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  • richardmitnick 11:38 am on February 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Early galaxy formation caught in the act with James Webb", , , CGG-z5 is seen when the Universe was only 1.1 billion years old-8% of its current age., , Space based Infrared Astronomy, , , This group of smaller galaxies dubbed CGG-z5 was found through the observational program called "CEERS" with Webb.   

    From The Niels Bohr Institute [Niels Bohr Institutet] (DK) And The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “Early galaxy formation caught in the act with James Webb” 

    Niels Bohr Institute bloc

    From The Niels Bohr Institute [Niels Bohr Institutet] (DK)

    at

    University of Copenhagen [Københavns Universitet] [UCPH] (DK)

    And

    NASA Webb Header

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

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    1.31.23

    Shuowen Jin
    shuji@space.dtu.dk

    Nikolaj Sillassen
    s183803@student.dtu.dk

    Georgios Magdis
    geoma@space.dtu.dk

    Aswin Payyoor Vijayan
    apavi@space.dtu.dk

    Galaxy formation: Astronomers from the Cosmic Dawn Center have unveiled the nature of the densest region of galaxies seen with the James Webb Space telescope in the early Universe. They find it to be likely the progenitor of massive, Milky Way-like galaxy, seen at a time where it is still assembling from smaller galaxies. The discovery corroborates our understanding of how galaxies form.

    1
    A group of small galaxies, seen almost 13 billion years back in time, likely in the process of forming a massive galaxy. The colors are composed from three different infrared colors. The white, horizontal bar shows the scale of approximately 20,000 lightyears. Credit: Shuowen Jin et al. (2023).

    According to our current understanding of structure formation in the Universe, galaxies form in a hierarchical manner, with small structures forming first in the very early Universe, later merging to build up larger structures. This is the prediction of theories and computer simulations, and is verified by observations of galaxies at various epochs in the history of the Universe.

    To observe the very first structures assembling, we have to look as far back in time, and hence as far away, as possible. But these sources are both very small and very faint, and their detection requires advanced technologies.

    In a new study [Astronomy & Astrophysics (below)], the early progenitor of what today will likely have evolved to a massive, Milky Way-sized galaxy, has been detected. This group of smaller galaxies dubbed CGG-z5 was found through the observational program called “CEERS” with the James Webb Space Telescope, and is seen when the Universe was only 1.1 billion years old-8% of its current age.
    ____________________________________________________________
    CEERS The Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey
    3
    CEERS

    CEERS will cover 100 sq. arcmin of the EGS field with JWST imaging and spectroscopy using NIRCam [below], MIRI [below], and NIRSpec [below]. CEERS will demonstrate, test, and validate efficient extragalactic surveys with coordinated, overlapping parallel observations in a field supported by a rich set of HST/CANDELS multi-wavelength data.
    ____________________________________________________________

    CGG-z5 was discovered using the code GalCluster, which was created by Nikolaj Sillassen, MSc student at the Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN).

    Impossible without James Webb

    The brightest members of the galaxy group was discovered previously with the Hubble Space Telescope. But the CEERS program revealed new and smaller members.

    “The other members of the group are both small and faint. Without the sensitivity and the spatial resolution of James Webb, we simply wouldn’t be able to detect them,” explains Shuowen Jin, Marie Curie Fellow at the Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN) and lead author of the current study.

    Exactly what is the “future” of the galaxy group CGG-z5 will be, is of course unknown. Rather than forming a single galaxy, it could be that the group evolves into a large cluster of galaxies at later times. Yet another possibility is that the members are in reality not so closely packed as it seems, but instead is a part of a filamentary structure that we just happen to view from one end to the other.

    Help from computer simulations

    To distinguish between these scenarios, more precise observations involving the more time-consuming spectroscopy is needed. But in the meantime, help is available from computer simulations:

    “In order to better understand the nature and evolution of CGG-z5, we searched for similar structures in large-scale, hydrodynamical simulations,” says Aswin Vijiayan, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cosmic Dawn Center who conducted the simulation analysis in the study. “We found 14 structures that match closely the physical properties of our observed group CGG-z5, and then traced the evolution of these structures through time in the simulations, from the early Universe to the present epoch.

    3
    Four snapshots of the evolution of a simulated proto-galaxy from the “EAGLE” simulation, chosen to resemble the observed group CGG-z5. The brightness show the density of stars in the galaxies, and the symbols follow individual clumps of matter. In the 1.2 billion years that pass between the upper left and the lower right, the galaxies grows from a total stellar mass of 5 billion Suns to 65 billion Suns. Credit: A. Vijiayan and S. Jin.

    Although the exact unfolding of the evolution of these 14 structures are different, they all shared the same fate: Roughly 0.5 to 1 billion years later, they merge to form a single galaxy which, by the time the Universe is half its current age, have masses comparable to our own Milky Way.

    “Given the predictions of the simulations, it is therefore tempting to speculate that the CGG-z5 system will also follow a similar evolutionary path, and that we captured the process of small galaxies assembling into a single massive galaxy,” Shuowen Jin concludes.

    “Interestingly, the number of these early groups like CGG-z5 in a given volume of space is similar to the number of massive galaxies at later cosmic times”, says Georgios Magdis, associate professor at DAWN and partaker in the study. “This makes merging groups appealing as the main progenitors of massive galaxies at later epochs”.

    Large samples and further work are needed to verify this picture.

    Astronomy & Astrophysics

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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    Stem Education Coalition

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct.

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    Niels Bohr Institute Campus

    The Niels Bohr Institutet (DK) is a research institute of the Københavns Universitet [UCPH] (DK). The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.

    The Institute was founded in 1921, as the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the Københavns Universitet [UCPH] (DK), by the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, who had been on the staff of the University of Copenhagen since 1914, and who had been lobbying for its creation since his appointment as professor in 1916. On the 80th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth – October 7, 1965 – the Institute officially became The Niels Bohr Institutet (DK). Much of its original funding came from the charitable foundation of the Carlsberg brewery, and later from the Rockefeller Foundation.

    During the 1920s, and 1930s, the Institute was the centre of the developing disciplines of atomic physics and quantum physics. Physicists from across Europe (and sometimes further abroad) often visited the Institute to confer with Bohr on new theories and discoveries. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is named after work done at the Institute during this time.

    On January 1, 1993 the institute was fused with the Astronomic Observatory, the Ørsted Laboratory and the Geophysical Institute. The new resulting institute retained the name Niels Bohr Institutet (DK).

    Københavns Universitet (UCPH) (DK) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

    The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge (UK), Yale University , The Australian National University (AU), and University of California-Berkeley , amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:09 pm on January 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Getting Involved with Roman", , , , Space based Infrared Astronomy, The National Aeronautics Space Agency Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope   

    From The National Aeronautics Space Agency Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope: “Getting Involved with Roman” 

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope depiction.

    From The National Aeronautics Space Agency Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

    1.31.23

    K. Gilbert
    kgilbert@stsci.edu

    1
    Figure 1: The primary goal of the community-led process to define Roman’s Core Community Surveys is to maximize the scientific yield of these wide field infrared surveys. For example, the High Latitude Wide Area Survey will provide near infrared observations of hundreds of millions of galaxies at Hubble-like resolution and sensitivity. The choice of filters, trades between area and depth, survey location, and other observational strategy choices will determine the science that can be achieved with this survey. By responding to the current request for community input, you will help ensure that Roman’s Core Community Surveys meet the needs and expectations of the community.

    Background Image: Digitized Sky Survey

    Galaxy Images: M. Sun (University of Alabama), W. Cramer and J. Kenney (Yale University), J. Mack (STScI), and J. Madrid (Australian Telescope National Facility) NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).

    Image Composition: A. Pagan (STScI)

    The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope’s Wide Field Instrument(WFI) will have a large field of view (0.28 sq deg), Hubble-like sensitivity and resolution, and highly efficient survey operations, enabling survey speeds roughly 1000 times faster than achieved with Hubble (Akeson et al. 2019). The first five years of the Roman Space Telescope’s observing program will be a mix of large, community defined surveys (the Core Community Surveys) with the WFI; competitively selected, principal investigator-led General Astrophysics Surveys with the WFI, nominally comprising at least 25% of Roman’s observing time; and a technology demonstration program with the Coronagraphic Instrument. Since all Roman data will be publicly available immediately, a large fraction of Roman users are anticipated to interact primarily, or exclusively, with Roman’s data archive.

    Roman’s Core Community Surveys (CCSs) will be defined by the astronomical community and will include a High Latitude Wide Area survey, a High Latitude Time Domain survey, and a Galactic Bulge Time Domain survey. The CCSs, which combined are anticipated to use the majority of Roman’s observing time during the first five years, will enable a broad range of astrophysical investigations while meeting the Roman Space Telescope’s scientific mission requirements in cosmology and exoplanet demographics.

    The planning and preparation to enable and maximize the rich scientific return of Roman’s observing program has already begun, and will continue up until, and after, Roman’s launch, planned for late 2026. A number of diverse opportunities are, and will be, available to the community to engage with the Roman Mission, both in preparatory activities before launch and during operations. These include:

    Participating as individuals in the definition of the CCSs, via responding to requests for information from the Roman Mission, participating in workshops, or serving on or supporting the work of the community-led committees to be charged with defining the CCSs.

    Engaging deeply with specific topics via ongoing technical working groups.

    Applying for funding for preparatory activities before launch through NASA/ROSES opportunities.

    Participating in Roman Science Collaborations, which will be formed to grow community networks, explore Roman’s capabilities in different science areas, and prepare for analysis of Roman’s large datasets.

    Applying for principal investigator-led observing programs or funding to analyze Roman datasets via regular calls for General Investigator proposals during Roman’s operations. The first call is anticipated to be 1 year prior to launch.

    2
    Figure 2: Anticipated timelines for the major ways in which community members can engage with the Roman Mission, up to and through its first five years of operations.

    Community-led Definition of the Core Community Surveys

    Roman’s primary science objective is performing astrophysics with wide area near-infrared surveys. The cosmology and exoplanet science requirements for the CCSs leave significant parameter space available to define the observational strategies (filters, depth, cadence, etc.) in a way that will enable a broad range of other astrophysical investigations. As one concrete example, in order to meet Roman’s dark energy goals, a requirement on the design of the imaging component of the High Latitude Wide Area Survey is to enable precision measurements of the shapes of hundreds of millions of galaxies. This leaves open significant parameter space for the survey data to be relevant for other science areas.

    Depending on the choice of filters, the data may be more (or less) useful for studies of galaxy evolution. Depending on the chosen balance of area versus depth, there may be more (or less) opportunity for discovering new celestial objects that are rare per unit area. Moreover, all of these choices may affect how useful the survey data are for studies of more nearby objects, such as those belonging to the Milky Way halo or solar system.

    There are anticipated to be many such trades related to this survey, as well as to the other Core Community Surveys. The goal of the community-led definition of the Roman CCSs is thus to determine an observational strategy for each that will maximize their scientific impact by enabling a broad range of astrophysical investigations while providing the observations needed to meet Roman’s science requirements in cosmology and exoplanet demographics.

    Initial Community Input

    The community-led definition of the CCSs is being initiated with an open call to all astronomical community members to provide information on the science investigations they wish to see enabled by the design of the CCSs. The purpose of the call is to solicit from the community descriptions of specific scientific investigations that can be achieved with the CCSs, the observational strategies that will enable these investigations to be performed with a given CCS, and the metrics or figures of merit that can be used to assess whether an observational strategy will enable a particular investigation.

    The Roman Mission is offering two avenues for members of the community to provide information on science drivers and the requirements they place on the design of the Core Community Surveys: a short, one to two paragraph ‘science pitch‘(including a questionnaire), due by February 17, 2023, and/or submission of a technically focused white paper, anticipated to be due in late spring, 2023. The full text of the call provides additional context on how the responses will be used.

    The CCS Definition Committees

    The Roman Mission will use the results of the initial community input to form committees for each CCS composed of members of the astronomical community who represent the breadth of science the community wants to see enabled with each CCS. These committees will be formed in mid-2023 and will be charged with defining the CCS observational strategies in a way that maximizes the science that can be achieved with each survey, and represents the interests of the full astronomical community.

    The CCS definition committees will use the initial community input to begin the work of determining the optimal survey definitions, including identifying where additional investigative work and community input or consensus building is needed. The CCS definition committees, with the support of the Roman Science Centers at STScI and IPAC, will continue to engage with the astronomical community as they consider observational strategy trades and their impacts on science investigations while iteratively developing the survey concepts.

    Determining the Final Definition of Roman’s CCSs

    Each of the CCS definition committees will be charged with providing several survey options, and an analysis of the impact on various science investigations for each option. These will be provided to a Roman Observations Time Allocation Committee, also composed of community members representing the full breadth of science investigations, which will be charged with making a final recommendation to the Roman Mission on the balance between each of the CCSs, as well as between the CCSs and the general astrophysics survey allocation. The CCS definition committees will then be tasked with providing the Roman Science Centers with survey definitions that are sufficiently detailed that the Science Centers can schedule the observations.

    Additional reviews of the CCSs by community-led committees will be planned prior to launch and approximately one year into observations, in order to take into account new information on observatory performance.

    3
    Figure 3: Timeline for definition of Roman’s CCSs. Key activities include (1) the initial request for community input; (2) formation of the CCS definition committees; (3) committee-driven investigations, gathering of additional community input, including via community workshops, and committee deliberations, culminating in a recommendation to the Roman Project on the balance between the three CCSs; and (4) the final report detailing CCS observations, due to the Roman Project 18 months before launch.

    4
    Figure 4: The three definition committees, one for each CCS, will be charged with understanding and representing the full breadth of the astronomy community’s interests in Roman’s CCSs. They will solicit and evaluate community input, evaluate survey options against science metrics, and produce recommendations for survey implementations with options for enhancements/descopes to the Roman Observations Time Allocation Committee (ROSTAC). The ROSTAC will evaluate the recommendations of the CCS definition committees and provide recommendations to the Roman Project on the balance between each of the core community surveys.

    Engaging with Project Partners on Specific Technical Topics

    The Roman Mission convenes a number of Roman Technical Working Groups. These working groups provide a forum for the Roman Project, the Roman Science Centers, and the science community to work together on topics that cut across science areas. The focus, membership, and activity of these working groups change over time, according to Roman’s development needs. Examples include groups focused on calibration, astrometry, software development, simulations, detectors, and spectroscopy. Find information on currently active working groups and instructions on joining, including expectations for those who join.

    Funded Preparatory Science Activities

    Members of the science community at US institutions can apply for support to participate in Roman preparatory science activities via the Roman elements of ROSES solicitations.

    A previous ROSES solicitation in 2015 funded Science Investigation Teams that provided input to the Roman Mission through 2021. A workshop was held in November 2021 presenting the outcomes of the Science Investigation Teams’ activities; both videos of the presentations and copies of the presentation slides are available.

    The current Roman ROSES solicitation, due March 21, 2023, provides opportunities for US scientists to apply for funded participation in the development of the Roman Project in one of three ways. A broad range of science preparation activities can be funded through Wide Field Science investigations. Significant and sustained funding to develop the scientific infrastructure needed for the community to achieve Roman’s science goals can be obtained through selection as a Project Infrastructure Team. Selections for membership in the Coronagraph Community Participation Program (CPP) Team will provide the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Roman Coronagraph Instrument team and the IPAC Science Support Center to prepare for the in-space technology demonstration. Documentation and other resources are available to support ROSES proposals.

    A second Roman ROSES solicitation for preparatory science activities is anticipated to be offered approximately two years before Roman’s launch.

    Joining Roman Science Collaborations

    The formation of community-led Science Collaborations will be facilitated by the Roman Mission. The goal of the science collaborations will be to enable people to engage with Roman science independently of NASA-led, peer-reviewed selections for funding or observing programs, for example in preparing to analyze data on the scale of Roman surveys for specific science investigations. Collaboration areas may include topics such as time domain science, nearby galaxies, and galaxy evolution, well as dark energy and exoplanets.

    The Roman Mission will work with the community to shape the definition and charter of the collaborations. The formation of the Roman Science Collaborations is anticipated to begin in mid-2023, after the selection of funded teams and individual investigators from the 2022 Roman ROSES call. The Science Collaborations will be open to, and are expected to be driven and organized by, all interested community members, following the successful model of the Rubin science collaborations. They will support their members and the broader astronomy community in preparing to most effectively utilize Roman’s unique observational capabilities and analyze Roman’s large survey datasets.

    General Investigator Opportunities Before and After Launch

    As Roman approaches launch and enters operations, there will be regular calls for Principal Investigator-led Roman General Astrophysics Surveys, as well as for funded archival programs. Funded General Investigator programs will use the wealth of data in Roman’s archive to perform all manner of astrophysical investigations, including but not limited to addressing Roman’s cosmology and exoplanet demographic science goals. The selection of these programs will be made via a peer review process. The first of these calls is anticipated to be made approximately one year before Roman’s launch, after the definition of the CCSs is complete.

    2
    Figure 5: Roman’s wide field of view, Hubble-like sensitivity and resolution, and fast slew and settle times will enable a broad range of astrophysical investigations beyond what can be accomplished with the CCSs. This example highlights the breadth of environments within a Galactic star forming region observed with a single Roman WFI footprint. Opportunities to propose principal investigator-led astrophysics surveys will be available at a regular cadence starting approximately one year before launch.

    Background image: N. Smith, University of Minnesota/NOIRLab/NOAO/AURA/NSFHubble
    Mosaic: Hubble Image: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage
    Team (STScI/AURA); CTIO Image: N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley) and NOAO/AURA /NSF
    Mystic Mt.: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)
    Eta Carina: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of Arizona), and J. Morse (BoldlyGo Institute)
    Trumpler 14: NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain)
    Acknowledgment: N. Smith (University of Arizona)
    Composition: A. Pagan (STScI)

    Keeping Up to Date with Roman

    The above summarizes the major ways in which community members can engage with the Roman Mission, both now and in the future. Additional details can be found on the Roman website at GSFC. In addition, there is an on-going series of conferences focused on science topics relevant to Roman’s unique capabilities. The next conference in the series, “Roman Science Inspired by Emerging JWST Results,” will be held at STScI, June 20-23, with both in-person and remote participation options.

    Community members can stay up to date with Roman by attending the monthly “Roman Community Forum,” held nominally on the fourth Wednesday of each month, and by signing up to receive regular updates from the Roman Project at GSFC [1], from the Roman Science Operations Center at STScI [2], and from the Roman Science Support Center at IPAC [3]. Community members are also encouraged to engage with their representatives on standing Roman advisory committees. These include the Roman Science Interest Group (RSIG), which advises the Roman Project Science Office at GSFC, and the Roman Space Telescope Advisory Committee (RSTAC), which advises the STScI Director.

    Footnotes:

    1. Sign up to the mailing list by sending an e-mail to roman-news-join@lists.nasa.gov. Please include a subject. Doing so helps prevent an issue where a subscription submission could be quietly deleted.
    2. To sign up to receive updates, please create a myST account, if you do not have one, and confirm that “Roman Updates” is selected in your Message Subscriptions. Alternatively, one can subscribe by sending a blank email to roman_soc_news-subscribe-request@maillist.stsci.edu
    3. Sign up to receive updates via the IPAC Caltech mailing list.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    About The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope mission

    The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST), is a NASA observatory designed to settle essential questions in the areas of Dark Energy, exoplanets and infrared astrophysics. The telescope has a primary mirror that is 2.4 meters in diameter (7.9 feet), and is the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror. The Roman Space Telescope will have two instruments: the Wide Field Instrument and the Coronagraph Instrument.

    The Wide Field Instrument will have a field of view that is 100 times greater than the Hubble infrared instrument, capturing more of the sky with less observing time. As the primary instrument, the Wide Field Instrument will measure light from a billion galaxies over the course of the mission lifetime. It will perform a microlensing survey of the inner Milky Way to find ~2,600 exoplanets. The Coronagraph Instrument will perform high-contrast imaging and spectroscopy of dozens of individual nearby exoplanets.

    The Roman Space Telescope (NASA-led and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center) is designed for a five-year mission, and will launch on an EELV out of Cape Canaveral.

    JPL/Caltech-NASA is building the Roman Space Telescope’s Coronographic Instrument (CGI) and is involved with detector validation and developing CGI’s science capabilities. GSFC is responsible for the Roman Space Telescope Project. The Roman Space Telescope Science Center functions are the joint responsibility of the Caltech IPAC-Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (US), The Space Telescope Science Institute, and Goddard.

    Overview of the Coronagraph Instrument (CGI)

    The light from an exoplanet, as it would be seen in reflected starlight, is fainter than the host star by factors of 100,000,000 or more, and well beyond the reach of today’s observatories on the ground or in space. The CGI is one of two instruments on board the Roman Space Telescope. The spacecraft is now in design Phase B and is scheduled for launch to L2 in 2025. the Roman Space Telescope CGI will demonstrate the first high-performance coronagraph system in space capable of direct imaging of mature exoplanet systems (such as our own) in reflected starlight, paving the way to a future possible NASA mission aimed at imaging and characterizing faint Earth-like planets.

    Objectives of the CGI

    Current ground-based and space-based instruments are limited to the detection of bright (self-luminous) young exoplanets, a million times fainter than their host star and located > 0.3 arc seconds away. A successful CGI technology demonstration, i.e., just meeting its baseline technical requirements (BTRs), will be capable of detecting planetary companions 20 million times fainter than their host star and located > 0.15 arc seconds away. Performance models based on current lab results predict the CGI would be capable of detecting planetary companions a billion times fainter than their host star and located > 0.15″ away. CGI provides a crucial stepping stone in the preparation of future missions aiming to image and characterize Earth-like planets 10 billion times fainter than their host star and located 0.1 arc seconds away.

    Critical CGI Technology Demonstrations

    The Coronagraph Instrument on the Roman Space Telescope is an advanced technology demonstrator for future missions aiming to directly image Earth-like exoplanets. CGI will demonstrate for the first time in space the technologies for future missions needed to image and characterize rocky planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars. By demonstrating these tools in an integrated end-to-end system and enabling scientific observing operations, NASA will validate performance models and provide the pathway for potential future flagship missions.

    CGI will premiere in space the technologies needed by future missions to image and characterize rocky planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars. By demonstrating these tools in a system with end-to-end, scientific observing operations, NASA will reduce the cost and risk of a potential future flagship mission.

    CGI Science Capabilities

    Direct Imaging of Exoplanets: 2020

    Direct imaging and spectroscopy of young self-luminous exoplanets have been achieved from ground and space observatories. Direct imaging of mature cool exoplanets in reflected starlight is currently beyond the reach of conventional techniques, as illustrated by the estimated brightness of a sample of known radial velocity exoplanets.

    The Roman Space Telescope Coronagraph Instrument relies on the stability of a Space Observatory

    Ground-based AO systems correct the rapid phase-dominated wavefront errors due to atmospheric turbulence. Freedom from atmospheric turbulence enables the iterative correction of both phase and amplitude wavefront aberrations and the suppression of scattered and diffracted light to levels limited only by telescope and instrument stability. The red dashed line is the approximate separation between Ground and Space-based sensitivity.

    The Roman Space Telescope-CGI pioneers space coronagraph technologies

    Best estimated CGI performance for three observing configurations (direct imaging at short and long wavelengths and spectroscopy) are based on currently demonstrated static and dynamic testbed performance and observatory optical disturbance models provided by the project.

    The Roman Space Telescope-CGI provides guaranteed science return for circumstellar disks

    Early estimate of the CGI sensitivity for imaging of low-luminosity disks associated with a V=5 star. Surface brightness is represented in terms of flux ratios per imaging resolution element. Comparisons are made with previously-imaged disks in visible scattered light, and with HST instrument sensitivities. TW Hydra is a protoplanetary disk, while the rest of the dashed curves are debris disks. Credit: J. Debes.

    Exoplanet Imaging

    Following the recommendations of the Astro2010 decadal survey, the Roman Space Telescope Coronagraph Instrument (CGI) advances and demonstrates key technologies as enablers for the next generation of Earth-observing exoplanet observatories in space. The CGI is one of two instruments on the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, a NASA project now in the design (Phase B) stage and scheduled for launch in 2025.

    The CGI will demonstrate in space, for the first time, key enabling technologies for future Earth imaging missions, including precision optical wavefront control with deformable mirrors, sensitive photon-counting imaging detectors, selectable coronagraph observing modes, low-resolution spectroscopy, advanced algorithms for wavefront sensing and control, high-fidelity integrated spacecraft and coronagraph modeling, and post-processing methods to extract images and spectra. CGI is designed to demonstrate space coronagraphy at sensitivity levels of Jovian-mass planets and faint debris disks in reflected starlight.

    Following initial commissioning and formal technology demonstrations in the first eighteen months of operations, NASA envisions a Participating Science Program to engage the exoplanet community. In these panels, we describe how CGI science will advance community goals in exoplanet astronomy and how it will validate key technologies for future exoplanet missions, now envisioned as HabEx and LUVOIR.

    CGI Technologies

    Two selectable coronagraph modes (HLC and SPC)
    Pair of deformable mirrors for precision wavefront control
    Photon-counting EMCCD imaging sensors
    Single-slit spectrograph (R=50)
    Autonomous operations on orbit
    Data post-processing algorithms
    Starshade compatibility
    References to the recent CGI literature

    Emulating the Roman Space Telescope data in the lab

    JPL’s Precision Projector Laboratory (PPL) uses a testbed designed to emulate astronomical data using real detectors in order to validate the Wide Field Instrument’s strict requirements on photometry, astrometry, and especially galaxy shape measurement. The PPL testbed rapidly generates a range of customizable “scenes” (e.g. stars, galaxies, spectra) on large format detectors to uncover subtle systematic effects that can evade conventional detector testing and degrade science measurements. Once understood, detector issues may be mitigated via changes to hardware, calibration, mission operations, or data analysis. More information: https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.06599

    A field of “stars” (point sources) emulated with an engineering grade infrared detector similar to those used by the Roman Space Telescope Wide Field Instrument. The PPL testbed testing a near-IR detector in the gold cryostat.

    The The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra,
    Spitzer , and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:41 am on January 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A spiral amongst thousands", , , , Space based Infrared Astronomy, ,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) And The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “A spiral amongst thousands” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)

    And

    NASA Webb Header

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

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    1.31.23

    1
    Many stars and galaxies lie on a dark background, in a variety of colours but mostly shades of orange. Some galaxies are large enough to make out spiral arms. Along the bottom of the frame is a large, detailed spiral galaxy seen at an oblique angle, with another galaxy about one-quarter the size just beneath it. Both have a brightly glowing core, and areas of star formation which light up their spiral arms. Credit: A. Martel NASA/ESA/CSA.

    A crowded field of galaxies throngs this Picture of the Month from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, along with bright stars crowned with Webb’s signature six-pointed diffraction spikes. The large spiral galaxy at the base of this image is accompanied by a profusion of smaller, more distant galaxies which range from fully-fledged spirals to mere bright smudges. Named LEDA 2046648, it is situated a little over a billion light-years from Earth, in the constellation Hercules.

    One of Webb’s principle science goals is to observe distant — and hence ancient — galaxies to understand the details of their formation, evolution, and composition. Webb’s keen infrared vision helps the telescope peer back in time, as the light from older, more distant galaxies is redshifted towards infrared wavelengths. Comparing these galactic fossils to modern galaxies will help astronomers understand how galaxies grew to form the structures we see in the universe today. Webb will also probe the chemical composition of thousands of galaxies to shed light on how heavy elements were formed and built up as galaxies evolved.

    To take full advantage of Webb’s potential for galaxy archeology, astronomers and engineers must first calibrate the telescope’s instruments and systems. Each of Webb’s instruments contains a labyrinthine array of mirrors and other optical elements that redirect and focus starlight gathered by Webb’s main mirror. This particular observation was part of the commissioning campaign for Webb’s Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS)[below]. As well as performing science in its own right, NIRISS supports parallel observations with Webb’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam) [below]. NIRCam captured this galaxy-studded image while NIRISS was observing the white dwarf WD1657+343, a well-studied star. This allows astronomers to interpret and compare data from the two different instruments, and to characterize the performance of NIRISS.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the
    European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL)in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

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

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency(US), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme

    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres
    University of Central Lancashire

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organisations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) SOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

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

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

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

    The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.
    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:49 pm on January 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hubble and Webb Image Galaxies’ Lost Stars", , , , , , Space based Infrared Astronomy, ,   

    From NASA/Hubblesite and ESA/Hubble And From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope Via “Sky & Telescope” : “Hubble and Webb Image Galaxies’ Lost Stars” 

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Hubble Space Telescope.

    From NASA/Hubblesite and ESA/Hubble

    And

    NASA Webb Header

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

    From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    Via

    “Sky & Telescope”

    1.25.23
    Monica Young

    Deep images of galaxy clusters reveals the light of wandering stars. What set these stars free from their hosts?

    Sometimes, galaxies lose their stars. Just as a jostle on a crowded sidewalk might leave pennies dropped on the ground, gravitational interactions between crowded-together galaxies can fling a few stars out of their hosts and into the space between.

    Astronomers term this faintest of glows intracluster light, and they must use powerful observatories to look for it — including the Hubble and James Webb telescopes. For the past two decades, we’ve seen this glimmer of wandering stars in pretty much every galaxy cluster we’ve looked at. But how it gets there has remained unclear: Do gravitational interactions within the cluster slowly strip stars from their hosts? Or are a bunch of stars lost all in one go as clusters come together?

    Hubble’s View

    In the January 5th Nature [below], Hyungjin Joo and M. James Jee (Yonsei University, Republic of Korea) went a step beyond previous studies by studying a set of 10 galaxy clusters. Long-exposure Hubble images reveal intracluster light within the inner 650,000 light-years or so of each cluster. The clusters are at a range of distances from Earth, representing the universe at roughly a quarter to half its current age.

    1
    These are Hubble Space Telescope images of two massive clusters of galaxies named MOO J1014+0038 (left panel) and SPT-CL J2106-5844 (right panel). The added blue color is translated from Hubble data to show intracluster light. Science: James Jee (Yonsei University)/NASA / ESA / STScI; Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI).

    Despite the range of distances, Joo and Jee find that the clusters all have about the same fraction of intracluster light. That seems to imply that that fraction doesn’t change over cosmic time. The result, the researchers argue, suggests that most of the wandering stars aren’t torn one-by-one from their galaxies as they pass through the cluster, but rather are lost wholesale as clusters merge and galaxies are torn apart.

    At first blush, this appears to contradict theoretical predictions, which would have the glow of intracluster light grow over time. But Chris Mihos (Case Western Reserve University), who has helped make some of those predictions [The Astrophysical Journal (below)], says it’s actually right in line with theory.

    Mihos notes that even though the 10 clusters Joo and Jee investigated are at a range of distances, and thus reside in the universe at different ages, the clusters themselves are all fully grown. The researchers acknowledge this, noting that each of their clusters contains between 100 trillion and 1,000 trillion Suns’ worth of mass, typical of mature galaxy clusters.

    “It’s not the universe clock that’s important, it’s the cluster clock . . . how quickly did the cluster form,” Mihos says. Current theory says that every cluster forms from many collision of smaller groups of galaxies, and it’s these mergers that tear at galaxies and release some fraction of their stars into intergalactic space.

    Theoretical predictions therefore actually agree with what Joo and Jee found: When astronomers look at a fully mature cluster, most of the light they see should indeed come from major mergers rather than from the slower stripping of stars.

    “What would be really interesting would be to look at the diffuse light in [smaller] groups of galaxies, because those are going to grow up to be the clusters today,” Mihos says. But then he laughs: “I’m asking for the impossible. Maybe with James Webb.”

    Wandering Stars with Webb

    2
    Webb’s first image to be released was of a galaxy cluster dubbed SMACS 0723. NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI.

    A recent study by Mireia Montes and Ignacio Trujillo [Astrophysical Journal Letters (below)] (both at the Astrophysical Institute of the Canaries, Spain) shows that Webb is indeed capable of probing intracluster light. The astronomers went to Webb’s early-release image of the SMACS 0723 galaxy cluster, measuring its intracluster light out to 1.5 million light-years — twice as far out as has been possible with Hubble.

    In agreement with Joo and Jee, Montes and Trujillo find that the lost stars in the innermost regions probably came from a major merger; however, they think the wanderers in the sparser outer regions are more likely to come from gravitational interactions over cosmic time. “The diffuse extended component is being built now,” they write.

    3
    Arrows point to some prominent features of the intracluster light in this composite image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723. Montes & Trujillo / Astrophysical Journal Letters 2022.

    This study is only the beginning. Over this year, Webb is set to observe several protoclusters, shedding light on the lost stars within these less mature structures. “Future studies of the intracluster light are set to revolutionize our understanding of cluster formation,” Montes and Trujillo write.

    Nature
    The Astrophysical Journal 2011
    Astrophysical Journal Letters 2022
    See the above two science papers for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    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 Infrared Space Telescope.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Chandra X-ray telescope.
    National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSpitzer 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 Credit: Emilio Segre Visual Archives/AIP/SPL.

    Edwin Hubble looking through the 100-inch Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson in Southern California, 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 with contributions from the The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU). The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) selects Hubble’s targets and processes the resulting data, while the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 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/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne](EU)/Canadian Space Agency(CA) Webb Infrared Space Telescope.

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

    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 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 launched the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) to obtain UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray spectra in 1962.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency 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 Lemaitre, 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 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, 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, and Martin Marietta Corporation built the FOS.

    The final instrument was the HSP, designed and built at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. 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 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 and is physically located in Baltimore, Maryland on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University, 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, 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. 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.

    NASA COSTAR

    NASA COSTAR installation

    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 criticized 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

    Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 Expansion of the Universe

    4 October 2011

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011

    with one half to

    Saul Perlmutter
    The Supernova Cosmology Project
    The DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The University of California-Berkeley,

    and the other half jointly to

    Brian P. SchmidtThe High-z Supernova Search Team, The Australian National University, Weston Creek, Australia.

    and

    Adam G. Riess

    The High-z Supernova Search Team,The Johns Hopkins University and The Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD.

    Written in the stars

    “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice…” *

    What will be the final destiny of the Universe? Probably it will end in ice, if we are to believe this year’s Nobel Laureates in Physics. They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the Laureates themselves.

    In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Saul Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Brian Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Adam Riess was to play a crucial role.

    The research teams raced to map the Universe by locating the most distant supernovae. More sophisticated telescopes on the ground and in space, as well as more powerful computers and new digital imaging sensors (CCD, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009), opened the possibility in the 1990s to add more pieces to the cosmological puzzle.

    The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called Type 1a supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected – this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.

    For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice.

    The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma – perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.

    *Robert Frost, Fire and Ice, 1920
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. The James Webb Space Telescope will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

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

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

    Webb Fine Guidance Sensor-Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph FGS/NIRISS.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021 on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    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/New Horizons 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, 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 measurable 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/The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Hubble Wide Field Camera 3

    Advanced Camera for Surveys [ACS]

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys

    Cosmic Origins Spectrograph [COS]

    National Aeronautics Space Agency 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 for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

    ESA50 Logo large

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA Science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing Heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [NASA/ESA Hubble, NASA Chandra, NASA Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 5:24 pm on January 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Corgi of Exoplanets - Methane Mystery", , , , , Exoplanet HAT-P-18b, , Space based Infrared Astronomy, ,   

    From AAS NOVA And The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “The Corgi of Exoplanets – Methane Mystery” 

    AASNOVA

    From AAS NOVA

    And

    NASA Webb Header

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

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    1.20.23
    Ben Cassese

    1
    An artist’s depiction of a transiting exoplanet with an escaping helium tail. [M. Kornmesserr, NASA/ESA Hubble CC BY 4.0]

    With JWST up and running, astronomers are getting a first look at the quirks of individual exoplanets. Features never before examined are coming into view: for instance, a recent study has revealed that while HAT-P-18b may not have much methane, it does have a tiny tail.

    JWST Shows Off, Finds a Corgi

    Now more than a year past its launch, JWST is finally doing what it was designed to do: collecting photons and wowing astronomers with the precision of its data. One of the earliest flexes of its scientific power occurred last summer, when it trained its attention on the transit of a Jupiter-sized, Saturn-mass exoplanet named HAT-P-18b.

    While the team, led by Guangwei Fu (Johns Hopkins University), found several molecules in the upper atmosphere of the planet using the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) instrument [below], what they didn’t find was more surprising.

    3
    A subsample of the data, orange, and the best-fit model, blue, showing the helium absorption signature. The y-axis is in units of transit depth, meaning enhanced absorption appears as a positive bump. [Fu et al. 2022]

    The first of these surprises was a helium absorption signature, but not surrounding the planet: instead, their results indicate that HAT-P-18b is dragging along a faint tail of escaping helium. Similar features have been spotted trailing behind other planets, but this one was so subtle that it was previously missed by ground based observatories. In other words, HAT-P-18b is the corgi of the exoplanets: it has a tail, but it’s not a dominant structure.

    But what about methane?

    The second surprise concerned a molecule not displaced from the planet, but possibly missing entirely. One of the primary motivations for targeting HAT-P-18b specifically is its position in a uniquely helpful corner of parameter space for modelers working on a methane mystery.

    Hot planets with surface temperatures over 1000K are not expected to have any methane in their atmospheres, since thermodynamics at these extreme conditions prefer other species. However, simple models suggest that any worlds cooler than this should show signs of absorption caused by methane molecules in the upper atmosphere intercepting photons with a specific wavelength.

    Strangely, however, this prediction has not panned out in previous studies. Searches of several planets that should have held methane turned up none. This tension called for a closer look: were the assumptions baked into the models wrong, or was there something strange about the first worlds surveyed? With an equilibrium temperature of 800K, HAT-P-18b was the perfect target to help move the needle one way or another.

    3
    The NIRISS data, black, and several possible model atmospheres to explain it, colored on top. The green and red models were produced assuming equilibrium chemistry. The x-axis denotes wavelength, and the ticks range linearly from 0.5 to 2.5 microns. [Fu et al. 2022]

    Fu and collaborators made no conclusive methane detection, further deepening the model mismatch puzzle. Models which assume the atmosphere is in chemical equilibrium struggled to reproduce the combination of no-methane, yes-water seen in the data, which suggested that some other mechanism(s) were involved to remove the expected gas. Even more striking, other models which made no assumption about an equilibrium also did not confidently prefer including methane in the final fit over leaving it out entirely.

    In all, JWST revealed HAT-P-18b to be a strange world, one which subverts our expectations of atmospheric chemistry but charms with a helium tail. We’ll have to wait for JWST observations of other planets before we know just how weird either of those traits truly is.

    Citation

    Water and an Escaping Helium Tail Detected in the Hazy and Methane-depleted Atmosphere of HAT-P-18b from JWST NIRISS/SOSS, Guangwei Fu et al 2022 ApJL 940 L35.
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ac9977/pdf
    See the science paper for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    1

    The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.

    The Society, through its publications, disseminates and archives the results of astronomical research. The Society also communicates and explains our understanding of the universe to the public.
    The Society facilitates and strengthens the interactions among members through professional meetings and other means. The Society supports member divisions representing specialized research and astronomical interests.
    The Society represents the goals of its community of members to the nation and the world. The Society also works with other scientific and educational societies to promote the advancement of science.
    The Society, through its members, trains, mentors and supports the next generation of astronomers. The Society supports and promotes increased participation of historically underrepresented groups in astronomy.
    The Society assists its members to develop their skills in the fields of education and public outreach at all levels. The Society promotes broad interest in astronomy, which enhances science literacy and leads many to careers in science and engineering.

    Adopted June 7, 2009

    The society was founded in 1899 through the efforts of George Ellery Hale. The constitution of the group was written by Hale, George Comstock, Edward Morley, Simon Newcomb and Edward Charles Pickering. These men, plus four others, were the first Executive Council of the society; Newcomb was the first president. The initial membership was 114. The AAS name of the society was not finally decided until 1915, previously it was the “Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America”. One proposed name that preceded this interim name was “American Astrophysical Society”.

    The AAS today has over 7,000 members and six divisions – the Division for Planetary Sciences (1968); the Division on Dynamical Astronomy (1969); the High Energy Astrophysics Division (1969); the Solar Physics Division (1969); the Historical Astronomy Division (1980); and the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (2012). The membership includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy.

    In 2019 three AAS members were selected into the tenth anniversary class of TED Fellows.

    The AAS established the AAS Fellows program in 2019 to “confer recognition upon AAS members for achievement and extraordinary service to the field of astronomy and the American Astronomical Society.” The inaugural class was designated by the AAS Board of Trustees and includes an initial group of 232 Legacy Fellows.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:52 pm on January 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Appulse": a close pass with no occultation, "Webb Spies Chariklo Ring System With High-Precision Technique", , , , Space based Infrared Astronomy, The asteroid 1997 CU26 was renamed Chariklo.,   

    From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “Webb Spies Chariklo Ring System With High-Precision Technique” 

    NASA Webb Header

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

    From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    1.25.23
    Heidi B. Hammel | AURA
    Dean Hines | STScI
    Noemí Pinilla | The University of Central Florida
    Pablo Santos | Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía

    1
    Observations at many sites in South America, including ESO’s La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings.


    ESOcast 64: First Ring System Around Asteroid.
    This ESOcast shows how observations at many sites in South America, including ESO’s La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of debris. Credit: The European Southern Observatory [La Observatorio Europeo Austral] [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte](EU)(CL).

    In 1997 SSERVI Director Yvonne Pendleton and husband Dale Cruikshank observed spectra for the Centaur 1997 CU26 with their team at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

    The data showed strong absorptions at 1.52 and 2.03 micrometers attributable to water ice on the asteroid’s surface. The reflectance spectrum matched a mixture of low-temperature, particulate water ice and spectrally featureless but otherwise red-colored material. Water ice dominated the spectrum of 1997 CU26, whereas methane or methane-like hydrocarbons apparently dominated the spectrum of the Kuiper belt object 1993 SC, perhaps indicating different origins, thermal histories, or both for these two objects. Asteroid 1997 CU26 is the largest known centaur, orbiting the Sun between Saturn and Uranus. It was the first Centaur object discovered to have water ice on its surface Science Magazine (below)). Later the asteroid 1997 CU26 was renamed Chariklo.

    When astronomers observed Chariklo passing in front of a distant star last year, they discovered that it was also the first asteroid with rings. Felipe Braga-Ribas of Brazil’s Observatorio Nacional/MCTI, in a paper published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature [below], reports that Chariklo has two dense, narrow rings. That makes it only the fifth ringed world known to exist in the solar system, after Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.

    Astronomers suggest that the rings are made up of debris left over from a cosmic collision (like the one thought to have given rise to Earth’s Moon). The fact that the rings are so sharply confined suggests that “shepherd moons” may be keeping them in line.

    “It’s likely that Chariklo has at least one small moon still waiting to be discovered,” Braga-Ribas said.

    Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
    Source: ESO, Science Magazine [below].
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of debris. This artist’s impression shows a close-up of what the rings might look like. Credit: L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)/ESO.

    In an observational feat of high precision, scientists used a new technique with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to capture the shadows of starlight cast by the thin rings of Chariklo. Chariklo is an icy, small body, but the largest of the known Centaur population, located more than 2 billion miles away beyond the orbit of Saturn. Chariklo is only 160 miles (250 kilometers) or ~51 times smaller than Earth in diameter, and its rings orbit at a distance of about 250 miles (400 kilometers) from the center of the body.

    We asked members of the science team observing Chariklo to tell us more about this unique system, the occultation technique, and what they learned from their Webb observations.

    In 2013, Felipe Braga-Ribas and collaborators, using ground-based telescopes, discovered that Chariklo hosts a system of two thin rings. Such rings had been expected only around large planets such as Jupiter and Neptune. The astronomers had been watching a star as Chariklo passed in front of it, blocking the starlight as they had predicted. Astronomers call this phenomenon an occultation. To their surprise, the star blinked off and on again twice before disappearing behind Chariklo, and double-blinked again after the star reemerged. The blinking was caused by two thin rings – the first rings ever detected around a small solar system object.

    Pablo Santos-Sanz, from Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía in Granada, Spain, has an approved “Target of Opportunity” program (program 1271) to attempt an occultation observation as part of Webb’s solar system Guaranteed Time Observations (GTO) led by Heidi Hammel from the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. By remarkable good luck, we discovered that Chariklo was on track for just such an occultation event in October 2022. This was the first stellar occultation attempted with Webb. A lot of hard work went into identifying and refining the predictions for this unusual event.

    On Oct. 18, we used Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) [below] instrument to closely monitor the star Gaia DR3 6873519665992128512, and watch for the tell-tale dips in brightness indicating an occultation had taken place. The shadows produced by Chariklo’s rings were clearly detected, demonstrating a new way of using Webb to explore solar system objects. The star shadow due to Chariklo itself tracked just out of Webb’s view. This “appulse” (the technical name for a close pass with no occultation) was exactly as had been predicted after the last Webb course trajectory maneuver.

    2
    This video shows observations taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope of a star (fixed in the center of the video) as Chariklo passes in front of it. The video is composed of 63 individual observations with Webb’s Near-infrared Camera Instrument’s [NIRCam] (below) view at 1.5 microns wavelength (F150W) obtained over ~1 hour on Oct. 18. Careful analysis of the star’s brightness reveals that the rings of the Chariklo system were clearly detected. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Nicolás Morales (IAA/CSIC)

    The Webb occultation light curve, a graph of an object’s brightness over time, revealed that the observations were successful! The rings were captured exactly as predicted. The occultation light curves will yield interesting new science for Chariklo’s rings. Santos-Sanz explained: “As we delve deeper into the data, we will explore whether we cleanly resolve the two rings. From the shapes of rings’ occultation light curves, we also will explore the rings’ thickness, the sizes and colors of the ring particles, and more. We hope gain insight into why this small body even has rings at all, and perhaps detect new fainter rings.”

    The rings are probably composed of small particles of water ice mixed with dark material, debris from an icy body that collided with Chariklo in the past. Chariklo is too small and too far away for even Webb to directly image the rings separated from the main body, so occultations are the only tool to characterize the rings by themselves.

    3
    An occultation light curve from Webb’s Near-infrared Camera (NIRCam)[below] at 1.5 microns wavelength (F150W) shows the dips in brightness of the star (Gaia DR3 6873519665992128512) as Chariklo’s rings passed in front of it on Oct. 18. As seen in the illustration of the occultation event, the star did not pass behind Chariklo from Webb’s viewpoint, but it did pass behind its rings. Each dip actually corresponds to the shadows of two rings around Chariklo, which are ~4 miles (6-7 kilometers) and ~2 miles (2-4 kilometers) wide, and separated by a gap of 5.5 miles (9 kilometers). The two individual rings are not fully resolved in each dip in this light curve. Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Leah Hustak (STScI). Science: Pablo Santos-Sanz (IAA/CSIC), Nicolás Morales (IAA/CSIC), Bruno Morgado (UFRJ, ON/MCTI, LIneA).

    Shortly after the occultation, Webb targeted Chariklo again, this time to collect observations of the sunlight reflected by Chariklo and its rings (GTO Program 1272). The spectrum of the system shows three absorption bands of water ice in the Chariklo system. Noemí Pinilla-Alonso, who led Webb’s spectroscopic observations of Chariklo, explained: “Spectra from ground-based telescopes had hinted at this ice (Duffard et al. 2014), but the exquisite quality of the Webb spectrum revealed the clear signature of crystalline ice for the first time.” Dean Hines, the principal investigator of this second GTO program, added: “Because high-energy particles transform ice from crystalline into amorphous states, detection of crystalline ice indicates that the Chariklo system experiences continuous micro-collisions that either expose pristine material or trigger crystallization processes.”

    4
    Webb captured a spectrum with its Near-infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) [below] of the Chariklo system on Oct. 31, shortly after the occultation. This spectrum shows clear evidence for crystalline water ice, which was only hinted at by past ground-based observations. Image credit: Leah Hustak (STScI)/NASA, ESA, CSA, . Science: Noemí Pinilla-Alonso (FSI/UCF), Ian Wong (STScI), Javier Licandro (IAC).

    Most of the reflected light in the spectrum is from Chariklo itself: Models suggest the observed ring area as seen from Webb during these observations is likely one-fifth the area of the body itself. Webb’s high sensitivity, in combination with detailed models, may permit us to tease out the signature of the ring material distinct from that of Chariklo. Pinilla-Alonso commented that “by observing Chariklo with Webb over several years as the viewing angle of the rings changes, we may be able to isolate the contribution from the rings themselves.”

    Our successful Webb occultation light curve and spectroscopic observations of Chariklo open the door to a new means of characterizing small objects in the distant solar system in the coming years. With Webb’s high sensitivity and infrared capability, scientists can use the unique science return offered by occultations, and enhance these measurements with near-contemporaneous spectra. Such tools will be tremendous assets to the scientists studying distant small bodies in our solar system.

    Science Magazine 1998
    Nature 2014

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

     
  • richardmitnick 12:03 pm on January 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Webb unveils dark side of pre-stellar ice chemistry", , , , , Space based Infrared Astronomy, ,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) And The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “Webb unveils dark side of pre-stellar ice chemistry” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)

    And

    NASA Webb Header

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

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    1.23.23

    1
    Molecular Cloud Chameleon I from Webb.
    This image by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam)[below] features the central region of the Chameleon I dark molecular cloud, which resides 630 light years away. A large, dark cloud is contained within the frame. In its top half it is textured like smoke and has wispy gaps, while at the bottom and at the sides it fades gradually out of view. On the left are several orange stars: three each with six large spikes, and one behind the cloud which colours it pale blue and orange. Many tiny stars are visible, and the background is black. Credit: M. Zamani/ NASA, ESA, CSA ; Science: M. K. McClure (Leiden Observatory), F. Sun (Steward Observatory), Z. Smith (Open University), and the Ice Age ERS Team.

    The discovery of diverse ices in the darkest, coldest regions of a molecular cloud measured to date has been announced by an international team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. This result allows astronomers to examine the simple icy molecules that will be incorporated into future exoplanets, while opening a new window on the origin of more complex molecules that are the first step in the creation of the building blocks of life.

    2
    Webb’s View of the Molecular Cloud Chameleon I Annotated.

    If you want to build a habitable planet, ices are a vital ingredient as they are the main carriers of several key light elements — namely carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulphur (referred to collectively as CHONS). These elements are important ingredients in both planetary atmospheres and molecules like sugars, alcohols, and simple amino acids. In our Solar System, it is thought they were delivered to Earth’s surface by impacts with icy comets or asteroids. Furthermore, astronomers believe such ices were most likely already present in the dark cloud of cold dust and gas that would eventually collapse to make the Solar System. In these regions of space, icy dust grains provide a unique setting for atoms and molecules to meet, which can trigger chemical reactions that form very common substances like water. Detailed laboratory studies have further shown that some simple prebiotic molecules can form under these icy conditions.

    Now an in-depth inventory of the deepest, coldest ices measured to date in a molecular cloud [1] has been announced by an international team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. In addition to simple ices like water, the team was able to identify frozen forms of a wide range of molecules, from carbon dioxide, ammonia, and methane, to the simplest complex organic molecule methanol. This is the most comprehensive census to date of the icy ingredients available to make future generations of stars and planets, before they are heated during the formation of young stars. These icy grains grow in size as they are funnelled into the protoplanetary discs of gas and dust around these young stars, essentially allowing astronomers to study all the potential icy molecules that will be incorporated into future exoplanets.

    “Our results provide insights into the initial, dark chemistry stage of the formation of ice on the interstellar dust grains that will grow into the centimetre-sized pebbles from which planets form in discs,” said Melissa McClure, an astronomer at Leiden Observatory who is the principal investigator of the observing program and lead author of the paper describing this result [Nature Astronomy (below)]. “These observations open a new window on the formation pathways for the simple and complex molecules that are needed to make the building blocks of life.”

    In addition to the identified molecules, the team found evidence for prebiotic molecules more complex than methanol in these dense cloud ices, and, although they didn’t definitively attribute these signals to specific molecules, this proves for the first time that complex molecules form in the icy depths of molecular clouds before stars are born.

    “Our identification of complex organic molecules, like methanol and potentially ethanol, also suggests that the many star and planet systems developing in this particular cloud will inherit molecules in a fairly advanced chemical state,” added Will Rocha, an astronomer at Leiden Observatory who contributed to this discovery. “This could mean that the presence of prebiotic molecules in planetary systems is a common result of star formation, rather than a unique feature of our own Solar System.”

    2
    Chameleon I Spectral Graphic.

    By detecting the sulfur-bearing ice carbonyl sulfide, the researchers were able to estimate the amount of sulfur embedded in icy pre-stellar dust grains for the first time. While the amount measured is larger than previously observed, it is still less than the total amount expected to be present in this cloud, based on its density. This is true for the other CHONS elements as well. A key challenge for astronomers is understanding where these elements are hiding: in ices, soot-like materials, or rocks. The amount of CHONS in each type of material determines how much of these elements end up in exoplanet atmospheres and how much in their interiors.

    “The fact that we haven’t seen all of the CHONS that we expect may indicate that they are locked up in more rocky or sooty materials that we cannot measure,” explained McClure. “This could allow a greater diversity in the bulk composition of terrestrial planets.”

    The ices were detected and measured by studying how starlight from beyond the molecular cloud was absorbed by icy molecules at specific infrared wavelengths visible to Webb. This process leaves behind chemical fingerprints known as absorption spectra which can be compared with laboratory data to identify which ices are present in the molecular cloud. In this study, the team targeted ices buried in a particularly cold, dense and difficult to investigate region of the Chameleon I molecular cloud, a region roughly 500 light-years from Earth which is currently in the process of forming dozens of young stars.

    “We simply couldn’t have observed these ices without Webb,” elaborated Klaus Pontoppidan, Webb project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, who was involved in this research. “The ices show up as dips against a continuum of background starlight. In regions that are this cold and dense, much of the light from the background star is blocked and Webb’s exquisite sensitivity was necessary to detect the starlight and therefore identify the ices in the molecular cloud.”

    This research forms part of the Ice Age project, one of Webb’s 13 Early Release Science programs. These observations are designed to showcase Webb’s observing capabilities and allow the astronomical community to learn how to get the best from its instruments. The Ice Age team have already planned further observations, and hope to trace out the journey of ices from their formation through to the assemblage of icy comets.

    “This is just the first in a series of spectral snapshots that we will obtain to see how the ices evolve from their initial synthesis to the comet-forming regions of protoplanetary discs,” concluded McClure. “This will tell us which mixture of ices — and therefore which elements — can eventually be delivered to the surfaces of terrestrial exoplanets or incorporated into the atmospheres of giant gas or ice planets.”


    This video features a new image from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), showcasing the low-mass star forming region Chameleon I. Credit: M. K. McClure, F. Sun, Z. Smith, the Ice Age ERS team, N. Bartmann and M. Zamani: NASA/ESA/ CSA, STScI.

    Notes:
    [1] A molecular cloud is a vast interstellar cloud of gas and dust in which molecules can form, such as hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Cold, dense clumps in molecular clouds with higher densities than their surroundings can be the sites of star formation if these clumps collapse to form protostars.

    Nature Astronomy

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the
    European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with The National Aeronautics and Space Agency to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization) , and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organization) . The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP), Indian Space Research Organization (IN), the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos (RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programs include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programs

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme
    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programs:

    Technology Development Element Program
    Science Core Technology Program
    General Study Program
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programs, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt (DE)
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (FR)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres (FR)
    The University of Central Lancashire (UK)

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programs (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, The Canadian Space Agency [Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC] (CA) takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programs and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programs. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programs, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO” exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organization for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organizations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programs and to organizing their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organizations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programs. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialized in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programs with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency[La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization]Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

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

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.

    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency[中国国家航天局] (CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside, The Russian Federal Space Agency Государственная корпорация по космической деятельности «Роскосмос»](RU) one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:40 am on January 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How the James Webb Space Telescope broke the universe", , , , , Space based Infrared Astronomy   

    From “The MIT Technology Review” And The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “How the James Webb Space Telescope broke the universe” 

    From “The MIT Technology Review”

    And

    NASA Webb Header

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

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    1.21.23
    Jonathan O’Callaghan

    Natalie Batalha was itching for data from the James Webb Space Telescope. It was a few months after the telescope had reached its final orbit, and her group at the University of California-Santa Cruz, had been granted time to observe a handful of exoplanets—planets that orbit around stars other than our sun.

    Among the targets was WASP-39b, a scorching world that orbits a star some 700 light-years from Earth.

    3
    Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and J. Olmsted (STScI).

    The planet was discovered years ago. But in mid-July, when Batalha and her team got their hands on the first JWST observations of the distant world, they saw a clear signature of a gas that is common on Earth but had never been spotted before in the atmosphere of an exoplanet: carbon dioxide.

    4
    The atmospheric composition of the hot gas giant exoplanet WASP-39 b has been revealed by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. This graphic shows four transmission spectra from three of Webb’s instruments operated in four instrument modes. All are plotted on a common scale extending from 0.5 to 5.5 microns. At upper left, data from NIRISS [below] shows fingerprints of potassium (K), water (H2O), and carbon monoxide (CO). At upper right, data from NIRCam [below] shows a prominent water signature. At lower left, data from NIRSpec [below] indicates water, sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and carbon monoxide (CO). At lower right, additional NIRSpec data reveals all of these molecules as well as sodium (Na). Credits: Joseph Olmsted (STScI)/NASA/ESA/CSA.

    On Earth, carbon dioxide is a key indicator of plant and animal life. WASP-39b, which takes just four Earth days to orbit its star, is too hot to be considered habitable. But the discovery could well herald more exciting detections—from more temperate worlds—in the future. And it came just a few days into the lifetime of JWST. “That was a very exciting moment,” says Batalha, whose group had gathered to glimpse the data for the first time. “The minute we looked, the carbon dioxide feature was just beautifully drawn out.”

    This was no accident. JWST, a NASA-led collaboration between the US, Canada, and Europe, is the most powerful space telescope in history and can view objects 100 times fainter than what the Hubble Space Telescope can see. Almost immediately after it started full operations in July of 2022, incredible vistas from across the universe poured down, from images of remote galaxies at the dawn of time to amazing landscapes of nebulae, the dust-filled birthplaces of stars. “It’s just as powerful as we had hoped, if not more so,” says Gabriel Brammer, an astronomer at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

    But the speed at which JWST has made discoveries is due to more than its intrinsic capabilities. Astronomers prepared for years for the observations it would make, developing algorithms that can rapidly turn its data into usable information. Much of the data is open access, allowing the astronomical community to comb through it almost as fast as it comes in. Its operators have also built on lessons learned from the telescope’s predecessor, Hubble, packing its observational schedule as much as possible.

    For some, the sheer volume of extraordinary data has been a surprise. “It was more than we expected,” says Heidi Hammel, a NASA interdisciplinary scientist for JWST and vice president for science at the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, DC. “Once we went into operational mode, it was just nonstop. Every hour we were looking at a galaxy or an exoplanet or star formation. It was like a firehose.”

    Now, months later, JWST continues to send down reams of data to astonished astronomers on Earth, and it is expected to transform our understanding of the distant universe, exoplanets, planet formation, galactic structure, and much more. Not all have enjoyed the flurry of activity, which at times has reflected an emphasis on speed over the scientific process, but there’s no doubt that JWST is enchanting audiences across the globe at a tremendous pace. The floodgates have opened—and they’re not shutting anytime soon.

    Opening the pipe

    JWST orbits the sun around a stable point 1.5 million kilometers from Earth [L2 below]. Its giant gold-coated primary mirror, which is as tall as a giraffe, is protected from the sun’s glare by a tennis-court-size sunshield, allowing unprecedented views of the universe in infrared light.

    The telescope was a long time coming. First conceived in the 1980s, it was once planned for launch around 2007 at a cost of $1 billion. But its complexity caused extensive delays, devouring money until at one point it was dubbed “the telescope that ate astronomy.” When JWST finally launched, in December 2021 [10 years late], its estimated cost had ballooned to nearly $10 billion.

    Even post-launch, there have been anxious moments. The telescope’s journey to its target location beyond the moon’s orbit took a month, and hundreds of moving parts were required to deploy its various components, including its enormous sunshield, which is needed to keep the infrared-­sensitive instruments cool.

    The aim is to keep the telescope as busy as possible: “The worst thing we could do is have an idle telescope.”

    But by now, the delays, the budget overruns, and most of the tensions have been overcome. JWST is hard at work, its activities carefully choreographed by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore. Every week, a team plans out the telescope’s upcoming observations, pulling from a long-term schedule of hundreds of approved programs to be run in its first year of science, from July 2022 to June 2023.

    The aim is to keep the telescope as busy as possible. “The worst thing we could do is have an idle telescope,” says Dave Adler at STScI, the head of long-range planning for JWST. “It’s not a cheap thing.” In the 1990s, Hubble would occasionally find itself twiddling its thumbs in space if programs were altered or canceled; JWST’s schedule is deliberately oversubscribed to prevent such issues. Onboard thrusters and reaction wheels, which spin to change the orientation, move the telescope with precision between various targets across the sky. “The goal is always to minimize the amount of time we’re not doing science,” says Adler.

    The result of this packed schedule is that every day, JWST can collect more than 50 gigabytes of data, compared with just one or two gigabytes for Hubble. The data, which contains images and spectroscopic signatures (essentially light broken apart into its elements), is fed through an algorithm run by STScI. Known as a “pipeline,” it turns the telescope’s raw images and numbers into useful information. Some of this is released immediately on public servers, where it is picked up by eager scientists or even by Twitter bots such as the JWST Photo Bot. Other data is handed to scientists on programs that have proprietary windows, enabling them to take time analyzing their own data before it is released to the masses.

    2
    The galaxies of Stephan’s Quintet, in an image created with data from two of JWST’s infrared instruments. The leftmost galaxy appears to be part of the group but sits much closer to Earth. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.

    Pipelines are essentially pieces of code, made with programming languages like Python. They have long been used in astronomy but advanced considerably in 2004 after astronomers used Hubble to spend 1 million seconds observing an empty patch of sky. The goal was to look for remote galaxies in the distant universe, but 800 exposures would be taken, so Hubble’s planners knew it would be too daunting a task to do by hand.

    Instead, they developed a pipeline to turn the exposures into a usable image, a taxing technical challenge given that each image required its own calibration and alignment. “There was no way you could expect the community at that time to combine 800 exposures on their own,” says Anton Koekemoer, a research astronomer at STScI. “The goal was to enable science to be done much more quickly.” The incredible image resulting from those efforts revealed 10,000 galaxies stretching across the universe, in what came to be known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

    With JWST, a single master pipeline developed by STScI takes images and data from all its instruments and makes them science-ready. Many astronomers, both amateur and professional, then use their own pipelines developed in the months and years before launch to further investigate the data. That’s why when JWST’s data began streaming down to Earth, astronomers were able to almost immediately understand what they were seeing, turning what would normally be months of analysis time into just hours of processing time.

    “We were sitting there ready,” says Brammer. “All of a sudden, the pipe was open. We were ready to go.”

    Galaxies everywhere

    Orbiting just a few hundred miles above Earth’s surface, the Hubble Space Telescope is close enough for astronauts to visit. And over the years, they did, undertaking a series of missions to repair and upgrade the telescope, starting with a trip to fix its infamously misshapen mirror—a problem discovered shortly after launch in 1990. JWST, which sits farther away than the moon, is on its own.

    Lee Feinberg, JWST’s optical telescope element manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, was among those waiting to see whether the telescope would actually deliver. “We spent 20 years simulating the alignment of the telescope,” he says—that is, making sure that it could accurately point at targets across the sky.

    By March, the wait was over. JWST had reached its target location beyond the moon, and Feinberg and his colleagues were finally ready to start taking test images. As he walked into STScI one morning, one of those images, a test image of a star, was put up on screen. It contained an amazing surprise. “There were literally hundreds of galaxies,” says Feinberg. “We were just blown away.” So detailed was the image that it revealed galaxies stretching away into the distant universe, even though it hadn’t been taken for such a purpose. “Everybody was in disbelief how well it was working,” he says.

    Following a further process of testing and calibrating instruments to get the telescope up and running, one of JWST’s earliest tasks was to look at WASP-39b with its cryogenically cooled Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). This tool is the one aboard the telescope that observes most deeply in the infrared part of the spectrum, where many of the signatures of planetary atmospheres can be readily detected. MIRI’s spectrograph allowed scientists to pick apart the light from WASP-39b’s atmosphere. Rather than analyzing the observations manually, however, the team used a pipeline called Eureka!, developed by Taylor Bell, an astronomer at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. “The objective was to go from the raw data that comes down to information about the atmospheric spectrum,” says Bell. Analyzing information from an exoplanet like this would usually require months of work. But within hours of the observations, the signature of carbon dioxide leaped out. A host of other details have since been released about the planet, including a detailed analysis of its composition and the presence of patchy clouds.

    Others have used pipelines for much more distant targets. In July, studying early images from JWST, a team led by Rohan Naidu at MIT discovered GLASS-z13, a remote galaxy whose light could date from just 300 million years after the Big Bang—earlier than any galaxy known before. The discovery caused a global furor because it suggested that galaxies may have formed earlier than previously expected, perhaps by a few hundred million years—meaning our universe took shape faster than previously believed.

    Naidu’s discovery was made possible by EAZY, a pipeline Brammer developed to somewhat crudely analyze the light of galaxies in JWST images. “It estimates the distance of the objects using these imaging observations,” says Brammer, who posted the tool on the software website GitHub for anybody to use.

    Rush hour

    Traditionally in science, researchers will submit a scientific paper to a journal, where it is then reviewed by peers in the field and finally approved for publication or rejected. This process can take months, even years, sometimes delaying publication—but always with accuracy and scientific rigor in mind.

    There are ways to bypass this process, however. A popular method is to post early versions of scientific papers on the website arXiv prior to peer review. This means that research can be read or publicized before it is published in a journal. In some cases, the research is never submitted to a journal, instead remaining solely on arXiv and discussed openly by scientists on Twitter and other forums.

    Posting on arXiv is popular when there is a new discovery that scientists are keen to publish quickly, sometimes before competing papers come out. In the case of JWST, about a fifth of its first-year programs are open access, meaning the data is immediately released publicly when it is transferred down to Earth. That puts the research team that proposed the program in immediate competition with others watching the data stream in. When the telescope’s firehose of data was switched on in July, many researchers turned to arXiv to publish early results—for better or worse.

    “There was a rush to publish anything as soon as possible,” says Emiliano Merlin, an astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory of Rome who was involved in early JWST analysis efforts such as the race to find galaxies in the distant universe after the Big Bang. The discovery of GLASS-z13 and a dozen or so other intriguing candidates was published before follow-up observations could confirm the age of their light. “It was not something I personally really liked,” says Merlin. “When you’re dealing with something this new and this unknown, things should be checked 10 or 100 times. That’s not how things went.”

    One concern was that early calibration issues with the telescope could have resulted in errors. But so far many of the early results have stood up to scrutiny. Follow-up observations have confirmed GLASS-z13 to be a record-breaking early galaxy, although its age has been slightly reduced, leading to a renaming of the galaxy to GLASS-z12. The possible discovery of other galaxies that formed even earlier than GLASS-z12 suggests that our understanding of how structure emerged in the universe may very likely need to be rethought, perhaps even hinting at more radical models for the early universe.

    2
    Ernie Wright stands near the JWST mirrors. Segments of JWST’s primary mirror are prepped for cryogenic testing in 2011. The full mirror, made of gold-coated beryllium, consists of 18 segments and spans 6.5 meters. It was designed to be folded up for launch. Credit: DAVID HIGGINBOTHAM/NASA/MSFC.

    While many of JWST’s programs publicly release data immediately, sometimes resulting in a frantic rush to post results early, about 80% of them have a proprietary period, allowing the researchers running them exclusive access to their data for 12 months. This enables scientists, especially smaller groups that lack the resources of large institutions, to more carefully scrutinize their own data before releasing it to the public.

    “Proprietary time evens out the lumps and bumps in resources,” says Mark McCaughrean, senior advisor for science and exploration at the European Space Agency and a JWST scientist. “If you take away proprietary periods, you stack it back in the direction of the big teams.”

    Many scientists do not use their full 12-month allocation, however, which means they will only add to the constant stream of discoveries from JWST. Alongside the open-access observations being taken, there will be more and more proprietary results released to the public. “Now that the firehose is open, we will be seeing papers continuously for the next 10 years and beyond,” says Hammel. Perhaps well past that—Feinberg says the telescope may have more than 20 years of fuel, allowing operations to continue far into the 2040s.

    “We’re cracking open an entirely new window on the universe,” says Hammel. “That’s just a really exciting moment to be a part of, for us as a species.”

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    The mission of “The MIT Technology Review” is to equip its audiences with the intelligence to understand a world shaped by technology.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:57 pm on January 21, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Standard Model of Cosmology Survives a Telescope’s Surprising Finds", , , , , Space based Infrared Astronomy   

    From “Quanta Magazine” And The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “Standard Model of Cosmology Survives a Telescope’s Surprising Finds” 

    From “Quanta Magazine”

    And

    NASA Webb Header

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

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    1.20.23
    Rebecca Boyle

    1
    Samuel Velasco/Quanta Magazine; Source: NASA.

    The Webb telescope has spotted galaxies surprisingly far away in space and deep in the past.

    These four, studied by a team called JADES-JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey , are all seen as they appeared less than 500 million years after the Big Bang.

    Webb Spectra Reach New Milestone in Redshift Frontier

    The JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) focused on the area in and around the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field. Using Webb’s NIRCam instrument, scientists observed the field in nine different infrared wavelength ranges. From these images (shown at left), the team searched for faint galaxies that are visible in the infrared but whose spectra abruptly cut off at a critical wavelength known as the Lyman break. Webb’s NIRSpec instrument then yielded a precise measurement of each galaxy’s redshift (shown at right). Four of the galaxies studied are particularly special, as they were revealed to be at an unprecedentedly early epoch. These galaxies date back to less than 400 million years after the big bang, when the universe was only 2% of its current age.

    In the background image blue represents light at 1.15 microns (115W), green is 2.0 microns (200W), and red is 4.44 microns (444W). In the cutout images blue is a combination of 0.9 and 1.15 microns (090W+115W), green is 1.5 and 2.0 microns (150W+200W), and red is 2.0, 2.77, and 4.44 microns (200W+277W+444W).

    JADES is a collaboration of the JWST Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) [below] and Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument [below] teams and will comprise about 800 hours of observing time, with full utilization of coordinated parallels. JADES includes 8-10 filters of NIRCam data over the field, in two tiers of depth. Even the medium depth approaches that of the deepest current data, but over a much wider field. The deep tier will likely set the standard for cycle 1 depth with JWST. Spectroscopy of thousands of galaxies will reveal emission lines down to the faintest limits of the high redshift galaxies as well as kinematics and abundances of intermediate redshift galaxies. Extremely deep parallel observations with the mid-infrared instrument at 7.7 and 12 microns will probe the older stars and hot dust of galaxies at cosmic noon and before. Prof. Daniel Eisenstein serves as the NIRCam Extragalactic Team Lead and proposal PI. The international collaboration of JADES has been actively preparing for the data set and is excited to see the long-anticipated promise of JWST come to fruition in cycle 1.

    1
    This image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope highlights the region of study by the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES). This area is in and around the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field [below]. Scientists used Webb’s NIRCam instrument [below] to observe the field in nine different infrared wavelength ranges. From these images, the team searched for faint galaxies that are visible in the infrared but whose spectra abruptly cut off at a critical wavelength. They conducted additional observations (not shown here) with Webb’s NIRSpec instrument to measure each galaxy’s redshift and reveal the properties of the gas and stars in these galaxies.

    In this image blue represents light at 1.15 microns (115W), green is 2.0 microns (200W), and red is 4.44 microns (444W).

    3
    Simulated JWST/NIRCam mosaic generated using JAGUAR and the NIRCam image simulator Guitarra (C. Willmer, in preparation), at the depth of the JADES Deep program.

    This image is focused on a region of 3’ by 1.5’, and is a composite of the F090W (blue), F115W (green), and F200W (red) filters. The insets show a 5” by 5’ region with multiple high-redshift galaxies, and a 1” by 1” region focused on a galaxy at z = 11.3. Image from Williams et al. (2018, ApJ Supp, 236, 33).

    The cracks in cosmology were supposed to take a while to appear. But when the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) opened its lens last spring, extremely distant yet very bright galaxies immediately shone into the telescope’s field of view. “They were just so stupidly bright, and they just stood out,” said Rohan Naidu, an astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    The galaxies’ apparent distances from Earth suggested that they formed much earlier in the history of the universe than anyone anticipated. (The farther away something is, the longer ago its light flared forth.) Doubts swirled, but in December, astronomers confirmed that some of the galaxies are indeed as distant, and therefore as primordial, as they seem. The earliest of those confirmed galaxies shed its light 330 million years after the Big Bang, making it the new record-holder for the earliest known structure in the universe. That galaxy was rather dim, but other candidates loosely pegged to the same time period were already shining bright, meaning they were potentially humongous.

    How could stars ignite inside superheated clouds of gas so soon after the Big Bang? How could they hastily weave themselves into such huge gravitationally bound structures? Finding such big, bright, early galaxies seems akin to finding a fossilized rabbit in Precambrian strata. “There are no big things at early times. It takes a while to get to big things,” said Mike Boylan-Kolchin, a theoretical physicist at the University of Texas-Austin.

    Astronomers began asking whether the profusion of early big things defies the current understanding of the cosmos. Some researchers and media outlets claimed that the telescope’s observations were breaking the standard model of cosmology — a well-tested set of equations called the lambda cold dark matter, or ΛCDM, model — thrillingly pointing to new cosmic ingredients or governing laws.

    It has since become clear, however, that the ΛCDM model is resilient. Instead of forcing researchers to rewrite the rules of cosmology, the JWST findings have astronomers rethinking how galaxies are made, especially in the cosmic beginning. The telescope has not yet broken cosmology, but that doesn’t mean the case of the too-early galaxies will turn out to be anything but epochal.

    Simpler Times

    To see why the detection of very early, bright galaxies is surprising, it helps to understand what cosmologists know — or think they know — about the universe.

    After the Big Bang, the infant universe began cooling off. Within a few million years, the roiling plasma that filled space settled down, and electrons, protons and neutrons combined into atoms, mostly neutral hydrogen. Things were quiet and dark for a period of uncertain duration known as the cosmic dark ages.

    Then something happened.

    Most of the material that flew apart after the Big Bang is made of something we can’t see, called dark matter. It has exerted a powerful influence over the cosmos, especially at first. In the standard picture, cold dark matter (a term that means invisible, slow-moving particles) was flung about the cosmos indiscriminately. In some areas its distribution was denser, and in these regions it began collapsing into clumps. Visible matter, meaning atoms, clustered around the clumps of dark matter. As the atoms cooled off as well, they eventually condensed, and the first stars were born. These new sources of radiation recharged the neutral hydrogen that filled the universe during the so-called “epoch of reionization”.

    Through gravity, larger and more complex structures grew, building a vast cosmic web of galaxies.

    4
    Astronomers with the CEERS-Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey, who are using the James Webb Space Telescope to study the early universe, look at a mosaic of images from the telescope in a visualization lab at the University of Texas-Austin.

    Meanwhile, everything kept flying apart. The astronomer Edwin Hubble figured out in the 1920s that the universe is expanding, and in the late 1990s, his namesake, the Hubble Space Telescope, found evidence that the expansion is accelerating.

    Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 Expansion of the Universe

    4 October 2011

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011

    with one half to

    Saul Perlmutter
    The Supernova Cosmology Project
    The DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The University of California-Berkeley,

    and the other half jointly to

    Brian P. SchmidtThe High-z Supernova Search Team, The Australian National University, Weston Creek, Australia.

    and

    Adam G. Riess

    The High-z Supernova Search Team,The Johns Hopkins University and The Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD.

    Written in the stars

    “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice…” *

    What will be the final destiny of the Universe? Probably it will end in ice, if we are to believe this year’s Nobel Laureates in Physics. They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the Laureates themselves.

    In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Saul Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Brian Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Adam Riess was to play a crucial role.

    The research teams raced to map the Universe by locating the most distant supernovae. More sophisticated telescopes on the ground and in space, as well as more powerful computers and new digital imaging sensors (CCD, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009), opened the possibility in the 1990s to add more pieces to the cosmological puzzle.

    The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called Type 1a supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected – this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.

    For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice.

    The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma – perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.

    *Robert Frost, Fire and Ice, 1920
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Think of the universe as a loaf of raisin bread. It starts as a mixture of flour, water, yeast and raisins. When you combine these ingredients, the yeast begins respiring and the loaf begins to rise. The raisins within it — stand-ins for galaxies — stretch further apart from one another as the loaf expands.

    The Hubble telescope saw that the loaf is rising ever faster. The raisins are flying apart at a rate that defies their gravitational attraction. This acceleration appears to be driven by the repulsive energy of space itself — so-called dark energy, which is represented by the Greek letter Λ (pronounced “lambda”). Plug values for Λ, cold dark matter, and regular matter and radiation into the equations of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and you get a model of how the universe evolves. This “lambda cold dark matter” (ΛCDM) model matches almost all observations of the cosmos.

    One way to test this picture is by looking at very distant galaxies — equivalent to looking back in time to the first few hundred million years after the tremendous clap that started it all. The cosmos was simpler then, its evolution easier to compare against predictions.

    Astronomers first tried to see the earliest structures of the universe using the Hubble telescope in 1995. Over 10 days, Hubble captured 342 exposures of an empty-looking patch of space in the Big Dipper.

    Astronomers were astonished by the abundance hiding in the inky dark: Hubble could see thousands of galaxies at different distances and stages of development, stretching back to much earlier times than anyone expected. Hubble would go on to find some exceedingly distant galaxies — in 2016, astronomers found its most distant one, called GN-z11, a faint smudge that they dated to 400 million years after the Big Bang.

    That was surprisingly early for a galaxy, but it did not cast doubt on the ΛCDM model in part because the galaxy is tiny, with just 1% of the Milky Way’s mass, and in part because it stood alone. Astronomers needed a more powerful telescope to see whether GN-z11 was an oddball or part of a larger population of puzzlingly early galaxies, which could help determine whether we are missing a crucial piece of the ΛCDM recipe.

    Unaccountably Distant

    That next-generation space telescope, named for former NASA leader James Webb, launched on Christmas Day 2021. As soon as JWST was calibrated, light from early galaxies dripped into its sensitive electronics. Astronomers published a flood of papers describing what they saw.

    Researchers use a version of the Doppler effect to gauge the distances of objects. This is similar to figuring out the location of an ambulance based on its siren: The siren sounds higher in pitch as it approaches and then lower as it recedes. The farther away a galaxy is, the faster it moves away from us, and so its light stretches to longer wavelengths and appears redder. The magnitude of this “redshift” is expressed as z, where a given value for z tells you how long an object’s light must have traveled to reach us.

    One of the first papers [The Astrophysical Journal Letters (below)] on JWST data came from Naidu, the MIT astronomer, and his colleagues, whose search algorithm flagged a galaxy that seemed inexplicably bright and unaccountably distant. Naidu dubbed it GLASS-z13, indicating its apparent distance at a redshift of 13 — further away than anything seen before. (The galaxy’s redshift was later revised down to 12.4, and it was renamed GLASS-z12.) Other astronomers working on the various sets of JWST observations were reporting redshift values from 11 to 20, including one galaxy called CEERS-1749 or CR2-z17-1, whose light appears to have left it 13.7 billion years ago, just 220 million years after the Big Bang — barely an eyeblink after the beginning of cosmic time.

    These putative detections suggested that the neat story known as ΛCDM might be incomplete. Somehow, galaxies grew huge right away. “In the early universe, you don’t expect to see massive galaxies. They haven’t had time to form that many stars, and they haven’t merged together,” said Chris Lovell, an astrophysicist at the University of Portsmouth in England. Indeed, in a study published in November [The Astrophysical Journal Letters (below)], researchers analyzed computer simulations of universes governed by the ΛCDM model and found that JWST’s early, bright galaxies were an order of magnitude heavier than the ones that formed concurrently in the simulations.

    Some astronomers and media outlets claimed that JWST was breaking cosmology, but not everyone was convinced. One problem is that ΛCDM’s predictions aren’t always clear-cut. While dark matter and dark energy are simple, visible matter has complex interactions and behaviors, and nobody knows exactly what went down in the first years after the Big Bang; those frenetic early times must be approximated in computer simulations. The other problem is that it’s hard to tell exactly how far away galaxies are.

    In the months since the first papers, the ages of some of the alleged high-redshift galaxies have been reconsidered. Some were demoted to later stages of cosmic evolution because of updated telescope calibrations. CEERS-1749 is found in a region of the sky containing a cluster of galaxies whose light was emitted 12.4 billion years ago, and Naidu says it’s possible the galaxy is actually part of this cluster — a nearer interloper that might be filled with dust that makes it appear more redshifted than it is. According to Naidu, CEERS-1749 is weird no matter how far away it is. “It would be a new type of galaxy that we did not know of: a very low-mass, tiny galaxy that has somehow built up a lot of dust in it, which is something we traditionally do not expect,” he said. “There might just be these new types of objects that are confounding our searches for the very distant galaxies.”

    The Lyman Break

    Everyone knew that the most definitive distance estimates would require JWST’s most powerful capability.

    JWST not only observes starlight through photometry, or measuring brightness, but also through spectroscopy, or measuring the light’s wavelengths. If a photometric observation is like a picture of a face in a crowd, then a spectroscopic observation is like a DNA test that can tell an individual’s family history. Naidu and others who found large early galaxies measured redshift using brightness-derived measurements — essentially looking at faces in the crowd using a really good camera. That method is far from airtight. (At a January meeting of the American Astronomical Society, astronomers quipped that maybe half of the early galaxies observed with photometry alone will turn out to be accurately measured.)

    But in early December, cosmologists announced that they had combined both methods for four galaxies. The JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) team searched for galaxies whose infrared light spectrum abruptly cuts off at a critical wavelength known as the Lyman break. This break occurs because hydrogen floating in the space between galaxies absorbs light. Because of the continuing expansion of the universe — the ever-rising raisin loaf — the light of distant galaxies is shifted, so the wavelength of that abrupt break shifts too. When a galaxy’s light appears to drop off at longer wavelengths, it is more distant. JADES identified spectra with redshifts up to 13.2, meaning the galaxy’s light was emitted 13.4 billion years ago.

    3
    Merrill Sherman/Quanta Magazine.

    As soon as the data was downlinked, JADES researchers began “freaking out” in a shared Slack group, according to Kevin Hainline, an astronomer at the University of Arizona. “It was like, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, we did it we did it we did it!’” he said. “These spectra are just the beginning of what I think is going to be astronomy-changing science.”

    Brant Robertson, a JADES astronomer at the University of California-Santa Cruz, says the findings show that the early universe changed rapidly in its first billion years, with galaxies evolving 10 times quicker than they do today. It’s similar to how “a hummingbird is a small creature,” he said, “but its heart beats so quickly that it is living kind of a different life than other creatures. The heartbeat of these galaxies is happening on a much more rapid timescale than something the size of the Milky Way.”

    But were their hearts beating too fast for ΛCDM to explain?

    Theoretical Possibilities

    As astronomers and the public gaped at JWST images, researchers started working behind the scenes to determine whether the galaxies blinking into our view really upend ΛCDM or just help nail down the numbers we should plug into its equations.

    One important yet poorly understood number concerns the masses of the earliest galaxies. Cosmologists try to determine their masses in order to tell whether they match ΛCDM’s predicted timeline of galaxy growth.

    A galaxy’s mass is derived from its brightness. But Megan Donahue, an astrophysicist at Michigan State University, says that at best, the relationship between mass and brightness is an educated guess, based on assumptions gleaned from known stars and well-studied galaxies.

    One key assumption is that stars always form within a certain statistical range of masses, called the initial mass function (IMF). This IMF parameter is crucial for gleaning a galaxy’s mass from measurements of its brightness, because hot, blue, heavy stars produce more light, while the majority of a galaxy’s mass is typically locked up in cool, red, small stars.

    But it’s possible that the IMF was different in the early universe. If so, JWST’s early galaxies might not be as heavy as their brightness suggests; they might be bright but light. This possibility causes headaches, because changing this basic input to the ΛCDM model could give you almost any answer you want. Lovell says some astronomers consider fiddling with the IMF “the domain of the wicked.”

    “If we don’t understand the initial mass function, then understanding galaxies at high redshift is really a challenge,” said Wendy Freedman, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago. Her team is working on observations and computer simulations that will help pin down the IMF in different environments.

    Over the course of the fall, many experts came to suspect that tweaks to the IMF and other factors could be enough to square the very ancient galaxies lighting upon JWST’s instruments with ΛCDM. “I think it’s actually more likely that we can accommodate these observations within the standard paradigm,” said Rachel Somerville, an astrophysicist at the Flatiron Institute (which, like Quanta Magazine, is funded by the Simons Foundation). In that case, she said, “what we learn is: How fast can [dark matter] halos collect the gas? How fast can we make the gas cool off and get dense, and make stars? Maybe that happens faster in the early universe; maybe the gas is denser; maybe somehow it is flowing in faster. I think we’re still learning about those processes.”

    Somerville also studies the possibility that black holes interfered with the baby cosmos. Astronomers have noticed [MNRAS (below)] a few glowing supermassive black holes at a redshift of 6 or 7, about a billion years after the Big Bang. It is hard to conceive of how, by that time, stars could have formed, died and then collapsed into black holes that ate everything surrounding them and began spewing radiation.

    But if there are black holes inside the putative early galaxies, that could explain why the galaxies seem so bright, even if they’re not actually very massive, Somerville said.

    Confirmation that ΛCDM can accommodate at least some of JWST’s early galaxies arrived the day before Christmas. Astronomers led by Benjamin Keller at the University of Memphis checked [The Astrophysical Journal Letters (below)] a handful of major supercomputer simulations of ΛCDM universes and found that the simulations could produce galaxies as heavy as the four that were spectroscopically studied by the JADES team. (These four are, notably, smaller and dimmer than other purported early galaxies such as GLASS-z12.) In the team’s analysis, all the simulations yielded galaxies the size of the JADES findings at a redshift of 10. One simulation could create such galaxies at a redshift of 13, the same as what JADES saw, and two others could build the galaxies at an even higher redshift. None of the JADES galaxies was in tension with the current ΛCDM paradigm, Keller and colleagues reported on the preprint server arxiv.org on December 24.

    Though they lack the heft to break the prevailing cosmological model, the JADES galaxies have other special characteristics. Hainline said their stars seem unpolluted by metals from previously exploded stars. This could mean they are Population III stars — the avidly sought first generation of stars to ever ignite — and that they may be contributing to the reionization of the universe. If this is true, then JWST has already peered back to the mysterious period when the universe was set on its present course.

    Extraordinary Evidence

    Spectroscopic confirmation of additional early galaxies could come this spring, depending on how JWST’s time allocation committee divvies things up. An observing campaign called WDEEP will specifically search for galaxies from less than 300 million years after the Big Bang. As researchers confirm more galaxies’ distances and get better at estimating their masses, they’ll help settle ΛCDM’s fate.

    Many other observations are already underway that could change the picture for ΛCDM. Freedman, who is studying the initial mass function, was up at 1 a.m. one night downloading JWST data on variable stars that she uses as “standard candles” for measuring distances and ages. Those measurements could help shake out another potential problem with ΛCDM, known as the Hubble tension. The problem is that the universe currently seems to be expanding faster than ΛCDM predicts for a 13.8-billion-year-old universe. Cosmologists have plenty of possible explanations. Perhaps, some cosmologists speculate, the density of the dark energy that’s accelerating the expansion of the universe is not constant, as in ΛCDM, but changes over time. Changing the expansion history of the universe might not only resolve the Hubble tension but also revise calculations of the age of the universe at a given redshift. JWST might be seeing an early galaxy as it appeared, say, 500 million years after the Big Bang rather than 300 million. Then even the heaviest putative early galaxies in JWST’s mirrors would have had plenty of time to coalesce, says Somerville.

    Astronomers run out of superlatives when they talk about JWST’s early galaxy results. They pepper their conversations with laughter, expletives and exclamations, even as they remind themselves of Carl Sagan’s adage, however overused, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. They can’t wait to get their hands on more images and spectra, which will help them hone or tweak their models. “Those are the best problems,” said Boylan-Kolchin, “because no matter what you get, the answer is interesting.”

    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 2022
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 2022
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 2022
    MNRAS 2017
    See the science papers for instructive material with images.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct. Use “Reply”.


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    Webb is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

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

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

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

    There are four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS).

    Webb’s instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Webb NIRCam.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

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

    Launch was December 25, 2021, ten years late, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch was from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. Webb is located at the second Lagrange point, about a million miles from the Earth.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

    Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.” At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. All of our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked.

     
    • Bhibuthi bhusan Patel 12:23 am on January 22, 2023 Permalink | Reply

      The gravity equal to dark matter comes from the rotation of galaxy,evolved super massive black hole at the center of galaxy and stars.Rotation is the change in position of a galaxy with others in time axis.

      Like

    • Bhibuthi bhusan Patel 5:35 am on January 22, 2023 Permalink | Reply

      The evolution of galaxy is due to rotation.The dynamic force of rotation is the gravity evolves super massive black hole at the center of galaxy and stars.

      Like

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