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  • richardmitnick 9:45 am on January 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Tiny Dots in This Image Aren't Stars or Galaxies. They're Black Holes", , , , , LOFAR/LOL Survey, LoLSS: LOFAR LBA Sky Survey, , Science Alert (US), The Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden] (NL),   

    From The University of Hamburg [Universität Hamburg] (DE) and The Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden] (NL) via Science Alert (US) : “The Tiny Dots in This Image Aren’t Stars or Galaxies. They’re Black Holes” 

    From The University of Hamburg [Universität Hamburg] (DE)


    The Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden] (NL)



    Science Alert (US)

    2 JANUARY 2022

    Credit: LOFAR/LOL Survey.

    The image above may look like a fairly normal picture of the night sky, but what you’re looking at is a lot more special than just glittering stars. Each of those white dots is an active supermassive black hole.

    And each of those black holes is devouring material at the heart of a galaxy millions of light-years away – that’s how they could be pinpointed at all.

    Totaling 25,000 such dots, astronomers created the most detailed map to date of black holes at low radio frequencies in early 2021, an achievement that took years and a Europe-sized radio telescope to compile.

    “This is the result of many years of work on incredibly difficult data,” explained astronomer Francesco de Gasperin [Astronomy & Astrophysics] of the University of Hamburg in Germany. “We had to invent new methods to convert the radio signals into images of the sky.”

    Credit: LOFAR/LOL Survey.

    When they’re just hanging out not doing much, black holes don’t give off any detectable radiation, making them much harder to find. When a black hole is actively accreting material – spooling it in from a disc of dust and gas that circles it much as water circles a drain [Physical Review Letters] – the intense forces involved generate radiation across multiple wavelengths that we can detect across the vastness of space.

    What makes the above image so special is that it covers the ultra-low radio wavelengths, as detected by the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) in Europe. This interferometric network consists of around 20,000 radio antennas, distributed throughout 52 locations across Europe.

    ASTRON Institute for Radio Astronomy(NL) LOFAR Radio Antenna Bank(NL)

    ASTRON (NL) LOFAR European Map.

    Currently, LOFAR is the only radio telescope network capable of deep, high-resolution imaging at frequencies below 100 megahertz, offering a view of the sky like no other. This data release, covering four percent of the Northern sky, was the first for the network’s ambitious plan to image the entire Northern sky in ultra-low-frequencies, the LOFAR LBA Sky Survey (LoLSS).

    Because it’s based on Earth, LOFAR does have a significant hurdle to overcome that doesn’t afflict space-based telescopes: the ionosphere. This is particularly problematic for ultra-low-frequency radio waves [Astronomy & Astrophysics], which can be reflected back into space. At frequencies below 5 megahertz, the ionosphere is opaque for this reason.

    The frequencies that do penetrate the ionosphere can vary according to atmospheric conditions. To overcome this problem, the team used supercomputers running algorithms to correct for ionospheric interference every four seconds. Over the 256 hours that LOFAR stared at the sky, that’s a lot of corrections.

    This is what has given us such a clear view of the ultra-low-frequency sky.

    “After many years of software development, it is so wonderful to see that this has now really worked out,” said astronomer Huub Röttgering of The Leiden Observatory [Sterrewacht Leiden](NL).

    Having to correct for the ionosphere has another benefit, too: It will allow astronomers to use LoLSS data to study the ionosphere itself. Ionospheric traveling waves, scintillations, and the relationship of the ionosphere with solar cycles could be characterized in much greater detail with the LoLSS. This will allow scientists to better constrain ionospheric models.

    And the survey will provide new data on all sorts of astronomical objects and phenomena, as well as possibly undiscovered or unexplored objects in the region below 50 megahertz.

    “The final release of the survey will facilitate advances across a range of astronomical research areas,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

    “[This] will allow for the study of more than 1 million low-frequency radio spectra, providing unique insights on physical models for galaxies, active nuclei, galaxy clusters, and other fields of research. This experiment represents a unique attempt to explore the ultra-low frequency sky at a high angular resolution and depth.”

    The results have been published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Universiteit Leiden Heijmans onderhoudt.

    The Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden] (NL) is a public research university in Leiden, Netherlands. Founded in 1575 by William, Prince of Orange as a reward to the town of Leiden for its defense against Spanish attacks during the Eighty Years’ War, it is the oldest institution of higher education in the Netherlands.

    Known for its historic foundations and emphasis on the social sciences, the university came into particular prominence during the Dutch Golden Age, when scholars from around Europe were attracted to the Dutch Republic due to its climate of intellectual tolerance and Leiden’s international reputation. During this time, Leiden became the home to individuals such as René Descartes, Rembrandt, Christiaan Huygens, Hugo Grotius, Baruch Spinoza and Baron d’Holbach.

    The university has seven academic faculties and over fifty subject departments while housing more than 40 national and international research institutes. Its historical primary campus consists of buildings scattered across the college town of Leiden, while a second campus located in The Hague houses a liberal arts college and several of its faculties. It is a member of The Coimbra Group Universities(EU), The Europaeum, and a founding member of The League of European Research Universities (EU).

    Leiden University consistently ranks among the top 100 universities in the world by major ranking tables. It was placed top 50 worldwide in thirteen fields of study in the 2020 QS World University Rankings: classics & ancient history, politics, archaeology, anthropology, history, pharmacology, law, public policy, public administration, religious studies, arts & humanities, linguistics, modern languages and sociology.

    The school has produced twenty-one Spinoza Prize Laureates and sixteen Nobel Laureates, including Enrico Fermi and Albert Einstein. It is closely associated with the Dutch Royal Family, with Queen Juliana, Queen Beatrix and King Willem-Alexander being alumni. Ten prime ministers of the Netherlands were also Leiden University alumni. Internationally, it is associated with nine foreign leaders, among them John Quincy Adams (the 6th President of the United States), two NATO Secretaries General, a President of the International Court of Justice, and a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    In 1575, the emerging Dutch Republic did not have any universities in its northern heartland. The only other university in the Habsburg Netherlands was the University of Leuven [Universiteit Leuven](BE) in southern Leuven, firmly under Spanish control. The scientific renaissance had begun to highlight the importance of academic study, so Prince William founded the first Dutch university in Leiden, to give the Northern Netherlands an institution that could educate its citizens for religious purposes, but also to give the country and its government educated men in other fields. It is said the choice fell on Leiden as a reward for the heroic defence of Leiden against Spanish attacks in the previous year. Ironically, the name of Philip II of Spain, William’s adversary, appears on the official foundation certificate, as he was still the de jure count of Holland. Philip II replied by forbidding any subject to study in Leiden. Originally located in the convent of St Barbara, the university moved to the Faliede Bagijn Church in 1577 (now the location of the University museum) and in 1581 to the convent of the White Nuns, a site which it still occupies, though the original building was destroyed by fire in 1616.

    The presence within half a century of the date of its foundation of such scholars as Justus Lipsius; Joseph Scaliger; Franciscus Gomarus; Hugo Grotius; Jacobus Arminius; Daniel Heinsius; and Gerhard Johann Vossius rapidly made Leiden university into a highly regarded institution that attracted students from across Europe in the 17th century. Renowned philosopher Baruch Spinoza was based close to Leiden during this period and interacted with numerous scholars at the university. The learning and reputation of Jacobus Gronovius; Herman Boerhaave; Tiberius Hemsterhuis; and David Ruhnken, among others, enabled Leiden to maintain its reputation for excellence down to the end of the 18th century.

    At the end of the nineteenth century, Leiden University again became one of Europe’s leading universities. In 1896 the Zeeman effect was discovered there by Pieter Zeeman and shortly afterwards given a classical explanation by Hendrik Antoon Lorentz. At the world’s first university low-temperature laboratory, professor Heike Kamerlingh Onnes achieved temperatures of only one degree above absolute zero of −273 degrees Celsius. In 1908 he was also the first to succeed in liquifying helium and can be credited with the discovery of the superconductivity in metals.

    The University Library, which has more than 5.2 million books and fifty thousand journals, also has a number of internationally renowned special collections of western and oriental manuscripts, printed books, archives, prints, drawings, photographs, maps, and atlases. It houses the largest collections worldwide on Indonesia and the Caribbean. The research activities of the Scaliger Institute focus on these special collections and concentrate particularly on the various aspects of the transmission of knowledge and ideas through texts and images from antiquity to the present day.

    In 2005 the manuscript of Einstein on the quantum theory of the monatomic ideal gas (the Einstein-Bose condensation) was discovered in one of Leiden’s libraries.


    The University of Hamburg [Universität Hamburg] (DE) is the largest institution for research and education in northern Germany. As one of the country’s largest universities, we offer a diverse range of degree programs and excellent research opportunities. The University boasts numerous interdisciplinary projects in a broad range of fields and an extensive partner network of leading regional, national, and international higher education and research institutions.

    Sustainable science and scholarship

    Universität Hamburg is committed to sustainability. All our faculties have taken great strides towards sustainability in both research and teaching.

    Excellent research

    As part of the Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments, Universität Hamburg has been granted clusters of excellence for 4 core research areas: Advanced Imaging of Matter (photon and nanosciences), Climate, Climatic Change, and Society (CliCCS) (climate research), Understanding Written Artefacts (manuscript research) and Quantum Universe (mathematics, particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology).

    An equally important core research area is Infection Research, in which researchers investigate the structure, dynamics, and mechanisms of infection processes to promote the development of new treatment methods and therapies.

    Outstanding variety: over 170 degree programs

    Universität Hamburg offers approximately 170 degree programs within its eight faculties:

    Faculty of Law
    Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
    Faculty of Medicine
    Faculty of Education
    Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences
    Faculty of Psychology and Human Movement Science
    Faculty of Business Administration (Hamburg Business School).

    Universität Hamburg is also home to several museums and collections, such as the Zoological Museum, the Herbarium Hamburgense, the Geological-Paleontological Museum, the Loki Schmidt Garden, and the Hamburg Observatory.

    Universität Hamburg was founded in 1919 by local citizens. Important founding figures include Senator Werner von Melle and the merchant Edmund Siemers. Nobel Prize winners such as the physicists Otto Stern, Wolfgang Pauli, and Isidor Rabi taught and researched at the University. Many other distinguished scholars, such as Ernst Cassirer, Erwin Panofsky, Aby Warburg, William Stern, Agathe Lasch, Magdalene Schoch, Emil Artin, Ralf Dahrendorf, and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, also worked here.

  • richardmitnick 8:26 am on December 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Red Sky Paradox Will Make You Question Our Very Place in The Universe", , , , , , Dwarf stars are an attractive prospect for the search for extraterrestrial life., FGK dwarfs: yellow and white dwarf stars, Habitable worlds are at least two-orders of magnitude less common around M-dwarfs than FGKs., Habitable zone rocky exoplanets are 100 times less common around red dwarfs than they are around yellow dwarfs., M dwarfs: red dwarf stars, No red dwarfs have yet reached the end of their main sequence lifespan during the entire 13.4 billion years since the Big Bang., , Red dwarfs are much cooler and longer-lived than stars like the Sun., Red dwarfs make up as much as 75 percent of all stars in the Milky Way., Resolution I: An Unusual Outcome, Resolution II: Inhibited Life Under a Red Sky, Resolution III: A Truncated Window for Complex Life, Resolution IV: A Paucity of Pale Red Dots, Resolving the red sky paradox is of central interest to astrobiology and SETI with implication as to which stars to dedicate our resources., Science Alert (US), Solar Science, We expect our Sun to live around 10 billion years; red dwarf stars are expected to live trillions of years.   

    From Columbia University (US) via Science Alert (US) : “The Red Sky Paradox Will Make You Question Our Very Place in The Universe” 

    Columbia U bloc

    From Columbia University (US)



    Science Alert (US)

    27 DECEMBER 2021

    Artist’s impression of a habitable world orbiting a red dwarf. Credit: M. Kornmesser/The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL).

    On the grand cosmic scale, our little corner of the Universe isn’t all that special – this idea lies at the heart of the Copernican principle. Yet there’s one major aspect about our planet that’s peculiar indeed: Our Sun is a yellow dwarf.

    Because our home star is what we know most intimately, it would be tempting to assume that yellow and white dwarf stars (FGK dwarfs) are common elsewhere in the cosmos. However, they’re far from the most multitudinous stars in the galaxy; that particular feather belongs in the cap of another type of star – red dwarf (M dwarfs).

    Not only do red dwarfs make up as much as 75 percent of all stars in the Milky Way, they are much cooler and longer-lived than stars like the Sun. Much, much longer lived.

    We expect our Sun to live around 10 billion years; red dwarf stars are expected to live trillions. So long, in fact, that none have yet reached the end of their main sequence lifespan during the entire 13.4 billion years since the Big Bang.

    Since red dwarfs are so abundant, and so stable, and since we shouldn’t automatically consider ourselves to be cosmically special, the fact we’re not orbiting a red dwarf should therefore be somewhat surprising. And yet, here we are, orbiting a not-so-common yellow dwarf.

    This, according to a paper by astronomer David Kipping [PNAS] of Columbia University, is the “Red Sky Paradox” – a corollary to the “Fermi Paradox”, which questions why we’ve not yet found any other forms of intelligent life, out there in the big wide Universe.

    “Solving this paradox,” he writes, “would reveal guidance for the targeting of future remote life sensing experiments and the limits of life in the cosmos.”

    Artist’s impression of the planetary system orbiting red dwarf TRAPPIST-1. Credit: Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library/Getty Images)

    A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres. Credit: NASA.

    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, is orbited by seven Earth-size planets Credit:NASA.

    TRAPPIST national telescope interior at ESO La Silla (CL), 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    TRAPPIST national telescope at ESO La Silla (CL), 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    Red dwarf stars are an attractive prospect for the search for extraterrestrial life. They don’t burn as hot as Sun-like stars, which means any exoplanets orbiting them need to be closer to reach habitable temperatures. In turn, this could make any such exoplanets easier to find and study, since they orbit their stars more frequently than Earth does the Sun.

    Indeed, astronomers have found quite a few rocky exoplanets – like Earth, Venus and Mars – orbiting red dwarf stars in this habitable zone. And some of them are even relatively close. It’s tantalizing stuff, and it certainly seems like red dwarf stars ought to host life at least somewhere, which is why astrobiologists are looking.

    In his paper, Kipping lays out four resolutions to the Red Sky Paradox.

    Resolution I: An Unusual Outcome

    The first is that, well, we’re just a freaking oddball. If the rates at which life emerges around both star types are similar, then Earth is an outlier, and our emergence orbiting the Sun was just a random, one in 100 chance.

    That would create tension with the Copernican principle, which states that there are no privileged observers in the Universe, and that our place in it is pretty normal. For us to be outliers would suggest that our place is not so normal.

    This answer is not impossible, but nor is it a particularly satisfying one. The other three resolutions provide answers that are not only more satisfying, they could actually be testable.

    Resolution II: Inhibited Life Under a Red Sky

    Under this resolution, Kipping argues that yellow dwarfs are more habitable than red dwarfs, and, as a consequence, life emerges far less often around red dwarfs – around 100 times less. There’s lots of theoretical evidence supporting this idea. Red dwarfs, for instance, tend to be rowdy, with lots of flare activity, and don’t tend to have Jupiter-like planets.

    “Much theoretical work has questioned the plausibility of complex life on M dwarfs, with concerns raised regarding tidal locking and atmospheric collapse, increased exposure to the effects of stellar activity, extended pre-main sequence phases, and the paucity of potentially beneficial Jupiter-sized companions,” Kipping wrote.

    “On this basis, there is good theoretical reasoning to support resolution II, although we emphasize that it remains observationally unverified.”

    Artist’s impression of a red dwarf unleashing a megaflare. Credit: S. Wiessinger/The Goddard Space Flight Center-NASA (US).

    Resolution III: A Truncated Window for Complex Life

    Here, the argument is that life simply hasn’t had enough time to emerge around red dwarf stars.

    This may seem counter-intuitive, but it has to do with the pre-main sequence phase of the star’s life, before it starts fusing hydrogen. In this state, the star burns hotter and brighter; for red dwarfs, it lasts about a billion years. During this time, a runaway permanent greenhouse effect could be triggered on any potentially habitable worlds.

    This could mean that the window for complex biology to emerge on rocky planets on white and yellow dwarfs is a lot longer than it is on red dwarfs.

    Resolution IV: A Paucity of Pale Red Dots

    Finally, although around 16 percent of red dwarfs with exoplanets are listed as hosting rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone, perhaps these worlds are not as common as we thought. Our surveys sample the most massive red dwarfs, because they’re the brightest and easiest to study; but what if the titchy ones, about which we know relatively little, don’t have habitable zone rocky exoplanets?

    Since the low-mass red dwarfs are, in fact, the most numerous, this could mean that habitable zone rocky exoplanets are 100 times less common around red dwarfs than they are around yellow dwarfs.

    “In this case, intelligent life is rare amongst the cosmos and spawns universally between M- and FGK-dwarfs, but habitable worlds are at least two-orders of magnitude less common around M-dwarfs than FGKs,” Kipping wrote.

    “Two orders-of-magnitude is a considerable difference making this a particularly interesting explanation. This would require that the vast majority of many known Earth-sized, temperate planets around M-dwarfs are somehow inhospitable to life, or that the late-type M-dwarfs (low mass end) rarely host habitable worlds.”

    Artist’s impression of a habitable world orbiting red dwarf Proxima Centauri. Credit:Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library/Getty Images.

    It’s even possible that the answer lies in several of these resolutions, which would allow the effect in any one area to be less pronounced. And we might be able to obtain confirmation soon. As our technology improves, for instance, we will be able to better see the lower-mass red dwarf stars, and look for planets in orbit around them.

    Having done that, if we find rocky exoplanets, we can take a closer look at their potential habitability, determining if they orbit in the habitable zone, and if life there could have been stymied by stellar processes.

    “Ultimately,” Kipping wrote, “resolving the red sky paradox is of central interest to astrobiology and SETI, with implication as to which stars to dedicate our resources to, as well as asking a fundamental question about the nature and limits of life in the cosmos.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University (US) was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

    University Mission Statement

    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

    Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world by major education publications.

    Columbia was established as King’s College by royal charter from King George II of Great Britain in reaction to the founding of Princeton College. It was renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolution, and in 1787 was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In 1896, the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

    Columbia scientists and scholars have played an important role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first nuclear pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The university’s research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with major technology firms such as IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree. With over 14 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third largest private research library in the United States.

    The university’s endowment stands at $11.26 billion in 2020, among the largest of any academic institution. As of October 2020, Columbia’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included: five Founding Fathers of the United States—among them a co-author of the United States Constitution and a co-author of the Declaration of Independence; three U.S. presidents; 29 foreign heads of state; ten justices of the United States Supreme Court, one of whom currently serves; 96 Nobel laureates; five Fields Medalists; 122 National Academy of Sciences members; 53 living billionaires; eleven Olympic medalists; 33 Academy Award winners; and 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients.

  • richardmitnick 1:03 pm on December 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "We Finally Have The First-Ever Analysis of Stardust Retrieved From The Ryugu Asteroid", , , , , , , , JAXA- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP), Samplings from Asteroid Ryugu, Science Alert (US), , We already know Ryugu is what we call a C-type asteroid-the most common type of asteroid in the Solar System.   

    From JAXA- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP) via Science Alert (US) : “We Finally Have The First-Ever Analysis of Stardust Retrieved From The Ryugu Asteroid” 

    From JAXA-The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP)



    Science Alert (US)

    20 DECEMBER 2021

    Samples from Asteroid Ryugu. (Yada et. al., Nat. Astron., 2021)

    It’s been over a year since the Hayabusa2 probe delivered its precious cargo of dust from an alien space rock, and we’re finally getting a more detailed glimpse of what makes up asteroid Ryugu.

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Hayabusa2

    In two papers published today in Nature Astronomy [links to papers are below], international teams of scientists have revealed that, in accordance with analyses conducted by the probe while at the asteroid, Ryugu is very dark, very porous, and some of the most primitive Solar System material we’ve ever had access to here on Earth.

    Although not unexpected, the results are very cool. Since the asteroid has remained more or less unchanged since the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago, the sample is one of our best tools yet for understanding the composition of the dust from which the inner Solar System objects coalesced.

    “The Hayabusa2 returned samples … appear to be among the most primordial materials available in our laboratories,” wrote one of the teams in their paper. “The samples constitute a uniquely precious collection, which may contribute to revisiting the paradigms of Solar System origin and evolution.”

    Asteroid Ryugu, formerly known as 1999 JU3, is only the second asteroid from which a sample return mission has been conducted. The first was Itokawa, whose sample return mechanism failed, resulting in only a minute amount of dust finally reaching Earth in 2010.

    Ryugu is about a kilometer (0.62 miles) across, with a ridge around its equator; it travels an elliptical orbit that carries it just inside Earth’s orbital path around the Sun, then out almost as far as Mars’s orbit. The mission to get to the asteroid, touch down on it twice, then return any dust retrieved to Earth took a deeply impressive level of skill and planning.

    But it worked, and 5.4 grams of precious asteroid dust were returned and duly analyzed, while Hayabusa2 sailed off for a series of rendezvous with other asteroids over the coming years.

    Ryugu samples returned by the Hayabusa2 probe. (Yada et. al., Nat. Astron., 2021)

    Based on remote sensing and on-asteroid measurements, we already know Ryugu is what we call a C-type asteroid- the most common type of asteroid in the Solar System. These rocks are rich in carbon, which makes them very dark; they also have lots of volatile elements.

    In the first paper, led by astronomer Toru Yada of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), an analysis of a Ryugu sample reveals that the asteroid is extremely dark. Typically, C-type asteroids have an albedo (that’s the measure of how much solar radiation a body reflects) of 0.03 to 0.09. Asphalt has an albedo of 0.04. Ryugu’s albedo is 0.02. That means it reflects just 2 percent of the solar radiation that hits it.

    The asteroid is also, the researchers determined, extremely porous. According to their measurements, Ryugu has a porosity of 46 percent. That’s more porous than any carbonaceous meteorite we’ve ever had the opportunity to study, although we have seen more porous asteroids. This is consistent with the asteroid’s porosity as measured by remote thermal imaging, and measurements conducted on the asteroid itself.

    In the second paper, a team led by astronomer Cédric Pilorget of The Paris-Saclay University[Université Paris-Saclay](FR) analyzed the composition of the dust. They detected that the asteroid seems to consist of an extremely dark matrix, possibly dominated by phyllosilicates, or clay-like minerals, although there was a lack of a clear hydration signature.

    In this matrix, they identified inclusions of other minerals, such as carbonates, iron, and volatile compounds.

    Both of these papers agree that, in porosity and composition, Ryugu seems most similar to a type of meteorite classed as “CI chondrites”. That means the meteorite is carbonaceous, and similar to the Ivuna meteorite. These meteorites have, compared to other meteorites, a composition very similar to that of the solar photosphere, suggesting they are the most primitive of all known space rocks.

    More in-depth analyses will no doubt be on the way to try to discover more – not just about Ryugu, but what our Solar System was like as it was forming from the Sun’s leftover dust.

    “Our initial observations in the laboratory for the entire set of returned samples demonstrate that Hayabusa2 retrieved a representative and unprocessed (albeit slightly fragmented) sample from Ryugu,” Yada’s team wrote in their paper.

    “Our data support and extend remote-sensing observations that suggested that Ryugu is dominated by hydrous carbonaceous chondrite-like materials, similar to CI chondrites, but with a darker, more porous and more fragile nature. This inference should be further corroborated by in-depth investigations hereafter by state-of-the-art analytical methods with higher resolution and precision.”

    The two papers have been published in Nature Astronomy:

    Nature Astronomy

    Nature Astronomy

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (JP) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). It was designated as a core performance agency to support the Japanese government’s overall aerospace development and utilization. JAXA, therefore, can conduct integrated operations from basic research and development, to utilization.

    In 2013, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its founding, JAXA created the corporate slogan, “Explore to Realize,” which reflects its management philosophy of utilizing space and the sky to achieve a safe and affluent society.

    JAXA became a National Research and Development Agency in April 2015, and took a new step forward to achieve optimal R&D achievements for Japan, according to the government’s purpose of establishing a national R&D agency.

  • richardmitnick 4:28 pm on December 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mysterious Object That Survived a Close Encounter With a Black Hole Is Unmasked", , , , Groud based Optical Astronomy, Science Alert (US), The object G2 is actually three baby stars.,   

    From The University of Cologne [Universität zu Köln](DE) via Science Alert (US) : “Mysterious Object That Survived a Close Encounter With a Black Hole Is Unmasked” 

    From The University of Cologne [Universität zu Köln](DE)



    Science Alert (US)

    Artist’s impression of G objects in the galactic center. Credit: Jack Ciurlo/The University of California-Los Angeles (US).

    14 DECEMBER 2021

    A mysterious cloud that somehow survived a close encounter with a supermassive black hole has now been unmasked.

    According to a new study of the object, called G2, it’s actually three baby stars, shrouded in a thick cloud of the gas and dust from which they were born. This interpretation offers a very tidy solution to the questions that remained unanswered after G2 skimmed past Sgr A* – the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way – back in 2014.

    “We propose that the monitored dust-enshrouded objects are remnants of a dissolved young stellar cluster whose formation was initiated in the circumnuclear disk,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

    G2 was discovered in 2011 (described in a study published in 2012 [Nature]). At that time, it was hurtling towards an event known as perinigricon – the point in its orbit in which it is closest to the black hole.

    Astronomers fully expected that the close encounter would result in G2 getting torn apart and slurped up by by Sgr A*, producing some supermassive black hole accretion fireworks.

    The fact that nothing happened was later referred to as a “cosmic fizzle”. G2 stretched out and elongated as it drew close to the black hole; then, after perinigricon, it returned to a more compact shape.

    Another vexing characteristic of G2 is that it’s very hot, far hotter than a cloud of dust should be. It’s possible that Sgr A*, or other stars, could have heated the object, but it remained the same temperature no matter where it was. This suggested that whatever was heating G2 was coming from within the cloud itself, not external influences.

    Both these behaviors, astronomers found, are more consistent with the behavior of a star. A team of researchers last year [Nature] suggested that the G2 cloud could harbor a hidden star within – the product of a collision between two stars that produced a huge cloud of gas and dust around them.

    But the same study also revealed the discovery of four more similar objects in the galactic center, bringing the total number of G objects to six. That’s a lot of merged binary stars.

    Now, a team of researchers led by astrophysicist Florian Peißker from the University of Cologne in Germany has come up with an alternative explanation, after conducting a detailed review of 14 years’ worth of observations taken with the The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL) Very Large Telescope’s SINFONI instrument.

    ESO SINFONI installed at the Cassegrain focus of UT3 on the VLT.

    European Southern Observatory(EU) , Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ) •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ) •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star). Elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo.

    According to their analysis, G2 should be concealing three stars, at around 1 million years old. That’s very young, for stars; by contrast, the Sun is 4.6 billion years old. The G2 stars are so young that they would still be surrounded by material from the cloud in which they formed.

    “That G2 actually consists of three evolving young stars is sensational,” Peißker says, noting that the discovery makes the three stars the youngest stars ever observed around SgrA*.

    The galactic center already has an peculiar population of young stars, known as the S-cluster. According to Peißker’s team’s model, the G2 stars could belong to this population.

    The stars could have originated in the same stellar nursery, forming a cluster, which has since dissolved, with individual stars breaking away and generating new orbits around Sgr A*.

    Even if not associated with the S-cluster, the G2 stars were likely part of a larger cluster of stars at some point. Other dusty objects orbiting Sgr A* could also have been members of this cluster, which would have been disrupted by gravity after moving towards the supermassive black hole from a greater distance.

    Because the environment around Sgr A* is not considered conducive to star formation, more work will be needed to discover where G2 and the other G objects might have originated. Astronomers may also be able to use the new findings to understand more about black holes.

    “The new results provide unique insights into how black holes work,” Peißker says.

    “We can use the environment of SgrA* as a blueprint to learn more about the evolution and processes of other galaxies in completely different corners of our Universe.”

    The research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The The University of Cologne [Universität zu Köln](DE) is a university in Cologne, Germany. It was the sixth university to be established in Central Europe and, although it closed in 1798 before being re-established in 1919, it is now one of the largest universities in Germany with more than 48,000 students. The University of Cologne is a German Excellence University.

    The University of Cologne was established in 1388 as the fourth university in the Holy Roman Empire, after the Charles University of Prague (1348), the University of Vienna (1365) and the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg (1386). The charter was signed by Pope Urban VI. The university began teaching on 6 January 1389.

    In 1798, the university was abolished by the French, who had invaded Cologne in 1794, because under the new French constitution, many universities were abolished all over France. The last rector Ferdinand Franz Wallraf was able to preserve the university’s Great Seal, now once more in use.

    In 1919, the Prussian government endorsed a decision by the Cologne City Council to re-establish the university. This was considered to be a replacement for the loss of the University of Strasbourg on the west bank of the Rhine, which contemporaneously reverted to France with the rest of Alsace. On 29 May 1919, the Cologne Mayor Konrad Adenauer signed the charter of the modern university.

    At that point, the new university was located in Neustadt-Süd, but relocated to its current campus in Lindenthal on 2 November 1934. The old premises are now being used for the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

    Initially, the university was composed of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences (successor to the Institutes of Commerce and of Communal and Social Administration) and the Faculty of Medicine (successor to the Academy of Medicine). In 1920, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Arts were added, from which latter the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences was split off in 1955 to form a separate Faculty. In 1980, the two Cologne departments of the Rhineland School of Education were attached to the university as the Faculties of Education and of Special Education. In 1988, the university became a founding member of the Community of European Management Schools and International Companies (CEMS), today’s Global Alliance in Management Education.

    The University is a leader in the area of economics and is regularly placed in top positions for law and business, both for national and international rankings.

  • richardmitnick 10:49 am on December 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Have Discovered Why The Solar System Might Be Shaped Like a Croissant", , , , , , Science Alert (US)   

    From The University of Maryland (US) and Boston University (US) via Science Alert (US) : “Astronomers Have Discovered Why The Solar System Might Be Shaped Like a Croissant” 

    From The University of Maryland (US)


    Boston University (US)



    Science Alert (US)

    6 DECEMBER 2021

    The possible croissant-like shape of the Solar System. Credit: M. Opher/The American Astronomical Society(US).

    The Solar System exists in a bubble.

    Wind and radiation from the Sun stream outwards, pushing out into interstellar space. This creates a boundary of solar influence, within which the objects in the Solar System are sheltered from powerful cosmic radiation.

    Magnetosphere of Earth, original bitmap from NASA. SVG rendering by Aaron Kaase.

    It’s called the heliosphere, and understanding how it works is an important part of understanding our Solar System, and perhaps even how we, and all life on Earth, are able to be here.

    “How is this relevant for society? The bubble that surrounds us, produced by the Sun, offers protection from galactic cosmic rays, and the shape of it can affect how those rays get into the heliosphere,” says astrophysicist James Drake of the University of Maryland.

    “There’s lots of theories but, of course, the way that galactic cosmic rays can get in can be impacted by the structure of the heliosphere – does it have wrinkles and folds and that sort of thing?”

    Since we’re inside the heliosphere, and its boundary is not actually visible, figuring out its shape is not exactly easy. But it’s not impossible. The two Voyager probes and New Horizons are three spacecraft that have traveled to the far reaches of the Solar System; in fact, the Voyager probes have even traversed the boundary of the heliosphere, and are currently making their way through interstellar space.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US) Voyager 1.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)Voyager 2.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) New Horizons(US) spacecraft.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) Heliosphere-heliopause showing positions of two Voyager spacecraft. Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech.

    With data from these probes, scientists determined last year that the heliosphere could be shaped a bit like a weird cosmic croissant. Now, they have figured out how: neutral hydrogen particles streaming into the Solar System from interstellar space likely play a crucial role in sculpting the shape of the heliosphere.

    The team set out to investigate the heliospheric jets. These are twin jets of material that emanate from the Sun’s poles, shaped by the interaction of the solar magnetic field with the interstellar magnetic field. Rather than shooting straight out, though, they curve around, pushed by the interstellar flow – like the points of a croissant. These are the Solar System’s tails.

    A reconstruction of the heliosphere showing the jets. (M. Opher/AAS)

    These are similar to other astrophysical jets observed in space, and like those other jets, the Sun’s jets are unstable. And the heliosphere, shaped by the Sun, also appears to be unstable. The researchers wanted to know why.

    “We see these jets projecting as irregular columns, and [astrophysicists] have been wondering for years why these shapes present instabilities,” explains astrophysicist Merav Opher of Boston University (BU), who led the research.

    The team performed computational modeling, focusing on neutral hydrogen atoms – those that carry no charge. We know these stream through the Universe, but not what effect they could have on the heliosphere. When the researchers took the neutral atoms out of their model, suddenly the solar jets became stable. Then they put them back.

    “When I put them back in, things start bending, the center axis starts wiggling, and that means that something inside the heliospheric jets is becoming very unstable,” Opher says.

    According to the team’s analysis, this occurs because of the interaction of the neutral hydrogen with the ionized matter in the heliosheath – the outer region of the heliosphere. This generates a Rayleigh-Taylor instability, or an instability that occurs at the interface between two fluids of different densities when the lighter fluid pushes into the heavier one. In turn, this produces large-scale turbulence in the tails of the heliosphere.

    It’s a clear and elegant explanation for the shape of the heliosphere, and one that could have implications for our understanding of the way galactic cosmic rays enter the Solar System. In turn, this could help us to better understand the radiation environment of the Solar System, outside Earth’s protective magnetic field and atmosphere.

    “The Universe is not quiet. Our BU model doesn’t try to cut out the chaos, which has allowed me to pinpoint the cause [of the heliosphere’s instability]…. The neutral hydrogen particles,” Opher says.

    “This finding is a really major breakthrough, it’s really set us in a direction of discovering why our model gets its distinct croissant-shaped heliosphere and why other models don’t.”

    The research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

    See the full article here .

    See also the blog post from Boston University here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Boston University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists with its original campus in Newbury, Vermont, before moving to Boston in 1867.

    The university now has more than 4,000 faculty members and nearly 34,000 students, and is one of Boston’s largest employers. It offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates, and medical, dental, business, and law degrees through 17 schools and colleges on three urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The Fenway campus houses the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, formerly Wheelock College, which merged with BU in 2018.

    U Maryland Campus

    Driven by the pursuit of excellence, the The University of Maryland (US) has enjoyed a remarkable rise in accomplishment and reputation over the past two decades. By any measure, Maryland is now one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities and on a path to become one of the world’s best. To fulfill this promise, we must capitalize on our momentum, fully exploit our competitive advantages, and pursue ambitious goals with great discipline and entrepreneurial spirit. This promise is within reach. This strategic plan is our working agenda.

    The plan is comprehensive, bold, and action oriented. It sets forth a vision of the University as an institution unmatched in its capacity to attract talent, address the most important issues of our time, and produce the leaders of tomorrow. The plan will guide the investment of our human and material resources as we strengthen our undergraduate and graduate programs and expand research, outreach and partnerships, become a truly international center, and enhance our surrounding community.

    Our success will benefit Maryland in the near and long term, strengthen the State’s competitive capacity in a challenging and changing environment and enrich the economic, social and cultural life of the region. We will be a catalyst for progress, the State’s most valuable asset, and an indispensable contributor to the nation’s well-being. Achieving the goals of Transforming Maryland requires broad-based and sustained support from our extended community. We ask our stakeholders to join with us to make the University an institution of world-class quality with world-wide reach and unparalleled impact as it serves the people and the state of Maryland.

  • richardmitnick 10:43 am on December 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "AI Is Discovering Patterns in Pure Mathematics That Have Never Been Seen Before", , , Kazhdan-Lusztig polynomials: a math problem involving the symmetry of higher-dimensional algebra that has remained unsolved for 40 years., , Science Alert (US), This is the first time we have used computers to help us formulate conjectures or suggest possible lines of attack for unproven ideas in mathematics., We can add suggesting and proving mathematical theorems to the long list of which artificial intelligence is capable.   

    Science Alert (US): “AI Is Discovering Patterns in Pure Mathematics That Have Never Been Seen Before” 


    Science Alert (US)

    4 DECEMBER 2021

    (metamorworks/iStock/Getty Images)

    We can add suggesting and proving mathematical theorems to the long list of what artificial intelligence is capable of: Mathematicians and AI experts have teamed up to demonstrate how machine learning can open up new avenues to explore in the field.

    While mathematicians have been using computers to discover patterns for decades, the increasing power of machine learning means that these networks can work through huge swathes of data and identify patterns that haven’t been spotted before.

    In a newly published study, a research team used artificial intelligence systems developed by DeepMind, the same company that has been deploying AI to solve tricky biology problems and improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, to unknot some long-standing math problems.

    “Problems in mathematics are widely regarded as some of the most intellectually challenging problems out there,” says mathematician Geordie Williamson from The University of Sydney (AU).

    “While mathematicians have used machine learning to assist in the analysis of complex data sets, this is the first time we have used computers to help us formulate conjectures or suggest possible lines of attack for unproven ideas in mathematics.”

    The team shows AI advancing a proof for Kazhdan-Lusztig polynomials: a math problem involving the symmetry of higher-dimensional algebra that has remained unsolved for 40 years.

    The research also demonstrated how a machine learning technique called a supervised learning model was able to spot a previously undiscovered relationship between two different types of mathematical knots, leading to an entirely new theorem.

    Knot theory in math plays into various other challenging fields of science as well, including genetics, fluid dynamics, and even the behavior of the Sun’s corona. The discoveries that AI makes can therefore lead to advances in other areas of research.

    “We have demonstrated that, when guided by mathematical intuition, machine learning provides a powerful framework that can uncover interesting and provable conjectures in areas where a large amount of data is available, or where the objects are too large to study with classical methods,” says mathematician András Juhász from The University of Oxford (UK).

    One of the benefits of machine learning systems is the way that they can look for patterns and scenarios that programmers didn’t specifically code them to look out for – they take their training data and apply the same principles to new situations.

    The research shows that this sort of high-speed, ultra-reliable, large-scale data processing can act as an extra tool working with mathematicians’ natural intuition. When you’re dealing with complex, lengthy equations, that can make a significant difference.

    The researchers hope that their work leads to many further partnerships between academics in the fields of mathematics and artificial intelligence, opening up the opportunity for findings that would otherwise be undiscovered.

    “AI is an extraordinary tool,” says Williamson. “This work is one of the first times it has demonstrated its usefulness for pure mathematicians, like me.”

    “Intuition can take us a long way, but AI can help us find connections the human mind might not always easily spot.”

    The research has been published in Nature.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 9:48 am on December 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Finally a Fusion Reaction Has Generated More Energy Than Absorbed by The Fuel", 192 high-powered laser beams are blasted at the hohlraum where they are converted into X-rays., , , , Inertial confinement fusion research, Results are 25 times greater than experiments conducted in 2018., Science Alert (US), The fuel capsule is placed in a hollow gold chamber about the size of a pencil eraser called a hohlraum.   

    From DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (US) via Science Alert (US) : “Finally a Fusion Reaction Has Generated More Energy Than Absorbed by The Fuel” 

    From DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (US)



    Science Alert (US)

    3 DECEMBER 2021

    Preamplifiers that boost laser beams at the National Ignition Facility. Credit: Damien Jemison/ LLNL.

    A major milestone has been breached in the quest for fusion energy.

    For the first time, a fusion reaction has achieved a record 1.3 megajoule energy output – and for the first time, exceeding energy absorbed by the fuel used to trigger it.

    Although there’s still some way to go, the result represents a significant improvement on previous yields: eight times greater than experiments conducted just a few months prior, and 25 times greater than experiments conducted in 2018. It’s a huge achievement.

    Physicists at the National Ignition Facility [below] at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will be submitting a paper for peer review.

    “This result is a historic step forward for inertial confinement fusion research, opening a fundamentally new regime for exploration and the advancement of our critical national security missions. It is also a testament to the innovation, ingenuity, commitment and grit of this team and the many researchers in this field over the decades who have steadfastly pursued this goal,” said Kim Budil, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    “For me, it demonstrates one of the most important roles of the national labs – our relentless commitment to tackling the biggest and most important scientific grand challenges and finding solutions where others might be dissuaded by the obstacles.”

    Inertial confinement fusion involves creating something like a tiny star. It starts with a capsule of fuel, consisting of deuterium and tritium – heavier isotopes of hydrogen. This fuel capsule is placed in a hollow gold chamber about the size of a pencil eraser called a hohlraum.

    Then, 192 high-powered laser beams are blasted at the hohlraum where they are converted into X-rays. These X-rays implode the fuel capsule, heating and compressing it to conditions comparable to those in the center of a star – temperatures in excess of 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million Fahrenheit) and pressures greater than 100 billion Earth atmospheres – turning the fuel capsule into a tiny blob of plasma.

    And, just as hydrogen fuses into heavier elements in the heart of a main-sequence star, so too does the deuterium and tritium in the fuel capsule. The whole process takes place in just a few billionths of a second. The goal is to achieve ignition – a point at which the energy generated by the fusion process exceeds the total energy input.

    The experiment, conducted on 8 August, fell just short of that mark; the input from the lasers was 1.9 megajoules. But it’s still tremendously exciting, because according to the team’s measurements, the fuel capsule absorbed over five times less energy than it generated in the fusion process.

    This, the team said, is the result of painstaking work refining the experiment, including the design of the hohlraum and capsule, improved laser precision, new diagnostic tools, and design changes to increase the speed of the implosion of the capsule, which transfers more energy to the plasma hotspot in which fusion takes place.

    “Gaining experimental access to thermonuclear burn in the laboratory is the culmination of decades of scientific and technological work stretching across nearly 50 years,” said Thomas Mason, director of DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (US).

    “This enables experiments that will check theory and simulation in the high energy density regime more rigorously than ever possible before and will enable fundamental achievements in applied science and engineering.”

    The team plans to conduct follow-up experiments to see if they can replicate their result, and to study the process in greater detail. The result also opens up new avenues for experimental research.

    The physicists also hope to work out how to further increase energy efficiency. A lot of energy is lost when the laser light is converted into X-rays inside the hohlraum; a large proportion of the laser light instead goes into heating the hohlraum walls. Solving this problem will take us another significant step closer to fusion energy.

    In the meantime, though, the researchers are tremendously excited.

    “Achieving ignition in a laboratory remains one of the scientific grand challenges of this era and this result is a momentous step forward towards achieving that goal,” said physicist Johan Frenje of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (US).

    “It also enables the exploration of a fundamentally new regime that is extremely difficult to access experimentally, furthering our understanding of the processes of fusion ignition and burn, which is critical for validating and enhancing our simulation tools in support of the stockpile stewardship.

    “In addition, the result is historic as it represents the culmination of many decades of hard work, innovation and ingenuity, team work on a large scale, and relentless focus on the ultimate goal.”

    The team presented their results at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration

    DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) (US) is an American federal research facility in Livermore, California, United States, founded by the University of California-Berkeley (US) in 1952. A Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), it is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and managed and operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), a partnership of the University of California, Bechtel, BWX Technologies, AECOM, and Battelle Memorial Institute in affiliation with the Texas A&M University System (US). In 2012, the laboratory had the synthetic chemical element livermorium named after it.

    LLNL is self-described as “a premier research and development institution for science and technology applied to national security.” Its principal responsibility is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons through the application of advanced science, engineering and technology. The Laboratory also applies its special expertise and multidisciplinary capabilities to preventing the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction, bolstering homeland security and solving other nationally important problems, including energy and environmental security, basic science and economic competitiveness.

    The Laboratory is located on a one-square-mile (2.6 km^2) site at the eastern edge of Livermore. It also operates a 7,000 acres (28 km2) remote experimental test site, called Site 300, situated about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of the main lab site. LLNL has an annual budget of about $1.5 billion and a staff of roughly 5,800 employees.

    LLNL was established in 1952 as the University of California Radiation Laboratory at Livermore, an offshoot of the existing UC Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley. It was intended to spur innovation and provide competition to the nuclear weapon design laboratory at Los Alamos in New Mexico, home of the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic weapons. Edward Teller and Ernest Lawrence, director of the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley, are regarded as the co-founders of the Livermore facility.

    The new laboratory was sited at a former naval air station of World War II. It was already home to several UC Radiation Laboratory projects that were too large for its location in the Berkeley Hills above the UC campus, including one of the first experiments in the magnetic approach to confined thermonuclear reactions (i.e. fusion). About half an hour southeast of Berkeley, the Livermore site provided much greater security for classified projects than an urban university campus.

    Lawrence tapped 32-year-old Herbert York, a former graduate student of his, to run Livermore. Under York, the Lab had four main programs: Project Sherwood (the magnetic-fusion program), Project Whitney (the weapons-design program), diagnostic weapon experiments (both for the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory(US) and Livermore laboratories), and a basic physics program. York and the new lab embraced the Lawrence “big science” approach, tackling challenging projects with physicists, chemists, engineers, and computational scientists working together in multidisciplinary teams. Lawrence died in August 1958 and shortly after, the university’s board of regents named both laboratories for him, as the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory.

    Historically, the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US) and Livermore laboratories have had very close relationships on research projects, business operations, and staff. The Livermore Lab was established initially as a branch of the Berkeley laboratory. The Livermore lab was not officially severed administratively from the Berkeley lab until 1971. To this day, in official planning documents and records, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is designated as Site 100, Lawrence Livermore National Lab as Site 200, and LLNL’s remote test location as Site 300.

    The laboratory was renamed Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL) in 1971. On October 1, 2007 LLNS assumed management of LLNL from the University of California, which had exclusively managed and operated the Laboratory since its inception 55 years before. The laboratory was honored in 2012 by having the synthetic chemical element livermorium named after it. The LLNS takeover of the laboratory has been controversial. In May 2013, an Alameda County jury awarded over $2.7 million to five former laboratory employees who were among 430 employees LLNS laid off during 2008.The jury found that LLNS breached a contractual obligation to terminate the employees only for “reasonable cause.” The five plaintiffs also have pending age discrimination claims against LLNS, which will be heard by a different jury in a separate trial.[6] There are 125 co-plaintiffs awaiting trial on similar claims against LLNS. The May 2008 layoff was the first layoff at the laboratory in nearly 40 years.

    On March 14, 2011, the City of Livermore officially expanded the city’s boundaries to annex LLNL and move it within the city limits. The unanimous vote by the Livermore city council expanded Livermore’s southeastern boundaries to cover 15 land parcels covering 1,057 acres (4.28 km^2) that comprise the LLNL site. The site was formerly an unincorporated area of Alameda County. The LLNL campus continues to be owned by the federal government.

    NIF National Ignition Facility located at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.


  • richardmitnick 10:10 am on November 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Jaw-Dropping Simulation Shows Stars Shredded as They Get Too Close to a Black Hole", , Science Alert (US),   

    From The MPG Institute for Astrophysics [MPG Institut für Astrophysik]-Garching (DE) via Science Alert (US) : “Jaw-Dropping Simulation Shows Stars Shredded as They Get Too Close to a Black Hole” 

    From The MPG Institute for Astrophysics [MPG Institut für Astrophysik]-Garching (DE)



    Science Alert (US)

    29 NOVEMBER 2021

    Chop News.

    We just got a little more insight into stellar death by black hole.

    In a series of simulations, a team of astrophysicists has chucked a bunch of stars at a range of black holes, and recorded what happens.

    It’s the first study of its kind, the scientists said, that combines Einstein’s theory of general relativity with realistic models of the densities of main-sequence stars. The results will help us understand what is happening when we observe the flares of light from distant black holes shredding unfortunate stars.

    And the simulations, supporting a paper that was published last year, are also gorgeous as heck.

    When a star ventures a little too close to a black hole, things turn violent pretty quickly. The extreme gravitational field of the black hole starts deforming and then pulling the star apart, due to what we call tidal forces – the stretching of one body due to the gravitational pull of another.

    When a star gets so close to a black hole that the tidal force results in material being stripped from the star, we call that a tidal disruption event.

    Supercomputer Simulations Test Star-destroying Black Holes.

    In the worst-case scenario for the star, there’s no escape. The disruption is total, and some of the star’s material gets slurped down onto the black hole like a spaghetti noodle.

    But not every encounter between a black hole and a star ends this way. Some stars have been observed surviving. The simulations, led by astrophysicist Taeho Ryu of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, were designed to find out what factors contributed to a star’s survival.

    The team created six virtual black holes, with masses between 100,000 and 50 million times that of the Sun. Each of these black holes then had encounters with eight main-sequence stars, with masses between 0.15 and 10 times that of the Sun.

    They found that the main factor that contributed to a star’s survival was the initial density of the star. The denser the star, the more likely it is to survive an encounter with a black hole. In the video above, you can see these encounters play out around a supermassive black hole 1 million times the Sun’s mass. The stars with the highest density are yellow, and the lowest are blue.

    The team also found that partial disruptions occur at the same rate as total disruptions, and the proportion of the star’s mass that is lost can be described surprisingly easily using a simple expression.

    Future research to fill in the finer details will help model the effects of these encounters, including the heretofore relatively neglected partial disruption events, the researchers said.

    This will reveal what can happen to a star after it survives an encounter with a black hole; whether it continues along the main sequence, or turns into a stellar remnant; and if it will continue in orbit around the black hole to meet total disruption at a later date.

    The paper accompanying the simulations was published in The Astrophysical Journal in 2020.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MPG Institute for Astrophysics Campus.
    The The MPG Institute for Astrophysics [Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik] (DE), usually called the MPA for short, is one of about 80 autonomous research institutes within the Max-Planck Society. These institutes are primarily devoted to fundamental research. Most of them carry out work in several distinct areas, each led by a senior scientist who is a “Scientific Member” of the Max-Planck Society.

    The MPA was founded in 1958 under the direction of Ludwig Biermann. It was an offshoot of the MPI für Physik which at that time had just moved from Göttingen to Munich. In 1979 the headquarters of The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL) came to Munich from Geneva, and as part of the resulting reorganisation the MPA (then under its second director, Rudolf Kippenhahn) moved to a new site in Garching, just north of the Munich city limits.

    The new building lies in a research park barely 50 metres from ESO headquarters and is physically connected to the buildings which house the The MPG Institute for extraterrestrial Physics [MPG Institut für außerirdische Physik](DE). This park also contains two other large research institutes, The MPG Institute for Plasma Physics [MPG Institut für Plasmaphysik](DE) and The MPG Institute for Quantum Optics [MPG Institut für Quantenoptik](DE), as well as many of the scientific and engineering departments of the The Technical University of Munich [Technische Universität München](DE). The MPA is currently led by a Board of four directors, Guinevere Kauffmann, Eiichiro Komatsu, Volker Springel, and Simon White.
    The MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.](DE) 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.

    MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] 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) 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 University (US), The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), https://www.stanford.edu/ and The National Institutes of Health (US)). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN), The Russian Academy of Sciences [Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к](RU) 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.

    The Max Planck Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.
    The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.
    The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the Max Planck Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory (US).

    The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.
    Max Planck Institutes and research groups
    The Max Planck Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.
    The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.
    The Max Planck Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.
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    International Max Planck Research Schools
    International Max Planck Research Schools
    Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:
    Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the MPG Institute for Intelligent Systems (DE) located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
    International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
    International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPG for Astronomy
    International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPG Institute for Astrophysics
    International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
    International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
    International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPG Institute for Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the MPG Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
    International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
    International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the MPG Institute for Developmental Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
    International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPG Institute for Gravitational Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the MPG Institute for Heart and Lung Research
    International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
    International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the MPG Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen (DE), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
    International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich[
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
    International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster (DE) and the MPG Institute for Molecular Biomedicine (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz (DE) and the MPG Institute for Ornithology (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at MPG Institute of Microstructure Physics (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science[49] at theUniversity of Göttingen – Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (DE) hosted by MPG Institute for Solar System Research [Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at MPG Institute for Iron Research [MPG Institut für Eisenforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

  • richardmitnick 9:32 am on November 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Super-hot rock" geothermal power, "What Secrets Can The World's 1st Magma Observatory Discover 1 Mile Inside a Volcano?", , , , , Italian National institute for geophysics and volcanology-INGV, KMT: "Krafla Magma Testbed" project, Knowing where the magma is located is vital in order to be prepared for an eruption., Science Alert (US), The KMT is the first magma observatory in the world., The possibility that the operation may trigger a volcanic eruption is something one would naturally worry about.,   

    From The Italian National institute for geophysics and volcanology-INGV via Science Alert (US) : “What Secrets Can The World’s 1st Magma Observatory Discover 1 Mile Inside a Volcano?” 


    From The Italian National institute for geophysics and volcanology INGV



    Science Alert (US)

    27 NOVEMBER 2021

    Krafla seen from Leirhnjúkur in Iceland. (Hansueli Krapf/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

    With its large crater lake of turquoise water, plumes of smoke and sulfurous bubbling of mud and gases, the Krafla volcano is one of Iceland’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders.

    Here, in the country’s northeast, a team of international researchers is preparing to drill two kilometers (1.2 miles) into the heart of the volcano, a Jules Verne-like project aimed at creating the world’s first underground magma observatory.

    Launched in 2014 and with the first drilling due to start in 2024, the $100-million project involves scientists and engineers from 38 research institutes and companies in 11 countries, including the US, Britain, and France.

    The “Krafla Magma Testbed” (KMT) team hopes to drill into the volcano’s magma chamber. Unlike the lava spewed above ground, the molten rock beneath the surface remains a mystery.

    The KMT is the first magma observatory in the world, Paolo Papale, volcanologist at the Italian national institute for geophysics and volcanology INGV, tells Agence France Pressé.com(FR).

    “We have never observed underground magma, apart from fortuitous encounters while drilling” in volcanoes in Hawaii and Kenya, and at Krafla in 2009, he says.

    Scientists hope the project will lead to advances in basic science and so-called “super-hot rock” geothermal power.

    They also hope to further knowledge about volcano prediction and risks.

    “Knowing where the magma is located… is vital” in order to be prepared for an eruption. “Without that, we are nearly blind,” says Papale.

    Not so deep down

    Like many scientific breakthroughs, the magma observatory is the result of an unexpected discovery.

    In 2009, when engineers were expanding Krafla’s geothermal power plant, a bore drill hit a pocket of 900-degree-Celsius (1,650 Fahrenheit) magma by chance, at a depth of 2.1 kilometers.

    Smoke shot up from the borehole and lava flowed nine meters up the well, damaging the drilling material.

    But there was no eruption and no one was hurt.

    Volcanologists realized they were within reach of a magma pocket estimated to contain around 500 million cubic meters.

    Scientists were astonished to find magma this shallow – they had expected to be able to drill to a depth of 4.5 kilometers before that would occur.

    Studies have subsequently shown the magma had similar properties to that from a 1724 eruption, meaning that it was at least 300 years old.

    “This discovery has the potential to be a huge breakthrough in our capability to understand many different things,” ranging from the origin of the continents to volcano dynamics and geothermal systems, Papale enthuses.

    Technically challenging

    The chance find was also auspicious for Landsvirkjun, the national electricity agency that runs the site.

    That close to liquid magma, the rock reaches temperatures so extreme that the fluids are “supercritical”, a state in-between liquid and gas.

    The energy produced there is five to 10 times more powerful than in a conventional borehole.

    During the incident, the steam that rose to the surface was 450C, the highest volcano steam temperature ever recorded.

    Two supercritical wells would be enough to generate the plant’s 60-megawatt capacity currently served by 18 boreholes.

    Landsvirkjun hopes the KMT project will lead to “new technology to be able to drill deeper and to be able to harness this energy that we have not been able to do before,” the head of geothermal operations and resource management, Vordis Eiriksdottir, said.

    But drilling in such an extreme environment is technically challenging. The materials need to be able to resist corrosion caused by the super-hot steam.

    And the possibility that the operation may trigger a volcanic eruption is something “one would naturally worry about”, says John Eichelberger, a University of Alaska-Fairbanks (US) geophysicist and one of the founders of the KMT project.

    But, he says, “this is poking an elephant with a needle.”

    “In total, a dozen holes have hit magma at three different places (in the world) and nothing bad happened.”

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Italian National institute for geophysics and volcanology INGV is a research institute for geophysics and volcanology in Italy.

    INGV is funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. Its main responsibilities within the Italian civil protection system are the maintenance and monitoring of the national networks for seismic and volcanic phenomena, together with outreach and educational activities for the Italian population. The institute employs around 2000 people distributed between the headquarters in Rome and the other sections in Milan, Bologna, Pisa, Naples, Catania and Palermo.

    INGV is amongst the top 20 research institutions in terms of scientific publications production. It participates and coordinates several EU research projects and organizes international scientific meetings in collaboration with other institutions.

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