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  • richardmitnick 2:33 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "TESS Science Office at MIT hits milestone of 5000 exoplanet candidates", , , , Now in its extended mission TESS is observing the Northern Hemisphere and ecliptic plane including regions of the sky previously observed by the Kepler and K2 missions., Space based Astronomy, , The TESS Science Office at MIT released the most recent batch of TESS Objects of Interest on Dec. 21 2021.   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US): “TESS Science Office at MIT hits milestone of 5,000 exoplanet candidates” 

    MIT News

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    January 20, 2022
    MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
    MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.

    1
    A map of the sky is now crowded with over 5,000 exoplanet candidates from NASA’s TESS mission. The TESS Science Office at MIT released the most recent batch of TESS Objects of Interest (large orange points on the map) on Dec. 21, boosting the catalog to this 5,000-count milestone. Image courtesy of NASA/MIT/TESS.

    _______________________________________________________
    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).


    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)


    The NASA 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.


    _______________________________________________________

    The catalog of planet candidates found with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently passed 5,000 TOIs, or TESS Objects of Interest.

    The catalog has been growing steadily since the start of the mission in 2018, and the batch of TOIs boosting the catalog to over 5,000 come mostly from the Faint Star Search led by MIT postdoc Michelle Kunimoto.

    Kunimoto reflects, “This time last year, TESS had found just over 2,400 TOIs. Today, TESS has reached more than twice that number — a huge testament to the mission and all the teams scouring the data for new planets. I’m excited to see thousands more in the years to come!”

    Now in its extended mission TESS is observing the Northern Hemisphere and ecliptic plane including regions of the sky previously observed by the Kepler and K2 missions.

    NASA Kepler Space Telescope (US) launched in 2009 and retired on October 30 2018.

    The TOIs added in late December are from the third year of the TESS mission, which ran from July 2020 to June 2021. TESS re-observed the sky visible in the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere, revisiting stars it had first observed at the mission’s start in 2018.

    TOI manager Katharine Hesse remarks, “With data from the first year of the extended mission, we have found dozens of additional candidates to TOIs found during the prime mission. I am excited to see how many multi-planet systems we can find during the rest of the extended mission and in upcoming years with TESS.” Planned extensions of the TESS mission to 2025 and beyond should unveil many more new planet candidates.

    Discovering more planet candidates and adding them to the TESS Objects of Interest Catalog is the first step. In the coming months, astronomers around the world will study each of these TOIs to confirm whether they are bona fide planets, and the catalog of confirmed exoplanets from the TESS mission (175 as of Dec. 20) will continue to grow.

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory(US) Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:38 pm on January 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Discovery of Extreme Superflares On Recurrent Nova V2487 Oph", , , , Ground based visible and infra-red Astronomy, Space based Astronomy, , The superflares on V2487 Oph are by far the most extreme known for any superflare star.   

    From The Louisiana State University (US): “Discovery of Extreme Superflares On Recurrent Nova V2487 Oph” 

    From The Louisiana State University (US)

    The Louisiana State University (US) College of Science

    1

    The Louisiana State University Department of Physics and Astronomy

    1.18.22

    Prof. Bradley E. Schaefer
    Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Louisiana State University
    schaefer@lsu.edu

    Mimi LaValle
    Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Louisiana State University
    mlavall@lsu.edu
    225-439-5633

    1
    Figure 1. Depiction of a close-up of the V2487 Oph system. This is an accurate depiction, although the exact placement and details of the starspots can only be representative. The ordinary star (in the upper right) is somewhat similar to our Sun, having a similar mass, a similar surface temperature (around 6000° K), and just twice the size. The polar regions in one hemisphere are illuminated by the intense light from the white dwarf and accretion disk, while the equatorial regions are in a shadow cast by the disk itself. This star has been spun up to the orbital period of 1.24 days, and with the fast rotation inevitably comes starspots and the associated loops of magnetic field lines. The two stars are in such a close orbit that gas from the ordinary star falls off continuously, forming a narrow stream that then merges into a large flat and circular accretion disk, a swirl of gas slowly relaxing onto the white dwarf star at its center. This white dwarf appears as a very small white dot, lost in the middle of the accretion disk.
    Photo credit: Prof. Robert Hynes, Louisiana State University, with his BinSim program.

    2
    Figure 2. V2487 Oph with the magnetic field lines. The magnetic field lines are illustrated with the green curves. The configuration is not known for the magnetic fields for V2487 Oph, yet the picture shows a plausible case. The magnetic field lines will be anchored to gas, likely with the ‘footprints’ on the surface of the star near the starspots, and also anchored to gas in the accretion disk, or maybe even to the likely high-fields on the white dwarf itself. As the starspots roil the nearby gas, and as the footprints in the accretion disk gas gets wrapped up, the field lines will twist and be amplified. The field lines will be ‘stretched’ and wrapped, ultimately reaching a break point. In the illustration, we see many field lines twisting together, and this is where the magnetic reconnection will occur.
    Photo credit: Prof. Robert Hynes, Louisiana State University, with his BinSim program forming the base picture as in Figure 1.

    3
    Figure 3. Superflare in the V2487 Oph system. When the magentic field lines (depicted as green curves) get all twisted to their breaking point, then their huge amount of magnetic energy gets released. This energy will mostly be radiated as light, resulting in optical flux visible as a brightening of the entire system. This energy release is depicted by the magenta rays radiating out of the site of the magnetic reconnection. This basic mechanism is very familiar to astronomers as being the cause of solar flares (including the Carrington Event), flares on ordinary flare stars, and superflares on other (much weaker) Superflare stars.
    Photo credit: Prof. Robert Hynes, Louisiana State University, with his BinSim program forming the base picture as in Figure 1.

    4
    Figure 4. Superflare light curves for V2487 Oph. A light curve is just a graph showing the brightness as a function of time. For each of the six light curve for six individual Superflares, the vertical axis is the brightness as measured in flux (counts per second) from the Kepler spacecraft, while the horizontal axis is the time from the peak of the Superflare (in units of minutes). As we scan from left to right, we see that the Superflares all start suddenly, have a fast rise to a peak, then a fast fall in brightness, followed by a fairly long fading tail. As with all stellar magnetic reconnection events, the initial impulsive spike in brightness is from the immediate energy release, with the tail showing the light of the cooling gas heated up by the initial spike.
    Photo credit: Light curves from Schaefer, Pagnotta, & Zoppelt (2022).

    Startlingly, the Recurrent Nova V2487 Oph has been discovered to have extreme superflares, with the bursts more frequent and 100,000 times more powerful than any other known superflare star, in terms of energy per year. The energy in just one flare is up to 20 million times that of the infamous Carrington Event of 1859.

    “The startling discovery of extreme superflares from a Recurrent Nova is exciting because it presents astronomers with a profound astrophysics challenge, and because of the implications for life elsewhere in our galaxy,” said Schaefer.

    This discovery is being announced for the first time, in association with The American Astronomical Society (US), by three astronomers, Professor Bradley E. Schaefer, Louisiana State University, and Professor Ashley Pagnotta and Seth Zoppelt, undergraduate student, both with The College of Charleston (US).

    The authors discovered the superflares on V2487 Oph using data from the Kepler satellite, obtained via a proposal from Pagnotta and Schaefer, and confirmed their existence using the public-domain light curves of the Zwicky Transient Facility.

    NASA Kepler Space Telescope (US) launched in 2009 and retired on October 30 2018.

    Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) instrument installed on the 1.2m diameter Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California. Credit: Caltech Optical Observatories.

    Caltech Palomar Samuel Oschin 48 inch Telescope, located in San Diego County, California, U.S.A., altitude 1,712 m (5,617 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    “These flares occur about once per day, and they seem to have been occurring nearly continuously from at least 2016 to the present,” said Pagnotta. “They start with a sharp spike up in brightness, taking only about one minute to rise to peak, and then fade back down to their previous level. The typical duration of one flare is around one hour, and at the peak of the flares, the star can brighten by up to a factor of 2.8 (up to 1.1 magnitudes).”

    Superflares are massive explosions that occur on stars of all types, including 1.6 percent of stars that are similar to our Sun, with deep implications for life on planets around other stars as well as on far-future colonization of space. Superflares will variously sterilize life on exoplanet surfaces, fry all electronic technology, and strip the entire atmosphere off any exoplanet.

    Superflares were discovered and named in 1989 by Schaefer. “The recognition was that apparently-ordinary stars suffered stellar flares, solar flares on other stars, with many orders-of-magnitude times the energy of the most energetic solar flares,” said Schaefer. “These superflares occurred on ordinary stars of all types, hot and cold, young and old, and with high and low mass.” Some of the superflare stars are among the closest known twins of our own Sun.

    A great advance came in 2012, when the Kepler satellite provided long-term continuous brightness measures of a fraction of a million stars. Currently, superflares are known for ordinary stars of all classes, including main-sequence stars from B to M, brown dwarf, white dwarfs, subgiant stars, giant stars, Mira stars, and even three supergiant stars. All of the known Superflare stars are ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’, with V2487 Oph being the first case of superflares on any type of exotic star.

    The extreme superflares were discovered on the star V2487 Oph, named as the 2487th cataloged variable star in the constellation Ophiucus, the ‘Serpent-Bearer’. This star is a Recurrent Nova, the rarest class of variable stars, and is only the tenth known Recurrent Nova in our Milky Way galaxy. This nova most recently erupted on June 15, 1988, peaking at 9.5 magnitudes, barely visible in binoculars, and then faded fast over the next few weeks.

    “The recurrence of a prior nova event was discovered in 2009 as part of an intentional search of archival records from 1890 to 1998 by Pagnotta, 2012 LSU PhD alumna, when she found a record of an eruption on an old sky photograph, now archived at Harvard Observatory, dated 1900 June 20,” noted Schaefer. “Accounting for the number of missed eruptions from 1900 to 1998, the nova events likely recur with a timescale of around 20 years. With the last eruption in 1998, V2487 Oph is expected to erupt again any year now.”

    The superflares on V2487 Oph, are very energetic and the most powerful known. The estimate of the total energy for the average superflare is 2×1038 ergs, while the most energetic event, which occurred on May 6, 2016, had a total energy of 2×1039 ergs.

    “A mind-boggling comparison is that one of the daily superflares on V2487 Oph would be enough to power all of Earth’s humanity at its current rate for 24X the age of the Universe,” said Schaefer. “For a relevant comparison, the all-time most-energetic solar flare from our own Sun, the infamous Carrington Event of September 1, 1859, had a total energy of roughly 1032 ergs. The Carrington Event is known to be a small version of a superflare, caused by the energy released by magnetic reconnection of the field lines attached to sunspots, but the energy is more than 100X too low for the event to be called a ‘superflare’. With an energy scale of ‘MegaCarringtons’ (i.e., one million times the energy of the Carrington Event), V2487 Oph is producing superflares at the 20-MegaCarrington level.”

    The superflares on V2487 Oph are by far the most extreme known for any superflare star. The typical superflares on stars like our Sun have energies of 100 to 10,000 Carringtons, while the largest previously known event, the once-per-century superflare on S For, only reached two MegaCarringtons. So V2487 Oph has the most extreme energy on a flare-by-flare basis. Other superflare stars all have their most energetic events being very rare, so their yearly energy budgets are relatively small. V2487 Oph not only has a very high energy-per-flare, but also a very high flare rate. These combine to give V2487 Oph a total yearly energy budget that is greater than 100,000 times larger than any other known superflare star. The total energy budget is estimated as 1041 ergs (as much energy as a billion Carrington Events) every year.

    All other known superflare stars are ‘ordinary’, while V2487 Oph has its extreme energy presumably related somehow to its very rare status as a Recurrent Nova. While the magnetic-reconnection origin of the superflares can be demonstrated, this does not mean that the configuration of the magnetic field lines is known. A plausible idea is that the companion star has starspots generating field lines that get caught up in the accretion process, with overflowing gas carrying the field lines into the accretion disk, where it will rapidly get amplified and twisted until breakage. Thus, the extreme nature of the V2487 Oph superflares may be due to its rare condition with the high rate of mass transfer. Still, this does not explain the utter lack of any superflares for any other such similar binary, despite a tremendous amount of observation time of such stars over the last many decades. Especially, the ‘sister recurrent nova’ U Scorpii certainly has no superflares. So we are left with the mystery of what additional rare property sets V2487 Oph apart, allowing for the extreme superflares. Indeed, the microphysics of the magnetic reconnection is still an unsolved problem, despite much theoretical effort for solar flares.

    Now suddenly, V2487 Oph presents a profound challenge for astrophysics theory, as an explanation is needed for how it is possible for the system to generate such huge magnetic fields over such large volumes, only to have the reconnection destroy all the field lines, and to do this once a day. In all, the startling discovery of extreme superflares on V2487 Oph makes for a set of daunting challenges for astrophysics theory.

    Superflares have deep implications for the possibility of life on exoplanets going around any Superflare star. Superflares would destroy life by direct damage and sterilization from the Superflare radiation, and also by stripping away the atmosphere of all planets in orbit.

    “To take a recent and well-studied case, a superflare was seen coming from Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our Sun, with this star having a planet with roughly one Earth-mass and residing within the ‘habitable zone’,” said Schaefer. “That is, this Earth-like planet is the best possible case for finding life, and it is also the best case for sending out survey and colony ships in the future. But the superflares by themselves would quickly kill all life as we know it, and indeed, the superflares would ‘speedily’ strip the planet of all atmosphere. Thus, in this case of an Earth-like planet around the closest star, superflares preclude the formation of life on any planet in the system, and it makes the best and closest planet inhospitable for human colonization.”

    Science paper:
    MNRAS

    See the full article here.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Louisiana State University (US) (officially Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College) is a public research university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current Louisiana State University main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and the main campus historic district occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    Louisiana State University is the flagship school of the state of Louisiana, as well as the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System, and is the most comprehensive university in Louisiana. In 2017, the university enrolled over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in 14 schools and colleges. Several of Louisiana State University’s graduate schools, such as the E. J. Ourso College of Business and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, have received national recognition in their respective fields of study. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Designated as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution, Louisiana State University is also noted for its extensive research facilities, operating some 800 sponsored research projects funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (US), the National Science Foundation (US), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US). Louisiana State University is one of eight universities in the United States with dental, law, veterinary, medical, and Master of Business Administration programs. The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the country and the only one in Louisiana.

    Louisiana State University’s athletics department fields teams in 21 varsity sports (9 men’s, 12 women’s), and is a member of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the SEC (Southeastern Conference). The university is represented by its mascot, Mike the Tiger.

    History

    19th century

    Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College had its origin in several land grants made by the United States government in 1806, 1811, and 1827 for use as a seminary of learning. It was founded as a military academy and is still today steeped in military tradition, giving rise to the school’s nickname “The Ole War Skule”. In 1853, the Louisiana General Assembly established the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana near Pineville in Rapides Parish in Central Louisiana. Modeled initially after Virginia Military Institute, the institution opened with five professors and nineteen cadets on January 2, 1860, with Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. The original location of the Old Louisiana State University Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On January 26, 1861, after only a year at the helm, Sherman resigned his position because Louisiana became the sixth state to secede from the Union. The school closed on June 30, 1861, with the start of the American Civil War.

    During the war, the university reopened briefly in April 1863 but was closed once again with the invasion of the Red River Valley by the Union Army. The losses sustained by the institution during the Union occupation were heavy, and after 1863 the seminary remained closed for the remainder of the Civil War. Following the surrender of the Confederates at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, General Sherman donated two cannons to the institution. These cannons had been captured from Confederate forces after the close of the war and had been used during the initial firing upon Fort Sumter in April 1861. The cannons are still displayed in front of Louisiana State University’s Military Science/Aerospace Studies Building.

    The seminary officially reopened its doors on October 2, 1865, only to be burned October 15, 1869. On November 1, 1869, the institution resumed its exercises in Baton Rouge, where it has since remained. In 1870, the name of the institution was officially changed to Louisiana State University.

    Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College was established by an act of the legislature, approved April 7, 1874, to carry out the United States Morrill Act of 1862, granting lands for this purpose. It temporarily opened in New Orleans, June 1, 1874, where it remained until it merged with Louisiana State University in 1877. This prompted the final name change for the university to the Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College.

    20th century

    In 1905, Louisiana State University admitted its first female student, R. O. Davis. She was admitted into a program to pursue a master’s degree. The following year, 1906, Louisiana State University admitted sixteen female students to its freshman class as part of an experimental program. Before this, Louisiana State University’s student body was all-male. In 1907, Louisiana State University’s first female graduate, Martha McC. Read, was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. After this two year experimental program, the university fully opened its doors to female applicants in 1908, and thus coeducation was born at Louisiana State University.

    On April 30, 1926, the present Louisiana State University campus was formally dedicated, following the school’s history at the federal garrison grounds (now the site of the state capitol) where it had been since 1886. Before this, Louisiana State University used the quarters of the Institute for the Deaf, Mute, and Blind. Land for the present campus was purchased in 1918, construction started in 1922, and the move began in 1925; however, the move was not completed until 1932. The campus was originally designed for 3000 students but was cut back due to budget problems. After years of enrollment fluctuation, student numbers began a steady increase, new programs were added, curricula and faculty expanded, and a true state university emerged.

    In 1928, Louisiana State University was a small-time country school that generated little interest or attention in the state. Labeled a “third-rate” institution by the Association of State Universities, the school had only 1800 students, 168 faculty members, and an annual operating budget of $800,000. In 1930, Huey Pierce Long Jr., the governor, began a massive building program to expand the physical plant and add departments.

    By 1936, Louisiana State University had the finest facilities in the South, a top-notch faculty of 394 professors, a new medical school, more than 6,000 students, and a winning football team. In only eight years, it had risen in size from 88th in the nation to 20th, and it was the 11th largest state university in the nation. Long financed these improvements by arranging for the state to purchase acreage from the old Louisiana State University campus, which adjoined the grounds of the new State Capitol building in downtown Baton Rouge. To the consternation of his critics, Long essentially diverted $9 million for Louisiana State University’s expansion and increased the annual operating budget to $2.8 million.

    Louisiana State University was hit by scandal in 1939 when James Monroe Smith, appointed by Huey Long as president of Louisiana State University, was charged with embezzling a half-million dollars. In the ensuing investigation, at least twenty state officials were indicted. Two committed suicide as the scandal enveloped Governor Richard W. Leche, who received a 10-year federal prison sentence as a result of a kickback scheme. Paul M. Hebert, Dean of Louisiana State University’s law school at the time, then assumed interim presidency in Smith’s place.

    During World War II, Louisiana State University was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    Although some African-Americans students tried to enroll in Louisiana State University in 1946, the university did not admit African-Americans until the 1950s. In 1953 A. P. Tureaud Jr. enrolled under court order, but his enrollment was canceled when a higher court overturned the ruling. His case was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Tureaud returned to Louisiana State University in 1956. A classroom building on the Louisiana State University campus is named for his father, the late A. P. Tureaud Sr., a noted Civil Rights leader. The federal courts mandated full integration for Louisiana State University in 1964. The first African-American graduate of the LSU Louisiana State University Law School was New Orleans’s first African-American mayor, the late Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial.

    In 1969, mandatory ROTC for freshmen and sophomores was abolished; however, Louisiana State University continues to maintain Air Force and Army ROTC. In 1978, Louisiana State University was named a sea-grant college, the 13th university in the nation to be so designated. In 1992, the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors approved the creation of the Louisiana State University Honors College.

    21st century

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana State University accepted an additional 2,300 displaced students from the greater New Orleans area, such as Tulane University (US), The Loyola University New Orleans (US), The Xavier University of Louisiana (US), and The University of New Orleans (US). In addition to accepting displaced students, university officials also took on the challenge of housing and managing many hurricane victims, converting the Pete Maravich Assembly Center into a fully functional field hospital. Around 3,000 Louisiana State University students volunteered during the months after Katrina, assisting with the administration of medical treatment to some 5,000 evacuees and screening another 45,000 for various diseases.

    In 2013, F. King Alexander was named President of Louisiana State University.

    In fall 2020, Louisiana State University broke its record for the most diverse and largest freshman class in history. Of the record 6,690 freshmen, more than 30% identified as students of color, African-Americans made up the most at 16.8%. Additionally, Louisiana State University reached its all-time highest enrollment at 34,290 undergraduate and graduate students.

    An November 2020 investigative report in USA Today accused Louisiana State University of mishandling sexual misconduct claims against the football players. Louisiana State University hired Husch Blackwell LLP to review policies in response to the report, which released a 262-page report in March 2021 confirming the USA Today story, adding the problems within Louisiana State University went far beyond the allegations detailed in the investigation, with many of the problems being widespread across the university. In the fallout of the report, former Louisiana State University Tigers football coach Les Miles and former Louisiana State University president F. King Alexander were forced to resign from their jobs at The University of Kansas (US) and The Oregon State University (US), respectively. In April 2021, seven women filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Louisiana State University and its leadership based on their inability to report their incidents to the university’s Title IX office. The seven women are six former students (three of which were a part of the women’s tennis team at Louisiana State University and two who were student employees in the football recruiting office) and one current student. In June 2021, football coach Ed Orgeron was added as a defendant to the Title IX lawsuit under the notion Orgeron was aware and failed to report the rape allegation of former running back Derrius Guice.

    Dr. William F. Tate IV was named the new president of the school on May 6, 2021, effective in July. He will be the first African-American president in Louisiana State University’s history.

    Colleges and schools

    College of Agriculture
    College of Art & Design
    College of Humanities & Social Sciences
    College of Science
    E. J. Ourso College of Business
    College of Music & Dramatic Arts
    College of Human Sciences & Education
    College of Engineering
    Paul M. Hebert Law Center

    University College
    Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College
    Graduate School
    Manship School of Mass Communication
    School of Veterinary Medicine
    College of the Coast & Environment
    School of Social Work
    Continuing Education

    Rankings

    Louisiana State University is ranked 153rd in the national universities category and 72nd among public universities by the 2020 U.S. News & World Report ranking of U.S. colleges. Louisiana State University is also ranked as the 192nd best overall university in the nation by Forbes Magazine in 2019. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked Louisiana State University as the 16th most popular university in the nation. Louisiana State University was listed for academic censure by The National Association of University Professors for its alleged mistreatment of faculty on June 16, 2012.

    Louisiana State University was ranked 11th most LGBTQ-unfriendly campus by The Princeton Review in its 2020 rankings of American campuses by student survey. It was also featured as one of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s 2016 “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” due to its firing of a professor.

    Programs that have received recognition within Louisiana State University include the following:

    The E. J. Ourso College of Business has two professional programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report: in 2015, The Public Administration Institute ranked 73rd nationally according to the magazine, and the Flores MBA program was ranked 65th nationally. Additionally,
    Louisiana State University students have won the International Student High Achievement Award, an accolade given to students who score the highest possible score on the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam, seventeen times during the last twenty-one years.
    In 2007, the Flores MBA Program was ranked seventh in the nation “for attracting corporate MBA recruiters who recruit regionally” by The Wall Street Journal.
    The Louisiana State University College of Engineering undergraduate program was ranked 91st by U.S. News & World Report while the graduate program was ranked 94th.
    The Paul M. Hebert Law Center is ranked as the 75th best law school in the nation by the 2010 U.S. News Rankings of Best Law Schools. Louisiana State University law graduates have the highest first-time bar passage rate in Louisiana.
    In 2009, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Louisiana State University among the top 12 Entrepreneurial Colleges and Universities in the nation.
    The university’s Robert S. Reich School of Landscape Architecture was ranked No. 1 nationally in undergraduate and No. 2 in graduate programs by DesignIntelligence in its 2011 and 2012 editions of “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools”. The journal has ranked the school in the top five since 2004.
    The Louisiana State University College of Education graduate program was ranked 86th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
    The Louisiana State University French program, comprising the Department of French Studies and the Center for French and Francophone Studies, is recognized by the Cultural Services office of the French Ambassador to the United States as a centre d’excellence, an honor given to only 15 university French programs in the United States, and is ranked as one of the top 20 undergraduate French programs in the nation.
    The Louisiana State University graduate program in fine arts is ranked 62nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
    The Louisiana State University graduate program in library and information studies is ranked 27th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
    The Louisiana State University School of Social Work is ranked 79th in the nation by the 2015 U.S. News & World Report.[80]
    The Louisiana State University College of Science is the top producer of African American Ph.D. graduates and women graduates in chemistry in the United States.

    Media

    The Daily Reveille, the university’s student newspaper, has been keeping students informed for more than a century. It publishes five days a week during the fall and spring semesters and twice a week during the summer semester. The paper has a circulation of 11,000 or more. The Daily Reveille, which is funded by advertising and student fees, employs more than 80 students each semester in jobs ranging from writing and editing to design and illustration. The Daily Reveille was recognized for its outstanding coverage in the 2002–2003 school year with a Pacemaker Award from The Associated Collegiate Press and The Newspaper Association of America Foundation, the highest award granted to student publications in the United States. Princeton Review named The Daily Reveille as the 12th best college newspaper in the nation in its 2008 edition of The Best 361 Colleges. The Daily Reveille won the Editor & Publisher award, or EPpy, in 2008 for best college newspaper Web site. The Society of Professional Journalists named The Reveille “Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper” in its 2012 Mark of Excellence awards.

    KLSU is an FCC-licensed non-commercial educational (NCE) college radio station, public broadcasting with 5,000 watts of power at 91.1 on the FM dial. Radio on the Media

    The Daily Reveille, the university’s student newspaper, has been keeping students informed for more than a century. It publishes five days a week during the fall and spring semesters and twice a week during the summer semester. The paper has a circulation of 11,000 or more. The Daily Reveille, which is funded by advertising and student fees, employs more than 80 students each semester in jobs ranging from writing and editing to design and illustration. The Daily Reveille was recognized for its outstanding coverage in the 2002–2003 school year with a Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, the highest award granted to student publications in the United States. Princeton Review named The Daily Reveille as the 12th best college newspaper in the nation in its 2008 edition of The Best 361 Colleges. The Daily Reveille won the Editor & Publisher award, or EPpy, in 2008 for best college newspaper Web site.[93] The Society of Professional Journalists named The Reveille “Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper” in its 2012 Mark of Excellence awards.

    KLSU is an FCC-licensed non-commercial educational (NCE) college radio station, public broadcasting with 5,000 watts of power at 91.1 on the FM dial. Radio on the Louisiana State University campus began in 1915 when Dr. David Guthrie, a physics professor, patched together a radio transmitter from spare parts. Call letters KFGC were assigned in the early 1920s. In 1924 the station covered the first football game played in Tiger Stadium and thus provided the first broadcast of a football game in the South. In the 1950s, it switched to FM and became the first educational station in the country to broadcast a college opera. And in the 1990s, it was the first college station to stream audio on the Net. The station is on the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a format of college alternative music and specialty programming. All programming and operations are managed by the student staff.

    Broadcasting on campus cable channel 75, Tiger TV shares its production equipment and facilities with the Manship School of Mass Communication and is one of the most modern student television stations in the country.

    Broadcasting on campus cable channel 75, Tiger TV shares its production equipment and facilities with the Manship School of Mass Communication and is one of the most modern student television stations in the country.

    Publications

    LSU Press is a nonprofit book publisher dedicated to the publication of scholarly, general interest, and regional books. It publishes approximately 80 titles per year and continues to garner national and international accolades, including four Pulitzer Prizes. John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces is among its best-known publications.
    Southern Review is a literary journal published by Louisiana State University. It was co-founded in 1935 by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Penn Warren, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate and wrote the classic novel All the King’s Men, and renowned literary critic of the New Criticism school, Cleanth Brooks. It publishes fiction, poetry, and essays, with an emphasis on southern culture and history.
    Legacy is a student-run magazine that publishes a variety of feature-length stories. In both 2001 and 2005, it was named the best student magazine in the nation by The Society of Professional Journalists.
    Louisiana State University RESEARCH Magazine informs readers about university research programs.
    Apollo’s Lyre is a poetry and fiction magazine published each semester by the Honors College.
    Louisiana State University Alumni Magazine is a quarterly which focuses on Alumni success and current University news sent out to alumni everywhere.
    Gumbo is the university’s yearbook, which may be purchased.
    Louisiana State University Today magazine keeps faculty and staff updated with university news.
    New Delta Review is a literary quarterly funded by Louisiana State University that publishes a wide range of fiction, poetry, and interviews from new, up-and-coming, and established writers.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:06 am on January 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Galactic Conjunction", , , , , , Space based Astronomy, The spiral galaxy NGC 105   

    From Hubblesite (US) and ESA Hubble (EU): “Galactic Conjunction” 

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

    From Hubblesite (US) and ESA Hubble (EU)

    3 January 2022

    1

    This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures the spiral galaxy NGC 105, which lies roughly 215 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces. While it looks like NGC 105 is plunging edge-on into a collision with a neighbouring galaxy, this is just the result of the chance alignment of the two objects in the night sky. NGC 105’s elongated neighbour is actually far more distant and remains relatively unknown to astronomers. These misleading conjunctions occur frequently in astronomy — for example, the stars in constellations are at vastly different distances from Earth, and only appear to form patterns thanks to the chance alignment of their component stars.

    The Wide Field Camera 3 [below] observations in this image are from a vast collection of Hubble measurements examining nearby galaxies which contain two fascinating astronomical phenomena — Cepheid variables and cataclysmic supernova explosions. Whilst these two phenomena may appear to be unrelated — one is a peculiar class of pulsating stars and the other is the explosion caused by the catastrophic final throes of a massive star’s life — they are both used by astronomers for a very particular purpose: measuring the vast distances to astronomical objects. Both Cepheids and supernovae have very predictable luminosities, meaning that astronomers can tell precisely how bright they are. By measuring how bright they appear when observed from Earth, these “standard candles” can provide reliable distance measurements. NGC 105 contains both supernovae and Cepheid variables, giving astronomers a valuable opportunity to calibrate the two distance measurement techniques against one another.

    Astronomers recently carefully analysed the distances to a sample of galaxies including NGC 105 to measure how fast the Universe is expanding — a value known as the Hubble constant. Their results don’t agree with the predictions of the most widely-accepted cosmological model, and their analysis shows that there is only a 1-in-a-million chance that this discrepancy was caused by measurement errors. This discrepancy between galaxy measurements and cosmological predictions has been a long-standing source of consternation for astronomers, and these recent findings provide persuasive new evidence that something is either wrong or lacking in our standard model of cosmology.

    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 Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and remains in operation. It was not the first space telescope, but it is one of the largest and most versatile, renowned both as a vital research tool and as a public relations boon for astronomy. The Hubble telescope is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble and is one of NASA’s Great Observatories, along with the NASA Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the NASA Spitzer Infared Space Telescope.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Chandra X-ray telescope(US).

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) Spitzer Infrared Apace Telescope no longer in service. Launched in 2003 and retired on 30 January 2020.

    Edwin Hubble at Caltech Palomar Samuel Oschin 48 inch Telescope(US) Credit: Emilio Segre Visual Archives/AIP/SPL.

    Edwin Hubble looking through the 100-inch Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson in Southern California(US), 1929 discovers the Universe is Expanding.Credit: Margaret Bourke-White/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

    Hubble features a 2.4-meter (7.9 ft) mirror, and its four main instruments observe in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Hubble’s orbit outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere allows it to capture extremely high-resolution images with substantially lower background light than ground-based telescopes. It has recorded some of the most detailed visible light images, allowing a deep view into space. Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as determining the rate of expansion of the universe.

    The Hubble telescope was built by the United States space agency National Aeronautics Space Agency(US) with contributions from the European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU). The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) selects Hubble’s targets and processes the resulting data, while the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center(US) controls the spacecraft. Space telescopes were proposed as early as 1923. Hubble was funded in the 1970s with a proposed launch in 1983, but the project was beset by technical delays, budget problems, and the 1986 Challenger disaster. It was finally launched by Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, but its main mirror had been ground incorrectly, resulting in spherical aberration that compromised the telescope’s capabilities. The optics were corrected to their intended quality by a servicing mission in 1993.

    Hubble is the only telescope designed to be maintained in space by astronauts. Five Space Shuttle missions have repaired, upgraded, and replaced systems on the telescope, including all five of the main instruments. The fifth mission was initially canceled on safety grounds following the Columbia disaster (2003), but NASA administrator Michael D. Griffin approved the fifth servicing mission which was completed in 2009. The telescope was still operating as of April 24, 2020, its 30th anniversary, and could last until 2030–2040. One successor to the Hubble telescope is the National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU)/Canadian Space Agency(CA) Webb Infrared Space Telescope scheduled for launch in December 2021.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) Webb Infrared Space Telescope(US) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in October 2021 delayed to December 2021.

    Proposals and precursors

    In 1923, Hermann Oberth—considered a father of modern rocketry, along with Robert H. Goddard and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky—published Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (“The Rocket into Planetary Space“), which mentioned how a telescope could be propelled into Earth orbit by a rocket.

    The history of the Hubble Space Telescope can be traced back as far as 1946, to astronomer Lyman Spitzer’s paper entitled Astronomical advantages of an extraterrestrial observatory. In it, he discussed the two main advantages that a space-based observatory would have over ground-based telescopes. First, the angular resolution (the smallest separation at which objects can be clearly distinguished) would be limited only by diffraction, rather than by the turbulence in the atmosphere, which causes stars to twinkle, known to astronomers as seeing. At that time ground-based telescopes were limited to resolutions of 0.5–1.0 arcseconds, compared to a theoretical diffraction-limited resolution of about 0.05 arcsec for an optical telescope with a mirror 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in diameter. Second, a space-based telescope could observe infrared and ultraviolet light, which are strongly absorbed by the atmosphere.

    Spitzer devoted much of his career to pushing for the development of a space telescope. In 1962, a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences recommended development of a space telescope as part of the space program, and in 1965 Spitzer was appointed as head of a committee given the task of defining scientific objectives for a large space telescope.

    Space-based astronomy had begun on a very small scale following World War II, as scientists made use of developments that had taken place in rocket technology. The first ultraviolet spectrum of the Sun was obtained in 1946, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) launched the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) to obtain UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray spectra in 1962.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA) Orbiting Solar Observatory

    An orbiting solar telescope was launched in 1962 by the United Kingdom as part of the Ariel space program, and in 1966 NASA launched the first Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) mission. OAO-1’s battery failed after three days, terminating the mission. It was followed by OAO-2, which carried out ultraviolet observations of stars and galaxies from its launch in 1968 until 1972, well beyond its original planned lifetime of one year.

    The OSO and OAO missions demonstrated the important role space-based observations could play in astronomy. In 1968, NASA developed firm plans for a space-based reflecting telescope with a mirror 3 m (9.8 ft) in diameter, known provisionally as the Large Orbiting Telescope or Large Space Telescope (LST), with a launch slated for 1979. These plans emphasized the need for crewed maintenance missions to the telescope to ensure such a costly program had a lengthy working life, and the concurrent development of plans for the reusable Space Shuttle indicated that the technology to allow this was soon to become available.

    Quest for funding

    The continuing success of the OAO program encouraged increasingly strong consensus within the astronomical community that the LST should be a major goal. In 1970, NASA established two committees, one to plan the engineering side of the space telescope project, and the other to determine the scientific goals of the mission. Once these had been established, the next hurdle for NASA was to obtain funding for the instrument, which would be far more costly than any Earth-based telescope. The U.S. Congress questioned many aspects of the proposed budget for the telescope and forced cuts in the budget for the planning stages, which at the time consisted of very detailed studies of potential instruments and hardware for the telescope. In 1974, public spending cuts led to Congress deleting all funding for the telescope project.
    In response a nationwide lobbying effort was coordinated among astronomers. Many astronomers met congressmen and senators in person, and large scale letter-writing campaigns were organized. The National Academy of Sciences published a report emphasizing the need for a space telescope, and eventually the Senate agreed to half the budget that had originally been approved by Congress.

    The funding issues led to something of a reduction in the scale of the project, with the proposed mirror diameter reduced from 3 m to 2.4 m, both to cut costs and to allow a more compact and effective configuration for the telescope hardware. A proposed precursor 1.5 m (4.9 ft) space telescope to test the systems to be used on the main satellite was dropped, and budgetary concerns also prompted collaboration with the European Space Agency. ESA agreed to provide funding and supply one of the first generation instruments for the telescope, as well as the solar cells that would power it, and staff to work on the telescope in the United States, in return for European astronomers being guaranteed at least 15% of the observing time on the telescope. Congress eventually approved funding of US$36 million for 1978, and the design of the LST began in earnest, aiming for a launch date of 1983. In 1983 the telescope was named after Edwin Hubble, who confirmed one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the 20th century, made by Georges Lemaître, that the universe is expanding.

    Construction and engineering

    Once the Space Telescope project had been given the go-ahead, work on the program was divided among many institutions. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) was given responsibility for the design, development, and construction of the telescope, while Goddard Space Flight Center was given overall control of the scientific instruments and ground-control center for the mission. MSFC commissioned the optics company Perkin-Elmer to design and build the Optical Telescope Assembly (OTA) and Fine Guidance Sensors for the space telescope. Lockheed was commissioned to construct and integrate the spacecraft in which the telescope would be housed.

    Optical Telescope Assembly

    Optically, the HST is a Cassegrain reflector of Ritchey–Chrétien design, as are most large professional telescopes. This design, with two hyperbolic mirrors, is known for good imaging performance over a wide field of view, with the disadvantage that the mirrors have shapes that are hard to fabricate and test. The mirror and optical systems of the telescope determine the final performance, and they were designed to exacting specifications. Optical telescopes typically have mirrors polished to an accuracy of about a tenth of the wavelength of visible light, but the Space Telescope was to be used for observations from the visible through the ultraviolet (shorter wavelengths) and was specified to be diffraction limited to take full advantage of the space environment. Therefore, its mirror needed to be polished to an accuracy of 10 nanometers, or about 1/65 of the wavelength of red light. On the long wavelength end, the OTA was not designed with optimum IR performance in mind—for example, the mirrors are kept at stable (and warm, about 15 °C) temperatures by heaters. This limits Hubble’s performance as an infrared telescope.

    Perkin-Elmer intended to use custom-built and extremely sophisticated computer-controlled polishing machines to grind the mirror to the required shape. However, in case their cutting-edge technology ran into difficulties, NASA demanded that PE sub-contract to Kodak to construct a back-up mirror using traditional mirror-polishing techniques. (The team of Kodak and Itek also bid on the original mirror polishing work. Their bid called for the two companies to double-check each other’s work, which would have almost certainly caught the polishing error that later caused such problems.) The Kodak mirror is now on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum. An Itek mirror built as part of the effort is now used in the 2.4 m telescope at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory.

    Construction of the Perkin-Elmer mirror began in 1979, starting with a blank manufactured by Corning from their ultra-low expansion glass. To keep the mirror’s weight to a minimum it consisted of top and bottom plates, each one inch (25 mm) thick, sandwiching a honeycomb lattice. Perkin-Elmer simulated microgravity by supporting the mirror from the back with 130 rods that exerted varying amounts of force. This ensured the mirror’s final shape would be correct and to specification when finally deployed. Mirror polishing continued until May 1981. NASA reports at the time questioned Perkin-Elmer’s managerial structure, and the polishing began to slip behind schedule and over budget. To save money, NASA halted work on the back-up mirror and put the launch date of the telescope back to October 1984. The mirror was completed by the end of 1981; it was washed using 2,400 US gallons (9,100 L) of hot, deionized water and then received a reflective coating of 65 nm-thick aluminum and a protective coating of 25 nm-thick magnesium fluoride.

    Doubts continued to be expressed about Perkin-Elmer’s competence on a project of this importance, as their budget and timescale for producing the rest of the OTA continued to inflate. In response to a schedule described as “unsettled and changing daily”, NASA postponed the launch date of the telescope until April 1985. Perkin-Elmer’s schedules continued to slip at a rate of about one month per quarter, and at times delays reached one day for each day of work. NASA was forced to postpone the launch date until March and then September 1986. By this time, the total project budget had risen to US$1.175 billion.

    Spacecraft systems

    The spacecraft in which the telescope and instruments were to be housed was another major engineering challenge. It would have to withstand frequent passages from direct sunlight into the darkness of Earth’s shadow, which would cause major changes in temperature, while being stable enough to allow extremely accurate pointing of the telescope. A shroud of multi-layer insulation keeps the temperature within the telescope stable and surrounds a light aluminum shell in which the telescope and instruments sit. Within the shell, a graphite-epoxy frame keeps the working parts of the telescope firmly aligned. Because graphite composites are hygroscopic, there was a risk that water vapor absorbed by the truss while in Lockheed’s clean room would later be expressed in the vacuum of space; resulting in the telescope’s instruments being covered by ice. To reduce that risk, a nitrogen gas purge was performed before launching the telescope into space.

    While construction of the spacecraft in which the telescope and instruments would be housed proceeded somewhat more smoothly than the construction of the OTA, Lockheed still experienced some budget and schedule slippage, and by the summer of 1985, construction of the spacecraft was 30% over budget and three months behind schedule. An MSFC report said Lockheed tended to rely on NASA directions rather than take their own initiative in the construction.

    Computer systems and data processing

    The two initial, primary computers on the HST were the 1.25 MHz DF-224 system, built by Rockwell Autonetics, which contained three redundant CPUs, and two redundant NSSC-1 (NASA Standard Spacecraft Computer, Model 1) systems, developed by Westinghouse and GSFC using diode–transistor logic (DTL). A co-processor for the DF-224 was added during Servicing Mission 1 in 1993, which consisted of two redundant strings of an Intel-based 80386 processor with an 80387 math co-processor. The DF-224 and its 386 co-processor were replaced by a 25 MHz Intel-based 80486 processor system during Servicing Mission 3A in 1999. The new computer is 20 times faster, with six times more memory, than the DF-224 it replaced. It increases throughput by moving some computing tasks from the ground to the spacecraft and saves money by allowing the use of modern programming languages.

    Additionally, some of the science instruments and components had their own embedded microprocessor-based control systems. The MATs (Multiple Access Transponder) components, MAT-1 and MAT-2, utilize Hughes Aircraft CDP1802CD microprocessors. The Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WFPC) also utilized an RCA 1802 microprocessor (or possibly the older 1801 version). The WFPC-1 was replaced by the WFPC-2 [below] during Servicing Mission 1 in 1993, which was then replaced by the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) [below] during Servicing Mission 4 in 2009.

    Initial instruments

    When launched, the HST carried five scientific instruments: the Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WF/PC), Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS), High Speed Photometer (HSP), Faint Object Camera (FOC) and the Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS).

    WF/PC was a high-resolution imaging device primarily intended for optical observations. It was built by NASA JPL-Caltech(US), and incorporated a set of 48 filters isolating spectral lines of particular astrophysical interest. The instrument contained eight charge-coupled device (CCD) chips divided between two cameras, each using four CCDs. Each CCD has a resolution of 0.64 megapixels. The wide field camera (WFC) covered a large angular field at the expense of resolution, while the planetary camera (PC) took images at a longer effective focal length than the WF chips, giving it a greater magnification.

    The GHRS was a spectrograph designed to operate in the ultraviolet. It was built by the Goddard Space Flight Center and could achieve a spectral resolution of 90,000. Also optimized for ultraviolet observations were the FOC and FOS, which were capable of the highest spatial resolution of any instruments on Hubble. Rather than CCDs these three instruments used photon-counting digicons as their detectors. The FOC was constructed by ESA, while the University of California, San Diego(US), and Martin Marietta Corporation built the FOS.

    The final instrument was the HSP, designed and built at the University of Wisconsin–Madison(US). It was optimized for visible and ultraviolet light observations of variable stars and other astronomical objects varying in brightness. It could take up to 100,000 measurements per second with a photometric accuracy of about 2% or better.

    HST’s guidance system can also be used as a scientific instrument. Its three Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) are primarily used to keep the telescope accurately pointed during an observation, but can also be used to carry out extremely accurate astrometry; measurements accurate to within 0.0003 arcseconds have been achieved.

    Ground support

    The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is responsible for the scientific operation of the telescope and the delivery of data products to astronomers. STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (US) (AURA) and is physically located in Baltimore, Maryland on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University (US), one of the 39 U.S. universities and seven international affiliates that make up the AURA consortium. STScI was established in 1981 after something of a power struggle between NASA and the scientific community at large. NASA had wanted to keep this function in-house, but scientists wanted it to be based in an academic establishment. The Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF), established at Garching bei München near Munich in 1984, provided similar support for European astronomers until 2011, when these activities were moved to the European Space Astronomy Centre.

    One rather complex task that falls to STScI is scheduling observations for the telescope. Hubble is in a low-Earth orbit to enable servicing missions, but this means most astronomical targets are occulted by the Earth for slightly less than half of each orbit. Observations cannot take place when the telescope passes through the South Atlantic Anomaly due to elevated radiation levels, and there are also sizable exclusion zones around the Sun (precluding observations of Mercury), Moon and Earth. The solar avoidance angle is about 50°, to keep sunlight from illuminating any part of the OTA. Earth and Moon avoidance keeps bright light out of the FGSs, and keeps scattered light from entering the instruments. If the FGSs are turned off, the Moon and Earth can be observed. Earth observations were used very early in the program to generate flat-fields for the WFPC1 instrument. There is a so-called continuous viewing zone (CVZ), at roughly 90° to the plane of Hubble’s orbit, in which targets are not occulted for long periods.

    Challenger disaster, delays, and eventual launch

    By January 1986, the planned launch date of October looked feasible, but the Challenger explosion brought the U.S. space program to a halt, grounding the Shuttle fleet and forcing the launch of Hubble to be postponed for several years. The telescope had to be kept in a clean room, powered up and purged with nitrogen, until a launch could be rescheduled. This costly situation (about US$6 million per month) pushed the overall costs of the project even higher. This delay did allow time for engineers to perform extensive tests, swap out a possibly failure-prone battery, and make other improvements. Furthermore, the ground software needed to control Hubble was not ready in 1986, and was barely ready by the 1990 launch.

    Eventually, following the resumption of shuttle flights in 1988, the launch of the telescope was scheduled for 1990. On April 24, 1990, Space Shuttle Discovery successfully launched it during the STS-31 mission.

    From its original total cost estimate of about US$400 million, the telescope cost about US$4.7 billion by the time of its launch. Hubble’s cumulative costs were estimated to be about US$10 billion in 2010, twenty years after launch.

    List of Hubble instruments

    Hubble accommodates five science instruments at a given time, plus the Fine Guidance Sensors, which are mainly used for aiming the telescope but are occasionally used for scientific astrometry measurements. Early instruments were replaced with more advanced ones during the Shuttle servicing missions. COSTAR was a corrective optics device rather than a science instrument, but occupied one of the five instrument bays.
    Since the final servicing mission in 2009, the four active instruments have been ACS, COS, STIS and WFC3. NICMOS is kept in hibernation, but may be revived if WFC3 were to fail in the future.

    Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS; 2002–present)
    Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS; 2009–present)
    Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR; 1993–2009)
    Faint Object Camera (FOC; 1990–2002)
    Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS; 1990–1997)
    Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS; 1990–present)
    Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS/HRS; 1990–1997)
    High Speed Photometer (HSP; 1990–1993)
    Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS; 1997–present, hibernating since 2008)
    Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS; 1997–present (non-operative 2004–2009))
    Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WFPC; 1990–1993)
    Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2; 1993–2009)
    Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3; 2009–present)

    Of the former instruments, three (COSTAR, FOS and WFPC2) are displayed in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The FOC is in the Dornier museum, Germany. The HSP is in the Space Place at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The first WFPC was dismantled, and some components were then re-used in WFC3.

    Flawed mirror

    Within weeks of the launch of the telescope, the returned images indicated a serious problem with the optical system. Although the first images appeared to be sharper than those of ground-based telescopes, Hubble failed to achieve a final sharp focus and the best image quality obtained was drastically lower than expected. Images of point sources spread out over a radius of more than one arcsecond, instead of having a point spread function (PSF) concentrated within a circle 0.1 arcseconds (485 nrad) in diameter, as had been specified in the design criteria.

    Analysis of the flawed images revealed that the primary mirror had been polished to the wrong shape. Although it was believed to be one of the most precisely figured optical mirrors ever made, smooth to about 10 nanometers, the outer perimeter was too flat by about 2200 nanometers (about 1⁄450 mm or 1⁄11000 inch). This difference was catastrophic, introducing severe spherical aberration, a flaw in which light reflecting off the edge of a mirror focuses on a different point from the light reflecting off its center.

    The effect of the mirror flaw on scientific observations depended on the particular observation—the core of the aberrated PSF was sharp enough to permit high-resolution observations of bright objects, and spectroscopy of point sources was affected only through a sensitivity loss. However, the loss of light to the large, out-of-focus halo severely reduced the usefulness of the telescope for faint objects or high-contrast imaging. This meant nearly all the cosmological programs were essentially impossible, since they required observation of exceptionally faint objects. This led politicians to question NASA’s competence, scientists to rue the cost which could have gone to more productive endeavors, and comedians to make jokes about NASA and the telescope − in the 1991 comedy The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, in a scene where historical disasters are displayed, Hubble is pictured with RMS Titanic and LZ 129 Hindenburg. Nonetheless, during the first three years of the Hubble mission, before the optical corrections, the telescope still carried out a large number of productive observations of less demanding targets. The error was well characterized and stable, enabling astronomers to partially compensate for the defective mirror by using sophisticated image processing techniques such as deconvolution.

    Origin of the problem

    A commission headed by Lew Allen, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was established to determine how the error could have arisen. The Allen Commission found that a reflective null corrector, a testing device used to achieve a properly shaped non-spherical mirror, had been incorrectly assembled—one lens was out of position by 1.3 mm (0.051 in). During the initial grinding and polishing of the mirror, Perkin-Elmer analyzed its surface with two conventional refractive null correctors. However, for the final manufacturing step (figuring), they switched to the custom-built reflective null corrector, designed explicitly to meet very strict tolerances. The incorrect assembly of this device resulted in the mirror being ground very precisely but to the wrong shape. A few final tests, using the conventional null correctors, correctly reported spherical aberration. But these results were dismissed, thus missing the opportunity to catch the error, because the reflective null corrector was considered more accurate.

    The commission blamed the failings primarily on Perkin-Elmer. Relations between NASA and the optics company had been severely strained during the telescope construction, due to frequent schedule slippage and cost overruns. NASA found that Perkin-Elmer did not review or supervise the mirror construction adequately, did not assign its best optical scientists to the project (as it had for the prototype), and in particular did not involve the optical designers in the construction and verification of the mirror. While the commission heavily criticized Perkin-Elmer for these managerial failings, NASA was also criticized for not picking up on the quality control shortcomings, such as relying totally on test results from a single instrument.

    Design of a solution

    Many feared that Hubble would be abandoned. The design of the telescope had always incorporated servicing missions, and astronomers immediately began to seek potential solutions to the problem that could be applied at the first servicing mission, scheduled for 1993. While Kodak had ground a back-up mirror for Hubble, it would have been impossible to replace the mirror in orbit, and too expensive and time-consuming to bring the telescope back to Earth for a refit. Instead, the fact that the mirror had been ground so precisely to the wrong shape led to the design of new optical components with exactly the same error but in the opposite sense, to be added to the telescope at the servicing mission, effectively acting as “spectacles” to correct the spherical aberration.

    The first step was a precise characterization of the error in the main mirror. Working backwards from images of point sources, astronomers determined that the conic constant of the mirror as built was −1.01390±0.0002, instead of the intended −1.00230. The same number was also derived by analyzing the null corrector used by Perkin-Elmer to figure the mirror, as well as by analyzing interferograms obtained during ground testing of the mirror.

    Because of the way the HST’s instruments were designed, two different sets of correctors were required. The design of the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, already planned to replace the existing WF/PC, included relay mirrors to direct light onto the four separate charge-coupled device (CCD) chips making up its two cameras. An inverse error built into their surfaces could completely cancel the aberration of the primary. However, the other instruments lacked any intermediate surfaces that could be figured in this way, and so required an external correction device.

    The Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) system was designed to correct the spherical aberration for light focused at the FOC, FOS, and GHRS.

    NASA COSTAR

    NASA COSTAR installation

    It consists of two mirrors in the light path with one ground to correct the aberration. To fit the COSTAR system onto the telescope, one of the other instruments had to be removed, and astronomers selected the High Speed Photometer to be sacrificed. By 2002, all the original instruments requiring COSTAR had been replaced by instruments with their own corrective optics. COSTAR was removed and returned to Earth in 2009 where it is exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum. The area previously used by COSTAR is now occupied by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph.

    Servicing missions and new instruments

    Servicing Mission 1

    The first Hubble serving mission was scheduled for 1993 before the mirror problem was discovered. It assumed greater importance, as the astronauts would need to do extensive work to install corrective optics; failure would have resulted in either abandoning Hubble or accepting its permanent disability. Other components failed before the mission, causing the repair cost to rise to $500 million (not including the cost of the shuttle flight). A successful repair would help demonstrate the viability of building Space Station Alpha, however.

    STS-49 in 1992 demonstrated the difficulty of space work. While its rescue of Intelsat 603 received praise, the astronauts had taken possibly reckless risks in doing so. Neither the rescue nor the unrelated assembly of prototype space station components occurred as the astronauts had trained, causing NASA to reassess planning and training, including for the Hubble repair. The agency assigned to the mission Story Musgrave—who had worked on satellite repair procedures since 1976—and six other experienced astronauts, including two from STS-49. The first mission director since Project Apollo would coordinate a crew with 16 previous shuttle flights. The astronauts were trained to use about a hundred specialized tools.

    Heat had been the problem on prior spacewalks, which occurred in sunlight. Hubble needed to be repaired out of sunlight. Musgrave discovered during vacuum training, seven months before the mission, that spacesuit gloves did not sufficiently protect against the cold of space. After STS-57 confirmed the issue in orbit, NASA quickly changed equipment, procedures, and flight plan. Seven total mission simulations occurred before launch, the most thorough preparation in shuttle history. No complete Hubble mockup existed, so the astronauts studied many separate models (including one at the Smithsonian) and mentally combined their varying and contradictory details. Service Mission 1 flew aboard Endeavour in December 1993, and involved installation of several instruments and other equipment over ten days.

    Most importantly, the High Speed Photometer was replaced with the COSTAR corrective optics package, and WFPC was replaced with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) with an internal optical correction system. The solar arrays and their drive electronics were also replaced, as well as four gyroscopes in the telescope pointing system, two electrical control units and other electrical components, and two magnetometers. The onboard computers were upgraded with added coprocessors, and Hubble’s orbit was boosted.

    On January 13, 1994, NASA declared the mission a complete success and showed the first sharper images. The mission was one of the most complex performed up until that date, involving five long extra-vehicular activity periods. Its success was a boon for NASA, as well as for the astronomers who now had a more capable space telescope.

    Servicing Mission 2

    Servicing Mission 2, flown by Discovery in February 1997, replaced the GHRS and the FOS with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), replaced an Engineering and Science Tape Recorder with a new Solid State Recorder, and repaired thermal insulation. NICMOS contained a heat sink of solid nitrogen to reduce the thermal noise from the instrument, but shortly after it was installed, an unexpected thermal expansion resulted in part of the heat sink coming into contact with an optical baffle. This led to an increased warming rate for the instrument and reduced its original expected lifetime of 4.5 years to about two years.

    Servicing Mission 3A

    Servicing Mission 3A, flown by Discovery, took place in December 1999, and was a split-off from Servicing Mission 3 after three of the six onboard gyroscopes had failed. The fourth failed a few weeks before the mission, rendering the telescope incapable of performing scientific observations. The mission replaced all six gyroscopes, replaced a Fine Guidance Sensor and the computer, installed a Voltage/temperature Improvement Kit (VIK) to prevent battery overcharging, and replaced thermal insulation blankets.

    Servicing Mission 3B

    Servicing Mission 3B flown by Columbia in March 2002 saw the installation of a new instrument, with the FOC (which, except for the Fine Guidance Sensors when used for astrometry, was the last of the original instruments) being replaced by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). This meant COSTAR was no longer required, since all new instruments had built-in correction for the main mirror aberration. The mission also revived NICMOS by installing a closed-cycle cooler and replaced the solar arrays for the second time, providing 30 percent more power.

    Servicing Mission 4

    Plans called for Hubble to be serviced in February 2005, but the Columbia disaster in 2003, in which the orbiter disintegrated on re-entry into the atmosphere, had wide-ranging effects on the Hubble program. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe decided all future shuttle missions had to be able to reach the safe haven of the International Space Station should in-flight problems develop. As no shuttles were capable of reaching both HST and the space station during the same mission, future crewed service missions were canceled. This decision was criticised by numerous astronomers who felt Hubble was valuable enough to merit the human risk. HST’s planned successor, the James Webb Telescope (JWST), as of 2004 was not expected to launch until at least 2011. A gap in space-observing capabilities between a decommissioning of Hubble and the commissioning of a successor was of major concern to many astronomers, given the significant scientific impact of HST. The consideration that JWST will not be located in low Earth orbit, and therefore cannot be easily upgraded or repaired in the event of an early failure, only made concerns more acute. On the other hand, many astronomers felt strongly that servicing Hubble should not take place if the expense were to come from the JWST budget.

    In January 2004, O’Keefe said he would review his decision to cancel the final servicing mission to HST, due to public outcry and requests from Congress for NASA to look for a way to save it. The National Academy of Sciences convened an official panel, which recommended in July 2004 that the HST should be preserved despite the apparent risks. Their report urged “NASA should take no actions that would preclude a space shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope”. In August 2004, O’Keefe asked Goddard Space Flight Center to prepare a detailed proposal for a robotic service mission. These plans were later canceled, the robotic mission being described as “not feasible”. In late 2004, several Congressional members, led by Senator Barbara Mikulski, held public hearings and carried on a fight with much public support (including thousands of letters from school children across the U.S.) to get the Bush Administration and NASA to reconsider the decision to drop plans for a Hubble rescue mission.

    The nomination in April 2005 of a new NASA Administrator, Michael D. Griffin, changed the situation, as Griffin stated he would consider a crewed servicing mission. Soon after his appointment Griffin authorized Goddard to proceed with preparations for a crewed Hubble maintenance flight, saying he would make the final decision after the next two shuttle missions. In October 2006 Griffin gave the final go-ahead, and the 11-day mission by Atlantis was scheduled for October 2008. Hubble’s main data-handling unit failed in September 2008, halting all reporting of scientific data until its back-up was brought online on October 25, 2008. Since a failure of the backup unit would leave the HST helpless, the service mission was postponed to incorporate a replacement for the primary unit.

    Servicing Mission 4 (SM4), flown by Atlantis in May 2009, was the last scheduled shuttle mission for HST. SM4 installed the replacement data-handling unit, repaired the ACS and STIS systems, installed improved nickel hydrogen batteries, and replaced other components including all six gyroscopes. SM4 also installed two new observation instruments—Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS)—and the Soft Capture and Rendezvous System, which will enable the future rendezvous, capture, and safe disposal of Hubble by either a crewed or robotic mission. Except for the ACS’s High Resolution Channel, which could not be repaired and was disabled, the work accomplished during SM4 rendered the telescope fully functional.

    Major projects

    Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey [CANDELS]

    The survey “aims to explore galactic evolution in the early Universe, and the very first seeds of cosmic structure at less than one billion years after the Big Bang.” The CANDELS project site describes the survey’s goals as the following:

    The Cosmic Assembly Near-IR Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey is designed to document the first third of galactic evolution from z = 8 to 1.5 via deep imaging of more than 250,000 galaxies with WFC3/IR and ACS. It will also find the first Type Ia SNe beyond z > 1.5 and establish their accuracy as standard candles for cosmology. Five premier multi-wavelength sky regions are selected; each has multi-wavelength data from Spitzer and other facilities, and has extensive spectroscopy of the brighter galaxies. The use of five widely separated fields mitigates cosmic variance and yields statistically robust and complete samples of galaxies down to 109 solar masses out to z ~ 8.

    Frontier Fields program

    The program, officially named Hubble Deep Fields Initiative 2012, is aimed to advance the knowledge of early galaxy formation by studying high-redshift galaxies in blank fields with the help of gravitational lensing to see the “faintest galaxies in the distant universe”. The Frontier Fields web page describes the goals of the program being:

    To reveal hitherto inaccessible populations of z = 5–10 galaxies that are ten to fifty times fainter intrinsically than any presently known
    To solidify our understanding of the stellar masses and star formation histories of sub-L* galaxies at the earliest times
    To provide the first statistically meaningful morphological characterization of star forming galaxies at z > 5
    To find z > 8 galaxies stretched out enough by cluster lensing to discern internal structure and/or magnified enough by cluster lensing for spectroscopic follow-up.

    Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS)

    The Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) is an astronomical survey designed to probe the formation and evolution of galaxies as a function of both cosmic time (redshift) and the local galaxy environment. The survey covers a two square degree equatorial field with spectroscopy and X-ray to radio imaging by most of the major space-based telescopes and a number of large ground based telescopes, making it a key focus region of extragalactic astrophysics. COSMOS was launched in 2006 as the largest project pursued by the Hubble Space Telescope at the time, and still is the largest continuous area of sky covered for the purposes of mapping deep space in blank fields, 2.5 times the area of the moon on the sky and 17 times larger than the largest of the CANDELS regions. The COSMOS scientific collaboration that was forged from the initial COSMOS survey is the largest and longest-running extragalactic collaboration, known for its collegiality and openness. The study of galaxies in their environment can be done only with large areas of the sky, larger than a half square degree. More than two million galaxies are detected, spanning 90% of the age of the Universe. The COSMOS collaboration is led by Caitlin Casey, Jeyhan Kartaltepe, and Vernesa Smolcic and involves more than 200 scientists in a dozen countries.

    Important discoveries

    Hubble has helped resolve some long-standing problems in astronomy, while also raising new questions. Some results have required new theories to explain them.

    Age of the universe

    Among its primary mission targets was to measure distances to Cepheid variable stars more accurately than ever before, and thus constrain the value of the Hubble constant, the measure of the rate at which the universe is expanding, which is also related to its age. Before the launch of HST, estimates of the Hubble constant typically had errors of up to 50%, but Hubble measurements of Cepheid variables in the Virgo Cluster and other distant galaxy clusters provided a measured value with an accuracy of ±10%, which is consistent with other more accurate measurements made since Hubble’s launch using other techniques. The estimated age is now about 13.7 billion years, but before the Hubble Telescope, scientists predicted an age ranging from 10 to 20 billion years.

    Expansion of the universe

    While Hubble helped to refine estimates of the age of the universe, it also cast doubt on theories about its future. Astronomers from the High-z Supernova Search Team and the Supernova Cosmology Project used ground-based telescopes and HST to observe distant supernovae and uncovered evidence that, far from decelerating under the influence of gravity, the expansion of the universe may in fact be accelerating. Three members of these two groups have subsequently been awarded Nobel Prizes for their discovery.

    Saul Perlmutter [The Supernova Cosmology Project] shared the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics with Brian P. Schmidt and Adam Riess [The High-z Supernova Search Team] for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

    The cause of this acceleration remains poorly understood; the most common cause attributed is Dark Energy.

    Black holes

    The high-resolution spectra and images provided by the HST have been especially well-suited to establishing the prevalence of black holes in the center of nearby galaxies. While it had been hypothesized in the early 1960s that black holes would be found at the centers of some galaxies, and astronomers in the 1980s identified a number of good black hole candidates, work conducted with Hubble shows that black holes are probably common to the centers of all galaxies. The Hubble programs further established that the masses of the nuclear black holes and properties of the galaxies are closely related. The legacy of the Hubble programs on black holes in galaxies is thus to demonstrate a deep connection between galaxies and their central black holes.

    Extending visible wavelength images

    A unique window on the Universe enabled by Hubble are the Hubble Deep Field, Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, and Hubble Extreme Deep Field images, which used Hubble’s unmatched sensitivity at visible wavelengths to create images of small patches of sky that are the deepest ever obtained at optical wavelengths. The images reveal galaxies billions of light years away, and have generated a wealth of scientific papers, providing a new window on the early Universe. The Wide Field Camera 3 improved the view of these fields in the infrared and ultraviolet, supporting the discovery of some of the most distant objects yet discovered, such as MACS0647-JD.

    The non-standard object SCP 06F6 was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in February 2006.

    On March 3, 2016, researchers using Hubble data announced the discovery of the farthest known galaxy to date: GN-z11. The Hubble observations occurred on February 11, 2015, and April 3, 2015, as part of the CANDELS/GOODS-North surveys.

    Solar System discoveries

    HST has also been used to study objects in the outer reaches of the Solar System, including the dwarf planets Pluto and Eris.

    The collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 1994 was fortuitously timed for astronomers, coming just a few months after Servicing Mission 1 had restored Hubble’s optical performance. Hubble images of the planet were sharper than any taken since the passage of Voyager 2 in 1979, and were crucial in studying the dynamics of the collision of a comet with Jupiter, an event believed to occur once every few centuries.

    During June and July 2012, U.S. astronomers using Hubble discovered Styx, a tiny fifth moon orbiting Pluto.

    In March 2015, researchers announced that measurements of aurorae around Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons, revealed that it has a subsurface ocean. Using Hubble to study the motion of its aurorae, the researchers determined that a large saltwater ocean was helping to suppress the interaction between Jupiter’s magnetic field and that of Ganymede. The ocean is estimated to be 100 km (60 mi) deep, trapped beneath a 150 km (90 mi) ice crust.

    From June to August 2015, Hubble was used to search for a Kuiper belt object (KBO) target for the New Horizons Kuiper Belt Extended Mission (KEM) when similar searches with ground telescopes failed to find a suitable target.

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

    This resulted in the discovery of at least five new KBOs, including the eventual KEM target, 486958 Arrokoth, that New Horizons performed a close fly-by of on January 1, 2019.

    In August 2020, taking advantage of a total lunar eclipse, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have detected Earth’s own brand of sunscreen – ozone – in our atmosphere. This method simulates how astronomers and astrobiology researchers will search for evidence of life beyond Earth by observing potential “biosignatures” on exoplanets (planets around other stars).
    Hubble and ALMA image of MACS J1149.5+2223.

    Supernova reappearance

    On December 11, 2015, Hubble captured an image of the first-ever predicted reappearance of a supernova, dubbed “Refsdal”, which was calculated using different mass models of a galaxy cluster whose gravity is warping the supernova’s light. The supernova was previously seen in November 2014 behind galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223 as part of Hubble’s Frontier Fields program. Astronomers spotted four separate images of the supernova in an arrangement known as an “Einstein Cross”.

    The light from the cluster has taken about five billion years to reach Earth, though the supernova exploded some 10 billion years ago. Based on early lens models, a fifth image was predicted to reappear by the end of 2015. The detection of Refsdal’s reappearance in December 2015 served as a unique opportunity for astronomers to test their models of how mass, especially dark matter, is distributed within this galaxy cluster.

    Impact on astronomy

    Many objective measures show the positive impact of Hubble data on astronomy. Over 15,000 papers based on Hubble data have been published in peer-reviewed journals, and countless more have appeared in conference proceedings. Looking at papers several years after their publication, about one-third of all astronomy papers have no citations, while only two percent of papers based on Hubble data have no citations. On average, a paper based on Hubble data receives about twice as many citations as papers based on non-Hubble data. Of the 200 papers published each year that receive the most citations, about 10% are based on Hubble data.

    Although the HST has clearly helped astronomical research, its financial cost has been large. A study on the relative astronomical benefits of different sizes of telescopes found that while papers based on HST data generate 15 times as many citations as a 4 m (13 ft) ground-based telescope such as the William Herschel Telescope, the HST costs about 100 times as much to build and maintain.

    Isaac Newton Group 4.2 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory | Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias • IAC(ES) on La Palma in the Canary Islands(ES), 2,396 m (7,861 ft)

    Deciding between building ground- versus space-based telescopes is complex. Even before Hubble was launched, specialized ground-based techniques such as aperture masking interferometry had obtained higher-resolution optical and infrared images than Hubble would achieve, though restricted to targets about 108 times brighter than the faintest targets observed by Hubble. Since then, advances in “adaptive optics” have extended the high-resolution imaging capabilities of ground-based telescopes to the infrared imaging of faint objects.

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO’s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT, a major asset of the Adaptive Optics system.

    UCO KeckLaser Guide Star Adaptive Optics on two 10 meter Keck Observatory telescopes, Maunakea Hawaii USA, altitude 4,207 m (13,802 ft).

    The usefulness of adaptive optics versus HST observations depends strongly on the particular details of the research questions being asked. In the visible bands, adaptive optics can correct only a relatively small field of view, whereas HST can conduct high-resolution optical imaging over a wide field. Only a small fraction of astronomical objects are accessible to high-resolution ground-based imaging; in contrast Hubble can perform high-resolution observations of any part of the night sky, and on objects that are extremely faint.

    Impact on aerospace engineering

    In addition to its scientific results, Hubble has also made significant contributions to aerospace engineering, in particular the performance of systems in low Earth orbit. These insights result from Hubble’s long lifetime on orbit, extensive instrumentation, and return of assemblies to the Earth where they can be studied in detail. In particular, Hubble has contributed to studies of the behavior of graphite composite structures in vacuum, optical contamination from residual gas and human servicing, radiation damage to electronics and sensors, and the long term behavior of multi-layer insulation. One lesson learned was that gyroscopes assembled using pressurized oxygen to deliver suspension fluid were prone to failure due to electric wire corrosion. Gyroscopes are now assembled using pressurized nitrogen. Another is that optical surfaces in LEO can have surprisingly long lifetimes; Hubble was only expected to last 15 years before the mirror became unusable, but after 14 years there was no measureable degradation. Finally, Hubble servicing missions, particularly those that serviced components not designed for in-space maintenance, have contributed towards the development of new tools and techniques for on-orbit repair.

    Archives

    All Hubble data is eventually made available via the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes at STScI, CADC and ESA/ESAC. Data is usually proprietary—available only to the principal investigator (PI) and astronomers designated by the PI—for twelve months after being taken. The PI can apply to the director of the STScI to extend or reduce the proprietary period in some circumstances.

    Observations made on Director’s Discretionary Time are exempt from the proprietary period, and are released to the public immediately. Calibration data such as flat fields and dark frames are also publicly available straight away. All data in the archive is in the FITS format, which is suitable for astronomical analysis but not for public use. The Hubble Heritage Project processes and releases to the public a small selection of the most striking images in JPEG and TIFF formats.

    Outreach activities

    It has always been important for the Space Telescope to capture the public’s imagination, given the considerable contribution of taxpayers to its construction and operational costs. After the difficult early years when the faulty mirror severely dented Hubble’s reputation with the public, the first servicing mission allowed its rehabilitation as the corrected optics produced numerous remarkable images.

    Several initiatives have helped to keep the public informed about Hubble activities. In the United States, outreach efforts are coordinated by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Office for Public Outreach, which was established in 2000 to ensure that U.S. taxpayers saw the benefits of their investment in the space telescope program. To that end, STScI operates the HubbleSite.org website. The Hubble Heritage Project, operating out of the STScI, provides the public with high-quality images of the most interesting and striking objects observed. The Heritage team is composed of amateur and professional astronomers, as well as people with backgrounds outside astronomy, and emphasizes the aesthetic nature of Hubble images. The Heritage Project is granted a small amount of time to observe objects which, for scientific reasons, may not have images taken at enough wavelengths to construct a full-color image.

    Since 1999, the leading Hubble outreach group in Europe has been the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre (HEIC). This office was established at the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility in Munich, Germany. HEIC’s mission is to fulfill HST outreach and education tasks for the European Space Agency. The work is centered on the production of news and photo releases that highlight interesting Hubble results and images. These are often European in origin, and so increase awareness of both ESA’s Hubble share (15%) and the contribution of European scientists to the observatory. ESA produces educational material, including a videocast series called Hubblecast designed to share world-class scientific news with the public.

    The Hubble Space Telescope has won two Space Achievement Awards from the Space Foundation, for its outreach activities, in 2001 and 2010.

    A replica of the Hubble Space Telescope is on the courthouse lawn in Marshfield, Missouri, the hometown of namesake Edwin P. Hubble.

    Major Instrumentation

    Hubble WFPC2 no longer in service.

    Wide Field Camera 3 [WFC3]

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU) Hubble Wide Field Camera 3

    Advanced Camera for Surveys [ACS]

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope(US) Advanced Camera for Surveys

    Cosmic Origins Spectrograph [COS]

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) Cosmic Origins Spectrograph.

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 11:06 am on December 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New class of galac­tic nebulae disco­vered", , , CE: common-envelope-system, , , In close binary systems the inflating outer part of a star merges as a common envelope around both stars at the end of their lives., Inside the gas envelope the cores of the two stars are practically undisturbed and follow their evolution like independent single stars., Space based Astronomy, , The common envelope of a binary star system., The fully developed envelope of a CE and its ejection into interstellar space had not been observed in this form so far.,   

    From The University of Innsbruck [Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck](AT)“New class of galac­tic nebulae disco­vered” 

    From The University of Innsbruck [Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck](AT)

    21.12.2021

    1
    Discovery image of the nebula. For this image, 120 individual exposures had to be combined to obtain a total exposure time of 20 hours. The images were taken over several months from Brazil. Credit: Maicon Germiniani.

    For the first time, scientists, starting from a discovery by scientific amateurs, have succeeded in providing evidence for a fully developed shell of a common-envelope-system (CE) – the phase of the common envelope of a binary star system. “Toward the end of their lives, normal stars inflate into red giant stars. Since a very large fraction of stars are in binary stars, this affects the evolution at the end of their lives. In close binary systems the inflating outer part of a star merges as a common envelope around both stars. However, inside this gas envelope the cores of the two stars are practically undisturbed and follow their evolution like independent single stars,” explains astrophysicist Stefan Kimeswenger. The researchers have now published their results in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Discovery thanks to amateur astronomers

    Many stellar systems being known to be remnants of such an evolution. Their chemical and physical properties serve as a fingerprint. Also stellar systems which are just about to develop a common envelope had already been discovered due to their specific and high brightness. However, the fully developed envelope of a CE and its ejection into interstellar space had not been observed in this form so far. “These envelopes are of great importance for our understanding of the evolution of stars in their final phase. Moreover, they help us to understand how they enrich the interstellar space with heavy elements, which are then in turn important for the evolution of planetary systems, such as our own,” explains Kimeswenger the importance of the newly discovered galactic nebulae and adds an explanation for why the probability of their discovery is low: “They are too large for the field of view of modern telescopes and at the same time they are very faint. Moreover, their lifetime is rather short, at least when considered in cosmic time scales. It is only a few hundred thousand years.” The starting point for this unique discovery is a group of German-French amateur astronomers: With painstaking work they searched historical celestial images for unknown objects in the now digitized archives and finally found a fragment of a nebula on photographic plates from the 1980s.

    International cooperation solves puzzle

    With their finding, the group contacted international scientific experts, including the Department for Astro and Particle Physics at the University of Innsbruck, which is very experienced in this field. By compiling and combining observations from the past 20 years, stemming from public archives of various telescopes and with data from four different space satellites, the researchers in Innsbruck were able to rule out their first assumption, namely the discovery of a planetary nebula caused by the remnants of dying stars. The enormous extent of the nebula finally became apparent with the help of measurements taken by telescopes in Chile. Scientists in the USA finally completed these observations with spectrographs: “The diameter of the main cloud is 15.6 light-years across, almost 1 million times larger than the distance of the earth to the sun and much larger than the distance of our sun to its nearest neighboring star. Moreover, fragments as large as 39 light-years apart have also been found. Since the object lies slightly above the Milky Way, the nebula was able to develop largely undisturbed by other clouds in the surrounding gas,” Kimeswenger describes the discovery.

    Model of the new class of galactic nebulae

    By combining all this information, the researchers have succeeded in creating a model of the object: It consists of a close binary system of a 66,500-degree white dwarf star and a normal star with a mass slightly below that of the Sun. Both orbit each other in only 8 hours and 2 minutes and at a distance of only 2.2 solar radii. Due to the small distance, the companion star with a temperature of only about 4,700 degrees is strongly heated at the side facing the white dwarf, which leads to extreme phenomena in the spectrum of the star and to very regular variations in brightness. Around both stars there is a gigantic envelope consisting of the outer material of the white dwarf. At just over one solar mass, this material is heavier than the white dwarf and its companion star and was ejected into space some 500,000 years ago.

    Another part of the puzzle related to the discovery of the new class of galactic nebulae has not yet been solved, Stefan Kimeswenger says: “It is even possible that this system is related to a nova observation made by Korean and Chinese astronomers in 1086. In any case, the positions of the historical observations match very well with those of our object described here.”

    See the full article here.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Innsbruck [Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck ](AT) is currently the largest education facility in the Austrian Bundesland of Tirol, the third largest in Austria behind University of Vienna [Universität Wien] (AT) and the University of Graz [Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz] (AT) and according to The Times Higher Education Supplement World Ranking 2010 Austria’s leading university. Significant contributions have been made in many branches, most of all in the physics department. Further, regarding the number of Web of Science-listed publications, it occupies the third rank worldwide in the area of mountain research. In the Handelsblatt Ranking 2015, the business administration faculty ranks among the 15 best business administration faculties in German-speaking countries.

    History

    In 1562, a Jesuit grammar school was established in Innsbruck by Peter Canisius, today called “Akademisches Gymnasium Innsbruck”. It was financed by the salt mines in Hall in Tirol, and was refounded as a university in 1669 by Leopold I with four faculties. In 1782 this was reduced to a mere lyceum (as were all other universities in the Austrian Empire, apart from Prague, Vienna and Lviv), but it was reestablished as the University of Innsbruck in 1826 by Emperor Franz I. The university is therefore named after both of its founding fathers with the official title “Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck” (Universitas Leopoldino-Franciscea).

    In 2005, copies of letters written by the emperors Frederick II and Conrad IV were found in the university’s library. They arrived in Innsbruck in the 18th century, having left the charterhouse Allerengelberg in Schnals due to its abolishment.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:14 am on December 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers find Milky Way analogue galaxy in the early universe", "The Cosmic Seahorse" galaxy, , , , , , , , Space based Astronomy   

    From IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES) : “Astronomers find Milky Way analogue galaxy in the early universe” 

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía

    From IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES)

    21/12/2021

    1
    Zoom-in on the Cosmic Seahorse in visual and near infrared light. The foreground giant elliptical galaxy, at the center of a galaxy cluster, magnifies and distorts the distant light coming from the strongly lensed galaxy. Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble.

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

    An international team, including researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), used combined data from different radio telescopes located in Spain to probe the mode of star formation in a galaxy when the universe had less than 30% of its current age. They revealed that the properties of the molecular gas reservoir are similar to the one of our own Galaxy, unseen up to now in the distant universe. The paper is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    A major question in the study of galaxies is on the mode of star formation, how efficient the conversion of cold gas into stars is. Up to now, galaxies in the early universe seem to form stars in a different manner than observed in our own Galaxy which is puzzling. To shed light onto this question, the cold molecular gas, the fuel for the formation of stars, gets observed with radio telescopes.

    Due to the physical properties of the molecular hydrogen gas (H2), it cannot be observed directly in the radio regime but it can traced via the carbon monoxide molecule (CO). And that is what the team led by Nikolaus Sulzenauer, a PhD student at The MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy[MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) has done.

    First, the researchers selected a galaxy whose brightness is boosted through gravitational lensing by an intervening cluster of galaxies. They then searched for archival data of infrared space missions in combination with the Hubble Space Telescope imaging.

    “The discovered galaxy is strongly lensed by a factor of about 10 and thus its morphology is distorted resembling a seahorse.

    Gravitational Lensing Gravitational Lensing National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) and European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).

    Therefore its nickname is “the Cosmic Seahorse” explains Sulzenauer, who carried out this study as a master’s thesis at The University of Vienna [Universität Wien](AT) under the supervision of IAC researcher Helmut Dannerbauer who is also co-author of the paper that is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    3
    Detail of the “cosmic seahorse”, a galaxy modified by gravitational lensing. Illustration: Carla Nicolin Schoder (Univ. Vienna)

    The researcher revealed the distance of this galaxy, the light travelled 9.6 billion years, through observations of the carbon monoxide lines with the 30 m radio telescope of the Instituto de Radioastronomía Milimétrica (IRAM) located in the Sierra Nevada.

    IRAM 30m Radio telescope in Spain.

    Together with observations of the Yebes 40 m radio telescope located at Yebes, 50 km north-east of Madrid and operated by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), the physical properties of the fuel of star formation through the observations of several molecular gas lines could be derived as well.

    4
    Yebes 40 m radio telescope located at Yebes, 50 km north-east of Madrid.

    “That it is the most distant galaxy detected with the Yebes 40 m radio telescope up to now” notes Dannerbauer, who also highlights the advantage that the method used in the research has brought to these radio telescopes: “The gravitational lensing virtually transforms the IRAM and Yebes telescopes into radio telescopes with sizes of single dishes of 300 resp. 400 m, impossible to construct.”

    Through the analysis of the cold molecular gas, the researchers found the presence of previously unseen star-formation mechanism at cosmic noon, the peak epoch of star formation and black hole activity of the universe. “Our research has shown that this is a so-called main-sequence galaxy with slowly evolving star formation at the epoch of maximum star formation in the Universe” adds Bodo Ziegler from the University of Vienna and co-author of the article.

    “This seems to be the missing link between systems with high and low star formation rate such as the Cosmic Seahorse” explains Anastasio Díaz Sánchez of The Polytechnic University of Cartagena[Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena](ES) who also participated in the study. Likewise, Susana Iglesias Groth, IAC researcher and co-author of the article, emphasises the relevance of this discovery considering the difficulty of studying this type of galaxy: “Without the gravitational lensing it would have been impossible to detect this galaxy, with calm star formation activity, with these large radio telescopes.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES) operates two astronomical observatories in the Canary Islands:

    Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma
    Teide Observatory on Tenerife.

    The Instituto de Astrofísica the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).

    Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos at La Palma (ES) at an altitude of 2400m.

    The seeing statistics at ORM make it the second-best location for optical and infrared astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere, after Mauna Kea Observatory Hawaii (US).

    Maunakea Observatories Hawai’i (US) altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    The site also has some of the most extensive astronomical facilities in the Northern Hemisphere; its fleet of telescopes includes the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias, the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope as of July 2009, the William Herschel Telescope (second largest in Europe), and the adaptive optics corrected Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope.

    Gran Telescopio Canarias [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias ](ES) sited on a volcanic peak 2,267 metres (7,438 ft) above sea level.

    Isaac Newton Group 4.2 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands(ES), 2,396 m (7,861 ft).

    The Swedish 1m Solar Telescope SST at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on La Palma Spain, Altitude 2,360 m (7,740 ft).

    The observatory was established in 1985, after 15 years of international work and cooperation of several countries with the Spanish island hosting many telescopes from Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, and other countries. The island provided better seeing conditions for the telescopes that had been moved to Herstmonceux by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, including the 98 inch aperture Isaac Newton Telescope (the largest reflector in Europe at that time). When it was moved to the island it was upgraded to a 100-inch (2.54 meter), and many even larger telescopes from various nations would be hosted there.

    Tiede Observatory, Tenerife, Canary Islands (ES)

    Teide Observatory [Observatorio del Teide], IAU code 954, is an astronomical observatory on Mount Teide at 2,390 metres (7,840 ft), located on Tenerife, Spain. It has been operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias since its inauguration in 1964. It became one of the first major international observatories, attracting telescopes from different countries around the world because of the good astronomical seeing conditions. Later the emphasis for optical telescopes shifted more towards Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma.

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

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

    From JAXA-The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP)

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (US)

    20 DECEMBER 2021
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    Samples from Asteroid Ryugu. (Yada et. al., Nat. Astron., 2021)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2
    Ryugu samples returned by the Hayabusa2 probe. (Yada et. al., Nat. Astron., 2021)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The two papers have been published in Nature Astronomy:

    Nature Astronomy

    Nature Astronomy

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 8:41 am on December 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Unveiling substructures at the edge of the Galaxy", , , , Space based Astronomy, The University of Barcelona [Universitat de Barcelona] (ES)   

    From The University of Barcelona [Universidad de Barcelona] (ES) : “Unveiling substructures at the edge of the Galaxy” 

    From The University of Barcelona [Universidad de Barcelona] (ES)

    12.14.21

    1
    All-sky map of the Milky Way, showing the large-scale disk structures in the midplane. Credit: Laporte et al.

    An international team of astronomers led by researcher Chervin Laporte of the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB-IEEC) has revealed a new map of the Milky Way’s outer disc using data from the Gaia space misison. The findings have been published in the journal MNRAS.

    “Typically, this region of the Milky Way has remained poorly explored due to the intervening dust which severely obscures most of the Galactic midplane”, says Chervin Laporte, first signer of the article. “While dust affects the luminosity of stars, it has no effect on their motion. As a result, one can use the stars’ motion to perform a tomography of the Galaxy’s outermost regions”, adds the ICCUB researcher. The team analysed the Gaia motion data, available from December 2020, to identify coherent structures.

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

    The map reveals the existence of many previously unknown coherently rotating filamentary structures at the edge of the disc. It also gives a sharper global view of previously known structures. Numerical simulations predict such filamentary structures to form in the outer disc from past satellite interactions, however the sheer quantity of substructure revealed by this map was not expected and it remains a mystery.

    What could these filamentary structures be?

    Our Galaxy is surrounded by fifty satellite galaxies and has engulfed numerous galaxies in its past. At present, the Milky Way is thought to have been perturbed by the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, a fact that confirmed Laporte’s earlier theoretical models.

    2
    Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy / SagDEG. Credit: http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/sag-deg.htm .

    However, in its more distant past it interacted with another intruder, the Gaia Sausage, which has now dispersed its debris into the stellar halo.

    3
    Artist impression of Milky Way-Gaia Sausage collision. Credit: V. Belokurov/based on image by ESO/Juan Carlos Muñoz.

    The researchers formulated the hypothesis that states that these filamentary structures are remains of tidal arms from the Milky Way disc, which were excited at different times by various satellite galaxies.

    Laporte notes that in an earlier study, they already showed that one of the thread-like structures in the outer disc, called the Anticenter Stream, had stars which were predominantly older than eight billion years, “making it potentially too old to have been caused by Sagittarius alone, but more in line with a Sausage origin”. “Another possibility —adds the researcher—would be that not all these structures are actually genuine disc substructures, but instead form the crests of vertical density waves in the disc seen in projection, forming an optical illusion that the disc is highly substructured”.

    The team has secured a dedicated follow-up programme with the WEAVE spectrograph to study the similarities and differences in stellar populations in each substructure. Through the study of radial velocities, chemical abundances and potentially stellar ages, the upcoming surveys WEAVE, SDSS-V and PFS will also shed light into the origins of the substructures.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Welcome to the The University of Barcelona [Universidad de Barcelona] (ES)

    The University of Barcelona is the most formidable public institution of higher education in Catalonia, catering to the needs of the greatest number of students and delivering the broadest and most comprehensive offering in higher educational courses. The UB is also the principal centre of university research in Spain and has become a European benchmark for research activity, both in terms of the number of research programmes it conducts and the excellence these have achieved.

    Its own history closely tied to the history of Barcelona and of Catalonia, our university combines the values of tradition with its position as an institution dedicated to innovation and teaching excellence: a university that is as outward-looking and cosmopolitan as the city from which it takes its name.

    Welcome to the University of Barcelona. We hope to see you very soon!

    The University of Barcelona [Universidad de Barcelona] is a public university located in the city of Barcelona, Catalonia in Spain. With 73 undergraduate programs, 273 graduate programs and 48 doctorate programs to over 63,000 students, UB is considered to be the best university in Spain in the QS World University Rankings of 2018, which ranked the university 156th overall in the world. In the 2016-2017 ranking of University Ranking by Academic Performance, UB is considered the best university in Spain and 45th university in the world. Also, according to the yearly ranking made by US News, it is the 81st-best university in the world, and the best university in Spain.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:10 pm on December 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Gaia finds fossil spiral arms in Milky Way", Anticenter Stream, , , , Gaia Sausage, , , Space based Astronomy,   

    From The Royal Astronomical Society (UK) : “Gaia finds fossil spiral arms in Milky Way” 

    From The Royal Astronomical Society (UK)

    12.13.21

    Dr Chervin F. P. Laporte
    Distinguished Researcher / ERC Group Leader
    Institute of Cosmos Sciences, The University of Barcelona [Universitat de Barcelona](ES)
    chervin.laporte@icc.ub.edu

    Professor Sergey E. Koposov
    Reader in Observational Astronomy, The University of Edinburgh(SCT)
    Affiliated Associate Professor, The University of Cambridge (UK)
    Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
    sergey.koposov@ed.ac.uk

    Professor Vasily Belokurov
    Professor of Astronomy
    Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
    vasily@ast.cam.ac.uk

    1
    All-sky map of the Milky Way in motion using the Gaia data. Areas with significant motion are shown in black/purple and those with relatively low motion in yellow. A number of large scale filamentary disc structures are evident about the midplane. The map also shows the Magellanic Clouds and their connecting stellar bridge to left, while the Sgr dwarf galaxy currently being torn apart can be seen on the right (main body).
    Credit: Laporte et al. Licence type Attribution (CC BY 4.0)

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

    An international team of astronomers, led by researcher Chervin Laporte of the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB-IEEC), has used data from the Gaia space mission to create a new map of the Milky Way’s outer disc. Intriguingly, newly found structures include evidence for fossil spiral arms. The team published the new work in a paper in MNRAS: Letters.

    The team analysed the Gaia motion data, available from December 2020, to identify coherent structures. Their resulting map revealed the existence of many previously unknown spinning filamentary structures at the edge of the disc. It also gave a sharper overall view of previously known structures. Numerical simulations predict such filamentary structures to form in the outer disc from past satellite interactions, but the sheer quantity of substructure revealed by this map was not expected and remains a mystery.

    What could these structures possibly be? One possibility is that they are the remains of tidal arms from the Milky Way disc which were excited at different times by various satellite galaxies. Our Galaxy is now surrounded by 50 of these satellites and has engulfed numerous other galaxies in its past. At present, the Milky Way is thought to be being perturbed by the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, But in its more distant past it interacted with another intruder, the Gaia Sausage, which has now dispersed its debris into the outskirts of our galaxy.

    3
    Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. http://annesastronomynews.com

    6
    Gaia Sausage. Carnegie Mellon University.

    In an earlier study, the same team showed that one of the filamentary structures in the outer disc, the Anticenter Stream, had stars which were predominantly more than 8 billion years old.

    7
    Anticenter Stream. The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU).

    This makes it potentially too old to have been excited by Sagittarius alone and instead points to the Gaia Sausage.

    Another possibility is that not all these structures are actual genuine fossil spiral arms but instead form the crests of large scale vertical distortions in the Milky Way disc. “We believe that discs respond to satellite impacts which set up vertical waves that propagate like ripples on a pond” says Laporte.

    To try to distinguish between the two explanations, the team has now secured a dedicated follow-up programme with the William Herschel Telescope on the Canary Islands in order to study the properties of the stellar populations in each substructure.


    Isaac Newton Group 4 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands, 2,396 m (7,861 ft)

    Future surveys will help shed light on the nature and origin of these heavenly wispy structures.

    Laporte comments on their findings: “Typically this region of the Milky Way has remained poorly explored due to the intervening dust which severely obscures most of the Galactic midplane”. He adds, “While dust affects the luminosity of a star, its motion remains unaffected. We were certainly very excited to see that the Gaia motions data helped us uncover these filamentary structures! Now the challenge remains to figure what these things exactly are, how they came to be, why in such large numbers, and what they can tell us about the Milky Way, its formation and evolution.”

    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 The Royal Astronomical Society (UK), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organises scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognises outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 4,400 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

    The RAS accepts papers for its journals based on the principle of peer review, in which fellow experts on the editorial boards accept the paper as worth considering. The Society issues press releases based on a similar principle, but the organisations and scientists concerned have overall responsibility for their content.

    In 2020 the RAS is 200 years old. The Society is celebrating its bicentennial anniversary with a series of events around the UK, including public lectures, exhibitions, an organ recital, a pop-up planetarium, and the culmination of the RAS 200: Sky & Earth project.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:44 pm on December 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Space based Astronomy, , The University of Geneva [Université de Genève](CH)   

    From The University of Bern [Universität Bern] (CH) and The University of Geneva [Université de Genève] (CH) : “Two-year launch anniversary of CHEOPS” 

    From The University of Bern [Universität Bern] (CH)

    and

    The University of Geneva [Université de Genève] (CH)

    2021/12/14

    Kontakt
    Prof. Dr. Willy Benz
    Physics Institute, Space Research and Planetology (WP), University of Bern
    Phone +41 79 964 92 16
    willy.benz@unibe.ch

    Prof. Dr. David Ehrenreich
    Département d’Astronomie and NCCR PlanetS, The University of Geneva [Université de Genève](CH)
    Phone +41 22 379 2390
    david.ehrenreich@unige.ch

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/CHEOPS

    After two years in orbit, the CHEOPS space telescope has exceeded expectations. By reliably revealing details of some of the most fascinating exoplanets, it has quickly become a key instrument for astronomers in Europe and has led to fruitful collaborations throughout the continent. CHEOPS is a joint mission by The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) and Switzerland, under the aegis of The University of Bern [Universität Bern](CH) in collaboration with The University of Geneva [Université de Genève](CH).

    Since its launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, on December 18 2019, the CHEOPS telescope in Earth’s orbit has demonstrated its functionality and precision beyond expectations. That it would ever to get to that point was never a certainty and would have almost been impossible due to the Corona virus pandemic.

    A key part of European astronomy

    “We were very lucky that things went so smoothly. After years of preparation, construction and testing, it is amazing to think that if the launch had been delayed only two more weeks, things could have gone very differently”, Willy Benz, Professor of astrophysics at the University of Bern and head of the CHEOPS consortium, recalls. Due to the pandemic, access to the operation centre was very limited. Luckily, just shortly before large parts of Europe went into shutdown, all the necessary checks were completed and the telescope could run in an automated operation mode. This allowed the scientists working with CHEOPS to operate the instrument remotely and thus gather all the observational data they needed to do their research – and they did so quite diligently.

    Thus far, nearly 100 scientists, coming from 40 institutions all over the continent, have thus far had the chance to benefit from the unique capabilities of CHEOPS. This has led to impactful research published in nearly 30 scientific papers. Findings include the characterization of blisteringly hot planet atmospheres that evaporate iron, the detection of planetary systems that orbit their star in near perfect harmony or the measurement of the structure of icy super-Earths. “CHEOPS has demonstrated its flexibility, reliability and high precision on many occasions – for example by revealing details of planets and planetary systems that remained hidden from other instruments, like NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS)”, mission scientist David Ehrenreich, who is also a Professor of astronomy at the University of Geneva says.

    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 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (US).

    A valuable asset for the future

    The capabilities CHEOPS could continue to serve the scientific community well, even with the launch of the next generation of instruments – such as the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) of NASA.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) Webb Infrared Space Telescope(US) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in October 2021 delayed to December 2021.

    “We are convinced with its high precision and flexibility, CHEOPS can act as a bridge between instruments like TESS and the JWST, as the JWST needs precise information on potentially interesting observation targets. While TESS can detect many targets, CHEOPS can help to filter out the most promising ones and thus optimize the operation of the 10 billion $ instrument that is the JWST”, Willy Benz points out.

    “We also hope that scientific advances will allow us to extend the research foci of CHEOPS to study the atmospheric circulations and clouds on exoplanets or to detect the first moon around an exoplanet”, David Ehrenreich adds. Whether these goals will be attainable will also depend on the decision of ESA to extend the operation period of CHEOPS, which is scheduled to end next autumn, to 2025. In any case: an exciting year lies ahead for the “Swiss” telescope in space.

    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 The University of Geneva [Université de Genève] (CH) is a public research university located in Geneva, Switzerland.

    It was founded in 1559 by John Calvin as a theological seminary and law school. It remained focused on theology until the 17th century, when it became a center for Enlightenment scholarship. In 1873, it dropped its religious affiliations and became officially secular. Today, the university is the third largest university in Switzerland by number of students. In 2009, the University of Geneva celebrated the 450th anniversary of its founding. Almost 40% of the students come from foreign countries.

    The university holds and actively pursues teaching, research, and community service as its primary objectives. In 2016, it was ranked 53rd worldwide by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, 89th by the QS World University Rankings, and 131st in the TIMES Higher Education World University Ranking.

    UNIGE is a member of the League of European Research Universities (EU) (including academic institutions such as University of Amsterdam [Universiteit van Amsterdam] (NL), University of Cambridge (UK), Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, [Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg] (DE), University of Helsinki [ Helsingin yliopisto; Helsingfors universitet] (FI) and University of Milan [Università degli Studi di Milano Statale] (IT)) the Coimbra Group (EU) and the European University Association (EU).

    The University is composed of nine faculties:
    Faculty of Sciences
    Faculty of Medicine
    Faculty of Humanities
    Faculty Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM)
    Faculty Geneva School of Social Sciences (G3S)
    Faculty of Law (Geneva Law School)
    Faculty of Theology
    Faculty of Psychology and School of Education
    Faculty of Translation and Interpreting
    Interfaculty centers
    The university is composed of fourteen interfacultary centers. Amongst others:
    Institute for Reformation History (the Reformation)
    Computer Science Department (computer science)
    Institute for Environmental Sciences (energy policy)
    The Global Studies Institute
    Interfaculty Center of Gerontology (gerontology)
    Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (affective science)
    Associated institutions
    The university has also several partnerships with the nearby institutions, where students at the university may take courses.
    Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
    Bossey Ecumenical Institute (of the World Council of Churches)
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre
    Art-Law Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging(CIBM)
    University Centre of Legal Medicine (CURML)
    The Institute for Work and Health (IST)

    The University of Bern [Universität Bern] (CH) is a university in the Swiss capital of Bern and was founded in 1834. It is regulated and financed by the Canton of Bern. It is a comprehensive university offering a broad choice of courses and programs in eight faculties and some 150 institutes. With around 17,512 students, Universität Bern is the third biggest University in Switzerland.

    Universität Bern operates at three levels: university, faculties and institutes. Other organizational units include interfaculty and general university units. The university’s highest governing body is the Senate, which is responsible for issuing statutes, rules and regulations. Directly answerable to the Senate is the University Board of Directors, the governing body for university management and coordination. The Board comprises the Rector, the Vice-Rectors and the Administrative Director. The structures and functions of the University Board of Directors and the other organizational units are regulated by the Universities Act. Universität Bern offers about 39 bachelor and 72 master programs, with enrollments of 7,747 and 4,523, respectively. The university also has 2,776 doctoral students. Around 1,561 bachelor, 1,489 master’s degree students and 570 PhD students graduate each year. For some time now, the university has had more female than male students; at the end of 2016, women accounted for 56% of students.

    Today the University of Bern is one of the top 150 universities in the world. In the QS World University Rankings 2019 it ranked 139th. The Shanghai Ranking (ARWU) 2018 ranked the University of Bern in the range 101st–150th in the world. In the Leiden Ranking 2015 it ranked 122nd in the world and 50th in Europe. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings it ranked 110th in 2018/2019 and 2016/2017 (and 82nd in Clinical, pre-clinical & health 2017).

     
  • richardmitnick 12:36 pm on December 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble glances at NGC 3568", , , , , Space based Astronomy   

    From Manu Garcia- a friend from IAC-Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES): “Hubble glances at NGC 3568” 


    From Manu Garcia- a friend from IAC-Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries[Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES).

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    1
    In this image, the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures a side view of NGC 3568, a barred spiral galaxy approximately 57 million light-years from the Milky Way in the constellation Centaurus. In 2014, light from a supernova explosion in NGC 3568 reached Earth, a sudden flash of light caused by the titanic explosion that accompanied the death of a massive star. While most astronomical discoveries are the work of teams of professional astronomers, this supernova was discovered by amateur astronomers at the Backyard Observatory Supernova Search in New Zealand. Dedicated amateur astronomers often make intriguing discoveries, particularly of fleeting astronomical phenomena like supernovae. This Hubble observation comes from a wealth of data accumulated to pave the way for future science with the upcoming NASA / ESA / CSA James Webb Space Telescope. By combining ground-based observations with data from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3, astronomers have built a trove of data on the connections between young stars and the clouds of cold gas in which they form. One of Webb’s key scientific goals is to explore the life cycle of stars, particularly how and where stars are born. Since Webb observes at infrared wavelengths, he will be able to look through the clouds of gas and dust in the stellar nurseries and observe the fledgling stars within. Webb’s superb sensitivity will even allow astronomers to directly investigate faint protostellar nuclei, the early stages of star birth. Credit: M. Sun/ The National Aeronautics and Space Agency(US)/The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope.
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    Credit: https://esahubble.org/images/potw2150a/

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    The Instituto de Astrofísica the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).

    Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos at La Palma (ES) at an altitude of 2400m.

    The seeing statistics at ORM make it the second-best location for optical and infrared astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere, after Mauna Kea Observatory Hawaii (US).

    Maunakea Observatories Hawai’i (US) altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    The site also has some of the most extensive astronomical facilities in the Northern Hemisphere; its fleet of telescopes includes the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias, the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope as of July 2009, the William Herschel Telescope (second largest in Europe), and the adaptive optics corrected Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope.

    Gran Telescopio Canarias [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias ](ES) sited on a volcanic peak 2,267 metres (7,438 ft) above sea level.

    Isaac Newton Group 4.2 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands(ES), 2,396 m (7,861 ft).

    The Swedish 1m Solar Telescope SST at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on La Palma Spain, Altitude 2,360 m (7,740 ft).

    The observatory was established in 1985, after 15 years of international work and cooperation of several countries with the Spanish island hosting many telescopes from Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, and other countries. The island provided better seeing conditions for the telescopes that had been moved to Herstmonceux by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, including the 98 inch aperture Isaac Newton Telescope (the largest reflector in Europe at that time). When it was moved to the island it was upgraded to a 100-inch (2.54 meter), and many even larger telescopes from various nations would be hosted there.

    Tiede Observatory, Tenerife, Canary Islands (ES)

    Teide Observatory [Observatorio del Teide], IAU code 954, is an astronomical observatory on Mount Teide at 2,390 metres (7,840 ft), located on Tenerife, Spain. It has been operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias since its inauguration in 1964. It became one of the first major international observatories, attracting telescopes from different countries around the world because of the good astronomical seeing conditions. Later the emphasis for optical telescopes shifted more towards Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma.

     
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