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  • richardmitnick 10:42 am on November 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NEID spectrograph built at The Pennsylvania State University, NOAO, WIYN at Kitt Peak National Observatory   

    From NOAO: “NEID Installation and Commissioning Update” 

    From National Optical Astronomy Observatory

    11.22.19
    Dan Li (NSF‘s OIR Lab)

    Commissioning of the NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy (NEID) instrument has begun at WIYN Observatory, as marked by the delivery of the NEID port adapter. The port adapter, which has been developed by NSF’s OIR Lab in close collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the NEID team, provides crucial basic functions such as target acquisition, fast tip-tilt for guiding, and correction of atmospheric dispersion for the NEID spectrograph.

    1
    Port adapter after installation

    The FedEx truck that carried the port adapter arrived at Kitt Peak on 17 October 2019,accompanied by the UW team. After assembly (a number of key optical and electronic components had been stored in separate cases during shipping) and a post-shipping health check, the adapter was installed on WIYN’s folded Cassegrain port on 21 October.

    NOAO WIYN Telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    After another week of intense work (e.g., cabling, optical alignment, electronic and mechanical functionality tests, software integration into the WIYN network and computer system), the port adapter acquired its first light on 29 October with closed-loop (50 Hz) guiding using the fast tip-tilt mirror and the port adapter’s internal camera.

    2
    Image from the port adapter camera

    Over the following nights, we had successfully closed loops on targets down to 14th magnitude (V-band). The guiding dispersion is better than 70 milliarcseconds over 5-minute intervals for bright sources (V < 12 magnitude).

    3
    NEID spectrograph in the WIYN cleanroom

    The NEID spectrograph, built at The Pennsylvania State University, arrived at Kitt Peak on 28 October. The 2-ton vacuum chamber and many of NEID’s supporting and calibration instruments were safely transferred into two connecting cleanrooms inside the WIYN building after being unloaded outside the dome. With help from the OIR Lab personnel, the PSU team spent the following two weeks installing equipment in the cleanrooms, routing cables, opening the vacuum chamber to inspect all the optics and fibers, and waking up the CCD detector, among other activities. The pumping and cooling of the cryostat is now underway. First light with the spectrograph is anticipated later this month, and shared risk science is expected to begin in December 2019.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night-time astronomy. Our mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other optical and infrared telescopes. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky. NOAO is also engaged in programs to develop the next generation of instruments and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:10 am on November 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , NOAO   

    From National Optical Astronomy Observatory: “Opportunity, Partnerships, and Unity” 

    From National Optical Astronomy Observatory

    November 2019

    Last month’s grand unification — of NOAO with Gemini Observatory and LSST operations — consolidated all of NSF’s nighttime optical-infrared astronomy facilities under one roof, creating the next incarnation of the US national observatory.

    The new organization, NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (temporarily nicknamed NSF’s OIR Lab), operates five facilities — Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Gemini Observatory, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the first three of which were formerly under NOAO.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory on Cerro Tololo in the Coquimbo Region of northern Chile Altitude 2,207 m (7,241 ft)

    Kitt Peak National Observatory of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    Gemini/South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet

    LSST telescope, The Vera Rubin Survey Telescope currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    Currents sat down with Pat McCarthy, the Lab’s recently appointed Director, to learn his perspective on the Lab’s mission and the opportunities and challenges ahead. Previously the Vice President of the Giant Magellan Telescope project and Astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Pat began his 5-year term on 1 October 2019.

    2
    Patrick McCarthy, Director, National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory

    How do you see the role of the Lab in the US astronomical landscape?

    NSF’s OIR Lab is about creating opportunities, both by using the assets we have in new and different ways and by creating a solid platform on which new initiatives can form and grow. The Lab is intended to be a true national center where people from all around the US and our partner communities can come to further their research goals. It is a place where people come to collaborate, where teams coalesce, and where new ideas — as well as projects and teams of all sizes — can find the resources they need to take root and grow. As a focal point for community coordination and collaboration, the Lab makes it easier for the US community to speak with one voice to our funding agencies.

    The Lab is also about strategic planning in partnership with our community. We must be ready to support the ground-based OIR initiatives that come out of the 2020 Decadal Survey. But also, as we navigate the coming decade, we need to keep one eye on the far horizon, the 2030’s and beyond. We must sustain the exploration of known scientific horizons as well as the discovery of future horizons.

    Sounds exciting. Can you give us an example of a science opportunity that is enabled by the integration of the five facilities?

    A good example is time-domain and survey astronomy. These research approaches will be major science drivers in the coming decade — think LSST and other time-domain surveys, multi-messenger astronomy, and large spectroscopic surveys like the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). To capitalize on the likely deluge of discoveries, we will need CSDC’s tools to identify and schedule sources for follow up observations, as well as a fleet of telescopes — at CTIO, Gemini Observatory, KPNO, and elsewhere — to carry out follow up observations. With a larger number of telescopes in the mix, we can allocate apertures to specialized roles and carry out observations over a range of time zones. Telescopes at one site can backstop another in the case of bad weather or provide a longer time sampling for variable objects.

    What excites you most about the new organization?

    In my work at GMT I learned a great deal about the power of large teams working within professional organizations. Teams supported by strong institutions and solid governance structures can accomplish things that simply cannot be done by small groups — the expert professor and her graduate students, for example. We build big teams to do things that we cannot do any other way. This is a driving force behind the formation of NSF’s OIR Lab — with its scale, structure, and governance, we can undertake projects and programs that were previously impossible.

    At the same time, astronomy is more diverse than ever before, with discoveries being made and frontiers expanded in many areas, by projects and teams spanning a range of sizes that are funded in different ways. We need to help sustain and grow these diverse efforts. A key lesson I learned in moving from small teams to large organizations is that good leaders empower people, they take chances on people, and they let young people shine. I’m looking forward to what we will accomplish together, in partnership with all parts of our community.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night-time astronomy. Our mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other optical and infrared telescopes. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky. NOAO is also engaged in programs to develop the next generation of instruments and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:09 am on August 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AEON-Astronomical Event Observatory Network, , , , , NOAO   

    From NOAO: “First Night of AEON Queue Operations on SOAR a Success!” 

    NOAO Banner

    From NOAO

    1

    Cesar Briceno, Jay Elias (NOAO)

    The Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON), a collaboration between Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO), NOAO, SOAR and Gemini, is aimed at building an ecosystem of world-class telescope facilities for the follow up of transients and time-domain astronomy, in preparation for the LSST era.

    LCOGT Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Haleakala Hawaii, USA, Elevation 10,023 ft (3,055 m)


    SART telescope (SOAR) situated on Cerro Pachón, just to the southeast of Cerro Tololo on the AURA site at an altitude of 2,700 meters (8,775 feet) above sea level


    Gemini/South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet

    LSST

    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



    LSST telescope, currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.


    LSST Data Journey, Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    The night of 6 August 2019 set a milestone for the project, as the first of 20 nights scheduled on the SOAR telescope this semester in AEON-queue mode. The night was successful, with a total of 10 different targets studied under excellent observing conditions. Additional queue-scheduled observing nights are anticipated at a rate of 3-4 per month for the remainder of the 2019B semester.

    Over this semester, SOAR’s AEON-scheduled queue will carry out observations that have been approved through the standard NOAO TAC process. The approved programs, eight regular programs and four Target-of-Opportunity programs, pursue diverse science cases, ranging from the characterization and study of Near Earth Objects, microlensing events, young supernovae, RR Lyrae stars in ultra-faint dwarf galaxies, solar-like pre-main sequence stars, to the follow up of Galactic transients and gravitational wave events.

    AEON builds on the infrastructure of the existing network of small telescopes run by LCO to incorporate 4-m and 8-m class telescopes. The underlying idea is to create an integrated “follow-up” ecosystem, as outlined in the figure below.

    3
    The AEON concept. The red rectangle on the right highlights the portions currently under development and testing. SOAR is the pathfinder facility for bringing other telescopes into a highly automated system, running unsupervised software, that generates a dynamic and flexible schedule roughly every 15 minutes.

    SOAR’s Goodman instrument is currently available through the AEON queue in a subset of modes: imaging with the VR, SDSS-g, SDSS-r, SDSS-i filters, and spectroscopy with the red camera, 400 line grating and 1 arcsecond slit. Users can submit their targets at any time during the semester, through the LCO Observing Portal or with custom software that connects to LCO via their API. On an AEON night, the observing schedule is downloaded from LCO and executed by software that runs both the telescope and the Goodman instrument; guide star and on-slit target acquisition (for spectroscopic observations) are the only steps still carried out manually. Users can obtain the status of their observations and retrieve their raw data through the LCO Observing Portal. Data reduction can be carried out in an automated way using the Goodman Spectroscopic Data Reduction Pipeline. Further information on observing with AEON is available at the LCO-AEON web site.

    SOAR intends to expand the range of Goodman configurations available in queue mode and to eventually add additional instruments such as TripleSpec 4.1. The underlying objective is to provide flexible observing in an era of complex observing requirements ranging from large survey programs to focused time-domain programs.

    To learn more: Interested SOAR-AEON users, including those affiliated with other SOAR partners, are invited to consult future issues of Currents and calls for the proposals for additional opportunities and information. Updates on available instruments or observing configurations for the 2020A semester will be provided when the NOAO call for proposals is issued in early September. We are also very much interested in including programs from other SOAR partners in the AEON queue. Developing the AEON Network will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming TOM Toolkit Workshop. Further information on the current status and related matters at the SOAR AEON page.

    SOAR’s success in reaching this milestone is due to the effort of a many people, including Diego Gomez and Omar Estay of NOAO and Jon Nation, Elizabeth Heinrich, and Mark Bowman of Las Cumbres Observatory. Queue operations also rely on the skill and efficiency of the regular SOAR operators. Funding for much of this work was provided by supplementary funding from the National Science Foundation.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


    Gemini North

    Gemini/South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecedented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:34 pm on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 096 m (6, 877 ft), NEID chamber for the WIYN telescope, NOAO, NOAO WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak AZ USA Altitude 2   

    From NOAO: “NEID Extreme Precision Radial Velocity Spectrometer on Track for Installation at WIYN in 2019” 

    NOAO Banner

    From NOAO

    11.7.18

    NEID chamber for the WIYN telescope. Photos courtesy of NOAO WIYN and Washburn Labs-University of Wisconsin.

    The cornerstone of a partnership between NSF and NASA to advance exoplanet science, the NEID extreme precision radial velocity spectrometer is on schedule to be installed and commissioned at the 3.5-m WIYN telescope starting in April 2019 and to be available to the community in the 2019B semester.

    Radial Velocity Method-Las Cumbres Observatory

    Radial velocity Image via SuperWasp http:// http://www.superwasp.org/exoplanets.htm

    NOAO WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak, AZ, USA, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    NOAO WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak, AZ, USA, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    Kitt Peak National Observatory of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    The aggressive development and deployment schedule is dictated by the main mandate for the project: to support the NASA TESS mission, which launched in April of this year and is already producing data.

    NASA/MIT TESS

    A WIYN facility instrument, NEID will be available to the exoplanet community for up to approximately 40% of the observing time on the WIYN telescope (roughly 120 nights). Proposals will be accepted through the NOAO TAC process. Additional details about the NASA-NSF partnership and the NEID spectrometer are available in a September 2016 NOAO Newsletter article. A splinter meeting on NEID has been scheduled at the January AAS meeting in Seattle, where the community can learn more about NEID’s capabilities and operation plans.

    As part of the instrument development effort, NOAO has been busy designing and fabricating two major subsystems for NEID:

    Port Adaptor: A fiber feed to be mounted on the mirror cell at the Bent Cassegrain Port, the Port Adaptor will provide a highly stable, tip-tilt corrected starlight beam with image motion controlled to better than 50 milliarcseconds.

    3

    NEID chamber: Light from the Port Adaptor will be carried by optical fibers down to the ground-floor room where NEID will be housed. The NEID chamber is tightly thermally controlled, to within a tenth of a degree throughout the year, while outside temperatures range from freezing to near 100 degrees.

    4

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO News
    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    Gemini North
    Gemini North

    Gemini South telescope
    Gemini South

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecendented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:46 pm on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NOAO,   

    From NOAO: “The US Extremely Large Telescope Program” 

    NOAO Banner

    From NOAO

    11.7.18
    Mark Dickinson

    1

    NOAO, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Organization, and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory, are continuing our joint effort to develop a US Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) Program.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed and now approved for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Our primary goal is to enable forefront research by the broad US astronomical community via open access to significant shares of observing time with both TMT and GMT. In the coming decade, ELTs with 20-m to 40-m primary mirror diameters will peer out into the Universe with unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution, enabling scientific investigations beyond the reach of present-day observatories, in nearly all fields of astronomical research from our Solar System to cosmology. The combination of TMT and GMT provides access to both hemispheres and more diverse observing capabilities, enabling integrated science programs that go beyond the reach of a single facility.

    In recent news and activities related to the US ELT Program:

    The importance of national access to (and federal investment in) these capabilities was again highlighted in the recent Exoplanet Science Strategy report commissioned by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The report recommended that “the National Science Foundation (NSF) invest in both the GMT and TMT and their exoplanet instrumentation to provide all-sky access to the US Community.”

    More than 250 astronomers are currently working together to develop concepts for Key Science Programs (KSPs) using TMT and GMT. KSPs will address questions of fundamental scientific importance that may require tens to hundreds of observing nights with GMT, TMT, or both observatories working in concert, taking advantage of their combined view of the full sky, or of their complementary instrumental capabilities. It is envisioned that KSPs will follow open collaboration models that encourage broad, diverse participation by observers, theorists, and data scientists throughout the US community. More than 85 scientists will gather in Tucson for a KSP Development Workshop in mid-November. If you would like to contribute to KSP development, please register using the on-line form.

    Site excavation for the GMT’s concrete pier and enclosure began at Las Campanas Observatory in August, and is expected to take about five months to complete.

    The Supreme Court of the State of Hawai’i has upheld an earlier decision by the State Board of Land and Natural Resources to issue a Conservation District Use Permit for the construction of TMT on Maunakea.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    NOAO News
    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    NOAO Gemini North

    Gemini South telescope

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecendented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:59 pm on May 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics, , NOAO, , , U.S. Extremely Large Telescope (US-ELT) Program   

    From NOAO: U S EXTREMELY LARGE TELESCOPE PROGRAM 

    NOAO Banner

    From NOAO

    U.S. EXTREMELY LARGE TELESCOPE PROGRAM
    21 May 2018
    U.S. national observatory and two extremely large telescope projects team up to enhance U.S. scientific leadership in astronomy and astrophysics
    A new research frontier in astronomy and astrophysics will open in the mid-2020s with the advent of ground-based extremely large optical-infrared telescopes (ELTs) with primary mirrors in the 20-m – 40-m range. U.S. scientific leadership in astronomy and astrophysics will be significantly enhanced if the broad U.S. community can take advantage of the power of these new ELTs.
    In that context, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO), and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) have embarked on the development of a U.S. Extremely Large Telescope (US-ELT) Program.
    Our shared mission is to strengthen scientific leadership by the U.S. community-at-large through access to extremely large telescopes in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. This two-hemisphere model will provide the U.S. science community with greater and more diverse research opportunities than can be achieved with a single telescope, and hence more opportunities for leadership.
    Our immediate task is advocacy for frontier research programs led by U.S community scientists that can achieve exceptional advancements in humanity’s understanding of the cosmos.
    Our audience is the U.S. research community as represented by the upcoming Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics (an enterprise of the U.S. National Academies).
    As an essential part of that immediate task, we will work with the U.S. research community to develop exemplar Key Science Programs (KSPs) within major research areas including the dark universe, first stars & first galaxies, exoplanet atmospheres, the surfaces of satellites and other small bodies throughout Solar System, and/or other topics to be proposed and prioritized by community-based working groups.
    Key Science Programs are envisioned to be open collaborations that gather observers, theorists, and data scientists together to exploit significant investments of Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) observing time, from tens to hundreds of nights.

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed and now approved for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    Some of these collaborations are expected to be international in nature. If well-justified by KSP plans, we envisage that at least 25% of the observing time at each international observatory will be available for the U.S. community.
    The KSPs chosen for presentation to the Decadal Survey will not be the final programs. Astronomy and astrophysics will continue to evolve rapidly during construction of GMT and TMT, thanks to previous investments in ground– and space-based observatories, such as the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the NASA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). Actual KSPs will be selected by peer-review before the start of GMT and TMT science operations.

    NASA/MIT TESS

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    LSST


    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



    LSST telescope, currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    NOAO, TIO, and GMTO are committed to enabling diversity within KSP collaborations. We seek to empower the best minds, no matter their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or institutional affiliation.
    More information about the U.S. ELT Program and how community scientists can join KSP development groups will be available after mid-June 2018.
    Issued by the National Science Foundation’s National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), with concurrence of the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) and Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO)
    CONTACT: Dr. David Silva, Director, NOAO, dsilva@noao.edu


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    stem

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO News
    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    Gemini North
    Gemini North

    Gemini South telescope
    Gemini South

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecendented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:25 pm on April 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NOAO   

    From NOAO: “Sixth Data Release of the DESI Legacy Surveys: More Stars & Galaxies, More Science Opportunities” 

    NOAO Banner

    1
    Figure 1: A selection of image cutouts from the DR5 and DR6 Legacy Surveys data illustrating the variety of astronomical objects covered by the surveys and highlighting the capability of the surveys to image low surface brightness features. The horizontal white bar in the lower-right corner of each image corresponds to one arcminute. No image credit.

    The DESI Legacy Surveys are a collection of three imaging surveys jointly mapping approximately 14,000 square degrees of the extragalactic sky visible from the northern hemisphere. The Legacy Surveys have just published their sixth data release (DR6) which covers ~4000 square degrees, primarily north of declination +32 degrees.

    The Legacy Surveys DR6 release includes images and catalogs based on z-band data from the Mayall z-band Legacy Survey (MzLS; PI Arjun Dey), r- and g-band data from the Beijing-Arizona Sky Survey (BASS; PIs Xu Zhou and Xiaohui Fan), and mid-infrared photometry from the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite for all optically detected sources. The WISE photometry is measured on new coadded images from the WISE mission and its subsequent reactivation as NEOWISE. DR6 includes astrometry, photometry and shape parameters for approximately 310 million sources. Combined with DR5, the Legacy Surveys catalogs contain information on roughly 990 million astronomical objects.

    The primary motivation behind the Legacy Surveys is to providing targeting data for the Dark Energy Spectroscopy Instrument (DESI) surveys. DESI, which is currently being installed at the Mayall 4m telescope at Kitt Peak, will probe the largest volume of the universe to date by compiling distances to 30 million galaxies and quasars, reaching further out than previous work, and providing us with a new 3-D map of the universe. Comparing the observed structures to predictions from cosmological models will tell us about the nature of dark energy, the distribution of dark matter, and the backbone structure of the matter distribution in the universe onto which the galaxies are painted.

    The ~4000 sq deg footprint covered by the latest DR6 release complements the ~10,000 sq. deg. footprint covered by the DR5 release. The DR5 and DR6 releases overlap in a strip in the north Galactic cap near declination +32 and in some scattered equatorial fields.

    In addition to a broader footprint and improved depth, the substantially increased overlap with the SDSS/BOSS spectroscopic survey creates exciting opportunities to conduct a variety of astrophysical studies (e.g., galaxy evolution, searching for high-redshift quasars, probing stellar populations, or the discovery of moving objects). The astronomical community is invited to conduct science projects and get in touch with the LS team and/or NOAO Data Lab team as needed.

    As in previous data releases, DR6 includes images, photometric catalogs, as well as an Image Gallery compiled by LS team member John Moustakas. The DR6 Gallery includes different categories of astronomical objects such as globular clusters, spiral disk galaxies, lenticular or elliptical galaxies (see Figures 1 & 2). Many more beautiful examples can be discovered by exploring interactively in the online sky viewer.

    We encourage usage of the data from the Legacy Surveys. The DR6 data products are available through: [1] direct access through the Legacy Survey Team website; [2] the NOAO Science Archive; and [3] the NOAO Data Lab. The NOAO Science Archive provides access to both the DR6 raw, and processed images. The NOAO Data Lab provides tools to access databases containing the catalogs. The Data Lab tools enable complex user queries and analyses of the data using a Jupyter Notebook server, a Simple Image Access (SIA) service and a TAP handle (which allows, for example, users to connect to the databases via commonly used tools such as TOPCAT). Example Jupyter Notebooks are also provided to users. We also note opportunities for combined analyses using other datasets accessible through the Data Lab such as the first data release from the Dark Energy Survey (DES), and the NOAO Source Catalog (NSC).

    Dark Energy Survey


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    The next data release of the Legacy Surveys is planned for July 2018, and will include all DECam data obtained by the survey through March 2018.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO News
    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    Gemini North
    Gemini North

    Gemini South telescope
    Gemini South

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecendented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:36 pm on November 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DECaPS, , NOAO, NOAO Science Archive, The DECam Plane Survey, The DECam Plane Survey (DECaPS)   

    From NOAO: “DECam Plane Survey Data Release: Catalogs and Images Now Available” 

    NOAO Banner

    11.14.17
    Eddie Schlafly (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab)

    A new publicly available data set offers a wealth of information on the structure of the disk of the Milky Way and its interstellar medium.

    The DECam Plane Survey (DECaPS), which uses the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) to observe the southern Galactic plane (dec < -30 degrees), has released data covering roughly one-third of the Milky Way’s disk: a swath within 5 degrees of the Galactic plane that extends over 1000 square degrees of the sky through Galactic longitudes between 5 degrees and -120 degrees. The survey reaches a depth of 23.7, 22.8, 22.2, 21.8, and 21.0 magnitudes in the g, r, i, z, and Y bands, roughly suitable for detecting main-sequence turn-off stars at the distance to the Galactic center through a reddening of 1.5 magnitudes E(B-V).

    Dark Energy Survey


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    The data release includes images and catalogs. The full catalogs contain more than twenty billion detections of two billion objects, mostly corresponding to highly reddened stars deep in the Galactic disk. All of the images making up the survey can be browsed interactively through the DECam Legacy Survey viewer and are available through the NOAO Science Archive.

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    Some images from the DECaPS Data Release. Hover your mouse over the image to pause the slideshow. [This only works at the full article.]

    The DECam Plane Survey

    The DECam Plane Survey was designed to measure the fluxes of billions of stars in the southern Galactic plane to reveal the three-dimensional distribution of dust in the Milky Way. In concert with Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) observations of the northern Galactic plane, the survey results allow a full 360 degree map of the dust in the Milky Way.

    Pann-STARS telescope, U Hawaii, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    DECaPS is not just an extension of PS1, however. It is significantly deeper than other wide-area surveys of the Galactic plane, reaching stars roughly one magnitude fainter than PS1 in individual images. The DECaPS pipeline is optimized for crowded fields of point sources, allowing precise photometry even in the inner Galaxy where the huge number of stars blend together in the typical 1″ seeing obtained by DECaPS.

    Nor is DECaPS just about dust. By studying many stars, the structure of the Milky Way’s disk can be characterized in detail. Color-magnitude diagrams from the survey show a rich array of stellar populations that vary from place to place within the Galaxy. The DECaPS catalog is only a first step intended to enable many different scientific analyses of the survey.

    Each part of the survey footprint was observed three times, usually on different nights, using the same tiling of the sky developed for the DECam Legacy Survey. This strategy was designed to enable precise photometric calibration, but it also provides some limited variability information about all of the observed stars. Observations for the survey took place over 22 nights from March 2016 to May 2017. The large etendue and low downtime of the DECam/Blanco system made this survey efficiency possible. Further details on the survey are available in a preprint by Schlafly et al. (2017).
    DECaPS Images

    Color images from DECaPS can be interactively browsed through the DECam Legacy Survey viewer, built by Dustin Lang. The three colors show the g, r, and z bands. Both the actual observations and “model observations” generated from the DECaPS catalogs and the pipeline-estimated PSF can be viewed, providing an immediate sense of the accuracy of the modeling. For example, compare the actual observations with the best-fit models in the viewer.

    All of the images making up the survey are also available through the NOAO Science Archive (select all images with Program Number 2016A-0323 or 2016B-0279, PI: Finkbeiner).

    Catalogs

    The DECam Plane Survey catalogs were constructed using a custom pipeline optimized for crowded stellar fields. The pipeline follows in the tradition of DAOPHOT, simultaneously fitting for the positions and fluxes of all of the stars in each image. This fit is performed by linearizing the problem and passing the optimization off to a large, sparse, linear-least-squares optimizer. In the densest regions, this can require simultaneously fitting the positions and fluxes of 60,000 stars per 1024×1024 pixel region.

    Each DECaPS image is independently analyzed. In order to provide multiband information, single-image catalogs are matched together, and detections within 0.5” of one another are considered to be detections of the same star. All of the detections of the same object are then grouped together to provide average photometry and astrometry of each star in each band. Both the single-image and band-merged catalogs are available at the survey web site.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO News
    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    Gemini North
    Gemini North

    Gemini South telescope
    Gemini South

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecendented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:46 pm on August 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , LAE-Lyman alpha emission, NOAO, The fog was already lifting when the universe was 5% of its current age   

    From NOAO: “Distant Galaxies ‘Lift the Veil’ on the End of the Cosmic Dark Ages” 

    NOAO Banner

    July 11, 2017

    Dr. Junxian Wang
    Department of Astronomy
    University of Science and Technology of China
    96 Jinzhai Road Hefei, Anhui 230026 China
    jxw@ustc.edu.cn

    Dr. Sangeeta Malhotra
    ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration
    and
    Astrophysics Science Division,
    Goddard Space Flight Center
    8800 Greenbelt Road
    Greenbelt, Maryland 20771
    sangeeta.malhotra@asu.edu

    1
    False color image of a 2 square degree region of the LAGER survey field, created from images taken in the optical at 500 nm (blue), in the near-infrared at 920 nm (red), and in a narrow-band filter centered at 964 nm (green). The last is sensitive to hydrogen Lyman alpha emission at z ~ 7. The small white boxes indicate the positions of the 23 LAEs discovered in the survey. The detailed insets (yellow) show two of the brightest LAEs; they are 0.5 arcminutes on a side, and the white circles are 5 arcseconds in diameter. Image Credit: Zhen-Ya Zheng (SHAO) & Junxian Wang (USTC).

    Astronomers studying the distant Universe have found that small star-forming galaxies were abundant when the Universe was only 800 million years old, a few percent of its present age. The results suggest that the earliest galaxies, which illuminated and ionized the Universe, formed at even earlier times.

    Long ago, about 300,000 years after the beginning of the Universe (the Big Bang), the Universe was dark. There were as yet no stars and galaxies, and the Universe was filled with neutral hydrogen gas. At some point the first galaxies appeared, and their energetic radiation ionized their surroundings, the intergalactic gas, illuminating and transforming the Universe.

    2

    While this dramatic transformation is known to have occurred sometime in the interval between 300 million years and 1 billion years after the Big Bang, determining when the first galaxies formed is a challenge. The intergalactic gas, which is initially neutral, strongly absorbs and scatters the ultraviolet light emitted by the galaxies, making them difficult to detect.

    To home in on when the transformation occurred, astronomers take an indirect approach. Using the demographics of small star-forming galaxies to determine when the intergalactic gas became ionized, they can infer when the ionizing sources, the first galaxies, formed. If star forming galaxies, which glow in the light of the hydrogen Lyman alpha line, are surrounded by neutral hydrogen gas, the Lyman alpha photons are readily scattered, much like headlights in fog, obscuring the galaxies. When the gas is ionized, the fog lifts, and the galaxies are easier to detect.

    A new study taking this approach has discovered 23 candidate Lyman alpha emitting galaxies (LAEs) that were present 800 million years after the Big Bang (at a redshift of z~7), the largest sample detected to date at that epoch. The study, “Lyman-Alpha Galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization” (LAGER), was carried out by an international team of astronomers from China, the US, and Chile using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the CTIO 4-m Blanco telescope.

    Dark Energy Survey


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    While the study detected many LAEs, it also found that LAEs were 4 times less common at 800 million years than they were a short time later, at 1 billion years (at a redshift of z~5.7). The results imply that the process of ionizing the Universe began early and was still incomplete at 800 million years, with the intergalactic gas about half neutral and half ionized at that epoch. The low incidence rate of LAEs at 800 million years results from the suppression of their Lyman alpha emission by neutral intergalactic gas.

    The study shows that “the fog was already lifting when the universe was 5% of its current age”, explained Sangeeta Malhotra (Goddard Space Flight Center and Arizona State University), one of the co-leads of the survey.

    Junxian Wang (USTC), the organizer of the study, further explained, “Our finding that the intergalactic gas is 50% ionized at z ~ 7 implies that a large fraction of the first galaxies that ionized and illuminated the universe formed early, less than 800 million years after the Big Bang.”

    For Zhenya Zheng (Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, CAS), the lead author of the paper describing these results, “800 million years is the current frontier in reionization studies.” While hundreds of LAEs have been found at later epochs, only about two dozen candidate LAEs were known at 800 million years prior to the current study. The new results dramatically increase the number of LAEs known at this epoch.

    “None of this science would have been possible without the widefield capabilities of DECam and its community pipeline for data reduction,” remarked coauthor James Rhoads. “These capabilities enable efficient surveys and thereby the discovery of faint galaxies as well as rare, bright ones.”

    To build on these results, the team is “continuing the search for distant star forming galaxies over a larger volume of the Universe”, said Leopoldo Infante (Pontificia Catolica University of Chile and the Carnegie Institution for Science), “to study the clustering of LAEs.” Clustering provides unique insights into how the fog lifts. The team is also investigating the nature of these distant galaxies.

    Reference:
    First Results from the Lyman Alpha Galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization (LAGER) Survey: Cosmological Reionization at z ~ 7, Zhenya Zheng et al. 2017, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 842, 22.
    Preprint: https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.02985

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO News
    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    Gemini North
    Gemini North

    Gemini South telescope
    Gemini South

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecendented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:06 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Milliarcsecond Astrophysics Through Open Access to the CHARA Array, NOAO   

    From NOAO: “Milliarcsecond Astrophysics Through Open Access to the CHARA Array” 

    NOAO Banner

    10.20.16
    Doug Gies, Georgia State University

    1

    2

    The Georgia State University Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) Array at Mount Wilson Observatory is now open to investigators interested in exploring the universe at milliarcsecond resolution in the optical and near-infrared. A long-baseline interferometer, the CHARA Array offers the longest operating baselines in the world and enables diverse investigations, such as the measurement stellar angular diameters and shapes, and studies of orbiting companions and circumstellar environments. Community access to CHARA is funded by an NSF/MSIP award.

    Located at Mount Wilson Observatory, the CHARA Array consists of six 1-m aperture telescopes arranged in a Y-shaped configuration with baselines ranging from 33 to 331 meters. By combining the light from these distributed telescopes, the angular resolution is equivalent to that of a single aperture telescope more than 300 meters in diameter, making it the highest angular resolution optical telescope in the world. A complement of six beam combiners offers interferometric capability in the wavelength range 0.5 to 2.5 microns. Multibeam combiners (up to six telescopes) support interferometric imaging studies. Depending on the spectral resolution and number of telescope beams feeding the combiner, the faint magnitude limit ranges from 5 to 9. However, these limits will undoubtedly improve with the introduction of adaptive optics now underway.

    Open access to the Array will be phased in beginning in the 2017B observing semester, and some 50 to 75 nights per year will be available to the community. Proposals will be selected through the NOAO time allocation process. Many potential investigators may be new to interferometry, so CHARA scientists are planning to host a series of community workshops at locations around the US beginning in 2017. In addition, a new CHARA Visitor Support Scientist will work with visiting astronomers to help design, implement, and analyze CHARA observations. Financial support will be offered to those astronomers who opt to travel to Mount Wilson to make observations with the Array. The NSF/MSIP funding will also support the development of an open database of CHARA archival data and the renewal of several subsystems to optimize performance during the open access time.

    For further information, please visit the CHARA and NOAO web pages at:

    http://www.chara.gsu.edu/
    http://www.noao.edu/gateway/chara/

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NOAO News
    NOAO is the US national research & development center for ground-based night time astronomy. In particular, NOAO is enabling the development of the US optical-infrared (O/IR) System, an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

    Our core mission is to provide public access to qualified professional researchers via peer-review to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes operated by NOAO as well as other telescopes throughout the O/IR System. Today, these telescopes range in aperture size from 2-m to 10-m. NOAO is participating in the development of telescopes with aperture sizes of 20-m and larger as well as a unique 8-m telescope that will make a 10-year movie of the Southern sky.

    In support of this mission, NOAO is engaged in programs to develop the next generation of telescopes, instruments, and software tools necessary to enable exploration and investigation through the observable Universe, from planets orbiting other stars to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

    To communicate the excitement of such world-class scientific research and technology development, NOAO has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program. The main goals of the NOAO EPO program are to inspire young people to become explorers in science and research-based technology, and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been historically under-represented in the physics and astronomy science enterprise.

    The National Optical Astronomy Observatory is proud to be a US National Node in the International Year of Astronomy, 2009.

    About Our Observatories:
    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO)

    Kitt Peak

    Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

    Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)

    NOAO Cerro Tolo

    The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC)

    Gemini North
    Gemini North

    Gemini South telescope
    Gemini South

    The NOAO System Science Center (NSSC) at NOAO is the gateway for the U.S. astronomical community to the International Gemini Project: twin 8.1 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile that provide unprecendented coverage (northern and southern skies) and details of our universe.

    NOAO is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under a Cooperative Agreement with the National Science Foundation.

     
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