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  • richardmitnick 11:42 am on May 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble   

    From Ethan Siegel: “We Have Now Reached The Limits Of The Hubble Space Telescope” 

    From Ethan Siegel
    May 16, 2019

    1
    The Hubble Space Telescope, as imaged during its last and final servicing mission. The only way it can point itself is from the internal spinning devices that allow it to change its orientation and hold a stable position. But what it can see is determined by its instruments, mirror, and design limitations. It has reached those ultimate limits; to go beyond them, we’ll need a better telescope. (NASA)

    The world’s greatest observatory can go no further with its current instrument set.

    The Hubble Space Telescope has provided humanity with our deepest views of the Universe ever. It has revealed fainter, younger, less-evolved, and more distant stars, galaxies, and galaxy clusters than any other observatory. More than 29 years after its launch, Hubble is still the greatest tool we have for exploring the farthest reaches of the Universe. Wherever astrophysical objects emit starlight, no observatory is better equipped to study them than Hubble.

    But there are limits to what any observatory can see, even Hubble. It’s limited by the size of its mirror, the quality of its instruments, its temperature and wavelength range, and the most universal limiting factor inherent to any astronomical observation: time. Over the past few years, Hubble has released some of the greatest images humanity has ever seen. But it’s unlikely to ever do better; it’s reached its absolute limit. Here’s the story.

    2
    The Hubble Space Telescope (left) is our greatest flagship observatory in astrophysics history, but is much smaller and less powerful than the upcoming James Webb (center). Of the four proposed flagship missions for the 2030s, LUVOIR (right) is by far the most ambitious. By probing the Universe to fainter objects, higher resolution, and across a wider range of wavelengths, we can improve our understanding of the cosmos in unprecedented ways. (MATT MOUNTAIN / AURA)

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    NASA Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR)

    From its location in space, approximately 540 kilometers (336 mi) up, the Hubble Space Telescope has an enormous advantage over ground-based telescopes: it doesn’t have to contend with Earth’s atmosphere. The moving particles making up Earth’s atmosphere provide a turbulent medium that distorts the path of any incoming light, while simultaneously containing molecules that prevent certain wavelengths of light from passing through it entirely.

    While ground-based telescopes at the time could achieve practical resolutions no better than 0.5–1.0 arcseconds, where 1 arcsecond is 1/3600th of a degree, Hubble — once the flaw with its primary mirror was corrected — immediately delivered resolutions down to the theoretical diffraction limit for a telescope of its size: 0.05 arcseconds. Almost instantly, our views of the Universe were sharper than ever before.

    3
    This composite image of a region of the distant Universe (upper left) uses optical (upper right) and near-infrared (lower left) data from Hubble, along with far-infrared (lower right) data from Spitzer. The Spitzer Space Telescope is nearly as large as Hubble: more than a third of its diameter, but the wavelengths it probes are so much longer that its resolution is far worse. The number of wavelengths that fit across the diameter of the primary mirror is what determines the resolution.(NASA/JPL-CALTECH/ESA)

    Sharpness, or resolution, is one of the most important factors in discovering what’s out there in the distant Universe. But there are three others that are just as essential:

    the amount of light-gathering power you have, needed to view the faintest objects possible,
    the field-of-view of your telescope, enabling you to observe a larger number of objects,
    and the wavelength range you’re capable of probing, as the observed light’s wavelength depends the object’s distance from you.

    Hubble may be great at all of these, but it also possesses fundamental limits for all four.

    4
    When you look at a region of the sky with an instrument like the Hubble Space Telescope, you are not simply viewing the light from distant objects as it was when that light was emitted, but also as the light is affected by all the intervening material and the expansion of space, that it experiences along its journey. Although Hubble has taken us farther back than any other observatory to date, there are fundamental limits to it, and reasons why it will be incapable of going farther. (NASA, ESA, AND Z. LEVAY, F. SUMMERS (STSCI))

    The resolution of any telescope is determined by the number of wavelengths of light that can fit across its primary mirror. Hubble’s 2.4 meter (7.9 foot) mirror enables it to obtain that diffraction-limited resolution of 0.05 arcseconds. This is so good that only in the past few years have Earth’s most powerful telescopes, often more than four times as large and equipped with state-of-the-art adaptive optics systems, been able to compete.

    To improve upon the resolution of Hubble, there are really only two options available:

    1. use shorter wavelengths of light, so that a greater number of wavelengths can fit across a mirror of the same size,
    2. or build a larger telescope, which will also enable a greater number of wavelengths to fit across your mirror.

    Hubble’s optics are designed to view ultraviolet light, visible light, and near-infrared light, with sensitivities ranging from approximately 100 nanometers to 1.8 microns in wavelength. It can do no better with its current instruments, which were installed during the final servicing mission back in 2009.

    5
    This image shows Hubble servicing Mission 4 astronauts practice on a Hubble model underwater at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston under the watchful eyes of NASA engineers and safety divers. The final servicing mission on Hubble was successfully completed 10 years ago; Hubble has not had its equipment or instruments upgraded since, and is now running up against its fundamental limitations. (NASA)

    Light-gathering power is simply about collecting more and more light over a greater period of time, and Hubble has been mind-blowing in that regard. Without the atmosphere to contend with or the Earth’s rotation to worry about, Hubble can simply point to an interesting spot in the sky, apply whichever color/wavelength filter is desired, and take an observation. These observations can then be stacked — or added together — to produce a deep, long-exposure image.

    Using this technique, we can see the distant Universe to unprecedented depths and faintnesses. The Hubble Deep Field was the first demonstration of this technique, revealing thousands of galaxies in a region of space where zero were previously known. At present, the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) is the deepest ultraviolet-visible-infrared composite, revealing some 5,500 galaxies in a region covering just 1/32,000,000th of the full sky.

    6
    The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) may have observed a region of sky just 1/32,000,000th of the total, but was able to uncover a whopping 5,500 galaxies within it: an estimated 10% of the total number of galaxies actually contained in this pencil-beam-style slice. The remaining 90% of galaxies are either too faint or too red or too obscured for Hubble to reveal, and observing for longer periods of time won’t improve this issue by very much. Hubble has reached its limits. (HUDF09 AND HXDF12 TEAMS / E. SIEGEL (PROCESSING))

    Of course, it took 23 days of total data taking to collect the information contained within the XDF. To reveal objects with half the brightness as the faintest objects seen in the XDF, we’d have to continue observing for a total of 92 days: four times as long. There’s a severe trade-off if we were to do this, as it would tie up the telescope for months and would only teach us marginally more about the distant Universe.

    Instead, an alternative strategy for learning more about the distant Universe is to survey a targeted, wide-field area of the sky. Individual galaxies and larger structures like galaxy clusters can be probed with deep but large-area views, revealing a tremendous level of detail about what’s present at the greatest distances of all. Instead of using our observing time to go deeper, we can still go very deep, but cast a much wider net.

    This, too, comes with a tremendous cost. The deepest, widest view of the Universe ever assembled by Hubble took over 250 days of telescope time, and was stitched together from nearly 7,500 individual exposures. While this new Hubble Legacy Field is great for extragalactic astronomy, it still only reveals 265,000 galaxies over a region of sky smaller than that covered by the full Moon.

    Hubble was designed to go deep, but not to go wide. Its field of view is extremely narrow, which makes a larger, more comprehensive survey of the distant Universe all but prohibitive. It’s truly remarkable how far Hubble has taken us in terms of resolution, survey depth, and field-of-view, but Hubble has truly reached its limit on those fronts.

    7
    In the big image at left, the many galaxies of a massive cluster called MACS J1149+2223 dominate the scene. Gravitational lensing by the giant cluster brightened the light from the newfound galaxy, known as MACS 1149-JD, some 15 times. At upper right, a partial zoom-in shows MACS 1149-JD in more detail, and a deeper zoom appears to the lower right. This is correct and consistent with General Relativity, and independent of how we visualize (or whether we visualize) space. (NASA/ESA/STSCI/JHU)

    Finally, there are the wavelength limits as well. Stars emits a wide variety of light, from the ultraviolet through the optical and into the infrared. It’s no coincidence that this is what Hubble was designed for: to look for light that’s of the same variety and wavelengths that we know stars emit.

    But this, too, is fundamentally limiting. You see, as light travels through the Universe, the fabric of space itself is expanding. This causes the light, even if it’s emitted with intrinsically short wavelengths, to have its wavelength stretched by the expansion of space. By the time it arrives at our eyes, it’s redshifted by a particular factor that’s determined by the expansion rate of the Universe and the object’s distance from us.

    Hubble’s wavelength range sets a fundamental limit to how far back we can see: to when the Universe is around 400 million years old, but no earlier.

    8
    The most distant galaxy ever discovered in the known Universe, GN-z11, has its light come to us from 13.4 billion years ago: when the Universe was only 3% its current age: 407 million years old. But there are even more distant galaxies out there, and we all hope that the James Webb Space Telescope will discover them. (NASA, ESA, AND G. BACON (STSCI))

    The most distant galaxy ever discovered by Hubble, GN-z11, is right at this limit. Discovered in one of the deep-field images, it has everything imaginable going for it.

    It was observed across all the different wavelength ranges Hubble is capable of, with only its ultraviolet-emitted light showing up in the longest-wavelength infrared filters Hubble can measure.
    It was gravitationally lensed by a nearby galaxy, magnifying its brightness to raise it above Hubble’s naturally-limiting faintness threshold.
    It happens to be located along a line-of-sight that experienced a high (and statistically-unlikely) level of star-formation at early times, providing a clear path for the emitted light to travel along without being blocked.

    No other galaxy has been discovered and confirmed at even close to the same distance as this object.

    9
    Only because this distant galaxy, GN-z11, is located in a region where the intergalactic medium is mostly reionized, can Hubble reveal it to us at the present time. To see further, we require a better observatory, optimized for these kinds of detection, than Hubble. (NASA, ESA, AND A. FEILD (STSCI))

    Hubble may have reached its limits, but future observatories will take us far beyond what Hubble’s limits are. The James Webb Space Telescope is not only larger — with a primary mirror diameter of 6.5 meters (as opposed to Hubble’s 2.4 meters) — but operates at far cooler temperatures, enabling it to view longer wavelengths.

    At these longer wavelengths, up to 30 microns (as opposed to Hubble’s 1.8), James Webb will be able to see through the light-blocking dust that hampers Hubble’s view of most of the Universe. Additionally, it will be able to see objects with much greater redshifts and earlier lookback times: seeing the Universe when it was a mere 200 million years old. While Hubble might reveal some extremely early galaxies, James Webb might reveal them as they’re in the process of forming for the very first time.

    10
    The viewing area of Hubble (top left) as compared to the area that WFIRST will be able to view, at the same depth, in the same amount of time. The wide-field view of WFIRST will allow us to capture a greater number of distant supernovae than ever before, and will enable us to perform deep, wide surveys of galaxies on cosmic scales never probed before. It will bring a revolution in science, regardless of what it finds, and provide the best constraints on how dark energy evolves over cosmic time. (NASA / GODDARD / WFIRST)

    NASA/WFIRST

    Other observatories will take us to other frontiers in realms where Hubble is only scratching the surface. NASA’s proposed flagship of the 2020s, WFIRST, will be very similar to Hubble, but will have 50 times the field-of-view, making it ideal for large surveys. Telescopes like the LSST will cover nearly the entire sky, with resolutions comparable to what Hubble achieves, albeit with shorter observing times. And future ground-based observatories like GMT or ELT, which will usher in the era of 30-meter-class telescopes, might finally surpass Hubble in terms of practical resolution.

    At the limits of what Hubble is capable of, it’s still extending our views into the distant Universe, and providing the data that enables astronomers to push the frontiers of what is known. But to truly go farther, we need better tools. If we truly value learning the secrets of the Universe, including what it’s made of, how it came to be the way it is today, and what its fate is, there’s no substitute for the next generation of observatories.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Starts With A Bang! is a blog/video blog about cosmology, physics, astronomy, and anything else I find interesting enough to write about. I am a firm believer that the highest good in life is learning, and the greatest evil is willful ignorance. The goal of everything on this site is to help inform you about our world, how we came to be here, and to understand how it all works. As I write these pages for you, I hope to not only explain to you what we know, think, and believe, but how we know it, and why we draw the conclusions we do. It is my hope that you find this interesting, informative, and accessible,” says Ethan

     
  • richardmitnick 9:18 am on May 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble Observes Creative Destruction as Galaxies Collide", , , , , Irregular galaxy NGC 4485, NASA ESA Hubble   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope: “Hubble Observes Creative Destruction as Galaxies Collide” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    16 May 2019
    Bethany Downer
    ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
    Garching, Germany
    Email: bethany.downer@partner.eso.org

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    1
    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a new look at the spectacular irregular galaxy NGC 4485, which has been warped and wound by its larger galactic neighbour. The gravity of the second galaxy has disrupted the ordered collection of stars, gas and dust, giving rise to an erratic region of newborn, hot, blue stars and chaotic clumps and streams of dust and gas.

    2
    NGC 4485 has been involved in a dramatic gravitational interplay with its larger galactic neighbour NGC 4490 — out of frame to the bottom right in this image. This ruined the original, ordered spiral structure of the galaxy and transformed it into an irregular one. The interaction also created a stream of material about 25 000 light-years long, connecting the two galaxies. The stream, visible to the right of the galaxy is made up of bright knots and huge pockets of gassy regions, as well as enormous regions of star formation in which young, massive, blue stars are born. Below NGC 4485 one can see a bright, orange background galaxy: CXOU J123033.6+414057. This galaxy is the source of X-ray radiation studied by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. It’s distance from Earth is about 850 million light-years.

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    The irregular galaxy NGC 4485 has been involved in a dramatic gravitational interplay with its larger galactic neighbour NGC 4490 — out of frame to the bottom right in the top image. Found about 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs), the strange result of these interacting galaxies has resulted in an entry in the Atlas of Peculiar galaxies: Arp 269.

    Having already made their closest approach, NGC 4485 and NGC 4490 are now moving away from each other, vastly altered from their original states. Still engaged in a destructive yet creative dance, the gravitational force between them continues to warp each of them out of all recognition, while at the same time creating the conditions for huge regions of intense star formation.

    This galactic tug-of-war has created a stream of material about 25 000 light-years long which connects the two galaxies. The stream is made up of bright knots and huge pockets of gassy regions, as well as enormous regions of star formation in which young, massive, blue stars are born. Short-lived, however, these stars quickly run out of fuel and end their lives in dramatic explosions. While such an event seems to be purely destructive, it also enriches the cosmic environment with heavier elements and delivers new material to form a new generation of stars.

    Two very different regions are now apparent in NGC 4485; on the left are hints of the galaxy’s previous spiral structure, which was at one time undergoing “normal” galactic evolution. The right of the image reveals a portion of the galaxy ripped towards its larger neighbour, bursting with hot, blue stars and streams of dust and gas.

    This image, captured by the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope, adds light through two new filters compared with an image released in 2014. The new data provide further insights into the complex and mysterious field of galaxy evolution.

    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    See the full ESA/Hubble article here .
    See the full HubbleSite article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

    ESA50 Logo large

    AURA Icon

     
  • richardmitnick 5:07 pm on May 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble, Our sun's future- not good   

    From Ethan Siegel: “This Is What Our Sun’s Death Will Look Like, With Pictures From NASA’s Hubble” 

    From Ethan Siegel
    May 6, 2019

    1
    The planetary nebula NGC 6369’s blue-green ring marks the location where energetic ultraviolet light has stripped electrons from oxygen atoms in the gas. Our Sun, being a single star that rotates on the slow end of stars, is very likely going to wind up looking akin to this nebula after perhaps another 6 or 7 billion years. (NASA AND THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI/AURA))

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Our Sun will someday run out of fuel. Here’s what it will look like when that happens.

    The fate of our Sun is unambiguous, determined solely by its mass.

    2
    If all else fails, we can be certain that the evolution of the Sun will be the death of all life on Earth. Long before we reach the red giant stage, stellar evolution will cause the Sun’s luminosity to increase significantly enough to boil Earth’s oceans, which will surely eradicate humanity, if not all life on Earth. (OLIVERBEATSON OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / PUBLIC DOMAIN)

    Too small to go supernova, it’s still massive enough to become a red giant when its core’s hydrogen is exhausted.

    3
    As the Sun becomes a true red giant, the Earth itself may be swallowed or engulfed, but will definitely be roasted as never before. The Sun’s outer layers will swell to more than 100 times their present diameter.(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/FSGREGS)

    As the inner regions contract and heat up, the outer portions expand, becoming tenuous and rarified.

    4
    Near the end of a Sun-like star’s life, it begins to blow off its outer layers into the depths of space, forming a protoplanetary nebula like the Egg Nebula, seen here. Its outer layers have not yet been heated to sufficient temperatures by the central, contracting star to create a true planetary nebula just yet. (NASA AND THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI / AURA), HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE / ACS)

    NASA Hubble Advanced Camera forSurveys

    The interior fusion reactions generate intense stellar winds, which gently expel the star’s outer layers.

    5
    The Eight Burst Nebula, NGC 3132, is not well-understood in terms of its shape or formation. The different colors in this image represent gas that radiates at different temperatures. It appears to have just a single star inside, which can be seen contracting down to form a white dwarf near the center of the nebula. (THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI/AURA/NASA))

    Single stars often shed their outer layers spherically, like 20% of planetary nebulae.

    6
    The spiral structure around the old, giant star R Sculptoris is due to winds blowing off outer layers of the star as it undergoes its AGB phase, where copious amounts of neutrons (from carbon-13 + helium-4 fusion) are produced and captured. The spiral structure is likely due to the presence of another large mass that periodically orbits the dying star: a binary companion. (ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/M. MAERCKER ET AL.)

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

    Stars with binary companions frequently produce spirals or other asymmetrical configurations.

    7
    When our Sun runs out of fuel, it will become a red giant, followed by a planetary nebula with a white dwarf at the center. The Cat’s Eye nebula is a visually spectacular example of this potential fate, with the intricate, layered, asymmetrical shape of this particular one suggesting a binary companion. (NASA, ESA, HEIC, AND THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI/AURA); ACKNOWLEDGMENT: R. CORRADI (ISAAC NEWTON GROUP OF TELESCOPES, SPAIN) AND Z. TSVETANOV (NASA))


    Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes located at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands

    8
    The Twin Jet nebula, shown here, is a stunning example of a bipolar nebula, which is thought to originate from either a rapidly rotating star, or a star that’s part of a binary system when it dies. We’re still working to understand exactly how our Sun will appear when it becomes a planetary nebula in the distant future. (ESA, HUBBLE & NASA, ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: JUDY SCHMIDT)

    The leading explanation is that many stars rotate rapidly, which generates large-scale magnetic fields.

    9
    Known as the Rotten Egg Nebula owing to the large presence of sulfur found inside, this is a planetary nebula in the earliest stages, where it is expected to grow significantly over the coming centuries. The gas being expelled is moving at an incredible speed of about 1,000,000 km/hr, or about 0.1% the speed of light. (ESA/HUBBLE & NASA, ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: JUDY SCHMIDT)

    Those fields accelerate the loosely-held particles populating the outer stellar regions along the dying star’s poles.

    10
    The Ant Nebula, also known as Menzel 3, is showcased in this image. The leading candidate explanation for its appearance is that the dying, central star is spinning, which winds its strong magnetic fields up into shapes that get entangled, like spaghetti twirled too long with a giant fork. The charged particles interact with those field lines, heating up, emitting radiation, and then get ejected, where they’ll disappear off into interstellar space. (NASA, ESA & THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI/AURA); ACKNOWLEDGMENT: R. SAHAI (JET PROPULSION LAB), B. BALICK (UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON))


    NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope delivers the most spectacular images of this natural phenomenon.

    11
    Nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen are highlighted in the planetary nebula above, known as the Hourglass Nebula for its distinctive shape. The assigned colors distinctly show the locations of the various elements, which are segregated from one another. (NASA/HST/WFPC2; R SAHAI AND J TRAUGER (JPL))

    NASA/Hubble WFPC2. No longer in service.

    By assigning colors to specific elemental and spectral data, scientists create spectacular visualizations of these signatures.

    12
    The nebula, officially known as Hen 2–104, appears to have two nested hourglass-shaped structures that were sculpted by a whirling pair of stars in a binary system. The duo consists of an aging red giant star and a burned-out star, a white dwarf. This image is a composite of observations taken in various colors of light that correspond to the glowing gases in the nebula, where red is sulfur, green is hydrogen, orange is nitrogen, and blue is oxygen. (NASA, ESA, AND STSCI)

    The cold, neutral gas will be boiled off by the central white dwarf in just ~10,000 years.

    13
    The Helix Nebula may appear to be spherical in nature, but a detailed analysis has revealed a far more complex structure. By mapping out its 3D structure, we learn that its ring-like appearance is merely an artifact of the particular orientation and time at which we view it. Nebulae such as these are short-lived, lasting for only about 10,000 years until they fade away. (NASA, ESA, C.R. O’DELL (VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY), AND M. MEIXNER, P. MCCULLOUGH, AND G. BACON ( SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE))

    In approximately 7 billion years, our Sun’s anticipated death should proceed in exactly this manner.

    14
    This planetary nebula may be known as the ‘Butterfly Nebula’, but in reality it’s hot, ionized luminous gas blown off in the death throes of a dying star. The outer portions are illuminated by the hot, white dwarf this dying star leaves behind. Our Sun is likely in for a similar fate at the end of its red giant, helium-burning phase. (STSCI / NASA, ESA, AND THE HUBBLE SM4 ERO TEAM)

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Starts With A Bang! is a blog/video blog about cosmology, physics, astronomy, and anything else I find interesting enough to write about. I am a firm believer that the highest good in life is learning, and the greatest evil is willful ignorance. The goal of everything on this site is to help inform you about our world, how we came to be here, and to understand how it all works. As I write these pages for you, I hope to not only explain to you what we know, think, and believe, but how we know it, and why we draw the conclusions we do. It is my hope that you find this interesting, informative, and accessible,” says Ethan

     
  • richardmitnick 10:40 am on May 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hubble Legacy Field. Image contains 265000 galaxies that stretch billions of years back in time., NASA ESA Hubble, , University of Connecticut,   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope : “Hubble Astronomers Assemble Wide View of the Evolving Universe” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    May 2, 2019
    Donna Weaver
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4493
    dweaver@stsci.edu

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    Garth Illingworth
    University of California, Santa Cruz; UCO/Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, California
    831-459-2843
    gdi@ucolick.org

    Bethany Downer
    ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
    Garching, Germany
    Email: bethany.downer@partner.eso.org

    Team led by UC Santa Cruz astronomer Garth Illingworth used 16 years of Hubble Space Telescope observations to create a new portrait of the distant universe.

    1
    Hubble Legacy Field. Image contains 265,000 galaxies that stretch billions of years back in time. Image credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), K. Whitaker (University of Conneticut), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and the Hubble Legacy Field Team.

    Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive “history book” of galaxies into one single image, using 16 years’ worth of observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

    The deep-sky mosaic, created from nearly 7,500 individual exposures, provides a wide portrait of the distant universe, containing 265,000 galaxies that stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the big bang. The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. The universe’s evolutionary history is also chronicled in this one sweeping view. The portrait shows how galaxies change over time, building themselves up to become the giant galaxies seen in the nearby universe.

    This ambitious endeavor, called the Hubble Legacy Field, also combines observations taken by several Hubble deep-field surveys, including the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), the deepest view of the universe. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing the key features of galaxy assembly over time.

    “Now that we have gone wider than in previous surveys, we are harvesting many more distant galaxies in the largest such dataset ever produced by Hubble,” said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, leader of the team that assembled the image.

    UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

    “This one image contains the full history of the growth of galaxies in the universe, from their time as ‘infants’ to when they grew into fully-fledged ‘adults.’

    2
    This graphic shows close-up images of 15 galaxies from the 265,000 galaxies in the Hubble Legacy Field. The galaxies are scattered across time, from 550 million years ago to 13 billion years ago. The top panel of snapshots shows mature “adult” galaxies; the middle panel shows galaxies in their “teenage” years when they are growing and changing dramatically; and the bottom panel shows small, youthful galaxies. [Credits: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), K. Whitaker (University of Connecticut), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and the Hubble Legacy Field team] (This image was obtained from https://news.ucsc.edu/2019/05/hubble-legacy-field.html)

    No image will surpass this one until future space telescopes are launched. “We’ve put together this mosaic as a tool to be used by us and by other astronomers,” Illingworth added. “The expectation is that this survey will lead to an even more coherent, in-depth, and greater understanding of the universe’s evolution in the coming years.”

    The image yields a huge catalog of distant galaxies. “Such exquisite high-resolution measurements of the numerous galaxies in this catalog enable a wide swath of extragalactic study,” said catalog lead researcher Katherine Whitaker of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs. “Often, these kinds of surveys have yielded unanticipated discoveries which have had the greatest impact on our understanding of galaxy evolution.”

    Galaxies are the “markers of space,” as astronomer Edwin Hubble once described them a century ago. Galaxies allow astronomers to trace the expansion of the universe, offer clues to the underlying physics of the cosmos, show when the chemical elements originated, and enable the conditions that eventually led to the appearance of our solar system and life.

    Edwin Hubble looking through a 100-inch Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson in Southern California, 1929 discovers the Universe is Expanding

    This wider view contains about 30 times as many galaxies as in the previous deep fields. The new portrait, a mosaic of multiple snapshots, covers almost the width of the full Moon. The XDF, which penetrated deeper into space than this wider view, lies in this region, but it covers less than one-tenth of the full Moon’s diameter. The Legacy Field also uncovers a zoo of unusual objects. Many of them are the remnants of galactic “train wrecks,” a time in the early universe when small, young galaxies collided and merged with other galaxies.

    Assembling all of the observations was an immense task. The image comprises the collective work of 31 Hubble programs by different teams of astronomers. Hubble has spent more time on this tiny area than on any other region of the sky, totaling more than 250 days, representing nearly three-quarters of a year.

    “Our goal was to assemble all 16 years of exposures into a legacy image,” explained Dan Magee, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, the team’s data processing lead. “Previously, most of these exposures had not been put together in a consistent way that can be used by any researcher. Astronomers can select the data in the Legacy Field they want and work with it immediately, as opposed to having to perform a huge amount of data reduction before conducting scientific analysis.”

    The image, along with the individual exposures that make up the new view, is available to the worldwide astronomical community through the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). MAST, an online database of astronomical data from Hubble and other NASA missions, is located at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The Hubble Space Telescope has come a long way in taking ever deeper “core samples” of the distant universe. After Hubble’s launch in 1990, astronomers debated if it was worth spending a chunk of the telescope’s time to go on a “fishing expedition” to take a very long exposure of a small, seemingly blank piece of sky. The resulting Hubble Deep Field image in 1995 captured several thousand unseen galaxies in one pointing. The bold effort was a landmark demonstration and a defining proof-of-concept that set the stage for future deep field images. In 2002, Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys went even deeper to uncover 10,000 galaxies in a single snapshot.

    NASA Hubble Advanced Camera forSurveys

    Astronomers used exposures taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), installed in 2009, to assemble the eXtreme Deep Field snapshot in 2012.

    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    Unlike previous Hubble cameras, the telescope’s WFC3 covers a broader wavelength range, from ultraviolet to near-infrared.

    This new image mosaic is the first in a series of Hubble Legacy Field images. The team is working on a second set of images, totaling more than 5,200 Hubble exposures, in another area of the sky. In the future, astronomers hope to broaden the multiwavelength range in the legacy images to include longer-wavelength infrared data and high-energy X-ray observations from two other NASA Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory.

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    The vast number of galaxies in the Legacy Field image are also prime targets for future telescopes. “This will really set the stage for NASA’s planned Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST),” Illingworth said.

    NASA/WFIRST

    “The Legacy Field is a pathfinder for WFIRST, which will capture an image that is 100 times larger than a typical Hubble photo. In just three weeks’ worth of observations by WFIRST, astronomers will be able to assemble a field that is much deeper and more than twice as large as the Hubble Legacy Field.”

    In addition, NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to push much deeper into the legacy field to reveal how the infant galaxies actually grew.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    Webb’s infrared coverage will go beyond the limits of Hubble and Spitzer to help astronomers identify the first galaxies in the universe.

    For more information about the Hubble Legacy Field and Hubble telescope, visit http://www.nasa.gov/hubble.

    See the full HubbleSite article here .
    See the full ESA/Hubble article here .
    See the full UCSC article here .

    Related Links
    This site is not responsible for content found on external links

    NASA’s Hubble Portal
    Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST)
    Hubble Legacy Field (HLF) in MAST
    University of Connecticut’s Release
    Yale University’s Release


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 11:29 am on April 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Buckminsterfullerene molecule with 60 carbon atoms, , , NASA ESA Hubble   

    From AAS NOVA: “Hubble Confirms Interstellar Buckyballs” 

    AASNOVA

    From AAS NOVA

    24 April 2019
    Susanna Kohler

    1
    Buckminsterfullerene, a molecule that consists of 60 carbon atoms. Recent research has discovered evidence of this molecule in the diffuse interstellar medium. [NASA/JPL-Caltech]

    From a jumble of confusing clues in Hubble observations of interstellar space, scientists have picked out evidence of a celebrity molecule: ionized Buckminsterfullerene, or buckyballs.

    Sorting Out Diffuse Signals

    What makes up the tenuous gas and dust that pervades our galaxy, filling the space between stars? What kinds of complex molecules can form naturally in our universe, outside of the potentially contrived conditions of Earth-side laboratories? Where might these molecules form, and how are they distributed throughout space?

    2
    Hubble spectra of seven heavily-reddened interstellar sightlines (top seven black lines) and four unreddened standard stars (bottom four lines). The red line at the top indicates a laboratory spectrum for C60+. Positions of the four absorption features associated with C60+ are marked with vertical dashed lines. Click to enlarge. [Cordiner et al. 2019]

    These are among the many open questions regarding the chemistry of our universe. One particular, longstanding puzzle for astronomers is the cause of what’s known as “diffuse interstellar bands”: hundreds of broad absorption features that appear in optical to near-infrared spectra of reddened stars.

    These features are not caused by the stars themselves, so they must be due to absorption of light by the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM) between us and the stars. But the jumble of hundreds of features — and the unknown conditions under which they are produced — has made it incredibly challenging to identify the individual molecules present in the diffuse ISM.

    A new study led by Martin Cordiner (NASA Goddard SFC; Catholic University of America) presents observations from the Hubble Space Telescope — thus avoiding the additional complication of absorption features from the Earth’s atmosphere — that explore these diffuse interstellar bands further. Hubble’s sightlines toward 11 stars provide confirmation of one special molecule within this jumble: Buckminsterfullerene.

    A Celebrity Molecule

    The C60+ ion, formally known as Buckminsterfullerene and informally known as a “buckyball”, is an enormous molecule consisting of 60 carbon atoms arranged in a soccer-ball shape. Previously, the largest known molecules definitively detected in the diffuse interstellar medium contained no more than three atoms heavier than hydrogen — so the detection of buckyballs represents a dramatic increase in the known size limit!

    Cordiner and collaborators use a novel scanning technique to obtain ultra-high signal-to-noise spectra of seven stars that are significantly reddened by obscuring ISM and four stars that are not. They then search for absorption signals at four wavelengths — 9348, 9365, 9428, and 9577 Å — predicted by laboratory experiments to be associated with C60+.

    3
    Mean spectra for the observed sightlines for reddened (black, top) and unreddened (gray, bottom) stars, around four predicted absorption features for C60+. The laboratory comparison spectra for C60+ are overlaid as red lines. [Cordiner et al. 2019]

    The authors find obtain reliable detections of the three strongest of these absorption lines in the spectra toward the seven reddened stars, and find no sign of this absorption in the four unobscured stars. The 9348 Å absorption was not detected, but as this is predicted to be a very weak feature, this result is not surprising. The relative strengths of the three detected lines also fit with laboratory predictions.

    The consistency of Cordiner and collaborators’ results with prediction provides the strongest confirmation yet of the presence of buckyballs in the diffuse ISM. This detection may help us to characterize other components of the diffuse ISM and better understand the conditions under which complex molecules exist in the extreme, low-density environment of interstellar space.

    Citation

    “Confirming Interstellar C60+ Using the Hubble Space Telescope,” M. A. Cordiner et al 2019 ApJL 875 L28.
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ab14e5/meta

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    1

    AAS Mission and Vision Statement

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

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

    Adopted June 7, 2009

     
  • richardmitnick 10:40 am on April 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Latest Hubble Measurements Suggest Disparity in Hubble Constant Calculations is not a Fluke", , , , , Cosmic Microwave Background - CMB, , Hubble’s measurements of today’s expansion rate do not match the rate that was expected based on how the Universe appeared shortly after the Big Bang over 13 billion years ago., NASA ESA Hubble, The Large Magellanic Cloud, To get accurate distances to nearby galaxies the team then looked for galaxies containing both Cepheids and Type Ia supernovae, Using new data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have significantly lowered the possibility that this discrepancy is a fluke.   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope: “Latest Hubble Measurements Suggest Disparity in Hubble Constant Calculations is not a Fluke” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    25 April 2019

    Adam Riess
    Space Telescope Science Institute
    Baltimore, USA
    Tel: +1 410 338 6707
    Email: ariess@stsci.edu

    Bethany Downer
    ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
    Garching, Germany
    Email: bethany.downer@partner.eso.org

    1
    Hubble’s measurements of today’s expansion rate do not match the rate that was expected based on how the Universe appeared shortly after the Big Bang over 13 billion years ago. Using new data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have significantly lowered the possibility that this discrepancy is a fluke.

    2
    This image shows the entire Large Magellanic Cloud, with some of the brightest objects marked. The outline shown corresponds to the overview image from Digitized Sky Survey 2. The field of view is about ten degrees across. Credit: Robert Gendler/ESO

    2
    Three steps to the Hubble constant | ESA/Hubble


    This animation shows the principle of the cosmic distance ladder used by Adam Riess and his team to reduce the uncertainty of the Hubble constant.For the calibration of relatively short distances the team observed Cepheid variables. These are pulsating stars which fade and brighten at rates that are proportional to their true brightness and this property allows astronomers to determine their distances. The researchers calibrated the distances to the Cepheids using a basic geometrical technique called parallax. With Hubble’s sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), they extended the parallax measurements further than previously possible, across the Milky Way galaxy.

    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    To get accurate distances to nearby galaxies, the team then looked for galaxies containing both Cepheids and Type Ia supernovae. Type Ia supernovae always have the same intrinsic brightness and are also bright enough to be seen at relatively large distances. By comparing the observed brightness of both types of stars in those nearby galaxies, the team could then accurately measure the true brightness of the supernova. Using this calibrated rung on the distance ladder the accurate distance to additional 300 type Ia supernovae in far-flung galaxies was calculated.

    Cosmic Distance Ladder, skynetblogs

    Standard Candles to measure age and distance of the universe from supernovae NASA

    They compare those distance measurements with how the light from the supernovae is stretched to longer wavelengths by the expansion of space. Finally, they use these two values to calculate how fast the universe expands with time, called the Hubble constant.

    Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Feild (STScI), and A. Riess (STScI/JHU)

    Using new observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, researchers have improved the foundations of the cosmic distance ladder, which is used to calculate accurate distances to nearby galaxies. This was done by observing pulsating stars called Cepheid variables in a neighbouring satellite galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, now calculated to be 162,000 light-years away.

    When defining the distances to galaxies that are further and further away, these Cepheid variables are used as milepost markers. Researchers use these measurements to determine how fast the Universe is expanding over time, a value known as the Hubble constant.

    Before Hubble was launched in 1990, estimates of the Hubble constant varied by a factor of two. In the late 1990s the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale refined the value of the Hubble constant to within 10 percent, accomplishing one of the telescope’s key goals. In 2016, astronomers using Hubble discovered that the Universe is expanding between five and nine percent faster than previously calculated by refining the measurement of the Hubble constant and further reducing the uncertainty to only 2.4 percent. In 2017, an independent measurement supported these results. This latest research has reduced the uncertainty in their Hubble constant value to an unprecedented 1.9 percent.

    This research also suggests that the likelihood that this discrepancy between measurements of today’s expansion rate of the Universe and the expected value based on the early Universe’s expansion is a fluke is just 1 in 100,000, a significant improvement from a previous estimate last year of 1 in 3,000.

    “The Hubble tension between the early and late Universe may be the most exciting development in cosmology in decades,” said lead researcher and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, USA. “This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke. This disparity could not plausibly occur by chance.”

    As the team’s measurements have become more precise, their calculation of the Hubble constant has remained inconsistent with the expected value derived from observations of the early Universe’s expansion made by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite. These measurements map a remnant afterglow from the Big Bang known as the Cosmic Microwave Background [CMB], which help scientists to predict how the early Universe would likely have evolved into the expansion rate astronomers can measure today.

    CMB per ESA/Planck

    ESA/Planck 2009 to 2013

    The new estimate of the Hubble constant is 74.03 kilometres per second per megaparsec [1]. The number indicates that the Universe is expanding at a rate about 9 percent faster than that implied by Planck’s observations of the early Universe, which give a value for the Hubble constant of 67.4 kilometres per second per megaparsec.

    To reach this conclusion, Riess and his team analysed the light from 70 Cepheid variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Because these stars brighten and dim at predictable rates, and the periods of these variations give us their luminosity and hence distance, astronomers use them as cosmic mileposts. Riess’s team used an efficient observing technique called Drift And Shift (DASH) using Hubble as a “point-and-shoot” camera to snap quick images of the bright stars. This avoids the more time-consuming step of anchoring the telescope with guide stars to observe each star. The results were combined with observations made by the Araucaria Project, a collaboration between astronomers from institutions in Europe, Chile, and the United States, to measure the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud by observing the dimming of light as one star passes in front of its partner in a binary-star system.

    Because cosmological models suggest that observed values of the expansion of the Universe should be the same as those determined from the Cosmic Microwave Background, new physics may be needed to explain the disparity. “Previously, theorists would say to me, ‘it can’t be. It’s going to break everything.’ Now they are saying, ‘we actually could do this,’” Riess said.

    Various scenarios have been proposed to explain the discrepancy, but there is yet to be a conclusive answer. An invisible form of matter called dark matter may interact more strongly with normal matter than astronomers previously thought. Or perhaps dark energy, an unknown form of energy that pervades space, is responsible for accelerating the expansion of the Universe.

    Although Riess does not have an answer to this perplexing disparity, he and his team intend to continue using Hubble to reduce the uncertainty in their measure of the Hubble constant, which they hope to decrease to 1 percent.

    The team’s results have been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
    Notes

    [1] This means that for every 3.3 million light-years further away a galaxy is from us, it appears to be moving about 74 kilometres per second faster, as a result of the expansion of the Universe.

    See the full article here .
    See the full HubbleSite article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 10:07 am on April 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mystery of the Universe's Expansion Rate Widens with New Hubble Data", Astronomers have already hypothesized that dark energy existed during the first seconds after the big bang and pushed matter throughout space starting the initial expansion., , , , Cepheid variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud, , , Dark energy may also be the reason for the universe's accelerated expansion today., DASH (Drift And Shift) using Hubble as a "point-and-shoot" camera, , , NASA ESA Hubble, Proposed by astronomers at Johns Hopkins the theory is dubbed "early dark energy" and suggests that the universe evolved like a three-act play., , The new estimate of the Hubble constant is 74 kilometers (46 miles) per second per megaparsec., The new theory suggests that there was a third dark-energy episode not long after the big bang which expanded the universe faster than astronomers had predicted., The true explanation is still a mystery.   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope: “Mystery of the Universe’s Expansion Rate Widens with New Hubble Data” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Apr 25, 2019

    Adam Riess
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-6707
    ariess@stsci.edu

    Donna Weaver
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4493
    dweaver@stsci.edu

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    1
    Large Magellanic Cloud (DSS View) with Star Cluster Overlay (Hubble). STScI.
    New physics may be needed to rectify the universe’s past and present behavior.

    2
    Three Steps to the Hubble Constant. STScI.

    4
    Three steps to the Hubble constant | ESA/Hubble

    ________________________________________________________________
    There is something wrong with our universe. Or, more specifically, it is outpacing all expectations for its present rate of expansion.

    Something is amiss in astronomers’ efforts to measure the past and predict the present, according to a discrepancy between the two main techniques for measuring the universe’s expansion rate – a key to understanding its history and physical parameters.

    The inconsistency is between the Hubble Space Telescope measurements of today’s expansion rate of the universe (by looking at stellar milepost markers) and the expansion rate as measured by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite. Planck observes the conditions of the early universe just 380,000 years after the big bang.

    ESA/Planck 2009 to 2013

    For years, astronomers have been assuming this discrepancy would go away due to some instrumental or observational fluke. Instead, as Hubble astronomers continue to “tighten the bolts” on the accuracy of their measurements, the discordant values remain stubbornly at odds.

    The chances of the disagreement being just a fluke have skyrocketed from 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 100,000.

    Theorists must find an explanation for the disparity that could rattle ideas about the very underpinnings of the universe.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope say they have crossed an important threshold in revealing a discrepancy between the two key techniques for measuring the universe’s expansion rate. The recent study strengthens the case that new theories may be needed to explain the forces that have shaped the cosmos.

    A brief recap: The universe is getting bigger every second. The space between galaxies is stretching, like dough rising in the oven. But how fast is the universe expanding? As Hubble and other telescopes seek to answer this question, they have run into an intriguing difference between what scientists predict and what they observe.

    Hubble measurements suggest a faster expansion rate in the modern universe than expected, based on how the universe appeared more than 13 billion years ago. These measurements of the early universe come from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite. This discrepancy has been identified in scientific papers over the last several years, but it has been unclear whether differences in measurement techniques are to blame, or whether the difference could result from unlucky measurements.

    The latest Hubble data lower the possibility that the discrepancy is only a fluke to 1 in 100,000. This is a significant gain from an earlier estimate, less than a year ago, of a chance of 1 in 3,000.

    These most precise Hubble measurements to date bolster the idea that new physics may be needed to explain the mismatch.

    “The Hubble tension between the early and late universe may be the most exciting development in cosmology in decades,” said lead researcher and Nobel laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland. “This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke. This disparity could not plausibly occur just by chance.”

    Tightening the bolts on the ‘cosmic distance ladder’

    Scientists use a “cosmic distance ladder” to determine how far away things are in the universe.

    Cosmic Distance Ladder, skynetblogs

    Standard Candles to measure age and distance of the universe from supernovae NASA

    This method depends on making accurate measurements of distances to nearby galaxies and then moving to galaxies farther and farther away, using their stars as milepost markers. Astronomers use these values, along with other measurements of the galaxies’ light that reddens as it passes through a stretching universe, to calculate how fast the cosmos expands with time, a value known as the Hubble constant.

    Riess and his SH0ES (Supernovae H0 for the Equation of State) team have been on a quest since 2005 to refine those distance measurements with Hubble and fine-tune the Hubble constant.

    In this new study, astronomers used Hubble to observe 70 pulsating stars called Cepheid variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The observations helped the astronomers “rebuild” the distance ladder by improving the comparison between those Cepheids and their more distant cousins in the galactic hosts of supernovas. Riess’s team reduced the uncertainty in their Hubble constant value to 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 2.2%.

    As the team’s measurements have become more precise, their calculation of the Hubble constant has remained at odds with the expected value derived from observations of the early universe’s expansion. Those measurements were made by Planck, which maps the cosmic microwave background [CMB], a relic afterglow from 380,000 years after the big bang.

    CMB per ESA/Planck

    The measurements have been thoroughly vetted, so astronomers cannot currently dismiss the gap between the two results as due to an error in any single measurement or method. Both values have been tested multiple ways.

    “This is not just two experiments disagreeing,” Riess explained. “We are measuring something fundamentally different. One is a measurement of how fast the universe is expanding today, as we see it. The other is a prediction based on the physics of the early universe and on measurements of how fast it ought to be expanding. If these values don’t agree, there becomes a very strong likelihood that we’re missing something in the cosmological model that connects the two eras.”

    How the new study was done

    Astronomers have been using Cepheid variables as cosmic yardsticks to gauge nearby intergalactic distances for more than a century. But trying to harvest a bunch of these stars was so time-consuming as to be nearly unachievable. So, the team employed a clever new method, called DASH (Drift And Shift), using Hubble as a “point-and-shoot” camera to snap quick images of the extremely bright pulsating stars, which eliminates the time-consuming need for precise pointing.

    “When Hubble uses precise pointing by locking onto guide stars, it can only observe one Cepheid per each 90-minute Hubble orbit around Earth. So, it would be very costly for the telescope to observe each Cepheid,” explained team member Stefano Casertano, also of STScI and Johns Hopkins. “Instead, we searched for groups of Cepheids close enough to each other that we could move between them without recalibrating the telescope pointing. These Cepheids are so bright, we only need to observe them for two seconds. This technique is allowing us to observe a dozen Cepheids for the duration of one orbit. So, we stay on gyroscope control and keep ‘DASHing’ around very fast.”

    The Hubble astronomers then combined their result with another set of observations, made by the Araucaria Project, a collaboration between astronomers from institutions in Chile, the U.S., and Europe. This group made distance measurements to the Large Magellanic Cloud by observing the dimming of light as one star passes in front of its partner in eclipsing binary-star systems.

    The combined measurements helped the SH0ES Team refine the Cepheids’ true brightness. With this more accurate result, the team could then “tighten the bolts” of the rest of the distance ladder that extends deeper into space.

    The new estimate of the Hubble constant is 74 kilometers (46 miles) per second per megaparsec. This means that for every 3.3 million light-years farther away a galaxy is from us, it appears to be moving 74 kilometers (46 miles) per second faster, as a result of the expansion of the universe. The number indicates that the universe is expanding at a 9% faster rate than the prediction of 67 kilometers (41.6 miles) per second per megaparsec, which comes from Planck’s observations of the early universe, coupled with our present understanding of the universe.

    So, what could explain this discrepancy?

    One explanation for the mismatch involves an unexpected appearance of dark energy in the young universe, which is thought to now comprise 70% of the universe’s contents. Proposed by astronomers at Johns Hopkins, the theory is dubbed “early dark energy,” and suggests that the universe evolved like a three-act play.

    Astronomers have already hypothesized that dark energy existed during the first seconds after the big bang and pushed matter throughout space, starting the initial expansion. Dark energy may also be the reason for the universe’s accelerated expansion today. The new theory suggests that there was a third dark-energy episode not long after the big bang, which expanded the universe faster than astronomers had predicted. The existence of this “early dark energy” could account for the tension between the two Hubble constant values, Riess said.

    Another idea is that the universe contains a new subatomic particle that travels close to the speed of light. Such speedy particles are collectively called “dark radiation” and include previously known particles like neutrinos, which are created in nuclear reactions and radioactive decays.

    Yet another attractive possibility is that dark matter (an invisible form of matter not made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons) interacts more strongly with normal matter or radiation than previously assumed.

    But the true explanation is still a mystery.

    Riess doesn’t have an answer to this vexing problem, but his team will continue to use Hubble to reduce the uncertainties in the Hubble constant. Their goal is to decrease the uncertainty to 1%, which should help astronomers identify the cause of the discrepancy.

    The team’s results have been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

    See the full HubbleSite article here .
    See the ESA/Hubble article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 11:04 am on April 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble Celebrates 29th Anniversary with a Colorful Look at the Southern Crab Nebula", , , , , NASA ESA Hubble, Nebula officially known as Hen 2-104   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope: “Hubble Celebrates 29th Anniversary with a Colorful Look at the Southern Crab Nebula” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Apr 18, 2019

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    1
    Rich colors of the gases in the nebula’s filaments correspond to glowing hydrogen (green), sulfur (red), nitrogen (orange), and oxygen (blue).

    This Hubble image shows the results of two stellar companions in a gravitational waltz, several thousand light-years from Earth in the southern constellation Centaurus. The stellar duo, consisting of a red giant and white dwarf, are too close together to see individually in this view. But the consequences of their whirling about each other are two vast shells of gas expanding into space like a runaway hot air balloon. Both stars are embedded in a flat disk of hot material that constricts the outflowing gas so that it only escapes away above and below the stars. This apparently happens in episodes because the nebula has two distinct nested hourglass-shaped structures. The bubbles of gas and dust appear brightest at the edges, giving the illusion of crab legs. The rich colors correspond to glowing hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen. This image was taken to celebrate Hubble’s 29th anniversary since its launch on April 24, 1990.

    In celebration of the 29th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers captured this festive, colorful look at the tentacled Southern Crab Nebula.

    The nebula, officially known as Hen 2-104, is located several thousand light-years from Earth in the southern hemisphere constellation of Centaurus. It appears to have two nested hourglass-shaped structures that were sculpted by a whirling pair of stars in a binary system. The duo consists of an aging red giant star and a burned-out star, a white dwarf. The red giant is shedding its outer layers. Some of this ejected material is attracted by the gravity of the companion white dwarf.

    The result is that both stars are embedded in a flat disk of gas stretching between them. This belt of material constricts the outflow of gas so that it only speeds away above and below the disk. The result is an hourglass-shaped nebula.

    The bubbles of gas and dust appear brightest at the edges, giving the illusion of crab leg structures. These “legs” are likely to be the places where the outflow slams into surrounding interstellar gas and dust, or possibly material which was earlier lost by the red giant star.

    The outflow may only last a few thousand years, a tiny fraction of the lifetime of the system. This means that the outer structure may be just thousands of years old, but the inner hourglass must be a more recent outflow event. The red giant will ultimately collapse to become a white dwarf. After that, the surviving pair of white dwarfs will illuminate a shell of gas called a planetary nebula.

    The object was first reported in the late 1960s, but was assumed to be an ordinary star. In 1989, astronomers used the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile to photograph a roughly crab-shaped extended nebula, formed by symmetrical bubbles.

    ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    These early observations only showed the outer hourglass emanating from a bright central region. Hubble photographed the Southern Crab in 1999 to reveal complicated nested structures. These latest images were taken in March 2019 with a wide set of color filters on Hubble’s newest, sharpest detector, Wide Field Camera 3.

    NASA/ESA Hubble WFC3

    This image is a composite of observations taken in various colors of light that correspond to the glowing gases in the nebula. Red is sulfur, green is hydrogen, orange is nitrogen, and blue is oxygen.

    Hubble launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery. From its perch high above the distorting effects of Earth’s atmosphere, Hubble observes the universe in near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light. Over the past 29 years, the space telescope’s breakthrough discoveries have revolutionized nearly all fields of astronomy and astrophysics. Among Hubble’s landmark accomplishments include making the deepest views ever taken of the evolving universe, finding planet-forming disks around nearby stars, chemically probing the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars, identifying the first supermassive black hole in the heart of a neighboring galaxy, and providing evidence of an accelerating universe, propelled perhaps by some unknown source of energy in the fabric of space.

    See the full article here .

    See The ESA article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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  • richardmitnick 5:10 pm on April 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble Kuiper Belt survey to focus on binary systems", , , , , , NASA ESA Hubble,   

    From Spaceflight Insider: “Hubble Kuiper Belt survey to focus on binary systems” 

    1

    From Spaceflight Insider

    April 8th, 2019
    Laurel Kornfeld

    1
    The Hubble Space Telescope as seen by the crew of Atlantis on STS-125 in April of 2009. Photo Credit: NASA

    The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is set to use the Hubble Space Telescope to conduct the largest ever survey of the Kuiper Belt, focusing specifically on binary systems in which two objects of similar masses orbit one another as they circle the Sun.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Kuiper Belt. Minor Planet Center

    Kuiper Belt binary systems are believed to be among the oldest objects in the solar system, having formed from collapsing groups of pebbles four billion years ago. According to one hypothesis, the objects in these systems initially formed alone via an accretion process and subsequently merged with companions to form binaries. Under this scenario, objects in binaries should have colors and size distributions notably different from individual Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs).

    A competing hypothesis proposes the objects in binaries, along with individual KBOs, formed directly through a rapid collapse process. This would result in both the individual objects and binaries having similar colors and size distributions.

    Scientists hope this survey will yield a definitive answer regarding binary KBOs’ formation processes.

    “We will use Hubble to test the theory that many planetesimals formed as binary systems from the get-go, and that today’s Kuiper Belt binaries did not come from mergers of initially solitary objects,” said study leader Alex Parker of SwRI.

    The survey, funded by a grant from NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), will be the largest ever solar system study conducted by Hubble.

    A total of 206 Hubble orbits have been assigned to the project, which will measure the colors and binary characteristics of more than 200 KBOs.

    Hubble orbits the Earth every 97 minutes at an altitude of 350 miles (560 kilometers). Most of its studies look well beyond the solar system at phenomena in interstellar space. It is the only telescope capable of measuring distant, tiny KBOs.

    Because the Kuiper Belt is filled with ancient objects dating back to the dawn of the solar system, the survey is titled the Solar System Origins Legacy Survey (SSOLS). It builds upon previous outer solar system studies, including the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS) and the Canada-France Ecliptic Plane Survey (CFEPS).



    CFHT Telescope, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Data from these earlier surveys, the largest ever done of the Kuiper Belt to date, will be used to select specific KBOs to study.

    “The Kuiper Belt is a unique remnant of the solar system’s primordial planetesimal disk,” Parker said. “This cold, calm region has preserved an extraordinarily large population of binary objects, particularly those where the two objects have similar mass. These binary systems are powerful tracers of the processes that built the planets.”

    Members of the study team include scientists from the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. STScI, which is administering the SSOLS project, focuses on studying the universe using the most advanced space telescopes and is run by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), based in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The survey will not search for a third flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons mission, according to mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, also of SwRI.

    NASA/New Horizons spacecraft

    Images and updates on the survey will be posted regularly by the study team on the SSOLS website.

    5
    Laurel Kornfeld is an amateur astronomer and freelance writer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program.



    Her writings have been published online in The Atlantic, Astronomy magazine’s guest blog section, the UK Space Conference, the 2009 IAU General Assembly newspaper, The Space Reporter, and newsletters of various astronomy clubs. She is a member of the Cranford, NJ-based Amateur Astronomers, Inc. Especially interested in the outer solar system, Laurel gave a brief presentation at the 2008 Great Planet Debate held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SpaceFlight Insider reports on events taking place within the aerospace industry. With our team of writers and photographers, we provide an “insider’s” view of all aspects of space exploration efforts. We go so far as to take their questions directly to those officials within NASA and other space-related organizations. At SpaceFlight Insider, the “insider” is not anyone on our team, but our readers.

    Our team has decades of experience covering the space program and we are focused on providing you with the absolute latest on all things space. SpaceFlight Insider is comprised of individuals located in the United States, Europe, South America and Canada. Most of them are volunteers, hard-working space enthusiasts who freely give their time to share the thrill of space exploration with the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:16 pm on March 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A YORP effect, , , , , Gault asteroid is beginning to come apart, NASA ESA Hubble, The sporadic activity of (6478) gault a yorp driven event?   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope: “Hubble Watches Spun-up Asteroid Coming Apart” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope


    From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Mar 28, 2019

    Donna Weaver
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4493
    dweaver@stsci.edu

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4514
    villard@stsci.edu

    Jan Kleyna
    University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
    808-956-0797
    kleyna@hawaii.edu

    Olivier Hainaut
    European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany
    011-49-89-3200-6752
    ohainaut@eso.org

    Karen Meech
    University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
    808-956-6880 (Univ. of Hawaii campus) / 808-956-6828 (Inst. for Astronomy office)
    meech@ifa.hawaii.edu

    1
    Fast-spinning asteroid is shedding dust into space.

    2
    Compass Image for Asteroid (6478) Gault

    A small asteroid has been caught in the process of spinning so fast it’s throwing off material, according to new data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories.

    Images from Hubble show two narrow, comet-like tails of dusty debris streaming from the asteroid (6478) Gault. Each tail represents an episode in which the asteroid gently shed its material — key evidence that Gault is beginning to come apart.

    Discovered in 1988, the 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer-wide) asteroid has been observed repeatedly, but the debris tails are the first evidence of disintegration. Gault is located 214 million miles (344 million kilometers) from the Sun. Of the roughly 800,000 known asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, astronomers estimate that this type of event in the asteroid belt is rare, occurring roughly once a year.

    Watching an asteroid become unglued gives astronomers the opportunity to study the makeup of these space rocks without sending a spacecraft to sample them.

    “We didn’t have to go to Gault,” explained Olivier Hainaut of the European Southern Observatory in Germany, a member of the Gault observing team. “We just had to look at the image of the streamers, and we can see all of the dust grains well-sorted by size. All the large grains (about the size of sand particles) are close to the object and the smallest grains (about the size of flour grains) are the farthest away because they are being pushed fastest by pressure from sunlight.”

    Gault is only the second asteroid whose disintegration has been conclusively linked to a process known as a YORP effect. When sunlight heats an asteroid, infrared radiation escaping from its warmed surface carries off momentum as well as heat. This process creates a tiny torque that can cause the asteroid to continually spin faster. When the resulting centrifugal force starts to overcome gravity, the asteroid’s surface becomes unstable, and landslides may send dust and rubble drifting into space at a couple miles per hour, or the speed of a strolling human. The researchers estimate that Gault could have been slowly spinning up for more than 100 million years.

    Piecing together Gault’s recent activity is an astronomical forensics investigation involving telescopes and astronomers around the world. All-sky surveys, ground-based telescopes, and space-based facilities like the Hubble Space Telescope pooled their efforts to make this discovery possible.

    The initial clue was the fortuitous detection of the first debris tail, observed on Jan. 5, 2019, by the NASA-funded Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) telescope in Hawaii.

    ATLAS is an asteroid impact early warning system of two telescopes being developed by the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA


    ATLAS telescope, First Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert system (ATLAS) fully operational 8/15/15 Haleakala , Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,205 m (13,796 ft)

    The tail also turned up in archival data from December 2018 from ATLAS and the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) telescopes in Hawaii.


    Pann-STARS 1 Telescope, U Hawaii, situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala in Hawaii, USA, altitude 3,052 m (10,013 ft)

    In mid-January, a second shorter tail was spied by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii and the Isaac Newton Telescope in Spain, as well as by other observers. An analysis of both tails suggests the two dust releases occurred around Oct. 28 and Dec. 30, 2018.


    CFHT Telescope, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level


    ING Isaac Newton 2.5m telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain, Altitude 2,344 m (7,690 ft)

    Follow-up observations with the William Herschel Telescope and European Space Agency’s Optical Ground Station in La Palma and Tenerife, Spain, and the Himalayan Chandra Telescope in India, measured a two-hour rotation period for the object, close to the critical speed at which a loose “rubble-pile” asteroid begins to break up.


    ING 4.2 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands, 2,396 m (7,861 ft)

    ESA Optical Ground Station, on the premises of the Instituto Astro- física de Canarias (IAC) at the Observatorio del Teide, Tenerife

    HIMALAYAN CHANDRA TELESCOPE, Mt. Saraswati, Digpa-ratsa Ri, Hanle at an altitude of 4500 m (15000 ft) above msl is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore

    “Gault is the best ‘smoking-gun’ example of a fast rotator right at the two-hour limit,” said team member Jan Kleyna of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

    An analysis of the asteroid’s surrounding environment by Hubble revealed no signs of more widely distributed debris, which rules out the possibility of a collision with another asteroid causing the outbursts.

    The asteroid’s narrow streamers suggest that the dust was released in short bursts, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days. These sudden events puffed away enough debris to make a “dirt ball” approximately 500 feet (150 meters) across if compacted together. The tails will begin fading away in a few months as the dust disperses into interplanetary space.

    Based on observations by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the astronomers estimate that the longer tail stretches over half a million miles (800,000 kilometers) and is roughly 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) wide. The shorter tail is about a quarter as long.

    Only a couple of dozen active asteroids have been found so far. Astronomers may now have the capability to detect many more of them because of the enhanced survey capabilities of observatories such as Pan-STARRS and ATLAS, which scan the entire sky. “Asteroids such as Gault cannot escape detection anymore,” Hainaut said. “That means that all these asteroids that start misbehaving get caught.”

    The researchers hope to monitor Gault for more dust events.

    The team’s results have been accepted for publication by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The international team of astronomers in this study are: Jan Kleyna (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, Hawaii), Olivier Hainaut (European Southern Observatory, Germany), Karen Meech (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, Hawaii), Henry Hsieh (Planetary Science Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii; and Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Taipei, Taiwan), Alan Fitzsimmons (Queen’s University Belfast Astrophysics Research Centre, Belfast, United Kingdom), Marco Micheli (European Space Agency Near Earth Object Coordination Centre, Rome, Italy; and National Institute for Astrophysics — Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Italy), Jacqueline Keane, Larry Denneau, John Tonry, and Aren Heinze (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, Hawaii), Bhuwan Bhatt and Devendra Sahu (Indian Institute for Astrophysics, Bangalore, India), Detlef Koschny (European Space Agency European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, The Netherlands; Near Earth Object Coordination Centre, Rome, Italy; and Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany), Ken Smith (Queen’s University Belfast Astrophysics Research Centre, Belfast, United Kingdom), and Harald Ebeling, Robert Weryk, Heather Flewelling, and Richard Wainscoat (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, Hawaii).

    Credits

    NASA, ESA, K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii), and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory)

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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