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  • richardmitnick 10:07 am on May 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Cosmic Collision Could Have Made Two Dark Matter–Less Galaxies", , Sky & Telescope, , Two dwarf galaxies (named DF2 and DF4) that appear to be devoid of dark matter.,   

    From Yale University via “Sky & Telescope”: “A Cosmic Collision Could Have Made Two Dark Matter–Less Galaxies” 

    From Yale University


    “Sky & Telescope”

    May 18, 2022
    Ben Skuse

    Astronomers connect the dots between two strange doppelganger galaxies, uncovering what might be a string of galactic pearls created in a cosmic collision 8 billion years ago.

    Hubble spent 40 90-minute orbits making this deep image of NGC 1052-DF2, the first of the dark matter-less galaxies to be discovered.
    Pieter van Dokkum et al. / Nature 2022.

    In 2018 and 2019, a team led by Pieter van Dokkum (Yale University) reported the discovery of two dwarf galaxies (named DF2 and DF4) that appeared to be devoid of dark matter. The announcement puzzled astronomers, because dark matter is thought to provide the gravitational tug ordinary matter needs to form galaxies. Dark matter–deficient galaxies don’t seem to follow that playbook.

    Heated discussions ensued, as some others suggested that perhaps the distances to the galaxies had been measured incorrectly. But amid the controversy, what went relatively unnoticed was just how alike DF2 and DF4 really are. They are similar in size, luminosity, morphology, and velocity dispersion, and both contain a peculiar population of very luminous globular clusters. Crucially, assuming the distances are correct, they are also thought to lie in the same neighborhood: the region around a bright elliptical galaxy known as NGC 1052.

    Twins Born in a Galactic Collision

    In the May 19th Nature, van Dokkum’s team asks whether DF2 and DF4 are more than just doppelgangers. Might they be twins born of the same cosmic mother? “I started out with this assumption that it is very unlikely these galaxies have nothing to do with one another,” says van Dokkum. “They are both unique in the universe, except for their twin, which happens to live in the same group.”

    Early in the analysis, the researchers clocked the two galaxies as running away from each other at high speeds. Using their present-day line-of-sight positions and velocities, and DF2’s estimated age, the team traced their positions back in time to a common origin. Then, taking into account the galaxies’ peculiar properties, the team constructed a scenario for their formation, based on previous computer simulations [The Astrophysical Journal Letters].

    A scenario for how DF2, DF4, and other potentially dark matter-deficient galaxies were born in a single event some 8 billion years ago. An infalling gas-rich galaxy on an unbound orbit (progenitor 1) collides with a satellite galaxy of NGC 1052 (progenitor 2), leaving two dark remnants (possibly RCP 32 and DF7), DF2 and DF4, and three to seven other dark-matter-free galaxies. Credit: P. van Dokkum (Yale University)

    In this scenario, a satellite galaxy of NGC 1052 collided with another unbound galaxy some 8 billion years ago. The stars and dark matter involved slipped past one other, interacting only weakly through gravity. But the high-speed collision compressed and slowed down the galaxies’ gas.

    “The gas got strung out into a whole bunch of clumps that then, under their own gravity, collapsed and formed new galaxies without dark matter, because the dark matter got lost,” explains van Dokkum. Under this origin story, other dark matter–deficient galaxies could be visible in the vicinity, forming a line between DF2 and DF4 like a string of pearls. And what of the dark matter–dominated remnants of the two galaxies? The might lie at the ends of the string.

    The team searched the catalog of galaxies around NGC 1052 and found 11 lined up as predicted, including DF2 and DF4. At the far ends, beyond DF2 and DF4, are two peculiar galaxies: RCP 32 and DF7. These could be the missing relics of the original collision.

    A survey image of the NGC 1052 region, highlighting 11 galaxies that form a string of galactic pearls that may have formed after a single collision event some 8 billion years ago. Also highlighted is DF9, a galaxy that appears to be on the string but was not part of the sample. Credit: P. van Dokkum (Yale University)

    Although van Dokkum acknowledges the ancestral identity of RCP 32 and DF7 is somewhat speculative, he feels the observed string of pearls shows that these galaxies, barring a few potential interlopers, are at least related in some way and could share a common origin.
    Cosmic Alignment or Happenstance?

    “The new results offer a very interesting and neat scenario to explain the low/null dark matter content of DF2 and DF4,” says Pavel Mancera Piña (ASTRON and University of Groningen, The Netherlands) who was not involved in the study. Piña has uncovered a further six dark matter–deficient galaxy candidates, albeit with properties different from DF2 and DF4. “I think we will be able to say something with more certainty once the distance, radial velocities, and total mass of more galaxies near the trail of DF2 and DF4 are obtained.”

    Michelle Collins (University of Surrey, UK) is similarly cautious. “For me, it comes across as a nice idea, but with a number of significant issues,” she says. “One is that they assume these 11 systems in a line are all associated to NGC 1052.”

    According to their positions on the sky, the line of 11 dwarf galaxies sits near three other large galaxies. The spiral NGC 1035, for example, is nestled directly on the path but is much closer to us than NGC 1052. Given that another group has claimed that NGC 1035 is pulling on DF4, Collins would have liked to have seen additional analysis incorporating the potential influence of these other large galaxies “to convince people that it’s not just a chance line-of-sight overlap, kind-of like a constellation.”

    What Collins, Mancera Piña, and van Dokkum do agree on is that the collision scenario proposed to explain how DF2 and DF4 formed is, in principle, easily tested. Van Dokkum’s team intends to point an army of powerful telescopes at these 11 galaxies to settle the issue once and for all.

    Ground-based instruments such as the Very Large Telescope in Chile and the Keck Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i, will measure the galaxies’ radial velocities.

    Hubble will take snapshots of each of the 11 galaxies to ascertain whether they are all home to luminous globular clusters like DF2 and DF4, and van Dokkum has applied for extra time on the venerable space telescope to measure the galaxies’ distances, too.

    Finally, van Dokkum hopes to obtain time on the James Webb Space Telescope to measure the masses of the two galaxies RCP 32 and DF7 at the far ends of the galactic string of pearls: “That’s kind of the Holy Grail because then we might find where the dark matter is in this whole system.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists, four Abel Prize laureates, and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 31 living billionaires, and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 252 Rhodes Scholars, 123 Marshall Scholars, and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.


    Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation , Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

    Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

    Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

    In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

    Notable alumni

    Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

    At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

    Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

    Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

    In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton,

    Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

    In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

  • richardmitnick 3:49 pm on May 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Pevatrons": cosmic particle accelerators, "Seeing Inside a Cosmic Superaccelerator", Only recently has data begun to shed light on these energetic particles., Peta Electron Volt particles, Sky & Telescope, The universe has no shortage of exceedingly energetic particles. They slam into Earth’s atmosphere all the time.   

    From “Sky & Telescope”: “Seeing Inside a Cosmic Superaccelerator” 

    From “Sky & Telescope”

    May 19, 2022
    Monica Young

    Astronomers are exploring a celestial particle accelerator in the Eel Nebula that surrounds a distant pulsar.

    This artist’s representation shows a pulsar wind nebula around another pulsar, named Geminga. Pulsar wind nebulae may be the cosmic sites of particle accelerators. Credit:
    Nahks TrEhnl.

    Take a coin out of your pocket and flip it. That coin-flip carries a peta-electron-volt (PeV) of energy. Now imagine a particle a million billion times smaller than your coin, far beyond the range of even the most powerful microscope — and it’s flitting by with that same amount of energy. That one particle surpasses by a thousandfold the energy that humanity’s most sophisticated particle accelerators can generate.

    Yet the universe has no shortage of such exceedingly energetic particles. They slam into Earth’s atmosphere all the time. But while astronomers have long known these potent particles exist, they’ve struggled to understand how they come to be. Only recently has data begun to shed light on this phenomenon.

    A Twisted Path

    The trouble is, PeV particles are generally charged, whether they be protons or electrons. As such, they’re susceptible to the manipulations of magnetic fields, their paths bending this way and that as they pass through the galaxy. Tracing a single particle back to its source is nigh impossible.

    But the processes that make energetic particles also makes gamma rays. And gamma rays, being chargeless photons, are not so easily led astray by the galaxy’s swirling magnetic field. These photons are thus the messengers that can tell astronomers where particles are being accelerated — and how.

    Two facilities have come online in recent years to give astronomers access to the highest-energy gamma rays: the Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) in Tibet and the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC) in Mexico. Their data has enabled astronomers to identify roughly a dozen possible cosmic particle accelerators, known as Pevatrons.

    LHAASO, the cosmic ray observatory in Yangbajing, southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Credit: Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

    The Eel Nebula

    One of these Pevatron candidates is the Eel Nebula, 11,400 light-years away in the constellation Scutum. In this nebula, a cloud of charged particles surrounds a pulsar as it speeds through space, leading to its distinct snakish shape.

    Using observations not just of gamma rays but also X-rays and radio waves to describe the particle cloud, Daniel Burgess (Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory) and team put together a computer model that describes the current state of the pulsar, the plasma around it, and their evolution over time. In a study to appear in The Astrophysical Journal, they show that this particular Pevatron is accelerating electrons to PeV energies.

    This animation shows first the X-ray photons detected from the Eel Nebula, then the gamma-ray emission. Gamma rays have higher energy and lower resolution than X-rays, so the image appears much blurrier at gamma rays. Credit: Daniel Burgess et al.

    “This is one of the first unambiguously identified [electron-accelerating] PeVatron candidates,” says Henrike Fleischhack (Catholic University of America). “The follow-up observations and detailed modeling presented here . . . can serve as a blueprint for the study and identification of other PeVatron candidates.”

    Indeed, team member Kaya Mori (also at Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory) confirms that the team is working on applying the same technique to multiple other pulsar clouds, including two nebulae evocatively named Dragonfly and Boomerang. Other teams are investigating alternative Pevatrons, such as the shocked plasma bubbles cast out by supernova explosions.

    While the Eel Nebula is a clear candidate source of PeV electrons, Fleischhack points out that the energetic particles observed at Earth consist of not only electrons but protons. And so far, most of the other candidate Pevatrons have been found to only accelerate electrons.

    “The question remains,” Fleischhack says: “Where are the [proton-accelerating] PeVatrons that we know must be out there?”

    See the full article here .


    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 8:44 am on April 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hundreds of Thousands of Stars Reveal the Milky Way’s 'Teenage' Years", Gaia Enceladus dwarf galaxy, Massive subgiants shine more brightly than less massive ones., Sky & Telescope, , , The scientists conclude that the thick disk had already started to form around 13 billion years ago-just 800 million years after the Big Bang., The star formation rate surged some 11 billion years ago.   

    From The MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE) via Sky & Telescope: “Hundreds of Thousands of Stars Reveal the Milky Way’s ‘Teenage’ Years” 

    Max Planck Institut für Astronomie (DE)

    From The MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE)


    Sky & Telescope

    March 23, 2022 [Just now in social media.]
    Govert Schilling

    This diagram shows the basic structures of our galaxy from an edge-on view.
    Stefan Payne-Wardenaar / MPIA.

    Take a census of your country’s population, and you can draw up its population pyramid: a graph that immediately reveals when powerful baby booms have taken place. Astronomers have now done something similar for the stars in our galaxy.

    They’ve found that the star formation rate surged some 11 billion years ago. The work also provided a detailed timeline of the early growth and evolution of the Milky Way during its turbulent “teenage” years.

    Just looking at most stars doesn’t tell you how old they are. That’s why Maosheng Xiang and Hans-Walter Rix (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany) focused on subgiants, for which there’s a neat relationship between luminosity and age.

    Most stars briefly pass through this subgiant phase in their later stages of evolution. While most of the hydrogen fuel in the star’s center has been converted into helium, hydrogen fusion still takes place in a thick shell around the core. The star’s resulting luminosity depends largely on its mass: Massive subgiants shine more brightly than less massive ones. Low-mass stars can take many billions of years before they reach the brief subgiant phase, while the evolution of stellar heavyweights proceeds much faster. As a result, a census of the current subgiant population tells you their age distribution: The most luminous ones must be young, while the fainter ones are much older.

    Xiang and Rix selected some 250,000 subgiants from the still-growing data archive of the European Gaia space observatory, for which detailed information was available on the stars’ positions, distances, and motions.

    Existing spectroscopic observations from the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fibre Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) in China also provided the researchers the stars’ chemical composition — in particular, the abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium (called metals in astronomical parlance).

    In the March 24th issue of Nature, the two astronomers present the results of their detailed analysis: a timeline of the major events in the Milky Way’s early history. In particular, they found that star formation rate peaked around 11 billion years ago, almost certainly a direct result of the merger between our budding galaxy and a smaller intruder nicknamed Gaia Enceladus.

    Evidence for a past merger with another galaxy was recorded in the Milky Way’s stars, some of which have elongated and retrograde trajectories around the galactic center. A computer simulation of such an encounter shows what the early phase of that merger might have looked like. Yellow arrows represent the positions and motions of the stars in Gaia-Enceladus as it collided with the Milky Way billions of years ago.
    Artist’s impression and composition:; simulation: Koppelman, Villalobos and Helmi; galaxy: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration / The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) / NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

    But there’s more. The data also shed light on the origin of the Milky Way’s thick disk, the fluffier pancake of older stars that’s some 100,000 light-years in diameter and 6,000 light-years thick. (Newer stars populate the thin disk, which is more like a spiral-shaped crepe only about 1,000 light-years thick).

    From their data, Xiang and Rix conclude that the thick disk had already started to form around 13 billion years ago, just 800 million years after the Big Bang — well before the origin of the sparsely populated galactic halo. Two billion years later, gas still filled the thick disk, and when the Milky Way merged with Gaia Enceladus, the merger pushed gas into forming many new stars. Star formation in the thick disk continued for another couple billion years, as primordial gas kept streaming towards the growing galaxy.

    Interestingly, stars that were born in these early stages of the Milky Way’s evolution show an unexpected simple distribution of heavy-element abundance. Since supernova explosions expel heavy elements into the interstellar medium (ISM), younger stars have a higher metallicity than older ones. But for stars of the same age, the metallicity turns out to be independent of their distance from the galactic center — a surprising result, as you would expect heavy elements to slowly “sink” towards the core of the Milky Way. “[This] implies that the ISM must have remained spatially mixed thoroughly during this entire period,” the researchers write. An accompanying press release describes this as a “key result” of the new work.

    Another important transition took place some 8 billion years ago. Something seems to have depleted the gas in the thick disk, and as a result star formation came to a halt. However, star birth continued in the thin disk, which is home to most of the current spiral arms, molecular clouds, and star-forming regions in the Milky Way. Xiang and Rix were able to distinguish between the thick-disk and thin-disk populations The University of Gronigen [Rijksuniversiteit Groningen] (NL)by analyzing the stars’ orbits and composition.

    “It’s a very nice result,” says Amina Helmi (The University of Gronigen [Rijksuniversiteit Groningen] (NL)), whose team in 2018 identified the stellar remains of Gaia Enceladus, also in Gaia data. “By looking at subgiants, [Xiang and Rix] provide a whole new perspective” on the merger event.

    According to Helmi, future data releases of Gaia, which will probably be operational until early 2025, may eventually enable astronomers to fully reconstruct the Milky Way’s early history, from its chaotic origins and turbulent youth to its present sedate middle-age. “That would be great,” she says, “and it’s what I’m hoping for.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie] (DE) is a research institute of the MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] (DE). It is located in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany near the top of the Königstuhl, adjacent to the historic Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Königstuhl astronomical observatory. The institute primarily conducts basic research in the natural sciences in the field of astronomy.

    In addition to its own astronomical observations and astronomical research, the Institute is also actively involved in the development of observation instruments. The instruments or parts of them are manufactured in the institute’s own workshops.

    The founding of the institute in 1967 resulted from the insight that a supra-regional institute equipped with powerful telescopes was necessary in order to conduct internationally competitive astronomical research. Hans Elsässer, an astronomer, became the founding director in 1968. In February 1969, a first group of 5 employees started work in the buildings of the neighbouring Königstuhl State Observatory. The institute, which was completed in 1975, was initially dedicated to the preparation and evaluation of astronomical observations and the development of new measurement methods.

    From 1973 to 1984, it operated the Calar Alto Observatory on Calar Alto near Almería together with Spanish authorities.

    Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory 3.5 meter Telescope, located in Almería province in Spain on Calar Alto, a 2,168-meter-high (7,113 ft) mountain in Sierra de Los Filabres(ES)

    This largest observatory on the European mainland was used equally by astronomers from both countries until 2019. On 23 May 2019, the regional government of Andalusia and the MPG signed a transfer agreement for the 50% share in the observatory. Since then, it has been owned exclusively by Spain.

    Since 2005, the MPIA has been operating the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) together with partners from Germany, Italy and the USA and equipping it with measuring instruments.

    LBT-U Arizona Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, is a ground-based instrument connecting two 8-meter class telescopes on Mount Graham, Arizona, USA, Altitude 3,221 m (10,568 ft.) to form the largest single-mount telescope in the world. The interferometer is designed to detect and study stars and planets outside our solar system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Two scientific questions are given priority at the MPIA. One is the formation and development of stars and planets in our cosmic neighbourhood. The resonating question is: Is the Sun with its inhabited planet Earth unique, or are there also conditions in the vicinity of other stars, at least the numerous sun-like ones among them, that are conducive to life? On the other hand, the area of galaxies and cosmology is about understanding the development of today’s richly structured Universe with its galaxies and stars and its emergence from the simple initial state after the Big Bang.

    The research topics at a glance:
    • Star formation and young objects, planet formation, astrobiology, interstellar matter, astrochemistry
    • Structure and evolution of the Milky Way, quasars and active galaxies, evolution of galaxies, galaxy clusters, cosmology

    Together with the Center for Astronomy at The Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg](DE), the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) and the Department of Astro- and Particle Physics of the MPG Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK), the MPIA in Heidelberg is a globally renowned centre of astronomical research.

    Since 2015, the MPIA has been running the “Heidelberg Initiative for the Origins of Life” (HIFOL) together with the MPIK, the HITS, the Institute of Geosciences at Heidelberg University and the Department of Chemistry at The Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München](DE). HIFOL brings together top researchers from astrophysics, geosciences, chemistry and the life sciences to promote, strengthen and combine scientific research towards the prerequisites for the emergence of life.

    • Galaxies and Cosmology Department

    • Planet and Star Formation Department

    • Atmospheric Physics of Exoplanets
    • Technical Departments

    The MPIA also builds instruments or parts of them for ground-based telescopes and satellites, including the following:
    • Calar Alto Observatory (Spain)[above]
    • La Silla Observatory of the European Southern Observatory (The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral] [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL))
    European Southern Observatory(EU) La Silla Observatory 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.
    • Paranal Observatory and E-ELT (ESO)

    Paranal Observatory pictured with Cerro Paranal in the background. The mountain is home to one of the most advanced ground-based telescopes in the world, the VLT. The VLT telescope consists of four unit telescopes with mirrors measuring 8.2 meters in diameter and work together with four smaller auxiliary telescopes to make interferometric observations. Each of the 8.2m diameter Unit Telescopes can also be used individually. With one such telescope, images of celestial objects as faint as magnitude 30 can be obtained in a one-hour exposure. This corresponds to seeing objects that are four billion (four thousand million) times fainter than what can be seen with the unaided eye.

    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).

    • Large Binocular Telescope [above]
    • Infrared Space Observatory (The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU))

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    • Herschel Space Observatory (ESA, The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US))

    European Space Agency Herschel spacecraft active from 2009 to 2013.
    • James Webb Space Telescope (NASA, ESA.CSA)

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Infrared Space Telescope(US) annotated, finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late.

    The MPIA is also participating in the Gaia mission.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea][Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) GAIA satellite.

    Gaia is a space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), in which the exact positions, distances and velocities of around one billion Milky Way stars are determined.

    : From The MPG Institute for the Advancement of Science [MPG zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V] (DE).

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

    The MPG Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.


    The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.

    The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the MPG Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

    The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.

    MPG Institutes and research groups

    The MPG Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.
    The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.
    The MPG Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.

    Internally, MPG Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.

    In addition, there are several associated institutes:

    International Max Planck Research Schools

    International Max Planck Research Schools

    Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:

    • Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
    • International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
    • International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
    • International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPI for Astronomy
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPI for Astrophysics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
    • International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
    • International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPI for Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
    • International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPI for Gravitational Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
    • International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
    • International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
    • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
    • International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine
    • International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    • International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
    • International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion
    • International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics
    • International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen hosted by MPI for Solar System Research
    • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPI for Radio Astronomy (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    • International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    • International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at Max Planck Institute for Iron Research GmbH
    • International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

    Max Planck Schools

    • Max Planck School of Cognition
    • Max Planck School Matter to Life
    • Max Planck School of Photonics

    Max Planck Center

    • The Max Planck Centre for Attosecond Science (MPC-AS), POSTECH Pohang
    • The Max Planck POSTECH Center for Complex Phase Materials, POSTECH Pohang

    Max Planck Institutes

    Among others:
    • Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar, Bonn
    • Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in 2004;
    • Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen was closed in 2005;
    • Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Ladenburg b. Heidelberg was closed in 2003;
    • Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena was renamed to the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in 2014;
    • Max Planck Institute for Ionospheric Research in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in 1958;
    • Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart
    • Max Planck Institute of Oceanic Biology in Wilhelmshaven was renamed to Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology in 1968 and moved to Ladenburg 1977;
    • Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich merged into the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in 2004;
    • Max Planck Institute for Protein and Leather Research in Regensburg moved to Munich 1957 and was united with the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in 1977;
    • Max Planck Institute for Virus Research in Tübingen was renamed as Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in 1985;
    • Max Planck Institute for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World in Starnberg (from 1970 until 1981 (closed)) directed by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Jürgen Habermas.
    • Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology
    • Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology
    • Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law
    • Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics
    • Max Planck Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding

  • richardmitnick 9:26 pm on February 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Black Hole Spins Crookedly", Sky & Telescope   

    From Sky & Telescope : “Black Hole Spins Crookedly” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    Astronomers have found a black hole leaning decidedly askew in its orbit with a star.

    When a big star in a binary star system goes kablooey, the black hole it creates can stay hitched to the surviving star. Over time, gas from the secondary star can spill onto the black hole, skirting the black hole in a hot, fluffy tutu that fuels a pair of plasma jets.

    Generally, astronomers assume that objects paired this way spin like upright tops around each other: Both the stars’ interactions before the supernova and the flow of gas conspire to align the spins this way.

    But the X-ray binary MAXI J1820+070 bucks the trend. Reporting February 25th in Science. Juri Poutanen (University of Turku, Finland) and others find that the black hole in this system leans at least 40° from the axis of its orbit.

    Artist impression of the X-ray binary system MAXI J1820+070, which contains a black hole (tiny dot) surrounded by an accretion disk of material it’s stealing from a companion star. The jet along the black hole’s spin axis is strongly misaligned from the rotation axis of the binary’s orbit.
    Credit: Rob Hynes.

    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.
    Gabriel Pérez Díaz (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (ES))

    The team combined new and existing observations to take a close look at MAXI J1820+070. Using photometric and polarimetric data, the researchers teased apart the system’s light into three components: the star, the accretion disk, and an extra ultraviolet bit. This third component seems to be where the polarized light comes from. It’s not the jet, which would produce redder light than this, nor is it a hotspot in the disk, because there’s no indication that it changes periodically.

    The likely source, the team concludes, is either scattered light from the inner, hot part of the accretion disk or from surrounding dust, both of which would polarize the light parallel to the binary’s orbital plane. Thus, it can serve as a proxy for the plane’s orientation.

    The conundrum is that the inferred orientation is not the same as the black hole’s jet, which should shoot out along the black hole’s spin axis. A range of angles is possible, but most likely what we have here is a black hole whose spin axis is tilted at least 40°. The misalignment would twist and warp the disk, reorienting the innermost parts.

    This isn’t the first time astronomers have seen hints of misalignment, but it’s the first to use this “ingenious technique” and perhaps the largest offset angle yet reported, Ferdinando Patat (The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral][Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL)) and Michela Mapelli (University of Padova, Italy) write in a perspective piece in the same Science issue. The misalignment likely indicates that the supernova that created the black hole exploded in such a way as to tilt the resulting black hole’s spin axis — although if the two stars paired up after their formation, then their spins and orbit wouldn’t have to align.

    The remaining star is too small to make a black hole: It’s only half the Sun’s mass. But the result does make one wonder about the spins of black holes caught colliding with gravitational-wave detectors. One-third of those binaries show hints of misaligned spins, which researchers have often interpreted as evidence that the black holes paired up in dense environments, instead of being born together. Might that assumption need a larger caveat?

    See the full article here .


    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 5:12 pm on February 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Protostar Companions in Orion", , , , Sky & Telescope,   

    From ALMA [The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array] (CL) via The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (US) and Sky & Telescope : “Protostar Companions in Orion” 

    From ALMA [The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array] (CL)


    NRAO Banner

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (US)


    Sky & Telescope

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

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

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

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

    Amy C. Oliver
    Public Information & News Manager
    National Radio Astronomical Observatory (NRAO), USA
    Phone: +1 434 242 9584
    Email: aoliver@nrao.edu

    How are stars born? One of the best places to test ideas about stellar birth is in Orion.

    Many mature stars have stellar companions, living out their lives in close-knit clusters or swinging through space in binary pairs. This suggests that most stars form in small groups, but the onset of star formation has long been difficult to study. Now, astronomers have turned arrays of sensitive radio telescopes toward one of the most active star-forming regions in the Milky Way to investigate star formation at its earliest stages.

    Star Formation in Our Backyard

    When it comes to studying young stars, there’s no better place than the Orion molecular cloud complex: a network of active star-forming regions located just over a thousand light-years away. The Orion molecular clouds contain hundreds of protostars still siphoning gas from their nascent nebulae, making it a perfect arena for studying star formation.

    Visible-light image of the constellation Orion and the Orion nebula — located below the three stars of the “belt” — which is part of the Orion molecular cloud complex via Wikipedia.

    The two leading theories for how stars form are disk fragmentation and turbulent fragmentation. The disk fragmentation theory suggests that a rotating disk of star-forming material can splinter into multiple stars. The turbulent fragmentation theory posits that small fluctuations within a dense clump of gas can ripple outward and induce a gas cloud to collapse. Key to distinguishing between these hypotheses are their length scales; disk fragmentation is thought to produce stars separated by roughly 100 au, while turbulent fragmentation likely generates more widely separated companions.

    A First Look at New Stars

    Studying star formation at small spatial scales is challenging, because short-wavelength light emitted by young stars is heavily obscured by gas and dust, and long-wavelength observations are inherently lower in resolution. Luckily, the advent of radio telescope arrays has increased the achievable resolution of radio images and allowed astronomers to probe smaller scales than ever before. A team led by John Tobin (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Array (VLA) to investigate stellar companionship in the Orion molecular clouds at the earliest stages of star formation — and to explore what these findings mean for how stars form.

    Example of observations from ALMA (left) and the VLA (right) of a young protostellar system.
    Adapted from Tobin et al. / The Astrophysical Journal 2022.

    Tobin and collaborators surveyed 328 protostars in the Orion molecular clouds, including 94 in the earliest phase of protostar evolution. The team used an iterative algorithm to search for protostars with companions within 20–10,000 au. (For context, if the Sun had a companion at 10,000 au, it would be located in our solar system’s Oort cloud.) The authors found that roughly 30% of all systems surveyed contained multiple stars, with binary systems being more common than triple- or quadruple-star systems.

    Competing Creation Scenarios

    Separation distribution for multiple-star systems containing the youngest (Class 0) protostars. The dotted curve approximates the distribution for Sun-like stars in the field.
    Adapted from Tobin et al. / The Astrophysical Journal 2022.

    The authors noted that the companion separation distribution for the youngest protostars has two peaks — one around 100 au and another around 3,000 au. This suggests that multiple formation mechanisms are at play in these systems; stars that form at large (>500 au) separations via turbulent fragmentation can migrate inward over time, but comparisons with simulations suggest that there are more close-in protostellar companions than can be accounted for by this migration.

    The team concluded that more than half of all companions within 500 au likely formed through disk fragmentation, while those at larger separations likely only formed due to turbulent fragmentation. Hopefully, future studies of this rich protostar data set will reveal even more insights about star formation!

    Science paper:
    The Astrophysical Journal

    See the full article here.
    [Note: This is not officially an ALMA article. This is a Sky and Telescope article leaning on the NRAO. If there is an official ALMA article there will be a separate post.]


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

    NRAO Small
    ESO 50 Large

    ALMA is a time machine!

    ALMA-In Search of our Cosmic Origins

  • richardmitnick 4:53 pm on February 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How Galaxies Lose Their Dark Matter", , Ground based Telescopic Lens Optical Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, , , The unusual ultra-diffuse galaxy NGC 1052–DF2   

    From Sky & Telescope : “How Galaxies Lose Their Dark Matter” 

    From Sky & Telescope

    February 14, 2022
    Govert Schilling

    A careful study of cosmological simulations shows that Dark Matter–less galaxies aren’t impossible — just really rare.

    The hazy blob at the center of this Hubble image is the unusual ultra-diffuse galaxy NGC 1052–DF2, a galaxy missing most — if not all — of its Dark Matter.
    The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US) / The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) / P. van Dokkum (Yale University)

    It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

    The discovery of weird galaxies almost devoid of Dark Matter had astronomers worried that something might be wrong with their popular theories of the universe. But new supercomputer simulations reveal that such galaxies, although rare, are actually a natural outcome of the celebrated cosmological concordance model.

    “We show that the standard paradigm naturally produces galaxies lacking Dark Matter,” writes a team led by Jorge Moreno (Pomona College) in today’s Nature Astronomy.

    According to the successful ΛCDM model, the evolution of the universe is dominated by mysterious Dark Energy (denoted by the Greek capital lambda, Λ), and by equally puzzling cold Dark Matter (CDM).

    By this model, each and every glittering galaxy formed around an initial utterly invisible concentration of Dark Matter particles, vastly outweighing “normal” matter in the form of atoms.

    So when the Dragonfly Telephoto Array in New Mexico hit upon two ultra-diffuse galaxies (DF2 and DF4), whose stellar motions hinted they had almost no Dark Matter at all, astronomers were stupefied.

    It was as if biologists had discovered a new mammal without a skeleton, contradicting evolutionary theory.

    However, new numerical simulations based on the ΛCDM model do reproduce a number of galaxies with similar properties to DF2 and DF4. “We note that we did not expect this to occur a priori (that is, our simulation was not originally designed for this purpose),” the researchers write.

    Moreno and his colleagues (including co-discoverer of DF2 and DF4, Shany Danieli of Princeton University) used a meticulous galaxy-identification technique to study the outcome of a cosmological simulation that mimics the evolution of the real universe. In a volume of some 350,000 cubic light-years, they identified seven small Dark Matter–deficient galaxies, which they named Bird, Blue, Deer, Long Hair, Paint, Wild Potato, and Wolf, after the seven clans of the Cherokee Native Americans. These galaxies also contain little gas.

    All seven are located a few hundred thousand light-years from the cores of enveloping dark matter halos around much more massive central galaxies or galaxy groups.

    Wolf, in particular, is almost identical to DF2 and DF4 in terms of size, shape, stellar mass, Dark Matter content, and velocity distribution.

    So how did these small galaxies lose most of their Dark Matter (and gas) while retaining their stars? The team speculates that multiple close passes by their host galaxies are to blame. The satellite galaxies probably started out much more massive, but while they lost “only” 45–97% of their stars and gas, tidal interactions robbed them of 97.9 to 99.99% of their Dark Matter.

    Dark Matter particles might be more susceptible to loss because they move on more eccentric orbits: they don’t interact through any other force than gravity, making it harder for the orbits to circularize over time. For this selective tidal stripping to happen, the satellite has to pass right through the stellar body of the host.

    Interestingly, DF2 and DF4 are also close to a massive host galaxy, NGC 1052; however, astronomers can’t be sure whether they’ve experienced multiple close encounters in the past.
    “It’s a very interesting result,” comments Tom Oosterloo (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy [Nederlands Instituut Voor Radioastronomie](ASTRON)(NL) ). There have been heated discussions about the discovery of Dark Matter–deficient galaxies and the implications for the ΛCDM model, he says, “but this paper shows that it is possible for them to exist, although they are apparently quite rare.”

    Last December, Oosterloo and his colleagues announced the discovery of yet another dark matter–deficient ultra-diffuse galaxy, AGC 114905, which they observed in detail with the Very Large Array radio interferometer in New Mexico.

    However, that galaxy is different from DF2 and DF4: It’s isolated, and while it appears to be almost devoid of Dark Matter, it contains a substantial amount of gas.

    Moreno and his colleagues are planning to study this kind of gas-rich, dark matter–poor galaxies in a future study. “I very much look forward to that,” says Oosterloo. “Also, I’d love to see a somewhat more quantitative analysis of their interaction scenario.”

    Meanwhile, the team expects that more Dark Matter–poor satellite galaxies will be found in the future. Based on their simulations, they predict that a third of massive host galaxies — with a stellar mass of more than a hundred billion Suns, like the Milky Way — are accompanied by at least one Dark Matter–deficient satellite.

    Dark Matter Background
    Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter in the 1930s when observing the movement of the Coma Cluster., Vera Rubin a Woman in STEM, denied the Nobel, some 30 years later, did most of the work on Dark Matter.

    Fritz Zwicky.
    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble, the original example of Dark Matter discovered during observations by Fritz Zwicky and confirmed 30 years later by Vera Rubin.
    In modern times, it was astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in the 1930s, who made the first observations of what we now call dark matter. His 1933 observations of the Coma Cluster of galaxies seemed to indicated it has a mass 500 times more than that previously calculated by Edwin Hubble. Furthermore, this extra mass seemed to be completely invisible. Although Zwicky’s observations were initially met with much skepticism, they were later confirmed by other groups of astronomers.

    Thirty years later, astronomer Vera Rubin provided a huge piece of evidence for the existence of dark matter. She discovered that the centers of galaxies rotate at the same speed as their extremities, whereas, of course, they should rotate faster. Think of a vinyl LP on a record deck: its center rotates faster than its edge. That’s what logic dictates we should see in galaxies too. But we do not. The only way to explain this is if the whole galaxy is only the center of some much larger structure, as if it is only the label on the LP so to speak, causing the galaxy to have a consistent rotation speed from center to edge.

    Vera Rubin, following Zwicky, postulated that the missing structure in galaxies is dark matter. Her ideas were met with much resistance from the astronomical community, but her observations have been confirmed and are seen today as pivotal proof of the existence of dark matter.
    Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965, worked on Dark Matter (The Carnegie Institution for Science).

    Vera Rubin, with Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) image tube spectrograph attached to the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope, 1970.

    Vera Rubin measuring spectra, worked on Dark Matter(Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL).
    Dark Matter Research

    Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search from DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (US) at Stanford University (US) at SNOLAB (Vale Inco Mine, Sudbury, Canada).

    LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) xenon detector at Sanford Underground Research Facility(US) Credit: Matt Kapust.

    Lamda Cold Dark Matter Accerated Expansion of The universe http scinotions.com the-cosmic-inflation-suggests-the-existence-of-parallel-universes. Credit: Alex Mittelmann.

    DAMA at Gran Sasso uses sodium iodide housed in copper to hunt for dark matter LNGS-INFN.

    Yale HAYSTAC axion dark matter experiment at Yale’s Wright Lab.

    DEAP Dark Matter detector, The DEAP-3600, suspended in the SNOLAB (CA) deep in Sudbury’s Creighton Mine.

    The LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) Dark Matter project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA.

    DAMA-LIBRA Dark Matter experiment at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN’s) Gran Sasso National Laboratories (LNGS) located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy.

    DARWIN Dark Matter experiment. A design study for a next-generation, multi-ton dark matter detector in Europe at The University of Zurich [Universität Zürich](CH).

    PandaX II Dark Matter experiment at Jin-ping Underground Laboratory (CJPL) in Sichuan, China.

    Inside the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment U Washington (US) Credit : Mark Stone U. of Washington. Axion Dark Matter Experiment.

    See the full article here .

    See also the blog post on this topic from UC Irvine here .


    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 6:52 pm on January 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Are These the Most Distant Galaxies Yet Seen?", , , , , Sky & Telescope,   

    From The University of Tokyo [(東京大学](JP) via Sky & Telescope: “Are These the Most Distant Galaxies Yet Seen?” 

    From The University of Tokyo [(東京大学](JP)


    Sky & Telescope

    January 26, 2022
    Camille M. Carlisle

    Two fuzzy red objects in the early universe may be galaxies shining at us from only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

    These composite near-infrared images show HD1 and HD2 (red objects), two galaxies in the early universe. They may be the earliest galaxies yet detected. Credit: Y. Harikane et al.

    Astronomers may have found the most distant galaxies ever seen. In two papers posted to The Astrophysical Journal and MNRAS Letters, Yuichi Harikane (University of Tokyo) and an international team report the detection of two sources that appear to blaze at us from a mere 330 million years after the Big Bang. In astronomers’ lingo, that corresponds to a redshift of 13. The studies have been submitted for publication but are not yet peer-reviewed.

    Observers have previously found a handful of galaxies in the universe’s first few hundred million years. The current recordholder with a secure measurement is GN-z11, announced by Pascal Oesch (now at The University of Geneva[Université de Genève](CH)) and others in 2016. GN-z11’s redshift is about 11, meaning we see it as it was 420 million years after the origin of the observable universe. Other, less definitive finds suggest galaxies around this time had fairly mature stars, implying stars first lit up within the universe’s first 300 million years.

    Even if the two new galaxies prove to lie as far away (and thus, as early) as they appear to, they likely are not from the population of first galaxies, Harikane says. Based on their brightness, the galaxies may contain at least 1 billion solar masses in stars — similar to the Magellanic Cloud dwarf galaxies, and too hefty to be the first generation. “We think that they evolved from smaller galaxies,” he says.

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

    smc Small Magellanic Cloud. 10 November 2005. NASA/ESA Hubble and DSS 2.

    Finding the First Galaxies

    The first galaxies set the cosmic stage. Their stars created heavier elements (such as carbon and oxygen) than the simplest atoms made in the primordial inferno, and their black holes grew to be the behemoths we see today in the hearts of nearly every massive galaxy.

    These supermassive black holes present a mystery. Scientists have spotted them as far back as 1 billion years post–Big Bang, but those early examples are far larger than expected — easily a billion times the mass of the Sun. It’s hard to explain how such gargantuas came together within a measly billion years. Finding the first galaxies (and their black holes) and figuring out what they were like when they formed will help astronomers solve this conundrum.

    With these points in mind, Harikane’s team went looking for early galaxies in archival images from a combination of ground- and space-based telescopes, covering visible and infrared wavelengths. They hunted for galaxies detected at the longest, reddest wavelengths but invisible at shorter ones. That’s because photons with short, blueward wavelengths (specifically, those shorter than 91.2 nanometers) are easily absorbed by neutral hydrogen, either within a galaxy or in clouds lying between us and it. This creates what’s called the Lyman break in a galaxy’s spectrum. As the universe expands, the galaxy becomes more distant and its light stretches to redder and redder wavelengths, and this spectral marker in its light shifts redward. The light that does make it to us from the galaxy is all redward of the break, telling us approximately how much the light has redshifted and thus how far back in cosmic time we’re looking.

    After scouring the images with both computers and eyes, the team found two candidates, called HD1 and HD2. Astronomers actually already knew of HD1 but had cataloged it as a much closer galaxy.

    The team next looked at HD1 with the ALMA radio telescope in Chile, to see if they could measure the object’s precise redshift, thereby confirming that the dropout technique had really turned up early galaxies.

    European Southern Observatory/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP) ALMA Observatory (CL).

    ALMA detected a hint of a strongly redshifted line from ionized oxygen. If real, then that ionized oxygen confirms that HD1 has a redshift of 13.27 — and bingo, we have the earliest galaxy yet seen. But if that spectral line is not what it seems, then HD1 and HD2 might lie more than a billion years later in cosmic history.

    “These sources are very intriguing, but I am not yet 100% convinced about their extremely high-redshift nature,” Oesch says, lamenting the inconclusive ALMA detection.

    Surprisingly Bright

    The two galaxies are brighter than expected for normal star-forming galaxies, as are some other candidates found in this era, including GN-z11. In a companion paper [MNRAS Letters] to the one announcing the discovery, Fabio Pacucci (Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian), Harikane, and their colleagues consider possible reasons for the puzzling luminosities.

    They suggest that a combination of rampant starbirth and a madly gobbling black hole might make both HD1 and HD2 surprisingly luminous. Prolific star formation or an overzealous black hole could each alone explain the radiation, but that’s a bit harder to accomplish.

    If researchers confirm that HD1 and HD2 are early galaxies, then these objects might be telling us that star formation was more efficient in the early universe. They could also shed light (pun intended) on how the first supermassive black holes formed and grew.

    But if they’re instead from a later cosmic era, then they would add to growing evidence that many galaxies have evaded detection because they’re shrouded in dust, which makes them too dim and red for, say, the Hubble Space Telescope to pick up.

    “Whatever the nature of these sources turns out to be, they are interesting,” Oesch says.

    Harikane and several collaborators have already secured time on the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope to take infrared spectra of HD1, HD2, and a third candidate. They estimate that JWST and other planned space telescopes could together discover more than 10,000 galaxies at this early epoch.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Tokyo [(東京大学](JP) aims to be a world-class platform for research and education, contributing to human knowledge in partnership with other leading global universities. The University of Tokyo aims to nurture global leaders with a strong sense of public responsibility and a pioneering spirit, possessing both deep specialism and broad knowledge. The University of Tokyo aims to expand the boundaries of human knowledge in partnership with society. Details about how the University is carrying out this mission can be found in the University of Tokyo Charter and the Action Plans.

    The university has ten faculties, 15 graduate schools and enrolls about 30,000 students, 2,100 of whom are international students. Its five campuses are in Hongō, Komaba, Kashiwa, Shirokane and Nakano. It is among the top echelon of the select Japanese universities assigned additional funding under the MEXT’s Top Global University Project to enhance Japan’s global educational competitiveness.

    University of Tokyo (Todai) is considered to be the most selective and prestigious university in Japan and is counted as one of the best universities in the world. As of 2018, University of Tokyo’s alumni, faculty members and researchers include seventeen Prime Ministers, sixteen Nobel Prize laureates, three Pritzker Prize laureates, three astronauts, and a Fields Medalist.

    The university was chartered by the Meiji government in 1877 under its current name by amalgamating older government schools for medicine, various traditional scholars and modern learning. It was renamed “the Imperial University [帝國大學; Teikoku daigaku]” in 1886, and then Tokyo Imperial University [東京帝國大學; Tōkyō teikoku daigaku] in 1897 when the Imperial University system was created. In September 1923, an earthquake and the following fires destroyed about 700,000 volumes of the Imperial University Library. The books lost included the Hoshino Library [星野文庫; Hoshino bunko], a collection of about 10,000 books. The books were the former possessions of Hoshino Hisashi before becoming part of the library of the university and were mainly about Chinese philosophy and history.

    In 1947 after Japan’s defeat in World War II it re-assumed its original name. With the start of the new university system in 1949, Todai swallowed up the former First Higher School (today’s Komaba campus) and the former Tokyo Higher School, which thenceforth assumed the duty of teaching first- and second-year undergraduates, while the faculties on Hongo main campus took care of third- and fourth-year students.

    Although the university was founded during the Meiji period, it has earlier roots in the Astronomy Agency (天文方; 1684), Shoheizaka Study Office (昌平坂学問所; 1797), and the Western Books Translation Agency (蕃書和解御用; 1811). These institutions were government offices established by the 徳川幕府 Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), and played an important role in the importation and translation of books from Europe.

    In the fall of 2012 and for the first time, the University of Tokyo started two undergraduate programs entirely taught in English and geared toward international students—Programs in English at Komaba (PEAK)—the International Program on Japan in East Asia and the International Program on Environmental Sciences. In 2014, the School of Science at the University of Tokyo introduced an all-English undergraduate transfer program called Global Science Course (GSC).


    The University of Tokyo is considered a top research institution of Japan. It receives the largest amount of national grants for research institutions, Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, receiving 40% more than the University with 2nd largest grants and 90% more than the University with 3rd largest grants. This massive financial investment from the Japanese government directly affects Todai’s research outcomes. According to Thomson Reuters, Todai is the best research university in Japan. Its research excellence is especially distinctive in Physics (1st in Japan, 2nd in the world); Biology & Biochemistry (1st in Japan, 3rd in the world); Pharmacology & Toxicology (1st in Japan, 5th in the world); Materials Science (3rd in Japan, 19th in the world); Chemistry (2nd in Japan, 5th in the world); and Immunology (2nd in Japan, 20th in the world).

    In another ranking, Nikkei Shimbun on 16 February 2004 surveyed about the research standards in Engineering studies based on Thomson Reuters, Grants in Aid for Scientific Research and questionnaires to heads of 93 leading Japanese Research Centers. Todai was placed 4th (research planning ability 3rd/informative ability of research outcome; 10th/ability of business-academia collaboration 3rd) in this ranking. Weekly Diamond also reported that Todai has the 3rd highest research standard in Japan in terms of research fundings per researchers in COE Program. In the same article, it is also ranked 21st in terms of the quality of education by GP funds per student.

    Todai also has been recognized for its research in the social sciences and humanities. In January 2011, Repec ranked Todai’s Economics department as Japan’s best economics research university. And it is the only Japanese university within world top 100. Todai has produced 9 presidents of the Japanese Economic Association, the largest number in the association. Asahi Shimbun summarized the number of academic papers in Japanese major legal journals by university, and Todai was ranked top during 2005–2009.

    Research institutes

    Institute of Medical Science
    Earthquake Research Institute
    Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia
    Institute of Social Science
    Institute of Industrial Science
    Historiographical Institute
    Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
    Institute for Cosmic Ray Research
    Institute for Solid State Physics
    Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
    Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology

    The University’s School of Science and the Earthquake Research Institute are both represented on the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.

  • 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” 


    From The Montana State University (US)


    Sky & Telescope

    January 11, 2022
    Govert Schilling

    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.

    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.

    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.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    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.


    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


    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.

    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.

    The Hubble Constant

    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.

    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 .


    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)



    SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (NL)


    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.

    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.

    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.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    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.

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