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  • richardmitnick 10:52 pm on October 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A possible source of gas for the enormous Magellanic Stream that encircles the Milky Way, ASKAP is unrivalled in the world for this kind of research due to its unique radio receivers that give it a panoramic view of the sky, Astronomers expect the SMC will ultimately be gobbled up by our own Milky Way, Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope array, , Dying, not waving: nearby dwarf galaxy running out of gas, Small Magellanic Cloud   

    From CSIROscope: “Dying, not waving: nearby dwarf galaxy running out of gas” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    30 October 2018
    Nicholas Kachel

    1
    A radio image of hydrogen gas in the Small Magellanic Cloud as observed by CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope. Image credit: Naomi McClure-Griffiths et al, CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope.

    Even though it’s on an astronomical timeline, a close intergalactic neighbour of ours known as the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is slowly dying.

    The SMC (named after famous Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan) is about 200,000 light years away, and is one of the furthest objects viewable in our skies with the naked eye. Astronomers from the Australian National University (ANU) and our own team have used our powerful Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope array to capture images of the dwarf galaxy, observing a powerful outflowing of hydrogen gas from it.

    Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe, and is the main ingredient of stars. But for every Sun sized star that the SMC makes, it loses up to 10 times that amount of this star-forming gas due to its (comparatively) weaker gravitational fields. If the SMC loses all its hydrogen it will eventually lose its ability to create new stars, slowly but surely fading into oblivion.

    Thankfully, we’re not talking a Macauley Caulkin post-Richie Rich timeline here: astronomers say the process will take billions of years.

    And it’s not all doom and gloom. This observation has helped confirm simulations developed by theorists on how small galaxies like the SMC might evolve.

    Lead researcher Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths from ANU said the discovery, which is part of a project that investigates the evolution of galaxies, provided the first clear observational measurement of the amount of mass lost from a dwarf galaxy.

    “The result is also important because it provides a possible source of gas for the enormous Magellanic Stream that encircles the Milky Way,” she said.

    CSIRO co-researcher Dr David McConnell said ASKAP was unrivalled in the world for this kind of research due to its unique radio receivers that give it a panoramic view of the sky.

    “The telescope covered the entire SMC galaxy in a single shot and photographed its hydrogen gas with unprecedented detail,” he said.

    Astronomers expect the SMC will ultimately be gobbled up by our own Milky Way.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

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

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

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

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

    CSIRO campus

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on May 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Australia Telescope Compact Array at the Paul Wild Observatory in New South Wales Australia, , , , , Small Magellanic Cloud, ,   

    From University of Toronto Dunlap Institute for Astronomy: “Mapping the Magnetic Bridge Between Our Nearest Galactic Neighbours” May 11 2017 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    Dunlap Institute bloc
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics

    May 11 2017 [just now in social media.]

    Jane Kaczmarek
    School of Physics
    University of Sydney
    e: jane.kaczmarek@sydney.edu.au

    Prof. Bryan Gaensler, Director
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto
    p: 416-978-6623
    e: bgaensler@dunlap.utoronto.ca
    w: dunlap.utoronto.ca

    Chris Sasaki
    Communications Co-ordinator
    Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
    University of Toronto
    p: 416-978-6613
    e: csasaki@dunlap.utoronto.ca
    w: dunlap.utoronto.ca

    For the first time, astronomers have detected a magnetic field associated with the Magellanic Bridge, the filament of gas stretching 75 thousand light-years between the Milky Way Galaxy’s nearest galactic neighbours: the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC, respectively).

    Magellanic Bridge ESA_Gaia satellite. Image credit V. Belokurov D. Erkal A. Mellinger.

    ESA/GAIA satellite

    2
    The Large (centre left) and Small (centre right) Magellanic Clouds are seen in the sky above a radio telescope that is part of the Australia Telescope Compact Array at the Paul Wild Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. Image: Mike Salway

    CSIRO ATCA at the Paul Wild Observatory, about 25 km west of the town of Narrabri in rural NSW about 500 km north-west of Sydney, AU

    Visible in the southern night sky, the LMC and SMC are dwarf galaxies that orbit our home galaxy and lie at a distance of 160 and 200 thousand light-years from Earth respectively.

    Small Magellanic Cloud. NASA/ESA Hubble and ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

    Large Magellanic Cloud. Adrian Pingstone December 2003

    “There were hints that this magnetic field might exist, but no one had observed it until now,” says Jane Kaczmarek, a PhD student in the School of Physics, University of Sydney, and lead author of the paper describing the finding.

    Such cosmic magnetic fields can only be detected indirectly, and this detection was made by observing the radio signals from hundreds of very distant galaxies that lie beyond the LMC and SMC. The observations were made with the Australia Telescope Compact Array radio telescope at the Paul Wild Observatory in New South Wales, Australia.

    “The radio emission from the distant galaxies served as background ‘flashlights’ that shine through the Bridge,” says Kaczmarek. “Its magnetic field then changes the polarization of the radio signal. How the polarized light is changed tells us about the intervening magnetic field.”

    A radio signal, like a light wave, oscillates or vibrates in a single direction or plane; for example, waves on the surface of a pond move up and down. When a radio signal passes through a magnetic field, the plane is rotated. This phenomenon is known as Faraday Rotation and it allows astronomers to measure the strength and the polarity—or direction—of the field.

    The observation of the magnetic field, which is one millionth the strength of the Earth’s, may provide insight into whether it was generated from within the Bridge after the structure formed, or was “ripped” from the dwarf galaxies when they interacted and formed the structure.

    “In general, we don’t know how such vast magnetic fields are generated, nor how these large-scale magnetic fields affect galaxy formation and evolution,” says Kaczmarek. “The LMC and SMC are our nearest neighbours, so understanding how they evolve may help us understand how our Milky Way Galaxy will evolve.”

    “Understanding the role that magnetic fields play in the evolution of galaxies and their environment is a fundamental question in astronomy that remains to be answered.”

    The paper is one of a growing number of new results that are building a map of the Universe’s magnetism. According to Prof. Bryan Gaensler, Director of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto, and a co-author on the paper, “Not only are entire galaxies magnetic, but the faint delicate threads joining galaxies are magnetic, too. Everywhere we look in the sky, we find magnetism.”

    The paper appeared in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    U Toronto Campus

    The Dunlap Institute is committed to sharing astronomical discovery with the public. Through lectures, the web, social and new media, an interactive planetarium, and major events like the Toronto Science Festival, we are helping to answer the public’s questions about the Universe.
    Our work is greatly enhanced through collaborations with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, David Dunlap Observatory, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Toronto Public Library, and many other partners.

    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in depth and breadth on any other Canadian campus.

    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in depth and breadth on any other Canadian campus.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:21 pm on December 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Small Magellanic Cloud   

    From ANU: “Astronomers create most detailed radio image of nearby dwarf galaxy” 

    ANU Australian National University Bloc

    Australian National University

    28 November 2017

    Will Wright
    +61 2 6125 7979
    media@anu.edu.au

    New imaging hints at a violent past and a fatal future for the Small Magellanic cloud. COSMOS

    1
    The new radio image of the Small Magellanic Cloud. ANU/CSIRO

    Astronomers at ANU have created the most detailed radio image of nearby dwarf galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud, revealing secrets of how it formed and how it is likely to evolve.

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

    This image was taken by CSIRO’s powerful new radio telescope, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and its innovative radio camera technology, known as phased array feeds.

    SKA ASKAP Phased Array

    The Small Magellanic Cloud, which is a tiny fraction of the size and mass of the Milky Way, is one of our nearest galactic neighbours and visible to the naked eye in the southern sky.

    Small Magellanic Cloud. NASA/ESA Hubble and ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

    Co-lead researcher Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths said the complex structure of the dwarf galaxy likely resulted, in part, from interactions with its companion, the Large Magellanic Cloud, and the Milky Way.

    Large Magellanic Cloud. Adrian Pingstone December 2003

    “The new image captured by CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope reveals more gas around the edges of the galaxy, indicating a very dynamic past for the Small Magellanic Cloud,” said Professor McClure-Griffiths from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

    “These features are more than three times smaller than we were able to see before and allow us to probe the detailed interaction of the small galaxy and its environment.”

    Professor McClure-Griffiths said distortions to the Small Magellanic Cloud occurred because of its interactions with the larger galaxies and because of its own star explosions that push gas out of the galaxy.

    “The outlook for this dwarf galaxy is not good, as it’s likely to eventually be gobbled up by our Milky Way,” she said.

    “Together, the Magellanic Clouds are characterised by their distorted structures, a bridge of material that connects them, and an enormous stream of hydrogen gas that trails behind their orbit – a bit like a comet.”

    Magellanic Bridge ESA_Gaia satellite. Image credit V. Belokurov D. Erkal A. Mellinger.

    The Small Magellanic Cloud has been studied extensively in the past few years by infrared telescopes such as NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and ESA’s Herschel telescope, which study the dust and stars within the galaxy.

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope

    ESA/Herschel spacecraft

    “The new radio image finally reaches the same level of detail as those infrared images, but on a very different component of the galaxy’s make-up: its hydrogen gas,” Professor McClure-Griffiths said.

    “Hydrogen is the fundamental building block of all galaxies and shows off the more extended structure of a galaxy than its stars and dust.”

    CSIRO spokesperson, Dr Philip Edwards, said: “This stunning image showcases the wide field of view of the ASKAP telescope, and augurs well for when the full array will come on-line next year.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    ANU Campus

    ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

    Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:41 am on November 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Small Magellanic Cloud   

    From CSIROscope: “ASKAP helps us see more of our intergalatic neighbour” 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIROscope

    29 November 2017
    Gabby Russell

    1
    Atomic hydrogen gas in the Small Magellanic Cloud as imaged with our Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder. The Small Magellanic Cloud, located only 200,000 light-years away, is one of our nearest galactic neighbours and visible to the naked eye in the Southern sky. Credit: N. McClure-Griffiths (ANU), H. Denes (CSIRO), J. Dickey (UTas) and the ACES and GASKAP teams.

    Small Magellanic Cloud. NASA/ESA Hubble and ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    The galaxy sweet galaxy that we call home, the Milky Way, is comprised of around 200 to 400 billion stars. A dwarf galaxy, on the other hand, is one that has around 100 million up to several billion stars. In fact, one of our closest neighbours is a dwarf galaxy – the Small Magellanic Cloud – and our new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope has just made the most detailed radio image of it yet.

    The Small Magellanic Cloud is a hundred times smaller than the Milky Way and orbits our Galaxy once every 1.5 billion years. You can see it with your own eyes if you are away from city lights, it looks like a faint cloud among the Milky Way’s stars.

    Unlike optical telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope that collect visible light, radio telescopes use radio waves to form a picture and reveal otherwise hidden details in space.

    This new image was snapped using ASKAP’s fast-imaging ‘radio cameras’ known as phased array feeds. It reveals the galaxy’s vibrant history, including streams of hydrogen gas reeled in by the gravitational pull of our own Milky Way galaxy and billowing voids generated by massive stars that exploded millions of years ago.

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


    Our ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.

    Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, who jointly led the work with Professor John Dickey of the University of Tasmania, says the new image shows that the Small Magellanic Cloud’s very dynamic past can be used to predict its future.

    “Hydrogen is the fundamental building block of all galaxies and shows off the more extended structure of a galaxy than its stars and dust.”

    “The outlook for this dwarf galaxy is not good, as it’s likely to eventually be gobbled up by our Milky Way,” she said.

    The previous ‘best’ radio image of the Small Magellanic Cloud was made with another of our telescopes, the Australia Telescope Compact Array. That telescope had to be pointed in 320 different places across the face of the galaxy over eight nights.

    CSIRO ATCA at the Paul Wild Observatory, about 25 km west of the town of Narrabri in rural NSW about 500 km north-west of Sydney, AU

    By contrast, this new image was made in one shot – over three nights – using only 16 of ASKAP’s 36 receivers. The result covers a larger area of the sky than previously achieved, revealing more of the outer parts of the Small Magellanic Cloud. Data from our Parkes radio telescope was also added to pick up faint details.

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    So the new image is bigger, has finer detail, and is more sensitive than previous radio images of the Small Magellanic Cloud.

    According to Dr Phil Edwards, leader of our astronomy science program, this is just a taste of what’s to come. “This stunning new image showcases the wide field-of-view of the ASKAP telescope. The depth of our images will only get better when the full array comes online next year.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

    CSIRO campus

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

     
  • richardmitnick 2:03 pm on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Small Magellanic Cloud,   

    From Universe Today: “Enjoy The Biggest Infrared Image Ever Taken Of The Small Magellanic Cloud Without All That Pesky Dust In The Way” 

    universe-today

    Universe Today

    4 May 2017
    Evan Gough

    1
    The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) galaxy. Credit: ESA/VISTA

    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is one of the Milky Way’s nearest companions (along with the Large Magellanic Cloud.) It’s visible with the naked eye in the southern hemisphere. A new image from the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) has peered through the clouds that obscure it and given us our biggest image ever of the dwarf galaxy.

    The SMC contains several hundred million stars, is about 7,000 light years in diameter, and is about 200,000 light years away. It’s one of the most distant objects that we can see with the naked eye, and can only be seen from the southern hemisphere (and the lowest latitudes of the northern hemisphere.)

    The SMC is a great target for studying how stars form because it’s so close to Earth, relatively speaking. But the problem is, its detail is obscured by clouds of interstellar gas and dust. So an optical survey of the Cloud is difficult.

    But the ESO’s VISTA instrument is ideal for the task. VISTA is a near-infrared telescope, and infrared light is not blocked by the dust. VISTA was built at the ESO’s Paranal Observatory, in the Atacama Desert in Chile where it enjoys fantastic observing conditions. VISTA was designed to perform several surveys, including the Vista Magellanic Survey.

    The VISTA Magellanic Survey is focused on 3 main objectives:

    The study of stellar populations in the Magellanic Clouds
    The history of star formation in the Magellanic Clouds
    The three-dimensional structure of the Magellanic Clouds

    An international team led by Stefano Rubele of the University of Padova has studied this image, and their work has produced some surprising results. VISTA has shown us that most of the stars in this image are much younger than stars in other neighbouring galaxies. It’s also shown us that the SMC’s morphology is that of a warped disc. These are only early results, and there’s much more work to be done analyzing the VISTA image.

    4
    VISTA inside its enclosure at Paranal. VISTA has a 4.1 meter mirror, and its job is to survey large sections of the sky at once. In the background is the ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Image: G. Hüdepohl (atacamaphoto.com)/ESO

    The team presented their research in a paper titled “The VMC survey – XIV. First results on the look-back time star formation rate tomography of the Small Magellanic Cloud“, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    As the authors say in their paper, the SMC is a great target for study because of its “rich population of star clusters, associations, stellar pulsators, primary distance indicators, and stars in shortlived evolutionary stages.” In a way, we’re fortunate to have the SMC so close. But studying the SMC was difficult, until the VISTA came online with its infrared capabilities.

    VISTA saw first light on December 11th, 2009. It’s time is devoted to systematic surveys of the sky. In its first five years, it has undertaken large surveys of the entire southern sky, and also studied small patches of the sky to discern extremely faint objects. The leading image in this article is from the Vista Magellanic Survey, a survey covering 184 square degrees of the sky, taking in both the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Large Magellanic Cloud, and their environment.

    Source: VISTA Peeks Through the Small Magellanic Cloud’s Dusty Veil [ On sciencesprings 5/3/17 https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/from-eso-vista-peeks-through-the-small-magellanic-clouds-dusty-veil/%5D

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

     
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