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  • richardmitnick 1:28 pm on January 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NRAO, , Radio Observations Point to Likely Explanation for Neutron-Star Merger Phenomena   

    From NRAO: “Radio Observations Point to Likely Explanation for Neutron-Star Merger Phenomena” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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    December 20, 2017
    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

    1
    Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF: D. Berry

    Three months of observations with the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have allowed astronomers to zero in on the most likely explanation for what happened in the aftermath of the violent collision of a pair of neutron stars in a galaxy 130 million light-years from Earth. What they learned means that astronomers will be able to see and study many more such collisions.

    On August 17, 2017, the LIGO and VIRGO gravitational-wave observatories combined to locate the faint ripples in spacetime caused by the merger of two superdense neutron stars.


    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    1
    Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

    It was the first confirmed detection of such a merger and only the fifth direct detection ever of gravitational waves, predicted more than a century ago by Albert Einstein.

    The gravitational waves were followed by outbursts of gamma rays, X-rays, and visible light from the event. The VLA detected the first radio waves coming from the event on September 2. This was the first time any astronomical object had been seen with both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves.

    The timing and strength of the electromagnetic radiation at different wavelengths provided scientists with clues about the nature of the phenomena created by the initial neutron-star collision. Prior to the August event, theorists had proposed several ideas — theoretical models — about these phenomena. As the first such collision to be positively identified, the August event provided the first opportunity to compare predictions of the models to actual observations.

    Astronomers using the VLA, along with the Australia Telescope Compact Array and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India, regularly observed the object from September onward. The radio telescopes showed the radio emission steadily gaining strength. Based on this, the astronomers identified the most likely scenario for the merger’s aftermath.

    CSIRO ATCA at the Paul Wild Observatory, about 25 km west of the town of Narrabri in rural NSW about 500 km north-west of Sydney, AU

    Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, an array of thirty telecopes, located near Pune in India

    “The gradual brightening of the radio signal indicates we are seeing a wide-angle outflow of material, traveling at speeds comparable to the speed of light, from the neutron star merger,” said Kunal Mooley, now a National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Jansky Postdoctoral Fellow hosted by Caltech.

    The observed measurements are helping the astronomers figure out the sequence of events triggered by the collision of the neutron stars.

    The initial merger of the two superdense objects caused an explosion, called a kilonova, that propelled a spherical shell of debris outward. The neutron stars collapsed into a remnant, possibly a black hole, whose powerful gravity began pulling material toward it. That material formed a rapidly-spinning disk that generated a pair of narrow, superfast jets of material flowing outward from its poles.

    If one of the jets were pointed directly toward Earth, we would have seen a short-duration gamma-ray burst, like many seen before, the scientists said.

    “That clearly was not the case,” Mooley said.

    Some of the early measurements of the August event suggested instead that one of the jets may have been pointed slightly away from Earth. This model would explain the fact that the radio and X-ray emission were seen only some time after the collision.

    “That simple model — of a jet with no structure (a so-called top-hat jet) seen off-axis — would have the radio and X-ray emission slowly getting weaker. As we watched the radio emission strengthening, we realized that the explanation required a different model,” said Alessandra Corsi, of Texas Tech University.

    The astronomers looked to a model published in October by Mansi Kasliwal of Caltech, and colleagues, and further developed by Ore Gottlieb, of Tel Aviv University, and his colleagues. In that model, the jet does not make its way out of the sphere of explosion debris. Instead, it gathers up surrounding material as it moves outward, producing a broad “cocoon” that absorbs the jet’s energy.

    The astronomers favored this scenario based on the information they gathered from using the radio telescopes. Soon after the initial observations of the merger site, the Earth’s annual trip around the Sun placed the object too close to the Sun in the sky for X-ray and visible-light telescopes to observe. For weeks, the radio telescopes were the only way to continue gathering data about the event.

    “If the radio waves and X-rays both are coming from an expanding cocoon, we realized that our radio measurements meant that, when NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory could observe once again, it would find the X-rays, like the radio waves, had increased in strength,” Corsi said.

    Mooley and his colleagues posted a paper with their radio measurements, their favored scenario for the event, and this prediction online on November 30. Chandra was scheduled to observe the object on December 2 and 6.

    “On December 7, the Chandra results came out, and the X-ray emission had brightened just as we predicted,” said Gregg Hallinan, of Caltech.

    “The agreement between the radio and X-ray data suggests that the X-rays are originating from the same outflow that’s producing the radio waves,” Mooley said.

    “It was very exciting to see our prediction confirmed,” Hallinan said. He added, “An important implication of the cocoon model is that we should be able to see many more of these collisions by detecting their electromagnetic, not just their gravitational, waves.”

    Mooley, Hallinan, Corsi, and their colleagues reported their findings in the scientific journal Nature.

    See the full article here .

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

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  • richardmitnick 2:35 pm on December 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ngVLA new Radio Astronomical instruments, NRAO,   

    From NRAO: “Next-generation U.S. Radio Telescope Development Begins” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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    September 14, 2017
    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

    Planning begins for next leap forward in research capability.

    1
    Artist’s conception of the multi-antenna Next generation VLA (ngVLA). Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) are launching a new initiative to design a next-generation radio telescope with scientific capabilities far beyond those provided by any existing or currently proposed observatory.

    Building on the success of one of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) flagship observatories, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), NRAO and AUI are beginning a two-year project to explore the science opportunities, design concepts, and technologies needed to construct a new class of radio telescope.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    This proposed array, consisting of more than 200 antennas, would extend across the desert southwest of the United States and into northern Mexico.

    Currently dubbed the next-generation Very Large Array, or ngVLA for short, the new research facility will be designed to provide the next leap forward in our understanding of planets, galaxies, black holes, and fundamental physics.

    “The capabilities of the ngVLA are the only means of answering a broad range of critical scientific questions in modern astronomy,” said NRAO Director Tony Beasley. “The ngVLA will open a new window on the Universe, and its scientific and technological innovations promise great contributions to society across many dimensions, including economic development, education, and others,” he added.

    Funding for the new initiative was provided by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Astronomical Sciences, allowing NRAO to re-profile $11M in funding planned for instrument development over a longer time period into a focused two-year effort. This large telescope initiative was included in AUI’s successful proposal to the NSF to manage NRAO over the decade just starting, and NSF’s decision allows NRAO to accelerate the early design studies. This will enable the ngVLA concept to be more fully developed for the next U.S. astronomy Decadal Survey, commencing in 2019-2020, where all major new instruments and capabilities are considered by the research community. A key use of the funding will be exploration of the high-performance antennas that will collect the astronomical signals for analysis.

    “We’re very eager to get this effort underway,” said ngVLA Project Scientist Eric Murphy. “Along with partners and advisors from throughout the astronomical community, we look forward to the challenge of meeting the research needs of the coming decades,” he added.

    “Associated Universities, Inc., recognizes ngVLA as the future of radio astronomy in North America, and we are excited to start developing this new concept,” said AUI President Ethan Schreier. “New Mexico is home to many great astronomical facilities, and ngVLA will continue this proud tradition,“ he said.

    NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences is responsible for funding the VLA, the North American share of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, and other ground-based astronomical observatories. NSF is an independent federal agency that supports research and education in all non-medical fields of science, and in 2017 provided $75 Million to NRAO to support radio astronomy research in the U.S. and in Chile.

    In New Mexico, planning has begun for the design effort. Last June, NRAO hosted a workshop in Socorro on requirements and concepts for the new telescope. The workshop was attended by astronomers from a variety of specialties and institutions. In the near future, NRAO anticipates working with university and industrial partners as the project advances.

    More information on ngVLA can be found here and here.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 6:46 pm on December 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NRAO, , The Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS),   

    From NRAO: “The Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS)” This is huge, with many great videos at the end 

    NRAO Icon
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    Mapping the Radio Universe

    Most of the marvels of the universe are invisible to us without technological assistance. Visible light is only a small slice of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from tiny, high-energy gamma rays to long, slow-moving radio waves. So, imagine if you could put on radio glasses to view a range of light obscured from all but the most sophisticated telescopes. What would you see? You might be able to peer through dusty clouds and view the beginning stages of star formation or watch the intermittent lighthouse bursts from pulsars, if the neutron star happens to be pointing towards earth at the right angle. What would it be like to see an array of energetic particles dancing around the Sun’s corona?

    On September 7, 2017, the Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) pointed its antennas toward the northern sky and began one of the largest all-sky radio observations in 40 years.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    From its vantage point in New Mexico, the VLA Sky Survey (VLASS) will map 80 percent of the sky in 3 phases over 7 years and is expected to catalog approximately 10 million new radio sources. The survey will collect data from powerful, cosmic sources that will allow the scientific community to image supernovae explosions, gamma-ray bursts, and the collisions of neutron stars that are obscured from visible-light telescopes by thick clouds of dust. The VLA’s ability to see through dust and clouds will make the survey an important tool in the discovery of new radio objects.

    1
    Optical Sky – Milky Way Galaxy 9/7/2017 The beginning

    3
    Epoch 1.1B September 13, 2017 – January 29, 2018

    4
    Epoch 1.1 BnA February 02, 2018 – February 19, 2018

    5
    Epoch 1.2B January 23, 2019 – June 03, 2019

    6
    Epoch 1.2 BnA June 07, 2019 – June 24, 2019

    End of First Epoch

    7
    Epoch 2.1B May 20, 2020- Octpber 5, 2020

    Beginning of Epoch 2. We expect to cover powerful cosmic explosions, such as supernovae, gamma ray bursts, and the collision of neutron stars. This new cycle will allow us to monitor any changes in radio sources.

    8
    Epoch 2.1 BnA October 9, 2020 – October 26, 2020

    The mid-point

    9
    Epoch 2.2B September 29, 2021 – February 14, 2022

    10
    Epoch 2.2 BnA February 18, 2022 – March 07, 2022

    At this point in the survey, we’ve viewed 80 percent of the sky twice over.

    Beginning of Epoch 3 We have two reference surveys in which to compare radio sources.

    11
    Epoch 3.1B February 01, 2023 – June 12, 2023

    12
    Hybrid configuration 3.1 BnA

    Epoch 3.1 BnA JUne 16, 2023 – July 03, 2023

    The penultimate view

    13
    Epoch 3.2B May 29, 2024 – October 07, 2024

    14
    Epoch 3.2 BnA Octiber 11, 2024 – October 28, 2024

    The end. We now have 3 complete, in-depth views over 80 percent of the sky. Data from all three phases will be combined to make even more detailed images.

    Sky Surveys have been integral to astronomy for millennia. As far back as the 2nd century BC, Hipparcos and astronomers of the Han dynasty have observed and recorded astronomical phenomenon and seasonal celestial changes from the night sky. Sky surveys are a way to map, in a systematic way, the universe and its constituents parts, opening up the observational impact of how celestial objects, especially those beyond our solar system, change with time. Within the last century, as technology has allowed for the expansion of observations beyond the traditional visible wavelength window, sky surveys have proved to be a fundamental part of multi-wavelength astronomy.

    The Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) represents our third radio survey project in the last twenty years. The VLA has undergone a complete technical transformation, since our last two surveys: the NRAO VLA Sky Survey (NVSS) and Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-Centimeters (FIRST) in 1992. From 2001-2012, the original electronic system, designed and built during the 1970’s, has been replaced with state-of-the-art technology that vastly expanded the VLA’s observing capabilities. This major upgrade has transformed the VLA into a completely new scientific tool. Our next generation sky survey will harness the tremendously improved capabilities of the VLA, resulting in a unique and extremely valuable tool for frontier research over a diverse range of scientific fields.

    VLASS is designed to produce a large collection of radio data available to wide range of scientists within the astronomical community. Our science goal is to produce a radio, all-sky survey that will benefit the entire astronomical community. As VLASS completes its three scans of the sky separated by approximately 32 months, new developments in data processing techniques will allow scientists an opportunity to download data instantly on potentially millions of astronomical radio sources. This data from all three cycles will be combined to make even more detailed radio images, creating the largest-ever celestial radio census. Scientists will be able to compare images from the individual observation cycles, allowing for the discovery of newly-appearing sources or short-lived (transient) objects.

    Fundamentally, astronomy is about exploring — making images of the sky to see what is out there, and our VLA sky survey is a new and powerful resource for this exploration.

    14
    B configuration

    VLASS Configurations
    • B Configuration

    The antennas in the Very Large Array are used like the zoom lens in a camera. When they are in the B configuration, the telescopes extend over the 11 kilometers (7.08 mile) length of each arm. In this configuration, we have the second largest magnification and can see great detail. The size of the array gradually decreases with the C configurations until, in the D configuration, the telescopes are all placed within 0.6 kilometer (0.4 mile) of the center.
    • BnA Configuration

    The iconic “Y” shape of the VLA has a specific function. The wider an array, the bigger its eye is, and the more detail it can see out in space. The VLA’s unique shape gives us three long arms of nine telescopes each. It also gives our scientists the flexibility of stretching the arms when we need to zoom in for more detail.

    Check out these videos for more information on the different VLA configurations and the amazing machines that move the 230 ton antennas around.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 6:22 pm on November 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NRAO, , SKA Organisation and the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory team up to develop next-generation astronomy data reduction software   

    From SKA and NRAO: “SKA Organisation and the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory team up to develop next-generation astronomy data reduction software” 

    SKA

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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    11.9.17

    1
    Prof. Philip Diamond, SKA Director-General, and Dr. Tony Beasley, Director of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations on CASA workpackage collaboration.

    On the occasion of the 25th meeting of the SKA Board of Directors, SKA Organisation and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the US National Science Foundation facility operating telescopes in the United States and South America, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the design and development of new data models to address the data processing requirements of their next-generation telescopes. The Memorandum establishes an agreement for collaborative and continued development work on the Common Astronomy Software Applications (CASA) software package, initially developed by NRAO and partners in the early 1990s. CASA is the leading package for radio astronomy data reduction around the world and is used currently for the international Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) and the NRAO Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) telescopes, amongst other facilities. Both ALMA and JVLA are presently the largest telescopes of their kind in the world, respectively observing in millimetre/sub-millimetre and radio wavelengths.

    “Next-generation radio telescopes such as the SKA will have extreme processing requirements and CASA doesn’t currently have the capabilities to handle such large bandwidths and Field of View datasets that will be produced by these telescopes”, says Prof Philip Diamond, SKA Organisation Director General. “The collaboration we are formalising today with a renowned institution such as NRAO is very much welcome and will enable extensive collaborative work to update the CASA core data models for it to become scalable to the needs of our worldwide community.”

    “We are pleased to work with our SKA colleagues to extend the CASA framework to support several future radio telescopes”, says Dr. Tony Beasley, Director of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory. “We are building upon the investment made by the global astronomy community in CASA over the past two decades, enabling new science and instrumental capabilities.”

    This overhaul of the CASA software will be necessary for a new era of astronomy, which will not only benefit the next-generation telescopes, but also the radio astronomy world as a whole, who would be able to use the updated CASA software to better improve the data processing needs of their observatories, which can process both interferometric and single dish data.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array


    SKA ASKAP Pathefinder Telescope

    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA


    SKA Meerkat Telescope

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)


    SKA Murchison Wide Field Array
    About SKA

    The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

    The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.

    Already supported by 10 member countries – Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom – SKA Organisation has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. Construction of the SKA is set to start in 2018, with early science observations in 2020.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:44 pm on November 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Image Release: Shocking Results of Galaxy-Cluster Collisions, , , , , NRAO   

    From NRAO: “Image Release: Shocking Results of Galaxy-Cluster Collisions” 

    NRAO Icon
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    7-Nov-2017
    No writer credit

    1
    Composite image of Abell 2744 region, with radio, X-Ray, and optical (visible light) data combined. Credit: Pearce et al.; Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra, Subaru; ESO.

    2
    Animated GIF cycles through the individual images (radio, X-ray, optical) of Abell 2744. Credit: Pearce et al.; Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra; Subaru; ESO.

    Newswise — A giant collision of several galaxy clusters, each containing hundreds of galaxies, has produced this spectacular panorama of shocks and energy. The collisions generated shock waves that set off a celestial fireworks display of bright radio emission, seen as red and orange. In the center of the image, the purple indicates X-rays caused by extreme heating.

    The region is collectively known as Abell 2744, some 4 billion light-years from Earth. The radio portion of the image comes from new observations made with the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and is combined with earlier data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory.

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    Both are overlaid on an image at visible-light wavelengths made with data from the Subaru telescope and the Very Large Telescope (VLT).


    NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    ESO/VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    The new VLA observations revealed previously undetected regions where shocks accelerated subatomic particles, causing radio emission.

    Astronomers are studying the combined image in an attempt to decipher the sequence of galaxy-cluster collisions. Currently, they said, evidence indicates a North-South (top-bottom in the image) collision of subclusters and an East-West (left-right in the image) collision. There is a possible third collision, and the astronomers continue to analyze their data to uncover more details about the region’s complex history of collisions and their aftermath.

    The scientists reported their findings in a paper in The Astrophysical Journal by Connor Pearce, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of Southampton in the UK, and an international team of colleagues.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NJIT -New Jersey Institute of Technology, NRAO,   

    From NRAO: “VLA Uses Solar Eclipse to Improve Coronal Magnetic Field Measurements” 

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    Dale E. Gary, Tim Bastian, Tony Beasley, Bin Chen, (New Jersey Institute of Technology),
    Suzanne Gurton, Jay Pasachoff (Williams College)
    Stephen White (Air Force Research Lab)

    1

    The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), teaming with the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) in California, captured the partial phases of the total solar eclipse that was visible across the continental U.S. on 21 August 2017.

    Ten antennas of NJIT’s 13-antenna Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA)

    The two complementary arrays provide multi-frequency images of solar active regions that can be used to measure the otherwise unknown magnetic field strength in the corona above sunspots, to compare with magnetic field measurements at the solar surface (figure, upper panel). VLA measurements taken after the eclipse at 48 frequencies from 2-8 GHz are shown in the lower panel in the figure. The frequency of the radio emission, due to electrons spiraling in the hot, magnetized coronal plasma, is proportional to magnetic field strength so that lower-frequency emission (blue contours) come from larger, weaker-field areas while higher-frequency emission (red contours) come from the stronger-field areas in the core regions of the sunspots.

    During the eclipse, the edge of the Moon (two positions, one minute apart, shown as “Lunar Limb” in the figure) covered and then later uncovered the active regions, as shown in the EOVSA eclipse movie. Using a differential technique where the radio data at one time is subtracted from another, only the narrow gap between the two lunar limb positions needs to be imaged. By using closely spaced times (e.g. 1 second), both the spatial and temporal resolutions for imaging are greatly improved. The 2017 eclipse is the first opportunity to use this technique since the completion of the VLA upgrade, with its much improved bandwidth and frequency resolution. The combined VLA and EOVSA coverage of the two active regions that were on the Sun on that day will provide new insights into the structure of the solar atmosphere above sunspots, the sites of solar flares that can directly affect the Earth.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 12:53 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NRAO, , VLITE, VLITE Finds Disturbed Ionosphere in the Wake of a Total Solar Eclipse   

    From NRAO: “VLITE Finds Disturbed Ionosphere in the Wake of a Total Solar Eclipse” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    Joe Helmboldt (Naval Research Laboratory)
    Frank Schinzel (NRAO),
    on behalf of the NRL VLITE team

    On 21 August 2017, Americans across the continental U.S. were treated to an event not seen for several decades: a total solar eclipse. While many citizens enjoyed the spectacle from backyards and road-trip destinations throughout the country, observatories focused their “eyes” on the Sun as well. The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) was no exception, observing the Sun at multiple frequencies before, during, and after the eclipse. However, the VLA also simultaneously conducted a unique set of observations aimed at characterizing the effects of the eclipse on Earth’s ionosphere / plasmasphere.

    While most of the VLA antennas were pointed at the Sun, 12 antennas were looking at the bright radio galaxy M87. These 12 antennas are part of the VLA Low-band Ionosphere and Transient Experiment (VLITE), a dedicated backend that continuously captures, correlates, and analyzes data in the 320-384 MHz frequency range.

    1
    Radio (VLITE) and optical (SDSS) image showing the giant radio galaxy IC 711 and companions IC 708 and IC 712. All three systems are part of the distant galaxy cluster Abell 1314 and were serendipitously located in a field pointed at an unrelated low redshift galaxy. The radio data were fully processed through the VLITE pipeline and show the power of this new instrument. The field shown is the size of a full moon. (Credit: Radio (blue) from VLA Low Band Ionospheric and Transient Experiment on the NRAO VLA. Optical (red and green) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/Dr. Tracy Clarke)

    2

    In addition to traditional synthesis imaging, VLITE also characterizes fluctuations in ionospheric / plasmaspheric density via measured variations in visibility phases. When observing a bright cosmic source, this can be done with unmatched precision, the equivalent of ~1-10 ppm.

    To look for ionospheric / plasmaspheric disturbances tied to the eclipse, a specialized spectral decomposition was applied to the M87 VLITE data. This method exploits the fact that disturbed flux tubes within the plasmasphere appear as magnetic eastward-directed waves to the VLA because the plasmasphere is dynamically dominated by co-rotation. The phase speeds of these waves are proportional to distance, allowing for a reconstruction of the electron density gradient as a function of (slant) range and time. The range / time image for the M87 VLITE data is shown here. The time ranges spanned by the large-scale ionospheric depletion seen within concurrent Global Positioning System (GPS) data as a function of longitude were mapped to the imaged flux tubes and are shaded in grey. With the exception of some solar flare-induced fluctuations, the observed disturbances appear confined to this part of the image. This strongly implies the disturbances resulted from the rapid depletion and slower recovery of the ionosphere / plasmasphere system brought on by the eclipse. It should be noted that these disturbances are not apparent within the GPS data, highlighting VLITE as a uniquely capable ionospheric / plasmaspheric disturbance hunter.

    In addition to traditional synthesis imaging, VLITE also characterizes fluctuations in ionospheric / plasmaspheric density via measured variations in visibility phases. When observing a bright cosmic source, this can be done with unmatched precision, the equivalent of ~1-10 ppm.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 9:05 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , NRAO,   

    From GBO via Charleston Gazette-Mail: “Gordon Gee: Keep listening (Daily Mail)” 

    gbo-logo

    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA
    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA

    gbo-sign

    Green Bank Observatory

    1

    Charleston Gazette-Mail

    Oct 5, 2017
    Gordon Gee

    For six decades now, Green Bank Observatory has been helping to fill in the vast blank spaces on our map of the universe through radio astronomy.

    From detecting the first signal of an organic molecule in space to searching for low frequency gravitational waves from pulsars, Green Bank has been an integral part of radio astronomy and astrophysics research and discovery throughout its existence.

    And for 60 years, West Virginians have celebrated this extraordinary facility. During the state’s centennial in 1963, the silhouette of the original 300-foot Green Bank radio telescope graced a special commemorative license plate. During the statehood quarter design competition in 2003, numerous entries featured the Green Bank Telescope.

    Photos of the facility hang in classrooms and libraries across the state. An effort is underway to add Green Bank to UNESCO’s Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative.

    The facility brings the world to West Virginia and we are proud to showcase our cutting-edge scientific equipment as well as our natural beauty. At the height of the Cold War in 1961, Russian scientists came to Green Bank for a symposium. High school students from every state visit Green Bank every summer as part of the National Youth Science Camp.

    Researchers from institutions around the world rely on the radio telescopes at Green Bank for their work. Thousands of visitors each year enjoy the state-of-the-art Science Center.

    And yes, Green Bank has been and remains a leading center for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The search began at Green Bank with Frank Drake and Project Ozma in 1960.

    3
    The 85-foot (26 m) Howard E. Tatel Radio Telescope at NRAO used in the Project Ozma

    Frank Drake

    Drake Equation, Frank Drake, Seti Institute

    [Green Bank Observatory is an integral part of the Breakthrough Listen Project.]

    Breakthrough Listen Project

    1

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA



    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA


    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    We are proud of this fact, too, perhaps most of all because of what the search itself represents.

    I think James Gunn, the author of the 1972 science fiction novel The Listeners about radio astronomy and the search for other life in the universe, said it well: “It may be that there is no one out there or if there is someone out there he will never speak to us or we to him, but our listening is an act of faith akin to living itself. If we should stop listening, we would begin dying and we would soon be gone, the world and its people, our technical civilization and even the farmers and peasants, because life is faith, life is commitment. Death is giving up.”

    I have been honored to serve as president of West Virginia University, the state’s flagship, land-grant, research university, on two occasions almost 30 years apart. Based on that experience, I have found West Virginians to be determined, patient, resilient people.

    Perhaps that is why Green Bank resonates so much with us. The monumental task of studying the universe in order to unlock its secrets requires determination, patience, and resilience. Even in the face of technical challenges, mixed signals, and financial setbacks, Green Bank perseveres.

    Residents of West Virginia — a state born from the strife of the Civil War, beset by natural disasters, buffeted by economic downturns — can relate to that. That is why Green Bank is a great symbol for West Virginia.

    As we celebrate this history, the future of Green Bank hangs in the balance. The National Science Foundation is in the midst of decreasing its funding for the facility. As someone immensely proud of Green Bank and its 60 years of scientific research, education, and outreach, I believe we must preserve and expand this essential place and continue its fundamental work.

    Who knows what discoveries the next 60 years may hold? Let us keep listening. We must not give up.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    gbo-science-building

    Mission Statement

    Green Bank Observatory enables leading edge research at radio wavelengths by offering telescope, facility and advanced instrumentation access to the astronomy community as well as to other basic and applied research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.

    History

    60 years ago, the trailblazers of American radio astronomy declared this facility their home, establishing the first ever National Radio Astronomy Observatory within the United States and the first ever national laboratory dedicated to open access science. Today their legacy is alive and well.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:14 am on September 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NRAO   

    From NRAO: “ALMA Receives Award for Its Contribution to the Progress of Chile” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    September 26, 2017
    No writer credit

    1
    The three winners of the ICARE 2017 Award. From left to right: Seiichi Sakamoto (Director of NAOJ Chile), Paulina Bocaz (AUI Chile Representative), Stuartt Corder (ALMA Acting Director), Sean Dougherty (ALMA Elected Director), Iván Arriagada (AMSA), and Juan Sutil (Empresas Sutil).
    Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

    The prestigious Chilean business organization ICARE (Instituto Chileno de Administración Racional de Empresas) chose the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in its Special Category for its annual award to people, businesses or institutions who stand out for their contribution to business development through business excellence and support for the country’s growth. The ceremony was held today at noon in the Las Condes Municipal Theater in Santiago.

    The president of ICARE, Juan Benavides, said that ALMA fills Chile with pride, and he highlighted the role of its three major partners: the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). “ALMA’s first contribution to humanity is the tangible proof that it can join forces around a common task, which extends beyond political limits, languages, and cultures. The second contribution is another affirmation: undertaking any major project in isolation is a challenge, but is made easier when we pool our efforts,” said Benavides.

    ALMA Acting Director, Stuartt Corder, expressed his gratitude for the recognition given to the observatory by Chilean businesses through ICARE, and indicated that “ALMA’s success lies in international cooperation and the joint efforts of different disciplines. Chile can seize the opportunities to strengthen its development.”

    Paulina Bocaz, representative in Chile for Associated Universities Inc. (AUI), organization responsible for ALMA’s operations for NRAO, confirmed in her speech during the ceremony that “ALMA is proof that, if countries and their citizens invest resources in science, we can push beyond known limits. To do great things, science needs public support on all levels of society.”

    Additional Information

    ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
  • richardmitnick 7:11 pm on September 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NRAO,   

    From NRAO: “Image Release: ALMA Reveals Sun in New Light” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array

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

    1
    This ALMA image of an enormous sunspot was taken on 18 December 2015 with the Band 6 receiver at a wavelength of 1.25 millimeters. Sunspots are transient features that occur in regions where the Sun’s magnetic field is extremely concentrated and powerful. They are lower in temperature than their surrounding regions, which is why they appear relatively dark in visible light. The ALMA image is essentially a map of temperature differences in a layer of the Sun’s atmosphere known as the chromosphere, which lies just above the visible surface of the Sun (the photosphere). The chromosphere is considerably hotter than the photosphere. Understanding the heating and dynamics of the chromosphere are key areas of research that will be addressed by ALMA. Observations at shorter wavelengths probe deeper into the solar chromosphere than longer wavelengths. Hence, band 6 observations map a layer of the chromosphere that is closer to the visible surface of the Sun than band 3 observations.Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

    New images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) reveal stunning details of our Sun, including the dark, contorted center of an evolving sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth.

    These images are part of the testing and verification campaign to make ALMA’s solar observing capabilities available to the international astronomical community.

    Though designed principally to observe remarkably faint objects throughout the universe — such as distant galaxies and planet-forming disks around young stars – ALMA is also capable of studying objects in our own solar system, including planets, comets, and now the Sun.

    During a 30-month period beginning in 2014, an international team of astronomers harnessed ALMA’s single-antenna and array capabilities to detect and image the millimeter-wavelength light emitted by the Sun’s chromosphere — the region that lies just above the photosphere, the visible surface of the Sun.

    These new images demonstrate ALMA’s ability to study solar activity at longer wavelengths than observed with typical solar telescopes on Earth, and are an important expansion of the range of observations that can be used to probe the physics of our nearest star.

    “We’re accustomed to seeing how our Sun appears in visible light, but that can only tell us so much about the dynamic surface and energetic atmosphere of our nearest star,” said Tim Bastian, an astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Va. “To fully understand the Sun, we need to study it across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including the millimeter and submillimeter portion that ALMA can observe.”

    Since our Sun is many billions of times brighter than the faint objects ALMA typically observes, the solar commissioning team had to developed special procedures to enable ALMA to safely image the Sun.

    The result of this work is a series of images that demonstrates ALMA’s unique vision and ability to study our Sun on multiple scales.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

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

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

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

    Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO VLBA

    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

    And the future Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA).

     
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