Tagged: NASA/ESA Hubble Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 6:30 am on September 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , From microwaves to megamasers, NASA/ESA Hubble   

    From Hubble: “From microwaves to megamasers” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    1
    Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, CC BY 4.0

    Phenomena across the Universe emit radiation spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum — from high-energy gamma rays, which stream out from the most energetic events in the cosmos, to lower-energy microwaves and radio waves.

    Microwaves, the very same radiation that can heat up your dinner, are produced by a multitude of astrophysical sources, including strong emitters known as masers (microwave lasers), even stronger emitters with the somewhat villainous name of megamasers, and the centres of some galaxies. Especially intense and luminous galactic centres are known as active galactic nuclei. They are in turn thought to be driven by the presence of supermassive black holes, which drag surrounding material inwards and spit out bright jets and radiation as they do so.

    The two galaxies shown here, imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, are named MCG+01-38-004 (the upper, red-tinted one) and MCG+01-38-005 (the lower, blue-tinted one). MCG+01-38-005 is a special kind of megamaser; the galaxy’s active galactic nucleus pumps out huge amounts of energy, which stimulates clouds of surrounding water. Water’s constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen are able to absorb some of this energy and re-emit it at specific wavelengths, one of which falls within the microwave regime. MCG+01-38-005 is thus known as a water megamaser!

    Astronomers can use such objects to probe the fundamental properties of the Universe. The microwave emissions from MCG+01-38-005 were used to calculate a refined value for the Hubble constant, a measure of how fast the Universe is expanding.

    This constant is named after the astronomer whose observations were responsible for the discovery of the expanding Universe and after whom the Hubble Space Telescope was named, Edwin Hubble.

    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.

    ESA50 Logo large

    AURA Icon

    NASA image

    Advertisements
     
  • richardmitnick 1:35 pm on August 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA/ESA Hubble,   

    From Hubble: “Hubble delivers first hints of possible water content of TRAPPIST-1 planets” 

    NASA Hubble Banner

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    31 August 2017
    Vincent Bourrier
    Observatoire de l’Université de Genève
    Sauverny, Switzerland
    Tel: +41 22 379 24 49
    Email: vincent.bourrier@unige.ch

    Julien de Wit
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Cambridge, USA
    Tel: +1 617 258 0209
    Email: jdewit@mit.edu

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

    1
    An international team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the seven earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. The results suggest that the outer planets of the system might still harbour substantial amounts of water. This includes the three planets within the habitable zone of the star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable.

    2
    Trappist-1 System

    3
    Comparison between the Sun and the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1

    On 22 February 2017 astronomers announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, 40 light-years away [1]. This makes TRAPPIST-1 the planetary system with the largest number of Earth-sized planets discovered so far.

    Following up on the discovery, an international team of scientists led by the Swiss astronomer Vincent Bourrier from the Observatoire de l’Université de Genève, used the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study the amount of ultraviolet radiation received by the individual planets of the system. “Ultraviolet radiation is an important factor in the atmospheric evolution of planets,” explains Bourrier. “As in our own atmosphere, where ultraviolet sunlight breaks molecules apart, ultraviolet starlight can break water vapour in the atmospheres of exoplanets into hydrogen and oxygen.”

    While lower-energy ultraviolet radiation breaks up water molecules — a process called photodissociation — ultraviolet rays with more energy (XUV radiation) and X-rays heat the upper atmosphere of a planet, which allows the products of photodissociation, hydrogen and oxygen, to escape.

    As it is very light, hydrogen gas can escape the exoplanets’ atmospheres and be detected around the exoplanets with Hubble, acting as a possible indicator of atmospheric water vapour [2]. The observed amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by TRAPPIST-1 indeed suggests that the planets could have lost gigantic amounts of water over the course of their history.

    This is especially true for the innermost two planets of the system, TRAPPIST-1b and TRAPPIST-1c, which receive the largest amount of ultraviolet energy. “Our results indicate that atmospheric escape may play an important role in the evolution of these planets,” summarises Julien de Wit, from MIT, USA, co-author of the study.

    The inner planets could have lost more than 20 Earth-oceans-worth of water during the last eight billion years. However, the outer planets of the system — including the planets e, f and g which are in the habitable zone — should have lost much less water, suggesting that they could have retained some on their surfaces [3]. The calculated water loss rates as well as geophysical water release rates also favour the idea that the outermost, more massive planets retain their water. However, with the currently available data and telescopes no final conclusion can be drawn on the water content of the planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1.

    “While our results suggest that the outer planets are the best candidates to search for water with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, they also highlight the need for theoretical studies and complementary observations at all wavelengths to determine the nature of the TRAPPIST-1 planets and their potential habitability,” concludes Bourrier.

    Science paper:
    TEMPORAL EVOLUTION OF THE HIGH-ENERGY IRRADIATION AND WATER CONTENT OF TRAPPIST-1 EXOPLANETS

    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.

    ESA50 Logo large

    AURA Icon

    NASA image

     
  • 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 .

    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.

    ESA50 Logo large

    AURA Icon

    NASA image

     
  • 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.

    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.

    ESA50 Logo large

    AURA Icon

    NASA image

     
  • 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 .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • 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.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

     
  • 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.

    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

     
  • 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 .

    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.

    ESA50 Logo large

    AURA Icon

    NASA image

     
  • 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.

    STEM Icon

    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

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