среда, 21 ноября 2018 г.

Volcanoes and glaciers combine as powerful methane producers…


Volcanoes and glaciers combine as powerful methane producers http://www.geologypage.com/2018/11/volcanoes-and-glaciers-combine-as-powerful-methane-producers.html


Fight over dinosaur fossils comes down to what’s a mineral…


Fight over dinosaur fossils comes down to what’s a mineral http://www.geologypage.com/2018/11/fight-over-dinosaur-fossils-comes-down-to-whats-a-mineral.html


Prehistoric Burial Gold, Devizes Museum, Wiltshire, 17.11.18.Artefacts from prehistoric...










Prehistoric Burial Gold, Devizes Museum, Wiltshire, 17.11.18.


Artefacts from prehistoric burial sites in Wiltshire.


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Mapping Life Today’s genetics researchers navigate through DNA…


Mapping Life


Today’s genetics researchers navigate through DNA – the molecular instructions for life – almost as easily as we traverse a city aided by online maps. And the basic structure of their guiding maps, like ours, was drawn by pioneers exploring uncharted territory. Alfred Sturtevant – born on this day in 1891 – was one such molecular cartographer, and in 1913 made the first genetic map of a chromosome [tightly wound DNA bundles stored in our cells]. Having realised that genes [crucial DNA segments that code for particular functions] sit in order along chromosomes like stations on a train line, he devised a method for deducing the relative distance between them according to how frequently they were inherited together. Further research on fruit flies helped Sturtevant measure the distance between embryonic organs in a unit appropriately named the sturt, and he received the National Medal of Science in 1967 in recognition of a trailblazing career.


Written by Anthony Lewis



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2018 November 21 Swirls and Colors on Jupiter from Juno Image…


2018 November 21


Swirls and Colors on Jupiter from Juno
Image Credit: NASA, Juno, SwRI, MSSS; Processing & License: Matt Brealey, Seán Doran


Explanation: What creates the colors in Jupiter’s clouds? No one is sure. The thick atmosphere of Jupiter is mostly hydrogen and helium, elements which are colorless at the low temperatures of the Jovian cloud tops. Which trace elements provide the colors remains a topic of research, although small amounts of ammonium hydrosulfide are one leading candidate. What is clear from the featured color-enhanced image – and many similar images – is that lighter clouds are typically higher up than darker ones. Pictured, light clouds swirl around reddish regions toward the lower right, while they appear to cover over some darker domains on the upper right. The featured image was taken by the robotic Juno spacecraft during its 14th low pass over Jupiter earlier this year. Juno continues in its looping elliptical orbit, swooping near the huge planet every 53 days and exploring a slightly different sector each time around.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181121.html


HiPOD (20 November 2018): An Impact Crater Near Tempe Terra    –…




HiPOD (20 November 2018): An Impact Crater Near Tempe Terra 


   – Despite this crater likely being extremely old and filled-in with material, we can still see its ejecta blanket. (Alt: 300 km. Black and white is less than 5 km across; enhanced color is less than 1 km.)


NASA/JPL/University of Arizona


The kouros of Lentini reassembled

The work of reassembling the torso of the kouros of Lentini and Testa Biscari, which belonged to a single Greek archaic statue and which were reunited thanks to the support of Fondazione Sicilia, has been successfully completed.











The kouros of Lentini reassembled

Credit: Mike Palazzotto



The kouros was presented in Palermo, at the Palazzo Branciforte, where it can be viewed until January 13 as part of the exhibition “Il kouros ritrovato”, promoted and curated by the Regional Councillor for Cultural Heritage, Sebastiano Tusa, and was born from a proposal launched last year by the art critic Vittorio Sgarbi and the City of Catania.
The two parts of the statue were discovered at different times (between the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries) in Lentini (ancient Lentinoi), one of the oldest Greek colonies in Sicily, and exhibited separately in Syracuse, at the Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi, and in Catania, at the Museo Civico di Castello Ursino.


The kouros of Lentini reassembled










The kouros of Lentini reassembled

Credit: Mike Palazzotto



The kouros, is a type of Greek statue depicting a young man in a static position, with funerary or votive function very widespread in the archaic and classical periods, between the seventh and fifth centuries before Christ.
The Lentini kouros dates to the late archaic period (c.530-490 BC) and is made from a single block of white marble almost certainly coming from the Cycladic Islands.



A team of experts from various disciplines, who jointly studied the torso and the head found that the two parts did indeed belong to a single statue, completing the meticulous conservation work and the union of the two parts, which now rests on a base of grey Billiemi marble fashioned by the sculptor Giacomo Rizzo.


“With the support of this initiative,” notes the president of the Sicily Foundation, Raffaele Bonsignore, “we have helped to bring back to life a work of extraordinary beauty. Promoting a valuable testimony of the past like the kouros, which has finally been restored, is part of our mission to promote art and culture, through the support of scientific initiatives like this.”


Source: La Repubblica [November 18, 2018]



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A solar sibling identical to the sun

An international team led by Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) researcher Vardan Adibekyan used a novel method to detect solar siblings. The article was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.











A solar sibling identical to the sun
Open star cluster Trumpler 14, a cluster with more than two thousand stars,
similar to the one where the sun was born [Credit: ESO/H. Sana]

Solar siblings are the thousands of stars which formed in the same massive cluster as the sun, about 4.6 billion years ago. As time went by, the stars in the cluster disbanded and scattered throughout the galaxy, making it very difficult to find them.


Vardan Adibekyan (IA & University of Porto) explains the importance of finding these stars: “Since there isn’t much information about the sun’s past, studying these stars can help us understand where in the Galaxy and under which conditions the sun was formed.”


He adds, “With the collaboration of Patrick de Laverny and Alejandra Recio-Blanco, from the Côte d”Azur observatory, we got a sample of 230 000 spectra from the AMBRE project.” AMBRE is a galactic archaeology project set up by ESO and the Observatoire de la Côte d”Azur, in order to determine the stellar atmospheric parameters for the archived spectra from ESO’s FEROS, HARPS, UVES and GIRAFFE spectrographs.


Next, the team used these very high quality spectral data from the AMBRE project together with very precise astrometric data retrieved from the second release of ESA’s GAIA mission, in order to “make a selection of stars with chemical compositions which best match the sun’s composition, followed by an estimate of these stars age and kinematic properties,” said Vardan Adibekyan.











A solar sibling identical to the sun
Image of the Sun [Credit: SDO/NASA]

Although only a single solar sibling was found in this work, HD186302, it was a special one. This G3-type main sequence star is not only a solar sibling by both age and chemical composition, but it is also a solar twin.


Solar siblings might also be good candidates to search for life since there is a possibility that life could have been transported between planets around stars of the solar cluster. The transfer of life between exoplanetary systems is called interstellar lithopanspermia.


Adibekyan is cautiously excited about this possibility: “Some theoretical calculations show that there is non-negligible probability that life spread from Earth to other planets or exoplanetary systems, during the period of the late heavy bombardment. If we are lucky, and our sibling candidate has a planet, and the planet is a rocky type, in the habitable zone, and finally if this planet was ‘contaminated’ by the life seeds from Earth, then we have what one could dream – an Earth 2.0, orbiting a sun 2.0.”


The team at IA plans to start a campaign to search for planets around this star using both HARPS and ESPRESSO spectrographs. Finding and characterizing planetary systems around solar siblings could return very important information about the outcome of planet formation in a common environment.


Source: Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço [November 19, 2018]




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People of OSIRIS-REx

As OSIRIS-REx closes in on its target destination—asteroid Bennu—anticipation is building for the first-ever, close-up glimpse of this small world. It took thousands of people to come this far. Get to know a few members of the team:



1. Carl Hergenrother, Astronomy Working Group Lead & Strategic and Tactical Scientist


Job Location: University of Arizona, Tucson
Expertise: Asteroids & Comets
Time on mission: Since before there was a mission
Age: 45
Hometown: Oakland, New Jersey


“When you’re observing Bennu with a telescope, you see it as a dot. … So when it actually becomes its own little world, it’s really exciting—and almost a little sad. Up until that point, it can be anything. And now, there it is and that’s it.”



2. Heather Roper, Graphic Designer


Job Location: University of Arizona, Tucson
Job Title: Graphic Designer
Expertise: Visual Communications
Time on mission: 5 years
Age: 25
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona


“I really like the challenge of visually depicting the science of the mission and getting to show people things that we can’t see.”



3. Jason Dworkin, Project Scientist


Job Location: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Expertise: Origin-of-life Chemistry
Time on mission: Since before there was a mission
Age: 49
Hometown: Houston, Texas


“In 10th grade, I had to do a science fair project for biology class. … I wanted to expand on chemistry experiments from old journal papers; but that could have been dangerous. I got in touch with … a pioneering scientist in origin-of-life research and asked for advice. He was worried that I would accidentally injure myself, so he invited me into his lab … that helped set my career.”



4. Sara Balram Knutson, Science Operations Lead Engineer


Job Location: University of Arizona, Tucson
Expertise: Aerospace Engineering
Time on mission: 6 years
Age: 31
Hometown: Vacaville, California


“My dad was in the Air Force, so I grew up being a bit of an airplane nerd. When I was in high school, I really liked math, science, and anything having to do with flight. I looked for a field where I could combine all those interests and I found aerospace engineering.”



5. Nancy Neal Jones, Public Affairs Lead


Job Location: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Expertise: Science Communications
Time on mission: 7 years
Age: 51
Hometown: New York, New York


We’re going to a pristine asteroid to take a sample to bring to Earth. This means that my children and grandchildren, if they decide to go into the sciences, may have an opportunity analyze the Bennu samples.”



6. Javier Cerna, Communications System Engineer


Job Location: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Littleton, Colorado
Expertise: Electrical Engineering
Time on mission: Since before there was a mission
Age: 37
Hometown: Born in Mexico City, and raised in Los Angeles, and Las Cruces, New Mexico


One thing we do is evaluate how strong the signal from the spacecraft is—kind of like checking the strength of the WiFi connection. Basically, we’re ensuring that the link from the spacecraft to the ground, and vice versa, stays strong.”



7. Jamie Moore, Contamination Control Engineer


Job Location: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Littleton, Colorado
Expertise: Chemistry
Time on mission: 5 years
Age: 32
Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota & Orlando, Florida


I was there for just about every deployment of the sampling hardware to make sure it was kept clean and to evaluate the tools engineers were using. I even went to Florida with the spacecraft to make sure it stayed clean until launch.”



8. Mike Moreau, Flight Dynamics System Manager


Job Location: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland; Littleton, Colorado
Expertise: Mechanical and aerospace engineering
Time on mission: 5 years
Age: 47
Hometown: Swanton, Vermont


“I grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont, which is a world away from working for NASA. But I can trace a lot of my success as an engineer and a leader back to things that I learned on my dad’s farm.”



9. Johnna L. McDaniel, Contamination Control Specialist


Job Location: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Expertise: Anti-Contamination Cleaning
Time on Mission: 4 months
Age: 53
Hometown: Cocoa, Florida


“The clothing requirements depend on the payload. With OSIRIS-Rex, we could not wear any items made with nylon. This was because they have amino acid-based polymers in them and would have contaminated the spacecraft. I even had a special bucket for mopping.”



10. Annie Hasten, Senior Financial Analyst


Job Location: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Expertise: Business
Time on Mission: 1.5 years
Age: 30
Hometown: Littleton, Colorado


“I think it’s a pleasure to work with people who are so intensely passionate about their jobs. These engineers are doing their dream jobs, so you feed off of that positive energy.”


Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com


How NASA Will Know When InSight Touches Down


NASA – InSight Mission logo.


Nov. 20, 2018


What’s the sound of a touchdown on Mars?


If you’re at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it sounds like winning the Super Bowl: cheers, laughter and lots of hollering.


But in the minutes before that, NASA’s InSight team will be monitoring the Mars lander’s radio signals using a variety of spacecraft — and even radio telescopes here on Earth — to suss out what’s happening 91 million miles (146 million km) away.



Animation above: This image depicts the MarCO CubeSats relaying data from NASA’s InSight lander as it enters the Martian atmosphere. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


Because these signals are captured by several spacecraft, they’re relayed to Earth in different ways and at different times. That means the mission team may know right away when InSight touches down, or they may have to wait up to several hours.


Here’s how NASA will be listening for the next Mars landing on Nov. 26.


Radio Telescopes


As the InSight lander descends into Mars’ atmosphere, it will broadcast simple radio signals called “tones” back to Earth. Engineers will be tuning in from two locations: the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy’s facility at Effelsberg, Germany. Their results will be relayed to Mission Control at JPL and engineers at Lockheed Martin Space in Denver.


These tones don’t reveal much information, but radio engineers can interpret them to track key events during InSight’s entry, descent and landing (EDL). For example, when InSight deploys its parachute, a shift in velocity changes the frequency of the signal. This is caused by what’s called the Doppler effect, which is the same thing that occurs when you hear a siren change in pitch as an ambulance goes by. Looking for signals like these will allow the team to know how InSight’s EDL is progressing.


Mars Cube One (MarCO)


Two briefcase-sized spacecraft are flying behind InSight and will attempt to relay its signals to Earth. Belonging to a class of spacecraft called CubeSats, the MarCOs are being tested as a way for future missions to send home data during EDL.


The MarCOs are experimental technology. But if they work as they should, the pair will transmit the whole story of EDL as it’s unfolding. That might include an image from InSight of the Martian surface right after the lander touches down.


InSight


After it touches down, InSight will essentially yell, “I made it!” Seven minutes later, the spacecraft says it again — but a little louder and clearer.



Image above: This illustration shows a simulated view of NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


The first time, it will communicate with a tone beacon that the radio telescopes will try to detect. The second time, it will send a “beep” from its more powerful X-band antenna, which should now be pointed at Earth. This beep includes slightly more information and is only heard if the spacecraft is in a healthy, functioning state. If NASA’s Deep Space Network picks up this beep, it’s a good sign that InSight survived landing. Engineers will need to wait until early evening to find out if the lander successfully deployed its solar arrays.


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)


Besides the MarCO CubeSats, NASA’s MRO will be soaring over Mars, recording InSight’s data during descent.


MRO will hold on to the data it records during EDL as it disappears over the Martian horizon. When it comes back around from the other side, it will play back that data for engineers to study. By 3 p.m. PST (6 p.m. EST), they should be able to piece together MRO’s recording of the landing.


MRO’s recording is similar to an airplane’s black box, which means that it could also prove important if InSight doesn’t successfully touch down.


2001 Mars Odyssey


NASA’s longest-lived spacecraft at Mars will also relay data after InSight has touched down. Odyssey will relay the entire history of InSight’s descent to Mars, as well as a couple images. It will also relay confirmation that InSight’s solar arrays, which are vital to the spacecraft’s survival, fully deployed. Engineers will have this data just before 5:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. EST).



Image above: This is an illustration showing a simulated view of NASA’s InSight lander about to land on the surface of Mars. This view shows the underside of the spacecraft. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


Odyssey will also serve as a data relay for InSight during surface operations, along with MRO, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) and the European Space Agency’s Trace Gas Orbiter.


About InSight


JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.



Image above: This artist’s concept depicts NASA’s InSight lander after it has deployed its instruments on the Martian surface. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


A number of European partners, including France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.


Related links:


Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS): https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/mission/instruments/seis/


Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3): https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/mission/instruments/hp3/


For more information about InSight, visit: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/


Animation (mentioned), Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/JPL/Andrew Good.


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Crew Unpacking New U.S., Russian Cargo Ships on Station’s 20th Anniversary


ISS – Expedition 57 Mission patch.


November 20, 2018


The International Space Station turned 20 years old today with the launch of the first element, the Zarya module, occurring on Nov. 20, 1998. The three-person Expedition 57 crew commemorated the beginning of the orbital lab’s construction during a Facebook Live event today and answered questions submitted via social media.


The crew also continues to unpack the newest U.S. and Russian cargo ships to visit the International Space Station today.



Image above: Sunrise over Peru Coast, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27’595 Km/h, altitude: 407,91 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam’s from ISS on November 18, 2018 at 12:25 UTC. Image Credits: Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman arrived Monday delivering almost 7,400 pounds of crew supplies and new science experiments. The Progress 71 (71P) resupply from Russia docked Sunday packed with almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies.


Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst opened Cygnus’s hatch a few hours after it was captured and attached to the Unity module. Today they are installing new science freezers, transferring the new cargo and replenishing the orbital laboratory. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev opened the 71P hatch after its automated docking Sunday and began unloading the new gear.


In between all the cargo work today, the three-person crew had time to conduct science and maintain station systems.



International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Gerst photographed samples for a physics study that is observing how quartz/clay particles interact in microgravity. Results could benefit future planetary studies and the petroleum industry. Auñón-Chancellor measured light levels in the Columbus lab module for a study researching how new station lights impact crew wellness. Prokopyev worked primarily in the station’s Russian segment maintaining life support systems.


Related articles:


20 Years Ago, ISS Construction Begins:
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2018/11/20-years-ago-iss-construction-begins.html


20 memorable moments from the International Space Station:
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2018/11/20-memorable-moments-from-international.html


Related links:


Expedition 57: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition57/index.html


Quartz/clay particles interact in microgravity: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7668


Columbus lab module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/europe-columbus-laboratory


New station lights: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2013


Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html


International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html


Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Marck Garcia/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


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Arianespace orbits the MOHAMMED VI–B satellite


ARIANESPACE – Flight VV13 Mission poster.


November 20, 2018


Arianespace orbits the MOHAMMED VI – B satellite on 13th successful Vega launch in a row



Arianespace has successfully launched the MOHAMMED VI-B Earth observation satellite, developed for the Kingdom of Morocco by a consortium comprising Thales Alenia Space as system prime contractor and Airbus as co-prime.


Arianespace’s ninth launch of the year, and the second using Vega in 2018, took place on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 10:42 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America).



Arianespace Flight VV13 – MOHAMMED VI

This launch marks the 13th successful mission in a row for Vega since it entered service in 2012, as Arianespace continues to prove that its light launcher is a perfect match for the requirements of both government and commercial customers.


A second Earth observation satellite for Morocco


The MOHAMMED VI–B satellite is the second spacecraft launched by Arianespace for the Kingdom of Morocco, within the scope of the country’s Earth observation program, MOHAMMED VI–A & B. It joins the MOHAMMED VI–A satellite which was orbited by Arianespace on November 7, 2017, also using a Vega launcher.


The MOHAMMED VI–B satellite will mostly be used for mapping and land surveying, regional development, agricultural monitoring, the prevention and management of natural disasters, monitoring changes in the environment and desertification, and border and coastal surveillance.



MOHAMMED VI–B satellite

Thales Alenia Space, as system prime contractor, supplied the payload, including the optical instrument, the image transmission subsystem and the ground segment for image processing and production. Airbus, as satellite prime contractor, was in charge of its integration, as well as supplying the platform and the ground segment for mission planning and satellite control.


Including this mission, Arianespace has now orbited 67 Earth observation satellites using its family of launchers: Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, for institutional and commercial customers. From this standpoint, the end of the year is symbolic: after two successful launches in November (Metop-C on Soyuz for EUMETSAT on November 5, and the MOHAMMED VI–B satellite on Vega today), two other launches for Earth observation are scheduled in December: GEO-KOMPSAT-2A on Ariane 5, followed by CSO-1 for the French DGA (Directorate General of Armaments) and the French CNES space agency on Soyuz.


From the total of all satellites launched by Arianespace, 10% were for Earth observation missions, in particular for European programs: Copernicus for the European Space Agency (ESA) and Metop/Meteosat for EUMETSAT.


For more information about Arianespace, visit: http://www.arianespace.com/


Images, Video, Text, Credits: Arianespace/Günter Space Page.


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Azurite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Touissit,…


Azurite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Touissit, Oujda-Angad Prov., Oriental Region, Morocco


Size: 4.5 x 3.2 x 2.5 cm


Photo Copyright © Anton Watzl Minerals


Geology Page

www.geologypage.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bqaq7YvlX2Z/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1x89k7j1uvmeq


Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Quanzhou,…


Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Quanzhou, Anxi Co., Quanzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China


Size: 6.8 x 6.8 x 3.6 cm


Photo Copyright © Anton Watzl Minerals


Geology Page

www.geologypage.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqarnwwlCK3/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1usuy5nccziac


Researchers create virtual reality simulation of a supermassive black hole

The black hole at the centre of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, has been visualised in virtual reality for the first time. The details are described in an article published in the open access journal Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology.











Researchers create virtual reality simulation of a supermassive black hole
The black hole at the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, has been visualized
in virtual reality for the first time [Credit: J.Davelaar 2018]

Scientists at Radboud University, The Netherlands and Goethe University, Germany used recent astrophysical models of Sagittarius A* to create a series of images that were then put together to create a 360 degree virtual reality simulation of the black hole, that can be viewed on widely available VR consoles. The authors suggest that this virtual reality simulation could be useful for studying black holes.
Jordy Davelaar, corresponding author, said: “Our virtual reality simulation creates one of the most realistic views of the direct surroundings of the black hole and will help us to learn more about how black holes behave. Traveling to a black hole in our lifetime is impossible, so immersive visualizations like this can help us understand more about these systems from where we are.”



The authors also suggest that the virtual reality simulation could help encourage the general public, including children, to take an interest in astrophysics.
Davelaar said: “The visualisations that we produced have a great potential for outreach. We used them to introduce children to the phenomenon of black holes, and they really learned something from it. This suggests that immersive virtual reality visualizations are a great tool to show our work to a broader audience, even when it involves very complicated systems like black holes.”


Heino Falcke, Professor at Radboud University adds: “We all have a picture in our head of how black holes supposedly look, but science has progressed and we can now make much more accurate renderings – and these black holes look quite different from what we are used to. These new visualisations are just the start, more to come in the future.”


Source: BioMed Central [November 19, 2018]



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Astronomers discover giant relic of disrupted ‘tadpole’ galaxy

A team of astronomers from Israel, the U.S. and Russia have identified a disrupted galaxy resembling a giant tadpole, complete with an elliptical head and a long, straight tail, about 300 million light years away from Earth. The galaxy is one million light-years long from end to end, ten times larger than the Milky Way. The research is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.











Astronomers discover giant relic of disrupted 'tadpole' galaxy
The core of Hickson’s Compact Group 98 consists of the two “smudges” at the centre of the image. Each is a galaxy
much like our own Milky Way. The point between them is a foreground star as are other circular features in the image.
The tadpole structure covers the central galaxy pair and was formed when the pair demolished a much smaller galaxy.
The image was processed from the collection of the Stripe 82 project of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias
[Credit: N. Brosch/Tel Aviv University]

“We have found a giant, exceptional relic of a disrupted galaxy,” says Dr Noah Brosch, of The Florence and George Wise Observatory at Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who led the research for the study.


When galaxies are disrupted and disappear, their stars are either incorporated into more massive galaxies or are ejected into intergalactic space. “What makes this object extraordinary is that the tail alone is almost 500,000 light-years long,” says Prof. R. Michael Rich of the University of California, Los Angeles. “If it were at the distance of the Andromeda galaxy, which is about 2.5 million light years from Earth, it would reach a fifth of the way to our own Milky Way.”


Drs Brosch and Rich collaborated on the study with Dr Alexandr Mosenkov of St. Petersburg University and Dr Shuki Koriski of TAU’s Florence and George Wise Observatory and School of Physics and Astronomy.


According to the study, the giant “tadpole” was produced by the disruption of a small, previously invisible dwarf galaxy containing mostly stars. When the gravitational force of two visible galaxies pulled on stars in this vulnerable galaxy, the stars closer to the pair formed the “head” of the tadpole. Stars lingering in the victim galaxy formed the “tail.”


> “The extragalactic tadpole contains a system of two very close ‘normal’ disc galaxies, each about 40,000 light-years across,” says Dr Brosch. “Together with other nearby galaxies, the galaxies form a compact group.” The galaxy is part of a small group of galaxies called HCG098 that will merge into a single galaxy in the next billion years.


Such compact galaxy groups were first identified in 1982 by astronomer Paul Hickson, who published a catalogue of 100 such groups. The Hickson Compact Groups examine environments with high galaxy densities that are not at the core of a “cluster” of galaxies (clusters contain thousands of galaxies themselves). The “tadpole galaxy” is listed as No. 98 in the Hickson Compact Group catalogue.


“In compact group environments, we believe we can study ‘clean’ examples of galaxy-galaxy interactions, learn how matter is transferred between the members, and how newly accreted matter can modify and influence galaxy growth and development,” says Dr Brosch.


For the research, the scientists collected dozens of images of the targets, each exposed through a wide filter that selects red light while virtually eliminating extraneous light pollution. “We used a relatively small, 70-cm telescope at the Wise Observatory and an identical telescope in California, both of which were equipped with state-of-the-art CCD cameras,” says Dr Brosch. The two telescopes are collaborating on a project called the Halos and Environments of Nearby Galaxies (HERON) Survey.


Source: Royal Astronomical Society [November 19, 2018]




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