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  • richardmitnick 10:00 pm on December 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA Missions Probe Game-Changing Cosmic Explosion", , , , , , , , NASA Hubble, , Scientists sometimes observe short bursts with a following flare of visible and infrared light called a kilonova., The burst named GRB 211211A was paradigm-shifting as it is the first long-duration gamma-ray burst traced to a neutron star merger origin., The decay from the neutron star merger results in the production of heavy elements like gold and platinum., This discovery has deep implications for how the universe’s heavy elements came to be.   

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “NASA Missions Probe Game-Changing Cosmic Explosion” 

    NASA Goddard Banner

    From The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    12.7.22
    By Jeanette Kazmierczak
    jeanette.a.kazmierczak@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md

    Media Contact:
    Claire Andreoli
    claire.andreoli@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md

    4
    Gamma-ray burst 211211A, the location of which is circled in red, erupted on the outskirts of a spiral galaxy around 1 billion light-years away in the constellation Boötes. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured the image with its Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. Credit: NASA, ESA, Rastinejad et al. (2022), and Gladys Kober (Catholic Univ. of America)

    On Dec. 11, 2021, NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a blast of high-energy light from the outskirts of a galaxy around 1 billion light-years away. The event has rattled scientists’ understanding of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful events in the universe.


    For the last few decades, astronomers have generally divided GRBs into two categories. Long bursts emit gamma rays for two seconds or more and originate from the formation of dense objects like black holes in the centers of massive collapsing stars. Short bursts emit gamma rays for less than two seconds and are caused by mergers of dense objects like neutron stars. Scientists sometimes observe short bursts with a following flare of visible and infrared light called a kilonova.

    “This burst, named GRB 211211A, was paradigm-shifting as it is the first long-duration gamma-ray burst traced to a neutron star merger origin,” said Jillian Rastinejad, a graduate student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who led one team that studied the burst.

    “The high-energy burst lasted about a minute, and our follow-up observations led to the identification of a kilonova. This discovery has deep implications for how the universe’s heavy elements came to be.”


    NASA’s Fermi, Swift Capture Revolutionary Gamma-Ray Burst.
    Watch to learn how an event called GRB 211211A rocked scientists’s understanding of gamma-ray bursts – the most powerful explosions in the cosmos. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    A classic short gamma-ray burst begins with two orbiting neutron stars, the crushed remnants of massive stars that exploded as supernovae. As the stars circle ever closer, they strip neutron-rich material from each other. They also generate gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time – although none were detected from this event.

    Eventually the neutron stars collide and merge, creating a cloud of hot debris emitting light across multiple wavelengths. Scientists hypothesize that jets of high-speed particles, launched by the merger, produce the initial gamma-ray flare before they collide with the wreckage. Heat generated by the radioactive decay of elements in the neutron-rich debris likely creates the kilonova’s visible and infrared light. This decay results in the production of heavy elements like gold and platinum.

    “Many years ago, Neil Gehrels, an astrophysicist and Swift’s namesake, suggested that neutron star mergers could produce some long bursts,” said Eleonora Troja, an astrophysicist at the University of Rome who led another team that studied the burst. “The kilonova we observed is the proof that connects mergers to these long-duration events, forcing us to rethink how black holes are formed.”

    Fermi and Swift detected the burst simultaneously, and Swift was able to rapidly identify its location in the constellation Boötes, enabling other facilities to quickly respond with follow-up observations. Their observations have provided the earliest look yet at the first stages of a kilonova.

    Many research groups have delved into the observations collected by Swift, Fermi, the Hubble Space Telescope, and others.

    Some have suggested the burst’s oddities could be explained by the merger of a neutron star with another massive object, like a black hole. The event was also relatively nearby, by gamma-ray burst standards, which may have allowed telescopes to catch the kilonova’s fainter light. Perhaps some distant long bursts could also produce kilonovae, but we haven’t been able to see them.

    3
    Two neutron stars begin to merge in this illustration, blasting a jet of high-speed particles and producing a cloud of debris. Scientists think these kinds of events are factories for a significant portion of the universe’s heavy elements, including gold. Credits: A. Simonnet (Sonoma State Univ.) and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    The light following the burst, called the afterglow emission, also exhibited unusual features. Fermi detected high-energy gamma rays starting 1.5 hours post-burst and lasting more than 2 hours. These gamma rays reached energies of up to 1 billion electron volts. (Visible light’s energy measures between about 2 and 3 electron volts, for comparison.)

    “This is the first time we’ve seen such an excess of high-energy gamma rays in the afterglow of a merger event. Normally that emission decreases over time,” said Alessio Mei, a doctoral candidate at the Gran Sasso Science Institute in L’Aquila, Italy, who led a group that studied the data. “It’s possible these high-energy gamma rays come from collisions between visible light from the kilonova and electrons in particle jets. The jets could be weakening ones from the original explosion or new ones powered by the resulting black hole or magnetar.”

    Scientists think neutron star mergers are a major source of the universe’s heavy elements. They based their estimates on the rate of short bursts thought to occur across the cosmos. Now they’ll need to factor long bursts into their calculations as well.

    A team led by Benjamin Gompertz, an astrophysicist at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, looked at the entire high-energy light curve, or the evolution of the event’s brightness over time. The scientists noted features that might provide a key for identifying similar incidents – long bursts from mergers – in the future, even ones that are dimmer or more distant. The more astronomers can find, the more they can refine their understanding of this new class of phenomena.

    On Dec. 7, 2022, papers led by Rastinejad, Troja, and Mei were published in the scientific journal Nature [below], and a paper led by Gompertz was published in Nature Astronomy [below].

    “This result underscores the importance of our missions working together and with others to provide multiwavelength follow up of these kinds of phenomenon,” said Regina Caputo, Swift project scientist, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Similar coordinated efforts have hinted that some supernovae might produce short bursts, but this event is the final nail in the coffin for the simple dichotomy we’ve used for years. You never know when you might find something surprising.”

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the Swift and Fermi missions.

    Swift is a collaboration with The Pennsylvania State University, the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and Northrop Grumman Space Systems in Dulles, Virginia, with important contributions from partners in the United Kingdom and Italy.

    Fermi is a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, with important contributions from partners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the United States.

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). Goddard manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.

    Science papers:
    Nature
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05390-w
    Nature
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05327-3
    Nature
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05404-7
    Nature Astronomy
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-022-01819-4

    See the full article here.

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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    NASA/Goddard Campus

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.

    GSFC also operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks (the NASA Deep Space Network and the Near Earth Network); develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    GSFC manages operations for many NASA and international missions including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope; the Explorers Program; the Discovery Program; the Earth Observing System; INTEGRAL; MAVEN; OSIRIS-REx; the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory ; the Solar Dynamics Observatory; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System ; Fermi; and Swift. Past missions managed by GSFC include the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, SMM, COBE, IUE, and ROSAT. Typically, unmanned Earth observation missions and observatories in Earth orbit are managed by GSFC, while unmanned planetary missions are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

    Goddard is one of four centers built by NASA since its founding on July 29, 1958. It is NASA’s first, and oldest, space center. Its original charter was to perform five major functions on behalf of NASA: technology development and fabrication; planning; scientific research; technical operations; and project management. The center is organized into several directorates, each charged with one of these key functions.

    Until May 1, 1959, NASA’s presence in Greenbelt, MD was known as the Beltsville Space Center. It was then renamed the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), after Robert H. Goddard. Its first 157 employees transferred from the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard missile program, but continued their work at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., while the center was under construction.

    Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to Project Mercury, America’s first manned space flight program. The Center assumed a lead role for the project in its early days and managed the first 250 employees involved in the effort, who were stationed at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. However, the size and scope of Project Mercury soon prompted NASA to build a new Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Project Mercury’s personnel and activities were transferred there in 1961.

    The Goddard network tracked many early manned and unmanned spacecraft.

    Goddard Space Flight Center remained involved in the manned space flight program, providing computer support and radar tracking of flights through a worldwide network of ground stations called the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STDN). However, the Center focused primarily on designing unmanned satellites and spacecraft for scientific research missions. Goddard pioneered several fields of spacecraft development, including modular spacecraft design, which reduced costs and made it possible to repair satellites in orbit. Goddard’s Solar Max satellite, launched in 1980, was repaired by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, remains in service and continues to grow in capability thanks to its modular design and multiple servicing missions by the Space Shuttle.

    Today, the center remains involved in each of NASA’s key programs. Goddard has developed more instruments for planetary exploration than any other organization, among them scientific instruments sent to every planet in the Solar System. The center’s contribution to the Earth Science Enterprise includes several spacecraft in the Earth Observing System fleet as well as EOSDIS, a science data collection, processing, and distribution system. For the manned space flight program, Goddard develops tools for use by astronauts during extra-vehicular activity, and operates the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft designed to study the Moon in preparation for future manned exploration.

    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 8:50 am on August 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA Hubble   

    From Hubble: “The wings of the butterfly” 

    NASA Hubble Telescope

    Hubble

    26 August 2015
    Mathias Jäger
    ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 176 62397500
    Email: mjaeger@partner.eso.org

    1

    The shimmering colours visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show off the remarkable complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula. The new image highlights the nebula’s shells and its knots of expanding gas in striking detail. Two iridescent lobes of material stretch outwards from a central star system. Within these lobes two huge jets of gas are streaming from the star system at speeds in excess of one million kilometres per hour.

    The cosmic butterfly pictured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image goes by many names. It is called the Twin Jet Nebula as well as answering to the slightly less poetic name of PN M2-9.

    The M in this name refers to Rudolph Minkowski, a German-American astronomer who discovered the nebula in 1947. The PN, meanwhile, refers to the fact that M2-9 is a planetary nebula. The glowing and expanding shells of gas clearly visible in this image represent the final stages of life for an old star of low to intermediate mass. The star has not only ejected its outer layers, but the exposed remnant core is now illuminating these layers — resulting in a spectacular light show like the one seen here. However, the Twin Jet Nebula is not just any planetary nebula, it is a bipolar nebula.

    Ordinary planetary nebulae have one star at their centre, bipolar nebulae have two, in a binary star system. Astronomers have found that the two stars in this pair each have around the same mass as the Sun, ranging from 0.6 to 1.0 solar masses for the smaller star, and from 1.0 to 1.4 solar masses for its larger companion. The larger star is approaching the end of its days and has already ejected its outer layers of gas into space, whereas its partner is further evolved, and is a small white dwarf.

    The characteristic shape of the wings of the Twin Jet Nebula is most likely caused by the motion of the two central stars around each other. It is believed that a white dwarf orbits its partner star and thus the ejected gas from the dying star is pulled into two lobes rather than expanding as a uniform sphere. However, astronomers are still debating whether all bipolar nebulae are created by binary stars. Meanwhile the nebula’s wings are still growing and, by measuring their expansion, astronomers have calculated that the nebula was created only 1200 years ago.

    Within the wings, starting from the star system and extending horizontally outwards like veins are two faint blue patches. Although these may seem subtle in comparison to the nebula’s rainbow colours, these are actually violent twin jets streaming out into space, at speeds in excess of one million kilometres per hour. This is a phenomenon that is another consequence of the binary system at the heart of the nebula. These jets slowly change their orientation, precessing across the lobes as they are pulled by the wayward gravity of the binary system.

    The two stars at the heart of the nebula circle one another roughly every 100 years. This rotation not only creates the wings of the butterfly and the two jets, it also allows the white dwarf to strip gas from its larger companion, which then forms a large disc of material around the stars, extending out as far as 15 times the orbit of Pluto! Even though this disc is of incredible size, it is much too small to be seen on the image taken by Hubble.

    An earlier image of the Twin Jet Nebula using data gathered by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 [WFPC2] was released in 1997. This newer version incorporates more recent observations from the telescope’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS).

    NASA Hubble WFPC2
    WFPC2 No longer in service.

    NASa Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph
    STIS

    A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition, submitted by contestant Judy Schmidt.
    Notes

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.
    More information

    Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

    Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

    See the full article here.

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    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 2:40 pm on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , NASA Hubble   

    From NASA Goddard: “NASA Releases Hubble Memorable Moments Video: Brute Force” 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    Goddard Space Flight Center

    July 23, 2015
    Katrina Jackson
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

    In celebration of the 25 years since the Hubble Space Telescope’s April 1990 launch, NASA is releasing the second in a series of videos showcasing moments in Hubble’s history that were memorable for Goddard’s engineers and flight operators.

    “Hubble Memorable Moments: Brute Force,” which was produced by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, describes repairing the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on Hubble Servicing Mission 4 in May, 2009.

    1
    Hubble team members at the Goddard Space Flight Center pose with Astronaut Mike Massimino and the handrail mock-up used during the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph repair on Hubble Servicing Mission 4. From left to right: Bill Nilsson, Ken Dickinson, Jeff Roddin, Mike Massimino, Bill Mitchell, James Cooper Credits: NASA

    The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, or STIS, was installed on Hubble during Servicing Mission 2 in 1997. A versatile instrument taking measurements in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths, STIS has discovered supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies, and made one of the first spectroscopic measurements of the atmosphere of an exoplanet – a planet orbiting another star.

    STIS was originally designed to operate for five years, but it lasted 7.5 until a power supply failed in August, 2004. At the time, STIS was being used for about 30 percent of the Hubble observing program. Because STIS was such an incredibly useful instrument, it became a high-priority task for repair on Hubble’s final servicing mission.

    Most Hubble servicing mission tasks involve replacing an instrument by swapping out large boxes, not repairing an instrument, which involves much more detailed and nimble work. Gaining access to STIS’ electronics cards would involve removing 107 small screws, so Goddard engineers custom-designed a fastener capture plate for the task while the astronauts trained tirelessly at the Johnson Space Center for the months leading up to the mission.

    The Hubble team was well prepared for this incredibly complex task. Sometimes, however, it’s the simplest items that present a huge obstacle, and the highly trained team must scramble to quickly devise an unusual solution.

    Watch the video to see how this spacewalk on May 17, 2009 played out.

    “Hubble Memorable Moments: Brute Force” can be downloaded at:

    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11822

    For more information about the Hubble Space Telescope and its 25th anniversary festivities, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/hubble or http://hubble25th.org

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.

    NASA Goddard Campus
    NASA/Goddard Campus
    NASA

     
  • richardmitnick 7:32 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , NASA Hubble   

    From NASA/ESA Hubble: “Glowing, fiery shells of gas” 

    25 February 2013

    It may look like something from The Lord of the Rings, but this fiery swirl is actually a planetary nebula known as ESO 456-67. Set against a backdrop of bright stars, the rust-coloured object lies in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), in the southern sky.

    eso
    Planetary nebula ESO 456-67

    When a star like the Sun approaches the end of its life, it flings material out into space. Planetary nebulae are the intricate, glowing shells of dust and gas pushed outwards from such a star. At their centres lie the remnants of the original stars themselves – small, dense white dwarf stars.

    In this image of ESO 456-67 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, it is possible to see the various layers of material expelled by the central star. Each appears in a different hue – red, orange, yellow and green-tinted bands of gas, with clear patches of space at the heart of the nebula.

    See the original article here.

    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 7:08 pm on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Hubble,   

    From National Geographics: “Hubbles Amazing Universe” 

    National Geographic

    The Hubble Space Telescope is perhaps the most renowned telescope in the world; responsible for unlocking many mysteries of the final frontier. Glimpse the far ends of the universe through the Hubble”

    “The Hubble Space Telescope has explored the creation of stars and planets, the glory of supernovas and the formation of super massive black holes, charted dark matter and changed forever our understanding of reality itself.”

    This video is from 2008. But it is still relevant, with many lessons to teach. I hope that you will watch it and enjoy it.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:19 pm on January 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Hubble   

    From NASA: “Image of the Day Gallery – Large Magellanic Cloud” 

    Nearly 200,000 light-years from Earth, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy. Vast clouds of gas within it slowly collapse to form new stars. In turn, these light up the gas clouds in a riot of colors, visible in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

    lmc
    Image Credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble

    The Large Magellanic Cloud is ablaze with star-forming regions. From the Tarantula Nebula, the brightest stellar nursery in our cosmic neighborhood, to LHA 120-N 11, part of which is featured in this Hubble image, the small and irregular galaxy is scattered with glowing nebulae, the most noticeable sign that new stars are being born.”

    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 1:54 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Hubble   

    From NASA Hubble: “NASA’s Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit For Fomalhaut B” 

    This false-color composite image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals the orbital motion of the planet Fomalhaut b. Based on these observations, astronomers calculated that the planet is in a 2,000-year-long, highly elliptical orbit. The planet will appear to cross a vast belt of debris around the star roughly 20 years from now. If the planet’s orbit lies in the same plane with the belt, icy and rocky debris in the belt could crash into the planet’s atmosphere and produce various phenomena. The black circle at the center of the image blocks out the light from the bright star, allowing reflected light from the belt and planet to be photographed. The Hubble images were taken with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph in 2010 and 2012.

    image2
    Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley and SETI Institute)

    Newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of a vast debris disk encircling the nearby star Fomalhaut and a mysterious planet circling it may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system.

    Astronomers are surprised to find the debris belt is wider than previously known, spanning a section of space from 14 to nearly 20 billion miles from the star. Even more surprisingly, the latest Hubble images have allowed a team of astronomers to calculate the planet follows an unusual elliptical orbit that carries it on a potentially destructive path through the vast dust ring.

    The planet, called Fomalhaut b, swings as close to its star as 4.6 billion miles, and the outermost point of its orbit is 27 billion miles away from the star. The orbit was recalculated from the newest Hubble observation made last year.

    ‘We are shocked. This is not what we expected,’ said Paul Kalas of the University of California at Berkeley and the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif.”

    See the full article here.

    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 7:33 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Hubble, ,   

    From Berkeley Lab: “The Farthest Supernova Yet for Measuring Cosmic History” 


    Berkeley Lab

    Berkeley Lab-based Supernova Cosmology Project uses Hubble Space Telescope data to discover the most distant well-measured Type Ia supernova ever found

    scp

    January 09, 2013
    Paul Preuss

    “What if you had a ‘Wayback Television Set’ and could watch an entire month of ancient prehistory unfold before your eyes in real time? David Rubin of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) presented just such a scenario to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Long Beach, CA, when he announced the discovery of a striking astronomical object: a Type Ia supernova with a redshift of 1.71 that dates back 10 billion years in time. Labeled SN SCP-0401, the supernova is exceptional for its detailed spectrum and precision color measurement, unprecedented in a supernova so distant.

    sn
    Supernova SCP-0401, nicknamed “Mingus,” was collected by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2004 but could not be positively identified until after the installation of a new camera that serendipitously acquired more data. (Photo Space Telescope Science Institute)

    hwfc3
    Hubble Wide Field Camera 3 (HubbleSite)

    ‘This is the most distant supernova anyone has ever found for doing dependable cosmology,’ says Rubin, a member of the international Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP) based at Berkeley Lab. ‘The most important unanswered question we have about the nature of dark energy is whether it varies over time – whether it affects the expansion of the universe differently in different eras. With SN SCP-0401, we have the first example of a well-measured supernova sufficiently far away to study the expansion history of the universe from almost 10 billion years ago.'”

    See the full and really cool article here.

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

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  • richardmitnick 6:11 pm on December 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Hubble   

    From NASA Hubble: “Hubble Eyes a Wanderer Dancing the Dance of Stars and Space” NGC 1097 

    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provides us this week with a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible: its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame.

    1097
    This picture was taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys using visual and infrared filters.

    another
    Another and very different image

    This face-on galaxy, lying 45 million light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), is particularly attractive for astronomers. NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy. Lurking at the very center of the galaxy, a supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun is gradually sucking in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the material falling in.

    The distinctive ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. These star-forming regions are glowing brightly thanks to emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen. The ring is around 5000 light-years across, although the spiral arms of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond it.

    NGC 1097 is also pretty exciting for supernova hunters. The galaxy experienced three supernovae (the violent deaths of high-mass stars) in the 11-year span between 1992 and 2003. This is definitely a galaxy worth checking on a regular basis.”

    See the full article here.

    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 6:05 pm on November 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Hubble   

    From NASA Hubble: “Hubble Spots a Peculiar Compact Blue Dwarf Galaxy” 

    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured an impressive image of the irregular galaxy NGC 5253.

    ngc
    NGC 5253 is one of the nearest of the known Blue Compact Dwarf (BCD) galaxies (Wikipedia)
    Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

    NGC 5253 is one of the nearest of the known Blue Compact Dwarf (BCD) galaxies, and is located at a distance of about 12 million light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Centaurus. The most characteristic signature of these galaxies is that they harbor very active star-formation regions. This is in spite of their low dust content and comparative lack of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, which are usually the basic ingredients for star formation.

    These galaxies contain molecular clouds that are quite similar to the pristine clouds that formed the first stars in the early Universe, which were devoid of dust and heavier elements. Hence, astronomers consider the BCD galaxies to be an ideal test bed for better understanding the primordial star-forming process.

    See the full article here.

    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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