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  • richardmitnick 10:05 am on February 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC,   

    From European Space Agency via Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC: “The limits of the Earth’s atmosphere” 


    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.

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    20 February, 2019

    Igor Baliukin
    Space Research Institute
    Russian Academy of Science
    Moscow, Russia
    Email: igor.baliukin@gmail.com

    Jean-Loup Bertaux
    Former principal investigator of SWAN
    Laboratoire Atmospheres Milieux, Observations Spatiales (LATMOS)
    Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
    Email: jean-loup.bertaux@latmos.ipsl.fr

    Bernhard Fleck
    SOHO project scientist
    European Space Agency
    Email: bfleck@esa.nascom.nasa.gov

    Markus Bauer
    ESA Science Program Communication Officer
    Tel: +31 71 565 6799
    Mob: +31 61 594 3 954
    Email: markus.bauer@esa.int

    Earth’s atmosphere reaches the Moon and beyond.
    1
    The extent of land geocorona. Where the atmosphere of the Earth merges with outer space, there is a cloud of hydrogen atoms called geocorona. A recent discovery based on observations of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ESA / NASA SOHO shows that geocorona extends far beyond the orbit of the Moon, reaching up to 630 000 km above the surface of the Earth, or 50 times the diameter of our planet. Note: The illustration is not to scale. Credit: ESA.

    The most distant region of our atmosphere extends beyond the lunar orbit, up to twice the distance to our natural satellite.

    Thanks to data collected by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) of ESA / NASA, a recent discovery shows that the gas layer that surrounds the Earth has a radius of 630,000 km, 50 times the diameter of our planet.

    ESA/NASA SOHO

    “The moon orbits inside the Earth’s atmosphere,” says Igor Baliukin, the Russian Space Research Institute and lead author of the paper presenting the results.

    “We were not aware of it until we recover the observations made over two decades ago by SOHO.”

    In the region where the atmosphere merges into the outer space, there is a cloud of hydrogen atoms called “geocorona”. One of the satellite instruments, SWAN [no image available], used its sensors to track the signing of hydrogen and accurately detect how far the limit of the geocorona arrived.

    These observations could be made only at certain times of the year when the Earth and its geocorona were visible instrument.

    In the planets with their exosferas hydrogen, water vapor often seen near the surface. This is what happens on Earth, Mars and Venus.

    Jean-Loup Bertaux as, former principal investigator and co-author SWAN explains: “This is particularly interesting when we look for planets with possible water deposits beyond our solar system.”

    The first telescope on the Moon, deployed in 1972 by the Apollo astronauts 16 mission captured an image reminiscent of Earth wrapped in geocorona bright ultraviolet light.

    “At that time, the astronauts on the lunar surface did not know that they were actually immersed in the outermost layers of the geocorona” says Jean-Loup.

    The Sun interacts with the hydrogen atoms through a specific wavelength of the ultraviolet spectrum, called Lyman alpha, these atoms can absorb and emit. As this type of light is absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, it can only be observed from space.

    With its cell uptake of hydrogen, the SWAN instrument could measure light selectively Lyman alpha geocorona and discard the hydrogen atoms located in interplanetary space.

    The new study has revealed that sunlight compresses the hydrogen atoms in the geocorona of the day side of the Earth, while producing a denser region on the night side. Hydrogen daytime region of higher density remains rather low, with only 70 atoms per cubic centimeter to 60,000 kilometers from the earth’s surface, and about 0.2 atoms at the distance of the Moon.

    “On Earth we would call it empty, so this extra source of hydrogen is not enough to provide space exploration,” Igor added.

    The good news is that these particles do not pose a threat to space travelers of future manned missions to orbit the moon.

    “There is also ultraviolet radiation associated -we recalls Jean-Loup geocorona Bertaux- since the hydrogen atoms are dispersed in all directions, but the impact on astronauts in orbit would be minimal mole compared to the main radiation source : the Sun”.

    The bad news is that the Earth’s future geocorona could interfere with astronomical observations near the moon.

    As Jean-Loup warns: “Space telescopes that observe the sky in ultraviolet wavelengths to study the chemical composition of stars and galaxies have to take this into account.”

    The power of files.
    2
    Print Artist Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ESA / NASA SOHO, with the Sun seen by the extreme ultraviolet telescope satellite images on September 14 , 1999. Credit: Spacecraft: ESA / Medialab ATG; Sun: ESA / NASA SOHO, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

    Launched in December 1995, the space observatory SOHO has more than two decades studying the sun, from inside its core to the outer corona and solar wind. The satellite orbits in the first Lagrange point (L1), about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth toward the sun.

    LaGrange Points map. NASA

    Its position is perfect to watch the geocorona from outside. The SWAN instrument SOHO captured images of the Earth and its atmosphere on three occasions between 1996 and 1998.

    The team of researchers from Jean-Loup and Igor in Russia decided to recover this data set from the files for analysis. These unique of all the geocorona from SOHO views are now shedding new light on Earth’s atmosphere.

    “It is often possible to take advantage of archived data many years and do new science with them -constata Bernhard Fleck, SOHO Project Scientist of ESA-. This finding underscores the value of some data collected over 20 years and the outstanding performance of SOHO “.

    More information:
    The article ” SWAN / SOHO Lyman-alpha mapping: the Hydrogen geocorona extends well beyond the Moon .” I Baliukin et al, is accepted for publication in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics.

    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 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 12:44 pm on February 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC, Massive collision in the planetary system Kepler 107   

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC via Manu: “Massive collision in the planetary system Kepler 107” 


    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.

    IAC

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    Feb. 4, 2019
    Savita Mathur
    smathur@iac.es

    Two of the planets which are orbiting the star Kepler 107 could be the result of an impact similar to that which affected the Earth to produce the Moon. An international team whose members include a researcher from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and the University of La Laguna, are publishing the results of this work today in the journal Nature Astronomy.

    1
    Hydrodynamics simulation of a high-speed frontal collision between two planets of the landmass. The temperature range of the material is represented by four colors: gray, orange, yellow and red, where the gray is the coldest and the hottest red. Such collisions expel a large amount of silicate mantle material leaving a remaining planet high iron and similar to the observed characteristics of high density Kepler-107c. Credit: ZM Leinhardt and T. Denman (Bristol Univ.)

    Since, in 1995 the first extrasolar planet was discovered almost 4,000 planets have been found around the nearest stars. This allows us to study a large variety of configurations for these planetary systems. The evolution of the planets orbiting other stars can be affected, mainly, by two phenomena: the evaporation of the upper layers of the planet due to the effect of the X-rays and ultraviolet emitted by the central star, and by the impacts of other celestial bodies of the size of a planet.

    The former effect has been observed a number of times in extrasolar systems, but until now there have been no proof of the existence of major impacts, as has apparently occurred in the Kepler 107 system.

    The central star, Kepler 107, is a bit bigger than the Sun, and has four planets rotating around it; it was the two innermost planets which drew the interest of the astrophysicists. Using data from NASA’s Kepler satellite and from the National Galileo Telescope (TNG) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma, Canary Islands), the team determined the parameters of the star, and measured the radii and masses of these planets. Although the innermost two have similar radii their masses are very different. In fact the second is three times denser than the first.

    NASA/Kepler

    After nine years in deep space, collecting data revealed that
    our night sky was full of thousands of millions of hidden planets, more
    planets even star Kepler space telescope NASA has
    run out of fuel for other scientific operations. NASA has decided to withdraw
    the spacecraft in its current orbit safely and away from Earth. Kepler leaves a
    legacy of more than 2,600 discoveries of planets outside our solar system,
    many of which could be promising places for life.
    More information: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler .
    Credit: NASA / Ames Research Center / W. Stenzel / D. Rutter.
    Last updated: November 2, 2018. Editor: Rick Chen.


    INAF Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, a 3.58-meter Italian telescope, located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain, Altitude 2,396 m (7,861 ft)

    The extraordinarily high density of the planet Kepler 107c is more than double that of the Earth. This exceptional density for a planet has intrigued researchers, and suggests that its metallic core, its densest part, is anomalously big for a planet.

    This would be still considered normal if it were not for the prediction that photo-evaporation causes the densest planet in a system to be the nearest to its star. To explain how it is possible that, in this case, the nearest has only half the density of the second, the hypothesis was proposed that the planet Kepler 107c was formed as the result of a major impact. This impact must have ripped away its outer layers, thus leaving the central core as a much bigger fraction than before. After tests carried out via simulations, this hypothesis seems to be the most likely.

    This study will allow us to better understand the formation and evolution of exoplanets. Specifically it picks out the importance of the relationship between stellar physics and exoplanetary research. “We need to know the star to better understand the planets which are in orbit around it” says Savita Mathur, a researcher at the IAC in Tenerife, and one of the authors of the article. “In this study we made a seismic analysis to estimate the parameters of the star which hosts the planet. Asteroseismology is playing a key role in the field of the exoplanets, because it has been shown that it is one of the best methods for a precise characterization of the stars”. That is why during the past decade it has become one of the main methods for characterizing stars, and it will remain so in the coming years, thanks to the space missions for discovering exoplanets: TESS (NASA) and PLATO (ESA).

    NASA/MIT TESS

    ESA/PLATO


    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 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teaching and outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.



    Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 10:02 am on January 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Blue Waters supercomputer-National Center for Supercomputing Applications, , , , Georgia Tech, Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC   

    From Georgia Institute of Technology via Manu: “Birth of Massive Black Holes in the Early Universe Revealed “ 


    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.

    23/1/19

    John Toon
    Phone: 404-894-6986
    E – mail: jtoon@gatech.edu

    From Georgia Institute of Technology

    Renaissance simulations
    1
    This image shows a light region 30,000 years simulation Renaissance, centered on a group of young galaxies generating radiation (white) and metals (green) while heating the surrounding gas. A halo of dark matter just outside this region hot forms three stars supermassive (box), each more than 1,000 times the mass of our sun. The stars quickly collapse into massive black holes, and eventually supermassive black holes, for thousands of millions of years. Credits: Advanced Visualization Laboratory, National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

    The light released around the first massive black holes in the universe is so intense that it is capable of reaching telescopes across the expanse of the universe. Incredibly, the light of the most distant black holes (or quasars) has been traveling toward us for more than 13 billion light years. However, we do not know how these monstrous black holes were formed.

    New research led by researchers at the Institute of Technology of Georgia, Dublin University , the State University of Michigan , the University of California at San Diego , the Supercomputing Center San Diego and IBM offers a new and extremely promising way to solve this cosmic enigma. The team showed that when galaxies are assembled extremely fast, sometimes violently, that can lead to the formation of very massive black holes. In these rare galaxies, normal star formation stops taking over the formation of black holes.

    The new study finds that massive black holes are formed in dense regions without stars that are growing rapidly, turning to the accepted belief that massive black hole formation was limited to regions bombarded by powerful radiation of nearby galaxies. The findings of the study based on simulation, published Jan. 23 in the journal Nature and backed by funding from the National Science Foundation, the European Union and NASA also found that massive black holes are much more common in the universe than than previously thought.

    2
    This image shows the interior light 30 years of a halo of dark matter in a
    group of young galaxies. The rotating gaseous disk is broken into three groups that
    collapse under their own gravity to form supermassive stars.
    Credit: John Wise, Georgia Institute of Technology.

    The key criteria to determine where massive black holes were formed during the infancy of the universe are related to the rapid growth of cloud pre-galactic gas which are the precursors of all current galaxies, which means that most of the supermassive black holes have a common origin that forms in this new scenario discovered, said John Wise , an associate professor Center for Relativistic Astrophysics School of Physics at Georgia Tech and corresponding author of the article. Dark matter collapses into halos that are the gravitational glue to all galaxies. The rapid early growth of these halos prevented the formation of stars that would have competed with black holes for gaseous matter to flow into the area.

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

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

    “In this study, we have discovered an entirely new mechanism that triggers the formation of massive black holes in halos of dark matter in particular,” Wise said. “Instead of just considering radiation, we need to observe how quickly halos grow. We do not need much physics to understand, just how dark matter is distributed and how gravity will affect it. The formation of a massive black hole requires being in a rare region with intense convergence of matter. ”

    When the research team found these sites formation of black holes in the simulation, they felt puzzled at first, said John Regan, a researcher at the Center for Astrophysics and Relativity at the University of Dublin. The paradigm was previously accepted that black holes may be formed only when exposed to high levels of radiation nearby.


    This display was made from the region “RarePeak” Renaissance in the simulations that follow the formation of 800 galaxies in too dense region of the universe when it was only 270 million years. Blue and red are neutral (cold) and ionized gas (hot). White shows where galaxies are creating ultraviolet light, heating the surrounding intergalactic gas. This simulation was run on Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
    Credit: JH Wise (Georgia Tech), BW O’Shea (Michigan State), ML Norman (UCSD), H. Xu (UCSD)

    U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Blue Waters Cray Linux XE/XK hybrid machine supercomputer

    “Previous theories suggested that this should only happen when sites were exposed to high levels of star formation that kill radiation,” he said. “As we go deeper, we saw that these sites were experiencing a period of extremely rapid growth. That was the key. Violent and turbulent nature of rapid assembly, violent shock of the foundations of the galaxy during the birth of the galaxy prevented the normal formation of stars and resulted in perfect conditions for the formation of black holes. This research changes the previous paradigm and opens a new area of research. ”

    The above theory was based on the intense ultraviolet radiation from a nearby galaxy to inhibit the formation of stars in the halo forming a black hole, said Michael Norman, director of the Supercomputing Center San Diego at UC San Diego and one of the authors. “While UV radiation continues to be a factor, our work has shown that it is not the dominant factor, at least in our simulations,” he said.

    The research was based on the Renaissance Simulation suite, a set of 70 terabytes of data created in the supercomputer Blue Waters between 2011 and 2014 to help scientists understand how the universe evolved during its early years. To learn more about specific regions where it is likely that massive black holes are developed, researchers examined data from simulation and found ten halos specific dark matter that should have formed stars because of its mass but only contained a dense cloud of gas. Using TACC Stampede2 supercomputer, they returned to simulate two of these halos, each about 2,400 light-years in diameter, at a much higher resolution to understand the details of what was happening 270 million years after the Big Bang.

    TACC DELL EMC Stampede2 supercomputer

    Simulation of the Renaissance: Return to the normal region.

    This display in two parts by the Advanced Visualization Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications begins shortly after the Big Bang and shows the evolution of the first galaxies in the universe during the first 400 million years, in increments of about 4 million years . The second part of the display stops time at the mark of 400 million years and makes the viewer revise the different variables that are displayed: dense gas filaments, bags of high temperature ionized gas and ultraviolet light. Credit: JH Wise (Georgia Tech), BW O’Shea (Michigan State), ML Norman (UCSD), H. Xu (UCSD)

    “It was only in these regions too dense universe that saw the formation of these black holes,” Wise said. “Dark matter creates most of gravity, and then the gas falls into the gravitational potential, which can form stars or a massive black hole.”

    Renaissance simulations are the most complete simulation of the early stages of the gravitational assembly pristine gas composed of hydrogen and helium and cold dark matter which leads to the formation of the first stars and galaxies. They use a technique known as adaptive mesh refinement to approach dense groups forming stars or black holes. In addition, covering a region of the early universe large enough to form thousands of objects, a requirement if you are interested in rare objects, as is the case here. “The high resolution, physical rich and the large sample collapsed halos were necessary to achieve this result,” Norman said.

    The improved resolution of the simulation carried out for two candidate regions allowed scientists to see the turbulence and gas inlet and clumps of matter formed as the precursors of the black hole began to condense and turn. Its growth rate was dramatic.

    “Astronomers observe supermassive black holes that have become a billion solar masses in 800 million years,” Wise said. “Doing that required an intense mass convergence in the region. It is expected in regions where galaxies were forming in very early times. ”

    Another aspect of the research is that the halos that give rise to black holes may be more common than previously believed.

    “An exciting component of this work is the discovery that these types of halos, though rare, can be common enough,” said Brian O’Shea, a professor at Michigan State University. “We predict that this scenario happen enough to be the source of the most massive black holes that are observed both in the early Universe as galaxies today.”

    Future work with these simulations will analyze the life cycle of these galaxies forming massive black holes, studying the formation, growth and evolution of the first massive black holes over time. “Our next goal is to investigate the future evolution of these exotic objects. Where are these black holes today? Can we detect evidence of them in the local Universe or gravitational waves?” Asked Regan.

    For these new responses, the research team and others can return to the simulations.

    “Renaissance Simulations are rich enough so that they can make other discoveries using already calculated data,” Norman said. “For this reason, we have created a public file containing SDSC Laboratory simulations of the Renaissance where others can solve their own questions.”

    This research was supported by the National Science Foundation through the PHY-1430152, AST-1514700, AST-161 433 and OAC-1835213 grants, subsidies NASA NNX12AC98G, 147 NNX15AP39G and NNX17AG23G, and the theory of Hubble HST -AR-13261.01, -AR-14315.001 HST and HST-AR-14326. This project has received funding of research and innovation program Horizon 2020 the European Union under Grant Agreement No 699941 (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions – “SmartStars). The simulation was performed at the Blue Waters supercomputer operated by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) supported PRAC allocation by the NSF (ACI award-0,832,662, 1,238,993 and ACI ACI-1514580). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring organizations.

    Laboratory simulations of the Renaissance: https://rensimlab.github.io

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as Georgia Tech, is a public research university and institute of technology located in the Midtown neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. It is a part of the University System of Georgia and has satellite campuses in Savannah, Georgia; Metz, France; Athlone, Ireland; Shenzhen, China; and Singapore.

    The school was founded in 1885 as the Georgia School of Technology as part of Reconstruction plans to build an industrial economy in the post-Civil War Southern United States. Initially, it offered only a degree in mechanical engineering. By 1901, its curriculum had expanded to include electrical, civil, and chemical engineering. In 1948, the school changed its name to reflect its evolution from a trade school to a larger and more capable technical institute and research university.

    Today, Georgia Tech is organized into six colleges and contains about 31 departments/units, with emphasis on science and technology. It is well recognized for its degree programs in engineering, computing, industrial administration, the sciences and design. Georgia Tech is ranked 8th among all public national universities in the United States, 35th among all colleges and universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report rankings, and 34th among global universities in the world by Times Higher Education rankings. Georgia Tech has been ranked as the “smartest” public college in America (based on average standardized test scores).

    Student athletics, both organized and intramural, are a part of student and alumni life. The school’s intercollegiate competitive sports teams, the four-time football national champion Yellow Jackets, and the nationally recognized fight song “Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech”, have helped keep Georgia Tech in the national spotlight. Georgia Tech fields eight men’s and seven women’s teams that compete in the NCAA Division I athletics and the Football Bowl Subdivision. Georgia Tech is a member of the Coastal Division in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:55 am on January 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC, Titan in Infrared   

    From European Space Agency via Manu Garcia: “Infrared view of Titan” 


    From Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    14 January 2019

    Titan’s most iconic moon of Saturn infrared view.

    1
    These six infrared images of moon, Titan, represent some of the clearest view jointless surface of the icy moon produced so far. The views were created using 13 years of data acquired by the Mapping Spectrometer Visual and Infrared (VIMS) instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft NASA.

    VIMS instrument on NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft

    NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft

    The images are the result of a concentrate to combine data from the multitude of different observations of VIMS under a wide variety of lighting conditions and viewing along the Cassini effort.

    VIMS previous map Titan (eg PIA02145 ) show a large variation in image resolution and lighting conditions, which results in obvious seams between the different areas of the surface. With the seams now missing, this new collection of images is by far, the best representation of how the globe might appear to the casual observer if not in the misty atmosphere of the moon, and probably will not be replaced for a while.

    It is difficult to observe the surface of Titan in the visible region of the spectrum, due to the haze surrounding the globe around the moon. This is mainly due to small particles called aerosols in the upper atmosphere of Titan which scatter visible light. But Titan’s surface can be viewed more easily in a few infrared “windows”: infrared wavelengths where the scattering and absorption of light are much weaker. This is where the VIMS instrument is highlighted, separating the mist to obtain clear images of the surface of Titan. (For comparison, Figure B shows Titan as appears as visible light, PIA11603 ).

    3
    Titan comparing the satellite image in optical or visible located in the center light, infrared Titan around.

    VIMS image mosaicking Titan has always been a challenge because data were obtained through different geometries flyovers different observation and atmospheric conditions. One result is displayed very prominent seams in mosaics that are quite difficult to remove by imaging scientists. But, through painstaking and detailed analysis of the data, along with manual processing of the mosaics, the seams have been eliminated mostly. This is an update of the work previously discussed in PIA20022.

    Any full-color image consists of three color channels: red, green and blue. Each of the three color channels combined to create these views are produced using a relationship between the brightness of the surface of Titan two different wavelengths (1.59 / 1.27 microns [red], 2.03 / 1 27 microns [green] and 1.27 / 1.08 microns [blue]) This technique (technique called “band ratio”) reduces the prominence of the seams, and emphasizes the subtle spectral variations in the materials in the Titan surface. For example, equatorial dune fields of the moon appear here with a uniform brown color. There is also bluish purple areas which may have different compositions from other bright areas, and can be enriched in ice water.

    To see a map of Titan latitudes, longitudes and surface features labeled, see PIA20713 .

    4
    Author’s illustration of Cassini between Saturn’s rings. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

    It is quite clear from this unique set of images that Titan has a surface deporting countless complex geological characteristics and composition units. The VIMS instrument has paved the way for future infrared instruments that could represent Titan at a much higher resolution, revealing features that were not detectable by any of the instruments Cassini.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. VIMS team is based at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

    For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm . The homepage of the visual and infrared spectrometer mapping equipment is in http://www.vims.lpl.arizona.edu .

    Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Stéphane Le Mouélic, University of Nantes, Virginia Pasek, University of Arizona

    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 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 9:55 am on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Holiday Asteroid Imaged with NASA Radar, Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC, , near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220   

    From JPL-Caltech via Manu Garcia: “Holiday Asteroid Imaged with NASA Radar” 


    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.

    NASA JPL Banner

    From JPL-Caltech

    December 21, 2018

    News Media Contact
    DC Agle
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    818-393-9011
    agle@jpl.nasa.gov

    Dwayne Brown
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-1726
    dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

    JoAnna Wendel
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-1003
    joanna.r.wendel@nasa.gov

    Charles Blue
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory
    434-296-0314
    cblue@nrao.edu

    Ricardo Correa
    Arecibo Observatory
    787-878-2612 – ext. 615
    rcorrea@naic.edu

    1
    These three radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on Dec. 15-17, by coordinating observations with NASA’s 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO

    The December 2018 close approach by the large, near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 has provided astronomers an outstanding opportunity to obtain detailed radar images of the surface and shape of the object and to improve the understanding of its orbit.

    The asteroid will fly safely past Earth on Saturday, Dec. 22, at a distance of about 1.8 million miles (2.9 million kilometers). This will be the asteroid’s closest approach in more than 400 years and the closest until 2070, when the asteroid will safely approach Earth slightly closer.

    The radar images reveal an asteroid with a length of at least one mile (1.6 kilometers) and a shape similar to that of the exposed portion of a hippopotamus wading in a river. They were obtained Dec. 15-17 by coordinating the observations with NASA’s 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California, the National Science Foundation’s 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Arecibo Observatory’s 1,000-foot (305-meter) antenna in Puerto Rico.

    NASA DSCC Goldstone Antenna California in the Mojave Desert, USA

    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA


    NAIC Arecibo Observatory operated by University of Central Florida, Yang Enterprises and UMET, Altitude 497 m (1,631 ft).

    The Green Bank Telescope was the receiver for the powerful microwave signals transmitted by either Goldstone or the NASA-funded Arecibo planetary radar in what is known as a “bistatic radar configuration.” Using one telescope to transmit and another to receive can yield considerably more detail than would one telescope, and it is an invaluable technique to obtain radar images of closely approaching, slowly rotating asteroids like this one.

    “The radar images achieve an unprecedented level of detail and are comparable to those obtained from a spacecraft flyby,” said Lance Benner of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the scientist leading the observations from Goldstone. “The most conspicuous surface feature is a prominent ridge that appears to wrap partway around the asteroid near one end. The ridge extends about 330 feet [100 meters] above the surrounding terrain. Numerous small bright spots are visible in the data and may be reflections from boulders. The images also show a cluster of dark, circular features near the right edge that may be craters.”

    The images confirm what was seen in earlier “light curve” measurements of sunlight reflected from the asteroid and from earlier radar images by Arecibo: 2003 SD220 has an extremely slow rotation period of roughly 12 days. It also has what seems to be a complex rotation somewhat analogous to a poorly thrown football. Known as “non-principal axis” rotation, it is uncommon among near-Earth asteroids, most of which spin about their shortest axis.

    With resolutions as fine as 12 feet (3.7 meters) per pixel, the detail of these images is 20 times finer than that obtained during the asteroid’s previous close approach to Earth three years ago, which was at a greater distance. The new radar data will provide important constraints on the density distribution of the asteroid’s interior – information that is available on very few near-Earth asteroids.

    “This year, with our knowledge about 2003 SD220’s slow rotation, we were able to plan out a great sequence of radar images using the largest single-dish radio telescopes in the nation,” said Patrick Taylor, senior scientist with Universities Space Research Association (USRA) at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston.

    “The new details we’ve uncovered, all the way down to 2003 SD220’s geology, will let us reconstruct its shape and rotation state, as was done with Bennu, target of the OSIRIS-REx mission,” said Edgard Rivera-Valentín, USRA scientist at LPI. “Detailed shape reconstruction lets us better understand how these small bodies formed and evolved over time.”

    Patrick Taylor led the bistatic radar observations with Green Bank Observatory, home of the Green Bank Telescope, the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. Rivera-Valentín will be leading the shape reconstruction of 2003 SD220 and led the Arecibo Observatory observations.

    Asteroid 2003 SD220 was discovered on Sept. 29, 2003, by astronomers at the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search (LONEOS) in Flagstaff, Arizona – an early Near-Earth Object (NEO) survey project supported by NASA that is no longer in operation. It is classified as being a “potentially hazardous asteroid” because of its size and close approaches to Earth’s orbit. However, these radar measurements further refine the understanding of 2003 SD220’s orbit, confirming that it does not pose a future impact threat to Earth.

    The Arecibo, Goldstone and USRA planetary radar projects are funded through NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program within the Planetary Defense Coordination Office(PDCO), which manages the Agency’s Planetary Defense Program. The Arecibo Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by the University of Central Florida, Yang Enterprises and Universidad Metropolitana. GBO is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under a cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

    JPL hosts the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program.

    More information about CNEOS, asteroids and near-Earth objects can be found at:

    https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov

    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

    For more information about NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, visit:

    https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense

    More information about the National Science Foundation’s Arecibo Observatory can be found at:

    http://www.naic.edu/ao/

    For asteroid and comet news and updates, follow AsteroidWatch on Twitter:

    twitter.com/AsteroidWatch

    You can find more information about CNEOS, asteroids and near-Earth objects:
    https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov
    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

    For more information about the Office for the Coordination of Planetary Defense of NASA, visit:
    https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense

    You can find more information about the Arecibo Observatory of the National Science Foundation at:
    http://www.naic.edu/ao/

    For news and updates asteroids and comets, follow AsteroidWatch on Twitter:
    twitter.com/AsteroidWatch

    See the full article by Manu here .
    See the full JPL article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    Caltech Logo

    NASA image

     
  • richardmitnick 10:02 am on December 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 'Oumuamua studies, , , , , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC,   

    From Spitzer via Manu Garcia: “Umuamua intergalactic visitor”. 


    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.

    News Media Contact
    Calla Cofield
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
    626-808-2469
    calla.e.cofield@jpl.nasa.gov

    NASA/Spitzer Telescope


    From Spitzer

    NASA learns more about the interstellar visitors’ Oumuamua.

    1
    An artistic concept of interstellar asteroid 1I / 2017 U1 ( ‘Oumuamua) while passing through the solar system after its discovery in October 2017. The observations of’ Oumuamua indicate that must be very long due to its dramatic brightness variations as fell space. Image Credit: European Southern Observatory / M. Kornmesser.

    ‘Oumuamua was too weak to detect when Spitzer looked more than two months after the closest to Earth the object approach in early September. However, the “no detection” put a new limit on the size of the foreign object. The results are reported in a new study published today in Astronomical Journal and coauthor of scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena, California, The Astronomical Journal.

    The new size limit is consistent with the findings of a research paper published earlier this year, suggesting that the degassing was responsible for slight changes in speed and direction of ‘Oumuamua as were screened last year: authors of this paper concluded that the expelled gas acted as a small pusher gently pushing the object. That determination depended on ‘Oumuamua is relatively smaller than typical comets in the solar system. (The conclusion that ‘Oumuamua experienced degassing suggested consisted of frozen gases, comet-like.)

    ‘Oumuamua has been full of surprises from the first day, so we were eager to see what Spitzer could show,” said David Trilling, senior author of the new study and a professor of astronomy at the University of Northern Arizona. “The fact that ‘Oumuamua was too small to detect what Spitzer is actually a very valuable result.”

    ‘Oumuamua was first detected by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at the University of Hawaii at Haleakala, Hawaii (the object name is a Hawaiian word meaning “visitor from afar come first”) in October 2017, while the telescope was looking for asteroids near Earth.

    Pann-STARSR1 Telescope, U Hawaii, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 3,052 m (10,013 ft)

    Subsequent detailed observations made by multiple ground-based telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope detected NASA sunlight reflected on the surface of Oumuamua.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Large variations in the brightness of the object suggested that ‘Oumuamua is highly elongated and probably less than half a mile (2,600 feet or 800 meters) at its longest dimension.

    But Spitzer tracks asteroids and comets using infrared energy, or heat, radiating, which can provide more specific information about the size of an object optical observations of sunlight reflected.

    The fact that ‘Oumuamua was too weak to detect Spitzer sets a limit on the total surface area of ​​the object. However, since non-detection can not be used to infer the shape, size limits are presented as what the diameter if spherical Oumuamua. Using three separate models that slightly different assumptions about the composition of the object, the non-detection of Spitzer limited the “spherical diameter” of Oumuamua to 1,440 feet (440 meters), 460 feet (140 meters) or perhaps as little as 320 feet (100 meters) . The wide range of results stems from assumptions about the composition of ‘Oumuamua, which influences how visible (or weak) would seem to Spitzer if a particular size.

    2
    Scientists have concluded that the vents on the surface of ‘Oumuamua must have emitted gas jets, which gave the object a slight increase in speed, the researchers detected by measuring the position of the object as it passed through the earth in 2017. Credit: NASA / JPL -Caltech.

    Small but thoughtful.

    The new study also suggests that ‘Oumuamua can be up to 10 times more reflective than comets reside in our solar system, a surprising result, according to the authors of the article. Because infrared light is largely the heat radiation produced by the “hot” objects, can be used to determine the temperature of a comet or asteroid; in turn, this can be used to determine the reflectivity of the object surface, which scientists call albedo. Like a dark shirt to sunlight warms up faster than a light, an object with low reflectivity retains more heat than an object with high reflectivity. So a lower temperature means higher albedo.

    The albedo of a comet can change throughout your life. When passing near the Sun, ice comet is heated and converted directly into a gas, sweeping dust and dirt from the surface of the comet and revealing more reflective ice.

    ‘Oumuamua has been traveling through interstellar space for millions of years, far from any star that could cool its surface. But it may have had its renewed surface through such “degassing” when he made an extremely close approach to the Sun, a little more than five weeks before it was discovered. In addition to sweep the dust and dirt of the released gas may have covered the surface of ‘Oumuamua with a reflective layer of ice and snow, a phenomenon also observed in comets of our solar system.

    ‘Oumuamua are leaving our solar system, almost as far from the Sun as the orbit of Saturn, and is far beyond the reach of existing telescopes.

    “Usually, if we get a measure of a comet is something strange, we go back and measure again until we understand what we’re seeing,” said Davide Farnocchia, Study Center Near-Earth Object (CNEOS) at JPL . and co-author on both papers. “But this is gone forever, probably know as much as ever know.”

    Links of interest:

    The VLT reveals a dark red and very elongated object.
    The first interstellar visitor Solar System dazzles scientists.
    ESO’s VLT sees `Oumuamua gaining momentum.
    Hubble sees’ Oumuamua is getting a boost, the new findings indicate that interstellar nomad is a comet.
    Chasing ‘Oumuamua.
    A new study shows what interstellar visitors’ Oumuamua can teach.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    stem
    Stem Education Coalition

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.

    NASA image

    NASA JPL Icon

    Caltech Logo

     
  • richardmitnick 9:41 am on December 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , CLASP-Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter, , , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC, Solar chromosphere,   

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC via Manu Garcia: “A Sun more complex than expected” 


    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.

    IAC

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    Nov. 28, 2018

    Contacts at the IAC:
    Javier Trujillo Bueno
    jtb@iac.es

    Jiri Stepan
    jiri.stepan@asu.cas.cz

    Andrés Asensio Ramos
    aasensio@iac.es

    Tanausú del Pino Alemán:
    tanausu@iac.es

    1
    FIGURE 1: View of the structure of temperature via a vertical section in a three – dimensional (3D) model of the solar atmosphere resulting from a magneto-hydrodynamic simulation chromosphere (see Carlsson et al 2016. A & A, 585, A4 ). The solid curve shows the heights (Z) in this model from which the photons from the center of the Lyman-α observed by CLASP (note that almost coincides with the transition region between the chromosphere and the crown model) line. The summary in this press release research shows that in the solar atmosphere the geometry of the transition region is much more complex. For more details see Trujillo Good and the CLASP team (2018; The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 866, L15).

    2
    FIGURE 2: Negative high image resolution chromosphere obtained
    with an instrument selected central radiation of a cromosférica line,
    which gives information about the structure of the plasma around 300 km
    below the transition region. Credit: J. Harvey (NSO, USA..).

    The CLASP experiment (Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter) was launched on 2015 September 3. The instrument, onboard a NASA suborbital rocket, measured with great success and for the first time the linear polarization of the strongest spectral line of the solar ultraviolet spectrum, the hydrogen Lyman-α line.

    IAC CLASP Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter

    This international experiment (Japan, USA and Europe) was motivated by theoretical investigations carried out in 2011 at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). Thanks to the unprecedented observations provided by the CLASP instrument, the scientific team was able to confirm most of the theoretical predictions. However, the observed polarization signals, contrary to those calculated in today’s theoretical models of the solar atmosphere, do not show any significant variation in their line-center amplitude when the line of sight goes from the center to the edge of the solar disk. “This was a very interesting surprise that aroused great scientific interest, because the spectral lines of the solar visible spectrum (which can be observed with ground-based telescopes) show such a variation”, says Javier Trujillo Bueno, professor of the Spanish Research Council at the IAC and one of the principal investigators of CLASP.

    The radiation of the Lyman-α line encodes information about the physical properties of the transition region, an enigmatic geometrically thin region where in less than 100 km the temperature suddenly jumps from the ten thousand degrees of the chromosphere to the million degrees of the corona. It is in these regions of the outer solar atmosphere where the explosive phenomena that can affect the Earth’s magnetosphere takes place. “The puzzling lack of a clear variation in the amplitude of the polarization signal when going from the center to the edge of the solar disk hides clues about the structure of the transition region”, says Jiri Stepan of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and one of the members of CLASP, presently on a working visit at the IAC.

    The fact that the CLASP observations cannot be reproduced by today’s models of the solar atmosphere suggests that the 3D structure of the chromosphere-corona transition region is much more complex than previously thought. In order to confirm this idea, the scientific team has carried out a complex theoretical investigation in order to determine the magnetization and geometrical complexity of the transition region that best explains the experimental data.

    With the help of the MareNostrum supercomputer of the National Supercomputing Center in Barcelona, the researchers have calculated what would be the expected polarization signals for a large number of 3D atmospheric models, constructed by changing the degree of magnetization and geometrical complexity of the 3D solar model atmosphere illustrated in Figure 1.

    MareNostrum Lenovo supercomputer of the National Supercomputing Center in Barcelona

    Such study has led to two important conclusions, namely, the transition region of the atmospheric model that most likely explains the CLASP observations has a significantly larger degree of geometrical complexity and a smaller degree of magnetization. The results of this investigation make it evident the need to develop more realistic 3D models of the solar atmosphere, by including phenomena such as spicules, ubiquitous in high-resolution observations of the line-core intensity in strong chromospheric lines (see Figure 2), but not present in today’s 3D models of the solar atmosphere.

    The Principal Investigators of the CLASP project are:

    Amy Winebarger (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA/MSFC)
    Ryouei Kano (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, NAOJ)
    Frédéric Auchère (Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, IAS)
    Javier Trujillo Bueno (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, IAC)

    Related press releases:

    CLASP has a successful mission
    A new research window in Solar Physics: Ultraviolet Spectropolarimetry

    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 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teaching and outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.



    Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 9:07 am on November 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC, , New Tricks: Fresh Results from NASA’s Galileo Spacecraft 20 Years On   

    From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Manu Garcia: “Fresh Results from NASA’s Galileo Spacecraft 20 Years On” 


    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.

    NASA Goddard Banner
    From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    April 30, 2018
    Mara Johnson-Groh
    mara.johnson-groh@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    NASA/Galileo 1989-2003

    Far across the solar system, from where Earth appears merely as a pale blue dot, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft spent eight years orbiting Jupiter. During that time, the hearty spacecraft — slightly larger than a full-grown giraffe — sent back spates of discoveries on the gas giant’s moons, including the observation of a magnetic environment around Ganymede that was distinct from Jupiter’s own magnetic field. The mission ended in 2003, but newly resurrected data from Galileo’s first flyby of Ganymede is yielding new insights about the moon’s environment — which is unlike any other in the solar system.

    “We are now coming back over 20 years later to take a new look at some of the data that was never published and finish the story,” said Glyn Collinson, lead author of a recent paper about Ganymede’s magnetosphere at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We found there’s a whole piece no one knew about.”

    The new results showed a stormy scene: particles blasted off the moon’s icy surface as a result of incoming plasma rain, and strong flows of plasma pushed between Jupiter and Ganymede due to an explosive magnetic event occurring between the two bodies’ magnetic environments. Scientists think these observations could be key to unlocking the secrets of the moon, such as why Ganymede’s auroras are so bright.

    In 1996, shortly after arriving at Jupiter, Galileo made a surprising discovery: Ganymede had its own magnetic field.

    3
    Proposed magnetic field on Ganymede

    While most planets in our solar system, including Earth, have magnetic environments — known as magnetospheres — no one expected a moon to have one.

    2
    This image of Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons and the largest moon in our solar system, was taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. Credits: NASA

    Between 1996 and 2000, Galileo made six targeted flybys of Ganymede, with multiple instruments collecting data on the moon’s magnetosphere. These included the spacecraft’s Plasma Subsystem, or PLS, which measured the density, temperature and direction of the plasma — excited, electrically charged gas — flowing through the environment around Galileo. New results, recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reveal interesting details about the magnetosphere’s unique structure.

    We know that Earth’s magnetosphere — in addition to helping make compasses work and causing auroras — is key to in sustaining life on our planet, because it helps protect our planet from radiation coming from space. Some scientists think Earth’s magnetosphere was also essential for the initial development of life, as this harmful radiation can erode our atmosphere. Studying magnetospheres throughout the solar system not only helps scientists learn about the physical processes affecting this magnetic environment around Earth, it helps us understand the atmospheres around other potentially habitable worlds, both in our own solar system and beyond.

    3
    This infographic describes Ganymede’s magnetosphere. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

    Ganymede’s magnetosphere offers the chance to explore a unique magnetic environment located within the much larger magnetosphere of Jupiter. Nestled there, it’s protected from the solar wind, making its shape different from other magnetospheres in the solar system. Typically, magnetospheres are shaped by the pressure of supersonic solar wind particles flowing past them. But at Ganymede, the relatively slower-moving plasma around Jupiter sculpts the moon’s magnetosphere into a long horn-like shape that stretches ahead of the moon in the direction of its orbit.

    Flying past Ganymede, Galileo was continually pummeled by high-energy particles — a battering the moon is also familiar with. Plasma particles accelerated by the Jovian magnetosphere, continually rain down on Ganymede’s poles, where the magnetic field channels them toward the surface. The new analysis of Galileo PLS data showed plasma being blasted off the moon’s icy surface due to the incoming plasma rain.

    “There are these particles flying out from the polar regions, and they can tell us something about Ganymede’s atmosphere, which is very thin,” said Bill Paterson, a co-author of the study at NASA Goddard, who served on the Galileo PLS team during the mission. “It can also tell us about how Ganymede’s auroras form.”


    This visualization shows a simplified model of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, designed to illustrate the scale, and basic features of the structure and impacts of the magnetic axis (cyan arrow) offset from the planetary rotation axis (blue arrow). The semi-transparent gray mesh in the distance represents the boundary of the magnetosphere.
    Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/JPL NAIF

    Ganymede has auroras, or northern and southern lights, just like Earth does. However, unlike our planet, the particles causing Ganymede’s auroras come from the plasma surrounding Jupiter, not the solar wind. When analyzing the data, the scientists noticed that during its first Ganymede flyby, Galileo fortuitously crossed right over Ganymede’s auroral regions, as evidenced by the ions it observed raining down onto the surface of the moon’s polar cap. By comparing the location where the falling ions were observed with data from Hubble, the scientists were able to pin down the precise location of the auroral zone, which will help them solve mysteries, such as what causes the auroras.

    As it cruised around Jupiter, Galileo also happened to fly right through an explosive event caused by the tangling and snapping of magnetic field lines. This event, called magnetic reconnection, occurs in magnetospheres across our solar system. For the first time, Galileo observed strong flows of plasma pushed between Jupiter and Ganymede due to a magnetic reconnection event occurring between the two magnetospheres. It’s thought that this plasma pump is responsible for making Ganymede’s auroras unusually bright.

    Future study of the PLS data from that encounter may yet provide new insights related to subsurface oceans previously determined to exist within the moon using data from both Galileo and the Hubble Space Telescope.

    The research was funded by NASA’s Solar System Workings program and the Galileo mission managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 12:26 pm on October 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cherenkov Telescope Network (CTA acronym), , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC, Telescope LST-1 in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) La Palma, This network will be dedicated to the observation of high energy gamma and consist very over 100 telescopes three different sizes located in the two hemispheres   

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias via Manu Garcia at IAC: “Opening telescope LST-1 in La Palma” 


    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.

    IAC

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    1
    Telescope LST-1 in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM), La Palma. Credit: Ivan Jimenez Montalvo.

    The prototype of the four large telescopes that will be part of the North CTA network, called LST-1, is inaugurated at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on 10 October 2,018 at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos. The event will be attended by political authorities and senior representatives of scientific institutions from Japan, Germany and Spain, the main countries involved in its construction.

    On 10 October 2018 at 14:00 hours, at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Garafía, La Palma), a new scientific infrastructure, the LST-1, a prototype telescope large (will open Size Large Telescopes) is expected to be part of the Cherenkov Telescope Network (CTA acronym). This network will be dedicated to the observation of high energy gamma and consist very over 100 telescopes, three different sizes, located in the two hemispheres rays. Simultaneously with the opening throughout the week various scientific meetings related to astrophysics that studies the most energetic phenomena in the Universe they will be held.

    Among the 200 guests attending the opening ceremony are representatives of the various centers that are part of the CTA consortium and sub-consortium building the LST, members of institutions using the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) and a broad representation of political authorities.

    The ceremony will be conducted by the administrator ORM, Juan Carlos Pérez Arencibia, start with opening speeches. The event will intervene (in this order): Rafael Rebolo, director of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC); Federico Ferrini, managing director of LtOrd; Masahiro Teshima, director of the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, principal investigator and spokesman collaboration LST; Takaaki Kajita, director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (ICRR Tokyo) and 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics; Masashi Haneda, vice president of the University of Tokyo; Takeshi Nakajima, Consul General of Japan in the Canary Islands; Anselmo Pestana, President of the Cabildo Insular de La Palma; Lady Nieves Barreto, Minister of Territorial Policy of the Government of the Canary Islands; and Pedro Duque, Minister for Science, Innovation and Universities of the Government of Spain.

    2
    Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in Garafia, La Palma (Gran Canaria) Spain.
    Credit: IAC.

    After the speeches, there will be cutting ceremony to multiple tape, which the mayor of the municipality of Garafía, Yeray Rodriguez will be invited. President of the Steering Committee of the LST, Manel Martinez, will be in charge of conducting the event, to be held following a Japanese ritual in which participants, armed with scissors and white gloves shall stand and line in front of a tape red with rosettes and cut at the same time, each of the sections.

    A telescope unprecedented.

    The LST, a mirror 23 m in diameter, are the largest telescopes CTA network. The LST-1 is the prototype of such four telescopes to be installed in the North observatory, located in ORM, and are surrounded by various telescopes 12 m diameter or Medium Size Telescopes (MST). In Southern Observatory in Chile, and these two types of telescopes, it is installed a third type of 6 m in diameter called Small Size Telescopes (SST). Altogether, CTA can detect with accuracy and sensitivity unprecedented gamma in a wide range of energy rays, which will provide a whole new view of the sky.

    The LST-1 has a reflective surface 400 m2 sustained by a structure of tubes carbon fiber and steel. It is 45 m tall and weighs about 100 tonnes. However, it is extremely agile, with the ability to reposition itself in 20 seconds to capture signals gamma-ray bursts (GRB, its acronym in English). Gamma rays generally very high energy that will detect the LST come from distant objects beyond our galaxy, as active galaxy nuclei (AGN, for its acronym in English).

    3
    nother perspective Telescope LST-1 in the Roque of the
    Boys (ORM), La Palma. Credit: Ivan Jimenez Montalvo.

    The LST project team consists of more than 200 scientists from ten countries. Japan, Germany and Spain are the largest contributors of LST consortium, which also includes France, Italy, Brazil, Sweden, India and Croatia. In Spain are part of the collaboration the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), the Institut d’Altes Energies Physics (IHEP), the Center for Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT), the Institut de Ciències de l’Espai (ICE ), the Complutense University of Madrid (High Energy Group, UCM-GAE and Electronics, UCM-ELEC), the University of Barcelona (Departament d’Astronomia i Meteorologia, ICC-UB), the Port de Informació Científica (PIC) and the University of Jaen.

    Scientific meetings.

    In addition to the opening of the LST-1, and taking advantage of the presence in the palm of a large number of scientists from around the world dedicated to the study of astrophysics of high energies, they have organized various specialized meetings in this area of ​​research They will celebrate, throughout the week at the Hotel H10 Taburiente Playa de Santa Cruz de La Palma. On Thursday, 11 October, will take place on “Frontiers of Astroparticle Physics” symposium, with the participation of renowned experts, such as Nobel Prize in Physics 2015, Takaaki Kajita and scientist Planck project at the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC), Jan Tauber, and the principal investigator of the CTA network in the IAC, Ramon Garcia Lopez, and the director of GTC, Romano Corradi.

    In addition, on Friday, October 12, will begin the course “Extreme Universe seen in gamma very high energy 2018 rays”, organized by the ICRR and the University of Tokyo, which will discuss the important role they play network CTA in the development of multimensajero astronomy and theoretical and observational aspects related to the study of the most energetic universe will be displayed. also, on 12 and 13 October, the meeting of the International Forum of Astroparticle Physics (APIF will be held for their acronym in English), organized by the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.

    Contacts:

    Ramón García López, Principal Investigator of the CTA network in the IAC: rgl@iac.es
    Monica Vazquez Acosta, senior scientist at the IAC in the LST project: monicava@iac.es

    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 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).


    Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is an astronomical observatory located in the municipality of Garafía on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, at an altitude of 2,396 m (7,861 ft)

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teaching and outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.



    Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
  • richardmitnick 11:36 am on October 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Manu Garcia - a friend at IAC, Sextans: the smallest cannibal galaxy discovered until now   

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC via Manu Garcia: “Sextans: the smallest cannibal galaxy discovered until now” 


    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.

    IAC

    From Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC

    Oct. 11, 2018

    A team at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has discovered a new case of galactic cannibalism in the neighbourhood of the Milky Way, which has caused the merging of two galaxies on the smallest scale so far known.

    1

    2

    3

    The researchers at the IAC Luis Cicuéndez and Giuseppina Battaglia have found a case of galactic cannibalism on the smallest known scale until now. This is the Sextans galaxy, which has a mass some 100,000 times less than that of the Milky Way but has swallowed an even smaller companion.

    Using data form the Victor M. Blanco Telescope (4m diameter) at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory and the Landon Clay 6 m telescope, also known as Magellan 2, at the Las Campanas Observatory, both in Chile, they observed clear signs that Sextans had absorbed a smaller stellar system.


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    Carnegie 6.5 meter Magellan Baade and Clay Telescopes located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    When they analyzed the dwarf galaxy they observed that the spatial distribution of the blue, metal-poor stars was round and regular, while that of the red, metal-rich stars was much more elliptical and irregular, with an overdensity of stars on the north-eastern side. “The most reasonable explanation of this phenomenon is that two galaxies merged, and had different metallicities” explains Luis Cicuéndez, a researcher at the IAC and at the University of La Laguna.

    The analysis of the velocities and of indicators of the chemical composition of the stars reveal the presence of a spatial sub-structure in the shape of a ring. This substructure shows a much higher velocity and a different chemical composition than the rest of the stars in the galaxy.

    “This finding appears to show that the hierarchical theory of galaxy formation, in which small galaxies merge to form larger ones, can explain the formation of even the smallest known galaxies, the dwarf galaxies” explains the IAC researcher and co-author of the study Giuseppina Battaglia.

    The details of this new discovery are published in the latest volume of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS)

    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 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias(IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:

    The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
    The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
    The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).


    Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is an astronomical observatory located in the municipality of Garafía on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, at an altitude of 2,396 m (7,861 ft)

    These centres, with all the facilities they bring together, make up the European Northern Observatory(ENO).

    The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain’s Science Research Council (CSIC).

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC’s observatories.

    The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC’s Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Group continuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.

    The IAC’s research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.

    The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teaching and outreachactivities.

    The IAC has devoted much energy to developing technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.



    Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, SpainGran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC

     
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