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  • richardmitnick 11:16 am on July 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stellar Fireworks Celebrate Birth of Giant Cluster", , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, , Star cluster G286.21+0.17 caught in the act of formation.   

    From ALMA: “Stellar Fireworks Celebrate Birth of Giant Cluster” 

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

    From ALMA

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    Image of star cluster G286.21+0.17, caught in the act of formation. This is a multiwavelength mosaic of more than 750 ALMA radio images, and 9 Hubble infrared images. ALMA shows molecular clouds (purple) and Hubble shows stars and glowing dust (yellow and red). Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Y. Cheng et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble.

    2
    This image shows the structure and motions (speed in direction towards the Sun) of gas in the forming cluster, as seen with ALMA (purple) on top of the infrared Hubble image. The color-scales from pink-purple to blue-purple represent the gas moving at different velocities, from 15km/s to 24 km/s. These motions are controlled by gravity, turbulence and wind and radiation pressure “feedback” from the new-born stars. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Y. Cheng et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble.

    Astronomers created a stunning new image showing celestial fireworks in star cluster G286.21+0.17.

    Most stars in the universe, including our Sun, were born in massive star clusters. These clusters are the building blocks of galaxies, but their formation from dense molecular clouds is still largely a mystery.

    The image of cluster G286.21+0.17, caught in the act of formation, is a multi-wavelength mosaic made out of more than 750 individual radio observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and 9 infrared images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The cluster is located in the Carina region of our galaxy, about 6000 light-years away.

    Dense clouds made of molecular gas (purple ‘fireworks streamers’) are revealed by ALMA. The telescope observed the motions of turbulent gas falling into the cluster, forming dense cores that ultimately create individual stars.

    The stars in the image are revealed by their infrared light, as seen by Hubble, including a large group of stars bursting out from one side of the cloud. The powerful winds and radiation from the most massive of these stars are blasting away the molecular clouds, leaving faint wisps of glowing, hot dust (shown in yellow and red).

    “This image shows stars in various stages of formation within this single cluster,” said Yu Cheng of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and lead author of two papers published in The Astrophysical Journal [below].

    Hubble revealed about a thousand newly-formed stars with a wide range of masses. Additionally, ALMA showed that there is a lot more mass present in dense gas that still has to undergo collapse. “Overall the process may take at least a million years to complete,” Cheng added.

    “This illustrates how dynamic and chaotic the process of star birth is,” said co-author Jonathan Tan of Chalmers University in Sweden and the University of Virginia and principal investigator of the project. “We see competing forces in action: gravity and turbulence from the cloud on one side, and stellar winds and radiation pressure from the young stars on the other. This process sculpts the region. It is amazing to think that our own Sun and planets were once part of such a cosmic dance.”

    “The phenomenal resolution and sensitivity of ALMA are evident in this stunning image of star formation,” said Joe Pesce, NSF Program Officer for NRAO/ALMA. “Combined with the Hubble Space Telescope data we can clearly see the power of multiwavelength observations to help us understand these fundamental universal processes.”

    Additional Information

    This research was presented in two papers:

    “Gas Kinematics of the Massive Protocluster G286.21+0.17 Revealed by ALMA”, Yu Cheng et. al., The Astrophysical Journal.

    “Stellar Variability in a Forming Massive Star Cluster”, Yu Cheng et. al., accepted in The Astrophysical Journal.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    NRAO Small
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  • richardmitnick 10:51 am on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Discovers Massive Rotating Disk in Early Universe", , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy,   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Discovers Massive Rotating Disk in Early Universe” 

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

    From ALMA

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    ALMA radio image of the Wolfe Disk, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Neeleman; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

    In our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, most galaxies like our Milky Way form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But a new discovery made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age, challenges the traditional models of galaxy formation. This research appears on 20 May 2020 in the journal Nature.

    Galaxy DLA0817g, nicknamed the Wolfe Disk after the late astronomer Arthur M. Wolfe, is the most distant rotating disk galaxy ever observed. The unparalleled power of ALMA made it possible to see this galaxy spinning at 170 miles (272 kilometers) per second, similar to our Milky Way.

    “While previous studies hinted at the existence of these early rotating gas-rich disk galaxies, thanks to ALMA we now have unambiguous evidence that they occur as early as 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang,” said lead author Marcel Neeleman of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

    How did the Wolfe Disk form?

    The discovery of the Wolfe Disk provides a challenge for many galaxy formation simulations, which predict that massive galaxies at this point in the evolution of the cosmos grew through many mergers of smaller galaxies and hot clumps of gas.

    “Most galaxies that we find early in the universe look like train wrecks because they underwent consistent and often ‘violent’ merging,” explained Neeleman. “These hot mergers make it difficult to form well-ordered, cold rotating disks like we observe in our present universe.”

    In most galaxy formation scenarios, galaxies only start to show a well-formed disk around 6 billion years after the Big Bang. The fact that the astronomers found such a disk galaxy when the universe was only ten percent of its current age, indicates that other growth processes must have dominated.

    “We think the Wolfe Disk has grown primarily through the steady accretion of cold gas,” said J. Xavier Prochaska, of the University of California, Santa Cruz and coauthor of the paper. “Still, one of the questions that remains is how to assemble such a large gas mass while maintaining a relatively stable, rotating disk.”

    Star formation

    The team also used the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to learn more about star formation in the Wolfe Disk.

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

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    In radio wavelengths, ALMA looked at the galaxy’s movements and mass of atomic gas and dust while the VLA measured the amount of molecular mass – the fuel for star formation. In UV-light, Hubble observed massive stars. “The star formation rate in the Wolfe Disk is at least ten times higher than in our own galaxy,” explained Prochaska. “It must be one of the most productive disk galaxies in the early universe.”

    A ‘normal’ galaxy

    The Wolfe Disk was first discovered by ALMA in 2017. Neeleman and his team found the galaxy when they examined the light from a more distant quasar. The light from the quasar was absorbed as it passed through a massive reservoir of hydrogen gas surrounding the galaxy – which is how it revealed itself. Rather than looking for direct light from extremely bright, but more rare galaxies, astronomers used this ‘absorption’ method to find fainter, and more ‘normal’ galaxies in the early universe.

    “The fact that we found the Wolfe Disk using this method, tells us that it belongs to the normal population of galaxies present at early times,” said Neeleman. “When our newest observations with ALMA surprisingly showed that it is rotating, we realized that early rotating disk galaxies are not as rare as we thought and that there should be a lot more of them out there.”

    “This observation epitomizes how our understanding of the universe is enhanced with the advanced sensitivity that ALMA brings to radio astronomy,” said Joe Pesce, astronomy program director at the National Science Foundation, which funds the telescope. “ALMA allows us to make new, unexpected findings with almost every observation.”

    3
    The Wolfe Disk as seen with ALMA (right – in red), VLA (left – in green) and the Hubble Space Telescope (both images – blue). In radio light, ALMA looked at the galaxy’s movements and mass of atomic gas and dust and the VLA measured the amount of molecular mass. In UV-light, Hubble observed massive stars. The VLA image is made in a lower spatial resolution than the ALMA image, and therefore looks larger and more pixelated. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Neeleman; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble

    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 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.

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 10:29 am on April 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, , The interstellar comet 2I/Borisov   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Reveals Unusual Composition of Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov” 

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

    From ALMA

    20 April, 2020

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    Artist impression of the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov as it travels through our solar system. This mysterious visitor from the depths of space is the first conclusively identified comet from another star. The comet consists of a loose agglomeration of ices and dust particles, and is likely no more than 3,200 feet across, about the length of nine football fields. Gas is ejected out of the comet as it approaches the Sun and is heated up. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

    2
    ALMA observed hydrogen cyanide gas (HCN, left) and carbon monoxide gas (CO, right) coming out of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov. The ALMA images show that the comet contains an unusually large amount of CO gas. ALMA is the first telescope to measure the gases originating directly from the nucleus of an object that travelled to us from another planetary system. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Cordiner & S. Milam; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

    A galactic visitor entered our solar system last year – interstellar comet 2I/Borisov. When astronomers pointed the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) toward the comet on 15 and 16 December 2019, for the first time they directly observed the chemicals stored inside an object from a planetary system other than our own. This research is published online on 20 April 2020 in the journal Nature Astronomy.

    The ALMA observations from a team of international scientists led by Martin Cordiner and Stefanie Milam at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, revealed that the gas coming out of the comet contained unusually high amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) [Nature Astronomy]. The concentration of CO is higher than anyone has detected in any comet within 2 au from the Sun (within less than 186 million miles, or 300 million kilometers) [1]. 2I/Borisov’s CO concentration was estimated to be between nine and 26 times higher than that of the average solar system comet.

    Astronomers are interested to learn more about comets, because these objects spend most of their time at large distances from any star in very cold environments. Unlike planets, their interior compositions have not changed significantly since they were born. Therefore, they could reveal much about the processes that occurred during their birth in protoplanetary disks. “This is the first time we’ve ever looked inside a comet from outside our solar system,” said astrochemist Martin Cordiner, “and it is dramatically different from most other comets we’ve seen before.”

    ALMA detected two molecules in the gas ejected by the comet: hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and carbon monoxide (CO). While the team expected to see HCN, which is present in 2I/Borisov at similar amounts to that found in solar system comets, they were surprised to see large amounts of CO. “The comet must have formed from material very rich in CO ice, which is only present at the lowest temperatures found in space, below -420 degrees Fahrenheit (-250 degrees Celsius),” said planetary scientist Stefanie Milam.

    “ALMA has been instrumental in transforming our understanding of the nature of cometary material in our own solar system – and now with this unique object coming from our next door neighbors. It is only because of ALMA’s unprecedented sensitivity at submillimeter wavelengths that we are able to characterize the gas coming out of such unique objects,” said Anthony Remijan of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia and co-author of the paper.

    Carbon monoxide is one of the most common molecules in space and is found inside most comets. Yet, there’s a huge variation in the concentration of CO in comets and no one quite knows why. Some of this might be related to where in the solar system a comet was formed; some has to do with how often a comet’s orbit brings it closer to the Sun and leads it to release its more easily evaporated ices.

    “If the gases we observed reflect the composition of 2I/Borisov’s birthplace, then it shows that it may have formed in a different way than our own solar system comets, in an extremely cold, outer region of a distant planetary system,” added Cordiner. This region can be compared to the cold region of icy bodies beyond Neptune, called the Kuiper Belt.

    The team can only speculate about the kind of star that hosted 2I/Borisov’s planetary system. “Most of the protoplanetary disks observed with ALMA are around younger versions of low-mass stars like the Sun,” said Cordiner. “Many of these disks extend well beyond the region where our own comets are believed to have formed, and contain large amounts of extremely cold gas and dust. It is possible that 2I/Borisov came from one of these larger disks.”

    Due to its high speed when it traveled through our solar system (33 km/s or 21 miles/s) astronomers suspect that 2I/Borisov was kicked out from its host system, probably by interacting with a passing star or giant planet. It then spent millions or billions of years on a cold, lonely voyage through interstellar space before it was discovered on 30 August 2019 by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov.

    2I/Borisov is only the second interstellar object to be detected in our solar system. The first – 1I/’Oumuamua – was discovered in October 2017, at which point it was already on its way out, making it difficult to reveal details about whether it was a comet, asteroid, or something else. The presence of an active gas and dust coma surrounding 2I/Borisov made it the first confirmed interstellar comet.

    Until other interstellar comets are observed, the unusual composition of 2I/Borisov cannot easily be explained and raises more questions than it answers. Is its composition typical of interstellar comets? Will we see more interstellar comets in the coming years with peculiar chemical compositions? What will they reveal about how planets form in other star systems?

    “2I/Borisov gave us the first glimpse into the chemistry that shaped another planetary system,” said Milam. “But only when we can compare the object to other interstellar comets, will we learn whether 2I/Borisov is a special case, or if every interstellar object has unusually high levels of CO.”

    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 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.

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 9:01 am on April 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, Quasar 3C 279, , Telescopes contributing also are the Submillimeter Telescope; and the South Pole Telescope., Telescopes contributing to this result were ALMA; APEX; the IRAM 30-meter telescope; the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope; the Large Millimeter Telescope; the Submillimeter Array., The data analysis to transform raw data to an image required specific computers (or correlators) hosted by the MPIfR in Bonn and the MIT Haystack Observatory.,   

    From ALMA: “Event Horizon Telescope Images of a Black-Hole Powered Jet” 

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

    From ALMA

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    2
    Illustration of multiwavelength 3C 279 jet structure in April 2017. The observing epochs, arrays, and wavelengths are noted at each panel. Credit: J.Y. Kim (MPIfR), Boston University Blazar Program (VLBA and GMVA), and Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    Something is Lurking in the Heart of Quasar 3C 279. One year ago, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration published the first image of a black hole in the nearby radio galaxy Messier 87.

    Mesier 87*, The first image of a black hole. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. Image via JPL/ Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    Now the collaboration has extracted new information from the EHT data of the far quasar 3C 279: they observed in the finest detail ever a relativistic jet that is believed to originate from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole. In their analysis, which was led by astronomer Jae-Young Kim from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, they studied the jet’s fine-scale morphology close to the jet base where highly variable gamma-ray emission is thought to originate. The technique used for observing the jet is called very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). The results are published in the coming issue of “Astronomy & Astrophysics, April 2020.

    The EHT collaboration continues extracting information from the groundbreaking data collected in its global campaign in April 2017. One target of the observations was the quasar 3C 279, a galaxy 5 billion light-years away, in the constellation Virgo that scientists classify as a quasar because a point of light at its center shines ultra-bright and flickers as massive amounts of gases and stars fall into the giant black hole there. The black hole is about one billion times the mass of the Sun, that is, 200 more massive than our Galactic Centre black hole. It is shredding the gas and stars that come near into an inferred accretion disk and we see it is squirting some of the gas back out in two fine fire-hose-like jets of plasma at velocities approaching the speed of light. This tells of enormous forces at play in the center.

    The EHT collaboration continues extracting information from the groundbreaking data collected in its global campaign in April 2017. One target of the observations was the quasar 3C 279, a galaxy 5 billion light-years away, in the constellation Virgo that scientists classify as a quasar because a point of light at its center shines ultra-bright and flickers as massive amounts of gases and stars fall into the giant black hole there. The black hole is about one billion times the mass of the Sun, that is, 200 more massive than our Galactic Centre black hole. It is shredding the gas and stars that come near into an inferred accretion disk and we see it is squirting some of the gas back out in two fine fire-hose-like jets of plasma at velocities approaching the speed of light. This tells of enormous forces at play in the center.

    The interpretation of the observations is challenging. Motions different than the jet direction, and apparently as fast as about 20 times the speed of light are difficult to reconcile with the early understanding of the source, this suggests traveling shocks or instabilities in a bent, possibly rotating jet, which also emits at high energies, such gamma-rays.

    The telescopes contributing to this result were ALMA, APEX, the IRAM 30-meter telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the Large Millimeter Telescope, the Submillimeter Array, the Submillimeter Telescope, and the South Pole Telescope.

    The telescopes work together using a technique called very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). This synchronizes facilities around the world and exploits the rotation of our planet to form one huge, Earth-size telescope. VLBI allows the EHT to achieve a resolution of 20 micro-arcseconds — equivalent to identifying an orange on Earth as seen by an astronaut from the Moon. The data analysis to transform raw data to an image required specific computers (or correlators), hosted by the MPIfR in Bonn and the MIT Haystack Observatory.

    Anton Zensus, Director at the MPIfR and Chair of the EHT Collaboration Board, stresses the achievement as a global effort: “Last year we could present the first image of the shadow of a black hole. Now we see unexpected changes in the shape of the jet in 3C 279, and we are not done yet. We are working on the analysis of data from the centre of our Galaxy in Sgr A*, and on other active galaxies such as Centaurus A, OJ 287, and NGC 1052. As we told last year: this is just the beginning.”

    Opportunities to conduct EHT observing campaigns occur once a year in early Northern springtime, but the March/April 2020 campaign had to be cancelled in response to the CoViD-19 global outbreak. In announcing the cancellation Michael Hecht, astronomer from the MIT/Haystack Observatory and EHT Deputy Project Director, concluded that: “We will now devote our full concentration to completion of scientific publications from the 2017 data and dive into the analysis of data obtained with the enhanced EHT array in 2018. We are looking forward to observations with the EHT array expanded to eleven observatories in the spring of 2021”.

    Additional Information

    The Event Horizon Telescope international collaboration announced the first-ever image of a black hole at the heart of the radio galaxy Messier 87 on April 10, 2019 by creating a virtual Earth-sized telescope. Supported by considerable international investment, the EHT links existing telescopes using novel systems — creating a new instrument with the highest angular resolving power that has yet been achieved.

    The individual telescopes involved in the EHT collaboration are: the Atacama Large Millimetre Telescope (ALMA), the Atacama Pathfinder EXplorer (APEX), the Greenland Telescope (since 2018), the IRAM 30-meter Telescope, the IRAM NOEMA Observatory (expected 2021), the Kitt Peak Telescope (expected 2021), the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), the Submillimeter Array (SMA), the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT), and the South Pole Telescope (SPT).

    The EHT consortium consists of 13 stakeholder institutes; the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the University of Arizona, the University of Chicago, the East Asian Observatory, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique, Large Millimeter Telescope, Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, MIT Haystack Observatory, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Radboud University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

    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 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.

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 10:48 am on March 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Resolves Gas Impacted by Young Jets from Supermassive Black Hole", , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Resolves Gas Impacted by Young Jets from Supermassive Black Hole” 

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

    From ALMA

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    Reconstructed images of what MG J0414+0534 would look like if gravitational lensing effects were turned off. The emissions from dust and ionized gas around a quasar are shown in red. The emissions from carbon monoxide gas are shown in green, which have a bipolar structure along the jets. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), K. T. Inoue et al.

    2
    ALMA image of MG J0414+0534 (emissions from dust and ionized gas shown in red and emissions from carbon monoxide gas shown in green). Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), K. T. Inoue at al.

    3
    Artist’s impression of MG J0414+0534. The central supermassive black hole has just emitted powerful jets, which are disturbing the surrounding gas in the host galaxy. Credit: Kindai University

    Astronomers obtained the first resolved image of disturbed gaseous clouds in a galaxy 11 billion light-years away by using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The team found that the disruption is caused by young powerful jets ejected from a supermassive black hole residing at the center of the host galaxy. This result will cast light on the mystery of the evolutionary process of galaxies in the early Universe.

    It is commonly known that black holes exert strong gravitational attraction on surrounding matter. However, it is less well known that some black holes have fast-moving streams of ionized matter, called jets. In some nearby galaxies, evolved jets blow off galactic gaseous clouds, resulting in suppressed star formation. Therefore, to understand the evolution of galaxies, it is crucial to observe the interaction between black hole jets and gaseous clouds throughout cosmic history. However, it had been difficult to obtain clear evidence of such interaction, especially in the early Universe.

    In order to obtain such clear evidence, the team used ALMA to observe an interesting object known as MG J0414+0534. A distinctive feature of MG J0414+0534 is that the paths of light traveling from it to Earth are significantly distorted by the gravity of another ‘lensing’ galaxy between MG J0414+0534 and us, causing significant magnification.

    “This distortion works as a ‘natural telescope’ to enable a detailed view of distant objects,” says Takeo Minezaki, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo.

    Another feature is that MG J0414+0534 has a supermassive black hole with bipolar jets at the center of the host galaxy. The team was able to reconstruct the ‘true’ image of gaseous clouds as well as the jets in MG J0414+0534 by carefully accounting for the gravitational effects exerted by the intervening lensing galaxy.

    “Combining this cosmic telescope and ALMA’s high-resolution observations, we obtained exceptionally sharp vision, that is 9,000 times better than human eyesight,” adds Kouichiro Nakanishi, a project associate professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/SOKENDAI. “With this extremely high resolution, we were able to obtain the distribution and motion of gaseous clouds around jets ejected from a supermassive black hole.”

    Thanks to such a superior resolution, the team found that gaseous clouds along the jets have violent motion with speeds as high as 600 km/s, showing clear evidence of impacted gas. Moreover, it turned out that the size of the impacted gaseous clouds and the jets are much smaller than the typical size of a galaxy at this age.

    “We are perhaps witnessing the very early phase of jet evolution in the galaxy,” says Satoki Matsushita, a research fellow at Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics. “It could be as early as several tens of thousands of years after the launch of the jets.”

    “MG J0414+0534 is an excellent example because of the youth of the jets,” summarizes Kaiki Inoue, a professor at Kindai University, Japan, and the lead author of the research paper which appeared in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We found telltale evidence of significant interaction between jets and gaseous clouds even in the very early evolutionary phase of jets. I think that our discovery will pave the way for a better understanding of the evolutionary process of galaxies in the early Universe.”
    Additional Information

    These observation results are presented in K. T. Inoue et al. “ALMA 50-parsec resolution imaging of jet-ISM interaction in the lensed quasar MG J0414+0534” appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on March 27, 2020.

    The research team members are Kaiki T. Inoue (Kindai University), Satoki Matsushita (Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics), Kouichiro Nakanishi (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/SOKENDAI), and Takeo Minezaki (The University of Tokyo).

    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 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 11:41 am on March 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Spots Metamorphosing Aged Star", , ALMA images the old star system W43A., , , , , Key features to understand how the complex shapes of planetary nebulae are formed., Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, , The star has ejected high-speed bipolar gas jets which are now colliding with the surrounding material.   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Spots Metamorphosing Aged Star” 

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

    From ALMA

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    ALMA image of the old star system W43A. The high velocity bipolar jets ejected from the central aged star are seen in blue, low velocity outflow is shown in green, and dusty clouds entrained by the jets are shown in orange.
    Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Tafoya et al.

    2
    Artist’s impression of W43A based on the ALMA observation results. Diffuse spherical gas was emitted from the star in the past. W43A has just started ejecting bipolar jets which entrain the surrounding material. Bright spots in radio emissions from water molecules are distributed around the interface of the jets and the diffuse gas.
    Credit: NAOJ.

    An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) captured the very moment when an old star first starts to alter its environment. The star has ejected high-speed bipolar gas jets which are now colliding with the surrounding material; the age of the observed jet is estimated to be less than 60 years. These are key features to understand how the complex shapes of planetary nebulae are formed.
    Sun-like stars evolve to puffed-up Red Giants in the final stage of their lives. Then, the star expels gas to form a remnant called a planetary nebula. There is a wide variety in the shapes of planetary nebulae; some are spherical, but others are bipolar or show complicated structures. Astronomers are interested in the origins of this variety, but the thick dust and gas expelled by an old star obscure the system and make it difficult to investigate the inner-workings of the process.

    To tackle this problem, a team of astronomers led by Daniel Tafoya in Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, pointed ALMA at W43A, an old star system in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle.

    Thanks to ALMA’s high resolution, the team obtained a very detailed view of the space around W43A. “The most notable structures are its small bipolar jets,” says Tafoya, the lead author of the research paper published by the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The team found that the velocity of the jets is as high as 175 km per second, which is much higher than previous estimations. Based on this speed and the size of the jets, the team calculated the age of the jets to be less than a human life-span.

    “Considering the youth of the jets compared to the overall lifetime of a star, it is safe to say we are witnessing the ‘exact moment’ that the jets have just started to shove through the surrounding gas,” explains Tafoya. “When the jets carve through the surrounding material in some 60 years, a single person can watch the progress in their life.”

    In fact, the ALMA image clearly maps the distribution of dusty clouds entrained by the jets, which is telltale evidence that it is impacting on the surroundings.

    The team assumes that this entrainment is the key to form a bipolar-shaped planetary nebula. In their scenario, the aged star originally ejects gas spherically and the core of the star loses its envelope. If the star has a companion, gas from the companion pours onto the core of the dying star, and a portion of this new gas forms the jets. Therefore, whether or not the old star has a companion is an important factor to determine the structure of the resulting planetary nebula.

    “W43A is one of the peculiar so called ‘water fountain’ objects,” says Hiroshi Imai at Kagoshima University, Japan, a member of the team. “Some old stars show characteristic radio emissions from water molecules. We suppose that spots of these water emissions indicate the interface region between the jets and the surrounding material. We named them ‘water fountains,’ and it could be a sign that the central source is a binarity system launching a new jet.”

    “There are only 15 ‘water fountain’ objects identified to date, despite the fact that more than 100 billion stars are included in our Milky Way Galaxy,” explains José Francisco Gómez at Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain. “This is probably because the lifetime of the jets is quite short, so we are very lucky to see such rare objects.”

    Additional Information

    These observation results were presented in D. Tafoya et al. “Shaping the envelope of the asymptotic giant branch star W43A with a collimated fast jet” published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters on February 13, 2020.

    The research team members are Daniel Tafoya (Calmers University of Technology), Hiroshi Imai (Kagoshima University), José F. Gómez (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC), Jun-ichi Nakashima (Sun Yat-sen University), Gabor Orosz (University of Tasmania/Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory), and Bosco H. K. Yung (Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center)

    This research was supported by MEXT KAKENHI (No. 16H02167), the Invitation Program for Foreign Researchers of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS grant S14128), MINECO (Spain) Grant AYA2017-84390-C2-R (co-funded by FEDER), State Agency for Research of the Spanish MCIU through the “Center of Excellence Severo Ochoa” award for the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucía (SEV-2017-0709), Australian Research Council Discovery project DP180101061 of the Australian government, CAS LCWR 2018-XBQNXZ-B-021, and National Key R&D Program 2018YFA0404602 of China.

    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 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 10:41 am on February 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , CH3CN and CH3C15N Titan’s atmosphere., , Cosmic rays coming from outside the Solar System affect the chemical reactions involved in the formation of nitrogen-bearing organic molecules., , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, , , Titan is attracting much interest because of its unique atmosphere with a number of organic molecules that form a pre-biotic environment., We suppose that galactic cosmic rays play an important role in the atmospheres of other solar system bodies.   

    From ALMA: “Galactic Cosmic Rays Affect Titan’s Atmosphere” 

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

    18 February, 2020

    Valeria Foncea
    Education and Public Outreach Officer
    Joint ALMA Observatory Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6258
    Cell phone: +56 9 7587 1963
    Email: valeria.foncea@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    Optical image of Titan taken by NASA Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

    NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft

    2
    ALMA spectra of CH3CN and CH3C15N Titan’s atmosphere. Dotted vertical lines indicate the frequency of emission lines of two molecules predicted by a theoretical model. Credit: Iino et al. (The University of Tokyo.)

    Planetary scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) revealed the secrets of the atmosphere of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The team found a chemical footprint in Titan’s atmosphere indicating that cosmic rays coming from outside the Solar System affect the chemical reactions involved in the formation of nitrogen-bearing organic molecules.

    Cosmic rays produced by high-energy astrophysics sources (ASPERA collaboration – AStroParticle ERAnet)

    This is the first observational confirmation of such processes, and impacts the understanding of the intriguing environment of Titan.

    Titan is attracting much interest because of its unique atmosphere with a number of organic molecules that form a pre-biotic environment.

    Takahiro Iino, a scientist at the University of Tokyo, and his team used ALMA to reveal the chemical processes in Titan’s atmosphere. They found faint but firm signals of acetonitrile (CH3CN) and its rare isotopomer CH3C15N in the ALMA data.

    “We found that the abundance of 14N in acetonitrile is higher than those in other nitrogen bearing species such as HCN and HC3N,” says Iino. “It well matches the recent computer simulation of chemical processes with high energy cosmic rays.”

    There are two important players in the chemical processes of the atmosphere: ultraviolet (UV) light from the Sun and cosmic rays coming from outside the Solar System. In the upper stratosphere, UV light selectively destroys nitrogen molecules containing 15N because UV light with the specific wavelength that interacts with 14N14N is neutralized at that altitude due to the strong absorption. Thus, nitrogen-bearing species produced at that altitude tend to exhibit a high 15N abundance. On the other hand, cosmic rays penetrate deeper and interact with nitrogen molecules containing only 14N. As a result, there is a difference in the abundance of molecules with 14N and 15N. The team revealed that acetonitrile in the lower stratosphere is more abundant in 14N than those of other previously measured nitrogen-bearing molecules.

    “We suppose that galactic cosmic rays play an important role in the atmospheres of other solar system bodies,” says Hideo Sagawa, an associate professor at Kyoto Sangyo University and a member of the research team. “The process could be universal, so understanding the role of cosmic rays in Titan is crucial in overall planetary science.”

    Titan is one of the most popular objects in ALMA observations. The data obtained with ALMA needs to be calibrated to remove fluctuations due to variations of on-site weather and mechanical glitches. For referencing, the observatory staff often points the telescope at bright sources, such as Titan, from time to time in science observations. Therefore, a large amount of Titan data is stored in the ALMA Science Archive. Iino and his team have dug into the archive and re-analyzed the Titan data and found subtle fingerprints of very tiny amounts of CH3C15N.

    More information

    These observation results are published as T. Iino et al. in The Astrophysical Journal.

    The research team members are: Takahiro Iino (The University of Tokyo), Hideo Sagawa (Kyoto Sangyo University) and Takashi Tsukagoshi (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan).

    This research was supported by the JSPS KAKENHI (No. 17K14420 and 19K14782), the Telecommunication Advancement Foundation, and the Astrobiology Center, National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

    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 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 12:23 pm on February 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How Newborn Stars Prepare for the Birth of Planets", , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, , Planet-forming disks around very young stars in the Orion Molecular Clouds., , This survey- called VLA/ALMA Nascent Disk and Multiplicity (VANDAM)- is the largest survey of young stars and their disks to date.   

    From ALMA: “How Newborn Stars Prepare for the Birth of Planets” 

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

    From ALMA

    20 February, 2020

    Valeria Foncea
    Education and Public Outreach Officer
    Joint ALMA Observatory Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6258
    Cell phone: +56 9 7587 1963
    Email: valeria.foncea@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    1
    VANDAM survey
    ALMA and the VLA observed more than 300 protostars and their young protoplanetary disks in Orion. This image shows a subset of stars, including a few binaries. The ALMA and VLA data compliment each other: ALMA sees the outer disk structure (visualized in blue), and the VLA observes the inner disks and star cores (orange).

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

    An international team of astronomers used two of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world to create more than three hundred images of planet-forming disks around very young stars in the Orion Clouds. These images reveal new details about the birthplaces of planets and the earliest stages of star formation.

    Most of the stars in the universe are accompanied by planets. These planets are born in rings of dust and gas, called protoplanetary disks. Even very young stars are surrounded by these disks. Astronomers want to know exactly when these disks start to form, and what they look like. But young stars are very faint, and there are dense clouds of dust and gas surrounding them in stellar nurseries. Only highly sensitive radio telescope arrays can spot the tiny disks around these infant stars amidst the densely packed material in these clouds.

    For this new research, astronomers pointed both the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to a region in space where many stars are born: the Orion Molecular Clouds. This survey, called VLA/ALMA Nascent Disk and Multiplicity (VANDAM), is the largest survey of young stars and their disks to date.

    Very young stars, also called protostars, form in clouds of gas and dust in space. The first step in the formation of a star is when these dense clouds collapse due to gravity. As the cloud collapses, it begins to spin – forming a flattened disk around the protostar. Material from the disk continues to feed the star and make it grow. Eventually, the left-over material in the disk is expected to form planets.

    Many aspects about these first stages of star formation, and how the disk forms, are still unclear. But this new survey provides some missing clues as the VLA and ALMA peered through the dense clouds and observed hundreds of protostars and their disks in various stages of their formation.

    Young planet-forming disks

    “This survey revealed the average mass and size of these very young protoplanetary disks,” said John Tobin of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia, and leader of the survey team. “We can now compare them to older disks that have been studied intensively with ALMA as well.”

    What Tobin and his team found, is that very young disks can be similar in size, but are on average much more massive than older disks. “When a star grows, it eats away more and more material from the disk. This means that younger disks have a lot more raw material from which planets could form. Possibly bigger planets already start to form around very young stars.”

    Four special protostars

    Among hundreds of survey images, four protostars looked different than the rest and caught the scientists’ attention. “These newborn stars looked very irregular and blobby,” said team member Nicole Karnath of the University of Toledo, Ohio (now at SOFIA Science Center). “We think that they are in one of the earliest stages of star formation and some may not even have formed into protostars yet.”

    It is special that the scientists found four of these objects. “We rarely find more than one such irregular object in one observation,” added Karnath, who used these four infant stars to propose a schematic pathway for the earliest stages of star formation. “We are not entirely sure how old they are, but they are probably younger than ten thousand years.”

    To be defined as a typical (class 0) protostar, stars should not only have a flattened rotating disk surrounding them, but also an outflow – spewing away material in opposite directions – that clears the dense cloud surrounding the stars and makes them optically visible. This outflow is important, because it prevents stars from spinning out of control while they grow. But when exactly these outflows start to happen, is an open question in astronomy.

    One of the infant stars in this study, called HOPS 404, has an outflow of only two kilometers (1.2 miles) per second (a typical protostar-outflow of 10-100 km/s or 6-62 miles/s). “It is a big puffy sun that is still gathering a lot of mass, but just started its outflow to lose angular momentum to be able to keep growing,” explained Karnath. “This is one of the smallest outflows that we have seen and it supports our theory of what the first step in forming a protostar looks like.”

    Combining ALMA and VLA

    The exquisite resolution and sensitivity provided by both ALMA and the VLA were crucial to understand both the outer and inner regions of protostars and their disks in this survey. While ALMA can examine the dense dusty material around protostars in great detail, the images from the VLA made at longer wavelengths were essential to understand the inner structures of the youngest protostars at scales smaller than our solar system.

    “The combined use of ALMA and the VLA has given us the best of both worlds,” said Tobin. “Thanks to these telescopes, we start to understand how planet formation begins.”

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

    More Information

    This research was presented in two papers:

    The VLA/ALMA Nascent Disk and Multiplicity (VANDAM) Survey of Orion Protostars. A Statistical Characterization of Class 0 and I Protostellar Disks,” by J. Tobin et al., The Astrophysical Journal.

    “Detection of Irregular, Sub-mm Opaque Structures in the Orion Molecular Clouds: Protostars within 10000 years of formation?,” by N. Karnath et al., The Astrophysical Journal.

    2
    Observed protostars in Orion Molecular Clouds
    This image shows the Orion Molecular Clouds, the target of the VANDAM survey. Yellow dots are the locations of the observed protostars on a blue background image made by Herschel. Side panels show nine young protostars imaged by ALMA (blue) and the VLA (orange). Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Tobin; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; Herschel/ESA

    4
    Schematic showing the formation of protostars
    This schematic shows a proposed pathway (top row) for the formation of protostars, based on four very young protostars (bottom row) observed by VLA (orange) and ALMA (blue). Step 1 represents the collapsing fragment of gas and dust. In step 2, an opaque region starts to form in the cloud. In step 3, a hydrostatic core starts to form due to an increase in pressure and temperature, surrounded by a disk-like structure and the beginning of an outflow. Step 4 depicts the formation of a class 0 protostar inside the opaque region, that may have a rotationally supported disk and more well-defined outflows. Step 5 is a typical class 0 protostar with outflows that have broken through the envelope (making it optically visible), an actively accreting, rotationally supported disk. In the bottom row, white contours are the protostar outflows as seen with ALMA.
    Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), N. Karnath; NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton and S. Dagnello

    5
    Star chart of constellation Orion and observed protostars
    The Orion Molecular Clouds (blue, as seen with Herschel) are located in the constellation Orion. Red dots show the locations of the observed protostars in the VANDAM survey.
    Credit: IAU; Sky & Telescope magazine; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; Herschel/ESA; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Tobin

    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 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 5:04 pm on February 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Explores Possible Interacting Twin Disks", , , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy,   

    From AAS NOVA: “ALMA Explores Possible Interacting Twin Disks” 

    AASNOVA

    From AAS NOVA

    17 February 2020
    Susanna Kohler

    1
    Artist’s impression of one of the two stars in the FU Orionis binary system, surrounded by an accreting disk of material. What has caused this star — and others like it — to dramatically brighten? [NASA/JPL-Caltech]

    Some young stars seem to spend a brief portion of their lives undergoing dramatic, flaring outbursts. A new study has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile to get the closest look yet at one of these systems — possibly identifying the cause of the flares.

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

    2
    Artist’s impression of a young star throwing a temper tantrum as it suddenly increases its accretion rate and flares. [Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC)]

    Young Stellar Temper Tantrums

    FU Orionis (FU Ori, for short) objects are young, pre-main-sequence stars that grow suddenly brighter — by several magnitudes! — over the span of perhaps a year. These flaring states can last on the order of decades, and they’re thought to be related to a period of increased accretion onto the star during its early years. A star may gain a significant portion of its final mass during these events.

    Beyond this general picture, there’s much we don’t understand about how or why this increase in accretion occurs. Does every star undergo a FU Ori phase early in its lifetime, accumulating extra mass in spurts and brightening each time it does? Or do only some stars behave this way? What causes the change in accretion rate? What ends this phase?

    The first step to answering some of these questions is to obtain high-resolution images of FU Ori objects so that we can better explore their structure and behavior. In a new study, a team of scientists led by Sebastián Pérez (University of Santiago, Chile; University of Chile) has used ALMA to capture a detailed look at the archetypal FU Ori system for which these objects were named.

    Signs of Interaction

    3
    ALMA continuum observations show the dust of the two disks surrounding the binary stars of FU Orionis. Each disk is about 11 AU in radius. [Pérez et al. 2020]

    FU Orionis is a binary pair of young stars that lies roughly 1,360 light-years away in the constellation of Orion. Pérez and collaborators’ ALMA observations of the system resolved, for the first time, the disks of accreting dust surrounding each of the young stars. Modeling of these disks allowed the authors to infer that they are roughly 11 AU in radius and their separation is perhaps 250 AU.

    Observations of the gas in the disks reveal its kinematics, demonstrating that the rotation of each disk is somewhat asymmetric and skewed. The authors propose that this indicates some sort of close encounter for the disks — perhaps the flyby of another star within this crowded star-forming region, or possibly even the direct interaction of the two disks of the binary with each other.

    An elongated arc of gas may connect the two components, further strengthening the argument that the two disks are interacting. And close passes between the disks of a binary or perturbations from a flyby could easily increase the accretion rate onto the stars, fueling the FU Ori outburst that we now observe.

    Several other FU Ori systems are in known binaries, providing additional targets that we can follow up with to test whether disk interactions can truly explain these objects’ sudden, dramatic flares. Meanwhile, ALMA continues to play an important role in helping us to explore how stars form and evolve.

    Citation

    “Resolving the FU Orionis System with ALMA: Interacting Twin Disks?,” Sebastián Pérez et al 2020 ApJ 889 59.
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/ab5c1b

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    1

    AAS Mission and Vision Statement

    The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.

    The Society, through its publications, disseminates and archives the results of astronomical research. The Society also communicates and explains our understanding of the universe to the public.
    The Society facilitates and strengthens the interactions among members through professional meetings and other means. The Society supports member divisions representing specialized research and astronomical interests.
    The Society represents the goals of its community of members to the nation and the world. The Society also works with other scientific and educational societies to promote the advancement of science.
    The Society, through its members, trains, mentors and supports the next generation of astronomers. The Society supports and promotes increased participation of historically underrepresented groups in astronomy.
    The Society assists its members to develop their skills in the fields of education and public outreach at all levels. The Society promotes broad interest in astronomy, which enhances science literacy and leads many to careers in science and engineering.

    Adopted June 7, 2009

     
  • richardmitnick 2:25 pm on February 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Understanding the Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy", , , , , , Millimeter/submillimeter astronomy,   

    From International Astronomical Union: “Understanding the Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy” 

    IAU bloc

    From International Astronomical Union

    2.12.20

    Piero Benvenuti
    Advisor, IAU Executive Committee
    piero.benvenuti@unipd.it

    Connie Walker
    President Commission B7
    cwalker@noao.edu

    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    IAU Press Officer
    Tucson, USA
    Tel: +1 520 318 8590
    Cell: +1 520 461 0433
    lchristensen@aura-astronomy.org

    2
    Starlink satellites on the way to parking orbit

    In June 2019, the International Astronomical Union expressed concern about the negative impact that the planned mega-constellations of communication satellites may have on astronomical observations and on the pristine appearance of the night sky when observed from a dark region. We here present a summary of the current understanding of the impact of these satellite constellations.

    Following the statement of June 2019, IAU’s Commission B7 Protection of Existing and Potential Observatory Sites and the Executive Committee Working Group Dark and Quiet Sky Protection were asked by the IAU Executive Committee to assess the situation and to start discussions with the companies that are responsible for launching and operating the mega-constellations in order to study measures to mitigate their interference.

    Commission B7 has requested the input of astronomers from different organisations (Vera C. Rubin Observatory, U. Michigan, CAHA, ESO and ESA) skilled in modeling the frequency, location and brightness of satellite mega-constellations. Some of those results are presented below. The results of the simulations, given the large number of parameters involved and the associated assumptions and uncertainties, are to be considered preliminary.

    Commission B7 has requested the input of astronomers from different organisations (Vera C. Rubin Observatory, U. Michigan, CAHA, ESO and ESA) skilled in modeling the frequency, location and brightness of satellite mega-constellations. Some of those results are presented below. The results of the simulations, given the large number of parameters involved and the associated assumptions and uncertainties, are to be considered preliminary.

    While there is large uncertainty about the future number of satellites, some simulations were conducted on the basis of a large sample of over 25 000 satellites from representative satellite constellations from different companies. With this sample, the number of satellites above the horizon at any given time would be between ~1500 and a few thousand, depending on the latitude. Most of these will appear very close to the horizon, only a few of them passing directly overhead; for instance, about 250 to 300 would have an elevation of more than 30 degrees over the horizon (i.e. where the sky is clear from obstructions, and where most of the astronomical observations are performed). The vast majority of these will be too faint to be visible to the naked eye [1] [2] [4]

    When the Sun is 18 degrees below the horizon (i.e. when the night becomes dark), the number of illuminated satellites above the horizon would be around 1000 (with around 160 at elevations higher than 30 degrees). The numbers decrease further towards the middle of the night, when more satellites are in the Earth’s shadow (e.g., no reflected sunlight) [1] [2] [4] .

    At the moment it is difficult to predict how many of the illuminated satellites will be visible to the naked eye, because of uncertainties in their actual reflectivity (also since experiments are being carried out by SpaceX to reduce the reflectivity of a Starlink satellite by adopting different coatings). The appearance of the pristine night sky, particularly when observed from dark sites, will nevertheless be altered, because the new satellites could be significantly brighter than existing orbiting man-made objects. The interference with the uncontaminated view of the night sky will be particularly important in the regions of the sky close to the horizon and less evident at high elevation [1] [2].

    The prominent trains of satellites (“strings of pearls”), often seen in images and videos, are significant immediately after launch and during the orbit-raising phase when they are considerably brighter than they are at their operational altitude and orientation. The global effect depends on how long the satellites are in this phase and on the frequency of launches [2].

    Apart from their naked-eye visibility, it is estimated that the trails of the constellation satellites will be bright enough to saturate modern detectors on large telescopes. Wide-field scientific astronomical observations will therefore be severely affected. For instance, in the case of modern fast wide-field surveys, like the ones to be carried out by the Rubin Observatory (formerly known as LSST), it is estimated that up to 30% of the 30-second images during twilight hours will be affected. Instruments with a smaller field of view would be less affected. In theory, the effects of the new satellites could be mitigated by accurately predicting their orbits and interrupting observations, when necessary, during their passage. Data processing could then be used to further “clean” the resulting images. However, the large number of trails could create significant and complicated overheads to the scheduling and operation of astronomical observations [1] [3] [4].

    A summary of the findings and of the actions that have so far been undertaken is presented in a specific IAU Theme.

    The focus of this Statement has been on the optical wavelengths. This is not to underplay the effect on the radio and submillimetre wavelength ranges, which is still under investigation. The IAU considers the consequences of satellite constellations worrisome. They will have a negative impact on the progress of ground-based astronomy, radio, optical and infrared, and will require diverting human and financial resources from basic research to studying and implementing mitigating measures.

    A great deal of attention is also being given to the protection of the uncontaminated view of the night sky from dark places, which should be considered a non-renounceable world human heritage. This is one of the main messages communicated on the dedicated IAU–UNESCO web site on astronomical heritage.

    In order to mitigate the impacts of satellite constellations that may interfere with professional and amateur astronomical observations, the IAU, in close collaboration with the American Astronomical Society (AAS), will continue to initiate discussions with space agencies and private companies that are planning to launch and operate currently planned and future satellite constellations.

    The IAU notes that currently there are no internationally agreed rules or guidelines on the brightness of orbiting manmade objects. While until now this was not considered a priority topic, it is now becoming increasingly relevant. Therefore the IAU will regularly present its findings at the meetings of the UN Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), bringing the attention of the world Government representatives to the threats posed by any new space initiative on astronomy and science in general. In addition, the specific theme of the mega-satellites will be included in the Programme of the IAU/UNOOSA/IAC Conference Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society, which will be held in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, on 5–8 October 2020.

    The IAU stresses that technological progress is only made possible by parallel advances in scientific knowledge. Satellites would neither operate nor properly communicate without essential contributions from astronomy and physics. It is in everybody’s interest to preserve and support the progress of fundamental science such as astronomy, celestial mechanics, orbital dynamics and relativity.

    Notes

    [1] Hainaut, Olivier (ESO), 2020, On the impact of satellite mega-constellations on astronomical observations, submitted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    [2] Seitzer, Pat (University of Michigan), 2020, Presentation to the US National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee

    [3] Tyson, Tony (Vera C. Rubin Observatory), 2020, private communication.

    [4] Galadí-Enríquez, David (Calar Alto Observatory), 2020, Geometric simulation of the visibility of Starlink satellite constellation from ground-based optical observatories: LSST as a case study, progress report, private communication.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The International Astronomical Union (IAU) was founded in 1919. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Its individual members — structured into Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups — are professional astronomers from all over the world, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, who are active in professional research and education in astronomy. The IAU has 12422 members. The Individual Members Directory contains 10364 names in 97 countries worldwide (These Individual Members are labeled as “active” in the IAU database: they have a valid, public email, and are affiliated to at least one Division.). Of those 74 are National Members. In addition, the IAU collaborates with various scientific organizations all over the world.

    The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 13 500 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world’s largest professional body for astronomers.

    The long-term policy of the IAU is defined by the General Assembly and implemented by the Executive Committee, while day-to-day operations are directed by the IAU Officers. The focal point of its activities is the IAU Secretariat, hosted by the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France. The scientific and educational activities of the IAU are organized by its 9 Scientific Divisions and, through them, its 35 specialized Commissions covering the full spectrum of astronomy, along with its 32 Working Groups.

    The key activity of the IAU is the organization of scientific meetings. Every year the IAU sponsors nine international IAU Symposia. The IAU Symposium Proceedings series is the flagship of the IAU publications. Every three years the IAU holds a General Assembly, which offers six IAU Symposia, some 25 Joint Discussions and Special Sessions, and individual business and scientific meetings of Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups. The proceedings of Joint Discussions and Special Sessions are published in the Highlights of Astronomy series. The reports of the GA business meetings are published in the Transactions of the IAU – B series.

     
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