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  • 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” 

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    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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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 .

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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 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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    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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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 .

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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

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    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.

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

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

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    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 .

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    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” 

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    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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    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.

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    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

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    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 .

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    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).

     
  • richardmitnick 7:26 am on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NRAO, We are Stardust   

    From NRAO: We are Stardust 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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    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 1:44 pm on July 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NRAO, , VLA Gives New Insight Into Galaxy Cluster’s Spectacular 'Mini-Halo'   

    From NRAO: “VLA Gives New Insight Into Galaxy Cluster’s Spectacular ‘Mini-Halo'” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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    June 13, 2017
    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

    1

    Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have discovered new details that are helping them decipher the mystery of how giant radio-emitting structures are formed at the center of a cluster of galaxies.

    The scientists studied a cluster of thousands of galaxies more than 250 million light-years from Earth, named the Perseus Cluster after the constellation in which it appears. Embedded within the center, the Perseus Cluster hosts a pool of superfast particles that emit radio waves, creating a radio structure known as a “mini-halo.” Mini-haloes have been found in about 30 galaxy clusters, but the halo in the Perseus Cluster is the largest known, about 1.3 million light-years in diameter, or 10 times the size of our Milky Way Galaxy.

    The sizes of the mini-haloes have presented a puzzle to astronomers. As the particles travel away from the cluster’s center, they should slow down and stop emitting radio waves long before they reach the distances observed, according to theory.

    “At large distances from the central galaxy, we don’t expect to be able to see these haloes,” said Marie-Lou Gendron-Marsolais, of the University of Montreal. “However, we do see them and we want to know why,” she added.

    The astronomers took advantage of the upgraded capabilities of the VLA to make new images of the Perseus Cluster that were both more sensitive to fainter radio emissions and provided higher resolution than previous radio observations.

    “The new VLA images provided an unprecedented view of the mini-halo by revealing a multitude of new structures within it,” said Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo, also of the University of Montreal. “These structures tell us that the origin of the radio emission is not as simple as we thought,” she said.

    The new details indicate that the halo’s radio emission is caused by complex mechanisms that vary throughout the cluster. As theorized before, some radio emission is caused by particles being reaccelerated when small groups of galaxies collide with the cluster and give the particles a gravitational shove. In addition, however, the scientists now think that the radio emission is also caused by the powerful jets of particles generated by the supermassive black hole at the core of the central galaxy that give an extra “kick” of energy to the particles.

    “This would help explain the rich variety of complex structures that we see,” Gendron-Marsolais said.

    “The high-quality images that the upgraded VLA can produce will be key to helping us gain new insights into these mini-haloes in our quest to understand their origin,” Hlavacek-Larrondo said.

    The VLA, built during the 1970s, was equipped with all-new electronics to bring it up to the technological state of the art by a decade-long project completed in 2012. The images of the Perseus Cluster were made using a new low frequency receiver system funded by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and built through collaboration between NRL and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

    Gendron-Marsolais and Hlavacek-Larrondo, along with an international team of researchers, are reporting their findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    See the full article here .

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    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 9:21 pm on June 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Astronomers Detect Orbital Motion in Pair of Supermassive Black Holes, Elliptical galaxy called 0402+379, NRAO, NSF/VLBA - Very Long Baseline Array, Visual binary   

    From NRAO: “Astronomers Detect Orbital Motion in Pair of Supermassive Black Holes” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    June 27, 2017
    Media Contact:
    Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
    (575) 835-7302
    dfinley@nrao.edu

    VLBA reveals first-ever black-hole “visual binary”

    NRAO VLBA

    2
    Artist’s conception of the pair of supermassive black holes at the center of the galaxy 0402+379, 750 million light-years from Earth.. Credit: Josh Valenzuela/University of New Mexico

    3
    VLBA image of the central region of the galaxy 0402+379, showing the two cores, labeled C1 and C2, identified as a pair of supermassive black holes in orbit around each other. Credit: Bansal et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF.

    Using the supersharp radio “vision” of the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), astronomers have made the first detection of orbital motion in a pair of supermassive black holes in a galaxy some 750 million light-years from Earth.

    The two black holes, with a combined mass 15 billion times that of the Sun, are likely separated by only about 24 light-years, extremely close for such a system.

    “This is the first pair of black holes to be seen as separate objects that are moving with respect to each other, and thus makes this the first black-hole ‘visual binary,’” said Greg Taylor, of the University of New Mexico (UNM).

    Supermassive black holes, with millions or billions of times the mass of the Sun, reside at the cores of most galaxies. The presence of two such monsters at the center of a single galaxy means that the galaxy merged with another some time in the past. In such cases, the two black holes themselves may eventually merge in an event that would produce gravitational waves that ripple across the universe.

    “We believe that the two supermassive black holes in this galaxy will merge,” said Karishma Bansal, a graduate student at UNM, adding that the merger will come at least millions of years in the future.

    The galaxy, an elliptical galaxy called 0402+379, after its location in the sky, was first observed in 1995. It was studied in 2003 and 2005 with the VLBA. Based on finding two cores in the galaxy, instead of one, Taylor and his collaborators concluded in 2006 that it contained a pair of supermassive black holes.

    The latest research, which Taylor and his colleagues are reporting in the Astrophysical Journal, incorporates new VLBA observations from 2009 and 2015, along with re-analysis of the earlier VLBA data. This work revealed motion of the two cores, confirming that the two black holes are orbiting each other. The scientists’ initial calculations indicate that they complete a single orbit in about 30,000 years.

    “We need to continue observing this galaxy to improve our understanding of the orbit, and of the masses of the black holes,” Taylor said. “This pair of black holes offers us our first chance to study how such systems interact,” he added.

    The astronomers also hope to discover other such systems. The galaxy mergers that bring two supermassive black holes close together are considered to be a common process in the universe, so astronomers expect that such binary pairs should be common.

    “Now that we’ve been able to measure orbital motion in one such pair, we’re encouraged to seek other, similar pairs. We may find others that are easier to study,” Bansal said.

    The VLBA, part of the Long Baseline Observatory, is a continent-wide radio telescope system using ten, 240-ton dish antennas distributed from Hawaii to St. Croix in the Caribbean. All ten antennas work together as a single telescope with the greatest resolving power available to astronomy. That extraordinary resolving power allows scientists to make extremely fine measurements of objects and motions in the sky, such as those done for the research on 0402+379.

    The Long Baseline 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

    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 2:41 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NRAO, Planetary body 2014 UZ224 more informally known as DeeDee,   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Investigates ‘DeeDee,’ a Distant, Dim Member of Our Solar System” 

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

    April 12, 2017
    Nicolás Lira T.
    Press Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory
    Santiago, Chile
    Tel: +56 2 24 67 65 19
    Cell: +56 9 94 45 77 26
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Charles E. Blue
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory
    Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
    Tel: +1 434 296 0314
    Cell: +1 202 236 6324
    E-mail: cblue@nrao.edu

    Richard Hook
    Public Information Officer, ESO

    Garching bei München, Germany

    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655

    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    Masaaki Hiramatsu

    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
Tokyo, Japan

    Tel: +81 422 34 3630

    E-mail: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp
    1
    Artist concept of the planetary body 2014 UZ224, more informally known as DeeDee. ALMA was able to observe the faint millimeter-wavelength “glow” emitted by the object, confirming it is roughly 635 kilometers across. At this size, DeeDee should have enough mass to be spherical, the criterion necessary for astronomers to consider it a dwarf planet, though it has yet to receive that official designation. Credit: Alexandra Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

    Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have revealed extraordinary details about a recently discovered far-flung member of our solar system, the planetary body 2014 UZ224, more informally known as DeeDee.

    2
    ALMA image of the faint millimeter-wavelength “glow” from the planetary body 2014 UZ224, more informally known as DeeDee. At three times the distance of Pluto from the Sun, DeeDee is the second most distant known TNO with a confirmed orbit in our solar system. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

    At about three times the current distance of Pluto from the Sun, DeeDee is the second most distant known trans-Neptunian object (TNO) with a confirmed orbit, surpassed only by the dwarf planet Eris. Astronomers estimate that there are tens-of-thousands of these icy bodies in the outer solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune.

    The new ALMA data reveal, for the first time, that DeeDee is roughly 635 kilometers across, or about two-thirds the diameter of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest member of our asteroid belt. At this size, DeeDee should have enough mass to be spherical, the criterion necessary for astronomers to consider it a dwarf planet, though it has yet to receive that official designation.

    “Far beyond Pluto is a region surprisingly rich with planetary bodies. Some are quite small but others have sizes to rival Pluto, and could possibly be much larger,” said David Gerdes, a scientist with the University of Michigan and lead author on a paper appearing in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “Because these objects are so distant and dim, it’s incredibly difficult to even detect them, let alone study them in any detail. ALMA, however, has unique capabilities that enabled us to learn exciting details about these distant worlds.”

    Currently, DeeDee is about 92 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun. An astronomical unit is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun, or about 150 million kilometers. At this tremendous distance, it takes DeeDee more than 1,100 years to complete one orbit. Light from DeeDee takes nearly 13 hours to reach Earth.

    Gerdes and his team announced the discovery of DeeDee in the fall of 2016. They found it using the 4-meter Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile as part of ongoing observations for the Dark Energy Survey, an optical survey of about 12 percent of the sky that seeks to understand the as-yet mysterious force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe.

    The Dark Energy Survey produces vast troves of astronomical images, which give astronomers the opportunity to also search for distant solar system objects.

    The initial search, which includes nearly 15,000 images, identified more than 1.1 billion candidate objects. The vast majority of these turned out to be background stars and even more distant galaxies. A small fraction, however, were observed to move slowly across the sky over successive observations, the telltale sign of a TNO.

    One such object was identified on 12 separate images. The astronomers informally dubbed it DeeDee, which is short for Distant Dwarf.

    The optical data from the Blanco telescope enabled the astronomers to measure DeeDee’s distance and orbital properties, but they were unable to determine its size or other physical characteristics. It was possible that DeeDee was a relatively small member of our solar system, yet reflective enough to be detected from Earth. Or, it could be uncommonly large and dark, reflecting only a tiny portion of the feeble sunlight that reaches it; both scenarios would produce identical optical data.

    Since ALMA observes the cold, dark universe, it is able to detect the heat – in the form of millimeter-wavelength light – emitted naturally by cold objects in space. The heat signature from a distant solar system object would be directly proportional to its size.

    “We calculated that this object would be incredibly cold, only about 30 degrees Kelvin, just a little above absolute zero,” said Gerdes.

    While the reflected visible light from DeeDee is only about as bright as a candle seen halfway the distance to the moon, ALMA was able to quickly home in on the planetary body’s heat signature and measure its brightness in millimeter-wavelength light.

    This allowed astronomers to determine that it reflects only about 13 percent of the sunlight that hits it. That is about the same reflectivity of the dry dirt found on a baseball infield.

    By comparing these ALMA observations to the earlier optical data, the astronomers had the information necessary to calculate the object’s size. “ALMA picked it up fairly easily,” said Gerdes. “We were then able to resolve the ambiguity we had with the optical data alone.”

    Objects like DeeDee are cosmic leftovers from the formation of the solar system. Their orbits and physical properties reveal important details about the formation of planets, including Earth.

    This discovery is also exciting because it shows that it is possible to detect very distant, slowly moving objects in our own solar system. The researchers note that these same techniques could be used to detect the hypothesized “Planet Nine” that may reside far beyond DeeDee and Eris.

    “There are still new worlds to discover in our own cosmic backyard,” concludes Gerdes. “The solar system is a rich and complicated place.”

    3

    Orbits of objects in our solar system, showing the current location of the planetary body ‘DeeDee’.
    Credit: Alexandra Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

    Additional information

    This research is presented in a paper titled “Discovery and physical characterization of a large scattered disk object at 92 AU,” appearing in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

    ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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), the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

    ALMA Array

    NRAO ALMA

    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA
    Green Bank Observatory radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA, formerly supported by NSF, but now on its own
    NRAO VLA
    NRAO VLA

    The NRAO is building two new major research facilities in partnership with the international community that will soon open new scientific frontiers: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).
    *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.

     
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