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  • richardmitnick 11:09 am on June 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Monash physicists discover new clue to planet formation, Monash University, The first observational evidence for the existence of circumplanetary discs   

    From Monash University: ‘Monash physicists discover new clue to planet formation” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    From Monash University

    04 June 2019

    An international study led by the Monash School of Physics and Astronomy has discovered the first observational evidence for the existence of circumplanetary discs.

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    Infrared image of the newborn planet PDS 70 b and its circumplanetary disc, within its birth environment. Size of the Solar System given for comparison. Credit: V. Christiaens et al./ ESO.

    The study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters focused on young planets still in the process of formation (typically only a few million years old).

    “Our research helps us to understand how our 4.6 billion year-old Solar System came about, and how we got here,” said lead study author Dr Valentin Christiaens, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Astrophysics at Monash University.

    The research team used the Very Large Telescope facility in Chile to obtain infrared images in different colours (wavelengths) of a newborn giant planet.

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

    “We found the first evidence for a disc of gas and dust around it – known as a circumplanetary disc,” said Dr Christiaens.

    “We think the large moons of Jupiter and other gas giants were born in such a disc, so our work helps to explain how planets in our Solar System formed,” he said.

    Seeing the moons of Jupiter through a telescope had Galileo arrested in his day, because he saw that not everything orbited the Earth, and we were therefore not the centre of the Universe.

    Dr Christiaens said the method used to obtain the study results was innovative.

    A newborn planet was much more difficult to observe than the star it orbited. The bright glare from the star had to be cancelled from the images.

    “The algorithm we developed could be used to extract faint signals from other complex datasets,” Dr Christiaens said.

    The observed properties of these moons – and of other large moons of the gas giants have suggested that they formed within a circumplanetary disc.

    This prediction has been supported by theoretical calculations and numerical simulations of increasing complexity over the past few decades.

    “Despite an intensive search circumplanetary discs have until now eluded detection,” Dr Christiaens said.

    “This first piece of evidence suggests theoretical models of giant planet formation are not far off.”

    “Our work adds another piece to the puzzle of giant planet formation, whose first piece was placed by Galileo four centuries ago with the discovery of the four major moons of Jupiter.”

    Study co-author Associate Professor Daniel Price also from the Monash School of Physics and Astronomy, and an ARC Fellow, said it is mind-blowing to think we can see planets in the process of formation, using the biggest telescope in the world.

    “This result comes as the culmination of a long search for circumplanetary discs, through various means and at different wavelengths,” said fellow Monash study author ARC Future Fellow Dr Christophe Pinte.

    See the full article here .

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    Monash U campus

    Monash University is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies. Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students, It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia. Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy, a graduate research school in Mumbai, India and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China. Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University. On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:59 pm on December 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Electronic switching in an exotic ultrathin material that can carry a charge with nearly zero loss at room temperature, , Monash University, Topological Matters: Toward a New Kind of Transistor   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Topological Matters: Toward a New Kind of Transistor” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    December 10, 2018
    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    geroberts@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-5582

    X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab provide first demonstration of room temperature switching in ultrathin material that could serve as a ‘topological transistor’.

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    James Collins, a researcher at Monash University in Australia, works on an experiment at Beamline 10.0.1, part of Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    LBNL/ALS

    Billions of tiny transistors supply the processing power in modern smartphones, controlling the flow of electrons with rapid on-and-off switching.

    But continual progress in packing more transistors into smaller devices is pushing toward the physical limits of conventional materials. Common inefficiencies in transistor materials cause energy loss that results in heat buildup and shorter battery life, so researchers are in hot pursuit of alternative materials that allow devices to operate more efficiently at lower power.

    Now, an experiment conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has demonstrated, for the first time, electronic switching in an exotic, ultrathin material that can carry a charge with nearly zero loss at room temperature. Researchers demonstrated this switching when subjecting the material to a low-current electric field.

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    From left to right: Shujie Tang, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS); Sung-Kwan Mo, an ALS staff scientist; and James Collins and Mark Edmonds, researchers at Monash University, gather during an experiment at ALS Beamline 10.0.1 in November. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    The team, which was led by researchers at Monash University in Australia and included Berkeley Lab scientists, grew the material from scratch and studied it with X-rays at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) [see above], a facility at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

    The material, known as sodium bismuthide (Na3Bi), is one of two materials that is known to be a “topological Dirac semimetal,” meaning it has unique electronic properties that can be tuned to behave in different ways – in some cases more like a conventional material and in other cases more like a topological material. Its topological properties were first confirmed in earlier experiments at the ALS.

    Topological materials are considered promising candidates for next-generation transistors, and for other electronics and computing applications, because of their potential to reduce energy loss and power consumption in devices. These properties can exist at room temperature – an important distinction from superconductors that require extreme chilling – and can persist even when the materials have structural defects and are subject to stress.

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    Researchers at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source used an X-ray technique known as ARPES to produce these images showing the electronic ranges of energy in an ultrathin material. (Credit: Berkeley Lab, Monash University)

    Materials with topological properties are the focus of intense research by the global scientific community (see a related article), and in 2016 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for theories related to topological properties in materials.

    The ease in switching the material studied at the ALS from an electrically conducting state to an insulating, or non-conducting state, bode well for its future transistor applications, said Sung-Kwan Mo, a staff scientist at the ALS who participated in the latest study. The study is detailed in the Dec. 10 edition of the journal Nature.

    See the full article here .

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    Bringing Science Solutions to the World

    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 12:26 pm on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Monash University, Scientists find elusive star with origins close to Big Bang   

    From Monash University: “Scientists find elusive star with origins close to Big Bang” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    From Monash University

    05 November 2018

    Silvia Dropulich
    T: +61 3 9902 4513
    M: +61 (0) 0435138743
    E: silvia.dropulich@monash.edu

    Astronomers have found what could be one of the universe’s oldest stars, a body almost entirely made of materials spewed from the Big Bang.

    The discovery of this approximately 13.5 billion-year-old tiny star means more stars with very low mass and very low metal content are likely out there — perhaps even the universe’s very first stars. The star is unusual because unlike other stars with very low metal content, it is part of the Milky Way’s “thin disk” — the part of the galaxy in which the Sun resides. And because this star is so old, researchers say it’s possible that our galactic neighbourhood is at least 3 billion years older than previously thought. The findings were published today in The Astrophysical Journal.

    Co-study author Dr Andrew Casey, a lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University said the research team had discovered an ancient star unlike any other, which suggests that some of the first stars to form in the university may still exist today. “The findings are significant because for the first time we have been able to show direct evidence that very ancient, low mass stars do exist, and could survive until the present day without destroying themselves,” Dr Casey said.

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    Scientists find elusive star, 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B

    Lead author Assistant Professor Kevin Schlaufman, from the Johns Hopkins University Physics and Astronomy Department, said this star may be one in ten million. “It tells us something very important about the first generations of stars,” Assistant Professor Schlaufman said.

    The universe’s first stars after the Big Bang would have consisted entirely of elements like hydrogen, helium, and small amounts of lithium. Those stars produced elements heavier than helium in their cores and seeded the universe with them when they exploded as supernovae. The next generation of stars formed from clouds of material laced with those metals, incorporating them into their makeup. The metal content, or metallicity, of stars in the universe increased as the cycle of star birth and death continued.

    This star’s extremely low metallicity indicates that in a cosmic family tree, it could be as little as one generation removed from the Big Bang. Indeed, it is the new record holder for the star with the smallest complement of heavy elements – about the same heavy element content as the planet Mercury. In contrast, our Sun is around 100,000 generations down that line and has a heavy element content equal to 14 Jupiters. Astronomers have found around 25 ancient, ‘ultra metal-poor’ stars with the approximate mass of the Sun. The star Schlaufman and his team found is only 14 percent the mass of the Sun. They found the tiny, almost invisibly faint “secondary” star after another group of astronomers discovered the much brighter “primary” star and measured its composition by studying a high-resolution optical spectrum of its light. Those astronomers also identified unusual behaviour in the star system that implied the presence of a neutron star or black hole. Schlaufman and his team found that to be incorrect, but in doing so they discovered the visible star’s much smaller companion. The existence of the smaller companion star turned out to be the big discovery. As recently as the late 1990s, researchers believed that only massive stars could have formed in the earliest stages of the universe — and they could never be observed because they burn through their fuel and die so quickly.

    But as astronomical simulations became more sophisticated, they began to hint that in certain situations, a star from this time period with particularly low mass could still exist, even more than 13 billion years since the Big Bang. Unlike huge stars, low-mass ones can live for exceedingly long times. Red dwarf stars, for instance, with a fraction of the mass of the Sun, are thought to live to trillions of years.

    The discovery of this new ultra metal-poor star, named 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B, opens up the possibility of observing even older stars.

    See the full article here .
    See also the Gemini Observatory article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Monash U campus

    Monash University is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies. Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students, It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia. Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy, a graduate research school in Mumbai, India and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China. Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University. On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:04 pm on April 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Monash University, ,   

    From Monash U and OzGrav via Science Alert: “We Could Detect Black Hole Collisions All The Time With This Amazing New Method” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    Monash University

    1

    OzGrav

    Science Alert

    2
    (LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)

    13 APR 2018
    MICHELLE STARR

    Black holes could be making cataclysmic collisions across the Universe every few minutes. Unfortunately, the aftermath is too faint to alert our current detection technology.

    But a clever new technique could allow us to “hear” these collisions by finding their signals in the background static that LIGO-Virgo’s detectors are picking up all the time.

    Even though we humans can’t hear any sounds coming from space, the gravitational wave signal of two black holes or neutron stars colliding can be translated into a sound wave.

    This has been done for the six confirmed gravitational wave signals picked up since that first groundbreaking detection in 2015.

    But these events are much more frequent than we have detected to date, according to Eric Thrane and Rory Smith of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) and Monash University.

    Both of these researchers participated in that first discovery, as well as last year’s jaw-dropping neutron star collision.

    UC Santa Cruz

    UC Santa Cruz

    14

    A UC Santa Cruz special report

    Tim Stephens

    Astronomer Ryan Foley says “observing the explosion of two colliding neutron stars” [see https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/from-ucsc-first-observations-of-merging-neutron-stars-mark-a-new-era-in-astronomy ]–the first visible event ever linked to gravitational waves–is probably the biggest discovery he’ll make in his lifetime. That’s saying a lot for a young assistant professor who presumably has a long career still ahead of him.

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    The first optical image of a gravitational wave source was taken by a team led by Ryan Foley of UC Santa Cruz using the Swope Telescope at the Carnegie Institution’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. This image of Swope Supernova Survey 2017a (SSS17a, indicated by arrow) shows the light emitted from the cataclysmic merger of two neutron stars. (Image credit: 1M2H Team/UC Santa Cruz & Carnegie Observatories/Ryan Foley)

    Carnegie Institution Swope telescope at Las Campanas, Chile, 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena. near the north end of a 7 km (4.3 mi) long mountain ridge. Cerro Las Campanas, near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high, at Las Campanas, Chile

    A neutron star forms when a massive star runs out of fuel and explodes as a supernova, throwing off its outer layers and leaving behind a collapsed core composed almost entirely of neutrons. Neutrons are the uncharged particles in the nucleus of an atom, where they are bound together with positively charged protons. In a neutron star, they are packed together just as densely as in the nucleus of an atom, resulting in an object with one to three times the mass of our sun but only about 12 miles wide.

    “Basically, a neutron star is a gigantic atom with the mass of the sun and the size of a city like San Francisco or Manhattan,” said Foley, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

    These objects are so dense, a cup of neutron star material would weigh as much as Mount Everest, and a teaspoon would weigh a billion tons. It’s as dense as matter can get without collapsing into a black hole.

    THE MERGER

    Like other stars, neutron stars sometimes occur in pairs, orbiting each other and gradually spiraling inward. Eventually, they come together in a catastrophic merger that distorts space and time (creating gravitational waves) and emits a brilliant flare of electromagnetic radiation, including visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light, x-rays, gamma rays, and radio waves. Merging black holes also create gravitational waves, but there’s nothing to be seen because no light can escape from a black hole.

    Foley’s team was the first to observe the light from a neutron star merger that took place on August 17, 2017, and was detected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).


    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

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    Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

    Now, for the first time, scientists can study both the gravitational waves (ripples in the fabric of space-time), and the radiation emitted from the violent merger of the densest objects in the universe.

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    The UC Santa Cruz team found SSS17a by comparing a new image of the galaxy N4993 (right) with images taken four months earlier by the Hubble Space Telescope (left). The arrows indicate where SSS17a was absent from the Hubble image and visible in the new image from the Swope Telescope. (Image credits: Left, Hubble/STScI; Right, 1M2H Team/UC Santa Cruz & Carnegie Observatories/Ryan Foley)

    It’s that combination of data, and all that can be learned from it, that has astronomers and physicists so excited. The observations of this one event are keeping hundreds of scientists busy exploring its implications for everything from fundamental physics and cosmology to the origins of gold and other heavy elements.


    A small team of UC Santa Cruz astronomers were the first team to observe light from two neutron stars merging in August. The implications are huge.

    ALL THE GOLD IN THE UNIVERSE

    It turns out that the origins of the heaviest elements, such as gold, platinum, uranium—pretty much everything heavier than iron—has been an enduring conundrum. All the lighter elements have well-explained origins in the nuclear fusion reactions that make stars shine or in the explosions of stars (supernovae). Initially, astrophysicists thought supernovae could account for the heavy elements, too, but there have always been problems with that theory, says Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, professor and chair of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

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    The violent merger of two neutron stars is thought to involve three main energy-transfer processes, shown in this diagram, that give rise to the different types of radiation seen by astronomers, including a gamma-ray burst and a kilonova explosion seen in visible light. (Image credit: Murguia-Berthier et al., Science)

    A theoretical astrophysicist, Ramirez-Ruiz has been a leading proponent of the idea that neutron star mergers are the source of the heavy elements. Building a heavy atomic nucleus means adding a lot of neutrons to it. This process is called rapid neutron capture, or the r-process, and it requires some of the most extreme conditions in the universe: extreme temperatures, extreme densities, and a massive flow of neutrons. A neutron star merger fits the bill.

    Ramirez-Ruiz and other theoretical astrophysicists use supercomputers to simulate the physics of extreme events like supernovae and neutron star mergers. This work always goes hand in hand with observational astronomy. Theoretical predictions tell observers what signatures to look for to identify these events, and observations tell theorists if they got the physics right or if they need to tweak their models. The observations by Foley and others of the neutron star merger now known as SSS17a are giving theorists, for the first time, a full set of observational data to compare with their theoretical models.

    According to Ramirez-Ruiz, the observations support the theory that neutron star mergers can account for all the gold in the universe, as well as about half of all the other elements heavier than iron.

    RIPPLES IN THE FABRIC OF SPACE-TIME

    Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity, but until recently they were impossible to observe. LIGO’s extraordinarily sensitive detectors achieved the first direct detection of gravitational waves, from the collision of two black holes, in 2015. Gravitational waves are created by any massive accelerating object, but the strongest waves (and the only ones we have any chance of detecting) are produced by the most extreme phenomena.

    Two massive compact objects—such as black holes, neutron stars, or white dwarfs—orbiting around each other faster and faster as they draw closer together are just the kind of system that should radiate strong gravitational waves. Like ripples spreading in a pond, the waves get smaller as they spread outward from the source. By the time they reached Earth, the ripples detected by LIGO caused distortions of space-time thousands of times smaller than the nucleus of an atom.

    The rarefied signals recorded by LIGO’s detectors not only prove the existence of gravitational waves, they also provide crucial information about the events that produced them. Combined with the telescope observations of the neutron star merger, it’s an incredibly rich set of data.

    LIGO can tell scientists the masses of the merging objects and the mass of the new object created in the merger, which reveals whether the merger produced another neutron star or a more massive object that collapsed into a black hole. To calculate how much mass was ejected in the explosion, and how much mass was converted to energy, scientists also need the optical observations from telescopes. That’s especially important for quantifying the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements during the merger.

    LIGO can also provide a measure of the distance to the merging neutron stars, which can now be compared with the distance measurement based on the light from the merger. That’s important to cosmologists studying the expansion of the universe, because the two measurements are based on different fundamental forces (gravity and electromagnetism), giving completely independent results.

    “This is a huge step forward in astronomy,” Foley said. “Having done it once, we now know we can do it again, and it opens up a whole new world of what we call ‘multi-messenger’ astronomy, viewing the universe through different fundamental forces.”

    IN THIS REPORT

    Neutron stars
    A team from UC Santa Cruz was the first to observe the light from a neutron star merger that took place on August 17, 2017 and was detected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

    5
    Graduate students and post-doctoral scholars at UC Santa Cruz played key roles in the dramatic discovery and analysis of colliding neutron stars.Astronomer Ryan Foley leads a team of young graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have pulled off an extraordinary coup. Following up on the detection of gravitational waves from the violent merger of two neutron stars, Foley’s team was the first to find the source with a telescope and take images of the light from this cataclysmic event. In so doing, they beat much larger and more senior teams with much more powerful telescopes at their disposal.

    “We’re sort of the scrappy young upstarts who worked hard and got the job done,” said Foley, an untenured assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz.

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    David Coulter, graduate student

    The discovery on August 17, 2017, has been a scientific bonanza, yielding over 100 scientific papers from numerous teams investigating the new observations. Foley’s team is publishing seven papers, each of which has a graduate student or postdoc as the first author.

    “I think it speaks to Ryan’s generosity and how seriously he takes his role as a mentor that he is not putting himself front and center, but has gone out of his way to highlight the roles played by his students and postdocs,” said Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, professor and chair of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and the most senior member of Foley’s team.

    “Our team is by far the youngest and most diverse of all of the teams involved in the follow-up observations of this neutron star merger,” Ramirez-Ruiz added.

    8
    Charles Kilpatrick, postdoctoral scholar

    Charles Kilpatrick, a 29-year-old postdoctoral scholar, was the first person in the world to see an image of the light from colliding neutron stars. He was sitting in an office at UC Santa Cruz, working with first-year graduate student Cesar Rojas-Bravo to process image data as it came in from the Swope Telescope in Chile. To see if the Swope images showed anything new, he had also downloaded “template” images taken in the past of the same galaxies the team was searching.

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    Ariadna Murguia-Berthier, graduate student

    “In one image I saw something there that was not in the template image,” Kilpatrick said. “It took me a while to realize the ramifications of what I was seeing. This opens up so much new science, it really marks the beginning of something that will continue to be studied for years down the road.”

    At the time, Foley and most of the others in his team were at a meeting in Copenhagen. When they found out about the gravitational wave detection, they quickly got together to plan their search strategy. From Copenhagen, the team sent instructions to the telescope operators in Chile telling them where to point the telescope. Graduate student David Coulter played a key role in prioritizing the galaxies they would search to find the source, and he is the first author of the discovery paper published in Science.

    10
    Matthew Siebert, graduate student

    “It’s still a little unreal when I think about what we’ve accomplished,” Coulter said. “For me, despite the euphoria of recognizing what we were seeing at the moment, we were all incredibly focused on the task at hand. Only afterward did the significance really sink in.”

    Just as Coulter finished writing his paper about the discovery, his wife went into labor, giving birth to a baby girl on September 30. “I was doing revisions to the paper at the hospital,” he said.

    It’s been a wild ride for the whole team, first in the rush to find the source, and then under pressure to quickly analyze the data and write up their findings for publication. “It was really an all-hands-on-deck moment when we all had to pull together and work quickly to exploit this opportunity,” said Kilpatrick, who is first author of a paper comparing the observations with theoretical models.

    11
    César Rojas Bravo, graduate student

    Graduate student Matthew Siebert led a paper analyzing the unusual properties of the light emitted by the merger. Astronomers have observed thousands of supernovae (exploding stars) and other “transients” that appear suddenly in the sky and then fade away, but never before have they observed anything that looks like this neutron star merger. Siebert’s paper concluded that there is only a one in 100,000 chance that the transient they observed is not related to the gravitational waves.

    Ariadna Murguia-Berthier, a graduate student working with Ramirez-Ruiz, is first author of a paper synthesizing data from a range of sources to provide a coherent theoretical framework for understanding the observations.

    Another aspect of the discovery of great interest to astronomers is the nature of the galaxy and the galactic environment in which the merger occurred. Postdoctoral scholar Yen-Chen Pan led a paper analyzing the properties of the host galaxy. Enia Xhakaj, a new graduate student who had just joined the group in August, got the opportunity to help with the analysis and be a coauthor on the paper.

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    Yen-Chen Pan, postdoctoral scholar

    “There are so many interesting things to learn from this,” Foley said. “It’s a great experience for all of us to be part of such an important discovery.”

    13
    Enia Xhakaj, graduate student

    IN THIS REPORT

    Scientific Papers from the 1M2H Collaboration

    Coulter et al., Science, Swope Supernova Survey 2017a (SSS17a), the Optical Counterpart to a Gravitational Wave Source

    Drout et al., Science, Light Curves of the Neutron Star Merger GW170817/SSS17a: Implications for R-Process Nucleosynthesis

    Shappee et al., Science, Early Spectra of the Gravitational Wave Source GW170817: Evolution of a Neutron Star Merger

    Kilpatrick et al., Science, Electromagnetic Evidence that SSS17a is the Result of a Binary Neutron Star Merger

    Siebert et al., ApJL, The Unprecedented Properties of the First Electromagnetic Counterpart to a Gravitational-wave Source

    Pan et al., ApJL, The Old Host-galaxy Environment of SSS17a, the First Electromagnetic Counterpart to a Gravitational-wave Source

    Murguia-Berthier et al., ApJL, A Neutron Star Binary Merger Model for GW170817/GRB170817a/SSS17a

    Kasen et al., Nature, Origin of the heavy elements in binary neutron star mergers from a gravitational wave event

    Abbott et al., Nature, A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant (The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and The Virgo Collaboration, The 1M2H Collaboration, The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collaboration and the DES Collaboration, The DLT40 Collaboration, The Las Cumbres Observatory Collaboration, The VINROUGE Collaboration & The MASTER Collaboration)

    Abbott et al., ApJL, Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger

    PRESS RELEASES AND MEDIA COVERAGE


    Watch Ryan Foley tell the story of how his team found the neutron star merger in the video below. 2.5 HOURS.

    Press releases:

    UC Santa Cruz Press Release

    UC Berkeley Press Release

    Carnegie Institution of Science Press Release

    LIGO Collaboration Press Release

    National Science Foundation Press Release

    Media coverage:

    The Atlantic – The Slack Chat That Changed Astronomy

    Washington Post – Scientists detect gravitational waves from a new kind of nova, sparking a new era in astronomy

    New York Times – LIGO Detects Fierce Collision of Neutron Stars for the First Time

    Science – Merging neutron stars generate gravitational waves and a celestial light show

    CBS News – Gravitational waves – and light – seen in neutron star collision

    CBC News – Astronomers see source of gravitational waves for 1st time

    San Jose Mercury News – A bright light seen across the universe, proving Einstein right

    Popular Science – Gravitational waves just showed us something even cooler than black holes

    Scientific American – Gravitational Wave Astronomers Hit Mother Lode

    Nature – Colliding stars spark rush to solve cosmic mysteries

    National Geographic – In a First, Gravitational Waves Linked to Neutron Star Crash

    Associated Press – Astronomers witness huge cosmic crash, find origins of gold

    Science News – Neutron star collision showers the universe with a wealth of discoveries

    UCSC press release
    First observations of merging neutron stars mark a new era in astronomy

    Credits

    Writing: Tim Stephens
    Video: Nick Gonzales
    Photos: Carolyn Lagattuta
    Header image: Illustration by Robin Dienel courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science
    Design and development: Rob Knight
    Project managers: Sherry Main, Scott Hernandez-Jason, Tim Stephens

    Dark Energy Survey


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


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

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

    Noted in the video but not in the article:

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    NASA/SWIFT Telescope

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

    CTIO PROMPT telescope telescope built by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chilein the Chilean Andes.

    PROMPT The six domes at CTIO in Chile.

    NASA NuSTAR X-ray telescope

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    5
    UCSC alumna Shelley Wright, now an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego, discusses the dichroic filter of the NIROSETI instrument. (Photo by Laurie Hatch)

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    When two black holes or neutron stars collide, the event is so massive and disruptive that it sends gravitational waves rippling out across the fabric of space-time.

    Although predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity in 1915, it wasn’t until 100 years later that we were able to develop instrumentation sensitive enough to detect these ripples.

    The technology is still in its infancy and is being refined over time. This means, potentially, that there is a lot we still can’t detect.

    Every year, the researchers say, there are over 100,000 gravitational wave events that are too faint for the interferometers of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration to detect unambiguously.

    These are caused by smaller black hole collisions, and collisions much farther away. Rather than showing up as individual signal spikes, their signals resolve into a sort of “hum”.

    Researchers have been trying to find this hum for years – and now Thrane, Smith and their team believe they may have developed a method sensitive enough to detect it among the gravitational wave background static picked up by the interferometers.

    “Measuring the gravitational-wave background will allow us to study populations of black holes at vast distances,” Thrane said.

    “Someday, the technique may enable us to see gravitational waves from the Big Bang, hidden behind gravitational waves from black holes and neutron stars.”

    The team has developed an algorithm that can comb through the LIGO-Virgo static data and pick out the signals of the black hole collisions – when converted to audio, it’s an upsweep of sound that ends in a sort of loud “BLOOP.”

    “It’s the same thing your brain does when your car radio goes out of reception and goes to static,” Smith told the Sydney Morning Herald.

    “Little bits and pieces of radio stations still come through – but your brain is able to put them together and work out what song is playing.”

    To test it, they created simulations of black hole collisions, then had their algorithm try to pick them out of background static.

    They found that it wasn’t fooled by artefacts such as background glitches, and was reliably able to pick out unpredictable signals.

    It has yet to be applied to real data, but the researchers are confident it will work, especially run on a powerful new supercomputer at Swinburne University.

    OzSTAR, with a peak performance of 1.2 petaflops, will be used to sort through the vast amounts of data being generated by gravitational wave detectors, looking for black hole and neutron star mergers in real-time.

    “It gives us a taste of the universe at its most extreme,” Matthew Bailes, director of OzGrav, told the ABC.

    “It’s when you’ve sort of set the laws of physics to ‘stun’, and to a physicist that is an exciting place to probe.”

    The team’s research has been accepted into the journal Physical Review X.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Monash U campus

    Monash University (/ˈmɒnæʃ/) is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.[6] Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.[7]

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students,[8] It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres[9] and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.[10]

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia.[11] Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy,[12] a graduate research school in Mumbai, India[13] and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China.[14] Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.[15] Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.[16]

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University.[17] On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:15 pm on October 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Evolutionary theory, Genetics of adaptation, Monash University   

    From Monash U: “New discovery challenges long-held evolutionary theory” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    Monash University

    19 October 2017
    Silvia Dropulich
    T: +61 3 9902 4513
    M: +61 (0) 0435138743
    silvia.dropulich@monash.edu

    1
    Mike McDonald, a recent ARC Future Fellow with Laura Woods (left) and Aysha Sezmis (right).
    Photo Credit: Steve Morton

    Monash scientists involved in one of the world’s longest evolution experiments have debunked an established theory with a study that provides a ‘high-resolution’ view of the molecular details of adaptation.

    Many of the challenges facing the world today are the result of evolutionary processes.

    “Cancer is an evolving group of cells within your body, antibiotic resistance is the result of bacteria adapting to the use of antibiotics, and climate change is forcing whole ecosystems to adapt or die,” said study co-lead author Dr Mike McDonald, from the Monash School of Biological Sciences.

    “A major goal of modern evolutionary biology is to be able to predict or anticipate evolutionary changes,” he said.

    “Our study, published in Nature, provides a high-resolution view of the molecular details of adaptation over substantial evolutionary timescales.

    “The insights we provide into the rate, repeatability, and molecular basis of adaptation will contribute to a better understanding of these evolutionary processes and challenges.”

    Dr McDonald, a recent ARC Future Fellow, specialises in the genetics of adaptation. To explore this area Dr McDonald’s lab propagates populations of yeast and other microbes such as E.coli for thousands of generations in a variety of laboratory environments.

    Dr McDonald has been involved in the ‘E.coli long-term evolution experiment’ – an ongoing experimental evolution study now in its 30th year led by Richard Lenksi. This study has been following the genetic changes in 12 initially identical E.coli populations.

    “The Lenski study is the longest running microbial evolution experiment with more than 67,000 generations of E.coli, which is equivalent to over one million years of human evolution,” Dr McDonald said.

    “In our study we found that even though the E. coli populations in our experiment have been evolving in a very simple environment for a long time, they are still adapting to their environment.

    “In other words the fit get fitter.

    “But the established theory tells us that adaptation should have stopped by now since there should be a ‘fitness peak’” that the E.coli should have reached by now – and our work shows that this is not the case.”

    According to Dr McDonald, one explanation is that as E. coli evolve, they change the environment that they are growing in. This change to the environment then drives further evolution, so that the populations may never stop adapting.

    In his study, researchers undertook genome sequencing which allowed them to track over 33,000 mutations for 61,000 generations of evolution, providing them resolution they needed.

    “This also gave us a comprehensive view of how repeatable adaptation is, and how random effects can affect the outcomes of evolution,” Dr McDonald said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Monash U campus

    Monash University (/ˈmɒnæʃ/) is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.[6] Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.[7]

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students,[8] It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres[9] and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.[10]

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia.[11] Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy,[12] a graduate research school in Mumbai, India[13] and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China.[14] Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.[15] Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.[16]

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University.[17] On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:07 pm on July 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , GOTO telescope, , Monash University,   

    From Monash and Warwick: “New era for astrophysics with launch of telescope for detecting optical signals from gravitational waves” 

    U Warwick bloc

    University of Warwick

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    Monash University

    05 July 2017

    Silvia Dropulich
    T: +61 3 9902 4513 M: +61
    (0) 0435138743E
    silvia.dropulich@monash.edu

    Luke Walton, International Press Officer
    +44 (0) 7824 540 863
    +44 (0) 2476 150 868
    L.Walton.1@warwick.ac.uk

    1

    2

    A new telescope for detecting optical signatures of gravitational waves has officially launched in La Palma.

    2
    Overview of some of the telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, in the municipality of Garafía on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands

    The project, built and operated by international researchers, is partly funded through the Monash Warwick Alliance, an award-winning global partnership between Monash University and the University of Warwick.

    Detecting optical signatures of gravitational waves opens a new era in astrophysics, allowing astronomers to probe into the distant Universe and better understand the nature of gravity. The Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO) was inaugurated at Warwick’s astronomical observing facility in La Palma, Canary Islands, on 3 July 2017.

    GOTO is an autonomous, intelligent telescope, which will search for unusual activity in the sky, following alerts from gravitational wave detectors – such as the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Adv-LIGO), which recently secured the first direct detections of gravitational waves.


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project


    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time, created when massive bodies – particularly black holes and neutron stars – orbit each other and merge at very high speeds. These waves radiate through the Universe at the speed of light, and analysing them heralds a new era in astrophysics, giving astronomers vital clues about the bodies from which they originated – as well as long-awaited insight into the nature of gravity itself.

    First predicted over a century ago by Albert Einstein, they have only been directly detected in the last two years, and astronomers’ next challenge is to associate the signals from these waves with signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum, such as optical light. This is GOTO’s precise aim: to locate optical signatures associated with the gravitational waves as quickly as possible, so that astronomers can study these sources with a variety of telescopes and satellites before they fade away.

    Dr Duncan Galloway, from the School of Physics & Astronomy at Monash University, said the project is very significant for the Monash Centre for Astrophysics.

    “We’ve invested strongly in gravitational wave astronomy over the last few years, leading up to the first detection announced last year, and the telescope project represents a fundamentally new observational opportunity,” Dr Galloway said.

    “It’s really satisfying seeing a research collaboration that we’ve build over many years coming to fruition in such an exciting way, and we couldn’t have got here without the support of the Alliance and the participating universities.”

    Dr Danny Steeghs, from Warwick’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Group, who is leading the project said:

    “After all the hard work put in by everyone, I am delighted to see the GOTO telescopes in operational mode at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory. We are all excited about the scientific opportunities it will provide.”

    GOTO is the latest addition to the University of Warwick’s astronomical facility at La Palma, which includes the SuperWASP Exoplanet discovery camera – the most successful ground based exoplanet discovery project in existence.

    GOTO is operated on behalf of a consortium of institutions including the University of Warwick, Monash University, the Armagh Observatory, Leicester and Sheffield Universities, and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT). La Palma is one of the world’s premier astronomical observing sites, owing to the fact that it is the steepest island in the world and has very little pollution – giving researchers clear views of the sky.

    See the full Monash article here .
    See the full Warwick article here .
    My text is from Monash.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Monash U campus

    Monash University (/ˈmɒnæʃ/) is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.[6] Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.[7]

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students,[8] It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres[9] and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.[10]

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia.[11] Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy,[12] a graduate research school in Mumbai, India[13] and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China.[14] Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.[15] Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.[16]

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University.[17] On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

    U Warwick Campus

    Warwick is a world-leading university with the highest academic and research standards. But we’re not letting the story end there.

    That’s because we’re a place of possibility. We’re always looking for new ways to make things happen. Whether you’re a dedicated student, an innovative lecturer or an ambitious company, Warwick provides a tireless yet supportive environment in which you can make an impact.

    And our students, alumni and staff are consistently making an impact – the kind that changes lives, whether close to home or on a global scale.

    It’s the achievements of our people that help explain why our levels of research excellence and scholarship are recognised internationally.

    It’s a prime attraction for some of the biggest names in worldwide business and industry.

    It’s why we’re ranked highly in the lists of great UK and world universities.

    All of this contributes to a compelling story, one that’s little more than 50 years old. But who said youth should hold you back from changing the world?

     
  • richardmitnick 4:40 pm on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Monash University   

    From Monash: “Monash University researchers uncover new Gravitational Waves characteristics” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    Monash University

    23 May 2017

    1
    A visualization of a supercomputer simulation of merging black holes sending out gravitational waves. Credit: NASA/C. Henze/phys.org

    Monash University researchers have identified a new concept – ‘orphan memory’ – which changes the current thinking around gravitational waves.

    The research, by the Monash Centre for Astrophysics, was published recently in Physical Review Letters.

    Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts that cataclysmic cosmic explosions stretch the fabric of spacetime.

    The stretching of spacetime is called ‘gravitational waves.’ After such an event, spacetime does not return to its original state. It stays stretched out. This effect is called ‘memory.’

    The term ‘orphan’ alludes to the fact that the parent wave is not directly detectable.

    “These waves could open the way for studying physics currently inaccessible to our technology,” said Monash School of Physics and Astronomy Lecturer, Dr Eric Thrane, one of the authors of the study, together with Lucy McNeill and Dr Paul Lasky.

    “This effect, called ‘memory’ has yet to be observed,” said Dr Thrane.

    Gravitational-wave detectors such as LIGO only ‘hear’’ gravitational waves at certain frequencies, explains lead author Lucy McNeill.


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project


    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    “If there are exotic sources of gravitational waves out there, for example, from micro black holes, LIGO would not hear them because they are too high-frequency,” she said.

    “But this study shows LIGO can be used to probe the universe for gravitational waves that were once thought to be invisible to it.”

    Study co-author Dr Lasky said LIGO won’t be able to see the oscillatory stretching and contracting, but it will be able to detect the memory signature if such objects exist.

    The researchers were able to show that high-frequency gravitational waves leave behind a memory that LIGO can detect.

    “This realisation means that LIGO [or e/Lisa] may be able to detect sources of gravitational waves that no one thought it could,” said Dr Lasky.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Monash U campus

    Monash University (/ˈmɒnæʃ/) is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.[6] Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.[7]

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students,[8] It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres[9] and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.[10]

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia.[11] Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy,[12] a graduate research school in Mumbai, India[13] and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China.[14] Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.[15] Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.[16]

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University.[17] On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:51 am on May 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , M4 Stellar mystery deepens, Monash University   

    From Monash: “Stellar mystery deepens” 

    Monash Univrsity bloc

    Monash University

    19 May 2016
    No writer credit found

    1
    A schematic of the HERMES spectrograph. The lines show the light path through the instrument that ultimately provides astronomers with high quality data for measuring stellar chemical content. Credit: Australian Astronomical Observatory

    Using recent advancements in Australian telescope technology, a Monash University-led research team has made an unexpected discovery that a large group of stars are dying prematurely, challenging our accepted view of stellar evolution.

    The findings of this new study, published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, were made by Monash PhD student Mr Ben MacLean, supervised by Professor John Lattanzio, Dr Simon Campbell from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and Dr Gayandhi De Silva from the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and the University of Sydney. Their results dispute the prevailing theory of stellar evolution, revealing that large numbers of helium burning stars are dying prematurely in the M4 globular cluster.

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    M4 globular cluster. http://www.sidleach.com/m4_2.htm

    M4 is one of the closest and brightest globular clusters, and has already been very well studied. Professor John Lattanzio, has described the discovery as a surprising one to find in our own backyard.

    Researchers used a new instrument called a high efficiency and resolution multi-element spectrograph (HERMES). With HERMES fitted to the Anglo Australian Telescope (AAT) and operated by the AAO, the researchers uncovered the surprising results by working out the chemical composition of stars in M4 by deciphering their starlight. The international team found that about half of the stars tend to skip the Red Giant phase, instead becoming White Dwarfs millions of years ahead of schedule.

    AAO Anglo Australian Telescope Exterior near Siding Spring, Australia
    AAO Anglo Australian Telescope Interior
    AAO Anglo Australian Telescope near Siding Spring, Australia

    While the cause of this remains a mystery, the HERMES chemical analysis has revealed that premature death tends to only occur in the sodium-rich/oxygen-poor stars. The surprising thing is that our best models of these stars do not predict that they will die young.

    These findings build on previous Monash University-led research which made the initial discovery that many stars were dying prematurely in the globular cluster NGC 6752. Commenting on this discovery, Dr Simon Campbell said he was surprised to find these results extend to much more ‘normal’ stars’.

    “Although the phenomenon of sodium-rich stars failing to reach old age has been seen in our previous research, it was totally unexpected that it should occur on such a scale in this ‘normal’ star cluster, ” Dr Campbell said.

    Until now, this research would have been impossible to conduct in Australia, instead requiring the use of larger overseas telescopes. However, thanks to the recent construction and installation of the HERMES instrument, researchers can now use the AAT to analyse the chemical composition of up to 400 stars at a time.

    Dr Gayandhi De Silva from the AAO believes the recent upgrade to the AAO will benefit astronomers around the world.

    “HERMES represents a significant step forward for Australia’s observational capacity. This incredible advance is unique in that it combines multi-object capability with high data quality. Otherwise we are limited to observing one star at a time to collect such high quality data. This capability makes HERMES and the AAT competitive against some of the world’s biggest telescopes and a new tool for making breakthrough discoveries,” Dr De Silva said.

    Looking to the future research in this field, Professor Lattanzio highlighted the role that advanced computer simulations will play in the next stage of research.

    “Computer simulations do not agree with this observation; so as well as continuing observations, new computer models will need to be generated to better understand what is taking place in the cores of these stars,” Professor Lattanzio said.

    See the full article here .

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    Monash U campus

    Monash University (/ˈmɒnæʃ/) is an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1958, it is the second oldest university in the State of Victoria. Monash is a member of Australia’s Group of Eight and the ASAIHL, and is the only Australian member of the influential M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. Monash is one of two Australian universities to be ranked in the The École des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) ranking on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.[6] Monash is in the top 20% in teaching, top 10% in international outlook, top 20% in industry income and top 10% in research in the world in 2016.[7]

    Monash enrolls approximately 47,000 undergraduate and 20,000 graduate students,[8] It also has more applicants than any university in the state of Victoria.

    Monash is home to major research facilities, including the Australian Synchrotron, the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct (STRIP), the Australian Stem Cell Centre, 100 research centres[9] and 17 co-operative research centres. In 2011, its total revenue was over $2.1 billion, with external research income around $282 million.[10]

    The university has a number of centres, five of which are in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Berwick, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Malaysia.[11] Monash also has a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy,[12] a graduate research school in Mumbai, India[13] and a graduate school in Jiangsu Province, China.[14] Since December 2011, Monash has had a global alliance with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.[15] Monash University courses are also delivered at other locations, including South Africa.

    The Clayton campus contains the Robert Blackwood Hall, named after the university’s founding Chancellor Sir Robert Blackwood and designed by Sir Roy Grounds.[16]

    In 2014, the University ceded its Gippsland campus to Federation University.[17] On 7 March 2016, Monash announced that it would be closing the Berwick campus by 2018.

     
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