formation mechanism can produce.

    “One way to get at this is to study the dynamics of the system — to look at the orbits,” Bowler said. Their orbits today hold the key to unlocking their evolution.

    Using Keck Observatory’s adaptive optics (AO) system with the Near-Infrared Camera, second generation (NIRC2) instrument on the Keck II telescope, as well as the Subaru Telescope, Bowler’s team took images of giant planets and brown dwarfs as they orbit their parent stars.

    Keck NIRC2 schematic

    Keck 2 telescope Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    It’s a long process. The gas giants and brown dwarfs they studied are so distant from their parent stars that one orbit may take hundreds of years. To determine even a small percentage of the orbit, “You take an image, you wait a year,” for the faint companion to travel a bit, Bowler said. Then “you take another image, you wait another year.”

    This research relied on AO technology, which allows astronomers to correct for distortions caused by the Earth’s atmosphere.

    UCO Keck Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics,Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    Keck Observatory Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics schematic

    As AO instruments have continually improved over the past three decades, more brown dwarfs and giant planets have been directly imaged. But since most of these discoveries have been made over the past decade or two, the team only has images corresponding to a few percent of each object’s total orbit. They combined their new observations of 27 systems with all of the previous observations published by other astronomers or available in telescope archives.

    At this point, computer modeling comes in. Coauthors on this paper have helped create an orbit-fitting code called “Orbitize!” which uses Kepler’s laws of planetary motion to identify which types of orbits are consistent with the measured positions, and which are not.

    The code generates a set of possible orbits for each companion. The slight motion of each giant planet or brown dwarf forms a “cloud” of possible orbits. The smaller the cloud, the more astronomers are closing in on the companion’s true orbit. And more data points — that is, more direct images of each object as it orbits — will refine the shape of the orbit.

    4
    These two curves show the final distribution of orbit shapes for giant planets and brown dwarfs. The orbital eccentricity determines how elongated the ellipse is, with a value of 0.0 corresponding to a circular orbit and a high value near 1.0 being a flattened ellipse. Gas giant planets located at wide separations from their host stars have low eccentricities, but the brown dwarfs have a wide range of eccentricities similar to binary star systems. For reference, the giant planets in our solar system have eccentricities less than 0.1. Credit: Brendan Bowler (UT-Austin)

    “Rather than wait decades or centuries for a planet to complete one orbit, we can make up for the shorter time baseline of our data with very accurate position measurements,” said team member Eric Nielsen of Stanford University. “A part of Orbitize! that we developed specifically to fit partial orbits, OFTI [Orbits For The Impatient], allowed us to find orbits even for the longest period companions.”

    Finding the shape of the orbit is key: Objects that have more circular orbits probably formed like planets. That is, when a cloud of gas and dust collapsed to form a star, the distant companion (and any other planets) formed out of a flattened disk of gas and dust rotating around that star.

    On the other hand, the ones that have more elongated orbits probably formed like stars. In this scenario, a clump of gas and dust was collapsing to form a star, but it fractured into two clumps. Each clump then collapsed, one forming a star, and the other a brown dwarf orbiting around that star. This is essentially a binary star system, albeit containing one real star and one “failed star.”

    “Even though these companions are millions of years old, the memory of how they formed is still encoded in their present-day eccentricity,” Nielsen added. Eccentricity is a measure of how circular or elongated an object’s orbit is.

    The results of the team’s study of 27 distant companions was unambiguous.

    “The punchline is, we found that when you divide these objects at this canonical boundary of more than about 15 Jupiter masses, the things that we’ve been calling planets do indeed have more circular orbits, as a population, compared to the rest,” Bowler said. “And the rest look like binary stars.”

    The future of this work involves both continuing to monitor these 27 objects, as well as identifying new ones to widen the study. “The sample size is still modest, at the moment,” Bowler said. His team is using the Gaia satellite to look for additional candidates to follow up using direct imaging with even greater sensitivity at the forthcoming Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) and other facilities. UT-Austin is a founding member of the GMT collaboration.

    ESA/GAIA satellite

    Giant Magellan Telescope, 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    Bowler’s team’s results reinforce similar conclusions recently reached by the GPIES direct imaging survey with the Gemini Planet Imager, which found evidence for a different formation channel for brown dwarfs and giant planets based on their statistical properties.

    NOAO Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South

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

    This work was supported by a NASA Keck PI Data Award, administered by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute. The Keck Observatory is managed by Caltech and the University of California.

    ABOUT NIRC2

    The Near-Infrared Camera, second generation (NIRC2) works in combination with the Keck II adaptive optics system to obtain very sharp images at near-infrared wavelengths, achieving spatial resolutions comparable to or better than those achieved by the Hubble Space Telescope at optical wavelengths. NIRC2 is probably best known for helping to provide definitive proof of a central massive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Astronomers also use NIRC2 to map surface features of solar system bodies, detect planets orbiting other stars, and study detailed morphology of distant galaxies.

    ABOUT ADAPTIVE OPTICS

    W. M. Keck Observatory is a distinguished leader in the field of adaptive optics (AO), a breakthrough technology that removes the distortions caused by the turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. Keck Observatory pioneered the astronomical use of both natural guide star (NGS) and laser guide star adaptive optics (LGS AO) and current systems now deliver images three to four times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope at near-infrared wavelengths. AO has imaged the four massive planets orbiting the star HR8799, measured the mass of the giant black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, discovered new supernovae in distant galaxies, and identified the specific stars that were their progenitors. Support for this technology was generously provided by the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, Change Happens Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation, NASA, NSF, and W. M. Keck Foundation.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatoryoperates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

     
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