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Draggendrop    5,747

Zap! This Awesome Laser-Armed Telescope Is Fully Operational (Photos)

 

Quote

These spectacular views of lasers firing up into the cosmos come from the European Southern Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert, where scientists activated the new Four Laser Guide Star Facility for the first time this week. The laser system, which switched on Tuesday (April 26), is part of an advanced new adaptive optics system on ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory.

 

Adaptive optics systems allow telescopes to adjust the shape of their mirrors to filter out the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere. The new Four Laser Guide Star Facility, which ESO touted as the most powerful of its kind in the world, fires four 22-watt lasers into the upper atmosphere, where they hit sodium atoms and make them glow like artificial guide stars to serve as a reference for the VLT's adaptive optics system.

 

"The artificial stars allow the adaptive optics systems to compensate for the blurring caused by the Earth's atmosphere, so that the telescope can create sharp images," ESO representatives wrote in an image description. "Using more than one laser allows the turbulence in the atmosphere to be mapped in far greater detail, to significantly improve the image quality over a larger field of view.

 

ESO representatives said the techniques developed to build the Four Laser Guide Star Facility will inform work on the adaptive optics system for a giant new telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope, which is slated to begin operations in Chile in 2024. ESO officials billed the new telescope, with its 128-foot (39-meter) main mirror, as "the world's biggest eye on the sky."

http://www.space.com/32724-awesome-very-large-telescope-lasers-photos.html

 

 

paranal-observatory-first-light.jpg?inte

The Four Laser Guide Star Facility for the adaptive optics system on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile is activated for the first time in this amazing view taken on April 26, 2016. The lasers help the Very Large Telescope cancel out the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere and take sharp images of the night sky.
Credit: ESO/F. Kamphues

 

 

paranal-observatory-laser-guide-system.j

The Four Laser Guide Star Facility for the adaptive optics system on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile is activated in this stunning first-light image taken on April 26, 2016.
Credit: ESO/F. Kamphues

 

 

paranal_observatory_laser_optics.jpg?146

Looking more like science fiction than science, the Four Laser Guide Star Facility on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile fires its lasers into the night sky from Paranal Observatory during first light on April 26, 2016.
Credit: ESO/G. Hüdepohl

 

 

paranal_observatory_vlt.jpg?1461807454?i

The Four Laser Guide Star Facility for the adaptive optics system on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile sees first light in this view taken on April 26, 2016.
Credit: ESO/S. Lowery

 

:D

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LOC    1,116

They really shouldn't photoshop fake lasers into these photos :D

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Draggendrop    5,747

Possible extragalactic source of high-energy neutrinos

 

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Nearly 10 billion years ago in a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418, a dramatic explosion occurred. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now, an international team of astronomers, led by Prof. Matthias Kadler, professor for astrophysics at the university of Würzburg, and including other scientists from the new research cluster for astronomy and astroparticle physics at the universities of Würzburg and Erlangen-Nürnberg, have shown that a record-breaking neutrino seen around the same time likely was born in the same event. The results are published in Nature Physics.

 

Neutrinos are the fastest, lightest, most unsociable and least understood fundamental particles, and scientists are just now capable of detecting high-energy ones arriving from deep space. The present work provides the first plausible association between a single extragalactic object and one of these cosmic neutrinos.

 

Although neutrinos far outnumber all the atoms in the universe, they rarely interact with matter, which makes detecting them quite a challenge. But this same property lets neutrinos make a fast exit from places where light cannot easily escape -- such as the core of a collapsing star -- and zip across the universe almost completely unimpeded. Neutrinos can provide information about processes and environments that simply aren't available through a study of light alone.

 

Quote

Recently, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole found first evidence for a flux of extraterrestrial neutrinos, which was named the Physics World breakthrough of the year 2013. To date, the science team of IceCube Neutrino has announced about a hundred very high-energy neutrinos and nicknamed the most extreme events after characters on the children's TV series "Sesame Street." On Dec. 4, 2012, IceCube detected an event known as Big Bird, a neutrino with an energy exceeding 2 quadrillion electron volts (PeV). To put that in perspective, it's more than a million million times greater than the energy of a dental X-ray packed into a single particle thought to possess less than a millionth the mass of an electron. Big Bird was the highest-energy neutrino ever detected at the time and still ranks second.

 

Where did it come from? The best IceCube position only narrowed the source to a patch of the southern sky about 32 degrees across, equivalent to the apparent size of 64 full moons. "It's like a crime scene investigation", says lead author Matthias Kadler, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Würzburg in Germany, "The case involves an explosion, a suspect, and various pieces of circumstantial evidence."

 

Starting in the summer of 2012, NASA's Fermi satellite witnessed a dramatic brightening of PKS B1424-418, an active galaxy classified as a gamma-ray blazar. An active galaxy is an otherwise typical galaxy with a compact and unusually bright core. The excess luminosity of the central region is produced by matter falling toward a supermassive black hole weighing millions of times the mass of our sun. As it approaches the black hole, some of the material becomes channeled into particle jets moving outward in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light. In blazars one of these jets happens to point almost directly toward Earth.

 

During the year-long outburst, PKS B1424-418 shone between 15 and 30 times brighter in gamma rays than its average before the eruption. The blazar is located within the Big Bird source region, but then so are many other active galaxies detected by Fermi.

 

The scientists searching for the neutrino source then turned to data from a long-term observing program named TANAMI. Since 2007, TANAMI has routinely monitored nearly 100 active galaxies in the southern sky, including many flaring sources detected by Fermi. Three radio observations between 2011 and 2013 cover the period of the Fermi outburst. They reveal that the core of the galaxy's jet had been brightening by about four times. No other galaxy observed by TANAMI over the life of the program has exhibited such a dramatic change.

 

"Within their jets, blazars are capable of accelerating protons to relativistic energies. Interactions of these protons with light in the central regions of the blazar can create pions. When these pions decay, both gamma rays and neutrinos are produced," explains Karl Mannheim, a coauthor of the study and astronomy professor in Würzburg, Germany. "We combed through the field where Big Bird must have originated looking for astrophysical objects capable of producing high-energy particles and light," adds coauthor Felicia Krauß, a doctoral student at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. "There was a moment of wonder and awe when we realized that the most dramatic outburst we had ever seen in a blazar happened in just the right place at just the right time."

 

In a paper published Monday, April 18, in Nature Physics, the team suggests the PKS B1424-418 outburst and Big Bird are linked, calculating only a 5-percent probability the two events occurred by chance alone. Using data from Fermi, NASA's Swift and WISE satellites, the LBA and other facilities, the researchers determined how the energy of the eruption was distributed across the electromagnetic spectrum and showed that it was sufficiently powerful to produce a neutrino at PeV energies.

 

114304_web.jpg

Fermi LAT images showing the gamma-ray sky around the blazar PKS B1424-418. Brighter colors indicate greater numbers of gamma rays. The dashed arc marks part of the source region established by IceCube for the Big Bird neutrino (50-percent confidence level). Left: An average of LAT data centered on July 8, 2011, covering 300 days when the blazar was inactive. Right: An average of 300 active days centered on Feb. 27, 2013, when PKS B1424-418 was the brightest blazar in this part of the sky.
CREDIT
Credit: NASA/DOE/LAT Collaboration

 

more at the link...

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uow-pes042816.php

 

------------------------------

 

Image of the Day

 

Golden Space Mirrors

 

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Monday, May 2, 2016: The golden mirrors of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope are seen in this image inside the clean room at the space agency's Goddard Space Flight Center. The space telescope is undergoing testing ahead of its 2018 launch. Each of the James Webb Space Telescope's mirror segments are about the size of a coffee table and weighs 46 pounds (20 kilograms). 

james-webb-space-telescope-golden-mirror

JWST                     NASA

 

http://www.space.com/34-image-day.html

 

smiley_1.jpg

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Jim K    13,636
Quote

 

NASA's Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets – the single largest finding of planets to date.

 

“This announcement more than doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth.” 

 

Analysis was performed on the Kepler space telescope’s July 2015 planet candidate catalog, which identified 4,302 potential planets. For 1,284 of the candidates, the probability of being a planet is greater than 99 percent – the minimum required to earn the status of “planet.” An additional 1,327 candidates are more likely than not to be actual planets, but they do not meet the 99 percent threshold and will require additional study. The remaining 707 are more likely to be some other astrophysical phenomena. This analysis also validated 984 candidates previously verified by other techniques.

 

"Before the Kepler space telescope launched, we did not know whether exoplanets were rare or common in the galaxy. Thanks to Kepler and the research community, we now know there could be more planets than stars,” said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters. "This knowledge informs the future missions that are needed to take us ever-closer to finding out whether we are alone in the universe."

 

/snip

 

kepler_fig2_0.jpg

 

fig8-new-20use20this20one.jpg

 

kepler_fig10.jpg

Since Kepler launched in 2009, 21 planets less than twice the size of Earth have been discovered in the habitable zones of their stars. The orange spheres represent the nine newly validated planets announcement on May 10, 2016. The blue disks represent the 12 previous known planets. These planets are plotted relative to the temperature of their star and with respect to the amount of energy received from their star in their orbit in Earth units. The sizes of the exoplanets indicate the sizes relative to one another. The images of Earth, Venus and Mars are placed on this diagram for reference. The light and dark green shaded regions indicate the conservative and optimistic habitable zone.

Credits: NASA Ames/N. Batalha and W. Stenzel

 

kepler_fig9.jpg

Kepler was pointed at the patch of sky near the Lyra and Cygnus constellations. The yellow portion represents Kepler’s field-of-view.

 

More at NASA

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Draggendrop    5,747

New test by deepest galaxy map finds Einstein's theory stands true

 

115221_web.jpg

A 3-D map of the universe spanning 12 to 14.5 billion light years.
CREDIT
NAOJ; Partial data supplied by: CFHT, SDSS

 

Quote

An international team led by Japanese researchers has made a 3D map of 3000 galaxies 13 billion light years from Earth, and found that Einstein's general theory of relativity is still valid.

 

Since it was discovered in the late 1990s that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, scientists have been trying to explain why. The mysterious dark energy could be driving acceleration, or Einstein's theory of general relativity, which says gravity warps space and time, could be breaking down.

 

To test Einstein's theory, a team of researchers led by Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics (Kavli IPMU) Project Researcher Teppei Okumura, Kavli IPMU Project Assistant Professor Chiaki Hikage, University of Tokyo Department of Astronomy Professor Tomonori Totani, and together with Tohoku University Astronomical Institute Associate Professor Masayuki Akiyama and Kyoto University Department of Astronomy Associate Professor Fumihide Iwamuro and Professor Kouji Ohta, used FastSound Survey data on more than 3000 distant galaxies to analyze their velocities and clustering.

 

Their results indicated that even far into the universe, general relativity is valid, giving further support that the expansion of the universe could be explained by a cosmological constant, as proposed by Einstein in his theory of general relativity.

 

"We tested the theory of general relativity further than anyone else ever has. It's a privilege to be able to publish our results 100 years after Einstein proposed his theory," said Okumura.

 

"Having started this project 12 years ago it gives me great pleasure to finally see this result come out," said Karl Glazebrook, Professor at Swinburne University of Technology, who proposed the survey.

 

No one has been able to analyze galaxies more than 10 billion light years away, but the team managed to break this barrier thanks to the FMOS (Fiber Multi-Object Spectrograph) on the Subaru Telescope, which can analyze galaxies 12.4 to 14.7 billion light years away. The Prime Focus Spectrograph, currently under construction, is expected to be able to study galaxies even further away.

 

Details of this study were published online on April 27 in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/kift-ntb051116.php

 

 

115223_web.jpg

Experimental results looking at the expansion of the universe, in comparison to that predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity in green.
CREDIT
Okumura et al.

http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/115223.php?from=327373

 

 

New test by deepest galaxy map finds Einstein’s theory stands true

http://www.ipmu.jp/en/20160511-FastSound

 

Abstract

The Subaru FMOS galaxy redshift survey (FastSound). IV. New constraint on gravity theory from redshift space distortions at z ∼ 1.4

http://pasj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/04/25/pasj.psw029.abstract?keytype=ref&ijkey=IuqXXzHiOH0Frrh

and...

http://arxiv.org/abs/1511.08083

 

initial paper...pdf (download or read)

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1511.08083v2.pdf

 

related article...

Galaxy Map Validates Einstein's Theory of General Relativity

http://spaceref.com/astronomy/galaxy-map-validates-einsteins-theory-of-general-relativity.html

 

:D

 

Edited by Draggendrop
added paper
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Unobscured Vision    2,676

Ahhh :yes: Just the result that many expected. Why should it have been any different?

 

Thanks DD. As always, the broad hands find the good stuff once again. :) 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Hubble Observes Spiral Galaxy NGC 6814

 

hubble_friday_05132016.jpg

NGC 6814                  STSCI

 

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Together with irregular galaxies, spiral galaxies make up approximately 60 percent of the galaxies in the local universe.

 

However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique -- like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is demonstrated by the striking face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814, whose luminous nucleus and spectacular sweeping arms, rippled with an intricate pattern of dark dust, are captured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image.

 

NGC 6814 has an extremely bright nucleus, a telltale sign that the galaxy is a Seyfert galaxy. These galaxies have very active centers that can emit strong bursts of radiation. The luminous heart of NGC 6814 is a highly variable source of X-ray radiation, causing scientists to suspect that it hosts a supermassive black hole with a mass about 18 million times that of the sun.

 

As NGC 6814 is a very active galaxy, many regions of ionized gas are studded along its spiral arms. In these large clouds of gas, a burst of star formation has recently taken place, forging the brilliant blue stars that are visible scattered throughout the galaxy.

http://spaceref.com/astronomy/hubble-observes-spiral-galaxy-ngc-6814.html

 

-----------------------------

 

Long Arms of the Condor Galaxy | Space Wallpaper

 

stretched-spiral-galaxy-1600.jpg?interpo

NGC 6872

 

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The Condor galaxy, known as NGC 6872, is an unusually long barred spiral galaxy. Experts believe prolonged interaction with its neighbor above, galaxy IC 4970, has morphed the large galaxy into this shape. Seen on the left arm are many blue star forming regions.

Lots of sizes at the link...

http://www.space.com/32874-long-arms-of-the-condor-galaxy.html

 

 

Gallery: 65 All-Time Great Galaxy Hits

 

slide show...

http://www.space.com/13262-65-great-galaxy-photos-space-images.html

 

:D

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Unobscured Vision    2,676

Oh yeah, 6872 is one of my favourites in the sky. :yes: Let's enjoy the slide show, shall we ...

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Draggendrop    5,747

We have seen a few different ways to illustrate the size of the universe. Here is one more. The link below the image will take you to the expandable jpg.

There are progressive size changes in each block, left to right. Open the link, and when loaded, click on an area of interest in one of the blocks to see more.

 

Earth's_Location_in_the_Universe_(JPEG).

 

expandable jpg

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

The dark side of the fluffiest galaxies

 

116115_web.jpg

This is a region of the Virgo cluster of galaxies containing the ultra-diffuse galaxy VCC 1287. The main image is 500 thousand light years across, uses a negative image for contrast, and was obtained with a 10-centimetre diameter amateur telescope in Switzerland (Antares Observatory). The zoom-in colour-composite image of VCC 1287 is from the 4-metre Canada-France- Hawai'i telescope. The coloured symbols show globular star clusters targeted for orbital speed measurements with the 10-metre Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC).
CREDIT
IAC.

 

Quote

Galaxies, in all their forms from spirals to ellipticals from giants to dwarfs have been widely studied over the past Century. To the surprise of the scientific community last year a new type of galaxy was discovered, residing in a galactic megalopolis known as the Coma Cluster, some 300 million light years away from Earth. Even though they are very numerous, these ultradiffuse galaxies have not been noticed until now because they are very faint. Their stars as spread over a very large area, which makes it particularly difficult to distinguish them from the sky background.

 

"These galaxies are particularly interesting, given that the violent environment in which they are situation would have destroyged them long ago were they not protected by a large amount of dark matter" says Michael Beasley, the first author or the article published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. "To test this fascinating idea was possible after identifying an ultradiffuse galaxy near enough to study in detail."

 

This galaxy, VCC 1287, is situated in the Virgo Cluster, some 50 million light years away, and it is surrounded by a swarm of globula clusters, which have proved the key to study its dark matter content. " Globular clusters,made up of hundreds of thousands of stars, orbit within the gravitational field of the ultradiffuse galaxy," adds Aaron Romanowsky of San José State University (USA) one of the authors of the article. "The heavier is a galaxy, the more rapidly its globular clusters move, so they can be used as a cosmic balance."

 

Using the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) the team found that these globular clusters move at high velocity, pulled by a surprisingly strong gravitational field. "Even though dark matter is present in other galaxies, this is an exceptional case" concludes Beasley. "For each kilogramme of ordinary material VCC 1287 contains 3 tonnes of dark matter."

 

So we can say that ultradiffuse galaxies are essentially composed of dark matter, with very few stars". This conclusion gives the scientists another question "How is it possible for galaxies so diffuse and dark to exist?"

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/idad-tds052316.php

 

Referenced article

http://www.iac.es/divulgacion.php?op1=16&id=1053&lang=en

 

abstract

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8205/819/2/L20/meta;jsessionid=0127C191DF9B770F220968EF324EE9EE.c2.iopscience.cld.iop.org

 

more neural candy.....:D

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LOC    1,116

I know Dark Matter is a thing that exists (or at least, should exist) but man - they sure blame almost everything (especially if they can't explain something) on Dark Matter.

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Draggendrop    5,747
Just now, LOC said:

I know Dark Matter is a thing that exists (or at least, should exist) but man - they sure blame almost everything (especially if they can't explain something) on Dark Matter.

Yes, I suppose it sounds better than "aliens did it" or "I don't have a ( insert verb  ) clue. Overall though, we are seeing better gear beginning to pick stuff up that was not visible before. The discoveries are just going to get better, and, I hope the articles get a lot better, because a lot of them are, IMHO, of poor quality, or not properly reviewed by peers.

 

:D

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Draggendrop    5,747

A new 'Einstein ring' is discovered

 

oo116603_web.jpg

Einstein Ring                 INSTITUTO DE ASTROFÍSICA DE CANARIAS

 

Quote

This is an image of the "Canarias Einstein ring". In the centre of the picture, we can see how the source galaxy (the greenish-blue circle), which is further away "surrounds" the lens galaxy (red dot) almost completely. This phenomenon is produced because the strong gravitational field of the lens galaxy distorts the space-time in its neighborhood, bending the paths of the light rays which come from the source galaxy. As they are almost perfectly aligned, the resulting image of the source galaxy is almost circular.

Quote

The PhD student Margherita Bettinelli, of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), together with an international team of astrophysicists has recently discovered an unusual astronomical object: an Einstein ring. These phenomena, predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity, are quite rare but scientifically interesting. The interest is sufficiently strong that this object has been given its own name: the "The Canarias Einstein ring". The research was carried out by the Stellar Populations group at the IAC, led by Antonio Aparicio and Sebastian Hidalgo. The results were published in the international journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

 

An Einstein ring is a distorted image of a very distant galaxy, which is termed "the source". The distortion is produced by the bending of the light rays from the source due to a massive galaxy, termed "the lens", lying between it and the observer. The strong gravitational field produced by the lens galaxy distorts the structure of space-time in its neighbourhood, and this does not only attract objects which have a mass, but also bends the paths of light. When the two galaxies are exactly aligned, the image of the more distant galaxy is converted into an almost perfect circle which surrounds the lens galaxy. The irregularities in the circle are due to asymmetries in the source galaxy.

 

Confirmation using the GTC

 

The chance discovery was made by Margherita Bettinelli when she was examining data taken through the "Dark Energy Camera" (DECam) of the 4m Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Observatory, in Chile. While working on her doctoral thesis, she was analyzing the stellar population of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy and noticed the peculiar morphology of the Einstein ring. This quickly raised the attention of the members of the group and they started to observe and analyze its physical properties with the OSIRIS spectrograph on the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC).

 

This "Canarias Einstein ring" is one of the most symmetrical discovered until now and is almost circular, showing that the two galaxies are almost perfectly aligned, with a separation on the sky of only 0.2 arcseconds. The source galaxy is 10,000 million light years away from us. Due to the expansion of the Universe, this distance was smaller when its light started on its journey to us, and has taken 8,500 million years to reach us. We observe it as it was then: a blue galaxy which is beginning to evolve, populated by young stars which are forming at a high rate. The lens galaxy is nearer to us, 6,000 million light years away, and is more evolved. Its stars have almost stopped forming, and its population is old.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/idad-an053116.php

 

http://spaceref.com/astronomy/new-einstein-ring-discovered.html

 

http://www.iac.es/divulgacion.php?op1=16&id=1072&lang=en

 

:)

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LOC    1,116

Wow, that's so awesome.

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Jim K    13,636

Universe is expanding 5 to 9% faster than expected...Hubble finds

 

 

Quote

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the universe is expanding 5 percent to 9 percent faster than expected.

 

“This surprising finding may be an important clue to understanding those mysterious parts of the universe that make up 95 percent of everything and don’t emit light, such as dark energy, dark matter and dark radiation,” said study leader and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland.

The results will appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

 

Riess’ team made the discovery by refining the universe’s current expansion rate to unprecedented accuracy, reducing the uncertainty to only 2.4 percent. The team made the refinements by developing innovative techniques that improved the precision of distance measurements to faraway galaxies.

 

The team looked for galaxies containing both Cepheid stars and Type Ia supernovae. Cepheid stars pulsate at rates that correspond to their true brightness, which can be compared with their apparent brightness as seen from Earth to accurately determine their distance. Type Ia supernovae, another commonly used cosmic yardstick, are exploding stars that flare with the same brightness and are brilliant enough to be seen from relatively longer distances.

 

By measuring about 2,400 Cepheid stars in 19 galaxies and comparing the observed brightness of both types of stars, they accurately measured their true brightness and calculated distances to roughly 300 Type Ia supernovae in far-flung galaxies.

 

The team compared those distances with the expansion of space as measured by the stretching of light from receding galaxies. They used these two values to calculate how fast the universe expands with time, or the Hubble constant.

 

The improved Hubble constant value 45.5 miles per second per megaparsec. (A megaparsec equals 3.26 million light-years.) The new value means the distance between cosmic objects will double in another 9.8 billion years.

 

image1hs201617aprint.jpg

More at NASA

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Draggendrop    5,747

The GTC obtains the deepest image of a galaxy from Earth

 

Quote

The telescope on La Palma produces an image 10 times deeper than any other taken from a ground-based telescope and observes the faint stellar halo of one of our neighbouring galaxies, which supports the presently accepted model of galaxy formation.

 

117315_web.jpg

This image shows a weak halo composed of four thousand million stars around UGC00180 galaxy.
CREDIT
Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) / Gabriel Pérez (IAC).

 

Quote

Observing very distant objects in the universe is a challenge because the light which reaches us is extremely faint. Something similar occurs with objects which are not so distant but have very low surface brightness. Measuring this brightness is difficult due to the low contrast with the sky background. Recently a study led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) set out to test the limit of observation which can be reached using the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world: the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC).

 

The observers managed to obtain an image 10 times deeper than any other obtained from the ground, observing a faint halo of stars around the galaxy UGC0180, which is 500 million light years away from us. With this measurement, recently published in the specialized journal Astrophysical Journal the existence of the stellar halos predicted by theoretical models is confirmed, and it has become possible to study low surface brightness phenomena.

 

Quote

The currently accepted model for galaxy formation predicts that there are many stars in their outer zones, which form a stellar halo, and is the result of the destruction of other minor galaxies. The problem about this is that these halos consist of very few stars in a very large volume.

 

For example in the Milky Way the fraction of stars in its halo is about 1% of the total number of stars in the galaxy, but distributed within a large volume, several times bigger than the rest of the Galaxy.

 

This means that the surface brightness of galaxy halos is extremely low, and only a few of them have been studied even in nearby galaxies.

 

Because of this difficulty the scientists had questioned the possibility of observing further away and obtaining ultra-deep images, even though technological development has provided us with bigger and bigger telescopes capable of exploring the surface brightness of fainter and fainter galaxies.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/idad-tgo060916.php

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

Life's first handshake: Chiral molecule detected in interstellar space

 

Quote

Like a pair of human hands, certain organic molecules have mirror-image versions of themselves, a chemical property known as chirality. These so-called "handed" molecules are essential for biology and have intriguingly been found in meteorites on Earth and comets in our Solar System.

 

None, however, has been detected in the vast reaches of interstellar space, until now.

 

A team of scientists using highly sensitive radio telescopes has discovered the first complex organic chiral molecule in interstellar space. The molecule, propylene oxide (CH3CHOCH2), was found near the center of our Galaxy in an enormous star-forming cloud of dust and gas known as Sagittarius B2 (Sgr B2).

 

117445_web.jpg

Scientists applaud the first detection of a "handed" molecule, (propylene oxide) in interstellar space. It was detected, primarily with the NSF's Green Bank Telescope, near the center of our Galaxy in Sagittarius (Sgr) B2, a massive star-forming region. Propylene oxide is one of a class of so-called "chiral" molecules -- molecules that have an identical chemical composition, but right- and left-handed versions. Chiral molecules are essential for life and their discovery in deep space may help scientists understand why life on Earth relies on a certain handedness to perform key biological functions. Sgr A* in this image indicates the supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. The white features in the composite image are the bright radio sources in the center of our Galaxy as seen with the VLA. The background image is from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The two "handed" versions of propylene oxide are illustrated. The "R" and "S" designations are for the Latin terms rectus (right) and sinister (left).
CREDIT
B. Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF from data provided by N.E. Kassim, Naval Research Laboratory, Sloan Digital Sky Survey

 

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"Propylene oxide is among the most complex and structurally intricate molecules detected so far in space," said Brandon Carroll, a chemistry graduate student at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "Detecting this molecule opens the door for further experiments determining how and where molecular handedness emerges and why one form may be slightly more abundant than the other."

 

McGuire and Carroll share first authorship on a paper published today in the journal Science. They also are presenting their results at the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego, California.

 

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Forming and Detecting Molecules in Space

 

Complex organic molecules form in interstellar clouds like Sgr B2 in several ways. The most basic pathway is through gas-phase chemistry, in which particles collide and merge to produce ever more complex molecules. Once organic compounds as large as methanol (CH3OH) are produced, however, this process becomes much less efficient.

 

To form more complex molecules, like propylene oxide, astronomers believe thin mantles of ice on dust grains help link small molecules into longer and larger structures. These molecules can then evaporate from the surface of the grains and further react in the gas of the surrounding cloud.

 

To date, more than 180 molecules have been detected in space. Each molecule, as it naturally tumbles and vibrates in the near vacuum of the interstellar medium, gives off a distinctive signature, a series of telltale spikes that appear in the radio spectrum. Larger and more complex molecules have a correspondingly more complex signature, making them harder to detect.

much more at the links...

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/nrao-lfh061016.php

 

First detection of a chiral molecule in space

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/aaft-fdo061316.php

 

Prebiotic molecule detected in interstellar cloud

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/ciot-pmd061016.php

 

117446_web.jpg

The S (Latin for sinister, left) and R (Latin for rectus, right) versions of the chiral molecule propylene oxide, which was discovered in a massive star-forming region near the center of our Galaxy. This is the first detection of a chiral molecule in interstellar space.
CREDIT
B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

ALMA Observes Most Distant Oxygen Ever

 

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A team of astronomers has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to detect glowing oxygen in a distant galaxy seen just 700 million years after the Big Bang. This is the most distant galaxy in which oxygen has ever been unambiguously detected, and it is most likely being ionised by powerful radiation from young giant stars. This galaxy could be an example of one type of source responsible for cosmic reionisation in the early history of the Universe.

 

Astronomers from Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and ESO have used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe one of the most distant galaxies known. SXDF-NB1006-2 lies at a redshift of 7.2, meaning that we see it only 700 million years after the Big Bang.

The team was hoping to find out about the heavy chemical elements [1] present in the galaxy, as they can tell us about the level of star formation, and hence provide clues about the period in the history of the Universe known as cosmic reionisation.

 

“Seeking heavy elements in the early Universe is an essential approach to explore the star formation activity in that period,” said Akio Inoue of Osaka Sangyo University, Japan, the lead author of the research paper, which is being published in the journal Science. “Studying heavy elements also gives us a hint to understand how the galaxies were formed and what caused the cosmic reionisation,” he added.

 

In the time before objects formed in the Universe, it was filled with electrically neutral gas. But when the first objects began to shine, a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, they emitted powerful radiation that started to break up those neutral atoms — to ionise the gas. During this phase — known as cosmic reionisation — the whole Universe changed dramatically. But there is much debate about exactly what kind of objects caused the reionisation. Studying the conditions in very distant galaxies can help to answer this question.

 

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Before observing the distant galaxy, the researchers performed computer simulations to predict how easily they could expect to see evidence of ionised oxygen with ALMA. They also considered observations of similar galaxies that are much closer to Earth, and concluded that the oxygen emission should be detectable, even at vast distances [2].

 

They then carried out high-sensitivity observations with ALMA [3] and found light from ionised oxygen in SXDF-NB1006-2, making this the most distant unambiguous detection of oxygen ever obtained [4]. It is firm evidence for the presence of oxygen in the early Universe, only 700 million years after the Big Bang.

 

Oxygen in SXDF-NB1006-2 was found to be ten times less abundant than it is in the Sun. “The small abundance is expected because the Universe was still young and had a short history of star formation at that time,” commented Naoki Yoshida at the University of Tokyo. “Our simulation actually predicted an abundance ten times smaller than the Sun. But we have another, unexpected, result: a very small amount of dust.”

 

The team was unable to detect any emission from carbon in the galaxy, suggesting that this young galaxy contains very little un-ionised hydrogen gas, and also found that it contains only a small amount of dust, which is made up of heavy elements. “Something unusual may be happening in this galaxy,” said Inoue. “I suspect that almost all the gas is highly ionised.”

 

The detection of ionised oxygen indicates that many very brilliant stars, several dozen times more massive than the Sun, have formed in the galaxy and are emitting the intense ultraviolet light needed to ionise the oxygen atoms.

 

The lack of dust in the galaxy allows the intense ultraviolet light to escape and ionise vast amounts of gas outside the galaxy. “SXDF-NB1006-2 would be a prototype of the light sources responsible for the cosmic reionisation,” said Inoue.

more at the link...

http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1620/

 

eso1620a.jpg

This diagram depicts the major milestones in the evolution of the Universe since the Big Bang, about 13.8 billion years ago. It is not to scale.

The Universe was in a neutral state at 400 thousand years after the Big Bang and remained that way until light from the first generation of stars started to ionise the hydrogen. After several hundred million years, the gas in the Universe was completely ionised.

Credit:
NAOJ

 

Image above with zoom feature

 

 

eso1620b.jpg

Right panel: The red galaxy at the center of the image is the very distant galaxy, SXDF-NB1006-2. Left panels: Close-ups of the distant galaxy.

Credit:
NAOJ

 

 

eso1620c.jpg

Light from ionised oxygen detected by ALMA is shown in green. Light from ionised hydrogen detected by the Subaru Telescope and ultraviolet light detected by the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) are shown in blue and red, respectively.

Credit:
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NAOJ

 

 

eso1620d.jpg

Many young bright stars are located in the galaxy and ionise the gas inside and around the galaxy. Green colour indicates the ionised oxygen detected by ALMA, whereas purple shows the distribution of ionised hydrogen detected by the Subaru Telescope.

Credit:
NAOJ

 

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Jim K    13,636

See that little dot.  It is a planet ... 1200 light years away.  :woot: 

 

It orbits a T-Tauri star named CVSO 30, it is 660 au from its star and takes 27,000 years to orbit.  For comparison, Pluto is "only" (at max distance or aphelion) 49.3 au away from our star.  Our most distant spacecraft, Voyager 1, is "only" 135 au away.  This system is located in the Orionis group (northwest of Orion's Belt).  Shown is the star, CVSO 30, and the dot is planet CVSO 30c.  CVSO 30b is not visualized but has been detected using transit photometry.  

 

potw1624a.jpg

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This new exoplanet, named CVSO 30c, is the small dot to the upper left of the frame (the large blob is the star itself). While the previously-detected planet, CVSO 30b, orbits very close to the star, whirling around CVSO 30 in just under 11 hours at an orbital distance of 0.008 au, CVSO 30c orbits significantly further out, at a distance of 660 au, taking a staggering 27 000 years to complete a single orbit. (For reference, the planet Mercury orbits the Sun at an average distance of 0.39 au, while Neptune sits at just over 30 au.)

 

If it is confirmed that CVSO 30c orbits CVSO 30, this would be the first star system to host both a close-in exoplanet detected by the transit method and a far-out exoplanet detected by direct imaging. Astronomers are still exploring how such an exotic system came to form in such a short timeframe, as the star is only 2.5 million years old; it is possible that the two planets interacted at some point in the past, scattering off one another and settling in their current extreme orbits.

 

More at the European Southern Observatory

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Unobscured Vision    2,676

Okay, now that's effing fantastic.

 

Which one? Both of 'em. 

 

First, the Exoplanet around the T-Tauri star. 660 AU is an unbelievable distance. We have to do some detective work based on what we're observing.

 

First, let's look up the star in the catalogue. 

 

Star CVSO-30 (Simbad Catalogue) (also features Interactive view) | VizieR/2MASS Reference (VERY TECHNICAL!) | See it for yourself! (Takes a sec to load)

 

cvso30.png

Here we see CVSO-30, AND CVSO-30c ... quite clearly! Image courtesy of ME! Yes, *I* took this image myself. :yes: 

 

Currently, CVSO-30 is described as being Spectral Type M3 on the HR Diagram. If this is what the final state of this star is going to end up as (which is a possibility!), then:

 

a) CVSO-30c is in all probability an ejection, and is in fact on its' way out of the CVSO-30 System. The mass of CVSO is too low to hang on to this planet;

b) CVSO-30c is most likely no longer gravitationally subject to CVSO-30. At 660 AU, the stars' SOI (being an M3 Dwarf Star, 39% SM) could not extend that far out;

c) the fact that we're able to observe CVSO-30c at all means that this Exoplanet is massive. Likely a big Brown Dwarf. How do we know? CVSO-30 could not possibly crank out enough energy, even as a T-Tauri star in its' "birth cries", to illuminate this object at 660 AU. Not with its' low mass. This would require a star with a mass equal to an A0 (Sirius) or higher. Even a star like ours (G5) can't produce enough energy to illuminate an object this brightly that far away. The Exoplanet must be a Brown Dwarf, still glowing orange-red from its' own formation (and therefore still detectable in visible and near-infrared light) and quite massive to be observable 1,200 light-years away, and the distance away from CVSO-30 is such that it IS easily observable.

 

:yes: 

 

A rare opportunity to study a newborn Brown Dwarf, freshly-ejected from the system it was formed in. That's what we have here, folks! It's exciting!

 

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Jim K    13,636
7 hours ago, Unobscured Vision said:

Okay, now that's effing fantastic.

 

Which one? Both of 'em. 

 

First, the Exoplanet around the T-Tauri star. 660 AU is an unbelievable distance. We have to do some detective work based on what we're observing.

 

First, let's look up the star in the catalogue. 

 

Star CVSO-30 (Simbad Catalogue) (also features Interactive view) | VizieR/2MASS Reference (VERY TECHNICAL!) | See it for yourself! (Takes a sec to load)

 

cvso30.png

Here we see CVSO-30, AND CVSO-30c ... quite clearly! Image courtesy of ME! Yes, *I* took this image myself. :yes: 

 

Currently, CVSO-30 is described as being Spectral Type M3 on the HR Diagram. If this is what the final state of this star is going to end up as (which is a possibility!), then:

 

a) CVSO-30c is in all probability an ejection, and is in fact on its' way out of the CVSO-30 System. The mass of CVSO is too low to hang on to this planet;

b) CVSO-30c is most likely no longer gravitationally subject to CVSO-30. At 660 AU, the stars' SOI (being an M3 Dwarf Star, 39% SM) could not extend that far out;

c) the fact that we're able to observe CVSO-30c at all means that this Exoplanet is massive. Likely a big Brown Dwarf. How do we know? CVSO-30 could not possibly crank out enough energy, even as a T-Tauri star in its' "birth cries", to illuminate this object at 660 AU. Not with its' low mass. This would require a star with a mass equal to an A0 (Sirius) or higher. Even a star like ours (G5) can't produce enough energy to illuminate an object this brightly that far away. The Exoplanet must be a Brown Dwarf, still glowing orange-red from its' own formation (and therefore still detectable in visible and near-infrared light) and quite massive to be observable 1,200 light-years away, and the distance away from CVSO-30 is such that it IS easily observable.

 

:yes: 

 

A rare opportunity to study a newborn Brown Dwarf, freshly-ejected from the system it was formed in. That's what we have here, folks! It's exciting!

 

What telescope setup do you have?

 

Yea, after further review ... the "planet" isn't confirmed yet (neither is CVSO 30b) ... awaiting more imagery and confirmation....which can take a little while. 

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Unobscured Vision    2,676
8 minutes ago, jjkusaf said:

What telescope setup do you have?

 

Yea, after further review ... the "planet" isn't confirmed yet (neither is CVSO 30b) ... awaiting more imagery and confirmation....which can take a little while. 

This one was taken using the Keck Telescope with the NIR filter. It's mainly University/Edu access for queueing up targets for observation, but anyone can use the website and the data. I just punched in the target (CVSO 30), and there she was. Took a screen cap, bam. Credit. :yes: The Aladin Survey of the area is magnificent. It's got twelve different scopes, filters, and sats you can view the same target with ... fantastic resource.

 

http://cdsportal.u-strasbg.fr/#CVSO 30 | http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?Ident=CVSO+30&radius.unit=arcmin&Radius=2 | AladinLite Survey

 

Enjoy!

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Jim K    13,636
13 minutes ago, DocM said:

Woah....cool model of a black hole :o

 

Plays much better on Twitter.

 

More: http://jila.colorado.edu/~ajsh/insidebh/intro.html

 

 

hmm...looking through her Twitter .... she has a bunch of neat stuff. :) 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Hubble nets a cosmic tadpole

 

118659_web.jpg

In this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, a firestorm of star birth is lighting up one end of the diminutive galaxy LEDA 36252 -- also known as Kiso 5649.
CREDIT
NASA, ESA, and D. Elmegreen (Vassar College), B. Elmegreen (IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center), J. Almeida, C. Munoz-Tunon, and M. Filho (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias), J. Mendez-Abreu (University of St. Andrews), J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin-Madison), M. Rafelski (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), and D. Ceverino (Center for Astronomy at Heidelberg University)

 

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This new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a cosmic tadpole, with its bright head and elongated tail, wriggling through the inky black pool of space. Tadpole galaxies are rare and difficult to find in the local Universe. This striking example, named LEDA 36252, was explored as part of a Hubble study into their mysterious properties -- with interesting results.

 

The Universe is a swirling pool of galaxies moving through the emptiness of space. Whilst spiral galaxies and ellipticals are the two main galaxy types in the Universe, there are also other, odder types -- as shown in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

 

The galaxy LEDA 36252 -- also known as Kiso 5639 -- is an example of what is known as a tadpole galaxy because of their bright, compact heads and elongated tails [1]. Tadpole galaxies are unusual, and rare in the local Universe -- in a sample of 10 000 galaxies within the local Universe, only 20 would be tadpoles -- but they are more common in the early Universe.

 

This image of LEDA 36252 was obtained as part of a scientific study into the galaxy's properties [2]. It is an ideal cosmic laboratory for astronomers to study the accretion of cosmic gas, starburst activity, and the formation of globular star clusters.

 

The stars in tadpole galaxies are generally very old -- living fossils from the early Universe and from the time when these galaxies formed. LEDA 36252 is in general no exception to that.

 

However, studying LEDA 36252 has led also to some unexpected results: its head contains a mass of surprisingly young stars with a total mass equivalent to some 10 000 Suns. These stars are grouped into large clusters and appear to consist mainly of hydrogen and helium with hardly any other elements. Astronomers think that this new burst of star formation was triggered when the galaxy accreted primordial gas -- gas which was only very slightly enriched by other elements created by stellar fusion processes in the past -- from its surroundings.

 

Also the elongated tail, seen stretching away from the head and scattered with bright blue stars, contains at least four distinct star-forming regions. These appear to be older than the one in the head.

 

The observations also showed signs of strong stellar winds and supernova explosions, which have blasted holes through LEDA 36252's head and created multiple cavities. Wispy filaments, comprising gas and some stars, extend away from the main body of the cosmic tadpole.

 

The WFC3 observations comprising this image cover a wide portion of the spectrum, including ultraviolet, optical, H-alpha, and infrared emission. Together, they paint a beautifully detailed picture of LEDA 36252.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/eic-hna062816.php

 

Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in 'Skyrocket' Galaxy

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2016/23

 

Hubble Space Telescope Observations of Accretion-Induced Star
Formation in the Tadpole Galaxy Kiso 5639....Paper, pdf

http://www.spacetelescope.org/static/archives/releases/science_papers/heic1612a.pdf

 

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