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  • richardmitnick 11:36 pm on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dwarf Galaxies Shed Light on Black Hole Origins", , , , , , , Sky & Telescope, , The Montana State University (US)   

    From The Montana State University (US) via Sky & Telescope : “Dwarf Galaxies Shed Light on Black Hole Origins” 

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    From The Montana State University (US)

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    Sky & Telescope

    January 11, 2022
    Govert Schilling

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    Artist’s impression of an outflow coming from a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Astronomers can find massive black holes even in dwarf galaxies by looking for emission related to their outflows.
    Credit: Lynette Cook NASA / SOFIA | The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)/The DLR German Aerospace Center [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/DLR German Aerospace [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE)SOFIA airborne telescope and cameras

    Massive black holes in the cores of puny dwarf galaxies are much more common than previously thought, according to new results presented at an American Astronomical Society (US) press conference Monday. The findings will help astronomers to understand how the newly born universe spawned supermassive black holes in the first place.

    Most large galaxies like our own Milky Way harbor supermassive black holes, weighing in at millions or even billions of solar masses. If actively accreting material from their surroundings, they can sometimes outshine their host galaxy. Such quasars have been observed in the early universe, indicating that massive black holes grew incredibly fast from smaller “seeds.”

    However, astronomers don’t know the nature of these first seeds. Maybe the growth process started with the ubiquitous remnants of the very first generation of extremely massive stars, known as Population III stars. These black hole “seeds” would have had up to about 100 times the mass of the Sun and could have gained additional bulk through subsequent collisions and mergers.

    Alternatively, huge unstable masses of primordial gas could have fallen into galactic centers, directly collapsing into very massive black holes (up to a few hundred thousand solar masses) in one fell swoop.

    Since the early universe is difficult to study in detail, astronomers focus on nearby dwarf galaxies. While larger galaxies like the Milky Way are the result of mergers, “dwarf galaxies have remained relatively untouched over cosmic time,” explains Mallory Molina (The Montana State University (US)). So if dwarfs host massive black holes, these provide a window into the past.

    So far, a handful of giant black holes have been found in dwarf galaxies, mainly in rather massive ones with little star-forming activity. But in a December 1st paper in The Astrophysical Journal, a team led by Molina and Amy Reines (also at Montana State) presents evidence for the existence of supermassive black holes in 81 dwarfs that are both smaller and more actively forming stars.

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    This mosaic shows dwarf galaxies that are part of Molina’s sample.
    Credit: Mallory Molina.

    Previous surveys missed these black holes because their broad visible-light emission is washed out by the stronger glow of star-forming regions. To see past the light of newborn stars, the astronomers looked for a red emission line of highly ionized iron atoms in spectroscopic data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey for tens of thousands of dwarf galaxies.

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Apache Point Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft).

    Starlight is not energetic enough to produce this extreme level of ionization, but X-rays from hot gas blown away by a central black hole can do the trick.

    The team’s systematic search only revealed active black holes, so the total percentage of dwarf galaxies harboring supermassive black holes is still unknown. “That’s the million-dollar question in the field,” says Molina. “What we have found is only the tip of the iceberg.” Still, the new result has implications for our ideas about the growth of supermassive black holes in the early universe.

    As Ryan Hickox (Dartmouth College (US)) explains, the direct collapse scenario cannot have been very common. “It’s hard to compress large volumes of gas in a tiny region of space, as they would tend to fragment,” he says. So the more supermassive black holes you find in dwarf galaxies, the less likely it is that they are all due to direct collapse.

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    Mrk 462 is a dwarf galaxy in Canes Venatici, lying to the right of the HCG 68 group of compact galaxies in this image. X-rays from the dwarf galaxy’s massive black hole are shown in the inset.
    Credit: J. Parker & R. Hickox X-ray: The NASA Chandra X-ray Center (US)/ Dartmouth College (US); Optical / IR:The University of Hawai’i (US) Pan-STARRS telescope.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope(US).

    U Hawaii (US) Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System is a 1.8-meter diameter telescope situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala, altitude 10,023 ft (3,055 m) on the Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA. It is equipped with the world’s largest digital camera, with almost 1.4 billion pixels.

    At the same press conference, Hickox presented unpublished Chandra X-ray Observatory data of the dwarf galaxy Markarian 462, which indicate the presence of a supermassive black hole heavily obscured by dust. “This is one of the first obscured black holes in a dwarf galaxy,” he says. “Such objects might have been missed so far in earlier surveys, so this also points to a much larger population.”

    “Both studies seem to support the idea that big black holes are actually pretty common in dwarf galaxies, just harder to detect than supermassive black holes in ‘normal’-size galaxies,” says Sera Markoff (The University of Amsterdam [Universiteit van Amsterdam](NL)), who was not involved in either study. “And that would favor the Population III model [for the origin of supermassive black holes], although it’s still a big problem how exactly they would grow so fast.”

    Unfortunately, observations of dwarf galaxies in the local universe are not going to entirely answer the question of the origin of supermassive black holes. “Although growth from smaller seeds now starts to look like the more reasonable scenario,” Molina says, “what we really need is to watch their formation in the early universe. The James Webb Space Telescope may finally nail it down.”

    See the full article here.

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    The Montana State University (US) is a public land-grant research university in Bozeman, Montana. It is the state’s largest university. The Montana State University offers baccalaureate degrees in 60 fields, master’s degrees in 68 fields, and doctoral degrees in 35 fields through its nine colleges. More than 16,700 students attended Montana State University in fall 2019, taught by 796 full-time and 547 part-time faculty.

    The Montana State University is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” and had research expenditures of $129.6 million in 2017.

    Located on the south side of Bozeman, the university’s 1,170 acres (470 ha) campus is the largest in the state. The university’s main campus in Bozeman is home to KUSM Television, KGLT Radio, and The Museum of the Rockies. The Montana State University provides outreach services to citizens and communities statewide through its agricultural experiment station and 60 county and reservation extension offices. The elevation of the campus is 4,900 feet (1,500 m) above sea level.

    Montana became a state on 8 November 1889. Several cities competed intensely to be the state capital, the city of Bozeman among them. In time, the city of Helena was named the state capital. As a consolation, the state legislature agreed to put the state’s land-grant college in Bozeman. Gallatin County donated half of its 160-acre poor farm for the campus, and money for an additional 40 acres, which had been planned to hold a state capital, was raised by the community, including a $1,500 donation from rancher and businessman Nelson Story, Sr. This land, as well as additional property and monetary contributions, was now turned over to the state for the new college.

    The Montana State University was founded in 1893 as the Agricultural College of the State of Montana. It opened on 16 February with five male and three female students. The first classes were held in rooms in the county high school, and later that year in the shuttered Bozeman Academy (a private preparatory school). The first students were from Bozeman Academy, and were forced to transfer to the college. Only two faculty existed on opening day: Luther Foster, a horticulturalist from South Dakota who was also Acting President, and Homer G. Phelps, who taught business. Within weeks, they were joined by S.M. Emery (who ran the agricultural experiment station) and Benjamin F. Maiden (an English teacher from the former Bozeman Academy). Augustus M. Ryon, a coal mine owner, was named the first president of the college on 17 April 1893. Ryon immediately clashed with the board of trustees and faculty. Where the trustees wanted the college to focus on agriculture, Ryon pointed out that few of its students intended to go back to farming. While the rapidly expanding faculty wanted to establish a remedial education program to assist unprepared undergraduates (Montana’s elementary and secondary public education system was in dire shape at the time), Ryon refused. The donation of the Story land to the college occurred in 1894, but Ryon was forced out in 1895 and replaced by the Rev. Dr. James R. Reid, a Presbyterian minister who had been president of the Montana College at Deer Lodge since 1890.

    The college grew quickly under Reid, who provided 10 years of stability and harmony. The student body grew so fast that the high school building was completely taken over by the college. A vacant store on Main Street was rented to provide additional classroom space. Both the Agricultural Experiment Station (now known as Taylor Hall) and the Main Building (now known as Montana Hall) were constructed in 1896, although the agricultural building was the first to open. Both structures were occupied in 1898. The university football team was established in 1897, and the college graduated its first four students that same year. The curriculum expanded into civil and electrical engineering in 1898.

    The college suffered greatly during the Great Depression. The price of agricultural products (Montana’s economic mainstay) soared during World War I, as European and Russian farms were devastated by military campaigns, in which American and European armies demanded food. For a few years after the war, these prices remained high. But as European agriculture began to improve, an agricultural depression swamped the United States beginning about 1923. State tax revenues plunged, and fewer buildings were constructed on campus after 1923. The United States entered the Great Depression in 1929. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1933 to provide federal funding for public works construction as a means of economic stimulus. But President Atkinson was strongly opposed to Roosevelt’s New Deal, and refused to accept PWA funds to expand the college. With the state unable to assist, Montana State College stagnated through the 1930s.

    President Atkinson resigned in 1937 to become president of The University of Arizona (US). A. L. Strand, an entomologist who had discovered ways of controlling the devastating locust invasions in Montana, was named the new president. Strand was the first graduate of the college to become its president. An upsurge in campus drinking occurred after the end of Prohibition, and in 1940 the Student Union Building (now Strand Union Building) was built to provide students with a gathering spot on campus that (it was hoped) would keep them away from the saloons downtown.

    President Strand resigned his office in 1942 to accept the presidency of The Oregon State University (US) (in which role he served for 19 years). With Montana still not yet having emerged from the Great Depression, the college struggled to find a new president. Engineering professor William Cobleigh took over as Acting President until from 1942 to 1943 while a replacement for Strand was found. During Cobleigh’s year as president, college enrollment plunged as young men entered the armed forces or left to work in war industry plants on the West Coast. Nonetheless, federal funding increased as the United States Department of War sought rapid, significant increases in the number of chemical, engineering, and physics graduates to feed the war effort.

    In 1943, the state board of higher education appointed Montana State College economist Roland “Rollie” Renne to be the new acting president of the college. Renne was a protege of nationally known liberal economists Richard T. Ely and John R. Commons and a strong proponent of the New Deal. He’d taught at The Montana State University since 1930, although he’d taken a leave of absence in 1942 to become the director of Montana’s Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply (a federal wartime agency). Renne was named the permanent president of the college on 1 July 1944.

    Renne was president of the college for 21 years, the third-longest of any individual (as of 2013). With the passage of the G.I. Bill just eight days before his appointment and the end of the war in sight, Renne realized that servicemen returning from the war were going to flood college campuses. Renne quickly began hiring additional faculty and recycled wartime wooden buildings from around the state to build temporary classroom and housing space. His foresight helped the college survive the rapid rise in enrollment, which doubled from 1,155 in 1945 to 2,014 in 1946 and then nearly doubled again in 1947 to 3,591. Faculty numbers also skyrocketed, from 132 in 1945 to 257 in 1950. Believing that a college education was as much about instilling democratic values as teaching skills and trades, Renne rapidly changed the curriculum to emphasize liberal arts such as anthropology, archeology, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Although The University of Montana (US) (long considered the state’s “liberal arts college”, while Montana State College was the “ag school”) opposed much expansion in this area, Renne successfully established a Department of Education, reconstituted the School of Business, and established new undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture, geography, geology, military science, and other disciplines.

    Throughout the 1950s, Renne worked to rapidly expand the college’s physical plant. During his presidency, 18 major buildings were constructed on campus — more than double the number that had been built between 1893 and 1944, and almost as many as were built between 1966 and 2013. These included the 1949 Library Building (now Renne Library), the campus’ first dedicated library (it had previously been housed in a few rooms on the second floor of Montana Hall), and the 1958 Brick Breeden Fieldhouse (which supplemented the aging, outdated Romney Gym). The construction program included a chapel (Danforth Chapel in 1950), five large classroom buildings (McCall Hall in 1952, A.J.M. Johnson Hall in 1954, Reid Hall in 1959, Cooley Laboratory in 1960, and Gaines Hall in 1961), and seven residential and dining halls (Hannon Hall in 1954; Johnstone Hall in 1955; Culbertson Hall, Harrison Dining Hall, Mullan Hall, and Langford Hall in 1955; and Hapner Hall in 1959). Begun under his presidency but completed the year after he left were three more residential and dining halls (North Hedges, South Hedges, and Miller Dining Hall).

    There was some criticism that Renne did not pay full attention to the college in the 1950s. His governance style was somewhat authoritarian, and his extended absences led to leadership vacuums. He agreed to consulting roles with the Water Resources Policy Commission, Mutual Security Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The Department of State (US), and The Department of Health, Education and Welfare (US) throughout the 1950s that often took him away from campus for weeks at a time. He took a leave of absence from the college to become Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs from 1963 to 1964.

    Dr. Renne resigned as president of Montana State College effective 1 January 1964, to run for Governor of Montana. He lost the election, 51.4 to 48.6 percent, to incumbent governor Tim Babcock.

    Campus life was not without its controversy during Renne’s tenure, either. With McCarthyism and anti-communist feeling running high in the country, Renne sought to protect the campus from political investigations by restricting student speech and assembly. He also restricted the kind of speakers who visited the campus, most famously denying former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and literary critic Leslie Fiedler the right to speak on campus. Other incidents also brought notoriety to campus. On 7 March 1957, 1,000 male students engaged in a “panty raid” on Hannon Hall. It turned into a riot that took all night to control.

    In February 1964, Dr. Leon H. Johnson was appointed president of Montana State College. A research chemist who joined the college in 1943, he had most recently been the executive director of school’s Endowed and Research Foundation (at the time, Montana State College’s largest research unit) and Dean of the Graduate Division. Deeply committed to the college’s research function, he pushed for Montana State College to be named a university — a change Renne had since the early 1950s, and which the Montana state legislature approved on 1 July 1965. At that time, the school received its new name, Montana State University. Bachelor’s degree programs in economics, English, history, music, political science, and other disciplines were quickly established, as was the first university honors program. Johnson was a devoted admirer of the arts, and Montana State University’s art and music programs blossomed. Johnson quickly worked to end the acrimonious relationship with the University of Montana, and the two schools began to present a united front to the state legislature.

    In 1966, Johnson altered and enlarged the university’s administrative structure to help cope with increasing enrollment and increasing campus complexity. These changes included creating a 12-member executive council to advise him. The council included newly created vice presidents — overseeing areas such as academic affairs, administration, finance and research.

    Johnson was deeply conservative — fiscally, socially, and politically. He was deeply committed to continuing Renne’s educational plan, but declined to spend money on new buildings (preferring to consolidate and renovate rather than expand). He also continued Renne’s policies largely barring from campus speakers who were not clearly in the political mainstream. Johnson’s policies were largely supported by the student body and the taxpaying public. Montana State University practiced a policy known as in loco parentis, in which it acted as a “parent” toward the “children” attending school there. Students themselves accepted these restrictions, which included dress codes, older adult chaperones at dances, a ban on alcohol, and mandatory military training for freshmen and sophomores. Although many American college campuses were engulfed by student radicalism, Montana State University’s student body was as conservative as Johnson was, however, and for many years the biggest issues on campus were ending Saturday morning classes and building student parking lots.

    There were some campus protests, however. The first protest against the Vietnam War occurred in 1966 (drawing about 100 students), two underground student newspapers briefly appeared, and some students organized clubs to debate issues of the day. There were minor faculty and student protests when Johnson attempted to prevent English professor James Myers from assigning students to read James Baldwin’s novel Another Country, and in the summer of 1968 a few faculty organized a symposium on the war. When about 150 students rallied in front of Montana Hall in 1969 to ask for co-ed and “open visitation” dorms (e.g., to allow men into women’s dorm rooms, and vice versa), Johnson threatened to call out the city police.

    Montana State University’s Bobcat Stadium saw its genesis during the Johnson years. Growing student unrest over the football team’s use of decrepit Gatton Field (while the basketball team used modern Brick Breeden Fieldhouse) led to a proposal by Johnson in April 1968 to build a 16,000-seat stadium funded by student fees. The proposal failed in December 1968 after students argued that the university should concurrently build a new fitness center as well.

    President Johnson died of a heart attack on 18 June 1969. He’d suffered a heart attack in October 1968, and then underwent surgery out of state in April 1969.

    William Johnstone, a professor of education and Vice President for Administration at Montana State University, took over as Acting President. He was the first and (as of 2013) the only Montanan to become president of Montana State University. Johnstone pledged to build the fitness center first, and in December 1969 the student body approved the finance plan for the new football stadium. On 2 April 1970, about 250 students engaged in a sit-in in Montana Hall to protest Myers’ termination, but it ended peacefully a day later. Myers was terminated, and another eight faculty resigned in protest. But during his year in office, the university completed Cobleigh Hall (ironically named for the last individual to be named acting president).

    Dr. Carl W. McIntosh was named Montana State University’s eighth president in June 1970. Previously the president of 28,000-student The California State University-Long Beach (US), McIntosh brought a consultative and deliberate style of decision-making to the university. He faced a poor fiscal climate: The state was entering a decade-long depression brought about by a steep drop in commodity prices, the state’s higher education system had grown too large and unwieldy, and Governor Thomas L. Judge had established a blue-ribbon committee to close several of the state’s colleges. In 1974, women faculty at Montana State University sued, alleging gender discrimination. They won their suit in 1976, leading to a $400,000 damages award, a back-pay award, and extensive promotions (which also increased salaries). To accommodate these fiscal realities, McIntosh ordered several doctoral and master’s degree programs terminated, and all advanced degree programs in the social sciences and liberal arts canceled.

    But McIntosh also scored a number of successes. In 1972, he persuaded the legislature to allow Montana State University to participate in the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) medical education program, which allowed 20 (now 30) Montana citizens per year to begin medical school at Montana State University before completing studies at The University of Washington (US). The college of nursing (Sherrick Hall) was finished in 1973, and after three long years of construction Reno H. Sales Stadium (now Bobcat Stadium and Martel Field) and the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center both opened. In 1974, the long-planned Creative Arts Complex (Cheever Hall, Haynes Hall, and Howard Hall) was also completed. Unfortunately, major increases in inflation led to significant design changes. Instead of a 1,200-seat concert hall with superb acoustics, a cramped and aurally dead 260-seat auditorium was built. Finally, in 1976, the university completed the new medical science building, Leon Johnson Hall.

    In 1976, the “hidden million” controversy ended McIntosh’s tenure as president. In 1975, Montana’s first Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Lawrence K. Pettit (a former Montana State University professor of political science) launched an investigation of several Montana colleges and universities. He was particularly interested in Montana State University, where McIntosh’s laid-back governance style was widely considered to have hurt the university. In March 1976, Pettit announced he was confiscating $1 million in surplus student fees from Montana State University — money he argued the university was trying to hide from state auditors and the legislature. In fact, the monies were the result of excessively high enrollment in the 1974–1975 school year, and were intended to help see the university through the 1975–1976 school year (when the legislature would not meet, and thus could not provide the needed budgetary boost to handle the over-enrollment). Pettit all but accused Montana State University and McIntosh of fraud, and McIntosh refused to attack Pettit’s statements as mischaracterizations and slander. The public outcry about the “hidden million” led the Board of Regents to request McIntosh’s resignation on 30 June 1977, which he tendered. (Pettit resigned the following year, his combative attempt to turn the commissioner’s office into a sort of chancellorship having failed.)

    Dr. William Tietz, Montana State University’s ninth president, arrived in August 1977 just as economic conditions in the state were improving. With three of the four vice presidencies at the university open, Tietz imposed his stamp on the administration almost immediately. This included a strong emphasis on research, faculty development, better teaching, and diversity (particularly for Native Americans, the handicapped, and women). His aggressiveness, energy, and immediate rebudgeting of funds into faculty sabbaticals helped win over professors, who voted against unionization in 1978. Tietz’s major goal, increasing research funding, was greatly helped by a 1981 decision of the legislature to refund indirect cost payments back to the university. This led to an immediate 15 percent recovery of in federal funds, and in time private foundation funding rose significantly as well.

    Only two buildings were constructed during Tietz’s presidency — the Visual Communications Building in 1983 and the Plant Growth Center in 1987. Most of his focus as president was on raising salaries. A third building, the modern home of the Museum of the Rockies, opened in 1989. But this structure was paid for by bonds. Faculty salaries had declined 23 percent during the 1970s (due to wage freezes) and Montana State University was in the bottom 10 percent of salaries for faculty nationwide. Cooperative Extension Service salaries were dead last in the nation. The state legislature implemented a new salary funding formula that rectified many of these problems. Some university programs were also reestablished, such as the honors program, and some new ones formed, such as the Writing Center.

    The state once more entered a severe economic downturn in the mid-1980s. Budget cuts totaling nearly 10 percent, coupled with an enrollment shortfall, led to significant retrenchment. Tietz argued Montana State University should focus on its strongest programs. Thus, a wide array of programs were terminated: Membership in the Center for Research Libraries; sports like skiing, women’s gymnastics, and wrestling; degree programs like engineering science, business education, and industrial arts; and the office of institutional research. Departments were merged and downsized, and Tietz proposed closing the School of Architecture. A battle broke out to save it, and Tietz backed off his decision. Tietz increasingly blamed Governor Ted Schwinden for a failure to support higher education, and lashed out repeatedly against the governor when Schwinden publicly ridiculed Montana State University’s new Tech Park (a 90-acre (360,000 m2) project designed to function as a technology incubator). Although a second faculty unionization effort failed in 1989, Tietz resigned in March 1990, frustrated by the constant battles with an “old guard” resistant to turning Montana State University toward high technology.

    Michael P. Malone was named Montana State University’s Acting President on 1 January 1991, and permanently appointed to the position in March 1991, Malone was named Montana State University’s 10th president. He had served as Montana State University’s Dean of Graduate Studies from 1979 to 1988, and then three one-year temporary appointments as vice president for Academic Affairs while a fruitless nation search occurred for a permanent replacement. As Dean of Graduate Studies, he’d been critical of what he perceived as the state’s unwillingness to invest in high technology education.

    Malone’s governance style was democratic, friendly, and personal. His friendly style made him personally popular with legislators and earned their respect. Nonetheless, he was criticized for focusing too much about how little money Montana State University had and for criticizing the legislature too much for not investing in higher education.

    Malone was the first Montana State University president to preside over the Billings, Great Falls, and Havre campuses. On 1 July 1994, Montana restructured the Montana University System. The Eastern Montana College in Billings, The Montana Northern College in Havre, and the Vocational-Technical Center in Great Falls lost their independence and were made satellite campuses of Montana State University. Although Montana’s seven tribal colleges remained independent (as they are sponsored by sovereign nations), the state required them to integrate their teaching, operations, and academic operations with both Montana State University and The University of Montana (US) in order to continue to receive state funding.

    Montana State University celebrated its centennial in 1993.

    During Malone’s presidency, Montana State University witnessed “one of the greatest expansions in campus history”, as a large number of new buildings were constructed. These included the $1 million Centennial Mall (1993), the $22 million Engineering and Physical Sciences Building, the $10 million Bobcat Stadium renovation, the $13.5 million renovation of Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, the $12 million Agricultural Biosciences Building (1999), and the $7.5 million Renne Library renovation (1999). A strong sports fan, Malone’s focus extended to sports personnel as well as sports facilities. In 1999, he fired Bobcats football head coach Cliff Hysell after eight losing seasons and hired Mike Kramer, the winning coach at The Eastern Washington University (US). In October 1999, he fired Montana State University women’s basketball head coach Tracey Sheehan and assistant coach Jeff Malby after an NCAA investigation revealed that the two coaches were overworking their team and causing injuries to student-athletes.

    Like William Tietz before him, Malone also pushed hard for faculty and the university to seek and win federal funding for scientific research. Federal research funding grew from just $13 million in the late 1980s to more than $50 million in 1999. The undergraduate curriculum was revamped, enrollment hit a historic high of 11,746 students in 1999, and the Burns Telecommunications Center was established. Malone benefitted from a strong economy that eased many of the fiscal pressures Tietz faced. He expanded alumni fund-raising programs, and pushed the Montana State University Foundation to redouble its fund-raising efforts. But the legislature was not forthcoming with salary increases. He weathered a strike by clerical and administrative support staff in 1992. He was later criticized, however, for initiating projects without having the money to complete them and then using the subsequent construction crisis to raise the funds to finish the project. Tuition doubled during his time in office, angering students, and some faculty criticized his willingness to construct new buildings while declining to pay for teaching equipment.

    The Montana State University community was shocked when Malone died of a heart attack on 21 December 1999, at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. He was the second Montana State University president to die in office, and the second to die of heart failure.

    Malone’s successor, Geoffrey Gamble, was named the 11th president of Montana State University on 5 October 2000. His governance style was open and consultative. In addition to making the president’s executive council more representative and reaching out to the Faculty Senate, he established a new 25-member University Planning, Budget and Analysis Committee to establish the budget. Legislatively, Gamble promoted Montana State University’s accomplishments, praised legislators for their financial support (even when it was not forthcoming), and spoke of state funding for the university in terms of investment that led to economic and job growth. According to Cathy Conover, Montana State University’s chief legislative lobbyist, Gamble’s style was “a sea change” that led the Republican-dominated state legislature to rave about him.

    Montana State University also implemented the “Core 2.0 curriculum” during Gamble’s tenure as president. This program encourages undergraduate students to engage in research or practice their art prior to graduation.

    Gamble also focused on research. Between 2000 and 2009, federal research funding at Montana State University grew by 61 percent to $98.4 million. Gamble trademarked the name “University of the Yellowstone” to reflect the high level of research Montana State University conducted in the greater Yellowstone National Park ecosystem.

    Gamble also made diversity a major effort of his presidency. He appointed the university’s first permanent female vice president, and by 2009 women outnumbered men among Montana State University’s deans, five to four. He appointed Dr. Henrietta Mann (chair of the Montana State University Department of Native American Studies, and one of the most prominent Indian educators in the United States) his personal representative to the seven tribal colleges which participate in the Montana University System and created a Council of Elders to bring leaders of the tribal colleges together twice a year at Montana State University for discussions. Native American enrollment at Montana State University rose 79 percent (to a historic high of 377 students) during Gamble’s time in office.

    In 2006, a major sports scandal engulfed Montana State University. On 30 June 2006, former Montana State University basketball player Branden Miller and former Montana State University football player John LeBrum were charged with murdering local cocaine dealer Jason Wright. After an 18-month investigation, six additional current and former Montana State University athletes were charged with buying and selling cocaine. Three of the six were charged with running a cocaine smuggling ring that sold 26 pounds (12 kg) of cocaine in Bozeman between June 2005 to May 2007.

    Court records later revealed that some Montana State University coaches knew Miller carried handguns in his athletic bag at school and that the murder weapon and other handguns had been secreted in Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. In August 2007, Sports Illustrated ran a front-page article, Trouble in Paradise, that recounted drug use, violence, theft, intimidation, and illegal activities by current and former Montana State University student athletes and the complicity of low-level coaching staff. An investigation by the NCAA revealed significantly lower graduation rates for Montana State University football and basketball players under football coach Mike Kramer as well as men’s basketball coach Mick Durham, and a large number of athletes on or flirting with academic probation. Gamble quickly fired Kramer, who then sued Montana State University for unlawful dismissal. Kramer and Montana State University settled out of court, and Kramer received a payment of $240,000. In 2009, Gamble said his hardest time as president was dealing with the sports scandal.

    Gamble announced his retirement on 22 March 2009.

    Waded Cruzado, the former president of The New Mexico State University (US), succeeded Gamble as president, taking office on 4 January 2010. Since her arrival, the university’s headcount enrollment has grown from 13,559 in the fall of 2010 to a record 16,902 in the fall of 2018 – a 24.66 percent increase – making Montana State University the largest university in the state of Montana.

    In addition to enrollment increases, the campus has seen the completion of numerous major construction and renovation projects since Cruzado’s arrival. In the fall of 2010, the university reopened one of its most heavily used classroom buildings on campus, Gaines Hall, after a $32 million renovation funded by the Montana Legislature.

    That same fall, the university opened its new, 40,000-square-foot Animal Bioscience Building. The $15.7 million building was funded, in part, by donations from Montana’s livestock and grains industry. In addition to classroom and teaching laboratory space, the building is home to the Montana State University College of Agriculture’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences.

    While the Gaines Hall renovation and the Animal Biosciences building were underway before Cruzado took office, in the fall of 2010 she launched an ambitious 90-day campaign to raise $6 million in private donations for a $10 million project to replace and expand the 38-year-old south end zone of the university’s football stadium. The university would cover the remaining $4 million for the project, paying it back from revenues generated by Montana State University athletics, including ticket sales. The campaign was successful and resulted in a new end zone opening for the fall 2011 season. The end zone project resulted in a net gain of 5,200 seats for the stadium for a total capacity of 17,500. However, through additional standing-room-only attendance, the stadium thrice exceeded 21,000 spectators in the fall of 2013.

    The fall of 2010 also marked the official opening of Gallatin College programs at Montana State University, offering two-year degrees. The program was previously known as Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology in Bozeman and was located away from the central campus, but with the renaming, Gallatin College was also given offices and classrooms in Hamilton Hall, located in the campus center. The program’s first dean, Bob Hietala, oversaw a period of steady enrollment growth, with Gallatin College growing from 100 students at its start to more than 800 in fall 2019. The program also expanded into new spaces, leasing empty classrooms in the local high school and space in a commercial building off-campus.

    Montana State University marked its 125th anniversary in 2018 with a year of celebratory events. Several thousand attended daylong events on 16–17 Feb. featuring family activities, music, fireworks and speeches commemorating the university’s history. A newly installed statue of Abraham Lincoln by Bozeman-area artist Jim Dolan was unveiled at a ceremony honoring the former president’s contributions to land-grant universities.

    In November 2019, the Board of Regents voted to raise Cruzado’s salary by $150,000, citing her performance as president and amid reports Cruzado had received a larger offer from another university. Cruzado declined to name the university that wanted to hire her. The 50% raise received support for putting Cruzado’s salary in-line with other universities’ presidents’ salaries but also criticism given Montana’s median salary ($53,000) and the pay of lower-level employees. In 2020, Cruzado’s salary stood at $476,524 per year.

    Severe snow and cold during the winter of 2019 contributed to the collapses of two gymnasium roofs at the university’s Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center. The center’s south gym roof fell during the early morning hours of 7 March, followed two days later by the north gym roof. No one was injured in the collapses, and the entire fitness center was closed for the remainder of that spring semester for repair and demolition work. Two inflatable gym structures were opened as temporary replacements in October of that year while plans were made for permanent replacements.

    The COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 forced Montana’s public university system to switch to online and remote course delivery midway through the spring semester. To help stem the spread of the disease, the university canceled events, encouraged students not to return after spring break, and asked employees to work from home, essentially emptying the campus. The in-person spring commencement ceremony was also replaced by an online alternative.

    Colleges:

    College of Agriculture
    College of Arts and Architecture
    Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship
    College of Education, Health & Human Development
    Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering
    College of Letters & Science
    College of Nursing
    Graduate School
    Gallatin College
    Honors College
    Roland R. Renne Library

    Research:

    Montana State University maintains extensive research programs, providing opportunities for undergraduates, graduates, and advanced graduate students. The university is in the top 3 percent of colleges and universities in the United States in research expenditures and regularly reports annual research expenditures in excess of $100 million, including a record $138.8 million in the fiscal year that ended in June 2019. In that same year the university said its faculty wrote 1,100 grant proposals, which led to grant awards worth about $485 million which will be spent over several years.

    Montana State University’s Office of Research and Economic Development coordinates programs that encourage faculty to pursue externally funded research. Its Office of Research Compliance oversees programs that promotes ethical and responsible research and ensures compliance with local, state, and federal regulations for research. The Office of Sponsored programs manages financial, reporting, compliance, auditing and related tasks for externally funded research.

    The university maintains a technology transfer office to commercialize Montana State University faculty inventions, spur businesses based on those technologies and network with businesses looking to license Montana State University technologies. The office manages more than 500 technologies and 375 patents, trademarks and copyrights.

    Research and Education Centers, Institutes, and Programs:

    Montana State University’s Office of Research and Economic Development maintains a listing of the university’s research and educational centers, institutes and programs.

    Agricultural Marketing Policy Center
    American Indian Research Opportunities
    Animal Resource Center
    Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center
    Barley and Plant Biotechnology Programs
    Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership
    Blackstone LaunchPad – Montana State
    Burns Technology Center
    Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity
    Center for Biofilm Engineering
    Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery
    Center for Research on Rural Education
    Center for Science, Technology, Ethics and Society
    Cold Regions Research Center
    Energy Research Institute
    Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)
    Functional Genomics Core Facility
    Image and Chemical Analysis Laboratory (ICAL)
    Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Research
    Ivan Doig Center for the Study of the Lands and Peoples of the North American West
    Local Government Center
    Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP)
    Montana and Northern Plains Troops-to-Teachers
    Montana Area Health Education Center
    Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit
    Montana IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Opportunities (INBRE)
    Montana Institute on Ecosystems
    Montana Manufacturing Extension Center
    Montana Microfabrication Facility
    Montana Office of Rural Health (MORH)
    Montana Public Television – KUSM
    Montana Space Grant Consortium
    Montana Water Center
    Museum of the Rockies
    Northern Plains Transition to Teaching
    Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
    Optical Technology Center
    Plant Growth Center
    Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE)
    Renne Library
    Science Math Resource Center
    Spatial Sciences Center
    Spectrum Lab
    TechLink Center
    Thermal Biology Institute
    Western Transportation Institute
    Zero Emissions Research and Technology (ZERT)

     
  • richardmitnick 5:23 pm on December 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "No Release for the Hubble Tension", , , , , , Sky & Telescope   

    From Sky & Telescope : “No Release for the Hubble Tension” 

    From Sky&Telescope

    December 13, 2021
    Arwen Rimmer

    New data and analysis show that a long-standing discrepancy in the measurement of the current expansion rate of the universe is real — even as the reason for this discrepancy remains a mystery.

    1
    The new study used Hubble Space Telescope images of galaxies that have hosted Type Ia supernovae.
    The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US) / The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).

    There is a crisis unfolding in the field of cosmology.

    Most measurements of the current acceleration of the universe (called the “The Hubble Constant (CfA)“, or H0) based on stars and other objects relatively close to Earth give a rate of 73 km/s/Mpc.

    3
    The Hubble Constant
    http://www.lweb.cfa.harvard.edu

    These are referred to as “late-time” measurements. On the other hand, early-time measurements, which are based on the cosmic microwave background [CMB] emitted just 380,000 years after the Big Bang, give a smaller rate of 68 km/s/Mpc.

    CMB per European Space Agency(EU) Planck.

    They can’t both be right. Either something is wrong with the standard cosmological model for our universe’s evolution, upon which the early-time measurements rest, or something is wrong with the way scientists are working with late-time observations.

    Climbing the Distance Ladder

    Most of the late-time measurements of H0 use “distance ladders” to measure cosmic distances further and further outward into the universe. One of the most prolific distance-ladder collaborations is SH0ES (Supernovae and H0 for the Equation of State of dark energy), which Adam Riess (Johns Hopkins University (US) and The Space Telescope Science Institute (US)) has led for nearly two decades.

    The first rung in the SH0ES method uses geometric parallax to double-check the distance to Cepheid variable stars in our galaxy, for which astronomers can also measure distance using their brightness variations. The second rung then compares Cepheids against Type Ia supernovae, another “standard candle” like Cepheids that astronomers can see to greater distances. The third rung compares distances based on supernovae and redshift measurements.

    In a Zoom webinar on December 9th, Dan Scolnic (Duke University) announced, on behalf of a collaboration between SH0ES and another group, Pantheon+, that the teams had obtained a new late-time H0 measurement with the smallest uncertainty yet. The result is posted for The Astrophysical Journal. After much data collection and analysis, the teams still find the universe’s expansion is accelerating at a high present-day rate between 72 and 74 km/s/Mpc — a much smaller range than obtained from their previous late-time measurements.

    The Hubble Tension is Real

    The Pantheon team complemented the SH0ES team’s work by performing a meta-analysis of supernovae surveys, correcting for the inconsistencies that can crop up during the use of different instruments, baselines, and calibration methods. The SH0ES team then used this updated information, along with new Cepheid sightings from the Hubble Space Telescope, to take a closer look at their previously established distance ladder methods.

    While the additional data helped reduce the range of possible H0 values from the team’s calculations, the systematic study of the methods involved is what really sets this study apart from previous ones.

    “They’ve done a more complete and thorough cross correlation of terms between the different aspects of the distance ladder,” says Suhail Dhawan (The University of Cambridge (UK)), who was not on either team.

    The researchers set up about 70 different scenarios in which they changed the way they added things up along the distance ladder in order to measure systematic error. Small uncertainties can add up in big calculations in a way similar to the “butterfly effect [Chaos Theory].” Many have postulated that distance-ladder measurements are prone to systematic errors but understanding those systematics has been difficult. Using their dozens of scenarios, the SH0ES team determined the effect any particular error or combination of errors might have on the final Hubble constant calculation.

    4
    The researchers tested about 70 different scenarios to understand systematic uncertainties.
    Riess et al.

    Thanks to the additional data and analysis, the results breach the “five-sigma threshold,” meaning there is only a 1 in 1 million chance that the discrepancy between late-time and early-time measurements arise from systematics.

    In short, the so-called “Hubble tension” seems to be real. And it is looking more and more like something missing or wrong in the standard model of cosmology is causing the difference between early- and late-time measurements.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Standard Model of Cosmology

    The search is on for such new physics: the discovery of some as yet unknown law, particle, or property that’s causing these disparate measurements of the universe’s current acceleration.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

     
  • richardmitnick 11:14 pm on December 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Find Confounding Cone Shape in Cluster Collision", According to Simionescu the new images of ZwCl 2341+0000 provide a sneak peek of how the famous Bullet Cluster might change its shape in a few hundred million years., , , , Galaxy clusters take eons to collide. Now astronomers have caught a pair of merging clusters in an in-between stage never seen before., , Sky & Telescope, , , The Bullet Cluster, The hot X-ray-emitting intracluster gas however does collide resulting in bow shocks and so-called “cold fronts” ., The merging cluster pair named ZwCL 2341+0000, When two clusters collide their individual galaxies pass “through” each other relatively undisturbed.   

    From Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden] (NL) and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (NL) via Sky & Telescope : “Astronomers Find Confounding Cone Shape in Cluster Collision” 

    From Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden] (NL)

    and

    sron-bloc

    SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (NL)

    via

    Sky & Telescope

    December 7, 2021
    Govert Schilling

    Galaxy clusters take eons to collide. Now astronomers have caught a pair of merging clusters in an in-between stage never seen before.

    1
    Galaxy cluster collisions evolve in shape, with three main stages: first a blunt shape as seen in the Bullet Cluster, then a sharp cone as in ZwCl 2341+0000, and then a tongue-like shape as in Abell 168. (At top left and right are the pre- and post-collision phases.) The cone shape in the middle is a transitory phase that hasn’t been caught “on film” until now. These X-ray images show the hot gas in the cluster rather than the galaxies themselves — this intracluster medium is what collides, the galaxies and attendant dark matter mostly pass each other by. Credit: SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

    For the first time, astronomers have seen a relatively short-lived stage that occurs during the collision of massive galaxy clusters. Computer simulations of such dramatic smash-ups have successfully reproduced the new observations.

    A team led by Xiaoyuan Zhang (Leiden University and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research) used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to map the distribution of hot gas in the merging cluster pair named ZwCL 2341+0000, which is some 3 billion light-years distant in the constellation Pisces.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope(US)

    The team asked Chandra to stare at the remote cluster pair for 57 hours, collecting several thousands of X-ray photons. The observations revealed a sharp, cone-like structure of hot gas in between the colliding clusters, one of which is about three times more massive than the other. “It was really unexpected,” says coauthor Aurora Simionescu (SRON and Leiden University). “I had never seen anything like this before.”

    When two clusters collide their individual galaxies pass “through” each other relatively undisturbed. Just like the massive amounts of dark matter in the clusters, galaxies are “collisionless,” meaning they are only affected by their mutual gravity. The hot X-ray-emitting intracluster gas however does collide resulting in bow shocks and so-called “cold fronts” at the interface between gas volumes of different temperatures.

    2
    This composite image of the Bullet Cluster, which is actually two clusters in the act of merging, shows hot gas (pink, detected via X-rays) sloshes around the galaxies (seen in visible light, red, green, blue), which are in turn anchored in dark matter (blue, visualized via gravitational lensing). The “bullet” shape is seen only in the X-rays; the galaxies and dark matter of the two clusters have passed through each other largely undisturbed. Credit: M. Weiss/The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)/ Chandra X-ray Center (US).

    In the early stages of a merger, these structures have a rather blunt appearance – a famous example is seen in the Bullet Cluster. In the final stages, the structures tend to curl back on themselves like breaking waves, giving them the appearance of a tongue or a slingshot. Astronomers have often observed both shapes – the blunt “bullet” and the wavy “tongue” — but the sharp cone shape seen in ZwCl 2341+0000 was new.

    Zhang and his colleagues got in touch with John ZuHone (The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (US)), who has been carrying out computer simulations of colliding and merging galaxy clusters since 2011. According to ZuHone, such simulations reveal that cluster properties such as mass and density influence the distribution of X-ray-emitting gas, as do collision parameters such as angle and velocity.

    In 2019 ZuHone and Bryan Brzycki (The University of California-Berkeley (US)) published more elaborate simulations that also incorporated the effects of magnetic fields. “When magnetic field lines are draped around the cold fronts, they tend to suppress the development of velocity perturbations,” says ZuHone. With magnetic fields keeping gas in line, the result is a much narrower structure, with relatively sharp edges that may be over a million light-years long.

    New magnetohydrodynamic simulations tailored to the case of ZwCl 2341+0000 successfully reproduced the cone-shaped structure as a relatively short-lived feature, lasting for just a few hundred million years. Eventually, the gas will fall back into dark matter’s gravity well, says ZuHone, “sloshing around a bit like wine in a glass.”

    The new Chandra observations and the results of the latest computer simulations are published in Astronomy & Astrophysics. The cluster “is likely in a short-lived phase that is rarely observed and offers an example of the complex transition between a bullet-like morphology and the development of a slingshot tail,” the authors write.

    According to Simionescu the new images of ZwCl 2341+0000 provide a sneak peek of how the famous Bullet Cluster might change its shape in a few hundred million years. Cluster collisions play themselves out on very slow timescales, adds ZuHone, but the nice thing about computer simulations is that they let you speed up time and place one observational snapshot into context in a billion-year-long movie.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    sron-campus

    SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research’s mission is to bring about breakthroughs in international space research.

    Therefore the institute develops pioneering technology and advanced space instruments, and uses them to pursue fundamental astrophysical research, Earth science and exoplanetary research. As national expertise institute SRON gives counsel to the Dutch government and coordinates – from a science standpoint – national contributions to international space missions. SRON stimulates the implementation of space science in our society.

    SRON (NL) is the Dutch national expertise institute for scientific space research. It is part of NWO. Since the foundation of the institute by university groups, in the early 1960s, we have, often in a leading role, provided key contributions to instruments of missions of the major space agencies, The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US), and The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP). These contributions have enabled the national and international space-research communities to explore the universe and to investigate the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. As a national expertise institute, we stimulate collaboration between the science community, technological institutes, and industry.

    Our vision is to continue to belong to the international forefront in search for answers to some of the most fundamental existential and societal questions of mankind: What is the origin of the universe and what is it made of? Is there life elsewhere in the universe? What is the future of the Earth’s climate? What are the atmospheric processes that govern changes in the Earth’s climate and air quality. What role does human activity play?

    Our strategy is to develop science cases, key enabling technologies, prototypes/demonstrators, space-qualified instrumentation, and data-analysis tools that will define the next generation of space missions, to be launched in the 2020s and 2030s. This enables us to lead major contributions to answering the fundamental questions of our time. The institute has made sharp choices in its programme based on its strengths, the priorities of the national science community, and the opportunities in international space research. Driven by the Netherlands commitment to the ESA charter, it is our strategy to be principal investigator (PI) or co-PI institute for major instruments on ESA missions.

    Universiteit Leiden Heijmans onderhoudt.

    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 portraits of many famous professors since the earliest days hang in the university aula, one of the most memorable places, as Niebuhr called it, in the history of science.

    In 2012 Leiden entered into a strategic alliance with Delft University of Technology [Technische Universiteit Delft](NL) and Erasmus University Rotterdam [Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam](NL)in order for the universities to increase the quality of their research and teaching. The university is also the unofficial home of the Bilderberg Group, a meeting of high-level political and economic figures from North America and Europe.

    The university has no central campus; its buildings are spread over the city. Some buildings, like the Gravensteen, are very old, while buildings like Lipsius and Gorlaeus are much more modern.

    Among the institutions affiliated with the university are The KITLV or Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies [Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde] (NL) (founded in 1851); the observatory 1633; the natural history museum; with a very complete anatomical cabinet; the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) with specially valuable Egyptian and Indian departments; a museum of Dutch antiquities from the earliest times; and three ethnographical museums, of which the nucleus was Philipp Franz von Siebold’s Japanese collections. The anatomical and pathological laboratories of the university are modern, and the museums of geology and mineralogy have been restored.

    The Hortus Botanicus (botanical garden) is the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands, and one of the oldest in the world. Plants from all over the world have been carefully cultivated here by experts for more than four centuries. The Clusius garden (a reconstruction), the 18th century Orangery with its monumental tub plants, the rare collection of historical trees hundreds of years old, the Japanese Siebold Memorial Museum symbolising the historical link between East and West, the tropical greenhouses with their world class plant collections, and the central square and Conservatory exhibiting exotic plants from South Africa and southern Europe.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:43 pm on December 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How Our Largest Dwarf Galaxy Keeps the Others In Line", , , , Dwarf galaxies tend to align along cosmic pancakes — and stay that way at least for a while when there’s a massive dwarf like the LMC in the mix., , Sky & Telescope, Some researchers have even wondered if the problem is with our understanding of dark matter or of gravity itself., , The LMC is a massive dwarf with at least a tenth the mass of the Milky Way., The question is how: The LMC and its retinue are only a few of the Milky Way’s many satellites., These smaller galaxies orbit our own but many of their orbits align along what astronomers term t.he vast polar structure., This alignment has puzzled astronomers since the first hints of it appeared in the 1970s.   

    From Sky & Telescope : “How Our Largest Dwarf Galaxy Keeps the Others In Line” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    December 6, 2021
    Monica Young

    New research may explain why satellite galaxies align themselves around the Milky Way.

    There’s something strange about the dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way.

    Credit: R. Hurt/NASA JPL-Caltech(US) Milky Way The bar is visible in this image.

    2
    The satellites around the Milky Way are in motion, as shown here in a map overlaid on a visualization of the Milky Way Galaxy produced by Gaia data. Roughly half of the satellites, perhaps more, are in motion together, rotating together in a pancake-like structure that bisects the Milky Way plane.
    IAC Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES)

    These smaller galaxies orbit our own but many of their orbits align along what astronomers term the vast polar structure: a pancake-shaped plane that intersects our own crepe-thin galaxy. Out of the dozens of known satellites in the Milky Way’s retinue, about half of them, maybe even more, belong to this structure, dotting the plane like raisins in the pancake. What’s more this pancake rotates, the blueberries whirling around the Milky Way in the same direction.

    This alignment has puzzled astronomers since the first hints of it appeared in the 1970s. Cosmological simulations don’t generally predict this effect. Some researchers have even wondered if the problem is with our understanding of dark matter or of gravity itself.

    In a paper posted for The Astrophysical Journal, Nicolás Garavito Camargo (The University of Arizona (US)) and colleagues suggest the focus ought to be on the biggest of all the little fish: the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

    lmc Large Magellanic Cloud. ESO’s VISTA telescope reveals a remarkable image of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

    Part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory the VLT Survey Telescope (VISTA) observes the brilliantly clear skies above the Atacama Desert of Chile. It is the largest survey telescope in the world in visible light, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    The LMC is a massive dwarf with at least a tenth the mass of the Milky Way. It is swinging around our galaxy for the first time on a trajectory that aligns with the vast polar structure, and it may have brought a half dozen smaller galaxies in with it. That can’t be a coincidence, right? Astronomers have thought so, too, and several have suggested that the LMC has somehow inspired the mysterious polar structure.

    In fact, earlier this year, Jenna Samuel (now at The University of Texas-Austin (US)) and colleagues made this case: Samuel’s led simulations to demonstrate that dwarf galaxies tend to align along cosmic pancakes — and stay that way at least for a while when there’s a massive dwarf like the LMC in the mix.

    The question is how: The LMC and its retinue are only a few of the Milky Way’s many satellites, so it and its attendants can’t account for the plane simply by falling in. Garavito Camargo and colleagues describe how the LMC could have affected the orbits of the other galaxies.

    In short, the dwarf galaxy is throwing its weight around, affecting the Milky Way, its dark matter halo, and its satellites, all via the simple force of gravity. Not only does the dwarf pull on the other satellite galaxies ahead of it in its orbit, it also draws the material behind it into a wake. In addition, the researchers realized, they would need to account for their own place in the galaxy.

    As it falls in, the LMC has pulled the Milky Way off-center. Our galaxy is enormous, though, and the shift in center of mass has taken time to travel outward. While the inner regions of the galaxy and its halo are already orbiting the new center of mass, the outer regions haven’t gotten the memo yet. So, from our perch in the inner galaxy, we see the outer regions rotate.

    “We’re actually in a moving car, when we thought we were just sitting still,” explains coauthor Gurtina Besla (University of Arizona). “You see all these things move by you and you think they’re moving at some speed, but in fact we’re moving along with it and they’re actually moving slightly slower.” In effect, when we see the satellite galaxies moving together in concert, some of that is simply the effect of our own motion — something that we hadn’t considered before.

    Garavito Camargo, Besla, and colleagues combined all of these effects in a simulation of the LMC–Milky Way encounter, confirming that the LMC’s infall is capable of reshaping the orbits of numerous objects around the Milky Way.

    Even taking all these effects together, though, they still might not fully explain the strange alignment of Milky Way satellites. Then again, they don’t have to: After all, cosmological simulations do create planes of satellites, just not ones as organized as the one around the Milky Way.

    “The idea is that, after correcting for all these effects, the remaining plane may better resemble the structures predicted in cosmological simulations,” Garavito Camargo says. “All this together can create something that’s kind-of weird and statistically more improbable than what you might find in a generic cosmological simulation.”

    “The new work offers a fresh approach and one that is a very thorough and convincing piece of research, which naturally got me and others working on this issue very excited,” says Marcel Pawlowski (The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics [Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik] Potsdam (DE), who wasn’t involved in the new study. He maintains, however, that there’s still work to be done to understand the structure’s origin.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:03 am on November 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Watch Black Hole Jet Launch", Astronomers have watched a jet launch from a stellar-mass black hole inside the Milky Way., , , , , Jet materials alter the chemistry of interstellar gas and affect galaxy and star formation., Jets fly out at relativistic speeds to light-years away emitting radio waves that can be detected from Earth., Jets from a black hole named MAXI J1820+070, Most of the black holes we’ve discovered inside our galaxy have been detectable because they have a stellar companion., , Sky & Telescope   

    From Sky & Telescope : “Astronomers Watch Black Hole Jet Launch” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    November 29, 2021
    Lyndie Chiou

    Astronomers have watched a jet launch from a stellar-mass black hole inside the Milky Way.

    When X-rays flared from an area of the sky previously thought to be empty in March 2018, they triggered an early alert system. Astronomers around the world stopped what they were doing to turn six telescopes, including one aboard the International Space Station, toward the flare.

    In the resulting observations, which ranged from radio to X-rays, Alex Tetarenko (The Texas Tech University (US)) and her collaborators caught something never seen before: the creation and launching of jets from a black hole, named MAXI J1820+070, about 10,000 light-years away in our galaxy. With observations in hand, they calculated physical properties of the jet, such as its distance and motion relative to the black hole.

    “Jet materials alter the chemistry of interstellar gas and affect galaxy and star formation,” Tetarenko explains. “They also provide laboratories to test fundamental physics, so understanding what causes them is so important.”

    1
    In this artist’s impression, a black hole is pulling in material from a companion star through an accretion disc. Some of that plasma escapes through a jet. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz (IAC-Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES).)

    Most of the black holes we’ve discovered inside our galaxy have been detectable because they have a stellar companion. As a black hole pulls matter from its companion, the matter spirals inward, losing energy and emitting X-rays, just before entering the maw.

    Jets then erupt from the black hole’s poles, propelling particles with such concentrated force that they fly out at relativistic speeds to light-years away emitting radio waves that can be detected from Earth.

    Astronomers have observed jets around black holes large and small — recently, for example, the Event Horizon Telescope captured sharp images of jets from the supermassive black hole Messier 87*. But questions remain as to jets’ origins. Namely, where does all the jet-launching power come from?

    2
    The Event Horizon Telescope obtained an unprecedentedly sharp image of the jet shooting out from the supermassive black hole in M87. But supermassive black holes and their jets usually change on timescales longer than human lifetimes. Around stellar-mass black holes, astronomers can watch such changes on shorter timescales. Credit: Radboud University Nijmegen [Radboud Universiteit](NL); WFI/The European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL); The MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) / ESO’s Atacama Pathfinder Experiment(CL) / A. Weiss et al.; The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)/ The Chandra X-ray Center (US) / The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (US) / R. Kraft et al.; The Event Horizon Telescope-EHT / M. Janssen et al.

    WFI Wide Field Imager on the 2.2 meter MPG/ESO telescope at Cerro LaSilla (CL)

    MPG Institute for Astronomy [Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie](DE)European Southern Observatory(EU)2.2 meter telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO operates the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, APEX, for The MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) at one of the highest observatory sites on Earth, at an elevation of 5100 metres, high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region.

    EHT map.

    There are two competing theories: The jets could be extracting energy and angular momentum from the magnetic fields that thread the spinning black hole’s event horizon, or magnetic fields anchored in the materials swirling into the black hole could provide the needed power.

    In order to answer these questions, we need to watch a full cycle to see a jet launch and extinguish. Stellar-mass black holes offer this opportunity because they run through an entire cycle in a few months, instead of taking millions of years as supermassive black holes do.

    Mapping the Jet

    MAXI J1820 flared when it caught an extra gob of gas from its stellar companion, which is about half the mass of the Sun. The team measured the outburst across a broad spectrum of wavelengths from X-rays to radio waves. Using a timing analysis method, they were finally able to resolve the tiny details of MAXI’s jets.

    “The technique . . . is analogous to how ships use sonar to map underwater objects,” explains Tetarenko, “Except here, we use the timing signals propagating from inflow to outflow as ‘black hole sonar’ to map the jet structures.”

    Timing analysis revealed the base height of the jets, their angle, and speed. This is important since properties like the magnetic field strength depend highly on the geometry.

    3
    Observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory taken in 2018 and 2019 (shown in inset) allowed astronomers to detect the black hole’s jets. Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / The University of Paris-Sorbonne [Université de Paris-Sorbonne](FR) / M. Espinasse et al.; Optical / IR: The University of Hawai’i (US) Pan-STARRS telescope.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope(US)

    U Hawaii (US) Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System is a 1.8-meter diameter telescope situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala, altitude 10,023 ft (3,055 m) on the Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA. It is equipped with the world’s largest digital camera, with almost 1.4 billion pixels.

    Calculations showed that MAXI J1820’s jets launched a mere light-second (300,000 km) away from the black hole, about 1,000 times closer than Earth is to the Sun. So close to the black hole, the jets are extremely narrow, opening at just 0.45 degrees, the narrowest angle measured to date.

    Based on these results, published in The Astrophysical Journal, Andrzej Zdziarski (The Polish Academy of Sciences [Polska Akademia Nauk](PL)), Tetarenko, and Marek Sikora (also at Polish Academy of Sciences) think the black hole might be responsible for powering the jet. The energy the jet carries is consistent with theoretical predictions from the black hole spin scenario, Tetarenko says.

    Tetarenko expects that deeper investigations into the data, as well as observations of more black hole systems, will help confirm the result.

    “By simultaneously studying how the emission of the black hole X-ray binary changes from one part of the electromagnetic spectrum to another, Alex and her collaborators succeed in accurately measuring something that has never been possible in the past to this precision,” notes Sara Motta (The University of Oxford (UK), who wasn’t involved in the study. “This is crucial to constrain the fundamental physics ruling the jet generation and launching mechanism.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

     
  • richardmitnick 4:26 pm on November 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers Announce Priorities for Next Decade", , , , , Sky & Telescope   

    From Sky & Telescope : “Astronomers Announce Priorities for Next Decade” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    The National Academy of Science detailed the direction for astronomy and astrophysics today for the coming decade.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science (US)’s Las Campanas Observatory(CL) some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory, Manua Kea, Hawai’i(US), Altitude 4,050 m [13,290 ft], the only giant 30 meter class telescope for the Northern hemisphere.

    European Southern Observatory(EU) ELT 39 meter telescope to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    Iconic space telescopes go through long pipelines from proposal to design to launch. So every decade, the space and astronomy community comes together to make recommendations for the instruments and facilities they’ll need to keep pushing back the boundaries of discovery. The outcome, known as the Decadal Survey for Astronomy and Astrophysics, is a big deal for the astronomical community, as it provides the marching orders for the coming decade and beyond.

    On Thursday, November 4th, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released the long-awaited, 614-page report. Titled Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s (dubbed Astro2020 in more informal settings), the report relied on advice from over 867 white papers, several public information-gathering sessions, and 13 expert panels to form its recommendations.

    The item that will no doubt receive the most fanfare is the report’s recommendation that NASA pursue development of a 6-meter space telescope that will see in infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. That means that of the flagship mission concepts that competed for priority, visible light won out over X-ray and far-infrared observatories. But these are still on the list, they’ll just have to wait longer for development.

    “This is a visionary road map for the future of discovery,” says Grant Tremblay (The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (US)), member of the Lynx mission concept proposal. “I’m utterly grateful that the committee has shown an achievable and maximally ambitious path toward a new constellation of Great Observatories.”

    “We are excited that the vision of Lynx will embark on a journey toward flight as part of the Great Observatories Technology & Mission Maturation Program,” he adds. “Alongside our friends and colleagues on the LUVOIR, HabEx, and Origins mission concepts, we are committed to the success of this journey. This is the first day of an entirely new epoch of discovery, and the New Great Observatories are poised to answer the greatest questions that lie before us.”

    2
    Artist’s concepts of four possible future missions (clockwise from upper left) Origins, LUVOIR, Lynx, and HabEx. The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US).

    In a first for decadals, in this survey there was also a panel focused not on facilities but on people. The result is a call for investment in workforce diversity, guaranteeing that policies are in place to deal with harassment, discrimination, and misconduct. Specifically, the report names the racial diversity among astronomy faculty “abysmal.” Since the problem was first identified in the 1980 decadal survey, the numbers have remained largely unchanged: Currently, 1% of faculty are African American and 3% Hispanic. To address this, the report recommends increased funding incentives to improve diversity in astrophysics and astronomy faculty.

    It’s worth noting that the COVID-forced delay means that the recommendations in this report will miss the congressional reconciliation bill currently on the Senate floor, and they may not be part of the President’s FY 2023 budget request. For this reason, the report’s recommendations start in 2023.

    Science Goals for the Next Decade

    The scientific vision in the survey is laid out in three broad themes aimed at enabling key discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics:

    Worlds and Suns in Context will build on our understanding of exoplanet science by characterizing planetary systems around other stars and looking for potential Earth analogs. To this end, the report prioritizes imaging and obtaining spectra from potentially habitable exoplanets.

    New Messengers and New Physics will use time-domain observations across multi-messenger observations (electromagnetic spectrum, gravitational wave, and particle physics) to probe the nature of inflation, dark energy and dark matter. By combining multi-messenger observations, astronomers will obtain new windows on exotic sources including black holes, neutron stars, and explosive merger events.

    Cosmic Ecosystems will work to connect working models of star formation and galactic evolution with specific processes, to determine their past and ultimate future. The prime motivation is to understand how galaxies grow by looking at how gas drives stellar formation, and in turn, galactic evolution.

    3
    The report gave a proposed timeline for astronomy projects through mid-century.
    National Academies of Sciences / Astro2020 Decadal Survey.

    And the Winner Is…

    In a change from previous surveys, Astro2020 is advocating the development of a “Great Observatories Mission and Technology Maturation Program.” This program would guide the development of key technologies and missions before committing to specific mission concepts. One only has to look at the convoluted paths of missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in December after more than a decade of delays, to realize just how complex the process can be.

    The first item on the wishlist — and the first to enter the maturation program — will be a large, 6-meter (20-foot) aperture telescope capable of imaging in infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. This selection focuses on the exoplanets science theme, basically compromising between two flagship proposals that went into the decadal: The 4-meter HabEx proposal and LUVOIR, which was proposed as 8-meter and 15-meter configurations. This flagship mission would cap out at $11 billion through the first five years of operation, with a launch in the early 2040s.

    NASA Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) The Planet Hunter depiction

    NASA vison of Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR)

    The next items on the wishlist are both X-ray and far-infrared observatories, which would serve as successors to Chandra and Herschel, respectively. These observatories correspond to the Lynx and Origins mission concepts, recommended to the tune of $3–5 billion.

    Ground-based Astronomy

    In terms of ground-based observatories, the report gives high priority to both the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) [above] and the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) [above], which it recommends join forces as the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) project. Curiously, though the report cites both telescopes as essential, it also mentions that the success of the ELT program hinges on the completion of “at least one” of these telescopes. The GMT will be based in Chile, and the TMT will be built on either Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, or on La Palma, Spain.

    The NSF and DOE will also pursue a project known as Cosmic Microwave Background Stage 4.

    CMB-S4: Next Generation CMB Experiment

    This observatory will carry out a 7-year sky survey from the South Pole in the 30-270 GHz range in tandem with all-sky surveys carried out from the Atacama desert in Chile, to characterize the cosmic microwave background, the afterglow remnant that still shines from 380,000 years after the Big Bang.

    The report also cites the need for a next-generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) for radio astronomy, though it mentions that at this point, the project is “immature in its development.” The 263-dish array, which will spread across North America, will not break ground until about 2030.

    ngVLA to be located near the location of the NRAO Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (US) site on the plains of San Agustin, fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m) with additional mid-baseline stations currently spread over greater New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Mexico.

    The survey recommends continued investment in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), along with preparations for a next-generation facility.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________
    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation.

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

    SXS – Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPG Institute for Gravitational Physics [Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik] (Albert Einstein Institute) (DE)/W.Benger-Zib

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    European Space Agency(EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    And the report advocates further study of high-energy neutrinos, as part of the multi-messenger theme. To this end, the IceCube-Generation 2 Neutrino Observatory would supersede The University of Wisconsin Ice-Cube Neutrino Observatory(US) in the Antarctic, with a capability to resolve discrete sources and detect neutrinos at higher energies.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    U Wisconsin IceCube neutrino observatory

    U Wisconsin IceCube Neutrino Observatory(US) neutrino detector at the at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica South Pole, elevation of 2,835 metres (9,301 feet).

    IceCube employs more than 5000 detectors lowered on 86 strings into almost 100 holes in the Antarctic ice NSF B. Gudbjartsson, IceCube Collaboration.

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube Gen-2 DeepCore PINGU annotated

    IceCube neutrino detector interior.

    IceCube DeepCore annotated.

    IceCube Gen-2 DeepCore PINGU annotated

    DM-Ice II at IceCube annotated.


    ______________________________________________________________________________________
    NASA’s highest priority is its space-based ability to catch fleeting events of all kinds as they happen, which requires simultaneous detections of phenomena across multiple wavelengths, as well as via neutrinos and gravitational-waves. To this end, the report recommends the agency pursue one “probe” mission per decade, with a cost cap of $1.5 billion, filling the gap between smaller “explorer” missions and giant flagships.

    The report also cites a need to increase the National Science Foundation’s funding to ensure foundations for future astronomical research, including everything from support for early-career scientists to storage of the torrent of astronomical data. To this end, the report recommends NSF fund an additional $16.5 million (an increase of 30%) in grants for individual researchers by 2028.

    Of course, there are some cuts and considerations that will come to pass as a result of the survey: One prime example is the SOFIA flying infrared observatory, which NASA has said will cease operations by 2023; the report endorses that decision.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/DLR German Aerospace [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.](DE)SOFIA airborne telescope and cameras

    Finally, the decadal survey notes that the rise of satellite megaconstellations, including SpaceX’s Starlink, will not only exponentially increase the number of objects in low-Earth orbit but will also severely impact and degrade the capabilities of all-sky surveys unless regulations are implemented.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

     
  • richardmitnick 3:46 pm on October 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Two Impacts-Not Just One-May Have Formed The Moon", , , , , Sky & Telescope   

    From Sky & Telescope : “Two Impacts-Not Just One-May Have Formed The Moon” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    October 14, 2021
    Asa Stahl

    1
    In this image, the proposed hit-and-run collision is simulated in 3D, shown about an hour after impact. Theia, the impactor, barely escapes the collision. A. Emsenhuber / The University of Bern [Universität Bern](CH) / The Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München](DE).

    Scientists have long thought that the Moon formed with a bang, when a protoplanet the size of Mars hit the newborn Earth. Evidence from Moon rocks and simulations back up this idea.

    But a new study suggests that the protoplanet most likely hit Earth twice. The first time, the impactor (dubbed “Theia”) only glanced off Earth. Then, some hundreds of thousands of years later, it came back to deliver the final blow.

    The study, which simulated the literally Earth-shattering impact thousands of times, found that such a “hit-and-run return” scenario could help answer two longstanding questions surrounding the creation of the Moon. At the same time, it might explain how Earth and Venus ended up so different.

    The One-Two Punch

    “The key issue here is planetary diversity,” says Erik Asphaug (The University of Arizona (US)), who led the study. Venus and Earth have similar sizes, masses, and distances from the Sun. If Venus is a “crushing hot-house,” he asks, “why is Earth so amazingly blue and rich?”

    The Moon might hold the secret. Its creation was the last major episode in Earth’s formation, a catastrophic event that set the stage for the rest of our planet’s evolution. “You can’t understand how Earth formed without understanding how the Moon formed,” Asphaug explains. “They are part of the same puzzle.”

    The new simulations, which were published in the October Journal of Planetary Sciences, put a few more pieces of that puzzle into place.

    The first has to do with the speed of Theia’s impact. If Theia had hit our planet too fast, it would have exploded into an interplanetary plume of debris and eroded much of Earth. Yet if it had come in too slowly, the result would be a Moon whose orbit looks nothing like what we see today. The original impact theory doesn’t explain why Theia traveled at a just-right speed between these extremes.

    “[This] new scenario fixes that,” says Matthias Meier (Natural History Museum, Switzerland), who was not involved in the study. Initially, Theia could have been going much faster, but the first impact would have slowed it down to the perfect speed for the second one.

    The other problem with the original impact theory is that our Moon ought to be mostly made of primordial Theia. But Moon rocks from the Apollo missions show that Earth and the Moon have nearly identical compositions when it comes to certain kinds of elements. How could they have formed from two different building blocks?

    “The canonical giant-impact scenario is really bad at solving [this issue],” Meier says (though others have tried).

    A hit-and-run return, on the other hand, would enable Earth’s and Theia’s materials to mix more than in a single impact, ultimately forming a Moon chemically more similar to Earth. Though Asphaug and colleagues don’t quite fix the mismatch, they argue that more advanced simulations would yield even better results.

    Earth vs. Venus

    Resolving this aspect of the giant-impact theory would be no mean feat. But Asphaug’s real surprise came when he saw how hit-and-run impacts would have affected Venus compared to Earth.

    “I first thought maybe there was a mistake,” he recalls.

    The new simulations showed that the young Earth tended to pass on half of its hit-and-runners to Venus, while Venus accreted almost everything that came its way. This dynamic could help explain the drastic differences between the two planets: If more runners ended up at Venus, they would have enriched the planet in more outer solar system material compared to Earth. And since the impactors that escaped Earth to go on to Venus would have been the faster ones, each planet would have experienced generally different collisions.

    This finding flips the original purpose of the study on its head. If Venus suffered more giant impacts than Earth, the question would no longer be “why does Earth have a moon?” but “why doesn’t Venus?”

    Perhaps there was only one hit-and-run event, the one that made our Moon. Perhaps there were many, but for the same reason that Venus collected more impacts than Earth, it also accreted more destructive debris, obliterating any moon it already had. Or perhaps the last of Venus’ impacts was just particularly violent.

    Finding out means taking a trip to Venus. That would provide “the next leap in understanding,” Meier says. If Earth and Venus both had hit-and-runs, for example, then the surface of Venus ought to be more like Earth’s than previously expected. If Venus has the same chemical similarities as the Moon and Earth, that would throw out the giant-impact theory’s last remaining problem.

    “Getting samples from Venus,” Asphaug concludes, “is the key to answering all these questions.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

     
  • richardmitnick 12:59 pm on September 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Misfit Meteorite Sheds Light on Solar System History", , , , Sky & Telescope, The Nedagolla meteorite   

    From Sky & Telescope : “Misfit Meteorite Sheds Light on Solar System History” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    September 21, 2021
    Jure Japelj

    Scientists have discovered the first meteorite that doesn’t fall into one of two fundamental groups. The meteorite provides a unique glimpse into the era of asteroid formation and migration.

    1
    Artist’s impression of the asteroid belt. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech (US).

    The meteorite would be just another one among thousands found on Earth if it weren’t for its unusual composition. Researchers have long tried to understand its origin, and now they might have solved the mystery. In a recent study to be published in Meteoritics & Planetary Science, scientists found that the Nedagolla meteorite is a product of a collision between two asteroids of distinct origin. Its unique history opens up a new window into the research of the early stages of solar system formation.

    Two Meteorite Families

    Meteorites are time capsules that illuminate the era of planet formation. The solar system formed from a cloud of interstellar gas and dust that collapsed under its own gravity. Particles within the resulting protoplanetary disk collided and stuck, forming ever larger planetesimals, which became the parent bodies of the meteorites found on Earth.

    Meteorites come in different flavors [Space Science Reviews]. Depending on whether iron or silicates dominate, meteorites are traditionally classified as iron, stony, or stony-iron. Composition also depends on whether the meteorites originate from bodies that underwent melting, or whether the parent body was unmelted and therefore more pristine. By these classifiers, Nedagolla is an ungrouped iron meteorite.

    But one can also look at isotopes. Isotopes are elements with the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons, and they can carry a lot of information, including the time of a rock’s formation.

    “About 10 years ago, the community realized that there is an isotopic dichotomy in meteoritic material,” says graduate student Fridolin Spitzer (University of Münster [Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster] (DE)), who was first author of the new study. Cosmochemists thus use isotopes to classify meteorites of all sorts, regardless of their chemical composition, as either non-carbonaceous chondrite (NC) or the carbonaceous chondrite (CC). (These groups were initially differentiated by the amount of carbon, but now the terms are used more generally.)

    There is only one exception: “Nedagolla is the first one that does not consistently fall into one of the two categories but seems to fall in between,” says Spitzer.

    Scientists suspect that the two isotope classes formed in two different parts of the protoplanetary disk: The NCs in the disk’s inner part and the CCs in the outer solar system, beyond the Jupiter´s orbit. So where does that put the Nedagolla meteorite?

    Scientists have discovered the first meteorite that doesn’t fall into one of two fundamental groups. The meteorite provides a unique glimpse into the era of asteroid formation and migration.
    Artist’s impression of the asteroid belt
    NASA / JPL-Caltech

    A fireball embellished the night sky over India on January 23, 1870. Accompanied by a thunderous detonation, the fiery mass crashed in the village of Nedagolla with enough force to leave the bystanders stunned. The impact left behind a bit over 4 kilograms of cosmic rock — the Nedagolla meteorite.

    The meteorite would be just another one among thousands found on Earth if it weren’t for its unusual composition. Researchers have long tried to understand its origin, and now they might have solved the mystery. In a recent study to be published in Meteoritics & Planetary Science (preprint available here), scientists found that the Nedagolla meteorite is a product of a collision between two asteroids of distinct origin. Its unique history opens up a new window into the research of the early stages of solar system formation.
    Two Meteorite Families

    Meteorites are time capsules that illuminate the era of planet formation. The solar system formed from a cloud of interstellar gas and dust that collapsed under its own gravity. Particles within the resulting protoplanetary disk collided and stuck, forming ever larger planetesimals, which became the parent bodies of the meteorites found on Earth.

    Meteorites come in different flavors. Depending on whether iron or silicates dominate, meteorites are traditionally classified as iron, stony, or stony-iron. Composition also depends on whether the meteorites originate from bodies that underwent melting, or whether the parent body was unmelted and therefore more pristine. By these classifiers, Nedagolla is an ungrouped iron meteorite.

    But one can also look at isotopes. Isotopes are elements with the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons, and they can carry a lot of information, including the time of a rock’s formation.

    “About 10 years ago, the community realized that there is an isotopic dichotomy in meteoritic material,” says graduate student Fridolin Spitzer (University of Münster, Germany), who was first author of the new study. Cosmochemists thus use isotopes to classify meteorites of all sorts, regardless of their chemical composition, as either non-carbonaceous chondrite (NC) or the carbonaceous chondrite (CC). (These groups were initially differentiated by the amount of carbon, but now the terms are used more generally.)

    There is only one exception: “Nedagolla is the first one that does not consistently fall into one of the two categories but seems to fall in between,” says Spitzer.

    Scientists suspect that the two isotope classes formed in two different parts of the protoplanetary disk: The NCs in the disk’s inner part and the CCs in the outer solar system, beyond the Jupiter´s orbit. So where does that put the Nedagolla meteorite?

    Asteroid Migrations and Collisions

    After performing a new and independent analysis of the meteorite’s composition, the team proposes that its unique isotopic imprint comes from a collision of NC and CC planetesimals. “The two bodies collided, and this induced melting because of high impact velocities, and it induced mixing of materials from these two bodies,” explains Spitzer.

    Here things become interesting. Most meteorites originate from the asteroid belt, a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. So, the CC-type meteorites had to migrate to the inner part of the solar system at some point, otherwise the Nedagolla meteorite wouldn´t exist.

    1
    A schematic view of the protoplanetary disk in the first few million years after its formation. The NC (red) and CC (blue) planetesimals formed in the inner and outer disk, respectively. The growing Jupiter might have separated the two classes. Credit: Bermingham et al. 2020.

    “The reason why we have any CC material to analyze on Earth, which is in itself an NC body, is because, during the disk evolution, planets like Jupiter migrated inwards and outwards, scattering material around the Solar System,” says Katherine Bermingham (Rutgers University).

    But the details are still murky. For example, did Jupiter’s movements create the isotopic divide? And why did one region of the disk have a consistently different mixture of material compared to the other?

    With the Nedagolla meteorite, scientists obtained the first isotopic evidence that the NC and CC bodies mingled. Its composition suggests that at least the CC body had a metallic core. Furthermore, the formative collision couldn’t have happened earlier than about 7 million years after the disk’s formation.

    Such information measured for a larger sample of similar meteorites would be invaluable. “I think it is important that the community does more of this kind of work to see if we can figure out better time constraints on NC-CC mixing,” says Bermingham. “There are a lot of ungrouped iron meteorites out there, and maybe this signature will be found in those that we haven’t studied yet.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

     
  • richardmitnick 12:12 pm on September 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Infant 'Hot Neptune' Provides Clues to Its Birth", , , , , Sky & Telescope, The mysterious exoplanet AU Microscopii b   

    From Sky & Telescope : “Infant ‘Hot Neptune’ Provides Clues to Its Birth” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    September 20, 2021
    Arwen Rimmer

    How’d a nice young ice giant end up in such a hot orbit? Scientists investigate the mysterious exoplanet AU Microscopii b.


    Animation Depicting an Approach to AU Mic b

    AU Microscopii is a baby red dwarf star about 32 light-years away in the southern constellation Microscopium, the Microscope. It’s only 22 million years old and surrounded by a planetary debris field, first observed in 2004. Just within the last year, independent teams have discovered two exoplanets (AU Mic b and c) orbiting the star.

    A series of follow-up studies focused on AU Mic b, a young, Neptune-mass planet that whips around its star every 8½ days. This giant couldn’t have formed where it now orbits. To help determine how it got there, astronomers have sought to measure the alignment between the planet’s orbit and its host star’s spin.

    There are many things that might cause a planet’s orbit to change, such as a large body passing near the system or interactions with the planet-forming disk around the star. Over the past year, multiple measurements made with various telescopes and methods have shown that AU Mic b’s orbit is still aligned with its star’s spin. While the individual measurements are more uncertain, the evidence is mounting that a more peaceful transition occurred, like disk interactions, rather than gravitational ping-pong.

    How’d a nice young ice giant end up in such a hot orbit? Scientists investigate the mysterious exoplanet AU Microscopii b.

    AU Microscopii is a baby red dwarf star about 32 light-years away in the southern constellation Microscopium, the Microscope. It’s only 22 million years old and surrounded by a planetary debris field, first observed in 2004. Just within the last year, independent teams have discovered two exoplanets (AU Mic b and c) orbiting the star.

    A series of follow-up studies focused on AU Mic b, a young, Neptune-mass planet that whips around its star every 8½ days. This giant couldn’t have formed where it now orbits. To help determine how it got there, astronomers have sought to measure the alignment between the planet’s orbit and its host star’s spin.

    There are many things that might cause a planet’s orbit to change, such as a large body passing near the system or interactions with the planet-forming disk around the star. Over the past year, multiple measurements made with various telescopes and methods have shown that AU Mic b’s orbit is still aligned with its star’s spin. While the individual measurements are more uncertain, the evidence is mounting that a more peaceful transition occurred, like disk interactions, rather than gravitational ping-pong.

    Pinning Down Spin

    The first of the studies was led by Teruyuki Hirano (Tokyo Institute of Technology [(東京工業大学](JP)) and published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters in August 2020. His team used the Subaru telescope to obtain the first tentative proof that AU Mic b’s orbit is aligned with its star’s spin.

    Then, one month later, Eder Martioli (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris) published the same good spin-orbit alignment using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, reporting their results in the September 2020 Astronomy and Astrophysics.

    In a third study published October 2020 in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Enric Pallé (Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES)) and colleagues took spectroscopy measurements with the Very Large Telescope in Chile.

    Using a couple different techniques to check Mic b’s spin-orbit angle, they again found good alignment.

    The latest of these studies appears in the October 1st The Astronomical Journal. Brett Addison (University of Southern Queensland (AU)) led the project, using radial velocity measurements from the Minerva-Australis telescope array to compare the angle of the planet’s orbit with the spin-axis of its host star.

    Minerva-Australis telescope array operated by the University of Southern Queensland (AU) located at USQ’s Mount Kent Observatory

    2
    An artist’s concept shows one interpretation of planet AU Mic b.
    Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / Chris Smith (Universities Space Research Association (US))

    AU Microscopii is so young, it hasn’t even begun fusing hydrogen into helium in its core, and a massive planetary debris field surrounds it. But it already has two fully formed gas giants, both of which probably made a long trek from beyond the “ice line,” where they must have formed, into very close orbits around the host star. The temperatures close to a star are too hot for gases like water and methane to condense during planet formation, and most of the hydrogen and helium gets blown away by solar winds. But on the outer edges of the star system, all this material is free to accrete on a truly massive scale.

    It’s impossible to watch planets form and migrate in real time. But if we can observe many different, comparable systems at various stages of development, then we have the next best thing: snapshots of planets’ development over time. The age and current arrangement of the AU Microscopii system thus contributes to a working knowledge of migration and timescales in the formation process. In this case, a star near the beginning of its lifespan has already had enough time to spin out two planets, both of which have apparently taken a stroll into completely different orbits.

    Scott Gaudi (Thee Ohio State University (US)), who was not involved with these studies, says that making these kinds of observations is very difficult because the spin-orbit alignment has to be observed during a transit. And in the case of Addison’s study, the telescopes used were relatively small (an array for four 0.7-meter telescopes), which affected the quality of the data.

    “The other AU Mic b studies provided a more definitive answer because they were taken with larger telescopes,” Gaudi says. “The bigger the view, the more photons you can collect, the better your data.”

    Right now, the easiest kind of planet to see is a gas giant very close to a small star. But with the next generation of dedicated exoplanet telescopes coming online in the next decade, it should be possible to detect worlds beyond the “ice line”, closer to their birth sites. Gaudi looks forward to using the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which begins operations in 2025, to find more planetary systems which look like our own.

    “It’s one of the big open questions in planetary science,” Gaudi says. “At the moment we see lots of big planets that appear to have migrated, especially those called hot Jupiters. But the solar system looks different and no one knows why. The Roman telescope should give us a better idea of how we fit into the big picture.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

     
  • richardmitnick 4:29 pm on July 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Pileup of Perpendicular Planets", , , , , , Sky & Telescope,   

    From Aarhus University [Aarhus Universitet] (DK) via Sky & Telescope : “A Pileup of Perpendicular Planets” 

    From Aarhus University [Aarhus Universitet] (DK)

    via

    Sky & Telescope

    July 27, 2021
    Susanna Kohler, AAS NOVA

    In some planetary systems, the direction that a star spins and the direction its planets orbit don’t always line up. A new study explores what we can learn from these nonconformists.

    1
    Artist’s illustration of WASP-79b, an example of an exoplanet that circles its star on a polar orbit.
    Credit: B. Addison/ European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte] (EU) (CL).

    Nature Is Trending

    Much of science involves searching for patterns and trends in data. Patterns in the universe — preferences for certain shapes, locations, alignments, etc. — can often reveal hidden underlying physics that drives nature to take a non-random course. This means that patterns and trends frequently provide the key to understanding how the universe works.

    Exoplanet populations are an especially intriguing place to look for trends. In recent years, our sample of observed exoplanets has grown large enough that we can now start to do useful statistical analysis — and there’s a lot we can hope to learn from this about the formation and evolution of planetary systems.

    2
    A protostar lies embedded in a disk of gas and dust in this visualization. Since stars and their planets form from the same cloud, it would make sense for their rotations to be aligned. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    One particular curiosity among exoplanets: a planet’s orbital direction is not always aligned with its host star’s spin direction. Since a star and its planets all form out of the same rotating cloud of gas and dust, conservation of angular momentum should produce planet orbits and stellar spins that are aligned. But, while we see a large population of well-aligned systems, we also see a smaller population of misaligned systems.

    What causes planets to become misaligned with their stars? A new study [The Astrophysical Journal Letters] led by Simon Albrecht (Aarhus University [Aarhus Universitet] (DK)) examines patterns in a population of observed star–planet systems to find out.

    3
    Diagram illustrating the angle between the sky-projected stellar spin and planetary orbit (λ) and the actual 3D angle between the spin and orbit (Ψ). The tilt of the star relative to the observer line of sight is marked by i. Credit: Albrecht et al. 2021.

    Albrecht and collaborators explored a valuable sample of 57 star–planet systems. For the majority of planetary systems with observed spin/orbital directions, we can only measure the angle between the sky-projected orbital and spin axes. But for the sample that Albrecht and collaborators used, we have independent measurements of the inclination angle of the star relative to our line of sight. Thus, for these 57 systems, the authors were able to identify the actual angle in 3D space between the planets’ orbital axes and the stars’ spin axes.

    The result? Albrecht and collaborators find that the majority of the systems are aligned, as expected. But the 19 misaligned systems do not have misalignments that are distributed randomly through all angles. Instead, almost all of the misalignments cluster around 90° (ranging from 80°–125°) — meaning that the planet orbits the poles of the star, perpendicular to the direction that the star spins.

    3
    Left: The angle between the sky-projected orbital and spin axes (λ) for the authors’ sample. Right: The actual angle between the axes (Ψ). The actual angles show two clusterings: one near zero (aligned), and one around 90° (perpendicular). Adapted from Albrecht et al. 2021

    What could cause this polar pileup? The authors propose several theoretical possibilities that include dynamical interactions between the planet and the star, or between the planet and an additional unseen, distant companion body. But, as we’ve seen, nature has a mind of its own — and there may be multiple mechanisms at work! We don’t yet have enough information to solve this puzzle with certainty, but a continued search for patterns is sure to point us in the right direction eventually.

    This work was accomplished with National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) TESS

    Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Center for Astrophysics – Harvard and Smithsonian; MIT Lincoln Laboratory; and the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Aarhus Universitet DK campus.

    Aarhus University [Aarhus Universitet] (DK), abbreviated AU) is the largest and second oldest research university in Denmark. The university belongs to the Coimbra Group, the Guild, and Utrecht Network of European universities and is a member of the European University Association.

    The university was founded in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1928 and comprises five faculties in Arts, Natural Sciences, Technical Sciences, Health, and Business and Social Sciences and has a total of twenty-seven departments. It is home to over thirty internationally recognised research centres, including fifteen Centres of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. The university is ranked among the top 100 world’s best universities. The business school within Aarhus University, called Aarhus BSS, holds the EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development) Equis accreditation, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Association of MBAs (AMBA). This makes the business school of Aarhus University one of the few in the world to hold the so-called Triple Crown accreditation. Times Higher Education ranks Aarhus University in the top 10 of the most beautiful universities in Europe (2018).

    The university’s alumni include Bjarne Stroustrup, the inventor of programming language C++, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and a Secretary General of NATO.

    Nobel Laureate Jens Christian Skou (Chemistry, 1997), conducted his groundbreaking work on the Na/K-ATPase in Aarhus and remained employed at the university until his retirement. Two other nobel laureates: Trygve Haavelmo (Economics, 1989) and Dale T. Mortensen (Economics, 2010). were affiliated with the university.

     
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