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  • richardmitnick 2:11 pm on August 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Hubble Detects Exoplanet with Glowing Water Atmosphere, NASA/ESA Hubble, WASP121b   

    From Hubble: “Hubble Detects Exoplanet with Glowing Water Atmosphere” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Aug 2, 2017

    Elizabeth Landau
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
    818-354-6425
    elizabeth.landau@jpl.nasa.gov

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

    1
    Scorching “Hot Jupiter” Has a Stratospheric Layer
    Only when we fly in a commercial jet at an altitude of about 33,000 feet do we enter Earth’s stratosphere, a cloudless layer of our atmosphere that blocks ultraviolet light. Astronomers were fascinated to find evidence for a stratosphere on a planet orbiting another star. As on Earth, the planet’s stratosphere is a layer where temperatures increase with higher altitudes, rather than decrease. However, the planet (WASP-121b) is anything but Earth-like. The Jupiter-sized planet is so close to its parent star that the top of the atmosphere is heated to a blazing 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit (2,500 degrees Celsius), hot enough to rain molten iron! This new Hubble Space Telescope observation allows astronomers to compare processes in exoplanet atmospheres with the same processes that happen under different sets of conditions in our own solar system.

    Scientists have discovered the strongest evidence to date for a stratosphere on a planet outside our solar system, or exoplanet. A stratosphere is a layer of atmosphere in which temperature increases with higher altitudes.

    “This result is exciting because it shows that a common trait of most of the atmospheres in our solar system — a warm stratosphere — also can be found in exoplanet atmospheres,” said Mark Marley, study co-author based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “We can now compare processes in exoplanet atmospheres with the same processes that happen under different sets of conditions in our own solar system.”

    Reporting in the journal Nature, scientists used data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to study WASP-121b, a type of exoplanet called a “hot Jupiter.” Its mass is 1.2 times that of Jupiter, and its radius is about 1.9 times Jupiter’s — making it puffier. But while Jupiter revolves around our sun once every 12 years, WASP-121b has an orbital period of just 1.3 days. This exoplanet is so close to its star that if it got any closer, the star’s gravity would start ripping it apart. It also means that the top of the planet’s atmosphere is heated to a blazing 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit (2,500 degrees Celsius), hot enough to boil some metals. The WASP-121 system is estimated to be about 900 light-years from Earth — a long way, but close by galactic standards.

    Previous research found possible signs of a stratosphere on the exoplanet WASP-33b as well as some other hot Jupiters. The new study presents the best evidence yet because of the signature of hot water molecules that researchers observed for the first time.

    “Theoretical models have suggested stratospheres may define a distinct class of ultra-hot planets, with important implications for their atmospheric physics and chemistry,” said Tom Evans, lead author and research fellow at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. “Our observations support this picture.”

    To study the stratosphere of WASP-121b, scientists analyzed how different molecules in the atmosphere react to particular wavelengths of light, using Hubble’s capabilities for spectroscopy. Water vapor in the planet’s atmosphere, for example, behaves in predictable ways in response to certain wavelengths of light, depending on the temperature of the water.

    Starlight is able to penetrate deep into a planet’s atmosphere, where it raises the temperature of the gas there. This gas then radiates its heat into space as infrared light. However, if there is cooler water vapor at the top of the atmosphere, the water molecules will prevent certain wavelengths of this light from escaping to space. But if the water molecules at the top of the atmosphere have a higher temperature, they will glow at the same wavelengths.

    “The emission of light from water means the temperature is increasing with height,” said Tiffany Kataria, study co-author based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “We’re excited to explore at what longitudes this behavior persists with upcoming Hubble observations.”

    The phenomenon is similar to what happens with fireworks, which get their colors from chemicals emitting light. When metallic substances are heated and vaporized, their electrons move into higher energy states. Depending on the material, these electrons will emit light at specific wavelengths as they lose energy: sodium produces orange-yellow and strontium produces red in this process, for example. The water molecules in the atmosphere of WASP-121b similarly give off radiation as they lose energy, but in the form of infrared light, which the human eye is unable to detect.

    In Earth’s stratosphere, ozone gas traps ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which raises the temperature of this layer of atmosphere. Other solar system bodies have stratospheres, too; methane is responsible for heating in the stratospheres of Jupiter and Saturn’s moon Titan, for example.

    In solar system planets, the change in temperature within a stratosphere is typically around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 56 degrees Celsius). On WASP-121b, the temperature in the stratosphere rises by 1,000 degrees (560 degrees Celsius). Scientists do not yet know what chemicals are causing the temperature increase in WASP-121b’s atmosphere. Vanadium oxide and titanium oxide are candidates, as they are commonly seen in brown dwarfs, “failed stars” that have some commonalities with exoplanets. Such compounds are expected to be present only on the hottest of hot Jupiters, as high temperatures are needed to keep them in a gaseous state.

    “This super-hot exoplanet is going to be a benchmark for our atmospheric models, and it will be a great observational target moving into the Webb era,” said Hannah Wakeford, study co-author who worked on this research while at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

    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 4:55 pm on July 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Gravitational lens helps reveal "fireworks" in the early universe, , Hubble Pushed Beyond Limits to Spot Clumps of New Stars in Distant Galaxy, NASA/ESA Hubble   

    From Hubble: “Hubble Pushed Beyond Limits to Spot Clumps of New Stars in Distant Galaxy” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Jul 6, 2017

    Contact

    Christine Pulliam
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4366
    cpulliam@stsci.edu

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

    Dr. Jane Rigby
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
    301-286-1507 (office) / 240-475-3917 (cell)
    jane.r.rigby@nasa.gov

    Traci Johnson
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    612-325-1402
    tljohn@umich.edu

    1
    Gravitational lens helps reveal “fireworks” in the early universe
    When the universe was young, stars formed at a much higher rate than they do today. By peering across billions of light-years of space, Hubble can study this early era. But at such distances, galaxies shrink to smudges that hide key details. Astronomers have teased out those details in one distant galaxy by combining Hubble’s sharp vision with the natural magnifying power of a gravitational lens. The result is an image 10 times better than what Hubble could achieve on its own, showing dense clusters of brilliant, young stars that resemble cosmic fireworks.

    2

    When it comes to the distant universe, even the keen vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope can only go so far. Teasing out finer details requires clever thinking and a little help from a cosmic alignment with a gravitational lens.

    By applying a new computational analysis to a galaxy magnified by a gravitational lens, astronomers have obtained images 10 times sharper than what Hubble could achieve on its own. The results show an edge-on disk galaxy studded with brilliant patches of newly formed stars.

    “When we saw the reconstructed image we said, ‘Wow, it looks like fireworks are going off everywhere,’” said astronomer Jane Rigby of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    The galaxy in question is so far away that we see it as it appeared 11 billion years ago, only 2.7 billion years after the big bang. It is one of more than 70 strongly lensed galaxies studied by the Hubble Space Telescope, following up targets selected by the Sloan Giant Arcs Survey, which discovered hundreds of strongly lensed galaxies by searching Sloan Digital Sky Survey imaging data covering one-fourth of the sky.

    The gravity of a giant cluster of galaxies between the target galaxy and Earth distorts the more distant galaxy’s light, stretching it into an arc and also magnifying it almost 30 times. The team had to develop special computer code to remove the distortions caused by the gravitational lens, and reveal the disk galaxy as it would normally appear.

    The resulting reconstructed image revealed two dozen clumps of newborn stars, each spanning about 200 to 300 light-years. This contradicted theories suggesting that star-forming regions in the distant, early universe were much larger, 3,000 light-years or more in size.

    “There are star-forming knots as far down in size as we can see,” said doctoral student Traci Johnson of the University of Michigan, lead author of two of the three papers describing the research.

    Without the magnification boost of the gravitational lens, Johnson added, the disk galaxy would appear perfectly smooth and unremarkable to Hubble. This would give astronomers a very different picture of where stars are forming.

    While Hubble highlighted new stars within the lensed galaxy, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will uncover older, redder stars that formed even earlier in the galaxy’s history. It will also peer through any obscuring dust within the galaxy.

    “With the Webb Telescope, we’ll be able to tell you what happened in this galaxy in the past, and what we missed with Hubble because of dust,” said Rigby.

    These findings appear in a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters[http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hvi/uploads/science_paper/file_attachment/241/Rigby_2017_ApJ_843_79_published_July_10.pdf], and two additional papers published in The Astrophysical Journal [http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hvi/uploads/science_paper/file_attachment/240/T_Johnson_published_ApJ_paper_July_10.pdf] and [http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hvi/uploads/science_paper/file_attachment/242/T_Johnson_published_ApJL_July_10.pdf].

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 9:06 am on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Galaxy 318-13, , NASA/ESA Hubble   

    From Manu: “A galaxy resplendent, a view of the galaxy 318-13” 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    1
    Glitter galaxy — An edge-on view of the ESO 318-13 galaxy, NASA/ESA Hubble

    The Waterfall of bright stars through the middle of this picture is the galaxy that 318-13 as noted by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope at. Despite being located to millions of light years from earth, the stars captured in this image are so bright and clear that one could almost try to count them.

    Although that 318-13 is the main event in this picture, there is sandwich between a large collection of bright celestial objects. Several stars near and far dazzle in comparison with the polished pulverized contained within the galaxy. One that stands out in particular is located near the center of the image, and resembles a extremely bright star located within the galaxy. This is, however, a trick of perspective. The Star is located in the Milky Way, our own galaxy, and shines so brightly because it’s much closer to us than the galaxy that 318-13.

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt

    There are also a number of brilliant record small scattered the framework which are most distant galaxies. In the upper right corner, an elliptical galaxy can be seen clearly, a galaxy that is much bigger but more distant than that 318-13. What’s more interesting, see through that 318-13, near the right edge of The image, is a spiral galaxy distant.

    Galaxies are composed largely of empty space, the stars inside them only occupy a small volume, and provide a galaxy is not too dusty, can be largely transparent to the light coming from the bottom. This makes the overlapping galaxies as they are fairly common. A particularly dramatic example of this phenomenon is the pair of galaxies NGC 3314.

    Credit:
    Esa / Hubble & NASA

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:18 pm on May 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA/ESA Hubble, tar V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon)   

    From Manu Garcia: ” the light is still resonating three years after a starburst, v838 mon” 

    1

    The last image from the hubble space telescope at NASA / Esa Estrela V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals dramatic changes in the lighting cloud structures surrounding dusty. The effect, called light echo has been revealing, dust pattern never seen before since the star lit up suddenly for several weeks in early 2002.

    The Illumination of the interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star in the center of the image, which issued a pulse of light three years ago, something similar to the launch of a lightbulb in a dark room. The dust surrounding v838 mon may have been expelled from the star during a previous explosion, similar to the event of 2002.

    The Echo of light through space is similar to the sound echoing through the air. As the light of the stellar explosion continues to spread outwards, they light up different parts of the dust, the same way that an echo sound bounces of objects around the fountain, and later objects farther away from the source. Eventually, when the light from the back of the nebula starts to arrive, the echo of the light will give the illusion of contract, and finally disappear.

    V838 Mon is located about 20.000 light-years from earth in the direction of the constellation monoceros, placing the star on the outer edge of our galaxy of the milky way. The Hubble Telescope has visualized v838 mon and his light echo several times since the outbreak of the star. Every time the hubble gazes at the event, they look different thin sections of dust when the pulse of enlightenment is continuing to spread away from the star at the speed of light, producing a constantly changing appearance. During the outbreak whose light came to earth in 2002, the star normally weak suddenly brightened up, becoming 600.000 times brighter than our sun.

    Progress of the star and dusty structure around it.

    The last image from the hubble space telescope of the Star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals dramatic changes in the lighting cloud structures surrounding dusty. The effect, called light echo has been revealing, dust pattern never seen before since the star lit up suddenly for several weeks in early 2002.

    The new image of v838 mon, taken in October 2004 with Hubble’s advanced camera for surveys, prepared from images obtained through filters that insulate light blue, green and infrared. These images have been combined to produce a full color image that approximates the true colors of the echo of the light and the red star very near downtown.

    Photo Credit:
    NASA, esa, and the team of Hubble’s inheritance (Stsci / Aura)

    Visit My blog:
    http://eluniversodemanu.blogspot.com.es

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:46 pm on May 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NASA/ESA Hubble, NYPR, Paola Prestini, The Hubble Contata   

    From NYPR: “The Shimmering Nebulae of Paola Prestini’s ‘Hubble Cantata'” 

    Q2 is the 24/7 New Music Stream from New York Public Radio

    1

    May 15, 2017
    Daniel Stephen Johnson

    4
    Paola Prestini

    Paola Prestini is more than a composer. Co-founder of the production company VisionIntoArt (VIA) and its recording offshoot VIA Records, her latest institutional triumph is National Sawdust, the audiophile listening venue in Williamsburg that instantly became Brooklyn’s not-just-classical hotspot.

    And her new VIA Records release, The Hubble Cantata, is a more than a piece of music. It is a new kind of collaboration: a nexus of art and science.

    3
    Mario Livio answering questions from the crowd after speaking about his new book Brilliant Blunders on the National Mall in Washington DC at the 2013 National Book Festival. Livio spoke from 12:00pm-12:45 pm in the Contemporary Life pavilion.
    Date 22 September 2013, 12:39:46
    Source Own work
    Author Jason Quinn

    On the scientific side, the piece features spoken narration by astrophysicist Mario Livio, exploring the place of Earth and its passengers among the stars and generally asking the Big Questions provoked by our view of the heavens. A stereo recording, unfortunately, cannot fully convey the 3D virtual reality sound – designed by Arup, the same firm that created the acoustics of National Sawdust and, among other high-profile projects, New York’s new Second Avenue Subway – that accompany live performances of the work, but vestiges of the experience remain in the atmospheric electronic elements of the score.

    And the project’s other collaborators are no less – and there is no other word for them – stellar. The libretto is by Royce Vavrek, the wordsmith behind the 21st-century’s most acclaimed American operas (Breaking the Waves, Dog Days), and soprano Jessica Rivera’s passionate solos transmute the scientific stuff of the text into pure theater. Baritone Nathan Gunn’s voice reminds you why he is one of opera’s biggest names, and Julian Wachner steers not only his own Washington Chorus and Novus NY but also the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the Norwegian string ensemble 1B1 through Prestini’s shimmering nebulae of sound.

    For a piece that explicitly takes as its subject the seeming insignificance of mankind against the sublime and infinite expanses of outer space, The Hubble Cantata’s focus is very much on the human. This studio recording is not awash in reverb but as raw and clear as a live recording, allowing us to hear the minutest details of these terrestrial voices as they lead us on a voyage through the stars.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:40 pm on May 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , “Warm Neptune” HAT-P-26b, , , , NASA/ESA Hubble   

    From Goddard: “NASA Study Finds Unexpectedly Primitive Atmosphere Around ‘Warm Neptune’ “ 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    May 11, 2017
    Elizabeth Zubritsky
    elizabeth.a.zubritsky@nasa.gov
    Nancy Neal-Jones
    nancy.n.jones@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    Elizabeth Landau
    elizabeth.landau@jpl.nasa.gov
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    1
    The atmosphere of the distant “warm Neptune” HAT-P-26b, illustrated here, is unexpectedly primitive, composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. By combining observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, researchers determined that, unlike Neptune and Uranus, the exoplanet has relatively low metallicity, an indication of the how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium.
    Credits: NASA/GSFC

    A study [Science]combining observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes reveals that the distant planet HAT-P-26b has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/Spitzer Telescope

    Located about 437 light years away, HAT-P-26b orbits a star roughly twice as old as the sun.

    2
    http://www.vladtime.ru/nauka/464041

    The analysis is one of the most detailed studies to date of a “warm Neptune,” or a planet that is Neptune-sized and close to its star. The researchers determined that HAT-P-26b’s atmosphere is relatively clear of clouds and has a strong water signature, although the planet is not a water world. This is the best measurement of water to date on an exoplanet of this size.

    The discovery of an atmosphere with this composition on this exoplanet has implications for how scientists think about the birth and development of planetary systems. Compared to Neptune and Uranus, the planets in our solar system with about the same mass, HAT-P-26b likely formed either closer to its host star or later in the development of its planetary system, or both.

    “Astronomers have just begun to investigate the atmospheres of these distant Neptune-mass planets, and almost right away, we found an example that goes against the trend in our solar system,” said Hannah Wakeford, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study published in the May 12, 2017, issue of Science. “This kind of unexpected result is why I really love exploring the atmospheres of alien planets.”

    To study HAT-P-26b’s atmosphere, the researchers used data from transits— occasions when the planet passed in front of its host star. During a transit, a fraction of the starlight gets filtered through the planet’s atmosphere, which absorbs some wavelengths of light but not others. By looking at how the signatures of the starlight change as a result of this filtering, researchers can work backward to figure out the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

    In this case, the team pooled data from four transits measured by Hubble and two seen by Spitzer. Together, those observations covered a wide range of wavelengths from yellow light through the near-infrared region.

    “To have so much information about a warm Neptune is still rare, so analyzing these data sets simultaneously is an achievement in and of itself,” said co-author Tiffany Kataria of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    Because the study provided a precise measurement of water, the researchers were able to use the water signature to estimate HAT-P-26b’s metallicity. Astronomers calculate the metallicity, an indication of how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, because it gives them clues about how a planet formed.

    To compare planets by their metallicities, scientists use the sun as a point of reference, almost like describing how much caffeine beverages have by comparing them to a cup of coffee. Jupiter has a metallicity about 2 to 5 times that of the sun. For Saturn, it’s about 10 times as much as the sun. These relatively low values mean that the two gas giants are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium.

    The ice giants Neptune and Uranus are smaller than the gas giants but richer in the heavier elements, with metallicities of about 100 times that of the sun. So, for the four outer planets in our solar system, the trend is that the metallicities are lower for the bigger planets.

    Scientists think this happened because, as the solar system was taking shape, Neptune and Uranus formed in a region toward the outskirts of the enormous disk of dust, gas and debris that swirled around the immature sun. Summing up the complicated process of planetary formation in a nutshell: Neptune and Uranus would have been bombarded with a lot of icy debris that was rich in heavier elements. Jupiter and Saturn, which formed in a warmer part of the disk, would have encountered less of the icy debris.

    Two planets beyond our solar system also fit this trend. One is the Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-11b. The other is WASP-43b, a gas giant twice as massive as Jupiter.

    But Wakeford and her colleagues found that HAT-P-26b bucks the trend. They determined its metallicity is only about 4.8 times that of the sun, much closer to the value for Jupiter than for Neptune.

    “This analysis shows that there is a lot more diversity in the atmospheres of these exoplanets than we were expecting, which is providing insight into how planets can form and evolve differently than in our solar system,” said David K. Sing of the University of Exeter and the second author of the paper. “I would say that has been a theme in the studies of exoplanets: Researchers keep finding surprising diversity.”

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

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

    For more information about Spitzer, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer

    For images and more information about Hubble, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

    See the full article here.

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    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

     
  • richardmitnick 5:59 pm on May 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA/ESA Hubble, Observatories Combine to Crack Open the Crab Nebula   

    From Hubble: “Observatories Combine to Crack Open the Crab Nebula” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    May 10, 2017
    Ray Villard
    villard@stsci.edu
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.

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

    Dave Finley
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico
    575-835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

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

    Gloria Dubner
    IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    011-54-11-5285-7802
    gdubner@iafe.uba.ar

    Elizabeth Landau
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
    818-354-6425
    Elizabeth.R.Landau@jpl.nasa.gov

    Astronomers have produced a highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula, by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves seen by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to the powerful X-ray glow as seen by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    And, in between that range of wavelengths, the Hubble Space Telescope’s crisp visible-light view, and the infrared perspective of the

    NASA/Spitzer Telescope

    .


    This video starts with a composite image of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant that was assembled by combining data from five telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum: the Very Large Array, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, the XMM-Newton Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The video dissolves to the red-colored radio-light view that shows how a neutron star’s fierce “wind” of charged particles from the central neutron star energized the nebula, causing it to emit the radio waves. The yellow-colored infrared image includes the glow of dust particles absorbing ultraviolet and visible light. The green-colored Hubble visible-light image offers a very sharp view of hot filamentary structures that permeate this nebula. The blue-colored ultraviolet image and the purple-colored X-ray image shows the effect of an energetic cloud of electrons driven by a rapidly rotating neutron star at the center of the nebula. Credits: NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI)

    The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the year 1054, is 6,500 light-years from Earth. At its center is a super-dense neutron star, rotating once every 33 milliseconds, shooting out rotating lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and light — a pulsar (the bright dot at image center). The nebula’s intricate shape is caused by a complex interplay of the pulsar, a fast-moving wind of particles coming from the pulsar, and material originally ejected by the supernova explosion and by the star itself before the explosion.

    This image combines data from five different telescopes: The VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple.

    1
    This composite image of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant, was assembled by combining data from five telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum: the Very Large Array, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, the XMM-Newton Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
    Credits: NASA, ESA, NRAO/AUI/NSF and G. Dubner (University of Buenos Aires)

    The new VLA, Hubble and Chandra observations all were made at nearly the same time in November of 2012. A team of scientists led by Gloria Dubner of the Institute of Astronomy and Physics (IAFE), the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET) and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina then made a thorough analysis of the newly revealed details in a quest to gain new insights into the complex physics of the object. They are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

    “Comparing these new images, made at different wavelengths, is providing us with a wealth of new detail about the Crab Nebula. Though the Crab has been studied extensively for years, we still have much to learn about it,” Dubner said.

    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 10:10 am on May 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Hubble Views The Final Frontier For Dark Matter, NASA/ESA Hubble   

    From Ethan Siegel: “Hubble Views The Final Frontier For Dark Matter” 

    Ethan Siegel
    May 8, 2017

    1
    The streaks and arcs present in Abell 370, a distant galaxy cluster some 5-6 billion light years away, are some of the strongest evidence for gravitational lensing and dark matter that we have. NASA, ESA/Hubble, HST Frontier Fields

    When you look out into the distant Universe, in most locations, you’ll find a field of faint, distant galaxies: beautiful, but nothing special.

    2
    The ‘parallel field’ of Abell 370 showcases a deep view of a region of space with no particularly massive or significant structure inside. This is what most of the Universe looks like, when imaged deeply enough. NASA, ESA/Hubble, HST Frontier Fields

    Six billion light years away, Abell 370 is one of the most massive, dense ones discovered so far, but one galaxy, noticed early on, provided a hint of something more.

    4
    The distorted galaxy shown here is actually two images of a single galaxy located twice as far away as the rest of the galaxy; it is the effects of gravitational lensing that cause the odd appearance and multiple images. NASA, ESA/Hubble, HST Frontier Fields

    The “stretched-out” galaxy you see here isn’t a distorted cluster member, but is instead two images of a single galaxy, twice as far away as the cluster itself.

    5
    An illustration of gravitational lensing showcases how background galaxies — or any light path — is distorted by the presence of an intervening mass, such as a foreground galaxy cluster. NASA/ESA

    This phenomenon of gravitational lensing stretches galaxies into streaks and arcs, magnifying them, and creating multiple images.

    6
    The streaks of galaxies shown here are not representative of the actual shapes of the galaxies themselves, but rather the galaxies subject to the effects of the gravitational lens they pass through. Undistorted galaxies, like the one at the top left, are most likely in the foreground of the lens. NASA, ESA/Hubble, HST Frontier Fields

    It also enables us to reconstruct the mass distribution of the cluster, revealing that it’s mostly due to dark matter.

    7
    The mass distribution of cluster Abell 370. reconstructed through gravitational lensing, shows two large, diffuse halos of mass, consistent with dark matter with two merging clusters to create what we see here. NASA, ESA, D. Harvey (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland), R. Massey (Durham University, UK), the Hubble SM4 ERO Team and ST-ECF

    There are two separate clumps present, showing that this is likely two clusters merging together.

    8
    Despite the presence of large, elliptical galaxies, the location where the mass density is greatest, indicated by the dotted circle, corresponds to no known massive galaxy or other structure based in normal matter. The only explanation for this is the presence of an invisible source of mass: dark matter. NASA, ESA/Hubble, HST Frontier Fields / E. Siegel (annotation)

    Most importantly, dark matter must be present — and present outside of the individual galaxies themselves — to explain these gravitational effects.

    9
    A 2009 image, based on only a fraction of the Hubble data available today, revealed some of the incredible structure in Abell 370. The current data, benefitting from 8 extra years, showcases even more information about the distant, massive Universe. NASA/ESA Hubble

    Additional observations from 2009-2017 reveal unprecedented details about the massive, distant Universe.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    “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 2:58 pm on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Lot of Galaxies Need Guarding in this NASA Hubble View, , , , , NASA/ESA Hubble   

    From Hubble: “A Lot of Galaxies Need Guarding in this NASA Hubble View” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    May 4, 2017
    Ann Jenkins
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
    410-338-4488
    jenkins@stsci.edu

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

    Much like the eclectic group of space rebels in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has some amazing superpowers, specifically when it comes to observing innumerable galaxies flung across time and space.

    A stunning example is a galaxy cluster called Abell 370 that contains an astounding assortment of several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. That’s a lot of galaxies to be guarding, and just in this one cluster!

    1
    Galaxy cluster Abell 370 contains several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. Photographed in a combination of visible and near-infrared light, the brightest and largest galaxies are the yellow-white, massive, elliptical galaxies containing many hundreds of billions of stars each. Spiral galaxies have younger populations of stars and are bluish. Mysterious-looking arcs of blue light are distorted images of remote galaxies behind the cluster. The cluster acts as a huge lens in space that magnifies and stretches images of background galaxies like a funhouse mirror. Credits: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)

    Photographed in a combination of visible and near-infrared light, the immense cluster is a rich mix of a variety of galaxy shapes. The brightest and largest galaxies in the cluster are the yellow-white, massive, elliptical galaxies containing many hundreds of billions of stars each. Spiral galaxies — like our Milky Way — have younger populations of stars and are bluish.

    Entangled among the galaxies are mysterious-looking arcs of blue light. These are actually distorted images of remote galaxies behind the cluster. These far-flung galaxies are too faint for Hubble to see directly. Instead, the cluster acts as a huge lens in space that magnifies and stretches images of background galaxies like a funhouse mirror. The massive gravitational field of the foreground cluster produces this phenomenon. The collective gravity of all the stars and other matter trapped inside the cluster warps space and affects light traveling through the cluster, toward Earth.


    The Hubble Space Telescope is keeping watch over many, many galaxies using the combined superpowers of its incredible optics and a quirk of nature called gravitational lensing. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Katrina Jackson

    Nearly a hundred distant galaxies have multiple images caused by the lensing effect. The most stunning example is “the Dragon,” an extended feature that is probably several duplicated images of a single background spiral galaxy stretched along an arc.

    3
    This is a gallery of the Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields. The top six panels are massive galaxy clusters that act as huge lenses in space, magnifying and stretching images of remote galaxies behind each cluster that are too faint for Hubble to see directly. While one of the telescope’s cameras looked at each cluster of galaxies, another camera simultaneously viewed an adjacent patch of sky. This second region is called a “parallel field” — a seemingly sparse portion of sky that provides a deep look into the early universe. Astronomers observed each of the six clusters and six parallel fields in both near-infrared and visible light. This allowed scientists to create more detailed, overlapping, and complete images. Credits: NASA, ESA, STScI, and the HFF team

    Astronomers chose Abell 370 as a target for Hubble because its gravitational lensing effects can be used for probing remote galaxies that inhabited the early universe.

    Abell 370 is located approximately 4 billion light-years away in the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster. It is the last of six galaxy clusters imaged in the recently concluded Frontier Fields project. This ambitious, community-developed collaboration among NASA’s Great Observatories and other telescopes harnessed the power of massive galaxy clusters and probed the earliest stages of galaxy development. The program reveals galaxies that are 10 to 100 times fainter than any previously observed.

    For more information about Hubble, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/hubble or http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-20

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    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 2:25 pm on April 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jupiter's icy moon Europa, NASA/ESA Hubble, Probable plume of material erupting   

    From Hubble: “Hubble Spots Possible Venting Activity on Europa” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Apr 13, 2017

    Felicia Chou
    NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
    202-358-0257
    felicia.chou@nasa.gov

    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

    William Sparks
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
    410-338-4843
    sparks@stsci.edu

    1
    2
    2014 vs 2016

    Recent observations of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered a probable plume of material erupting from the moon’s surface at precisely the same location as a similar apparent plume seen two years earlier by Hubble. These images bolster evidence that the plumes are a real phenomenon, flaring up intermittently in the same region on the satellite.

    In the most recent observation — Feb. 22, 2016 — Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) uncovered a dark patch, silhouetted against Jupiter and protruding slightly off the surface at Europa’s equatorial region. The dark feature is not only in the same location but is also similar in appearance to the one seen in a previous STIS study of Europa, taken March 17, 2014.

    For both the 2016 and 2014 observations, Sparks and his team used the same transit technique to uncover the plumes in ultraviolet light. As Europa passes in front of Jupiter, any atmospheric features around the edge of the moon block some of Jupiter’s light, allowing STIS to see those features in silhouette.

    Planet transit. NASA/Ames

    The plumes correspond to the location of an unusually warm spot on the moon’s icy crust, seen in the late 1990s by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft.

    NASA/Galileo 1989-2003

    Researchers speculate that this might be circumstantial evidence for water erupting from the moon’s subsurface. Such a “location of interest” may be a site where material dredged up from beneath Europa’s surface could be analyzed for habitability by a future visiting spacecraft.

    “If there is a causal link between the plumes and the thermal anomaly, there could be geologic activity on Europa’s surface that is producing the plumes, or the plume activity may be influencing the surface thermal properties,” said lead researcher William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Added team member Britney Schmidt of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta: “This latest observation adds to the growing evidence that Europa’s complex geology belies an active, maybe habitable, ice shell and ocean. Understanding Europa’s plumbing through studies like this gives us a chance to better understand that picture.”

    The newly imaged plume rises about 62 miles above Europa’s surface. The plume observed by Hubble in 2014 in the same location was estimated to be about 30 miles high.

    Sparks’ team matched the plumes’ position with their corresponding location on the thermal map taken of the moon’s night side by Galileo. The absence of sunlight at night allows Europa’s surface to cool down. But the researchers spotted a region that was warmer than the surrounding area. This region, roughly 200 miles across, is in the same location as the observed plumes. The area was previously identified as a “thermal anomaly,” because it was a few degrees warmer than the surrounding terrain. Such an apparently minor temperature variation is significant, considering that Europa’s icy surface is so cold.

    One possibility for the temperature variation is that an infusion of energy warmed up the frigid surface. Another idea is that the surface retains an abnormal amount of heat. Both possibilities suggest that unusual activity is taking place.

    “After Hubble imaged the second plume-like feature, we looked at its corresponding location on the thermal map, because studies of the plumes on Saturn’s moon Enceladus have shown that they are associated with hotter regions,” Sparks explained. “We discovered that Europa’s plume candidate is sitting right on the thermal anomaly.”

    The plumes and the warm spot could be generated by a variety of geological activity. The team has proposed two possible scenarios for a link between the two features.

    The warmer area could be caused by the heat from liquid water, located more than one mile beneath Europa’s thick, icy crust. The water is pushed upward and cracks the surface, venting as a plume.

    Another idea is that water ejected by the plume falls onto the surface as a fine mist. This process could change the structure of the surface grains, allowing them to retain heat longer than the surrounding landscape.

    Sparks and his team are continuing to use Hubble to search for additional examples of plume candidates on Europa, hoping to determine the frequency with which they appear.

    The results will appear on April 13, 2017, in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    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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    AURA Icon

    NASA image

     
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