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  • richardmitnick 8:12 am on January 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Radio Astronomy   

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation -CSIRO: “Leading Australian telescopes to get technology upgrades” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation -CSIRO

    17 Jan 2020
    Gabby Russell
    +61 2 9490 8002

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level

    CSIRO’s iconic Parkes radio telescope – fondly known as ‘The Dish’ – will get a new receiver that will significantly increase the amount of sky it can see at any one time, enabling new science and supporting local innovation in the space sector.

    The receiver is one of two projects announced today that will deliver technology enhancements for Australia’s leading radio telescopes.

    Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grants have been awarded for the development of a new receiver for the Parkes radio telescope, and a major upgrade for the Australia Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri in NSW.

    CSIRO Australia Compact Array, six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    Both telescopes are owned and operated by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, for use by astronomers in Australia and around the world.

    A $1.15M LIEF grant will support a $3M project to build a sensitive receiver called a ‘cryoPAF’ for the Parkes radio telescope.

    Once complete, the new cryoPAF will sit high above the Parkes telescope’s dish surface and receive radio signals reflected up from the dish.

    Its detectors will convert radio signals into electrical ones, which can be combined in different ways so that the telescope ‘looks’ in several different directions at once.

    The cryoPAF will be cooled to -253°C to reduce ‘noise’ in its electrical circuits, enhancing the ability to detect weak radio signals from the cosmos at frequencies from 700 MHz to 1.9 GHz.

    The grant was led by The University of Western Australia, which will coordinate construction and commissioning of the cryoPAF. CSIRO will design, build and install the instrument.

    There are five further research organisations involved in the project.

    Professor Lister Staveley-Smith from The University of Western Australia node of ICRAR, who led the grant application, said the cryoPAF has three times more field of view than the previous instrument, allowing quicker and more complete surveys of the sky.

    “The new receiver will help astronomers to study fast radio bursts and pulsar stars, and observe hydrogen gas throughout the Universe,” Professor Staveley-Smith said.

    A phased-array feed or PAF is a close-packed array of radio detectors.

    CSIRO has previously designed and built innovative phased-array feeds for its ASKAP telescope in Western Australia, and a test version of the cryoPAF was used successfully on the Parkes telescope in 2016.

    Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, Dr Douglas Bock, said that in addition to boosting the capabilities of the Parkes telescope, the cryoPAF receiver technology had the potential to create spin-off opportunities.

    “Phased arrays have found extensive use in defence radar, medical imaging and even optical laser beam steering, with emerging applications in satellite communications and telecommunications,” Dr Bock said.

    “Their further development at radio wavelengths has technology applications beyond radio astronomy with the potential to fuel the growth of space-related industries here in Australia.”

    A second LIEF grant, worth $530,000, will support a $2.6M upgrade of the Australia Telescope Compact Array.

    The existing digital signal processor will be replaced with a GPU-powered processor to double the bandwidth of the telescope’s signal electronics.

    The project is being led by Professor Ray Norris from Western Sydney University, working closely with CSIRO and seven other university partners.

    Professor Norris said the upgrade will enable Australian researchers to address major challenges in our understanding of the Universe, and make more ground-breaking discoveries, across broad areas of astrophysics.

    “The upgrade will enable the telescope to study radio counterparts to gravitational wave sources, and it will enable it to make detailed observations of initial discoveries made with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder and other Australian telescopes,” Professor Norris said.

    CSIRO is a leader in radio astronomy technology development, working in close partnership with astronomers who use its telescopes as well as international observatory customers.

    “We’ve been developing specialised instrumentation for radio telescopes since the 1940s, when the field of radio astronomy first emerged, for our own and international telescopes,” Dr Bock said.

    “Through our close collaborations with research partners and our expertise in technology development, we’ll keep the telescopes at the cutting edge of science.”

    CSIRO owns and operates a wide range of science-ready national research facilities and infrastructure that is used by thousands of Australian and international researchers each year. The Parkes radio telescope and Australia Telescope Compact Array are part of the Australia Telescope National Facility, which is funded by the Australian Government.

    See the full article here .


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    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:32 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "CHIME collaboration helps track down a fast radio burst to a nearby galaxy", (VLBI)-European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network, , , , , , , Radio Astronomy, The repeating radio source known as FRB 180916.J0158+65,   

    From Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics: “CHIME collaboration helps track down a fast radio burst to a nearby galaxy” 

    From Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics

    At U Toronto

    01.06.2020

    Fergus Grieve
    Faculty of Science, McGill University
    514-398-4400 x 09513

    CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment -A partnership between the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, McGill University, Yale and the National Research Council in British Columbia, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, British Columbia, CA Altitude 545 m (1,788 ft)

    1

    Working with members of Canada’s CHIME Fast Radio Burst collaboration, including members at the Dunlap Institute and the University of Toronto, Astronomers in Europe have pinpointed the location of a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) first detected by the CHIME telescope in British Columbia in 2018. The breakthrough is only the second time that scientists have determined the precise location of a repeating source of these millisecond bursts of radio waves from space.

    In results published in the January 9 edition of Nature, the European VLBI Network (EVN) used eight telescopes spanning locations from the United Kingdom to China to simultaneously observe the repeating radio source known as FRB 180916.J0158+65.

    European VLBI

    Using a technique known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), the researchers achieved a level of resolution high enough to localize the FRB to a region approximately seven light years across – a feat comparable to an individual on Earth being able to distinguish a person on the Moon.

    A ‘very different’ location for an FRB

    With that level of precision, the research team was able to train an optical telescope onto the location to learn more about the environment from which the burst emanated. What they found has added a new chapter to the mystery surrounding the origins of FRBs.

    “We used the eight-metre Gemini North telescope in Hawaii to take sensitive images that showed the faint spiral arms of a Milky-Way-like galaxy and showed that the FRB source was in a star-forming region in one of those arms,” said co-author Shriharsh Tendulkar, a former McGill University postdoctoral researcher who co-led the optical imaging and spectroscopic analyses of the FRB’s location.

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

    This is a very different environment for a repeating FRB, compared to the dwarf galaxy in which the first repeating FRB 121102 was discovered to reside.”

    CHIME team’s hypotheses in line with observed data

    The discovery lined up with a number of ideas CHIME/FRB researchers had put forward following their initial detection of the burst in 2018.

    “The FRB is among the closest yet seen and we even speculated that it could be a more conventional object in the outskirts of our own galaxy,” said co-author Mohit Bhardwaj, a McGill University doctoral student and CHIME team member.

    “However the EVN observation proved that it’s in a relatively nearby galaxy, making it still a puzzling FRB, but close enough to now study using many other telescopes.”

    Zooming in on the radio sky

    Since it began operation in the summer of 2018, CHIME has detected dozens of fast radio bursts, greatly accelerating the rate of discovery of these transient astrophysical phenomena. With over 1,000 antennas, CHIME’s large field of view gives it a much greater chance of picking up fleeting bursts than conventional radio telescopes that are able to observe only a small area of the sky at a time.

    When it came to pinpointing FRB 180916, the CHIME/FRB team worked closely with their EVN colleagues to determine exactly where to point the VLBI telescopes.

    “By recording and processing the raw signal from each of the antenna elements that make up CHIME, we were able to refine the source position to a level close enough for EVN to successfully observe and localize multiple bursts from this FRB source,” said co-author Daniele Michilli, a McGill University postdoctoral researcher and CHIME/FRB team member.

    FRB’s proximity opens the way for further study

    At half-a-billion light years from Earth, the source of FRB 180916 is around seven times closer than the only other repeating burst to have been localized, and more than 10 times closer than any of the few non-repeating FRBs scientists have managed to pinpoint. That’s exciting for astronomers because it will enable more detailed study that may help narrow down the possible explanations for FRBs.

    “We have a new chance to perhaps detect emissions at other wavelengths – x-ray or visible light, for instance,” said McGill University astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi, a leading member of the CHIME/FRB collaboration. “And if we did, that would be hugely constraining of the models.”

    About the CHIME Fast Radio Burst Collaboration

    CHIME/FRB is a collaboration of over 50 scientists led by the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). The $16-million investment for CHIME was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the governments of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, with additional funding from the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The telescope is located in the mountains of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley at the NRC’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Penticton. CHIME is an official Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder facility.


    SKA Square Kilometer Array


    SKA South Africa

    For more information about the Dunlap Institute’s involvement in the CHIME collaboration, please contact:

    Meaghan MacSween
    Communications Officer, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto
    416-978-6613
    Meaghan.macsween@dunlap.utoronto.ca

    See the full article here .


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    Dunlap Institute campus

    The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto is an endowed research institute with nearly 70 faculty, postdocs, students and staff, dedicated to innovative technology, ground-breaking research, world-class training, and public engagement. The research themes of its faculty and Dunlap Fellows span the Universe and include: optical, infrared and radio instrumentation; Dark Energy; large-scale structure; the Cosmic Microwave Background; the interstellar medium; galaxy evolution; cosmic magnetism; and time-domain science.
    The Dunlap Institute, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, and Centre for Planetary Sciences comprise the leading centre for astronomical research in Canada, at the leading research university in the country, the University of Toronto.
    The Dunlap Institute is committed to making its science, training and public outreach activities productive and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality or religion.
    Our work is greatly enhanced through collaborations with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, David Dunlap Observatory, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Toronto Public Library, and many other partners.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:07 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Turbulent Life of Two Supermassive Black Holes Caught in a Galaxy Crash", , , , , , , NGC 6240, NRAO-National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Radio Astronomy   

    From ALMA via NRAO: “The Turbulent Life of Two Supermassive Black Holes Caught in a Galaxy Crash” 

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

    From ALMA

    via

    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    ALMA sees material around two growing supermassive black holes in unprecedented detail.

    1.6.20

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    https://vimeo.com/nrao
    ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), E. Treister; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble. An international team of astronomers used ALMA to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.

    3
    Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), E. Treister; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/ESA Hubble
    NGC 6240 as seen with ALMA (top) and the Hubble Space Telescope (bottom). In the ALMA image, the molecular gas is blue and the black holes are the red dots. The ALMA image provides the sharpest view of the molecular gas around the black holes in this merging galaxy.

    4
    Artist impression of the merging galaxy NGC 6240. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

    An international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.

    400 million light-years away from Earth, in the constellation of Ophiuchus, two galaxies are crashing into each other and forming a galaxy we know as NGC 6240. This peculiarly-shaped galaxy has been observed many times before, as it is relatively close by. But NGC 6240 is complex and chaotic. The collision between the two galaxies is still ongoing, bringing along in the crash two growing supermassive black holes that will likely merge as one larger black hole.

    To understand what is happening within NGC 6240, astronomers want to observe the dust and gas surrounding the black holes in detail, but previous images have not been sharp enough to do that. New ALMA observations have increased the resolution of the images by a factor of ten – showing for the first time the structure of the cold gas in the galaxy, even within the sphere of influence of the black holes.

    “The key to understanding this galaxy system is molecular gas,” explained Ezequiel Treister of the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile. “This gas is the fuel that is needed to form stars, but it also feeds the supermassive black holes, which allows them to grow.”

    Most of the gas is located in a region between the two black holes. Less detailed observations taken previously suggested that this gas might be a rotating disk. “We don’t find any evidence for that,” said Treister. “Instead, we see a chaotic stream of gas with filaments and bubbles between the black holes. Some of this gas is ejected outwards with speeds up to 500 kilometers per second. We don’t know yet what causes these outflows.”

    Another reason to observe the gas in such detail is that it helps to determine the mass of the black holes. “Previous models, based on surrounding stars, indicated that the black holes were much more massive than we expected, around a billion times the mass of our Sun,” said Anne Medling of the University of Toledo in Ohio. “But these new ALMA images for the first time showed us how much gas is caught up inside the black holes’ sphere of influence. This mass is significant, and therefore we now estimate the black hole masses to be lower: around a few hundred million times the mass of our Sun. Based on this, we think that most previous black hole measurements in systems like this could be off by 5-90 percent.”

    The gas also turned out to be even closer to the black holes than the astronomers had expected. “It is located in a very extreme environment,” explained Medling. “We think that it will eventually fall into the black hole, or it will be ejected at high speeds.”

    The astronomers don’t find evidence for a third black hole in the galaxy, which another team recently claimed to have discovered. “We don’t see molecular gas associated with this claimed third nucleus,” said Treister. “It could be a local star cluster instead of a black hole, but we need to study it much more to say anything about it with certainty.”

    ALMA’s high sensitivity and resolution are crucial to learn more about supermassive black holes and the role of gas in interacting galaxies. “This galaxy is so complex, that we could never know what is going on inside it without these detailed radio images,” said Loreto Barcos-Muñoz of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia. “We now have a better idea of the 3D-structure of the galaxy, which gives us the opportunity to understand how galaxies evolve during the latest stages of an ongoing merger. In a few hundred million years, this galaxy will look completely different.”

    This research was presented at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu, Hawaii, and in two papers:

    “The Molecular Gas in the NGC 6240 Merging Galaxy System at the Highest Spatial Resolution,” by E. Treister et al., accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
    “How to Fuel an AGN: Mapping Circumnuclear Gas in NGC 6240 with ALMA,” by A. M. Medling et al., The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    See the full NRAO article 1.6.20 here .

    See also the full ALMA article 1.7.20 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)

    NRAO VLBA

    NRAO/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).

    *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.

    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.

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

    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.

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

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 3:37 pm on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "GMRT discovers a gigantic ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy", A mysterious ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy, , , , , , , National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune India, Radio Astronomy, The galaxy AGC 203001 about 260 million light-years away from us.   

    From phys.org: “GMRT discovers a gigantic ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy” 


    From phys.org

    January 2, 2020
    Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

    1
    The optical image from the CFHT telescope with the distribution of neutral hydrogen in the form of a large ring shown in red as observed by the GMRT. The other two red blobs show the distribution of neutral hydrogen around two other galaxies which are in the vicinity of the ring. Credit: O. Bait (NCRA-TIFR/GMRT), Duc (ObAS/CFHT)


    CFHT Telescope, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    A team of astronomers at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune, India have discovered a mysterious ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy, using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT).

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

    The ring is much bigger than the galaxy it surrounds and has a diameter of about 380,000 light-years (about 4 times that of our Milky Way).

    The galaxy (named AGC 203001), is located about 260 million light-years away from us. There is only one other such known system with such a large neutral hydrogen ring. The origin and formation of such rings is still a matter of debate among astrophysicists.

    Neutral hydrogen emits radio waves at a wavelength of about 21cm. This radiation from neutral hydrogen atoms has allowed radio astronomers to map the amount and distribution of neutral hydrogen gas in our Milky Way galaxy and in other galaxies in the Universe. Typically, large reservoirs of neutral hydrogen gas are found in galaxies which are actively forming new stars. However, despite showing no signs of active star formation the galaxy AGC 203001 was known to have large amounts of hydrogen, although its exact distribution was not known. The unusual nature of this galaxy motivated astronomers in NCRA to use the GMRT to conduct high-resolution radio observation of this galaxy to find out where in the galaxy this gas lies.

    The GMRT observations revealed that the neutral hydrogen is distributed in the form of a large off-centered ring extending much beyond the optical extent of this galaxy. More puzzlingly, the astronomers found that the existing optical images of the ring showed no sign of it containing stars. In collaboration with two French astronomers, Pierre-Alain Duc and Jean-Charles Cuillandre, the NCRA team obtained a very sensitive optical image of this system using the Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii, USA. However, even these images do not show any sign of starlight associated with the hydrogen ring.

    There is no clear answer today as to what could lead to the formation of such large, starless rings of hydrogen. Conventionally, galaxy-galaxy collisions were thought to lead to the formation of such off-centered rings around galaxies. However, such rings also generally contain stars. This is contrary to what is found in this ring. Figuring out how this ring was formed remains a challenge to astronomers.

    Encouraged by this discovery, the team is now conducting a large survey to map the neutral hydrogen around several more similar galaxies. If some of them also show rings like this, it should help us to better understand the formation mechanism behind such rare rings.

    This work was led by Omkar Bait, a doctoral student at NCRA working under the supervision of Yogesh Wadadekar. This work forms a part of Omkar’s doctoral thesis. Sushma Kurapati, who is another doctoral student at NCRA also played a role in the radio observations. Other expert scientists who contributed include, Pierre-Alain Duc (Universite de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France), Jean-Charles Cuillandre (PSL University, Paris, France), Peter Kamphuis (Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany) and Sudhanshu Barway (Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, India).

    Science paper:
    Discovery of a large Hi ring around the quiescent galaxy AGC 203001
    [MNRAS]

    See the full article here .

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    About Phys.org in 100 Words

    Phys.org™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004, Phys.org’s readership has grown steadily to include 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Phys.org publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Quancast 2009 includes Phys.org in its list of the Global Top 2,000 Websites. Phys.org community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, RSS/XML feeds, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:37 pm on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Giant magnetic ropes in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy", A regular magnetic field over scales of several thousands of light years in the halo of NGC 4631, , , , , , Radio Astronomy, The spiral galaxy NGC 463 the “Whale Galaxy”, They discovered reversals in the large-scale magnetic field which they call giant magnetic ropes.   

    From Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy: “Giant magnetic ropes in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy” 


    From Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy

    November 26, 2019
    Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn
    Dr. Marita Krause
    Phone:+49 228 525-312
    mkrause@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de

    Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn
    Dr. Norbert Junkes
    Press and Public Outreach
    Phone:+49 228 525-399
    Email:
    njunkes@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de

    1
    The spiral galaxy NGC 4631 is seen edge-on, with its disk of stars shown in pink. The observed magnetic field pattern is displayed by the hair-like structure in green and blue. It extends beyond the disk into the galaxy’s extended halo. Green indicates magnetic fields pointing roughly toward us and blue fields pointing away from us. This phenomenon, with the field alternating in direction, has never before been seen in the halo of a galaxy.
    © Composite image by Jayanne English (Univ. of Manitoba). Radio data: Jansky-VLA (Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo et al. 2019). Optical data: Mayall 4-meter telescope (Maria Patterson and Rene Walterbos, New Mexico State Univ.). Software code for tracing the magnetic field lines: Arpad Miskolczi (Ruhr-Univ. Bochum).

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


    NOAO/Mayall 4 m telescope at Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA, Altitude 2,120 m (6,960 ft)

    First detection of regular magnetic field reversals in the halo of NGC 4631

    An international consortium led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, investigated polarized radio emission from the galaxy NGC 4631 at the VLA radio telescope with a broad-band receiver in a number of spectral windows. They detected for the first time a regular magnetic field over scales of several thousands of light years in the halo of NGC 4631. Moreover, they discovered reversals in the large-scale magnetic field, which they call giant magnetic ropes. This discovery will strengthen the impact of large-scale dynamo theories for spiral galaxies. Further, the regular halo fields may be regarded as a link to intergalactic magnetic fields and will help to understand their origin which is a mystery so far.

    The results are reported in the current issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    NGC 4631, the “Whale Galaxy”, located 25 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici, is about 80 thousand light-years across, slightly smaller than our own Milky Way. It was discovered by the famous German-born British astronomer Sir William Herschel in 1787. This galaxy has a companion, NGC 4627, a small elliptical galaxy.

    Observations of the polarized radio emission of NGC 4631, performed with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), reveal regular magnetic fields protruding above and below the galaxy’s disk (see Fig. 1).

    “This is the first time that we have clearly detected what astronomers call large-scale, coherent, magnetic fields far in the halo of a spiral galaxy, with the field lines aligned in the same direction over distances of a thousand light-years. We even see a regular pattern of this organized field changing direction,” said Marita Krause, scientist at the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, and corresponding author of the publication.

    The strength of 4 microGauss for the regular magnetic field is surprisingly high for a halo, comparable with the regular magnetic field strength in the disks of spiral galaxies.

    An international team of astronomers who are part of a project called the Continuum HAlos in Nearby Galaxies — an EVLA Survey (CHANG-ES), said the image indicates a large-scale, coherent magnetic field that is generated by dynamo action within the galaxy and spirals far outward in the form of giant magnetic ropes perpendicular to the disk. The CHANG-ES project is led by Judith Irwin of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, a co-author of the paper.

    “At the moment, I’m afraid that we are a little bit like the blind men and the elephant, since each time we sample the magnetic field in a different way we reach a different conclusion about its nature! However, our models suggest this field includes smaller, twisting cones emanating from the spiral arms,” said Richard Henriksen, also of Queen’s University.

    The results were achieved by combining data from multiple observations with the VLA’s giant dish antennas arranged in different configurations to show both large structures and finer details within NGC 4631. The naturally-emitted radio waves from that galaxy were analyzed to reveal the magnetic fields, including their directions.

    The scientists said the techniques used to determine the direction of the magnetic field lines can now be used on other galaxies to answer important questions about whether coherent magnetic fields are common in galactic halos and what their shapes are.

    The regular halo fields may also be regarded as a link to intergalactic magnetic fields and will help to understand their origin which is a mystery up to now.

    ——————————————

    CHANG-ES, the “Continuum Halos in Nearby Galaxies, an EVLA Survey” project, brings together scientists from all over the globe in order to investigate the occurrence and origin of galaxy halos by means of radio observations.

    The extended spherical area around the disk of a spiral galaxy is called halo. It forms the interface between the well-studied disks of galaxies and the intergalactic medium.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a facility of the National Science Foundation (NSF), operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) interferometer near Socorro (New Mexico, USA) is operated by NRAO.

    Authors of the original paper comprise Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo, Marita Krause, Aritra Basu, Rainer Beck, Theresa Wiegert, Judith Irwin, Richard Henriksen, Yelena Stein, Carlos J. Vargas, Volker Heesen, René A. M. Walterbos, Richard J. Rand, George Heald, Jiangtao Li, Patrick Kamieneski, and Jayanne English. The first four authors are all affiliated with the MPIfR in Bonn, Germany.

    The results are based on the doctoral thesis of Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo, the first author, at MPIfR and Bonn University. The thesis was supervised by Marita Krause.

    A theoretical model is described in Woodfinden et al. 2019 MNRAS, 487, 1498.

    See the full article here. .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition



    MPIFR/Effelsberg Radio Telescope, Germany

    The Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (German: Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie) is located in Bonn, Germany. It is one of 80 institutes in the Max Planck Society (German: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft).

    By combining the already existing radio astronomy faculty of the University of Bonn led by Otto Hachenberg with the new Max Planck institute the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy was formed. In 1972 the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg was opened. The institute building was enlarged in 1983 and 2002.

    The institute was founded in 1966 by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft as the “Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie” (MPIfR).

    The foundation of the institute was closely linked to plans in the German astronomical community to construct a competitive large radio telescope in (then) West Germany. In 1964, Professors Friedrich Becker, Wolfgang Priester and Otto Hachenberg of the Astronomische Institute der Universität Bonn submitted a proposal to the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk for the construction of a large fully steerable radio telescope.

    In the same year the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk approved the funding of the telescope project but with the condition that an organization should be found, which would guarantee the operations. It was clear that the operation of such a large instrument was well beyond the possibilities of a single university institute.

    Already in 1965 the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG) decided in principle to found the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie. Eventually, after a series of discussions, the institute was officially founded in 1966.

    The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (German: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.; abbreviated MPG) is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.

    According to its primary goal, the Max Planck Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014)[2] Max Planck Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.

    The Max Planck Institutes focus on excellence in research. The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the Max Planck institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard, MIT, Stanford and the US NIH). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the Max Planck Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:19 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UFRO will evaluate alternatives for antenna control systems for ALMA", , , , , , , Radio Astronomy   

    From ALMA: “UFRO will evaluate alternatives for antenna control systems for ALMA” 

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

    From ALMA

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    27 December, 2019

    1
    © ALMA (NRAO/NAOJ/ESO)

    Some of the ALMA observatory’s control systems were designed over 10 years ago and will soon need to be replaced. Universidad de la Frontera (UFRO) in Temuco, Chile, was awarded Quimal funds from Conicyt to explore maintenance alternatives for these real-time systems.

    “We are very pleased with the outcome, which is the product of an active collaboration between the observatory and the university over the last five years,” says Jorge Ibsen, Head of Computing at ALMA. “This project marks an important contribution from southern Chile to the development of local astro-engineering.”

    Dr. Patricio Galeas, professor in charge of the project, will work with a budget of around 200 million Chilean pesos and will have two years to develop the project in conjunction with ALMA. This is the first time that UFRO has been awarded an initiative of this size in the field of astronomy.

    “This development represents an important experience for the University and can generate the knowledge needed to solve similar problems in other astronomic observatories,” indicates Dr. Patricio Galeas, adding that the research team will be made up of both academic staff and students.

    The general purpose of the initiative is to design and implement a Proof of Concept (PoC) for the real-time control system, using cutting-edge industry standards.

    Tzu Chiang-Chen, Manager of the Engineering Services Group, says that “this project is of vital importance for ALMA, because it won’t just solve the obsolescence issue in the antennas’ real-time control system. It will also generate the transfer of knowledge between the observatory and UFRO.”

    The main purpose of the Quimal fund awarded to UFRO is to strengthen and promote the development of scientific astronomical research and related sciences, through projects with special emphasis on the design and construction of astronomic instrumentation; the development of astronomy-related technologies for emerging fields of research; and cutting-edge technological transfer processes. The competition was targeted at astronomers, astrophysicists and engineers from areas related to astronomy to promote the association of national institutions and researchers in the development of avant-garde technologies.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

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

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on December 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Radio Astronomy   

    From ALMA: “In the Shadow of a Black Hole” 

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

    From ALMA

    10 April, 2019

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.
    This 17-minute film explores the efforts that led to this historic image, from the science of Einstein and Schwarzschild to the struggles and successes of the EHT collaboration. Credit:ESO

    Event Horizon Telescope Array

    Arizona Radio Observatory
    Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

    ESO/APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment

    CARMA Array no longer in service
    Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

    IRAM 30m Radio telescope, on Pico Veleta in the Spanish Sierra Nevada,, Altitude 2,850 m (9,350 ft)


    Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

    CfA Submillimeter Array Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,080 m (13,390 ft)

    Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

    Future Array/Telescopes

    IRAM NOEMA in the French Alps on the wide and isolated Plateau de Bure at an elevation of 2550 meters, the telescope currently consists of ten antennas, each 15 meters in diameter.interferometer, Located in the French Alpes on the wide and isolated Plateau de Bure at an elevation of 2550 meters

    NSF CfA Greenland telescope


    Greenland Telescope

    ARO 12m Radio Telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA, Altitude 1,914 m (6,280 ft)


    ARO 12m Radio Telescope

    Caltech Owens Valley Radio Observatory, located near Big Pine, California (US) in Owens Valley, Altitude1,222 m (4,009 ft)

    The first image of a black hole. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87. Image via JPL/ Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    Katie Bouman-Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Headed to Caltech.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

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

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 5:31 pm on December 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Carbon Cocoons Surround Growing Galaxies – ALMA Spots Earliest Environment Pollution in the Universe", , , , , , , Radio Astronomy   

    From ALMA: “Carbon Cocoons Surround Growing Galaxies – ALMA Spots Earliest Environment Pollution in the Universe” 

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

    From ALMA

    Valeria Foncea
    Education and Public Outreach Officer
    Joint ALMA Observatory Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6258
    Cell phone: +56 9 7587 1963
    Email: valeria.foncea@alma.cl

    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu

    Researchers have discovered gigantic clouds of gaseous carbon spanning more than a radius of 30,000 light-years around young galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). This is the first confirmation that carbon atoms produced inside of stars in the early Universe have spread beyond galaxies. No theoretical studies have predicted such huge carbon cocoons around growing galaxies, which raises questions about our current understanding of cosmic evolution.

    1
    ALMA and NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of a young galaxy surrounded by a gaseous carbon cocoon. The red color shows the distribution of carbon gas imaged by combining the ALMA data for 18 galaxies. The stellar distribution photographed by HST is shown in blue. The image size is 3.8 arcsec x 3.8 arcsec, which corresponds 70,000 light years x 70,000 light years at the distance of 12.8 billion light years away.
    Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Fujimoto et al.

    “We examined the ALMA Science Archive thoroughly and collected all the data that contain radio signals from carbon ions in galaxies in the early Universe, only one billion years after the Big Bang,” says Seiji Fujimoto, the lead author of the research paper who is an astronomer at the University of Copenhagen, and a former Ph.D. student at the University of Tokyo. “By combining all the data, we achieved unprecedented sensitivity. To obtain a dataset of the same quality with one observation would take 20 times longer than typical ALMA observations, which is almost impossible to achieve.”

    Heavy elements such as carbon and oxygen did not exist in the Universe at the time of the Big Bang. They were formed later by nuclear fusion in stars. However, it is not yet understood how these elements spread throughout the Universe. Astronomers have found heavy elements inside baby galaxies but not beyond those galaxies, due to the limited sensitivity of their telescopes. This research team summed the faint signals stored in the data archive and pushed the limits.

    “The gaseous carbon clouds are almost five times larger than the distribution of stars in the galaxies, as observed with the Hubble Space Telescope,” explains Masami Ouchi, a professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the University of Tokyo. “We spotted diffuse but huge clouds floating in the coal-black Universe.”

    Then, how were the carbon cocoons formed? “Supernova explosions at the final stage of stellar life expel heavy elements formed in the stars,” says Professor Rob Ivison, the Director for Science at the European Southern Observatory. “Energetic jets and radiation from supermassive black holes in the centers of the galaxies could also help transport carbon outside of the galaxies and finally to throughout the Universe. We are witnessing this ongoing diffusion process, the earliest environmental pollution in the Universe.”

    The research team notes that at present theoretical models are unable to explain such large carbon clouds around young galaxies, probably indicating that some new physical process must be incorporated into cosmological simulations. “Young galaxies seem to eject an amount of carbon-rich gas far exceeding our expectation,” says Andrea Ferrara, a professor at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.

    The team is now using ALMA and other telescopes around the world to further explore the implications of the discovery for galactic outflows and carbon-rich halos around galaxies.

    2
    Artist’s impression of a young galaxy surrounded by a huge gaseous cloud.
    Credit: NAOJ

    Paper and the Research Team
    These observation results are published as S. Fujimoto et al. “First Identification of 10 kpc [CII] Halo around Star-Forming Galaxies at z=5-7” in The Astrophysical Journal on December 16, 2019.

    The research team members are:
    Seiji Fujimoto (The University of Tokyo/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/Waseda, University, current affiliation is University of Copenhagen), Masami Ouchi (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/The University of Tokyo) , Andrea Ferrara (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Andrea Pallottini (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Rob. J. Ivison (European Southern Observatory), Christopher Behrens (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Simona Gallerani (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Shohei Arata (Osaka University), Hidenobu Yajima (University of Tsukuba), and Kentaro Nagamine (Osaka University/The University of Tokyo/University of Nevada)

    This research was supported by World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI Initiative), MEXT, Japan, JSPS KAKENHI (No. 15H02064, 16J02344, 17H01110, 17H01111, 17H01114), NAOJ ALMA Scientific Research Grant Number 2017-06B, Munich Institute for Astro- and Particle Physics (MIAPP) of the DFG cluster of excellence ”Origin and Structure of the Universe,” 2018 Graduate Research Abroad in Science Program Grant (GRASP2018), the Hayakawa Satio Fund awarded by the Astronomical Society of Japan, and the ERC Advanced Grants INTERSTELLAR H2020/740120 and COSMIC ISM 321302.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

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

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 10:55 am on December 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Spots Most Distant Dusty Galaxy Hidden in Plain Sight", , , , , , , Radio Astronomy   

    From ALMA: “ALMA Spots Most Distant Dusty Galaxy Hidden in Plain Sight” 

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

    From ALMA

    Media contact:

    Nicolás Lira
    Education and Public Outreach Coordinator
    Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago – Chile
    Phone: +56 2 2467 6519
    Cell phone: +56 9 9445 7726
    Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

    Iris Nijman
    Public Information Officer
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia – USA
    Cell phone: +1 (434) 249 3423
    Email: alma-pr@nrao.edu
    Masaaki Hiramatsu
    Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
    Observatory
, Tokyo – Japan
    Phone: +81 422 34 3630
    Email: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    1
    Artist impression of what MAMBO-9 would look like in visible light. The galaxy is very dusty and it has yet to build most of its stars. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton

    2
    ALMA radio image of the dusty star-forming galaxy called MAMBO-9. The galaxy consists of two parts, and it is in the process of merging. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), C.M. Casey et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton

    Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
    have spotted the light of a massive galaxy seen only 970 million years after the Big Bang. This galaxy, called MAMBO-9, is the most distant dusty star-forming galaxy that has ever been observed without the help of a gravitational lens.

    Dusty star-forming galaxies are the most intense stellar nurseries in the universe. They form stars at a rate up to a few thousand times the mass of the Sun per year (the star-forming rate of our Milky Way is just three solar masses per year) and they contain massive amounts of gas and dust. Such monster galaxies are not expected to have formed early in the history of the universe, but astronomers have already discovered several of them as seen when the cosmos was less than a billion years old. One of them is galaxy SPT0311-58, which ALMA observed in 2018.

    Because of their extreme behavior, astronomers think that these dusty galaxies play an important role in the evolution of the universe. But finding them is easier said than done. “These galaxies tend to hide in plain sight,” said Caitlin Casey of the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of a study published in The Astrophysical Journal. “We know they are out there, but they are not easy to find because their starlight is hidden in clouds of dust.”

    MAMBO-9’s light was already detected ten years ago by co-author Manuel Aravena, using the Max-Planck Millimeter BOlometer (MAMBO) instrument on the IRAM 30-meter telescope in Spain and the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in France. But these observations were not sensitive enough to reveal the distance of the galaxy. “We were in doubt if it was real, because we couldn’t find it with other telescopes. But if it was real, it had to be very far away,” says Aravena, who was at that time a PhD student in Germany and is currently working for the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile.

    Thanks to ALMA’s sensitivity, Casey and her team have now been able to determine the distance of MAMBO-9. “We found the galaxy in a new ALMA survey specifically designed to identify dusty star-forming galaxies in the early universe,” said Casey. “And what is special about this observation, is that this is the most distant dusty galaxy we have ever seen in an unobstructed way.”

    The light of distant galaxies is often obstructed by other galaxies closer to us. These galaxies in front work as a gravitational lens: they bend the light from the more distant galaxy. This lensing effect makes it easier for telescopes to spot distant objects (this is how ALMA could see galaxy SPT0311-58). But it also distorts the image of the object, making it harder to make out the details.

    In this study, the astronomers saw MAMBO-9 directly, without a lens, and this allowed them to measure its mass. “The total mass of gas and dust in the galaxy is enormous: ten times more than all the stars in the Milky Way. This means that it has yet to build most of its stars,” Casey explained. The galaxy consists of two parts, and it is in the process of merging.

    Casey hopes to find more distant dusty galaxies in the ALMA survey, which will give insight into how common they are, how these massive galaxies formed so early in the universe, and why they are so dusty. “Dust is normally a by-product of dying stars,” she said. “We expect one hundred times more stars than dust. But MAMBO-9 has not produced that many stars yet and we want to find out how dust can form so fast after the Big Bang.”

    “Observations with new and more capable technology can produce unexpected findings like MAMBO-9,” said Joe Pesce, National Science Foundation Program Officer for NRAO and ALMA. “While it is challenging to explain such a massive galaxy so early in the history of the universe, discoveries like this allow astronomers to develop an improved understanding of, and ask ever more questions about, the universe.”

    The light from MAMBO-9 travelled about 13 billion years to reach ALMA’s antennas (the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old today). That means that we can see what the galaxy looked like in the past (Watch this video to learn how ALMA works as a time-machine). Today, the galaxy would probably be even bigger, containing one hundred times more stars than the Milky Way, residing in a massive galaxy cluster.

    Additional Information

    Reference: “Physical characterization of an unlensed dusty star-forming galaxy at z = 5.85,”
    C.M. Casey et. al., The Astrophysical Journal.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

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

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

     
  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on December 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Charlotte Sobey, , , Fresh Science competition, Radio Astronomy,   

    From CSIROscope: Women in STEM- “Communicating science to a fresh audience” Charlotte Sobey 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    9 December 2019
    Andrew Warren

    When you’re creating a precise catalogue of measurements of our galaxy, you want to make sure people know! Perth-based astronomer Dr Charlotte Sobey is part of a team working on magnetic field mapping. She recently took part in the Fresh Science competition to help communicate her work and amplify her science.

    1
    Postdoctoral researcher and astronomer Charlotte Sobey hanging out in a telescope.

    First, what’s the science?

    Our galaxy’s magnetic field is thousands of times weaker than Earth’s. But it has great significance for tracing the paths of cosmic rays, star formation, and many other astrophysical processes. However, our current knowledge of the Milky Way’s 3-D structure is limited.

    Charlotte and her colleagues used a large radio telescope in Europe called LOFAR (the Low-Frequency Array) to create the most precise measurements to date of our galaxy’s magnetic field in 3-D.

    ASTRON LOFAR Radio Antenna Bank, Netherlands

    We can’t see our whole galaxy from a single place on Earth. So, Charlotte is now completing the map in the Southern Hemisphere. To do this she’s using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope which is led by Curtin University and located at our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA combines the power of 2048 small antennas into one instrument.

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

    The team chose pulsars (rapidly rotating neutron stars) as the ideal candidate to map the magnetic field. This is because they’re distributed throughout the Milky Way. And dark matter, which is the most dominant material in the galaxy, affects their radio-wave emissions.

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, discovered pulsars with radio astronomy. Jocelyn Bell at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge University, taken for the Daily Herald newspaper in 1968. Denied the Nobel.

    How do you share your science story?

    It’s important for Charlotte and other young researchers to be able to confidently and clearly communicate their work.

    Charlotte recently participated in Fresh Science WA. It’s a national competition helping early career researchers develop their communication and outreach skills through a series of workshops.

    “I applied to Fresh Science because it’s a great way to gain experience in presenting science stories in accessible ways for a variety of media, and to share my recently published results with the public,” Charlotte said.

    “As a researcher in a publicly-funded organisation, I feel it’s important to communicate about recent science results with the community. I hope that these stories connect with people, perhaps inspiring them to learn more about STEM areas or even pursue a STEM-related career or hobby.”

    3
    Charlotte and her dog Kirby at the LOFAR telescope ‘Superterp’ stations near Exloo, Netherlands.

    Finding her voice

    Across the two-day event, Charlotte attended media workshops, learned to pitch stories to journalists and write professional profiles. This training will help her tell her story to all types of media outlets.

    “Talking with journalists helped demystify the news process, and answering their questions helped me to frame my science story. I also gained invaluable experience and confidence by doing practice interviews in a ‘safe space’ with three local journalists from television, radio and print.” Charlotte said.

    “By talking to advisors from a commercialisation program and a public policy institute, I gained new insights into my work. This compelled me to expand my story to include the bigger-picture implications of my work, as well as talking about the future direction.”

    Passing the pub test

    After the pitching workshop, the ‘freshies’ headed down to the pub to complete the final exercise for Fresh Science 2019. Aptly named the pub test.

    “I had to explain my recent work on stage in the time it took for a birthday sparkler to burn out! I’m usually nervous when I have to speak in front of people about my work – in front of colleagues, let alone the general public. But at the end of the two days I felt more prepared, practised, and confident. But still a little nervous!” Charlotte said.

    “Sharing the experience with the other freshies and having the encouragement of the Science in Public staff also made it more social and enjoyable.”

    4
    Charlotte Sobey at Fresh Science 2019 during the pub test. Credit: Ross Swanborough.

    What’s next for Charlotte?

    “Doing Fresh Science has given me a greater understanding of how the media works, and to focus on being able to target my pitch to a specific audience to achieve a specific purpose. And with all the practicing I’m feeling much more confident and looking forward to sharing my story” Charlotte said.

    LOFAR and MWA are stepping stones towards the low-frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will be at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. SKA will be much larger and more sensitive than any radio telescope ever built.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.

    “My work in the future will focus on building towards doing science with the SKA telescope, which is currently entering the final stages of the planning phase. One long-term goal for SKA science is to revolutionise our understanding of our galaxy, including producing a detailed map of our galaxy’s structure (which is difficult because we’re located inside it!), particularly its magnetic field.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
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