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

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

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

    From Keck Observatory

    February 10, 2020

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keck NIRC2 schematic

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

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

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

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

    Keck Observatory Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics schematic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ESA/GAIA satellite

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

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

    NOAO Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South

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

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

    ABOUT NIRC2

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

    ABOUT ADAPTIVE OPTICS

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

    See the full article here .


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

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

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


    Keck UCal

     
  • richardmitnick 12:26 pm on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Massive Filaments Fuel the Growth of Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes", , , , , , NAOJ Subaru Telescope, SSA22- a massive proto-cluster of galaxies located about 12 billion light years away in the constellation of Aquarius.   

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan: “Massive Filaments Fuel the Growth of Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes” 

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    October 3, 2019 [Just now in social media]

    An international group of scientists led by the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research has used observations from the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and Suprime-Cam at the Subaru Telescope to make detailed observations of the filaments of gas connecting galaxies in a large proto-cluster in the early Universe.

    ESO MUSE on the VLT on Yepun (UT4)

    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,

    NAOJ Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam

    Based on direct observations they found that, in accordance with predictions, the filaments are extensive, extending over more than 3 million light years and are providing the fuel for intense formation of stars and the growth of super massive black holes within the proto-cluster.

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    It is found that there are extensive gaseous structures and cosmic web filaments (left); and that the filaments connect a number of starbursting galaxies (right). (Credit: RIKEN)
    Figure 1: Maps of gas filaments. For both panels, identified gas filaments are shown in blue color. The background maps are an optical image taken with the Subaru Telescope [below] (left) and a millimeter-wave image taken with ALMA (right).

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

    The observations, which constitute a very detailed map of the filaments, were made on SSA22, a massive proto-cluster of galaxies located about 12 billion light years away in the constellation of Aquarius.

    The findings give key insight on the galaxy formation model. Now it is generally believed that filaments in the early universe fueled the formation of galaxies and super massive black holes at places where the filaments crossed, creating dense regions of matter. In accordance with this, the group found that the intersection between the enormous filaments they identified is home to active galactic nuclei—supermassive black holes—and “starbursting” galaxies that have very active star formation. They determined their locations from observations made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the W. M. Keck Observatory.

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

    Their observations are based on the detection using the MUSE instrument of ultraviolet light that is produced by ionized hydrogen gas. The radiation was found to be intense. Their calculations indicated that the high radiation was likely triggered by star-forming galaxies and forming black holes.

    According to Hideki Umehata of the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research and the University of Tokyo, the lead author of the paper, “This suggests very strongly that gas falling along the filaments under the force of gravity triggers the formation of starbursting galaxies and supermassive black holes, giving the universe the structure that we see today.”

    “Previous observations,” he continues, “had shown that there are emissions from blobs of gas extending beyond the galaxies, but now we have been able to clearly show that these filaments are extremely long, going even beyond the edge of the field that we viewed. This adds credence to the idea that these filaments are actually powering the intense activity that we see within the galaxies inside the filaments.”

    Co-author Michele Fumagalli from Durham University, UK, said: “It is very exciting to clearly see for the first time multiple and extended filaments in the early universe. We finally have a way to map these structures directly, and to understand in detail their role in regulating the formation of supermassive black holes and galaxies.”

    The work was done by the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research along with collaborators from the University of Tokyo, Durham University in the UK, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Nagoya University, and other institutes.

    These results will be published online on October 3, 2019 in Science (H. Umehata, M. Fumagalli, I. Smail, Y. Matsuda, A. M. Swinbank, S. Cantalupo, C. Sykes, R. J. Ivison, C. C. Steidel, A. E. Shapley, J. Vernet, T. Yamada, Y. Tamura, M. Kubo, K. Nakanishi, M. Kajisawa, B. Hatsukade, and K. Kohno, “Gas filaments of the cosmic web located around active galaxies in a protocluster”). This research is supported by KAKENHI (Numbers JP17K14252, JP25287043, JP17H04831, JP17KK0098, JP19K03925, JP17H06130, JP17H06130) and NAOJ ALMA Scientific Research Grant Number 2018-09B.

    See the full article here .

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    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
  • richardmitnick 12:29 pm on November 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Subaru Telescope Detects the Mid-infrared Emission Band from Complex Organic Molecules in Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner", , , , , NAOJ Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan   

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan: “Subaru Telescope Detects the Mid-infrared Emission Band from Complex Organic Molecules in Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner” 

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    November 18, 2019

    Using the Cooled Mid-Infrared Camera and Spectrometer (COMICS) on the Subaru Telescope, astronomers have detected an unidentified infrared emission band from comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner (hereafter, comet 21P/G-Z) in addition to the thermal emissions from silicate and carbon grains.

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    COMICS on Subaru

    These unidentified infrared emissions are likely due to complex organic molecules, both aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, contaminated by N- or O-atoms. Considering the properties of the dust and organic molecules, comet 21P/G-Z might have originated from the circumplanetary disk of a giant planet (like Jupiter or Saturn) where it was warmer than the typical comet-forming regions.

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    Figure 1: Comets are pristine remnants from the early Solar System. Comets are mostly made of ice and dust, but are also known to be rich in organic materials. If “complex” organic molecules like amino acids are enriched in comets and the meteoroids of cometary origin, the meteor showers might have delivered water and complex organic materials to the ancient Earth. (An artist’s illustration. Credit: Kyoto Sangyo University)

    Comet 21P/G-Z is a Jupiter-family comet with an orbital period of about 6.6 years and is thought to be the parent body of the October Draconids meteor shower. Compared to other comets, this comet is peculiar in terms of its volatile content (depleted in carbon-chain molecules, NH2, and highly volatile species) and the properties of its dust grains, and is categorized as “G-Z type” (~6% of surveyed comets). Based on previous studies, it was proposed that comet 21P/G-Z originated in a different region than other comets, but we didn’t have any information about the specific region in the protoplanetary disk. A negative trend of linear polarization in the optical wavelength region is also reported for the dust continuum of comet 21P/G-Z. It is suggested that this negative wavelength gradient of polarization might be explained by a higher content of organic materials in the dust grains of 21P/G-Z. If complex organic molecules like amino acids are enriched in comet 21P/G-Z and in the meteoroids of the October Draconids, this meteor shower might have delivered complex organic materials to the ancient Earth. However, complex high-molecular-weight organic molecules have never been detected clearly in comets, except in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the in-situ measurements of the Rosetta spacecraft. How much and how complex of organic molecules are contained in comet 21P/G-Z is still an open question.

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    Figure 2: Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner observed in the optical on August 22, 2018. (Credit: Michael Jaeger).

    A team of astronomers from the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA), Kyoto Sangyo University (KSU), National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), and Okayama University of Science (OUS) conducted mid-infrared spectroscopic and imaging observations of comet 21P/G-Z using COMICS on UT July 5, 2005 (when the comet was 1.04 au from the Sun, near its perihelion). The obtained spectrum of comet 21P/G-Z shows emission peaks of crystalline silicate grains, which are usually also seen in many other comets. In addition to these silicate features, the researchers found that the spectrum of comet 21P/G-Z exhibits unidentified infrared emission features, which could be attributed to a mixture of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons (such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or hydrogenated amorphous carbons contaminated by N- or O-atoms).

    Comet 21P/G-Z is enriched in complex organic molecules. The enrichment of complex organic molecules requires a warm temperature or high energetic particle environment around the comet in the early solar nebula. The presence of these complex organic molecules suggests that comet 21P/G-Z originated from a warmer region in the protoplanetary disk than the typical comet-forming region. Considering that the derived mass fraction of crystalline silicates in comet 21P/G-Z is typical of comets, we propose that the comet originated from the circumplanetary disk of a giant planet (like Jupiter or Saturn) where it was warmer than the typical comet-forming region (5–30 au from the Sun) and was suitable for the formation of complex organic molecules. Comets from circumplanetary disks might be enriched in complex organic molecules, similar to comet 21P/G-Z, and may have provided pre-biotic molecules to ancient Earth by direct impact or meteor showers.

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    Figure 3: Blackbody normalized mid-infrared spectra of comets. The spectrum of comet 21P/G-Z (black filled circles) is different from other comets, and exhibits unidentified infrared emission features. The features at ~8.2 microns, ~8.5 microns, and ~11.2 microns could be attributed to PAHs (or HACs) contaminated by N- or O-atoms, although part of the feature at ~11.2 microns comes from crystalline olivine. The feature at ~9.2 microns might originate from aliphatic hydrocarbons. (Credit: Ootsubo et al.).

    These results were published on November 18, 2019 in Icarus.

    See the full article here .

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    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
  • richardmitnick 12:26 pm on October 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Whole Picture of Distant Supercluster in Three Dimensions", , , , , , NAOJ Subaru Telescope, The supercluster CL1604 is a large-scale 3-D structure extending over about 160 million light-years in the north-south direction   

    From NAOJ Subaru and Gemini Observatory: “The Whole Picture of Distant Supercluster in Three Dimensions” 

    NOAO

    Gemini Observatory
    From Gemini Observatory

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    October 22, 2019

    Using the Subaru Telescope [below] and Gemini-North Telescope [below], a team of astronomers has revealed that the supercluster CL1604, a distant supercluster located about 7.3 billion light-years away, is a large-scale 3-D structure extending over about 160 million light-years in the north-south direction.

    This is more than two times more extended than what was already known. Until now, we saw merely the “tip of the iceberg” of the supercluster. The wide-field capability of the Subaru Telescope enabled us to survey the whole of the supercluster and the Gemini-North Telescope played a critical role in confirming the structures. This is the outcome of the good synergy of the telescopes of the Maunakea observatories.

    1
    Figure 1: The 3-D and 2-D maps of the number density of galaxies associated with the supercluster. In the 2-D map, the large-scale structures of galaxies located in the slice at about 7.3 billion years ago are shown. The white areas show the structures already known from previous studies, and the yellow areas show the structures newly discovered by this study. The structures marked by the dotted ellipses are to be confirmed by future works. The white vertical line in the figure corresponds to a distance of about 30 million light-years (i.e., 10 Mpc). (Credit: NAOJ)

    Galaxies are distributed inhomogeneously in the Universe. It is well-known that nearby galaxies are strongly influenced by their environment, e.g., whether they are located in dense areas called galaxy clusters or less dense areas called voids. However, how galaxies form and evolve along with the growth of the cosmic web structures is one of the hot topics of astronomy. A wide-field survey of the distant Universe allows us to witness what actually happened with galaxies in the early phase of structure formation in the Universe. Among the few superclusters currently known, one of the best targets for study is the supercluster CL1604. Based on previous studies, its extent is 80 million light-years and its era is 7.3 billion years ago.

    The uniqueness of the data taken by Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) on the Subaru Telescope is the deep imaging data over a field wide enough to fully cover the known supercluster and the surrounding area.

    NAOJ Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam

    A team led by Masao Hayashi and Yusei Koyama from NAOJ estimated the distances of individual galaxies from the galaxy colors using a technique called “photometric redshift.” Then, the three dimensional picture of the large-scale structures appears, which consists of several galaxy clusters newly discovered in the north-south direction as well as the structures already known (Figure 1).

    Furthermore, the team used the Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph (FOCAS) on the Subaru Telescope and the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on Gemini-North to confirm the precise distances of 137 galaxies associated with the galaxy clusters revealed by HSC (Figure 2).

    NAOJ Subaru FOCAS Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph

    GEMINI/North GMOS

    It is found that the supercluster is a complex large-scale structure not only over the vast projected area but also along the line-of-sight direction in 3D. The galaxies spread over the 160 million light-years seem to be independent due to the vast area, however, the spectroscopic observations tell us that the galaxies formed simultaneously and then evolve along with the growth of large-scale structures.

    Our Galaxy is a member of Local Group on the outskirts of Virgo Galaxy Cluster. A team led by an astronomer from the University of Hawaii recently revealed that the Virgo Cluster is a member of a more extended enormous large-scale structure named the Laniakea Supercluster. “The supercluster we discovered 7.3 billion years ago may grow to be a huge large-scale structure similar to Laniakea where we live” said Hayashi.

    Local Group. Andrew Z. Colvin 3 March 2011

    Virgo Supercluster NASA

    Laniakea supercluster. From Nature The Laniakea supercluster of galaxies R. Brent Tully, Hélène Courtois, Yehuda Hoffman & Daniel Pomarède at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7516/full/nature13674.html. Milky Way is the red dot.

    3
    Figure 2: The distribution of redshift (i.e., distance in the depth direction) of the galaxies confirmed by our spectroscopic observations. In each area, the histogram is color-coded by the distance of the galaxies. The same color for the histograms means that the galaxy clusters are located at the same distance in the depth direction irrespective of the location on the sky. (Credit: NAOJ)

    These results were published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

    See the full article here .

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    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


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


    Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

    The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

    The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
  • richardmitnick 12:42 pm on August 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Storms on Jupiter Seen by Multi-Wavelength Observations", , , , , NAOJ Subaru Telescope   

    From NAOJ Subaru: “Storms on Jupiter Seen by Multi-Wavelength Observations” 

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    August 23, 2019

    Multi-wavelength measurements from telescopes worldwide capture the eruption of storms in Jupiter’s northern and southern equatorial belts.

    Astronomers using the Subaru Telescope [below] contributed to coordinated observations of the planet in January 2017, joining observers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Very Large Array (VLA), NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the Gemini North Telescope, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and the W. M. Keck Telescope in tracking the effects of these storms – visible as bright plumes above the planet’s main ammonia ice cloud deck over which they appear. The rising plumes then interacted with Jupiter’s powerful winds, which stretched the clouds far from their points of origin.

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

    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


    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

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

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

    1
    Figure 1: Subaru/COMICS map of Jupiter at 8.70 microns. Images recorded over the four consecutive nights (January 11-14, 2017) were stitched together to produce an image over 360 degrees in longitude. Several features are indicated on the map (Great Red Spot (GRS), Oval BA (BA), Source SEB Outbreak by arrow #1, Vortices by arrow #3, Hot Spots by arrow #4, and Large Plumes by arrow #5). (Credit: Imke de Pater et al.)

    These multi-wavelength, coordinated observations are consistent with one theory, known as moist convection, about how these plumes form. According to this theory, upwelling winds carry a mix of ammonia and water vapor high enough for the water to condense into liquid droplets. The condensing water releases heat that expands the cloud and buoys it quickly upward through other cloud layers, ultimately breaking through the ammonia ice clouds at the top of the atmosphere.

    “Mid-infrared images of Jupiter from the Subaru Telescope and the Very Large Telescope and ALMA radio observations indicate the plumes are dark at wavelengths where ammonia gas absorbs”, said Glenn Orton of Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the United States. “This demonstrates the plumes are rich in ammonia gas, which supports the theory they are driven by moist convection.” Yasumasa Kasaba of Tohoku University in Japan added “this is a great example of using coordinated observations over several wavelength regimes to improve the understanding of atmospheric phenomena on other planets”.

    The observations will ultimately help planetary scientists understand the complex atmospheric dynamics on Jupiter, which, with its Great Red Spot and colorful bands, make it one of the most beautiful and changeable of the giant gas planets in the solar system.

    2
    Figure 2: HST map at optical wavelengths from 11 January, 2017, with the zonal wind profile superimposed. (Credit: Imke de Pater et al.)

    These results are described in a paper led by Dr. Imke de Pater of UC Berkeley that will be published by The Astronomical Journal online. Glenn Orton, James Sinclair of Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Yasumasa Kasaba of Tohoku University in Japan contributed the Subaru mid-infrared images using the COMICS instrument.

    3
    Subaru COMICS instrument

    Among the other co-authors of the paper are graduate students Chris Moeckel and Charles Goullaud and research astronomers Michael Wong and David DeBoer, of UC Berkeley; Robert Sault of the University of Melbourne in Australia; and Bryan Butler of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Each was involved in obtaining and analyzing the Hubble, Gemini, ALMA and VLA data, respectively. Leigh Fletcher and Padraig Donnelly of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom supplied the VLT data. Gordon Bjoraker of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and Máté Ádámkovics of Clemson University in South Carolina were responsible for the Keck data.

    A part of the Subaru Telescope observations presented in the paper were observed through the Keck-Subaru exchange program.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
  • richardmitnick 11:04 am on June 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Subaru Telescope Captures 1800 Exploding Stars", , , , , , NAOJ Subaru Telescope   

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan: “Subaru Telescope Captures 1800 Exploding Stars” 

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    2
    Some supernovae discovered in this study. There are three images for each supernova: before it exploded (left), after it exploded (middle), and the supernova itself (difference between the first two images).

    Astronomers using the Subaru Telescope identified about 1800 new supernovae in the distant Universe, including 58 Type Ia supernovae over 8 billion light-years away. These findings will help elucidate the expansion of the Universe.

    A supernova is a powerful explosion at the end of the life of a massive star. The star often becomes as bright as its host galaxy, shining one billion times brighter than the Sun for one to six months before dimming down. Type Ia supernovae are particularly useful because their consistent maximum brightness allows researchers to calculate how far the star is from Earth. This is particularly useful for researchers who want to measure the expansion of the Universe.

    But supernovae are rare events. To spot as many supernovae as possible, a team led by Professor Naoki Yasuda of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) used the Subaru Telescope equipped with Hyper Suprime-Cam, an 870 mega-pixel digital camera, to capture sharp stellar images over a very wide area of the night sky. By taking repeated images of the same area of the night sky over a six month period, the researchers could identify new supernovae by looking for stars that suddenly appeared brighter before gradually fading out.

    The team identified about 400 Type Ia supernovae. Fifty-eight of these Type Ia supernovae are located more than 8 billion light-years away from Earth. In comparison, the Hubble Space Telescope took about 10 years to discover a total of 50 supernovae located more than 8 billion light-years away.

    “The Subaru Telescope and Hyper Suprime-Cam have already helped researchers create a 3D map of dark matter, and observation of primordial black holes, but now this result proves that this instrument has a very high capability finding supernovae very, very far away from Earth.” said Yasuda.

    Next, researchers will use the data to calculate the expansion of the Universe more accurately and study how dark energy’s effect on that expansion has changed over time.

    These findings were published as “The Hyper Suprime-Cam SSP Transient Survey in COSMOS: Overview” in the PASJ on May 30, 2019.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
  • richardmitnick 12:45 pm on December 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Although the massive quiescent galaxies are compact (only about 2% the size of the Milky Way) they are almost as heavy as modern galaxies, , , , , Largest galaxies in the Universe may have started out as ultra-dense objects in the very early Universe that then expanded over time, NAOJ Subaru Telescope, Seeds of Giant Galaxies formed in the Early Universe, The finite speed of light gives scientists a way to turn back the clock and view the early Universe   

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan: “Seeds of Giant Galaxies formed in the Early Universe” 

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    December 20, 2018

    An international research team has shown that the largest galaxies in the Universe may have started out as ultra-dense objects in the very early Universe that then expanded over time.

    1
    Figure 1: A wide field-of-view false-color image of a massive quiescent galaxy taken by Surpime-Cam on the Subaru Telescope (main image) and a high resolution close-up (inset) by IRCS (Infrared Camera and Spectrograph) on the Subaru Telescope. The yellow circle shows the point spread function of this observation corrected with the AO188 adaptive optics system. (Credit: NAOJ)

    NAOJ Subaru Adaptive Optics system

    Modern galaxies show a wide diversity, including dwarf galaxies, irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies, and massive elliptical galaxies. This final type, massive elliptical galaxies, provides astronomers with a puzzle. Although they are the most massive galaxies with the most stars, almost all of their stars are old. At some time during the past the progenitors of massive elliptical galaxies must have rapidly formed many stars and then stopped for some reason.

    Fortunately, the finite speed of light gives scientists a way to turn back the clock and view the early Universe. If a galaxy is located 12 billion light-years away, then light from that galaxy must have traveled for 12 billion years before it reached Earth. This means that the light we observe today must have left the galaxy 12 billion years ago. In other words the light is the image of what the galaxy looked like 12 billion years ago. By observing galaxies at various distances from Earth, astronomers can reconstruct the history of the Universe.

    An international team including researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and Copenhagen University used data from NAOJ’s Subaru Telescope and other telescopes [name them, please] to search for galaxies located 12 billion light-years away. Among this sample they identified massive quiescent galaxies, meaning massive galaxies without active star formation, as the probable progenitors of modern giant elliptical galaxies. It is surprising that mature giant galaxies already existed very early, when the Universe was only about ~13% of its current age.

    The team then used the Subaru Telescope to perform high resolution follow-up observations in near infrared for the 5 brightest massive quiescent galaxies located 12 billion light-years away.

    The results show that although the massive quiescent galaxies are compact (only about 2% the size of the Milky Way) they are almost as heavy as modern galaxies. This means that to become modern giant elliptical galaxies they must puff up about 100 times in size, but only increase in mass by about 5 times. Comparing the observations to toy models, the team showed that this would be possible if the growth was driven, not by major mergers where two similar galaxies merge to form a larger one, but by minor mergers where a large galaxy cannibalizes smaller ones.

    2
    Figure 2: The stellar mass (x-axis) and size (y-axis) relation derived assuming that the most massive galaxies at each epoch are the progenitors of the modern most massive giant elliptical galaxies (red). Gray solid and dashed curves show the size evolution driven by many minor mergers and major mergers, respectively. (Credit: NAOJ)

    “We are very excited about the implications of our findings,” explains corresponding author Mariko Kubo, a post-doctoral researcher at NAOJ. “But we are now at the resolution limit of existing telescopes. The superior spatial resolution of the Thirty Meter Telescope currently under development will allow us to study the morphologies of distant galaxies more precisely. For more distant galaxies beyond 12 billion light-years, we need the next generation James Webb Space Telescope.”

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed and now approved for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    These results appeared as Kubo et al. 2018, “The Rest-frame Optical Sizes of Massive Galaxies with Suppressed Star Formation at z∼4” in The Astrophysical Journal on November 20, 2018.

    This research is supported by KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP15K17617, JP16K17659, and JP18K13578.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
  • richardmitnick 3:27 pm on November 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2015 TG387, , , , , NAOJ Subaru Telescope, , Subaru Telescope Discovers a New Extremely Distant Solar System Object During Hunt for Planet X   

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan: “Subaru Telescope Discovers a New Extremely Distant Solar System Object During Hunt for Planet X” 

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    Using Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) on the Subaru Telescope, astronomers have discovered a new object at the edge of our Solar System. The new extremely distant object far beyond Pluto has an orbit that supports the presence of an even-farther-out Super-Earth, or larger Planet X.

    NAOJ Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam

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

    1
    Movie of the discovery images of 2015 TG387. Two images were taken about 3 hours apart on October 13, 2015 at the Subaru Telescope. 2015 TG387 can be seen moving between the images near the center, while the more distant background stars and galaxies remain stationary. (Credit: Dave Tholen, Chad Trujillo, Scott Sheppard)

    The discovery of the newly found object, called 2015 TG387, was made by Carnegie Institution for Sciences’ Scott Sheppard, Northern Arizona University’s Chad Trujillo, and the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy’s David Tholen. 2015 TG387 was discovered about 80 astronomical units (au) from the Sun. One AU is the distance between the Earth and Sun. For context, Pluto is around 34 au, so 2015 TG387 is about two and a half times further away from the Sun than Pluto is right now.

    “The objects we’re looking for are both faint and can be pretty much anywhere in the sky, so the ability to reach a faint limiting magnitude (large aperture) and cover a large amount of sky (wide field) is crucial for this work. The Subaru Telescope with its wide-field imaging camera Hyper Suprime-Cam is the facility best suited for this work,” says Tholen.

    The new object is on a very elongated orbit and the closest it ever gets to the Sun, a point called perihelion, is about 65 au. Only 2012 VP113 and Sedna, at 80 and 76 au respectively, have more distant perihelia than 2015 TG387. Even though 2015 TG387 has the third-most-distant perihelion, its orbital semi-major axis is larger than that of both 2012 VP113 and Sedna, meaning it travels much farther from the Sun than they do. At its furthest point, it reaches all the way out to about 2300 au. 2015 TG387 is one of the few known objects that never comes close enough to the Solar System’s giant planets, like Neptune and Jupiter, to have significant gravitational interactions with them.

    “These so-called Inner Oort Cloud objects like 2015 TG387, 2012 VP113, and Sedna are isolated from most of the Solar System’s known mass, which makes them immensely interesting,” Sheppard explained. “They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our Solar System.”

    Oort Cloud, The layout of the solar system, including the Oort Cloud, on a logarithmic scale. Credit: NASA, Universe Today

    2
    The orbits of the new extreme object 2015 TG387 and its fellow Inner Oort Cloud objects 2012 VP113 and Sedna, as compared with the rest of the Solar System. The of 2015 TG387 orbit has a larger semi-major axis than both 2012 VP11 and Sedna, so it travels much farther from the Sun, out to 2,300 au. (Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott Sheppard / Carnegie Institution for Science)

    The object with the most distant orbit at perihelion, 2012 VP113, was also discovered by Sheppard and Trujillo, in 2014. The discovery of 2012 VP113 led Sheppard and Trujillo to notice similarities of the orbits of several extremely distant Solar System objects, and they proposed the presence of an unknown planet several times larger than Earth — sometimes called Planet X or Planet 9 — orbiting the Sun, well beyond Pluto at hundreds of au.

    “We think there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 out on the Solar System’s fringes, but their distance makes finding them very difficult,” Tholen said. “Currently we would only detect 2015TG387 when it is near its closest approach to the Sun. For some 99 percent of its 40,000-year orbit, it would be too faint to see, even with today’s largest telescopes.”

    The object was discovered as part of the team’s ongoing hunt for unknown dwarf planets and Planet X. It is the largest and deepest survey ever conducted for distant Solar System objects.

    “These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X. The more of them we can find, the better we can understand the outer Solar System and the possible planet that we think is shaping their orbits — discovery that would redefine our knowledge of the Solar System’s evolution,” Sheppard added.

    It took the team a few years of observations to obtain a good orbit for 2015 TG387 because it moves so slowly and has such a long orbital period. They first observed 2015 TG387 in October of 2015 at the Subaru Telescope. Follow-up observations at the Magellan telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, and the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona, were obtained in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, to determine 2015 TG387’s orbit.

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


    Discovery Channel Telescope at Lowell Observatory, Happy Jack AZ, USA, Altitude 2,360 m (7,740 ft)

    2015 TG387 is likely on the small end of being a dwarf planet, since it has a diameter of roughly 300 kilometers. The location in the sky where 2015 TG387 reaches perihelion is similar to 2012 VP113, Sedna, and most other known extremely distant trans-Neptunian objects, suggesting that something is pushing them into similar types of orbits.

    Trujillo and University of Oklahoma’s Nathan Kaib ran computer simulations to see how different hypothetical Planet X orbits would affect the orbit of 2015 TG387. The simulations included a super-Earth-mass planet at several hundred au on an elongated orbit, as proposed by Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown in 2016. Most of the simulations showed that not only was 2015 TG387’s orbit stable for the age of the Solar System, but it was actually shepherded by Planet X’s gravity, which keeps the smaller 2015 TG387 away from the massive planet. This gravitational shepherding could explain why the most distant objects in our Solar System have similar orbits. These orbits keep them from ever approaching the proposed planet too closely, similar to how Pluto never gets too close to Neptune even though their orbits cross.

    “What makes this result really interesting is that Planet X seems to affect 2015 TG387 the same way as all the other extremely distant Solar System objects. These simulations do not prove that there is another massive planet in our Solar System, but they are further evidence that something big could be out there,” Trujillo concludes.

    2015 TG387 was announced in the Minor Planet Electronic Circular issued by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center on October 1, 2018 (Tholen, D., Sheppard, S., and Trujillo, C. 2018, MPEC, 2018-T05). The research paper with the full details of the discovery is available as a preprint (Scott S. Sheppard, Chadwick A. Trujillo, David J. Tholen, Nathan Kaib 2018, arXiv:1810.00013, “A New High Perihelion Inner Oort Cloud Object”), and has also been submitted to The Astronomical Journal.

    Links:

    Press Release from Carnegie Institution for Science
    Press release from the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
  • richardmitnick 2:15 pm on August 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Early Opaque Universe Linked to Galaxy Scarcity, NAOJ Subaru Telescope,   

    From UC Riverside: “Early Opaque Universe Linked to Galaxy Scarcity” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    August 14, 2018
    Iqbal Pittalwala

    1
    Computer simulation of a region of the universe wherein a low-density “void” (dark blue region at top center) is surrounded by denser structures containing numerous galaxies (orange/white). The research done by Becker and his team suggests that early in cosmic history, these void regions would have been the murkiest places in the universe even though they contained the least amount of dark matter and gas. Image credit: TNG Collaboration.

    A team of astronomers led by George Becker at the University of California, Riverside, has made a surprising discovery: 12.5 billion years ago, the most opaque place in the universe contained relatively little matter.

    It has long been known that the universe is filled with a web-like network of dark matter and gas. This “cosmic web” accounts for most of the matter in the universe, whereas galaxies like our own Milky Way make up only a small fraction.

    Cosmic web Millenium Simulation Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics

    Today, the gas between galaxies is almost totally transparent because it is kept ionized— electrons detached from their atoms—by an energetic bath of ultraviolet radiation.

    Over a decade ago, astronomers noticed that in the very distant past — roughly 12.5 billion years ago, or about 1 billion years after the Big Bang — the gas in deep space was not only highly opaque to ultraviolet light, but its transparency varied widely from place to place, obscuring much of the light emitted by distant galaxies.

    Then a few years ago, a team led by Becker, then at the University of Cambridge, found that these differences in opacity were so large that either the amount of gas itself, or more likely the radiation in which it is immersed, must vary substantially from place to place.

    “Today, we live in a fairly homogeneous universe,” said Becker, an expert on the intergalactic medium, which includes dark matter and the gas that permeates the space between galaxies. “If you look in any direction you find, on average, roughly the same number of galaxies and similar properties for the gas between galaxies, the so-called intergalactic gas. At that early time, however, the gas in deep space looked very different from one region of the universe to another.”

    To find out what created these differences, the team of University of California astronomers from the Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles campuses turned to one of the largest telescopes in the world: the Subaru telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.


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

    Using its powerful camera, the team looked for galaxies in a vast region, roughly 300 million light years in size, where they knew the intergalactic gas was extremely opaque.

    For the cosmic web more opacity normally means more gas, and hence more galaxies. But the team found the opposite: this region contained far fewer galaxies than average. Because the gas in deep space is kept transparent by the ultraviolet light from galaxies, fewer galaxies nearby might make it murkier.

    “Normally it doesn’t matter how many galaxies are nearby; the ultraviolet light that keeps the gas in deep space transparent often comes from galaxies that are extremely far away. That’s true for most of cosmic history, anyway,” said Becker, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “At this very early time, it looks like the UV light can’t travel very far, and so a patch of the universe with few galaxies in it will look much darker than one with plenty of galaxies around.”

    This discovery, reported in the August 2018 issue of the Astrophysical Journal, may eventually shed light on another phase in cosmic history. In the first billion years after the Big Bang, ultraviolet light from the first galaxies filled the universe and permanently transformed the gas in deep space. Astronomers believe that this occurred earlier in regions with more galaxies, meaning the large fluctuations in intergalactic radiation inferred by Becker and his team may be a relic of this patchy process, and could offer clues to how and when it occurred.

    “There is still a lot we don’t know about when the first galaxies formed and how they altered their surroundings,” Becker said.

    By studying both galaxies and the gas in deep space, astronomers hope to get closer to understanding how this intergalactic ecosystem took shape in the early universe.

    The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

    Becker was joined in the research by Frederick B. Davies of UC Santa Barbara; Steven R. Furlanetto and Matthew A. Malkan of UCLA; and Elisa Boera and Craig Douglass of UCR.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:55 am on July 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , IRD- InfraRed Doppler, NAOJ Subaru Telescope, Possibility of habitable planets around red dwarf stars   

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan: “New IR Instrument Searches for Habitable Planets” 

    NAOJ

    From National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

    July 2, 2018

    1
    Test observation of a red dwarf. Comparing the star’s spectrum (broken line) to the laser frequency comb (dots) allows researchers to calculate the motion of the star.

    A new instrument to search for potentially habitable/inhabited planets has started operation at the Subaru Telescope. This instrument, IRD (InfraRed Doppler), will look for habitable planets around red dwarf stars. Astronomers are hoping that investigating these small but numerous stars will uncover a plethora of new planets.

    2
    IRD schematic. https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org

    Red dwarfs are smaller than the Sun and emit most of their energy as infrared (IR) rather than visible light. But because they are smaller, it is easier to find planets around them. Also, in the neighborhood around the Sun there are many late-M-type stars (a type of red dwarf) ripe for investigation. The sheer number of candidates raises the odds of finding potentially habitable or otherwise interesting planets.

    But red dwarfs are enough different from the Sun that a new instrument was needed before they could be surveyed for planets. Researchers at NINS Astrobiology Center, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, University of Tokyo, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and Tokyo Institute of Technology created IRD to observe the IR light which is emitted strongly by red dwarf stars. Combined with the large light gathering power of the Subaru Telescope to capture the faint light from red dwarfs, IRD will allow astronomers to survey hundreds of stars looking for planets.

    New technology, known as a laser frequency comb, provides a standard ruler for measuring the line-of-sight movement of a star to within a few meters per second. Watching this motion for effects caused by planets around the star reveals not only the presence of a planet, but also its characteristics, like its mass and distance from the star. By comparing this information to models, researchers can choose the most interesting planets for detailed follow up observations.

    IRD had successful test observations earlier this year and will be available to the world-wide astronomical community starting from August 2018.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NAOJ

    The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is an astronomical research organisation comprising several facilities in Japan, as well as an observatory in Hawaii. It was established in 1988 as an amalgamation of three existing research organizations – the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo, International Latitude Observatory of Mizusawa, and a part of Research Institute of Atmospherics of Nagoya University.

    In the 2004 reform of national research organizations, NAOJ became a division of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.

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


    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    sft
    Solar Flare Telescope

    Nobeyama Radio Telescope - Copy
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory

    Nobeyama Solar Radio Telescope Array
    Nobeyama Radio Observatory: Solar

    Misuzawa Station Japan
    Mizusawa VERA Observatory

    NAOJ Okayama Astrophysical Observatory Telescope
    Okayama Astrophysical Observatory

     
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