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  • richardmitnick 10:02 am on October 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Manu Garcia‎, , The Galilean satellites   

    From JPL-Caltech via Manu Garcia: “The Galilean satellites” 


    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.

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    From JPL-Caltech

    May 8, 1998

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    In this “family portrait,” the four Galilean Satellites are shown to scale. These four largest moons of Jupiter shown in increasing distance from Jupiter are (left to right) Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

    These global views show the side of volcanically active Io which always faces away from Jupiter, icy Europa, the Jupiter-facing side of Ganymede, and heavily cratered Callisto. The appearances of these neighboring satellites are amazingly different even though they are relatively close to Jupiter (350,000 kilometers for Io; 1, 800,000 kilometers for Callisto). These images were acquired on several orbits at very low “phase” angles (the sun, spacecraft, moon angle) so that the sun is illuminating the Jovian moons from completely behind the spacecraft, in the same way a full moon is viewed from Earth. The colors have been enhanced to bring out subtle color variations of surface features. North is to the top of all the images which were taken by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on NASA’s Galileo spacecraft.

    Io, which is slightly larger than Earth’s moon, is the most colorful of the Galilean satellites. Its surface is covered by deposits from actively erupting volcanoes, hundreds of lava flows, and volcanic vents which are visible as small dark spots. Several of these volcanoes are very hot; at least one reached a temperature of 2000 degrees Celsius (3600 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer of 1997. Prometheus, a volcano located slightly right of center on Io’s image, was active during the Voyager flybys in 1979 and is still active as Galileo images were obtained.

    NASA/Voyager 1

    NASA/Voyager 2

    This global view was obtained in September 1996 when Galileo was 485,000 kilometers from Io; the finest details that can be discerned are about 10 km across. The bright, yellowish and white materials located at equatorial latitudes are believed to be composed of sulfur and sulfur dioxide. The polar caps are darker and covered by a redder material.

    Europa has a very different surface from its rocky neighbor, Io. Galileo images hint at the possibility of liquid water beneath the icy crust of this moon. The bright white and bluish parts of Europa’s surface are composed almost completely of water ice. In contrast, the brownish mottled regions on the right side of the image may be covered by salts (such as hydrated magnesium-sulfate) and an unknown red component. The yellowish mottled terrain on the left side of the image is caused by some other, unknown contaminant. This global view was obtained in June 1997 when Galileo was 1.25 million kilometers from Europa; the finest details that can be discerned are 25 kilometers across.

    Ganymede, larger than the planet Mercury, is the largest Jovian satellite. Its distinctive surface is characterized by patches of dark and light terrain. Bright frost is visible at the north and south poles. The very bright icy impact crater, Tros, is near the center of the image in a region known as Phrygia Sulcus. The dark area to the northwest of Tros is Perrine Regio; the dark terrain to the south and southeast is Nicholson Regio. Ganymede’s surface is characterized by a high degree of crustal deformation. Much of the surface is covered by water ice, with a higher amount of rocky material in the darker areas. This global view was taken in September 1997 when Galileo was 1.68 million kilometers from Ganymede; the finest details that can be discerned are about 67 kilometers across.

    Callisto’s dark surface is pocked by numerous bright impact craters. The large Valhalla multi-ring structure (visible near the center of the image) has a diameter of about 4,000 kilometers, making it one of the largest impact features in the Solar System. Although many crater rims exhibit bright icy “bedrock” material, a dark layer composed of hydrated minerals and organic components (tholins) is seen inside many craters and in other low lying areas. Evidence of tectonic and volcanic activity, seen on the other Galilean satellites, appears to be absent on Callisto. This global view was obtained in November 1997 when Galileo was 684,500 kilometers from Callisto; the finest details that can be discerned are about 27 kilometers across.

    This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at URL http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov. Background information and educational context for the images can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/sepo.

    See the full article here .


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    NASA JPL Campus

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

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  • richardmitnick 7:09 am on April 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Chandra via Manu: “MSH 11-62 and G327.1-1.1: Supernova Shock Waves, Neutron Stars, and Lobsters” November 19, 2014 


    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.

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    NASA/Chandra Telescope


    NASA Chandra

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    Credit NASA/CXC/GSFC/T.Temim et al.

    Two new Chandra images of supernova remnants reveal intricate structures left behind after massive stars exploded.

    Powerful winds of high-energy particles are released from the dense core of the dead star to create so-called pulsar wind nebulas.

    MSH 11-62 and G327.1-1.1 are examples of how complex the aftermath of stellar explosions can be.

    A supernova that signals the death of a massive star sends titanic shock waves rumbling through interstellar space. An ultra-dense neutron star is usually left behind, which is far from dead, as it spews out a blizzard of high-energy particles.

    Two new images from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory provide fascinating views — including an enigmatic lobster-like feature — of the complex aftermath of a supernova.

    When a massive star runs out of fuel resulting in a supernova explosion, the central regions usually collapse to form a neutron star. The energy generated by the formation of the neutron star triggers a supernova. As the outward-moving shock wave sweeps up interstellar gas, a reverse shock wave is driven inward, heating the stellar ejecta.

    Meanwhile, the rapid rotation and intense magnetic field of the neutron star, a.k.a. a pulsar, combine to generate a powerful wind of high-energy particles. This so-called pulsar wind nebula can glow brightly in X-rays and radio waves.

    A long observation with Chandra of the supernova remnant MSH 11-62 (left image) reveals an irregular shell of hot gas, shown in red, surrounding an extended nebula of high energy X-rays, shown in blue. Even though scientists have yet to detect any pulsations from the central object within MSH 11-62, the structure around it has many of the same characteristics as other pulsar wind nebulas. The reverse shock and other, secondary shocks within MSH 11-62 appear to have begun to crush the pulsar wind nebula, possibly contributing to its elongated shape. (Note: the orientation of this image has been rotated by 24 degrees so that north is pointed to the upper left.)

    MSH 11-62 is located about 16,000 light years from Earth. The foreground of MSH 11-62 is speckled with hundreds of sources associated with the open stellar cluster Trumpler 18, located at a distance of about 5,000 light years, revealing a vast collection of stars.

    The supernova remnant G327.1-1.1, located about 29,000 light years from Earth, is another spectacular debris field left behind when a massive star exploded. The Chandra image of G327.1-1.1 (right image) shows the outward-moving, or forward, shock wave (seen as the faint red color), and a bright pulsar wind nebula (blue). The pulsar wind nebula appears to have been distorted by the combined action of the reverse shock wave, which may have flattened it, and by the motion of the pulsar, which created a comet, or lobster-like tail. An asymmetric supernova explosion may have given a recoil kick to the pulsar, causing it to move rapidly and drag the pulsar wind nebula along with it.

    Two structures resembling lobster claws protrude from near the head of the pulsar wind nebula. The origin of these features, which may be produced by the interaction of the pulsar wind with the reverse shock, is unknown.

    These results are presented at the “15 Years of Chandra” symposium (http://cxc.harvard.edu/symposium_2014/) by Patrick Slane of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass., and Tea Temim of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    See the full article here .

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    NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra’s science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:57 am on March 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A young planet makes a scene, , , , , , Manu Garcia‎, ,   

    From ALMA via Manu: “A young planet makes a scene” 


    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.

    26 February 2018

    CONTACTS
    Nicolas Lira
    Coordinator of Communications and Education
    Observatory ALMA, Santiago, Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Mobile: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Richard Hook
    Press Officer, European Southern Observatory
    Garching , Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6655
    Mobile: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

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

    ALMA

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    A protoplanetary disk image captured by ALMA, AS 209

    Located in the young star – forming region of Ophiuchus, 410 light years from the Sun, a fascinating protoplanetary disk, named AS 209 , it is taking shape slowly. This wonderful image was captured using the high – resolution telescope ALMA, and reveals a curious pattern of rings and furrows in the dust surrounding a young star.

    Protoplanetary disks are dense gas and dust planes rotationally surrounding newly formed stars; on them is the stuff that can give rise to planets, moons , and other smaller bodies in orbit. With less than a million years, this system is very young, but already forming two grooves are defined on the disc.

    The outer groove is deep, broad and largely free of dust, which leads astronomers to think that there is a planet about the mass of Saturn orbiting (and it is about 800 light minutes from the central star and more than three times the distance between Neptune and the Sun!). As the planet shapes its path, the dust accumulates on the outer edge of its orbit, creating rings increasingly defined on the disk. The innermost groove is thinner and may have been formed by a smaller planet, but astronomers have raised the intriguing possibility that the great planet orbiting at greater distances has created both ways.

    This planet Saturn type, inferred so far from its parent star, raises fascinating questions about planetary formation at the edges of protoplanetary disks in particularly short time scales.

    Science paper:
    ALMA continuum observations of the protoplanetary disk AS 209,
    Astronomy & Astrophysics

    See the full article here .

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    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

    ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

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  • richardmitnick 1:13 pm on March 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Manu Garcia‎, Rho Ophiuchi A, Spectropolarimetry   

    From ESA via Manu: “Rho Ophiuchi A confirmed as a cosmic lighthouse” 


    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.

    27 February 2018.

    Ignazio Pillitteri
    INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo
    Palermo, Italy
    Phone: +39 091 233 420
    pilliastropa.inaf.it

    Lida Oskinova
    Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Potsdam
    Potsdam, Germany
    Phone: +49 331-9775910
    lidaastro.physik.uni-potsdam.de

    Norbert Schartel
    XMM-Newton Project Scientist
    European Space Agency
    norbert.Schartelesa.int

    ESAC Communication Office
    comunicacionesac@esa.int

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    European Space Agency

    XMM-Newton detects the first X-ray flares of a massive stellar beacon.

    ESA/XMM Newton

    1
    Credit : ESA / XMM-Newton; I. Pillitteri (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Palermo).
    This image of space observatory XMM-Newton of the ESA shows a massive star called Rho Ophiuchi A . The star, visible in the center of the frame, is in the heart of Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud, a nearby region known for actively forming new stars, located about 350 light years away.

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    A rich collection of colourful astronomical objects is revealed in this picturesque image of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Explorer, or WISE.

    NASA/WISE Telescope

    The Rho Ophiuchi cloud (pronounced ‘oh-fee-yoo-ki’ and named after a bright star in the region) is found rising above the plane of the Milky Way in the night sky, bordering the constellations Ophiuchus and Scorpius. It’s one of the nearest star-forming regions to Earth, allowing us to resolve much more detail than in more distant similar regions, like the Orion nebula.

    In 2014, a team of scientists used X – rays with the X-ray observatory XMM-Newton ESA emanating from the massive star Rho Ophiuchi A. Numerous and subsequent telescope observations showed that these periodically fluctuated as intense flames , ranging over a period of about 1.2 days as the star he turned. The team used the ESO Very Large Telescope to discover that the star has a strong magnetic field, confirming its status as cosmic X – ray lighthouse.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

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    The FORS instruments (Focal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph 2) located at ESO’s VLT. The FORS2 is in the foreground while the FORS1 is at the bottom. The two seem similar instruments but perform completely different tasks. Credit: ESO.

    This finding was unexpected given what is known about the massive stars and their behavior: it is known that sun – like stars produce flares of X rays strong, but massive stars seem to be very different. In stars more than eight solar masses, the X – ray emission is constant, and has not been observed with certainty that said star SHINES repeatedly in this part of the spectrum before observing Rho Ophiuchi A.

    It is known that sun-like stars produce powerful X-ray flares, but massive stars seem to be very different. In stars from eight solar masses, the X-ray emission is continuous and had not reached any star to issue such flares repeatedly in that part of the spectrum … Until recently observed.

    “We spent almost 40 hours observing the star with XMM-Newton and discovered something even more unexpected, recognizes Ignazio Pillitteri, INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico the di Palermo (Italy) and head of the research team. Instead of a homogeneous and continuous emission periodically pulsed X-rays toward the outside of Rho Ophiuchi A, with a variation of about 1.2 days as rotating star-just like a lighthouse X-ray! This is a new phenomenon in greater than the Sun “stars.

    Rho Ophiuchi A is much hotter and more massive than our parent star. It is not yet known how X – rays are generated in this type of stars; One possibility is a strong intrinsic magnetism, which would be observable by signs of surface magnetism. However, it remains unclear how the magnetic field would originate and how to be associated with X-ray emissions

    “We suspect that there may be a giant active magnetic point on the surface of Rho Ophiuchi A, something like a sunspot, only much larger and more stable, added Pillitteri. As the star rotates, this stain would be hidden or visible repeatedly, causing the observed X-ray pulses. However, this hypothesis is not very likely: stains stars form when a magnetic field inside comes to the surface, and we know that only one in ten massive stars have a measurable magnetic field. ”

    Furthermore, the ‘lighthouse effect’ pulse also may be due to low mass companion orbital, which would add their own and abundant X rays to light attributed to Rho Ophiuchi A . This X – ray emission power would vary due to the passage of this hypothetical smaller star ahead or behind Rho Ophiuchi A during orbit of 1.2 days. The team also considered the possibility that Rho Ophiuchi A could have an inconspicuous, small, low – mass companion in a close orbit.

    “To confirm what was the case, we hasten to obtain measurements of Rho Ophiuchi A using one of the largest ground-based observatories: the ESO VLT says Lida Oskinova, University of Potsdam (Germany) and member of the international team that carried the study. Fortunately, one of our measurements confirmed predictions by showing that X-rays were probably due to magnetic structures on the surface of the star. ”

    The measurements were made in visible light with a technique known as spectropolarimetry, which involves studying various wavelengths of polarized light emitted by a star. The data showed that Rho Ophiuchi A has a strong magnetic field, about 500 times stronger than the Sun ‘s .

    “Such a strong field may easily produce the type of detected flares, Pillitteri points. This confirms that what we found with XMM-Newton were really X-ray emissions from Rho Ophiuchi A massive stars can be magnetically active (as shown by optical observations) and that this activity can be seen in X-rays “.

    The combined data indicate that Rho Ophiuchi A is the only star of this type in which confirmed an active magnetic region on the surface that emits X – ray search for similar behavior in stars like Rho Ophiuchi A will help scientists understand the prevalence of this phenomenon and learn more about the magnetic properties of these stars.

    “This study is important for the exploration of massive stars, as there is much we do not know about these objects emphasizes Norbert Schartel, XMM-Newton scientist ESA project. By combining the extraordinary capabilities of XMM-Newton and the VLT we have managed to fit another piece of the puzzle. ”

    “In addition, it illustrates perfectly the scientific process: find something interesting or unusual, investigate and launched several hypotheses, then keep watching to find out which one is correct. It is a fantastic example of international collaboration between telescopes, both orbiting and ground, coming together to explore and explain the phenomena we see in the cosmos. ”

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    X-ray flares Rho Ophiuchi A. The flickering light of the massive star Rho Ophiuchi A is observed by the XMM-Newton space observatory of the ESA in 2016.

    These and earlier observations XMM-Newton showed that this star periodically throws flares X-ray of its surface as it rotates, a behavior something like a cosmic lighthouse. Follow-up observations made by the research team using the Very Large Telescope of ESO confirmed that this star has a strong magnetic field and the X-ray flares are connected to an active magnetic region on the surface of the star turns in and out of sight.

    This sequence consists of 40 frames obtained between 22 and 23 February 2016 each taken approximately one hour apart. It shows the emission of the star on the X – ray part of the spectrum; The clearer it is blue tone, stronger is the issue, and the white represents the maximum intensity. It can be seen that the intensity of X – ray emission of Rho Ophiuchi A rises sharply at the beginning and end of this sequence; This is because the data cover more than one cycle period X – ray burning star, which lasts 1.2 days.

    These findings are described in three papers published in Astronomy & Astrophysics:
    Smooth X-ray variability from ρ Ophiuchi A + B: A strongly magnetized primary B2 star? By Pillitteri et al. (2014), doi: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 201424243;
    The early B-type star Rho Ophiuchi A is an X-ray lighthouse of Pillitteri et al. (2017), doi: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 201630070; Y
    Detection of magnetic field in the B2 star ρ Oph A with ESO FORS2 of Pillitteri et al. (2018), doi: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 201732078.

    See the full article here .

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    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 1:21 pm on February 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESA via Manu: “The Planck mission and cosmic radiation” 2010 


    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.

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    The Planck Mission.

    1
    Deflection of light from the Big Bang.
    This artist shows how photons in the cosmic microwave background (CMB detected by the space telescope Planck ESA) are deflected by the gravitational lensing of cosmic structures massive as they travel through the universe.

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA

    CMB per ESA/Planck

    Gravitational lenses create additional distortions small speckled pattern of temperature fluctuations WBC. A small fraction of CMB is polarized; a component of this polarized light modes B, has been given an additional signature by lensing. This footprint was found for the first time by combining data from ground – based telescope South Pole and the space observatory Herschel ESA. Copyright ESA Planck and collaboration.

    Objective.
    To map background radiation produced by the Big Bang with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity and test theories about the birth and evolution of the universe.

    Mission.
    Planck is the time machine ESA. Looks back at early times, near the Big Bang, what happened about 13,700 million years ago. Planck will analyze with accuracy not achieved so far, the remnants of the radiation that filled the Universe immediately after the Big Bang – radiation observed today as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB Cosmic Microwave Background).

    The results will help astronomers decide which theories of the birth and evolution of the universe are correct, for example, how the universe began life with a period of rapid expansion?

    But first, Planck to detect and understand the issue of the cosmic background that lies between us and the first light of the universe. The first scientific data from Planck and first results were released in January 2011, and the first cosmological results are expected in early 2013.

    What makes it special?
    Planck is the first European mission to study the relic left over from the Big Bang, radiation after those first moments.

    The temperature of the CMB radiation has been measured at about 2.7 degrees Kelvin, but Planck will provide even more accurate measurements with an accuracy set by fundamental astrophysical limits. In other words, it is impossible to obtain better images of this radiation that you get Planck.

    Scientists already know from previous observations, that in heaven appear slightly warmer or colder, anisotropy, with differences in some areas by 100,000. These temperature differences are the traces in the WBC by the primitive seeds of immense concentrations current art, for example, galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The high sensitivity of Planck will result in the best map of those present in the CMB anisotropy, allowing scientists to learn more about the evolution of the structure of the universe.

    To complete these measures high precision, Planck observed in nine bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, from one centimeter to one third of a millimeter, corresponding to the range of the wavelength ranging from microwaves to infrared far away. Planck’s detectors are cooled to temperatures near absolute zero because otherwise, its own heat emission alter measures.

    The ship.

    ESA/Planck

    Planck ship is about 4.2 m high and 4.2 m wide. The primary mirror is 1.5 m and has two scientific instruments: LFI (Low Frequency Instrument, Instrument low frequency) which operates between 30 and 70 GHz, and HFI (High Frequency Instrument, Instrument high frequency), operating between 100 and 857 GHz. HFI completed its poll in January 2012. LFI continues in operation.

    Trip.

    Planck was launched on May 14, 2009 on an Ariane 5 from the spaceport of Kourou ESA, in French Guiana. He shared journey with the ship Herschel, ESA. The two ships operate independently. Planck ended its operations on 23 October 2.013.

    Planck operates from a Lissajous orbit around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system (L2), a virtual point located 1.5 million km from Earth in the opposite direction to the sun.

    History.

    Planck was initially called COBRAS / SAMBA (acronym deCosmic Background Radiation Anisotropy Satellite ySatellite for Measurement of Background anisotropies), as the mission grew from two proposals with similar objectives.

    Following approval of the mission in 1996, it was renamed in honor of the German scientist Max Planck (1858-1947) who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918.

    The ESA Planck observatory is a continuation of the mission COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer ) and WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe), both NASA.

    Cosmic Infrared Background, Credit: Michael Hauser (Space Telescope Science Institute), the COBE/DIRBE Science Team, and NASA


    NASA/COBE

    NASA/WMAP

    NASA WMAP satellite

    Participation.

    The Planck satellite prime contractor Alcatel Alenia Space was (Cannes, France), who led the consortium of industrial partners with the industrial department of Alcatel Alenia Space in Torino (Italy) responsible for the service module. ESA and the Danish National Space Center (Copenhagen, Denmark, founded by the Research Council of Natural Sciences Denmark) were responsible for providing the Planck telescope mirrors, manufactured by EADS Astrium (Friedrichshafen, Germany).

    The LFI instrument (led by IASF, Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica in Bologna, Italy) was designed and built by a consortium of scientists and institutions from Italy, Finland, UK, Spain, USA, Germany, Netherlands , Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

    The HFI instrument (led by the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (CNRS) in Orsay, France) was designed and built by a consortium of scientists and institutions from France, USA, UK, Canada, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland.

    Numerous agencies contributed to the financing of hardware LFI and HFI instruments; The most prominent are: CNES (France), ASI (Italy), NASA (United States), PPARC (United Kingdom), Tekes (Finland), Ministry of Education and Science (Spain) and ESA.

    3
    Sky image of the cosmic background radiation. Credit: ESA / LFI & HFI.

    This image microwave sky was synthesized using data covering the frequency range of light detected by Planck. These low frequencies, which can not be seen with the human eye, covering the range 30-857 GHz.

    Granulosa structure of the cosmic microwave background, with its tiny temperature fluctuations that reflect density variations from which the cosmic web of our universe originated, is clearly visible in the high latitude regions of the map.

    A large portion of the sky, which extends well above and below the galactic plane, is dominated by the diffuse emission of gas and dust in our galaxy, the Milky Way. While the first galactic plane signal hidden cosmic microwave background from our view, also it highlights the extent of large-scale structure of our galaxy.

    Although the two main components of the microwave sky appear to be separable only in certain areas, one in the foreground removal across the sky is made possible by sophisticated image analysis techniques which have been developed by scientists Planck teams. These techniques are based on single frequency coverage of the observatory and unprecedented precision of their measurements.

    This image is derived from data collected by Planck during its first survey of the entire sky, and covers about 12 months of observations.

    Planck is a mission of the European Space Agency, with significant participation from NASA. The Planck Project Office at NASA is headquartered at JPL. JPL contributed enabling technology for both mission Planck scientific instruments. Scientists from Europe, Canada and the United States Planck will work together to analyze the Planck data.

    More information is online at:
    http://www.nasa.gov/planck
    http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Planck

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 10:22 am on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Manu Garcia‎, Messier 33   

    From ESO via Manu: “Triangulum Galaxy Snapped by VST” 2014 


    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.

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    6 August 2014

    Contacts
    J. Miguel Mas Hesse
    Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA)
    Madrid, Spain
    Tel .: (+34) 918 131 196
    Email: mm@cab.inta-csic.es

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel. : +49 89 3200 6655
    Mobile: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured a beautifully detailed image of the galaxy Messier 33. This nearby spiral, the second closest large galaxy to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is packed with bright star clusters, and clouds of gas and dust. The new picture is amongst the most detailed wide-field views of this object ever taken and shows the many glowing red gas clouds in the spiral arms with particular clarity.

    ESO VST interior

    Messier 33, otherwise known as NGC 598, is located about three million light-years away in the small northern constellation of Triangulum (The Triangle). Often known as the Triangulum Galaxy it was observed by the French comet hunter Charles Messier in August 1764, who listed it as number 33 in his famous list of prominent nebulae and star clusters. However, he was not the first to record the spiral galaxy; it was probably first documented by the Sicilian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna around 100 years earlier.

    Although the Triangulum Galaxy lies in the northern sky, it is just visible from the southern vantage point of ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. However, it does not rise very high in the sky. This image was taken by the VLT Survey Telescope (VST), a state-of-the-art 2.6-metre survey telescope with a field of view that is twice as broad as the full Moon. This picture was created from many individual exposures, including some taken through a filter passing just the light from glowing hydrogen, which make the red gas clouds in the galaxies spiral arms especially prominent.

    Among the many star formation regions in Messier 33’s spiral arms, the giant nebula NGC 604 stands out. With a diameter of nearly 1500 light-years, this is one of the largest nearby emission nebulae known. It stretches over an area 40 times the size of the visible portion of the much more famous — and much closer — Orion Nebula.

    The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and about 50 other smaller galaxies.

    Local Group. Andrew Z. Colvin 3 March 2011

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt

    Andromeda Galaxy Adam Evans

    On an extremely clear, dark night, this galaxy is just visible with the unaided eye, and is considered to be the most distant celestial object visible without any optical help. Viewing conditions for the very patient are only set to improve in the long-term: the galaxy is approaching our own at a speed of about 100 000 kilometres per hour.

    A closer look at this beautiful new picture not only allows a very detailed inspection of the star-forming spiral arms of the galaxy, but also reveals the very rich scenery of the more distant galaxies scattered behind the myriad stars and glowing clouds of NGC 598.

    2
    Wide – field image of the galaxy Messier 33. Credit: ESO / DSS2, Davide De Martin.

    See the full article here .

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

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

    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
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    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 3:00 pm on February 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Manu Garcia‎   

    From Chandra via Manu: “NASA’s Chandra Turns up Black Hole Bonanza in Galaxy Next Door” 2013 


    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.

    NASA Chandra Banner

    NASA Chandra Telescope

    NASA Chandra

    June 12, 2013

    Media contacts:
    J.D. Harrington
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-5241
    j.d.harrington@nasa.gov

    Megan Watzke
    Chandra X-ray Center, Cambridge, Mass.
    617-496-7998
    mwatzke@cfa.harvard.edu

    1
    Credit: X-ray (NASA / CXC / SAO / R.Barnard, Z.Lee et al.), Optical (NOAO / AURA / NSF / REU Prog./B.Schoening, V.Harvey; Discover Fndn./CAHA/ OAUV / DSA / V.Peris).

    2
    The Andromeda galaxy in optical vision box for the black hole candidates captured X – ray by Chandra.

    3
    Chandra image near the core of Messier 31 with X – ray sources in red circles.

    Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered an unprecedented bonanza of black holes in the Andromeda Galaxy, one of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way.

    Using more than 150 Chandra observations, spread over 13 years, researchers identified 26 black hole candidates, the largest number to date, in a galaxy outside our own. Many consider Andromeda to be a sister galaxy to the Milky Way. The two ultimately will collide, several billion years from now.

    “While we are excited to find so many black holes in Andromeda, we think it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Robin Barnard of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Mass., and lead author of a new paper describing these results. “Most black holes won’t have close companions and will be invisible to us.”

    The black hole candidates belong to the stellar mass category, meaning they formed in the death throes of very massive stars and typically have masses five to 10 times that of our sun. Astronomers can detect these otherwise invisible objects as material is pulled from a companion star and heated up to produce radiation before it disappears into the black hole.

    The first step in identifying these black holes was to make sure they were stellar mass systems in the Andromeda Galaxy itself, rather than supermassive black holes at the hearts of more distant galaxies. To do this, the researchers used a new technique that draws on information about the brightness and variability of the X-ray sources in the Chandra data. In short, the stellar mass systems change much more quickly than the supermassive black holes.

    To classify those Andromeda systems as black holes, astronomers observed that these X-ray sources had special characteristics: that is, they were brighter than a certain high level of X-rays and also had a particular X-ray color. Sources containing neutron stars, the dense cores of dead stars that would be the alternate explanation for these observations, do not show both of these features simultaneously. But sources containing black holes do.

    The European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory added crucial support for this work by providing X-ray spectra, the distribution of X-rays with energy, for some of the black hole candidates. The spectra are important information that helps determine the nature of these objects.

    ESA/XMM Newton X-ray telescope

    “By observing in snapshots covering more than a dozen years, we are able to build up a uniquely useful view of M31,” said co-author Michael Garcia, also of CfA. “The resulting very long exposure allows us to test if individual sources are black holes or neutron stars.”

    The research group previously identified nine black hole candidates within the region covered by the Chandra data, and the present results increase the total to 35. Eight of these are associated with globular clusters, the ancient concentrations of stars distributed in a spherical pattern about the center of the galaxy. This also differentiates Andromeda from the Milky Way as astronomers have yet to find a similar black hole in one of the Milky Way’s globular clusters.

    Seven of these black hole candidates are within 1,000 light-years of the Andromeda Galaxy’s center. That is more than the number of black hole candidates with similar properties located near the center of our own galaxy. This is not a surprise to astronomers because the bulge of stars in the middle of Andromeda is bigger, allowing more black holes to form.

    “When it comes to finding black holes in the central region of a galaxy, it is indeed the case where bigger is better,” said co-author Stephen Murray of Johns Hopkins University and CfA. “In the case of Andromeda we have a bigger bulge and a bigger supermassive black hole than in the Milky Way, so we expect more smaller black holes are made there as well.”

    This new work confirms predictions made earlier in the Chandra mission about the properties of X-ray sources near the center of M31. Earlier research by Rasmus Voss and Marat Gilfanov of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, used Chandra to show there was an unusually large number of X-ray sources near the center of M31. They predicted most of these extra X-ray sources would contain black holes that had encountered and captured low mass stars. This new detection of seven black hole candidates close to the center of M31 gives strong support to these claims.

    “We are particularly excited to see so many black hole candidates this close to the center, because we expected to see them and have been searching for years,” said Barnard.

    These results will be published in the June 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. Many of the Andromeda observations were made within Chandra’s Guaranteed Time Observer program.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra’s science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:44 am on January 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Manu Garcia‎,   

    From Hubble via Manu: “Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in ‘Skyrocket’ Galaxy” 


    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.

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Thanks, Manu

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    28 June 2016 [Found by Manu Garcia at IAC.]

    Donna Weaver
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4493
    dweaver@stsci.edu

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    Debra Elmegreen
    Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York
    elmegreen@vassar.edu

    1
    As we celebrate the Fourth of July by watching dazzling fireworks shows, another kind of fireworks display is taking place in a small, nearby galaxy.

    A stellar fireworks show is lighting up one end of the diminutive galaxy Kiso 5639. The dwarf galaxy is shaped like a flattened pancake, but because it is tilted edge-on, it resembles a skyrocket, with a brilliant blazing head and a long, star-studded tail. Kiso 5639 is a rare, nearby example of elongated galaxies seen in abundance in the early universe. Astronomers suggest that the frenzied star birth is sparked by intergalactic gas raining on one end of the galaxy as it drifts through space.

    Fireworks shows are not just confined to Earth’s skies. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a spectacular fireworks display in a small, nearby galaxy, which resembles a July 4th skyrocket.

    A firestorm of star birth is lighting up one end of the diminutive galaxy Kiso 5639. The dwarf galaxy is shaped like a flattened pancake, but because it is tilted edge-on, it resembles a skyrocket, with a brilliant blazing head and a long, star-studded tail.

    Kiso 5639 is a rare, nearby example of elongated galaxies that occur in abundance at larger distances, where we observe the universe during earlier epochs. Astronomers suggest that the frenzied star birth is sparked by intergalactic gas raining on one end of the galaxy as it drifts through space.

    “I think Kiso 5639 is a beautiful, up-close example of what must have been common long ago,” said lead researcher Debra Elmegreen of Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, New York. “The current thinking is that galaxies in the early universe grow from accreting gas from the surrounding neighborhood. It’s a stage that galaxies, including our Milky Way, must go through as they are growing up.”

    Observations of the early universe, such as Hubble’s Ultra Deep Field, reveal that about 10 percent of all galaxies have these elongated shapes, and are collectively called “tadpoles.” But studies of the nearby universe have turned up only a few of these unusual galaxies, including Kiso 5639. The development of the nearby star-making tadpole galaxies, however, has lagged behind that of their peers, which have spent billions of years building themselves up into many of the spiral galaxies seen today.

    Elmegreen used Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 3 to conduct a detailed imaging study of Kiso 5639.

    Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) being tested.

    The images in different filters reveal information about an object by dissecting its light into its component colors. Hubble’s crisp resolution helped Elmegreen and her team analyze the giant star-forming clumps in Kiso 5639 and determine the masses and ages of the star clusters.

    The international team of researchers selected Kiso 5639 from a spectroscopic survey of 10 nearby tadpole galaxies, observed with the Grand Canary Telescope in La Palma, Spain, by J. Sánchez Almeida and collaborators at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. The observations revealed that in most of those galaxies, including Kiso 5639, the gas composition is not uniform.

    The bright gas in the galaxy’s head contains fewer heavier elements (collectively called “metals”), such as carbon and oxygen, than the rest of the galaxy. Stars consist mainly of hydrogen and helium, but cook up other “heavier” elements. When the stars die, they release their heavy elements and enrich the surrounding gas.

    “The metallicity suggests that there has to be rather pure gas, composed mostly of hydrogen, coming into the star-forming part of the galaxy, because intergalactic space contains more pristine hydrogen-rich gas,” Elmegreen explained. “Otherwise, the starburst region should be as rich in heavy elements as the rest of the galaxy.”

    Hubble offers a detailed view of the galaxy’s star-making frenzy. The telescope uncovered several dozen clusters of stars in the galaxy’s star-forming head, which spans 2,700 light-years across. These clusters have an average age of less than 1 million years and masses that are three to six times larger than those in the rest of the galaxy. Other star formation is taking place throughout the galaxy but on a much smaller scale. Star clusters in the rest of the galaxy are between several million to a few billion years old.

    “There is much more star formation going on in the head than what you would expect in such a tiny galaxy,” said team member Bruce Elmegreen of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, in Yorktown Heights, New York. “And we think the star formation is triggered by the ongoing accretion of metal-poor gas onto a part of an otherwise quiescent dwarf galaxy.”

    Hubble also revealed giant holes peppered throughout the galaxy’s starburst head. These cavities give the galaxy’s head a Swiss-cheese appearance because numerous supernova detonations – like firework aerial bursts – have carved out holes of rarified superheated gas.

    The galaxy, located 82 million light-years away, has taken billions of years to develop because it has been drifting through an isolated “desert” in the universe, devoid of much gas.

    What triggered the starburst in such a backwater galaxy? Based on simulations by Daniel Ceverino of the Center for Astronomy at Heidelberg University in Germany, and other team members, the observations suggest that less than 1 million years ago, Kiso 5639’s leading edge encountered a filament of gas. The filament dropped a large clump of matter onto the galaxy, stoking the vigorous star birth.

    Debra Elmegreen expects that in the future other parts of the galaxy will join in the star-making fireworks show. “Galaxies rotate, and as Kiso 5639 continues to spin, another part of the galaxy may receive an infusion of new gas from this filament, instigating another round of star birth,” she said.

    The team’s results have been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

    Other team members include Casiana Muñoz-Tuñón and Mercedes Filho (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Canary Islands), Jairo Mendez-Abreu (University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom), John Gallagher (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Marc Rafelski (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland).

    Credits

    Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Elmegreen (Vassar College), B. Elmegreen (IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center), J. Sánchez Almeida, C. Muñoz-Tuñón, and M. Filho (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), J. Mendez-Abreu (University of St. Andrews), J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin-Madison), M. Rafelski (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), and D. Ceverino (Center for Astronomy at Heidelberg University)

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 8:51 am on December 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Manu Garcia‎, , New Study Finds 'Winking' Star May Be Devouring Wrecked Planets, RZ Piscium   

    From Goddard via Manu: “New Study Finds ‘Winking’ Star May Be Devouring Wrecked Planets” 


    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.

    NASA Goddard Banner
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Dec. 21, 2017

    Francis Reddy
    francis.j.reddy@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    A team of U.S. astronomers studying the star RZ Piscium has found evidence suggesting its strange, unpredictable dimming episodes may be caused by vast orbiting clouds of gas and dust, the remains of one or more destroyed planets.

    1
    RZ Piscium, located in the constellation Pisces, is surrounded by huge dust clouds that appear to be the remains of one or more destroyed planets. Photo: NASA

    “Our observations show there are massive blobs of dust and gas that occasionally block the star’s light and are probably spiraling into it,” said Kristina Punzi, a doctoral student at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York and lead author of a paper describing the findings. “Although there could be other explanations, we suggest this material may have been produced by the break-up of massive orbiting bodies near the star.”


    Zoom into RZ Piscium, a star about 550 light-years away that undergoes erratic dips in brightness. This animation illustrates one possible interpretation of the system, with a giant planet near the star slowly dissolving. Gas and dust intermittently stream away from the planet, and these clouds occasionally eclipse the star as we view it from Earth. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab.

    RZ Piscium is located about 550 light-years away in the constellation Pisces. During its erratic dimming episodes, which can last as long as two days, the star becomes as much as 10 times fainter. It produces far more energy at infrared wavelengths than emitted by stars like our Sun, which indicates the star is surrounded by a disk of warm dust. In fact, about 8 percent of its total luminosity is in the infrared, a level matched by only a few of the thousands of nearby stars studied over the past 40 years. This implies enormous quantities of dust.

    These and other observations led some astronomers to conclude that RZ Piscium is a young Sun-like star surrounded by a dense asteroid belt, where frequent collisions grind the rocks to dust.

    But the evidence was far from clear. An alternative view suggests the star is instead somewhat older than our Sun and just beginning its transition into the red giant stage. A dusty disk from the star’s youth would have dispersed after a few million years, so astronomers needed another source of dust to account for the star’s infrared glow. Because the aging star is growing larger, it would doom any planets in close orbits, and their destruction could provide the necessary dust.

    So which is it, a young star with a debris disk or a planet-smashing stellar senior? According to the research by Punzi and her colleagues, RZ Piscium is a bit of both.

    The team investigated the star using the European Space Agency’s (ESA) XMM-Newton satellite, the Shane 3-meter telescope at Lick Observatory in California and the 10-meter Keck I telescope at W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

    ESA/XMM Newton X-ray telescope

    The UCO Lick C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)


    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft), above sea level, showing also NASA’s IRTF and NAOJ Subaru

    Young stars are often prodigious X-ray sources. Thanks to 11 hours of XMM-Newton observations, Punzi’s team shows that RZ Piscium is, too. Its total X-ray output is roughly 1,000 times greater than our Sun’s, essentially clinching the case for stellar youth.

    The team’s ground-based observations revealed the star’s surface temperature to be about 9,600 degrees Fahrenheit (5,330 degrees Celsius), only slightly cooler than the Sun’s. They also show the star is enriched in the tell-tale element lithium, which is slowly destroyed by nuclear reactions inside stars.

    “The amount of lithium in a star’s surface declines as it ages, so it serves as a clock that allows us to estimate the elapsed time since a star’s birth,” said co-author Joel Kastner, director of RIT’s Laboratory for Multiwavelength Astrophysics. “Our lithium measurement for RZ Piscium is typical for a star of its surface temperature that is about 30 to 50 million years old.”

    So while the star is young, it’s actually too old to be surrounded by so much gas and dust. “Most Sun-like stars have lost their planet-forming disks within a few million years of their birth,” said team member Ben Zuckerman, an astronomy professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The fact that RZ Piscium hosts so much gas and dust after tens of millions of years means it’s probably destroying, rather than building, planets.”

    Ground-based observations also probed the star’s environment, capturing evidence that the dust is accompanied by substantial amounts of gas. Based on the temperature of the dust, around 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), the researchers think most of the debris is orbiting about 30 million miles (50 million kilometers) from the star.

    “While we think the bulk of this debris is about as close to the star as the planet Mercury ever gets to our Sun, the measurements also show variable and rapidly moving emission and absorption from hydrogen-rich gas,” said co-author Carl Melis, an associate research scientist at the University of California, San Diego. “Our measurements provide evidence that material is both falling inward toward the star and also flowing outward.”

    A paper reporting the findings was published Thurs., Dec. 21, in The Astronomical Journal.

    The best explanation that accounts for all of the available data, say the researchers, is that the star is encircled by debris representing the aftermath of a disaster of planetary proportions. It’s possible the star’s tides may be stripping material from a close substellar companion or giant planet, producing intermittent streams of gas and dust, or that the companion is already completely dissolved. Another possibility is that one or more massive gas-rich planets in the system underwent a catastrophic collision in the astronomically recent past.

    ESA’s XMM-Newton observatory was launched in December 1999 from Kourou, French Guiana. NASA funded elements of the XMM-Newton instrument package and provides the NASA Guest Observer Facility at Goddard, which supports use of the observatory by U.S. astronomers.

    See the full Goddard article here.
    See Manu Garcia’s full article here. Look near the top for the language translator.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.


    NASA/Goddard Campus

     
  • richardmitnick 12:25 pm on December 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: a fusion of galaxies, ARP 273, , , , , Manu Garcia‎,   

    From Manu Garcia for Hubble: “ARP 273, a fusion of galaxies” 


    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.

    NASA Hubble contacts
    Oli Usher
    Hubble/ESA
    Garching, Germany
    Tel: +49-89-3200-6855
    ousher@eso.org

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute
    Baltimore, USA
    Tel: +1-410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    1
    UGC 1810 is located on top of the image, UGC 1813 at the bottom.
    This Hubble image is a composite of data taken with three separate WFC3 that allow a wide range of wavelengths covering the blue and red ultraviolet portions of the spectrum filter. Credits: NASA, ESA, and equipment Hubble Heritage (STScI / AURA)

    In celebration of the 21st anniversary of the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope in space, astronomers at the Space Telescope Institute of Science in Baltimore, Maryland, led the Hubble eye to an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.

    The largest of the spirals, known as UGC 1810 , has a disc which is distorted in a way tidalmente rose by the gravitational pull of the tide of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813 . A strip of blue jewels across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot blue stars. These massive stars glow in ultraviolet light.

    The smallest and most fellow at the border shows distinct signs of intense star formation at its nucleus, perhaps triggered by the encounter with the companion galaxy.

    A number of unusual spiral patterns in the large galaxy is a telltale sign of interaction. The large external arm partially shown as a ring, a feature seen when interacting galaxies actually pass each other. This suggests that the smaller companion sank deep, but off-center, through UGC 1810 . The inner set of spiral arms is highly distorted the plane with one arm going behind the bulge and returns on the other side. It is not known exactly how these two spiral patterns are connected.

    A mini-spiral may be visible in the spiral arms of UGC 1810 in the upper right. It is remarkable how the outer spiral arm changes shape as it passes this third galaxy, smooth with many old stars (reddish) back and clumpy and extremely blue on the other. The fairly regular spacing forming knots blue stars fits what is seen in the spiral arms of other galaxies and is predictable based on the instabilities in the gas in the arm.

    2
    Hubble’s WFC3

    The largest pair galaxy UGC 1810 – 1813 UGC has a mass which is approximately five times that of the smaller galaxy. In unequal pairs like this, the relatively rapid passage of a companion galaxy produces unbalanced or asymmetric structure in the primary coil. Also in such matches, the starburst activity typically begins in the smaller galaxies rather than the main galaxies. These effects could be due to the fact that the smaller galaxies have consumed less gas in its core, where new stars are born.

    Arp 273 lies in the constellation Andromeda and is about 300 million light years away from Earth. The image shows a tenuous tidal bridge of material between the two galaxies that are separated by tens of thousands of light years apart.

    The interaction was visualized on 17 December 2010 with the Wide Field Camera 3, Hubble (WFC3), Wide Field Camera 3.

    Published in Hubble on 20 April 2011.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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