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  • richardmitnick 9:01 am on September 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Delta Cephei helps measure cosmic distances", , , , , Space based Astronomy   

    From EarthSky : “Delta Cephei helps measure cosmic distances” 

    1

    From EarthSky

    September 24, 2021

    Bruce McClure
    Shireen Gonzaga

    1
    Like lights in a dark tunnel, stars in the distant universe are fainter as they’re located farther away. But stars like Delta Cephei pulsate at a rate always correlated to their intrinsic brightnesses. So they reveal their own true distances. Image via The Last Word on Nothing.

    Delta Cephei is a pulsating star

    Delta Cephei, in the constellation Cepheus the King, is a variable star that changes in brightness with clocklike precision. It doubles in brightness and fades back to minimum brightness every 5.366 days. With careful observation under a dark sky, you can see this star change in brightness over several days. This star, and others like it, are important players in establishing the distance scale of our galaxy … and our universe.

    Delta Cephei itself looms large in the history of astronomy. An entire class of supergiant stars – called Cepheid variables – is named in this star’s honor.

    Cepheid variable stars, also called Cepheids, dependably change their brightnesses over regular intervals ranging from a few days to a few weeks. In 1912, astronomer Henrietta Leavitt discovered that the star’s periodic change in brightness was directly related to its intrinsic brightness (or actual luminosity). She found that the longer the brightness pulsation cycle, the greater the intrinsic brightness of the star. This Cepheid period-luminosity relationship is now sometimes called the Leavitt law.

    Why are these stars varying in brightness? It’s thought that these stars vary because they expand (get brighter) and then contract (get fainter) in a regular way.

    Cepheids help measure cosmic distances

    The regularity of Cepheids’ brightening and dimming is a powerful tool in astronomy. It lets astronomers probe distances across vast space. You might know that the surest way to measure star distances is via stellar parallax. But, for the parallax method to work, the stars have to be relatively nearby (within about 1000 light-years). Luckily, in recent years, astronomers have been able to make direct parallax measurements of more distant stars, thanks to space-based telescopes such as Gaia.

    Still, the problem remains. How can we find the distance to stars that are too faraway to give us a reliable distance measurement via parallax? Suppose you measured the distance to a nearby Cepheid star using the parallax method. Then suppose you watched its pulsations, which you know are correlated with the star’s intrinsic – real – brightness. Then you know both its distance and how bright the star looks at that distance. Armed with this information, you can then look farther out in the universe, toward more distant Cepheids, those too far for parallax measurements. You can measure the apparent brightness – which is fainter – and pulsation rate of such a star. With a few simple steps of math, you can then find the distance to it.

    The Cepheid variable stars are used to measure distances across space. For this reason, they’re known as standard candles by astronomers.

    In 1923, the astronomer Edwin Hubble used Cepheids to determine that the then-called Andromeda nebula is actually not a nebula but a giant galaxy lying beyond our Milky Way. It released us from the confines of a single galaxy and gave us the vast universe we know today. This work in understanding the size of the universe is sometimes called the cosmic distance ladder.

    The work continues today, not just with Cepheids but also with other astronomical objects and phenomena.

    Cepheids in other galaxies

    Distance determinations using Cepheids in other galaxies, as well as other techniques, is an active area of research in astronomy. Astronomers are constantly improving distance accuracies to further constrain the value of the Hubble Constant that indicates the expansion rate of the universe.

    Cepheids have been observed as far away as 100 million light-years in the galaxy NGC 4603, by the Hubble Space Telescope. However, measuring them at distances of 30 million light-years and farther is difficult because it’s hard to isolate Cepheids from their neighboring stars. At such distances, astronomers transition to other methods to determine distances, such as observing type 1a supernovae.

    How to spot Delta Cephei in the night sky

    The original Cepheid, Delta Cephei, is circumpolar – always above the horizon – in the northern half of the United States.

    Even so, Delta Cephei is much easier to see when it’s high in the northern sky on autumn and winter evenings. If you’re far enough north, you can find the constellation Cepheus by way of the Big Dipper. First, use the Big Dipper “pointer stars” to locate Polaris, the North Star. Then jump beyond Polaris by a fist-width to land on Cepheus.

    You’ll see the constellation Cepheus the King close to his wife, Cassiopeia the Queen, her signature W or M-shaped figure of stars making her the flashier of the two constellations. They’re high in your northern sky on November and December evenings.

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    A larger view of Cepheus, showing the Cepheid variable Delta Cepheid (in crosshairs) near two other stars, Zeta and Epsilon Cephei. Delta Cephei displays about a two-fold change in brightness (0.23 visual magnitudes) every 5.366 days, ranging from a visual magnitude of 3.48 at its brightest to 4.37 at its faintest. Zeta and Epsilon Cephei are useful comparison stars for noting changes in brightness of Delta Cephei from one night to the next. Zeta Cephei has a visual magnitude of 3.35, which is close to the maximum brightness of Delta Cephei. Epsilon Cephei has a visual magnitude of 4.15, which is close to the minimum brightness of Delta Cephei. Image via Stellarium.

    How to watch Delta Cephei vary in brightness

    The real answer to that question is: time and patience. But two stars lodging near Delta Cephei on the sky’s dome – Epsilon Cephei and Zeta Cephei – match the low and high ends of Delta Cephei’s brightness scale. That fact should help you watch Delta Cephei change.

    So look at the charts above, and locate the stars Epsilon and Zeta Cephei. At its faintest, Delta Cephei is as dim as the fainter star, Epsilon Cephei. At its brightest, Delta Cephei matches the brightness of the brighter star, Zeta Cephei.

    Have fun!

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    Astrophotographer Alan Dyer captured this image of Delta Cephei (center), with the Wizard Nebula on its left, and the nebula Sharpless 2-135 on its right. The orangish star on the far right is Zeta Cephei. Image via Alan Dyer / AmazingSky.com /Flickr. Used with permission.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.orgin 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:56 pm on September 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble Snapshot of "Molten Ring" Galaxy Prompts New Research", , In this case the galaxy's light has also been magnified by a factor of 20., Space based Astronomy, The object GAL-CLUS-022058s nicknamed the "Molten Ring" is located in the southern hemisphere constellation of Fornax (the Furnace).   

    From Hubblesite (US) : “Hubble Snapshot of “Molten Ring” Galaxy Prompts New Research” 

    From Hubblesite (US)

    September 23, 2021

    Credits:

    RELEASE:
    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/, The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).

    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Ray Villard

    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

    Bethany Downer
    ESA/Hubble.org

    SCIENCE CONTACT:

    Anastasio Díaz-Sánchez
    Polytechnic University of Cartagena [Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena] (ES)

    1
    About This Image
    Credits:
    AUTHOR: Anastasio Díaz-Sánchez (Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena)

    Summary:

    A Classic “Einstein Ring” Is Produced Through the Power of a Natural Lens in Space

    This Hubble picture exemplifies the fact that the universe is a vast stage for grand illusions. Albert Einstein realized this a century ago as he formulated his law of general relativity. Gravity, he said, warped space like stretching and twisting a rubber sheet. The consequences would be that images of distant objects would be magnified, brightened, and distorted into funhouse mirror views. This is because their light would be bent as it traveled across the invisible tapestry of space and occasionally passed through gravitational “potholes” formed by massing objects that got in the way of the light path to Earth. However, Einstein knew that seeing such illusions would require much more powerful future telescopes. Little might he have imagined Hubble’s treasure trove!

    Hubble was used to take a look at one of the most stunning manifestations of a so-called Einstein ring: a donut-like loop of light that is as eerie as it is striking. The object seen here is cataloged as GAL-CLUS-022058s. It is located in the southern hemisphere constellation of Fornax (the Furnace). The image was nicknamed the “Molten Ring.”

    The lensing effect, caused the gravity of an intervening foreground object, creates multiple images of the contents of the more distant galaxy, that are magnified and smeared into an arc. The galaxy is so far away, we see it as it looked over 9 billion years ago, when the universe was less than half its present age. This was a time when the universe was going through a “baby boom,” forming thousands of stars at a prolific rate. The magnified image of the galaxy gives astronomers a close-up glimpse into the distant past.
    ___________________________________________________
    Hubble Space Telescope’s glamour shots of the universe are so revealing they nearly always have a discovery behind them.

    In this particular snapshot, a science discovery followed the release of a Hubble observation of a striking example of a deep-space optical phenomenon dubbed an “Einstein ring.” The photo was released in December 2020 as an example of one of the largest, nearly complete Einstein rings ever seen.

    In this image, a remote galaxy is greatly magnified and distorted by the effects of gravitationally warped space. After its public release, astronomers used the picture to measure the galaxy’s distance of 9.4 billion light-years. This places the galaxy at the peak epoch of star formation in cosmic evolution.

    The extremely high rate of star formation in the brightest and very dusty early galaxies saw stars being born at a rate a thousand times faster than occurs within our own galaxy. This could help explain the rapid build-up of present day giant elliptical galaxies.

    This object’s unusual partial ring-like appearance can be explained by a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, which causes light shining from a faraway galaxy to be warped by the gravity of an object between its source and the observer.

    This effect was first theorized by Albert Einstein in 1912, and later worked into his theory of general relativity.

    In this case the galaxy’s light has also been magnified by a factor of 20. This magnification, boosted by mother nature, effectively made Hubble’s observing capability equivalent to that of a 48-meter-aperture telescope. The lensing effects also create multiple apparitions around the curved arc of the single background magnified galaxy.

    In order to derive the physical properties of the galaxy, astronomers had to precisely model the effects of the lensing on the galaxy’s image. “Such a model could only be obtained with the Hubble imaging,” explained the lead investigator Anastasio Díaz-Sánchez of the Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena in Spain. “In particular, Hubble helped us to identify the four duplicated images and the stellar clumps of the lensed galaxy.”

    The initial Hubble observation was first conducted by Saurabh Jha of Rutgers University (US). His team’s science goal was to use Hubble’s sharp image to reveal detailed complex structure in the ring arcs.

    The object GAL-CLUS-022058s is located in the southern hemisphere constellation of Fornax (the Furnace). The image was nicknamed the “Molten Ring” by Jha, which alludes to its appearance and host constellation.

    See the full article here.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and mission operations for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). STScI is located on The Johns Hopkins University (US) Homewood Campus in Baltimore, Maryland and was established in 1981 as a community-based science center that is operated for National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) by The Assocation of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)(US). In addition to performing continuing science operations of HST and preparing for scientific exploration with JWST, STScI manages and operates the NASA Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, the Kepler Mission Data Resources in the Exoplanet Archive – NASA and a number of other activities benefiting from its expertise in and infrastructure for supporting the operations of space-based astronomical observatories. Most of the funding for STScI activities comes from contracts with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US) but there are smaller activities funded by NASA’s Ames Research Center (US), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (US), and The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU). The staff at STScI consists of scientists (mostly astronomers and astrophysicists), spacecraft engineers, software engineers, data management personnel, education and public outreach experts, and administrative and business support personnel. There are approximately 100 Ph.D. scientists working at STScI, 15 of which are ESA staff who are on assignment to the HST project. The total STScI staff consists of about 850 people as of 2021.

    STScI operates its missions on behalf of NASA, the worldwide astronomy community, and to the benefit of the public. The science operations activities directly serve the astronomy community, primarily in the form of HST, and eventually JWST observations and grants, but also include distributing data from other NASA missions, such as the FUSE: Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer – NASA, Galaxy Evolution Explorer – Universe Missions – NASA JPL-Caltech (US) and ground-based sky surveys.

    The ground system development activities create and maintain the software systems that are needed to provide these services to the astronomy community. STScI’s public outreach activities provide a wide range of information, on-line media, and programs for formal educators, planetariums and science museums, and the general public. STScI also serves as a source of guidance to NASA on a range of optical and UV space astrophysics issues.

    The STScI staff interacts and communicates with the professional astronomy community through a number of channels, including participation at the bi-annual meetings of the American Astronomical Society (US), publication of quarterly STScI newsletters and the STScI website, hosting user committees and science working groups, and holding several scientific and technical symposia and workshops each year. These activities enable STScI to disseminate information to the telescope user community as well as enabling the STScI staff to maximize the scientific productivity of the facilities they operate by responding to the needs of the community and of NASA.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:05 am on September 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Space based Astronomy,   

    From Vanderbilt University (US) : “Digital Sky Survey maps the entire sky providing new data to Vanderbilt astronomers” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    Jan. 4, 2021 [Just now in social media.]
    Marissa Shapiro

    by Emery Little

    The fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is collecting data about our universe for Vanderbilt University astronomers and other project members to use to explore the formation of distant galaxies and supermassive black holes, and to map the Milky Way.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

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

    The SDSS-V will make full use of existing satellites, including NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission, to lead to new discoveries.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

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

    NASA/MIT Tess in the building

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US) TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite replaced the Kepler Space Telescope in search for exoplanets. TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

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




    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Keivan Stassun, Stevenson Professor of Physics and Astronomy, is co-investigator of NASA TESS, which enabled the discovery of a newly formed exoplanet in June 2020. That discovery boosted the potential for a joint effort with SDSS data.

    “SDSS-V will magnify the exoplanet discoveries from TESS, both retrospectively and prospectively,” Stassun said. “Retrospectively in the sense that SDSS-V data will provide a rich characterization of the chemical makeup of the exoplanet systems that TESS has already discovered; prospectively in the sense that SDSS-V will provide the same rich characterization for millions of stars whose planets TESS has yet to find. Even more prospectively, the combination of SDSS-V and TESS data will enable us to confidently identify the most promising planets whose atmospheres we will study for habitability with the upcoming Twinkle mission.”

    Depiction of Twinkle space satellite led by University College London (UK) and University of Surrey (UK) Satellite Technology Ltd.

    Set to launch in late 2023, Twinkle will deliver unprecedented satellite telescope data about the elemental composition of exoplanet atmospheres. Vanderbilt and The Ohio State University (US) have become founding members of the mission.

    Further, the latest SDSS-V data will inform the research of Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Physics Jessie Runnoe, whose work primarily focuses on quasars—supermassive black holes that feed on disks of gas and dust in the centers of distant galaxies.

    Quasars give off a tremendous amount of light energy, and Runnoe studies the environments that make them or cause them to change over time. The latest release from SDSS-V will enable her to digest huge quantities of data into new observations and conclusions. The new data will make it much easier to see how, when and why quasars are changing, Runnoe explains.

    “Quasars are so far away that capturing an image makes it look like it’s a star,” Runnoe said. “The real action is looking at how the energy, or light, output of quasars appears when it’s spread out over different wavelengths. Having consistent data over time from SDSS-V will help us create a benchmark to understand how quasars really behave.”

    Operating out of Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, SDSS has been providing publicly available data since 1998.

    This survey has given scientists the tools to create the most detailed map yet of the known universe, discover earth-like planets and observe other celestial bodies.

    “The quantity of information provided by SDSS-V is astronomical in both senses of the word. We are looking forward to turning this data into a new understanding of our place in the universe with Prof. Runnoe,” said Andreas Berlind, co-director of Vanderbilt’s Data Science Institute and associate professor of physics and astronomy.

    2
    The Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s fifth generation made its first observations earlier this month. This image shows a sampling of data from those first SDSS-V data. The central sky image is a single field of SDSS-V observations. The purple circle indicates the telescope’s field-of-view on the sky, with the full Moon shown as a size comparison. SDSS-V simultaneously observes 500 targets at a time within a circle of this size. The left panel shows the optical-light spectrum of a quasar–a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy, which is surrounded by a disk of hot, glowing gas. The purple blob is an SDSS image of the light from this disk, which in this dataset spans about 1 arcsecond on the sky, or the width of a human hair as seen from about 21 meters (63 feet) away. The right panel shows the image and spectrum of a white dwarf –the left-behind core of a low-mass star (like the Sun) after the end of its life. Image Credit: Hector Ibarra Medel, Jon Trump, Yue Shen, Gail Zasowski, and the SDSS-V Collaboration. Central background image: unWISE / NASA/JPL-Caltech (US) / D.Lang – The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (CA)).

    In a release, program director at the Sloan Foundation Evan Michelson said, “SDSS-V will continue to transform astronomy by building on a 20-year legacy of path-breaking science, shedding light on the most fundamental questions about the origins and nature of the universe. It demonstrates all the hallmark characteristics that have made SDSS so successful in the past: open sharing of data, inclusion of diverse scientists, and collaboration across numerous institutions.” The release also highlights the leadership role of Vanderbilt Research Assistant Professor Jon Bird in the overall design and implementation of the SDSS-V mission.

    “Supermassive black holes eat like the Cookie Monster—more comes out than comes in,” said Runnoe, also a faculty affiliate at the Data Science Institute. “My interest is in understanding environments that feed these black holes. I am looking forward to maximizing the data we have, it’s a great challenge.”

    Runnoe believes this publicly available data will encourage critical thinking and allow researchers to better communicate their findings to the general public. “We’re getting into an era where we’re making movies out of the sky, not just pictures,” said Runnoe. “It’s exciting to unravel mysteries we’ve been stuck on.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:59 pm on September 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble Finds Early Massive Galaxies Running on Empty", , Space based Astronomy   

    From Hubblesite (US) : “Hubble Finds Early Massive Galaxies Running on Empty” 

    From Hubblesite (US)

    September 22, 2021

    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Ann Jenkins
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

    Ray Villard
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

    SCIENCE CONTACT:

    Katherine E. Whitaker
    The University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Massachusetts

    Gravitationally Lensed REQUIEM Galaxies
    1
    About This Image
    These images are composites from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

    The boxed and pullout images show two of the six, distant, massive galaxies where scientists found star formation has ceased due to the depletion of a fuel source—cold hydrogen gas.

    Hubble, together with ALMA, found these odd galaxies when they combined forces with the “natural lens” in space created by foreground massive galaxy clusters. The clusters’ gravity stretches and amplifies the light of the background galaxies in an effect called gravitational lensing. This phenomenon allows astronomers to use massive galaxy clusters as natural magnifying glasses to study details in the distant galaxies that would otherwise be impossible to see.

    The yellow traces the glow of starlight. The artificial purple color traces cold dust from ALMA observations. This cold dust is used as a proxy for the cold hydrogen gas needed for star formation.

    Even with ALMA’s sensitivity, scientists do not detect dust in most of the six galaxies sampled. One example is MRG-M1341, at upper right. It looks distorted by the “funhouse mirror” optical effects of lensing. In contrast, the purple blob to the left of the galaxy is an example of a dust-and-gas-rich galaxy.

    One example of the detection of cold dust ALMA did make is galaxy MRG-M2129 at bottom right. The galaxy only has dust and gas in the very center. This suggests that star formation may have shut down from the outskirts inward.
    Credits:

    LEAD AUTHOR: Katherine E. Whitaker NASA, ESA, (U Mass Amherst (US))
    IMAGE PROCESSING: Joseph DePasquale (Space Telescope Science Institute (US))

    Summary:
    “Dead” galaxies mysteriously ran out of fuel to make stars early in the universe.

    “Live fast, die young” could be the motto of six early, massive, “dead” galaxies that ran out of the cold hydrogen gas needed to make stars early in the life of the universe. These galaxies lived fast and furious lives, creating their stars in a remarkably short time. But then they literally ran out of gas and shut down star formation. Without more fuel to create stars, these galaxies were running on empty. Why this happened at such early times is a mystery.

    NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, together with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile, found these odd galaxies while looking back billions of years to the peak of star birth in the universe. To locate the very distant galaxies, scientists combined the power of Hubble and ALMA with extremely massive foreground galaxy clusters acting as natural telescopes. Through a phenomenon called strong gravitational lensing, the immense gravity of a giant galaxy cluster warps space, bending and magnifying light from background objects. When an early, massive and very distant galaxy is positioned behind such a cluster, it appears greatly stretched and magnified, allowing astronomers to study details that would otherwise be impossible to see.

    _____________________________

    When the universe was about 3 billion years old, just 20% of its current age, it experienced the most prolific period of star birth in its history. But when NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile gazed toward cosmic objects in this period, they found something odd: six early, massive, “dead” galaxies that had run out of the cold hydrogen gas needed to make stars.

    Without more fuel for star formation, these galaxies were literally running on empty. The findings
    are published in the journal Nature.

    “At this point in our universe, all galaxies should be forming lots of stars. It’s the peak epoch of star formation,” explained lead author Kate Whitaker, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Whitaker is also associate faculty at the Cosmic Dawn Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. “So what happened to all the cold gas in these galaxies so early on?”

    This study is a classic example of the harmony between Hubble and ALMA observations. Hubble pinpointed where in the galaxies the stars exist, showing where they formed in the past. By detecting the cold dust that serves as a proxy for the cold hydrogen gas, ALMA showed astronomers where stars could form in the future if enough fuel were present.

    Using Nature’s Own Telescopes

    The study of these early, distant, dead galaxies was part of the appropriately named REQUIEM program, which stands for Resolving QUIEscent Magnified Galaxies At High Redshift. (Redshift happens when light is stretched by the expansion of space and appears shifted toward the red part of the spectrum. The farther away a galaxy is with respect to the observer, the redder it appears.)

    The REQUIEM team uses extremely massive foreground galaxy clusters as natural telescopes. The immense gravity of a galaxy cluster warps space, bending and magnifying light from background objects. When an early, massive and very distant galaxy is positioned behind such a cluster, it appears greatly stretched and magnified, allowing astronomers to study details that would otherwise be impossible to see. This is called “strong gravitational lensing.”

    Only by combining the exquisite resolution of Hubble and ALMA with this strong lensing was the REQUIEM team able to able to understand the formation of these six galaxies, which appear as they did only a few billion years after the big bang.

    “By using strong gravitational lensing as a natural telescope, we can find the distant, most massive and first galaxies to shut down their star formation,” said Whitaker. “I like to think about it like doing science of the 2030s or 40s—with powerful next-generation space telescopes—but today instead by combining the capabilities of Hubble and ALMA, which are boosted by strong lensing.”

    “REQUIEM pulled together the largest sample to date of these rare, strong-lensed, dead galaxies in the early universe, and strong lensing is the key here,” said Mohammad Akhshik, principal investigator of the Hubble observing program. “It amplifies the light across all wavelengths so that it’s easier to detect, and you also get higher spatial resolution when you have these galaxies stretched across the sky. You can essentially see inside of them at much finer physical scales to figure out what’s happening.”

    Live Fast, Die Young

    These sorts of dead galaxies don’t appear to rejuvenate, even through later minor mergers and accretions of nearby, small galaxies and gas. Gobbling up things around them mostly just “puffs up” the galaxies. If star formation does turn back on, Whitaker described it as “a kind of a frosting.” About 11 billion years later in the present-day universe, these formerly compact galaxies are thought to have evolved to be larger but are still dead in terms of any new star formation.

    These six galaxies lived fast and furious lives, creating their stars in a remarkably short time. Why they shut down star formation so early is still a puzzle.

    Whitaker proposes several possible explanations: “Did a supermassive black hole in the galaxy’s center turn on and heat up all the gas? If so, the gas could still be there, but now it’s hot. Or it could have been expelled and now it’s being prevented from accreting back onto the galaxy. Or did the galaxy just use it all up, and the supply is cut off? These are some of the open questions that we’ll continue to explore with new observations down the road.”

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and mission operations for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). STScI is located on The Johns Hopkins University (US) Homewood Campus in Baltimore, Maryland and was established in 1981 as a community-based science center that is operated for National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) by The Assocation of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)(US). In addition to performing continuing science operations of HST and preparing for scientific exploration with JWST, STScI manages and operates the NASA Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, the Kepler Mission Data Resources in the Exoplanet Archive – NASA and a number of other activities benefiting from its expertise in and infrastructure for supporting the operations of space-based astronomical observatories. Most of the funding for STScI activities comes from contracts with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US) but there are smaller activities funded by NASA’s Ames Research Center (US), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (US), and The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU). The staff at STScI consists of scientists (mostly astronomers and astrophysicists), spacecraft engineers, software engineers, data management personnel, education and public outreach experts, and administrative and business support personnel. There are approximately 100 Ph.D. scientists working at STScI, 15 of which are ESA staff who are on assignment to the HST project. The total STScI staff consists of about 850 people as of 2021.

    STScI operates its missions on behalf of NASA, the worldwide astronomy community, and to the benefit of the public. The science operations activities directly serve the astronomy community, primarily in the form of HST, and eventually JWST observations and grants, but also include distributing data from other NASA missions, such as the FUSE: Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer – NASA, Galaxy Evolution Explorer – Universe Missions – NASA JPL-Caltech (US) and ground-based sky surveys.

    The ground system development activities create and maintain the software systems that are needed to provide these services to the astronomy community. STScI’s public outreach activities provide a wide range of information, on-line media, and programs for formal educators, planetariums and science museums, and the general public. STScI also serves as a source of guidance to NASA on a range of optical and UV space astrophysics issues.

    The STScI staff interacts and communicates with the professional astronomy community through a number of channels, including participation at the bi-annual meetings of the American Astronomical Society (US), publication of quarterly STScI newsletters and the STScI website, hosting user committees and science working groups, and holding several scientific and technical symposia and workshops each year. These activities enable STScI to disseminate information to the telescope user community as well as enabling the STScI staff to maximize the scientific productivity of the facilities they operate by responding to the needs of the community and of NASA.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:47 am on September 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ALMA Unveils Galaxies at Cosmic Dawn That Were Hiding Behind the Dust", , , , European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL); National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US); National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP), , , , Space based Astronomy   

    From ALMA Observatory (CL): “ALMA Unveils Galaxies at Cosmic Dawn That Were Hiding Behind the Dust” 

    European Southern Observatory [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL)/National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP)

    From ALMA Observatory (CL)

    22 September, 2021

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

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

    Bárbara Ferreira
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org
    Amy C. Oliver
    Public Information & News Manager
    National Radio Astronomical Observatory (NRAO), USA
    Phone: +1 434 242 9584
    Email: aoliver@nrao.edu

    All general references:
    ALMA Observatory (CL)
    European Southern Observatory(EU)
    National Astronomical Observatory of Japan(JP)
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory(US)

    1
    Distant galaxies imaged with ALMA, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the European Southern Observatory’s VISTA telescope.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation] (EU) Hubble Space Telescope

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

    Green and orange colors represent radiations from ionized carbon atoms and dust particles, respectively, observed with ALMA, and blue represents near-infrared radiation observed with VISTA and Hubble Space Telescopes. REBELS-12 and REBELS-29 detected both near-infrared radiation and radiation from ionized carbon atoms and dust. On the other hand, REBELS-12-2 and REBELS-29-2 have not been detected in the near-infrared, which suggests that these galaxies are deeply buried in dust. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, ESO, Fudamoto et al.

    2
    A schematic of the results of this research. ALMA revealed a hitherto undiscovered galaxy as it is buried deep in dust (artist’s impression in upper right) in a region where the Hubble Space Telescope could not see anything (left). Researchers serendipitously discovered the new hidden galaxy while observing an already well-known typical young galaxy (artist’s impression in lower right) Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

    While investigating the data of young, distant galaxies observed with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), Yoshinobu Fudamoto from Waseda University [早稲田大学](JP) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan noticed unexpected emissions coming from seemingly empty regions in space that, a global research team confirmed, came actually from two hitherto undiscovered galaxies heavily obscured by cosmic dust. This discovery suggests that numerous such galaxies might still be hidden in the early Universe, many more than researchers were expecting.

    When astronomers peer deep into the night sky, they observe what the Universe looked like a long time ago. Because the speed of light is finite, studying the most distant observable galaxies allows us to glimpse billions of years into the past when the Universe was very young and galaxies had just started to form stars. Studying this “early Universe” is one of the last frontiers in Astronomy and is essential for constructing accurate and consistent astrophysics models. A key goal of scientists is to identify all the galaxies in the first billion years of cosmic history and to measure the rate at which galaxies were growing by forming new stars.

    Various efforts have been made over the past decades to observe distant galaxies, which are characterized by electromagnetic emissions that become strongly redshifted (shifted towards longer wavelengths) before reaching the Earth. So far, our knowledge of early galaxies has mostly relied on observations with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and large ground-based telescopes, which probe their ultra-violet (UV) emission. However, recently, astronomers have started to use the unique capability of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope to study distant galaxies at submillimeter wavelengths. This could be particularly useful for studying dusty galaxies missed in the HST surveys due to the dust absorbing UV emission. Since ALMA observes in submillimeter wavelengths, it can detect these galaxies by observing the dust emissions instead.

    In an ongoing large program called REBELS (Reionization-Era Bright Emission Line Survey), astronomers are using ALMA to observe the emissions of 40 target galaxies at cosmic dawn. Using this dataset, they have recently discovered that the regions around some of these galaxies contain more than meets the eye.

    While analyzing the observed data for two REBELS galaxies, Fudamoto noticed strong emission by dust and singly ionized carbon in positions substantially offset from the initial targets. To his surprise, even highly sensitive equipment like the HST couldn’t detect any UV emission from these locations. To understand these mysterious signals, Fudamoto and his colleagues investigated matters further.

    In their latest paper published in Nature, astronomers presented a thorough analysis, revealing that these unexpected emissions came from two previously unknown galaxies located near the two original REBELS targets. These galaxies are not visible in the UV or visible wavelengths as they are almost completely obscured by cosmic dust. One of them represents the most distant dust-obscured galaxy discovered so far.

    What is most surprising about this serendipitous finding is that the newly discovered galaxies, which formed more than 13 billion years ago, are not strange at all when compared with typical galaxies at the same epoch. “These new galaxies were missed not because they are extremely rare, but only because they are completely dust-obscured,” explains Fudamoto. However, it is uncommon to find such “dusty” galaxies in the early period of the Universe (less than 1 billion years after the Big Bang), suggesting that the current census of early galaxy formation is most likely incomplete, and would call for deeper, blind surveys. “It is possible that we have been missing up to one out of every five galaxies in the early Universe so far,” Fudamoto adds.

    The researchers expect that the unprecedented capability of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and its strong synergy with ALMA would lead to significant advances in this field in the coming years. “Completing our census of early galaxies with the currently missing dust-obscured galaxies, like the ones we found this time, will be one of the main objectives of JWST and ALMA surveys in the near future,” states Pascal Oesch from University of Geneva.

    Overall, this study constitutes an important step in uncovering when the very first galaxies started to form in the early Universe, which in turn shall help us understand where we are standing today.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)(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 European Southern Observatory(EU), on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (US) 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 9:53 am on September 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "NASA’s Webb to Explore Forming Planetary Systems", , , , , , Space based Astronomy   

    From NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “NASA’s Webb to Explore Forming Planetary Systems” 

    NASA Webb Header

    From NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    September 22, 2021

    RELEASE: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA)

    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Claire Blome
    claire.blome@gmail.com
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

    Christine Pulliam
    cpulliam@stsci.edu
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

    1
    ALMA’s Survey of Protoplanetary Disks
    About This Image

    The researchers will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to survey 17 of the 20 nearby protoplanetary disks observed by Chile’s Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in 2018 for its Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP).

    ALMA delivered excellent data about the outer disks, but Webb will detail the inner disks by delivering spectra, which spread light out into a rainbow, revealing the chemical compositions of each object.
    Credits:

    SCIENCE: Nicolas Lira, S. Andrews. ALMA, ESO, NAOJ, NRAO.

    2
    Simulated Spectrum of a Protoplanetary Disk.
    About This Image
    The James Webb Space Telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) will deliver incredibly rich information about the molecules that are present in the inner disks of still-forming planetary systems (known as protoplanetary disks).

    This simulated spectrum, which produces a detailed pattern of colors based on the wavelengths of light emitted, helps researchers take inventories of each molecule. This spectrum shows how much of the gasses like methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide exist. Most of the unidentified features are water. Since spectra are teeming with details, they will help astronomers draw conclusions about the system’s contents as planets form.
    Credits:

    SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA
    ARTWORK: Leah Hustak

    Summary:
    Researchers will observe more than a dozen protoplanetary systems to gather data about their inner disks – where Earth-like planets may be forming

    What was our Solar System like as it was forming billions of years ago? Over time, particles bumped into one another, building ever-larger rocks. Eventually, these rocks got big enough to form planets. We have some basic understanding of planet formation, but we don’t know the details – especially details about the solar system’s early chemical composition, and how it may have changed with time. And how did water make its way to Earth? While we can’t time travel to get the answers, we can detail how other planetary systems are forming right now – and learn quite a lot. Researchers will train one of Webb’s powerful instruments on the inner regions of 17 bright, actively forming planetary systems to begin to build an inventory of their contents. Element by element, they – along with researchers around the world – will be able to uncover what’s present and how the disks’ chemical makeup affects their contents, including planets that may be forming.
    _____________
    Planetary systems take millions of years to form, which introduces quite a challenge for astronomers. How do you identify which stage they are in, or categorize them? The best approach is to look at lots of examples and keep adding to the data we have – and NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will be able to provide an infrared inventory. Researchers using Webb will observe 17 actively forming planetary systems. These particular systems were previously surveyed by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest radio telescope in the world, for the Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP
    ).

    Webb will measure spectra that can reveal molecules in the inner regions of these protoplanetary disks, complementing the details ALMA has provided about the disks’ outer regions. These inner regions are where rocky, Earth-like planets can start to form, which is one reason why we want to know more about which molecules exist there.

    A research team led by Colette Salyk of Vassar College (US) in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Klaus Pontoppidan of the Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore, Maryland, seek the details found in infrared light. “Once you switch to infrared light, specifically to Webb’s range in mid-infrared light, we will be sensitive to the most abundant molecules that carry common elements,” explained Pontoppidan.

    Researchers will be able to assess the quantities of water, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia – among many other molecules – in each disk. Critically, they will be able to count the molecules that contain elements essential to life as we know it, including oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. How? With spectroscopy: Webb will capture all the light emitted at the center of each protoplanetary disk as a spectrum, which produces a detailed pattern of colors based on the wavelengths of light emitted. Since every molecule imprints a unique pattern on the spectrum, researchers can identify which molecules are there and build inventories of the contents within each protoplanetary disk. The strength of these patterns also carries information about the temperature and quantity of each molecule.

    “Webb’s data will also help us identify where the molecules are within the overall system,” Salyk said. “If they’re hot, that implies they are closer to the star. If they’re cooler, they may be farther away.” This spatial information will help inform models that scientists build as they continue examining this program’s data.

    Knowing what’s in the inner regions of the disks has other benefits as well. Has water, for example, made it to this area, where habitable planets may be forming? “One of the things that’s really amazing about planets – change the chemistry just a little bit and you can get these dramatically different worlds,” Salyk continued. “That’s why we’re interested in the chemistry. We’re trying to figure out how the materials initially found in a system may end up as different types of planets.”

    If this sounds like a significant undertaking, do not worry – it will be a community effort. This is a Webb Treasury Program, which means that the data is released as soon as it’s taken to all astronomers, allowing everyone to immediately pull the data, begin assessing what’s what in each disk, and share their findings.

    “Webb’s infrared data will be intensively studied,” added co-investigator Ke Zhang of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “We want the whole research community to be able to approach the data from different angles.”

    Why the Up-Close Examination?

    Let’s step back, to see the forest for the trees. Imagine you are on a research boat off the coast of a distant terrain. This is the broadest view. If you were to land and disembark, you could begin counting how many trees there are and how many of each tree species. You could start identifying specific insects and birds and match up the sounds you heard offshore to the calls you hear under the treetops. This detailed cataloging is very similar to what Webb will empower researchers to do – but swap trees and animals for chemical elements.

    The protoplanetary disks in this program are very bright and relatively close to Earth, making them excellent targets to study. It’s why they were surveyed by ALMA. It’s also why researchers studied them with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

    These objects have only been studied in depth since 2003, making this a relatively newer field of research. There’s a lot Webb can add to what we know.

    The telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) [schematic above] provides many advantages. Webb’s location in space means that it can capture the full range of mid-infrared light (Earth’s atmosphere filters it out). Plus, its data will have high resolution, which will reveal many more lines and wiggles in the spectra that the researchers can use to tease out specific molecules.

    The researchers were also selective about the types of stars chosen for these observations. This sample includes stars that are about half the mass of the Sun to about twice the mass of the Sun. Why? The goal is to help researchers learn more about systems that may be like our own as it formed. “With this sample, we can start to determine if there are any common features between the disks’ properties and their inner chemistry,” Zhang continued. “Eventually, we want to be able to predict which types of systems are more likely to generate habitable planets.”

    Beginning to Answer Big Questions

    This program may also help researchers begin to answer some classic questions: Are the forms taken by some of the most abundant elements found in protoplanetary disks, like carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, “inherited” from the interstellar clouds that formed them? Or does the precise mix of chemicals change over time? “We think we can get to some of those answers by making inventories with Webb,” Pontoppidan explained. “It’s obviously a tremendous amount of work to do – and cannot be done only with these data – but I think we are going to make some major progress.”

    Thinking even more broadly about the incredibly rich spectra Webb will provide, Salyk added, “I’m hoping that we’ll see things that surprise us and then begin to study those serendipitous discoveries.”

    This research will be conducted as part of Webb General Observer (GO) programs, which are competitively selected using a dual-anonymous review system, the same system that is used to allocate time on the Hubble Space Telescope.

    The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Launch is planned for October 2021.

    Webb telescope will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb telescope was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.

    Webb is an international collaboration between National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (US) is managing the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute (US) will operate Webb after launch.

    Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.

    There will be four science instruments on Webb: the Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), the Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and the Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS). Webb’s instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.

    Webb has four main science themes: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

    Launch is scheduled for later in the decade on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch will be from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb will be located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

     
  • richardmitnick 10:47 am on September 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A New Understanding of Galaxy Evolution with NASA's Roman Space Telescope", Hubblesite (US), , Space based Astronomy, Space Telescope Science Institute (US), The European Space Agency (EU)   

    From Hubblesite (US): “A New Understanding of Galaxy Evolution with NASA’s Roman Space Telescope” 

    From Hubblesite (US)

    September 21, 2021
    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Christine Pulliam
    cpulliam@stsci.edu
    Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

    1
    About This Image
    This portion of the Hubble GOODS-South field contains hundreds of visible galaxies. A representative sample of those galaxies on the right half of the image also have their spectra overlayed in a representation of slitless spectroscopy. By using slitless spectroscopy, a spectrum is obtained that contains both spatial and wavelength information. For example, the inset highlights a spiral galaxy that shines brightly in the emission line of hydrogen-alpha (Hα) as well as in broad starlight (the horizontal strip of light). Its spiral shape is traced by the Hα portion of the spectrum. By combining imaging and spectroscopy, astronomers can learn much more than from each technique alone.
    Credits:
    IMAGE: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).
    IMAGE PROCESSING: Joseph DePasquale (Space Telescope Science Institute (US))
    ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Pascal Oesch University of Geneva [Université de Genève](CH), Mireia Montes (University of New South Wales (AU) )

    2
    About This Image
    The Hubble image of a portion of the GOODS-South field (left) required multiple individual exposures that were stitched into a mosaic. The Roman Space Telescope will have a field of view (right) at least 100 times greater than Hubble, allowing it to capture data on thousands of galaxies in a single exposure.
    Credits:
    IMAGE: NASA, ESA
    IMAGE PROCESSING: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)
    ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Pascal Oesch (University of Geneva), Mireia Montes (UNSW), ESO DSS Digitized Sky Survey.

    Summary
    Roman will combine the power of imaging and spectroscopy to gain fresh insights into how the universe works.

    Galaxies change over time, but those changes take millions or billions of years – far longer than the human lifetime. To understand how galaxies evolve, astronomers therefore need to study large numbers of galaxies at various stages. NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will revolutionize galaxy studies since it can survey the sky up to thousands of times faster than can be done with Hubble at similar image sharpness (resolution). It will reveal how galaxies assembled and transformed over the history of the universe.

    When NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope launches in the mid-2020s, it will revolutionize astronomy by providing a panoramic field of view at least 100 times greater than Hubble’s at similar image sharpness, or resolution. The Roman Space Telescope will survey the sky up to thousands of times faster than can be done with Hubble. This combination of wide field, high resolution, and an efficient survey approach promises new understandings in many areas, particularly in how galaxies form and evolve over cosmic time. How did the largest structures in the universe assemble? How did our Milky Way galaxy come to be in its current form? These are among the questions that Roman will help answer.

    Galaxies are conglomerations of stars, gas, dust, and dark matter. The largest can span hundreds of thousands of light-years. Many gather together in clusters containing hundreds of galaxies, while others are relatively isolated.

    How galaxies change over time depends on many factors: for example, their history of star formation, how rapidly they formed stars over time, and how each generation of stars influenced the next through supernova explosions and stellar winds. To tease out these details, astronomers need to study large numbers of galaxies.

    “Roman will give us the ability to see faint objects and to view galaxies over long intervals of cosmic time. That will allow us to study how galaxies assembled and transformed,” said Swara Ravindranath, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

    While wide-field imaging will be important for galaxy studies, just as important are Roman’s spectroscopic capabilities. A spectrograph takes light from an object and spreads it into a rainbow of colors known as a spectrum. From this range of colors, astronomers can glean many details otherwise unavailable, like an object’s distance or composition. Roman’s ability to provide a spectrum of every object within the field of view, combined with Roman imaging, will enable astronomers to learn more about the universe than from either imaging or spectroscopy alone.

    Revealing When and Where Stars Were Born

    Galaxies don’t form stars at a constant rate. They speed up and slow down—forming more or fewer stars—under the influence of a variety of factors, from collisions and mergers to supernova shock waves and galaxy-scale winds powered by supermassive black holes.

    By studying a galaxy’s spectrum in detail, astronomers can explore the history of star formation. “Using Roman we can estimate how fast galaxies are making stars and find the most prolific galaxies that are producing stars at an enormous rate. More importantly, we can find out not only what’s happening in a galaxy at the moment we observe it, but what its history has been,” stated Lee Armus, an astronomer at Caltech IPAC-Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (US) in Pasadena, California.

    Some precocious galaxies birthed stars very rapidly for a short time, only to cease forming stars surprisingly early in the universe’s history, undergoing a rapid transition from lively to “dead.”

    “We know galaxies shut off star formation, but we don’t know why. With Roman’s wide field of view, we stand a better chance of catching these galaxies in the act,” said Kate Whitaker, an astronomer at The University of Massachusetts-Amherst (US).

    Growing the Cosmic Web

    Even as galaxies themselves have grown over time, they also have gathered together in groups to form intricate structures billions of light-years across. Galaxies tend to collect into bubbles, sheets, and filaments, creating a vast cosmic web.

    By combining high-resolution imaging, which yields a galaxy’s position on the sky, with spectroscopy, which provides a distance, astronomers can map this web in three dimensions and learn about the universe’s large-scale structure.

    The expansion of the universe stretches light from distant galaxies to longer, redder wavelengths—a phenomenon called redshift. The more distant a galaxy is, the greater its redshift. Roman’s infrared detectors are ideal for capturing light from those galaxies. More distant galaxies are also fainter and harder to spot. Combining this with the fact that that some galaxy types are rare, you have to search a larger area of the sky with a more sensitive observatory to find the objects that often have the most interesting stories to tell.

    “Right now, with telescopes like Hubble we can sample tens of high-redshift galaxies. With Roman, we’ll be able to sample thousands,” explained Russell Ryan, an astronomer at STScI.

    Seeking the Unknown

    While astronomers can anticipate many of the discoveries of the Roman Space Telescope, perhaps most exciting is the possibility of finding things that no one could have predicted. Typical high-resolution observations from space-based observatories like Hubble, target specific objects for detailed investigation. Roman’s survey approach will cast a wide net, thereby opening up a new “discovery space.”

    “Roman will excel in unknown unknowns. It will certainly find rare, exotic things that we don’t expect,” said Ryan.

    “Roman’s combined imaging and spectroscopy surveys will gather the ‘gold nuggets’ that we never would have mined otherwise,” added Ravindranath.

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US) in Greenbelt, Maryland, will provide Roman’s Mission Operations Center. The Space Telescope Science Institute (US) in Baltimore, Maryland, will host Roman’s Science Operations Center and lead the data processing of Roman imaging. Caltech IPAC-Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (US) in Pasadena, California, will house Roman’s Science Support Center and lead the data processing of Roman spectroscopy.

    See the full article here.

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and mission operations for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). STScI is located on The Johns Hopkins University (US) Homewood Campus in Baltimore, Maryland and was established in 1981 as a community-based science center that is operated for National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) by The Assocation of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)(US). In addition to performing continuing science operations of HST and preparing for scientific exploration with JWST, STScI manages and operates the NASA Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, the Kepler Mission Data Resources in the Exoplanet Archive – NASA and a number of other activities benefiting from its expertise in and infrastructure for supporting the operations of space-based astronomical observatories. Most of the funding for STScI activities comes from contracts with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US) but there are smaller activities funded by NASA’s Ames Research Center (US), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (US), and The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU). The staff at STScI consists of scientists (mostly astronomers and astrophysicists), spacecraft engineers, software engineers, data management personnel, education and public outreach experts, and administrative and business support personnel. There are approximately 100 Ph.D. scientists working at STScI, 15 of which are ESA staff who are on assignment to the HST project. The total STScI staff consists of about 850 people as of 2021.

    STScI operates its missions on behalf of NASA, the worldwide astronomy community, and to the benefit of the public. The science operations activities directly serve the astronomy community, primarily in the form of HST, and eventually JWST observations and grants, but also include distributing data from other NASA missions, such as the FUSE: Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer – NASA, Galaxy Evolution Explorer – Universe Missions – NASA JPL-Caltech (US) and ground-based sky surveys.

    The ground system development activities create and maintain the software systems that are needed to provide these services to the astronomy community. STScI’s public outreach activities provide a wide range of information, on-line media, and programs for formal educators, planetariums and science museums, and the general public. STScI also serves as a source of guidance to NASA on a range of optical and UV space astrophysics issues.

    The STScI staff interacts and communicates with the professional astronomy community through a number of channels, including participation at the bi-annual meetings of the American Astronomical Society (US), publication of quarterly STScI newsletters and the STScI website, hosting user committees and science working groups, and holding several scientific and technical symposia and workshops each year. These activities enable STScI to disseminate information to the telescope user community as well as enabling the STScI staff to maximize the scientific productivity of the facilities they operate by responding to the needs of the community and of NASA.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:54 pm on September 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Xplore and W. M. Keck Observatory announce innovative collaboration", Space based Astronomy, , Xplore Space Telescope (XST)   

    From W.M. Keck Observatory (US) : “Xplore and W. M. Keck Observatory announce innovative collaboration” 

    From W.M. Keck Observatory (US)

    September 14, 2021

    Keck to support science concept development of Xplore Space Telescope (XST)

    Xplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space as a Service® today announced a collaboration with the W. M. Keck Observatory in Waimea, Hawai’i. The Keck Observatory, the world’s leading optical/infrared observatory, will assist Xplore in concept development and science case definition for the company’s family of Xplore Space Telescopes (XST).

    Xplore Space Telescope (XST)

    The XST series of commercial space telescopes take full advantage of Xplore’s high performance Xcraft® platform to carry a suite of innovative sensors to address a wide range of astronomical and planetary observations. The collaboration with the Keck Observatory will help align the observational capabilities of the XSTs with the needs of the astronomical community. By leveraging commercial practices and advanced technology, XSTs can be deployed in a fraction of the time and cost compared with existing space-based observatories, enabling more science for more astronomers.

    Dr. John O’Meara, Chief Scientist of the Keck Observatory, said, “One of the ways Keck stays at the forefront of astronomical discovery is through collaborations that advance new technologies and science capabilities. I am excited to support Xplore in defining the science opportunities for the world’s first series of commercial space science telescopes.”

    Lisa Rich, Founder and Chief Operating Officer said, “Our team is highly engaged in bringing new space-based capabilities that can be added to the portfolios of observations at leading observatories like Keck. Partnering with Keck Observatory allows Xplore to advance its mission to accelerate space science by adding value and access to the astronomical community.”

    The XST will drive a new paradigm for astronomical research by offering a fleet of highly cost-effective, space-based observatories that significantly expand availability of observations and data at an expedited pace. XSTs will operate in low Earth orbit (LEO) and beyond into the cislunar space region, providing a range of optical observations for a diverse set of customers. In the coming months, Xplore plans to announce its first telescope missions.

    Lisa Rich added, “Together with Keck, we are opening new avenues for science. Keck’s ground-based observatories today deliver the most scientifically advanced astronomy data on Earth. Xplore will deliver the ability to collect new scientific data from space-based telescopes in parallel – and we expect this mix of new capabilities will produce positive outcomes for the astronomical community.”

    An added benefit from the Xplore and Keck Observatory association will be the value of Xplore’s space telescopes to education. “I am particularly excited about Xplore’s openness to placing its space telescopes at the service of education,” remarked Ed Harris, Chief Development Officer of Keck Observatory. “Science will be the prime beneficiary of our collaboration, and we will also look to engage students and teachers across the country and throughout the world in STEM education opportunities afforded through this unique capability.”

    “The observatory’s mission is to advance the frontiers of astronomy, share our discoveries, and inspire the imagination of all,” Hilton Lewis, Director of Keck Observatory said, “Our association with Xplore is an innovative new way to advance these goals.”

    About Xplore Inc.

    Xplore is a commercial space company offering Space as a Service. Xplore provides hosted payloads, communication relay services and exclusive datasets to its customers via solutions provided by its Xcraft and LightCraft multi-mission platforms. Xplore’s mission is to expand robotic exploration via commercial missions at and beyond Earth, to the Moon, Mars, Venus, Lagrange points and near-Earth asteroids for commercial companies, national space agencies, national security agencies, sovereign space agencies and non-profit entities.
    Visit: https://www.xplore.com

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory (US) operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometer and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems. Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.


    Keck UCal

    Instrumentation

    Keck 1

    HIRES – The largest and most mechanically complex of the Keck’s main instruments, the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer breaks up incoming starlight into its component colors to measure the precise intensity of each of thousands of color channels. Its spectral capabilities have resulted in many breakthrough discoveries, such as the detection of planets outside our solar system and direct evidence for a model of the Big Bang theory.

    height=”375″ class=”size-full wp-image-32389″ /> Keck High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES), at the Keck I telescope.[/caption]

    LRIS – The Low Resolution Imaging Spectrograph is a faint-light instrument capable of taking spectra and images of the most distant known objects in the universe. The instrument is equipped with a red arm and a blue arm to explore stellar populations of distant galaxies, active galactic nuclei, galactic clusters, and quasars.

    VISIBLE BAND (0.3-1.0 Micron)

    MOSFIRE – The Multi-Object Spectrograph for Infrared Exploration gathers thousands of spectra from objects spanning a variety of distances, environments and physical conditions. What makes this huge, vacuum-cryogenic instrument unique is its ability to select up to 46 individual objects in the field of view and then record the infrared spectrum of all 46 objects simultaneously. When a new field is selected, a robotic mechanism inside the vacuum chamber reconfigures the distribution of tiny slits in the focal plane in under six minutes. Eight years in the making with First Light in 2012, MOSFIRE’s early performance results range from the discovery of ultra-cool, nearby substellar mass objects, to the detection of oxygen in young galaxies only 2 billion years after the Big Bang.

    OSIRIS – The OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph is a near-infrared spectrograph for use with the Keck I adaptive optics system. OSIRIS takes spectra in a small field of view to provide a series of images at different wavelengths. The instrument allows astronomers to ignore wavelengths where the Earth’s atmosphere shines brightly due to emission from OH (hydroxl) molecules, thus allowing the detection of objects 10 times fainter than previously available.

    Keck 2

    DEIMOS – The Deep Extragalactic Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph is the most advanced optical spectrograph in the world, capable of gathering spectra from 130 galaxies or more in a single exposure. In ‘Mega Mask’ mode, DEIMOS can take spectra of more than 1,200 objects at once, using a special narrow-band filter.

    NIRSPEC – The Near Infrared Spectrometer studies very high redshift radio galaxies, the motions and types of stars located near the Galactic Center, the nature of brown dwarfs, the nuclear regions of dusty starburst galaxies, active galactic nuclei, interstellar chemistry, stellar physics, and solar-system science.


    ESI – The Echellette Spectrograph and Imager captures high-resolution spectra of very faint galaxies and quasars ranging from the blue to the infrared in a single exposure. It is a multimode instrument that allows users to switch among three modes during a night. It has produced some of the best non-AO images at the Observatory.

    KCWI – The Keck Cosmic Web Imager is designed to provide visible band, integral field spectroscopy with moderate to high spectral resolution, various fields of view and image resolution formats and excellent sky-subtraction. The astronomical seeing and large aperture of the telescope enables studies of the connection between galaxies and the gas in their dark matter halos, stellar relics, star clusters and lensed galaxies.

    NEAR-INFRARED (1-5 Micron)

    ADAPTIVE OPTICS – Adaptive optics senses and compensates for the atmospheric distortions of incoming starlight up to 1,000 times per second. This results in an improvement in image quality on fairly bright astronomical targets by a factor 10 to 20.

    LASER GUIDE STAR ADAPTIVE OPTICS [pictured above] – The Keck Laser Guide Star expands the range of available targets for study with both the Keck I and Keck II adaptive optics systems. They use sodium lasers to excite sodium atoms that naturally exist in the atmosphere 90 km (55 miles) above the Earth’s surface. The laser creates an “artificial star” that allows the Keck adaptive optics system to observe 70-80 percent of the targets in the sky, compared to the 1 percent accessible without the laser.

    NIRC-2/AO – The second generation Near Infrared Camera works with the Keck Adaptive Optics system to produce the highest-resolution ground-based images and spectroscopy in the 1-5 micron range. Typical programs include mapping surface features on solar system bodies, searching for planets around other stars, and analyzing the morphology of remote galaxies.


    ABOUT NIRES
    The Near Infrared Echellette Spectrograph (NIRES) is a prism cross-dispersed near-infrared spectrograph built at the California Institute of Technology by a team led by Chief Instrument Scientist Keith Matthews and Prof. Tom Soifer. Commissioned in 2018, NIRES covers a large wavelength range at moderate spectral resolution for use on the Keck II telescope and observes extremely faint red objects found with the Spitzer and WISE infrared space telescopes, as well as brown dwarfs, high-redshift galaxies, and quasars.

    Future Instrumentation

    KCRM – The Keck Cosmic Reionization Mapper will complete the Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI), the world’s most capable spectroscopic imager. The design for KCWI includes two separate channels to detect light in the blue and the red portions of the visible wavelength spectrum. KCWI-Blue was commissioned and started routine science observations in September 2017. The red channel of KCWI is KCRM; a powerful addition that will open a window for new discoveries at high redshifts.

    KPF – The Keck Planet Finder (KPF) will be the most advanced spectrometer of its kind in the world. The instrument is a fiber-fed high-resolution, two-channel cross-dispersed echelle spectrometer for the visible wavelengths and is designed for the Keck II telescope. KPF allows precise measurements of the mass-density relationship in Earth-like exoplanets, which will help astronomers identify planets around other stars that are capable of supporting life.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:59 pm on September 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Double-lined white dwarf binary detected by astronomers", , , , , , Sloan Digital Sky Survey Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, Space based Astronomy, The newly found object designated SDSS J133725.26+395237.7 is a nearby double-lined system consisting of two white dwarfs.   

    From Johns Hopkins University (US) via phys.org : “Double-lined white dwarf binary detected by astronomers” 

    From Johns Hopkins University (US)

    via

    phys.org

    September 8, 2021
    Tomasz Nowakowski

    1
    Continuum-normalized Balmer Hα spectra of SDSS J1337+3952 from Gemini GMOS across three runs, separated by black lines, along with the double-lined binary model. Credit: Chandra et al., 2021.

    An international team of astronomers has detected a new peculiar binary as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).

    _____________________________________________________________________________________
    Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope (US) at Apache Point near Sunspot, New Mexico Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft.)

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

    The newly found object designated SDSS J133725.26+395237.7 is a nearby double-lined system consisting of two white dwarfs. The finding is reported in a paper published August 26 for The Astrophysical Journal.

    Astronomers are interested in finding and studying double white dwarfs (DWDs), as their mergers are believed to produce new white dwarfs with higher masses. It is assumed that some high-mass white dwarfs in the solar neighborhood could be DWD merger products.

    So far, the majority of binaries, including DWDs, have been detected by Doppler shifts in their spectral lines; hence, these systems are called spectroscopic binaries. Observations show that in some spectroscopic binaries, spectral lines from both stars are visible, and these lines are alternately double and single. These systems are known as double-lined spectroscopic binaries (SB2).

    The number of known SB2 white dwarf systems with well-measured mass and orbital parameters is still relatively small. Finding new objects of this type could be crucial in order to advance our knowledge about double white dwarfs in general.

    Now, a team of astronomers led by Vedant Chandra of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, reports the finding of a new addition to the short list of double-lined WDs. They identified SDSS J133725.26+395237.7 (or SDSS J1337+3952 for short) in the early data from the fifth generation Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V). Data from the Gemini North Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS-N) and NASA’s Swift spacecraft allowed them to determine fundamental parameters of the system.

    GEMINI North Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph

    “We identified SDSS J1337+3952 during a systematic search for RV [radial velocity] variable systems in the first year of SDSS-V,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

    According to the study, SDSS J1337+3952 is double-lined WD binary with a 99-minute orbital period, located some 368 light years away. The primary WD is about half as massive as the sun, but its radius is only 0.0141 solar radii. The secondary WD in the system has a mass of approximately 0.32 solar masses, while its radius is estimated to be 0.02 solar radii.

    The cooling ages for the primary and secondary WDs were calculated to be 600 million and 1.2 billion years, respectively. Given that the low-mass secondary has a larger cooling age, the astronomers suppose that the present-day secondary was initially the more massive star, and it ascended the giant branch first and stably lost mass to its companion.

    The researchers emphasized that due to its proximity to Earth and short period, SDSS J1337+3952 is among the strongest known sources of gravitational waves in the millihertz (MHz) frequency regime. This gravitational wave emission will most likely cause the shrink down of the system’s orbit to the point of interaction in about 220 million years from now. The authors of the paper assume that SDSS J1337+3952 will probably merge to form a rapidly rotating helium star which will end its life as a helium-atmosphere white dwarf.

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Johns Hopkins University (US) opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

    The Johns Hopkins University (US) is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (approximately $147.5 million in today’s currency)—of which half financed the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution’s first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany’s historic Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE), Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research. The university has graduate campuses in Italy, China, and Washington, D.C., in addition to its main campus in Baltimore.

    Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C., with international centers in Italy and China. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood. The medical school, nursing school, and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are located on the Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. The university also consists of the Peabody Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, School of Education, Carey Business School, and various other facilities.

    Johns Hopkins was a founding member of the American Association of Universities (US). As of October 2019, 39 Nobel laureates and 1 Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1883, the Blue Jays men’s lacrosse team has captured 44 national titles and plays in the Big Ten Conference as an affiliate member as of 2014.

    Research

    The opportunity to participate in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Hopkins’ undergraduate education. About 80 percent of undergraduates perform independent research, often alongside top researchers. In FY 2013, Johns Hopkins received $2.2 billion in federal research grants—more than any other U.S. university for the 35th consecutive year. Johns Hopkins has had seventy-seven members of the Institute of Medicine, forty-three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, seventeen members of the National Academy of Engineering, and sixty-two members of the National Academy of Sciences. As of October 2019, 39 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university as alumni, faculty members or researchers, with the most recent winners being Gregg Semenza and William G. Kaelin.

    Between 1999 and 2009, Johns Hopkins was among the most cited institutions in the world. It attracted nearly 1,222,166 citations and produced 54,022 papers under its name, ranking No. 3 globally [after Harvard University (US) and the Max Planck Society (DE)] in the number of total citations published in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals over 22 fields in America.

    In FY 2000, Johns Hopkins received $95.4 million in research grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US), making it the leading recipient of NASA research and development funding. In FY 2002, Hopkins became the first university to cross the $1 billion threshold on either list, recording $1.14 billion in total research and $1.023 billion in federally sponsored research. In FY 2008, Johns Hopkins University performed $1.68 billion in science, medical and engineering research, making it the leading U.S. academic institution in total R&D spending for the 30th year in a row, according to a National Science Foundation (US) ranking. These totals include grants and expenditures of JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

    The Johns Hopkins University also offers the “Center for Talented Youth” program—a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and developing the talents of the most promising K-12 grade students worldwide. As part of the Johns Hopkins University, the “Center for Talented Youth” or CTY helps fulfill the university’s mission of preparing students to make significant future contributions to the world. The Johns Hopkins Digital Media Center (DMC) is a multimedia lab space as well as an equipment, technology and knowledge resource for students interested in exploring creative uses of emerging media and use of technology.

    In 2013, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships program was established by a $250 million gift from Michael Bloomberg. This program enables the university to recruit fifty researchers from around the world to joint appointments throughout the nine divisions and research centers. Each professor must be a leader in interdisciplinary research and be active in undergraduate education. Directed by Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz, there are currently thirty two Bloomberg Distinguished Professors at the university, including three Nobel Laureates, eight fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (US), ten members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and thirteen members of the National Academies.

     
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