Tagged: NASA Chandra Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 2:58 pm on August 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra   

    From Chandra: “Abell 1033: Chandra Data Suggest Giant Collision Triggered ‘Radio Phoenix’” 

    NASA Chandra

    August 26, 2015

    Temp 1
    Composite

    2
    X-ray

    Temp 1
    Optical

    4
    Radio

    5
    Density Map

    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Hamburg/F. de Gasperin et al; Optical: SDSS; Radio: NRAO/VLA

    A “radio phoenix” has been discovered using X-ray, radio, and optical data.
    This system contains the collision of two galaxy clusters located about 1.6 billion light years from Earth.
    The collision re-energized a regeneration of vast clouds of high-energy particles that primarily radiate at radio frequencies.
    Understanding how galaxy clusters grow over time, including through collisions, is important for cosmology.

    Astronomers have found evidence for a faded electron cloud “coming back to life,” much like the mythical phoenix, after two galaxy clusters collided. This “radio phoenix,” so-called because the high-energy electrons radiate primarily at radio frequencies, is found in Abell 1033. The system is located about 1.6 billion light years from Earth.

    By combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope [WSRT] in the Netherlands, NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), astronomers were able to recreate the scientific narrative behind this intriguing cosmic story of the radio phoenix.

    Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope
    WSRT

    NRAO VLA
    NRAO Karl V Jansky Very Large Array

    SDSS Telescope
    SDSS telescope at Apache Point, NM, USA

    Galaxy clusters are the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity. They consist of hundreds or even thousands of individual galaxies, unseen dark matter, and huge reservoirs of hot gas that glow in X-ray light. Understanding how clusters grow is critical to tracking how the Universe itself evolves over time.

    Astronomers think that the supermassive black hole close to the center of Abell 1033 erupted in the past. Streams of high-energy electrons filled a region hundreds of thousands of light years across and produced a cloud of bright radio emission. This cloud faded over a period of millions of years as the electrons lost energy and the cloud expanded.

    The radio phoenix emerged when another cluster of galaxies slammed into the original cluster, sending shock waves through the system. These shock waves, similar to sonic booms produced by supersonic jets, passed through the dormant cloud of electrons. The shock waves compressed the cloud and re-energized the electrons, which caused the cloud to once again shine at radio frequencies.

    A new portrait of this radio phoenix is captured in this multi wavelength image of Abell 1033. X-rays from Chandra are in pink and radio data from the VLA are colored green. The background image shows optical observations from the SDSS. A map of the density of galaxies, made from the analysis of optical data, is seen in blue. Mouse over the image above to see the location of the radio phoenix.

    The Chandra data show hot gas in the clusters, which seems to have been disturbed during the same collision that caused the re-ignition of radio emission in the system. The peak of the X-ray emission is seen to the south (bottom) of the cluster, perhaps because the dense core of gas in the south is being stripped away by surrounding gas as it moves. The cluster in the north may not have entered the collision with a dense core, or perhaps its core was significantly disrupted during the merger. On the left side of the image, a so-called wide-angle tail radio galaxy shines in the radio. The lobes of plasma ejected by the supermassive black hole in its center are bent by the interaction with the cluster gas as the galaxy moves through it.

    Astronomers think they are seeing the radio phoenix soon after it had reborn, since these sources fade very quickly when located close to the center of the cluster, as this one is in Abell 1033. Because of the intense density, pressure, and magnetic fields near the center of Abell 1033, a radio phoenix is only expected to last a few tens of millions of years.

    A paper describing these results was published in a recent issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and a preprint is available online. The authors are Francesco de Gasperin from the University of Hamburg, Germany; Georgiana Ogrean and Reinout van Weeren from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; William Dawson from the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in Livermore, California; Marcus Brüggen and Annalisa Bonafede from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and Aurora Simionescu from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Sagamihara, Japan.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 12:39 pm on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra,   

    From Chandra: “RGG 118: Oxymoronic Black Hole Provides Clues to Growth” 

    NASA Chandra

    August 11, 2015

    1
    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Michigan/V.F.Baldassare, et al; Optical: SDSS
    Release Date August 11, 2015

    Astronomers have identified the smallest supermassive black hole found in the center of a galaxy.

    The mass of the black hole is about 50,000 times that of the Sun, using data from the 6.5-meter Clay Telescope.

    X-rays from hot gas swirling towards the black hole were detected by Chandra.

    The black hole may help us understand the formation of much larger supermassive black holes.

    Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the 6.5-meter Clay Telescope in Chile have identified the smallest supermassive black hole ever detected in the center of a galaxy, as described in our latest press release. This oxymoronic object could provide clues to how much larger black holes formed along with their host galaxies 13 billion years or more in the past.

    Astronomers estimate this supermassive black hole is about 50,000 times the mass of the Sun. This is less than half the previous lowest mass for a black hole at the center of a galaxy.

    The tiny heavyweight black hole is located in the center of a dwarf disk galaxy, called RGG 118, about 340 million light years from Earth. Our graphic shows a Sloan Digital Sky Survey [SDSS] image of RGG 118 and the inset shows a Chandra image of the galaxy’s center.

    SDSS Telescope
    SDSS at Apache Point, NM, USA

    The X-ray point source is produced by hot gas swirling around the black hole.

    Researchers estimated the mass of the black hole by studying the motion of cool gas near the center of the galaxy using visible light data from the Clay Telescope. They used the Chandra data to figure out the brightness in X-rays of hot gas swirling toward the black hole. They found that the outward push of radiation pressure of this hot gas is about 1% of the black hole’s inward pull of gravity, matching the properties of other supermassive black holes.

    3
    Clay Telescope

    Previously, a relationship has been noted between the mass of supermassive black holes and the range of velocities of stars in the center of their host galaxy. This relationship also holds for RGG 118 and its black hole.

    The black hole in RGG 118 is nearly 100 times less massive than the supermassive black hole found in the center of the Milky Way. It is also about 200,000 times less massive than the heaviest black holes found in the centers of other galaxies.

    Astronomers are trying to understand the formation of billion-solar-mass black holes that have been detected from less than a billion years after the Big Bang. The black hole in RGG 118 gives astronomers an opportunity to study a nearby small supermassive black hole in lieu of the first generation of black holes that are undetectable with current technology.

    Astronomers think that supermassive black holes may form when a large cloud of gas, weighing about 10,000 to 100,000 times that of the Sun, collapses into a black hole. Many of these black hole seeds then merge to form much larger supermassive black holes. Alternately, a supermassive black hole seed could come from a giant star, about 100 times the Sun’s mass, that ultimately forms into a black hole after it runs out of fuel and collapses.

    Researchers will continue to look for other supermassive black holes that are comparable in size or even smaller than the one in RGG 118 to help choose between the two options mentioned above and refine their understanding of how these objects grow.

    A preprint of these results is available online. The other co-author of the paper is Jenny Greene, from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:50 pm on July 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra   

    From Chandra: “PSR B1259-63: Pulsar Punches Hole In Stellar Disk” 

    NASA Chandra

    July 22, 2015

    1
    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/G.Pavlov et al; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
    Release Date July 22, 2015

    A clump of material has been jettisoned from a double star system at incredibly high speeds. X-rays from Chandra reveal that a pulsar in orbit around a massive star punched through a circumstellar disk of material. Three Chandra observations of the system were taken between December 2011 and February 2014. The data suggest the clump may even be accelerating due to the pulsar’s powerful winds.

    This trio of images contains evidence from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory that a clump of stellar material has been jettisoned away from a double star system at incredibly high speeds. This system, known as PSR B1259-63/LS 2883 – or B1259 for short – is comprised of two objects in orbit around one another. The first is a star about 30 times as massive as the Sun that has a disk of material swirling around it. The other is a pulsar, an ultra-dense neutron star left behind when an even more massive star underwent a supernova explosion.

    Researchers think that the pulsar knocked out the chunk of debris, which spans over a hundred times the size of the Solar System, when it collided with the disk around the massive star while traveling in its elliptical orbit lasting 41 months. (An artist’s illustration shows the pulsar just after having collided with the disk.) Astronomers came to this conclusion after analyzing three separate Chandra observations taken between December 2011 and February 2014, as labeled in the three images. The bright source in the center of these images is the binary system, while the smaller point-like source to the lower right seen in the second two observations is the clump that has been dislodged.

    The Chandra observations also suggest that the clump is not only moving quickly but may, in fact, be picking up speed. The average of the three observations shows the clump is moving about 7% the speed of light, but the data suggest it may have accelerated to 15% the speed of light between the second and third observations. This acceleration could be due to intense winds flowing off of the pulsar’s surface at nearly the speed of light, which are caused by its rapid rotation and strong magnetic fields.

    The X-ray emission observed by Chandra is likely produced by a shock wave created as the pulsar’s wind rams into the clump of material. The ram pressure generated by this interaction could also accelerate the clump. Chandra will continue monitoring B1259 and its moving clump with observations scheduled for later this year and in 2016.

    These results appeared in the June 20, 2015 issue of The Astrophysical Journal and are available online. The authors of this paper are George Pavlov (Penn State University), Jeremy Hare (George Washington University), Oleg Kargaltsev (George Washington University), Blagory Rangelov (George Washington University), and Martin Durant (University of Florida).

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 7:55 pm on July 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra, NOAA DSCOVR   

    From NASA: “NASA Satellite Camera Provides “EPIC” View of Earth” 

    NASA

    NASA

    July 20, 2015

    Steve Cole
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-0918
    stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

    Rob Gutro
    Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    301-286-4044
    robert.j.gutro@nasa.gov

    1
    Earth as seen on July 6, 2015 from a distance of one million miles by a NASA scientific camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft. Credits: NASA

    A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.

    NOAA DISCOVR
    NOAA/DSCOVR

    The color images of Earth from NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) are generated by combining three separate images to create a photographic-quality image. The camera takes a series of 10 images using different narrowband filters — from ultraviolet to near infrared — to produce a variety of science products. The red, green and blue channel images are used in these Earth images.

    “This first DSCOVR image of our planet demonstrates the unique and important benefits of Earth observation from space,” said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. “As a former astronaut who’s been privileged to view the Earth from orbit, I want everyone to be able to see and appreciate our planet as an integrated, interacting system. DSCOVR’s observations of Earth, as well as its measurements and early warnings of space weather events caused by the sun, will help every person to monitor the ever-changing Earth, and to understand how our planet fits into its neighborhood in the solar system.”

    These initial Earth images show the effects of sunlight scattered by air molecules, giving the images a characteristic bluish tint. The EPIC team now is working on a rendering of these images that emphasizes land features and removes this atmospheric effect. Once the instrument begins regular data acquisition, new images will be available every day, 12 to 36 hours after they are acquired by EPIC. These images will be posted to a dedicated web page by September.

    “The high quality of the EPIC images exceeded all of our expectations in resolution,” said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The images clearly show desert sand structures, river systems and complex cloud patterns. There will be a huge wealth of new data for scientists to explore.”

    The primary objective of DSCOVR, a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, is to maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA.

    “These new views of the Earth, a result of the great partnership between NOAA, the U.S. Air Force, and NASA, give us an important perspective of the true global nature of our spaceship Earth,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

    The satellite was launched in February and recently reached its planned orbit at the first Lagrange point or L1, about one million miles from Earth toward the sun. It’s from that unique vantage point that the EPIC instrument is acquiring science quality images of the entire sunlit face of Earth. Data from EPIC will be used to measure ozone and aerosol levels in Earth’s atmosphere, cloud height, vegetation properties and the ultraviolet reflectivity of Earth. NASA will use this data for a number of Earth science applications, including dust and volcanic ash maps of the entire planet.

    In addition to space weather instruments, DSCOVR carries a second NASA sensor — the National Institute of Science and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR). Data from the NASA science instruments will be processed at the agency’s DSCOVR Science Operations Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. This data will be archived and distributed by the Atmospheric Science Data Center at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

    The Air Force provided the Space X Falcon 9 rocket for the mission. NOAA operates DSCOVR from its Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland, and processes the space weather data at its Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

    NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

    For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/earth

    For more information about DSCOVR, visit:

    http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR/

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:54 pm on July 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra   

    From NASA: “NASA’s Pleiades Supercomputer Ranks Among World’s Most Powerful Systems” 

    NASA

    NASA

    Temp 0

    1
    Pleiades

    07.17.15
    Jill Dunbar, NASA Ames Research Center

    NASA’s foremost supercomputer, Pleiades, ranks 6th in the U.S on the July 2015 TOP500 list of the most powerful supercomputers, and holds the 11th spot worldwide, as announced Monday at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany. The computing power of Pleiades jumped nearly 21 percent over the November 2014 TOP500 result, as measured on the LINPACK Benchmark.

    More significantly for NASA, Pleiades ranks 5th in the world and 3rd in the U.S. on the June 2015 High Performance Conjugate Gradient (HPCG) benchmark list, also announced at ISC. This “companion metric” to the LINPACK benchmark provides a more accurate performance measurement of the real-world scientific and engineering work done on general-purpose systems like Pleiades. This was the first time that Pleiades’ performance numbers were reported on the HPCG list, which debuted in June 2014.

    “Our goal continues to be to give scientists the computing capacity needed to do their research,” said William Thigpen, systems engineering branch chief at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “The impact of our continuous performance improvements to Pleiades is not about numbers on a list, but to support the ever-increasing modeling and simulation needs of missions across NASA—from aeronautics, to space exploration, to Earth and space sciences,” Thigpen said.

    For example, in May 2015, using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission to measure the moon’s gravity field interior structure from crust to core, scientists running very large computations on Pleiades’ Intel Xeon E5-2680v3 (Haswell) processors got results in half the time it took on the previous-generation processors. The improvement will save more than 2.5 million hours of computer time over the life of the project.

    As another example, the increased number of Haswell nodes on Pleiades greatly reduced the time required to run roughly 10,000 cases for the booster separation aerodynamic database to support the first flight of Space Launch System (SLS) in 2018. The database is critical for SLS flight qualification, to determine the risk of the boosters recontacting the core after separation, which could cause loss of mission. The additional nodes cut in half the time required to populate the remaining data.

    A series of upgrades over the past nine months increased the 211,360-core Pleaides’ sustained performance to 4.09 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point operations per second) on the LINPACK benchmark. Sustained performance on the HPCG benchmark was measured at 131.90 teraflops (trillion floating-point operations per second). The upgrades included the addition of 4,176 12-core Haswell processors, each performing twice as many scientific calculations per second as the previous generation of Intel processors.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:08 pm on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , NASA Chandra   

    From Chandra: “A Precocious Black Hole” 

    NASA Chandra

    July 9, 2015

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

    1
    Credit: Illustration: M. Helfenbein, Yale University / OPAC

    Researchers have discovered a black hole that grew much more quickly than its host galaxy. The discovery calls into question previous assumptions on the development of galaxies.

    The black hole was originally discovered using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and was then detected in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and by ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    Benny Trakhtenbrot, from ETH Zurich’s Institute for Astronomy, and an international team of astrophysicists, performed a follow-up observation of this black hole using the 10 meter Keck telescope in Hawaii and were surprised by the results. The data, collected with a new instrument, revealed a giant black hole in an otherwise normal, distant galaxy, called CID-947. Because its light had to travel a very long distance, the scientists were observing it at a period when the universe was less than two billion years old, just 14 percent of its current age (almost 14 billion years have passed since the Big Bang).

    An analysis of the data collected in Hawaii revealed that the black hole in CID-947, with nearly 7 billion solar masses, is among the most massive black holes discovered up to now. What surprised researchers in particular was not the black hole’s record mass, but rather the galaxy’s mass. “The measurements correspond to the mass of a typical galaxy,” says Trakhtenbrot, a postdoctoral fellow working within the Extragalactic Astrophysics research group of Professor Marcella Carollo. “We therefore have a gigantic black hole within a normal size galaxy.” The result was so surprising that two of the astronomers, including Hyewon Suh from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, MA, had to verify the galaxy mass independently. Both came to the same conclusion. The team reports its findings in the current issue of the scientific journal Science.

    Was anything different in the early Universe?

    Most galaxies, including our Milky Way, have a black hole at their center that holds millions to billions of solar masses. “Black holes are objects that possess such a strong gravitational force that nothing – not even light – can escape. Einstein’s theory of relativity describes how they bend space-time itself,” explains ETH professor Kevin Schawinski, co-author of the new study. The existence of black holes can be proven because matter is greatly accelerated by the gravitational force and thus emits particularly high-energy radiation.

    Until now, observations have indicated that the greater the number of stars present in the host galaxy, the bigger the black hole. “This is true for the local universe, which merely reflects the situation in the Universe’s recent past,” says Trakhtenbrot. This link, along with other evidence, led the scientists to assume that the growth of black holes and the formation of stars go hand-in-hand. This is quite reasonable, if a common reservoir of cold gas was responsible for the formation of the stars and the ‘feeding’ of the black hole at the galaxy’s center, says Trakhtenbrot. Furthermore, previous studies suggested that the radiation emitted during the growth of the black hole controlled, or even stopped the creation of stars, as the released energy heated up the gas. The latest results, however, suggest that these processes work differently, at least in the early universe.

    Star formation continues

    The distant young black hole observed by Trakhtenbrot and his colleagues weighs about 10% of its host galaxy’s mass. In today’s local universe, black holes typically reach a mass of 0.2% to 0.5% of their host galaxy’s mass. “That means this black hole grew much more efficiently than its galaxy – contradicting the models that predicted a hand-in-hand development,” explains the ETH researcher. From the available Chandra data for this source, the researchers also concluded that the black hole had reached the end of its growth. However, other data suggests stars were still forming throughout the host galaxy. Contrary to previous assumptions, the energy and gas flow, propelled by the black hole, did not stop the creation of stars.

    The galaxy could continue to grow in the future, but the relationship between the mass of the black hole and that of the stars would remain unusually large. The researchers believe that CID-947 could thus be a precursor of the most extreme, massive systems that we observe in today’s local universe, such as the galaxy NGC 1277 in the constellation of Perseus, some 220 million light years away from our Milky Way. They hope to gain further insight into the links between the black hole and the host galaxy, through observations with the Alma radio telescope in Chile.

    The black hole was selected from a 2011 paper published by Francesca Civano, from Yale University in New Haven, CT and CfA, as part of the Chandra Cosmic Evolution Survey. The full list of authors of the Science paper are Benny Trakhtenbrot ; Megan Urry from Yale University in New Haven, CT; Francesca Civano; David Rosario from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany; Martin Elvis from CfA; Kevin Schawinski; Hyewon Suh; Angela Bongiorno from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome, Italy and Brooke D. Simmons from Oxford University in the UK.

    NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.
    An interactive image, a podcast, and a video about the findings are available at:

    http://chandra.si.edu

    For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/chandra

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 7:01 am on June 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra   

    From Chandra: “Circinus X-1: X-ray Echoes Pinpoint Location of Distant Flaring Neutron Star” 

    NASA Chandra

    June 23, 2015

    1
    Composite

    2
    X-ray

    3
    Optical
    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison/S.Heinz et al; Optical: DSS
    Release Date June 23, 2015

    Light echoes around a neutron star have allowed a precise distance to be determined to it. These light echoes are produced when a burst of X-rays bounces off of clouds. Determining distances in astronomy is notoriously difficult so objects like this are valuable. The new distance measurement to Circinus X-1 is over twice that of one previously published value.

    Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has helped provide a rare opportunity to determine the distance to an object on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy, as described in our latest press release.

    The object is Circinus X-1, containing a neutron star – the collapsed core left behind after a star exploded – in orbit with a massive star. The Chandra data reveal a set of four rings that appear as circles around Circinus X-1. These rings can be seen in the composite image where X-rays from Chandra are red, green, and blue corresponding to low, medium, and high-energy X-rays respectively, which have been combined with a view in visible light from the Digitized Sky Survey*. The sharp edges are caused by the large size of the X-ray rings compared to the relatively small field-of-view of the Chandra detectors, providing only partial coverage.

    What are these rings and what information do they provide? These rings are light echoes, similar to sound echoes that we may experience here on Earth. Instead of sound waves bouncing off a canyon wall, the echoes around Circinus X-1 are produced when a burst of X-rays from the star system ricochet off of clouds of dust between Circinus X-1 and Earth.

    4
    This artist’s illustration shows in detail how the ringed structure seen by Chandra is produced. Each ring is caused by X-rays from the Circinus X-1 flare bouncing off of different dust clouds. If the cloud is closer to us, the ring appears to be larger. The result, as seen by Chandra, is a set of concentric rings with different apparent sizes depending on the distance of the intervening cloud from us. The physical sizes of the rings, using the labels given the illustration, are 41 light years (ring a), 49 light years (ring b), 55 light years (ring c), and 52 light years (ring d).

    By combining the light echoes that Chandra detects with radio data from the Mopra radio telescope in Australia, which determined the distance to the intervening clouds, astronomers can estimate the distance to Circinus X-1 using relatively simple geometry.

    CSIRO ATNF Mopra Telescope
    MOPRA

    The light echo method generates a distance of 30,700 light years. The observation thus settles a large difference amongst previous results, one similar to this work and one indicating a much smaller distance of about 13,000 light years.

    Such a difference in distance estimate to Circinus X-1 would have implications for other properties that have been observed before in the system. For example, if it is over twice as far away as some have previously thought, then this means its light output is much greater. (Consider a light bulb that is moved farther away, it will appear dimmer.) Because Circinus X-1 has been known to flare strongly in X-ray light, including an outburst in 2013, this implies that the system has exceeded the so-called Eddington Limit. This threshold, which is the balance between the inward pull of gravity and the outward push of radiation from an object, is generally only exceeded by systems containing black holes, not neutron stars.

    The researchers also determined that the speed of the jet of high-energy particles produced by the system is at least 99.9% of the speed of light. This extreme velocity is usually associated with jets produced by a black hole.

    These results appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal and are available online.

    • The writer does not make clear whether the DSS referenced is from STScI or ESO.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:23 pm on June 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NASA Chandra,   

    From Chandra: “NGC 5813: Chandra Finds Evidence for Serial Black Hole Eruptions” 

    NASA Chandra

    June 10, 2015

    1
    Composite

    2
    X-ray

    3
    Optical
    Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/S.Randall et al., Optical: SDSS
    Release Date June 10, 2015

    -Chandra data show the supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 5813 has erupted multiple times over 50 million years.
    -NGC 5813 is a group of galaxies that is immersed in an enormous reservoir of hot gas.
    -Cavities, or bubbles, in the hot gas that Chandra detects gives information about the black hole’s eruptions.
    -Chandra’s observations of NGC 5813 are the longest ever of a galaxy group taken in X-ray light.

    Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to show that multiple eruptions from a supermassive black hole over 50 million years have rearranged the cosmic landscape at the center of a group of galaxies.

    Scientists discovered this history of black hole eruptions by studying NGC 5813, a group of galaxies about 105 million light years [1 light year = about 6 trillion miles] from Earth. These Chandra observations are the longest ever obtained of a galaxy group, lasting for just over a week. The Chandra data are shown in this new composite image where the X-rays from Chandra (purple) have been combined with visible light data (red, green and blue).

    Galaxy groups are like their larger cousins, galaxy clusters, but instead of containing hundreds or even thousands of galaxies like clusters do, galaxy groups are typically comprised of 50 or fewer galaxies. Like galaxy clusters, groups of galaxies are enveloped by giant amounts of hot gas that emit X-rays.

    Local Group
    Milky Way’s Local [Galaxy] Group

    The erupting supermassive black hole is located in the central galaxy of NGC 5813. The black hole’s spin, coupled with gas spiraling toward the black hole, can produce a rotating, tightly wound vertical tower of magnetic field that flings a large fraction of the inflowing gas away from the vicinity of the black hole in an energetic, high-speed jet.

    The researchers were able to determine the length of the black hole’s eruptions by studying cavities, or giant bubbles, in the multi-million degree gas in NGC 5813. These cavities are carved out when jets from the supermassive black hole generate shock waves that push the gas outward and create huge holes.

    The latest Chandra observations reveal a third pair of cavities in addition to two that were previously found in NGC 5813, representing three distinct eruptions from the central black hole. (Mouse over the image for annotations of the cavities.) This is the highest number of pairs of cavities ever discovered in either a group or a cluster of galaxies. Similar to how a low-density bubble of air will rise to the surface in water, the giant cavities in NGC 5813 become buoyant and move away from the black hole.

    To understand more about the black hole’s history of eruptions, the researchers studied the details of the three pairs of cavities. They found that the amount of energy required to create the pair of cavities closest to the black hole is lower than the energy that produced the older two pairs. However, the rate of energy production, or power, is about the same for all three pairs. This indicates that the eruption associated with the inner pair of cavities is still occurring.

    Each of the three pairs of cavities is associated with a shock front, visible as sharp edges in the X-ray image. These shock fronts, akin to sonic booms for a supersonic plane, heat the gas, preventing most of it from cooling and forming large numbers of new stars.

    Close study of the shock fronts reveals that they are actually slightly broadened, or blurred, rather than being very sharp. This may be caused by turbulence in the hot gas. Assuming this is the case, the authors found a turbulent velocity – that is, the average speed of random motions of the gas – of about 160,000 miles per hour (258,000 kilometers per hour). This is consistent with the predictions of theoretical models and estimates based on X-ray observations of the hot gas in other groups and clusters.

    A paper describing these results was published in the June 1st, 2015 issue of The Astrophysical Journal and is available online. The first author is Scott Randall from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, MA and the co-authors are Paul Nulsen, Christine Jones, William Forman and Esra Bulbul from CfA; Tracey Clarke from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC; Ralph Kraft from CfA; Elizabeth Blanton from Boston University in Boston, MA; Lawrence David from CfA; Norbert Werner from Stanford University in Stanford, CA; Ming Sun from University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL; Megan Donahue from Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI; Simona Giacintucci from University of Maryland in College Park, MD and Aurora Simionescu from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Kanagawa, Japan.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:02 am on May 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra   

    From Chandra: “Space-time Foam: NASA Telescopes Set Limits on Space-time Quantum Foam” 

    NASA Chandra

    May 28, 2015

    1
    Credit NASA/CXC/FIT/E.Perlman et al, Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
    Release Date May 28, 2015

    Fast Facts for BR 0353-3820:
    Credit NASA/CXC/FIT/E.Perlman et al, Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
    Release Date May 28, 2015

    Fast Facts for BR 0418-5723:
    Credit NASA/CXC/FIT/E.Perlman et al, Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
    Release Date May 28, 2015

    Fast Facts for BR 0424-2209:
    Credit NASA/CXC/FIT/E.Perlman et al
    Release Date May 28, 2015

    Fast Facts for PSS 0747+4434:
    Credit NASA/CXC/FIT/E.Perlman et al, Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
    Release Date May 28, 2015

    Fast Facts for PSS 1058+1245:
    Credit NASA/CXC/FIT/E.Perlman et al, Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
    Release Date May 28, 2015

    X-ray and gamma-ray observations of distant quasars are being used to test space-time at extremely tiny scales.

    Certain models predict tiny bubbles quadrillions of times smaller than the nucleus of an atom exist.

    This “space-time foam” is impossible to observe directly so scientists use other methods to test ideas about it.

    A new study combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope, and the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array (VERITAS) in Arizona is helping scientists set limits on the quantum nature of space-time on extremely tiny scales, as explained in our latest press release.

    NASA Fermi Telescope
    Fermi

    NASA VERITAS
    VERITAS

    Certain aspects of quantum mechanics predict that space-time – the three dimensions of space plus time — would not be smooth on the scale of about ten times a billionth of a trillionth of the diameter of a hydrogen atom’s nucleus. They refer to the structure that may exist at this extremely small size as “space-time foam.” This artist’s illustration depicts how the foamy structure of space-time may appear, showing tiny bubbles quadrillions of times smaller than the nucleus of an atom that are constantly fluctuating and last for only infinitesimal fractions of a second.

    Because space-time foam is so small, it is impossible to observe it directly. However, depending on what model of space-time is used, light that has traveled over great cosmic distances may be affected by the unseen foam in ways that scientists can analyze. More specifically, some models predict that the accumulation of distance uncertainties for light traveling across billions of light years would cause the image quality to degrade so much that the objects would become undetectable. The wavelength where the image disappears should depend on the model of space-time foam used.

    The researchers used observations of X-rays and gamma-rays from very distant quasars – luminous sources produced by matter falling towards supermassive black holes – to test models of the smoothness and structure of space-time. Chandra’s X-ray detection of six quasars, shown in the upper part of the graphic, at distances of billions of light years, rules out one model, according to which photons diffuse randomly through space-time foam in a manner similar to light diffusing through fog. Detections of distant quasars at shorter, gamma-ray wavelengths with Fermi and even shorter wavelengths with VERITAS demonstrate that a second, so-called holographic model with less diffusion does not work.

    These results appeared in the May 20th issue of The Astrophysical Journal and are available online. The authors of this study are Eric Perlman (Florida Institute of Technology), Saul Rappaport (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Wayne Christensen (University of North Carolina), Y. Jack Ng (University of North Carolina), John DeVore (Visidyne), and David Pooley (Sam Houston State University).

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:16 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Chandra   

    From Chandra: “Magnetar Near Supermassive Black Hole Delivers Surprises” 

    NASA Chandra

    May 13, 2015
    Janet Anderson
    Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
    256-544-0034
    janet.l.anderson@nasa.gov

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

    1
    Credit NASA/CXC/INAF/F.Coti Zelati et al
    Release Date May 14, 2015

    A magnetar near the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole is exhibiting some unusual behavior.

    Since its discovery in 2013, this magnetar has been monitored by Chandra and XMM-Newton.

    The X-ray output from this magnetar is dropping more slowly than others and its surface is exceptionally hot.

    In 2013, astronomers announced they had discovered a magnetar exceptionally close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way using a suite of space-borne telescopes including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    Magnetars are dense, collapsed stars (called “neutron stars“) that possess enormously powerful magnetic fields. At a distance that could be as small as 0.3 light years (or about 2 trillion miles) from the 4-million-solar mass black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy, the magnetar is by far the closest neutron star to a supermassive black hole ever discovered and is likely in its gravitational grip.

    Since its discovery two years ago when it gave off a burst of X-rays, astronomers have been actively monitoring the magnetar, dubbed SGR 1745-2900, with Chandra and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton.

    ESA XMM Newton
    ESA/XMM-Newton

    The main image of the graphic shows the region around the Milky Way’s black hole in X-rays from Chandra (red, green, and blue are the low, medium, and high-energy X-rays respectively). The inset contains Chandra’s close-up look at the area right around the black hole, showing a combined image obtained between 2005 and 2008 (left) when the magnetar was not detected, during a quiescent period, and an observation in 2013 (right) when it was caught as a bright point source during the X-ray outburst that led to its discovery.

    A new study uses long-term monitoring observations to reveal that the amount of X-rays from SGR 1745-2900 is dropping more slowly than other previously observed magnetars, and its surface is hotter than expected.

    The team first considered whether “starquakes” are able to explain this unusual behavior. When neutron stars, including magnetars, form, they can develop a tough crust on the outside of the condensed star. Occasionally, this outer crust will crack, similar to how the Earth’s surface can fracture during an earthquake. Although starquakes can explain the change in brightness and cooling seen in many magnetars, the authors found that this mechanism by itself was unable to explain the slow drop in X-ray brightness and the hot crustal temperature. Fading in X-ray brightness and surface cooling occur too quickly in the starquake model.

    The researchers suggest that bombardment of the surface of the magnetar by charged particles trapped in twisted bundles of magnetic fields above the surface may provide the additional heating of the magnetar’s surface, and account for the slow decline in X-rays. These twisted bundles of magnetic fields can be generated when the neutron star forms.

    2
    This illustration shows how an extremely rapidly rotating neutron star, which has formed from the collapse of a very massive star, can produce incredibly powerful magnetic fields. (Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

    The researchers do not think that the magnetar’s unusual behavior is caused by its proximity to a supermassive black hole, as the distance is still too great for strong interactions via magnetic fields or gravity.

    Astronomers will continue to study SGR 1745-2900 to glean more clues about what is happening with this magnetar as it orbits our galaxy’s supermassive black hole.

    These results appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in a paper led by the PhD student Francesco Coti Zelati (Universita’ dell’ Insubria, University of Amsterdam, INAF-OAB), within a large international collaboration including N. Rea (University of the Amsterdam, CSIC-IEEC), A. Papitto, D. Viganò (CSIC-IEEC), J. A. Pons (Universitat d’Alacant), R. Turolla (Universita’ di Padova, MSSL), P. Esposito (INAF, CfA), D. Haggard (Amherst college), F. K. Baganoff (MIT), G. Ponti (MPE), G. L. Israel, S. Campana (INAF), D. F. Torres (CSIC-IEEC, ICREA), A. Tiengo (IUSS, INAF), S. Mereghetti (INAF), R. Perna (Stony Brook University), S. Zane (MSSL), R. P. Mignani (INAF, University of Zielona Gora), A. Possenti, L. Stella (INAF).

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

     
    • kagmi 5:37 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for explaining about the colors in the images!

      I always wonder, looking at these telescopic images, how close to “true color” they are.

      You can often find images of the same nebula in a variety of color schemes depending on how they’re coding color, I presume, which makes me wonder if any of them are anything akin to “real color” or if many of these objects (like nebulae) are just too faint to be seen in any meaningful capacity by the naked eye, even from close-up.

      Like

    • richardmitnick 6:09 pm on May 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I would love to take credit for the explanations. But I cannot. Everything I give you was in the article from the source. The link to the original article is near the bottom of every post.

      Thanks for all of your comments.

      Like

c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 463 other followers

%d bloggers like this: