Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pictor A Galaxy: Blast from Black Hole in a Galaxy Far, Far Away | NASA Chandra

Pictor A Galaxy: Blast from Black Hole in a Galaxy Far, Far Away | NASA Chandra

This labeled composite image shows jets in X-rays (blue) and radio waves (red), including the location of the supermassive black hole, the jet and the counterjet. Also labeled is a "radio lobe" where the jet is pushing into surrounding gas and a "hotspot" caused by shock waves—akin to sonic booms from a supersonic aircraft—near the tip of the jet.

The Star Wars franchise has featured the fictitious "Death Star." It can shoot powerful beams of radiation across space. The Universe, however, produces phenomena that often surpass what science fiction can conjure.

The Pictor A galaxy is one such impressive object. This galaxy, located nearly 500 million light years from Earth, contains a supermassive black hole at its center. A huge amount of gravitational energy is released as material swirls towards the event horizon, the point of no return for infalling material. This energy produces an enormous beam, or jet, of particles traveling at nearly the speed of light into intergalactic space. A giant jet spanning continuously for over 570,000 light years is seen blasting out of the galaxy Pictor A. By comparison, the entire Milky Way is about 100,000 light years in diameter. Because of its relative proximity and Chandra's ability to make detailed X-ray images, scientists can look at detailed features in the jet and test ideas of how the X-ray emission is produced.

To obtain images of this jet, scientists used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory at various times over 15 years. Chandra's X-ray data (blue) have been combined with radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array (red) in this new composite image.

By studying the details of the structure seen in X-rays and radio waves, scientists seek to gain a deeper understanding of these huge collimated blasts.

In addition to the prominent jet seen pointing to the right in the image, researchers report evidence for another jet pointing in the opposite direction, known as a "counterjet". While tentative evidence for this counterjet had been previously reported, these new Chandra data confirm its existence. The relative faintness of the counterjet compared to the jet is likely due to the motion of the counterjet away from the line of sight to the Earth.

The detailed properties of the jet and counterjet observed with Chandra show that their X-ray emission likely comes from electrons spiraling around magnetic field lines, a process called synchrotron emission. In this case, the electrons must be continuously re-accelerated as they move out along the jet. How this occurs is not well understood

The researchers ruled out a different mechanism for producing the jet's X-ray emission. In that scenario, electrons flying away from the black hole in the jet at near the speed of light move through the sea of cosmic background radiation (CMB) left over from the hot early phase of the Universe after the Big Bang. When a fast-moving electron collides with one of these CMB photons, it can boost the photon's energy up into the X-ray band.

The X-ray brightness of the jet depends on the power in the beam of electrons and the intensity of the background radiation. The relative brightness of the X-rays coming from the jet and counterjet in Pictor A do not match what is expected in this process involving the CMB, and effectively eliminate it as the source of the X-ray production in the jet.

A paper describing these results is available online: 

https://arxiv.org/abs/1510.08392 

The authors are Martin Hardcastle from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, Emil Lenc from the University of Sydney in Australia, Mark Birkinshaw from the University of Bristol in the UK, Judith Croston from the University of Southampton in the UK, Joanna Goodger from the University of Hertfordshire, Herman Marshall from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, Eric Perlman from the Florida Institute of Technology, Aneta Siemiginowska from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, Lukasz Stawarz from Jagiellonian University in Poland and Diana Worrall from the University of Bristol.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations.


Credits:

X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Hertfordshire/M.Hardcastle et al., 

Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA

Release Date: Feb. 2, 2016


#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Galaxies #BlackHoles #PictorA #BlackHole #Jets #Pictor #Constellation #Cosmos #Universe #NASAChandra #ChandraObservatory #SpaceTelescope #Xray #MSFC #VLBA #NRAO #UnitedStates #Infographic #STEM #Education

'Death Star' Black Holes in Action | NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory

'Death Star' Black Holes in Action | NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory

Huge black holes are firing powerful beams of particles into space—and then changing their aim to fire at new targets. This discovery, made using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Very Long Baseline Array, shows what kind of widespread impact black holes can have on their surrounding galaxy and beyond.

A team of astronomers looked at 16 black holes in galaxies surrounded by hot gas detected in X-rays by Chandra. Using radio data, they studied the directions of beams—also known as jets—of particles fired a few light-years away from the black holes. This gave the scientists a picture of where each beam is currently pointed, as seen from Earth. Each black hole fires two beams in opposite directions.

The team then used Chandra data to study pairs of cavities, or bubbles, in the hot gas that were created in the past by the beams pushing gas outwards. The locations of large outer cavities indicate the pointing direction of beams millions of years earlier. The researchers then compared the directions of the radio beams with the directions of the pairs of cavities.

They found that about a third of the beams are now pointing in completely different directions than before. These so-called death star black holes are swiveling around and pointing at new targets.

The X-ray and radio data indicate that the beams can change directions over nearly 90 degrees in some cases, and over timescales between one million years and a few tens of millions of years. Considering that these black holes are likely more than 10 billion years old, astronomers consider a large change in direction over a few million years to be fast.

Scientists think that beams from black holes and the cavities they carve out play an important role in how many stars form in their galaxies. The beams pump energy into the hot gas in and around the galaxy, preventing it from cooling down enough to form huge numbers of new stars. If the beams change directions by large amounts, they can tamp down star formation across much larger areas of the galaxy.


Video Credit: NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

Duration: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

Release Date: May 22, 2024


#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Galaxies #BlackHole #Jets #Cosmos #Universe #NASAChandra #ChandraObservatory #SpaceTelescope #Xray #MSFC #VLBA #NRAO #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #Animation #HD #Video

Ed Dwight's Incredible Life Story Before Historic NS-25 Spaceflight | Blue Origin

Ed Dwight's Incredible Life Story Before Historic NS-25 Spaceflight | Blue Origin

On May 19, 2024, American Ed Dwight surpassed William Shatner as the oldest person to fly in space on Blue Origin's NS-25 spaceflight. Learn more about Ed Dwight’s incredible life story. Meet NS-25 astronaut Ed Dwight, a former United States Air Force Captain who was selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the nation’s first Black astronaut candidate. 

Edward Joseph Dwight Jr. (born September 9, 1933) is an American sculptor, author, former United States Air Force test pilot, and astronaut. He is the first African American to have entered the Air Force training program from which NASA selected astronauts. He was controversially not selected to officially join NASA. In 2021, NASA named an asteroid after him.

Learn more about the NS-25 flight and its crew:

https://www.blueorigin.com/news/ns-25-mission-updates

Space for Humanity sponsored Ed Dwight’s historic flight:

https://spaceforhumanity.org


Video Credit: Blue Origin

Duration:  2 minutes, 19 seconds

Release Date: May 19, 2024


#NASA #Earth #Space #BlueOrigin #NewShepardRocket #LaunchVehicle #CrewCapsule #NS25 #Astronauts #EdDwight #TestPilot #AfricanAmerican #USAF #JeffBezos #SpaceTechnology #Engineering #Texas #UnitedStates #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceTourism #NewSpace #CommercialSpace #History #STEM #Education #HD #Video

NASA Earth Science PREFIRE Mission | Rocket Lab Launch Preparations

NASA Earth Science PREFIRE Mission | Rocket Lab Launch Preparations









NASA’s PREFIRE mission aims to improve global climate change predictions by expanding our understanding of heat loss at the polar regions. The Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment (PREFIRE) will send two shoebox-size satellites into space to study the Arctic and Antarctic. They will be the first to systematically measure heat in the form of far-infrared radiation emitted from those regions. Launch of both cubesats on two Rocket Lab Electron rockets is planned no earlier than May 25, 2024 from Launch Complex 1 (LC-1)—a commercial rocket launch facility located at Māhia Peninsula, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

Earth absorbs much of the Sun’s energy at the tropics. Weather and ocean currents then move that heat toward the poles, which help regulate Earth’s climate by radiating that heat back into space. However, the Arctic is warming about three times faster than anywhere else on Earth. This is leading to increased ice sheet melt and sea level rise in coastal communities. The data from PREFIRE will help scientists better understand how Earth’s polar regions respond to climate change and what that might mean for the future.

For more information:

https://science.nasa.gov/mission/prefire 


Image Credit: Rocket Lab

Image Dates: May 15, 2024


#NASA #Space #Science #Satellites #Earth #Planet #EarthScience #PolarRegions #Arctic #Antarctic #Meltwater #PREFIREMission #Infrared #Atmosphere #Oceans #Land #Climate #ClimateChange #GreenhouseGases #GlobalHeating #EarthObservatory #JPL #Caltech #UnitedStates #RocketLab #ElectronRocket #NewZealand #STEM #Education

Exploring Jupiter's Ocean Moon Europa | NASA Webb & Europa Clipper

Exploring Jupiter's Ocean Moon Europa | NASA Webb & Europa Clipper

On Earth, where there is liquid water, there is life. Jupiter’s moon Europa has a liquid water ocean underneath its icy crust. Go behind the scenes with scientists as they explore Europa with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and prepare for the launch of the Europa Clipper mission.

Learn more about Europa:

europa.nasa.gov

Download Europa Clipper Ocean World poster: go.nasa.gov/3Gsjzt5


Credits: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Director: James Tralie

Producers: James Tralie, Elizabeth Landau, Lonnie Shekhtman

Writers: Elizabeth Landau, James Tralie

Editor: James Tralie

On Camera Talent: Heidi Hammel, Geronimo Villanueva, Lynnae Quick, Bob Pappalardo, Serina Diniega, John Mather, Jonathan Lunine, Samantha Trumbo

Animation: Walt Feimer, Michael Lentz, Jonathan North, Adriana Manrique Gutierrez, Krystofer Kim, Lisa Poje

Videographers: Rob Andreoli, John Philyaw, Mike McClare, Michael Menzel, Jr., Sophia Roberts, Bertrand Odom-Reed, Anthony Penta

NASA+ Executive Producer: Rebecca Sirmons

Special thanks to: Leslie Mullen, Christopher Nunley, Stephen Epstein, Blaine Baggett, Eric De Jong (in memoriam), NASA/JPL-Caltech

Duration: 26 minutes

Release Date: May 21, 2024


#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Planet #Jupiter #Europa #Moon #OceanMoon #Astrobiology #SolarSystem #SpaceExploration #JWST #GSFC #STScI #GalileoSpacecraft #EuropaClipper #JPL #Caltech #UnitedStates #Europe #ESA #Canada #CSA #History #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Moonwalk Practice: Astronauts Kate Rubins & Andre Douglas | NASA Artemis

Moonwalk Practice: Astronauts Kate Rubins & Andre Douglas | NASA Artemis

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins uses a hammer to get a drive tube into the ground to collect a pristine soil sample during a¬¬ nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024. The drive tube is the key piece of hardware for preserving the integrity of samples from the Moon.
NASA astronaut Andre Douglas examines a geologic sample collected during a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins conducts a tool audit to ensure she has all of her tools while NASA astronaut Andre Douglas reviews procedures during a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024.
NASA astronaut Andre Douglas pushes a tool cart across the lunar-like landscape while NASA astronaut Kate Rubins follows close behind during a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024.
NASA astronaut Andre Douglas uses a hammer and chisel to break off a small sample during a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024.
NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, left, and Andre Douglas look at a map that shows their traverse route during a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024.
NASA astronauts Andre Douglas, left, and Kate Rubins review traverse plans during a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024.
NASA astronauts Andre Douglas, left, and Kate Rubins review procedures during a nighttime simulated moonwalk in the San Francisco Volcanic Field in Northern Arizona on May 16, 2024.

To prepare for exploring the Moon during NASA’s Artemis campaign, the agency is conducting a week-long field test in the lunar-like landscape of San Francisco Volcanic Field near Flagstaff, Arizona to practice moonwalk scenarios.

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Andre Douglas are serving as the crewmembers and wearing mockup spacesuit systems as they traverse through the desert, completing a variety of technology demonstrations, hardware checkouts and Artemis science-related operations. 

During the test, two integrated teams will work together as they practice end-to-end lunar operations. The field team consists of astronauts, NASA engineers, and field experts in the Arizona desert conducting the simulated moonwalks, while a team of flight controllers and scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston monitor and guide their activities.

“Field tests play a critical role in helping us test all of the systems, hardware, and technology we’ll need to conduct successful lunar operations during Artemis missions,” said Barbara Janoiko, director for the field test at Johnson. “Our engineering and science teams have worked together seamlessly to ensure we are prepared every step of the way for when astronauts step foot on the Moon again.”   

The test consists of four simulated moonwalks that follow operations planned for Artemis III and beyond, as well as six advanced technology runs. During the advanced runs, teams will demonstrate technology that may be used for future Artemis missions, such as display and navigation data stream capabilities in the form of a heads-up display using augmented reality or lighting beacons that could help guide crew back to the lander. 

Ahead of the field test, the science team at Johnson that was competitively selected and tasked with developing the science objectives for the field test, followed a planning process designed for Artemis missions. Their preparation included generating geologic maps, a list of science questions, and prioritized moonwalk locations for both the primary and back-up “landing sites” for the test. 

“During Artemis III, the astronauts will be our science operators on the lunar surface with an entire science team supporting them from here on Earth,” said Cherie Achilles, science officer for the test at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This simulation gives us an opportunity to practice conducting geology from afar in real time.” 

The test will evaluate gaps and challenges associated with lunar South Pole operations, including data collection and communications between the flight control team and science team in Houston for rapid decision-making protocols. 

At the conclusion of each simulated moonwalk, the science team, flight control team, crewmembers, and field experts will come together to discuss and record lessons learned. NASA will take these lessons and apply them to operations for NASA’s Artemis missions, commercial vendor development, and other technology development. 

This field test is the fifth in the series conducted by the Joint Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Test Team led out of Johnson. This test expands on previous field tests the team has performed and is the highest fidelity Artemis moonwalk mission simulation to date. 

NASA uses field tests to simulate missions to prepare for deep space destinations. The Arizona desert has been a training ground for lunar exploration since the Apollo era because of the many similarities to the lunar terrain, including craters, faults and volcanic features. 

Through Artemis, NASA will land the first woman, the first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon, paving the way for long-term lunar exploration and serving as a steppingstone for astronaut missions to Mars. 

Learn more about NASA’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program:

https://www.nasa.gov/extravehicular-activity-and-human-surface-mobility/


Image Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)/Josh Valcarcel

Image Date: May 16, 2024


#NASA #Space #Moon #ArtemisProgram #ArtemisIII #Astronauts #HumanSpaceflight #JETT #JETT5 #Moonwalks #MoonwalkSimulation #Training #MoonToMars #Science #Engineering #SpaceTechnology #SpaceExploration #SolarSystem #GSFC #JSC #Arizona #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

Seeing Exoplanets Like Never Before | Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

Seeing Exoplanets Like Never Before Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

Instrument Overview: NASA's upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, a flagship astrophysics mission, will launch with a very special piece of technology on board that will directly observe exoplanets like never before: the Roman Coronagraph Instrument. 

The Roman Coronagraph, the most powerful coronagraph ever flown in space, will block the light from host stars, allowing scientists to directly observe exoplanets, or worlds beyond our solar system. 

The coronagraph is a technology demonstration that will show how this cutting-edge technology can work in space. These types of technologies will be necessary for future missions like NASA’s proposed Habitable Worlds Observatory mission concept.

For more information about the Roman Coronagraph Instrument, visit: https://science.nasa.gov/mission/roman-space-telescope/coronagraph/

Learn about Dr. Nancy Grace Roman

https://science.nasa.gov/people/nancy-roman/

Learn more about NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/the-nancy-grace-roman-space-telescope


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

Release Date: May 21, 2024

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #RomanSpaceTelescope #Coronagraph #Exoplanets #Planets #SolarSystem #NancyGraceRoman #Astronomer #History #MilkyWayGalaxy #Stars #Cosmos #Universe #SpaceTelescope #ESA #GSFC #STScI #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Night Time-lapse: Extremely Large Telescope under Construction in Chile | ESO

Night Time-lapse: Extremely Large Telescope under Construction in Chile | ESO

This time-lapse shows the dome of European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), under construction in Chile’s Atacama Desert, from sunset on April 3, 2024 to sunrise the next day.

A multi-layered cladding is being installed over the dome’s steel skeleton—it will thermally insulate the telescope structure to protect it from the extreme desert environment and help regulate the air temperature. Over the telescope, the stunning night sky shows the Milky Way band and the Magellanic Clouds. Towards the end of the clip, the Moon rises in the east before a new day begins.

When finished, the dome will weigh in at 6,100 tonnes, and it will need a mind-boggling 30 million bolts to be held together. This huge structure will shelter the telescope during observations, protecting it from the elements. The entire behemoth will rotate on 36 stationary trolleys, allowing astronomers to observe the southern sky from just about any direction they fancy. The current largest optical telescopes have diameters of up to ten meters, and the ELT's diameter will thus be four times greater. 

Altitude: 3046 meters

Planned year of technical first light: 2027

Learn more about ESO’s ELT at: https://elt.eso.org


Credit: B. Häußler/ESO

Duration: 1 minute

Release Date: May 21, 2024


#NASA #ESO #Astronomy #Space #Science #ExtremelyLargeTelescope #ELT  #BiggestEyeOnTheSky #Nebulae #Stars #Exoplanets #Galaxies #Cosmos #Universe #CerroArmazones #AtacamaDesert #Chile #Europe #STEM #Education #Timelapse #HD #Video

Sierra Space Dream Chaser Testing Complete | NASA's Glenn Research Center

Sierra Space Dream Chaser Testing Complete NASA's Glenn Research Center

Farewell from Ohio! NASA and Sierra Space recently wrapped up testing of the Dream Chaser spacecraft and Shooting Star cargo module at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. The spaceplane is now in the hands of experts at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for final testing before its first flight to the International Space Station later this year. 

As part of NASA’s efforts to expand commercial resupply in low Earth orbit, Sierra Space’s uncrewed spaceplane has now arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of its first flight to the International Space Station. 

The Dream Chaser spaceplane, named Tenacity, arrived at Kennedy on May 18, 2024, inside a climate-controlled transportation container from NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio, and joined its companion Shooting Star cargo module, which arrived on May 11. 

Before arriving at Kennedy, the spaceplane and its cargo module underwent vibration testing atop the world’s highest capacity and most powerful spacecraft shaker system inside the agency’s Space Environments Complex, exposing the stack to vibrations like those it will experience during launch and re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere. Following vibration testing, the duo moved to NASA’s In-Space Propulsion Facility and was exposed to low ambient pressures and temperatures ranging from -150 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Video Credit: NASA/Steve Logan and Jordan Salkin

Duration: 1 minute

Release Date: May 21, 2024


#NASA #Space #ISS #CommercialCargo #CRS #SierraSpace #DreamChaser #ReusableSpacecraft #DreamChaserSpacecraft #Tenacity #VulcanCentaurRocket #ULA #Spaceflight #Science #SpaceTechnology #Engineering #CommercialSpace #NASAGlennn #Ohio #KSC #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #Timelapse #HD #Video

Sierra Space Dream Chaser Spaceplane Arrives at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Sierra Space Dream Chaser Spaceplane Arrives at NASA's Kennedy Space Center





Sierra Space Dream Chaser Tenacity, the first DC-100 spaceplane, will provide a minimum of seven cargo missions to and from the International Space Station carrying critical supplies like food, water, and science experiments.
“The last several years have required an enormous amount of tenacity by our team and no other name would have been more appropriate for our first Dream Chaser spaceplane.” 

—Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice

Learn more about the Dream Chaser spaceplane:

https://www.sierraspace.com/dream-chaser-spaceplane/

Sierra Space: https://www.sierraspace.com


Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Image Date: May 20, 2024


#NASA #Space #ISS #CommercialCargo #CRS #SierraSpace #DreamChaser #DC100 #ReusableSpacecraft #DreamChaserSpacecraft #Tenacity #VulcanCentaurRocket #ULA #Spaceflight #Science #SpaceTechnology #Engineering #CommercialSpace #NASAKennedy #KSC #Florida #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

Monday, May 20, 2024

Lenticular Clouds & Atmospheric Haze over Canary Islands | Earth Science

Lenticular Clouds & Atmospheric Haze over Canary Islands | Earth Science

This is an enormous, golden lenticular cloud that was anchored practically all day over the bay of Santa Cruz de La Palma (La Palma island, Canary Islands, Spain). The camera is looking toward the southwest, and as it is near sunset, the Sun is already behind the high mountains west of the bay.

Notice the hazy sky conditions. Calima is a meteorological phenomenon that consists of the suspension of very small solid particles in the atmosphere, giving the air an opaque and cloudy appearance. These particles are dust and sand from the Sahara Desert, some 300 miles (480 km) to the east. Whenever there is a deep storm to the west of the Canary Islands archipelago and an anticyclone over Africa (the African ridge), transport of dust by mid and upper-level winds sometimes occurs over La Palma Island. The winds ushering in the dust also was responsible for forming orographic clouds downwind of the mountains.

Technical Details: Sony Alpha 6000 camera; Sigma 18-50 lens; 18mm; f/8


Image & Caption Credit: Jose Fernández Arozena  

Location: Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain Coordinates: 28.6917, -17.7433

Image Date: Feb. 8, 2024

Release Date: May 20, 2024


#NASA #Science #Planet #Earth #EarthScience #Atmosphere #Meteorology #Weather #Clouds #LenticularClouds #Calima #SaharaDesert #LaPalma #CanaryIslands #Canarias #Spain #España #Photography #USRA #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #EPoD

Milky Way Black Hole Venting Activity Detected | NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory

Milky Way Black Hole Venting Activity Detected | NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory

This image shows a region near the center of our Milky Way galaxy in X-ray and radio light. At the bottom of the image, near the center, is a brilliant, tangled knot of material that resembles a paint splatter. This is the brightest region in the image, and it contains the supermassive black hole at center of our galaxy, known as Sagittarius A*.

The lower third of the image resembles an angry firestorm. Streaks of red and orange are scattered in every direction, as if a legion of embers from a fire crackled and popped into the air all at once. Flame-like structures lick toward the center from our right.

Much of the image is infused with wispy blue clouds showing X-rays detected by Chandra. At a few points, the wispy blue clouds seem to form into balls of teal colored light and are known as dust halos. They are caused by X-rays from bright X-ray sources reflecting off dust surrounding the sources. These dust halos resemble underwater lights glowing in a cloudy swimming pool at night.

A labeled version of the image gives the locations of the exhaust vent, the chimney, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy (called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short) and the plane of the galaxy. Rising up from Sagittarius A* in the center of the image is a pillar of blue light referred to as a chimney. This chimney of hot gas is surrounded by red clouds that are filled with stars, presenting themselves as tiny red flecks. To emphasize the chimney and exhaust vent features the image has been rotated by 180 degrees from the conventional orientation used by astronomers, so that the chimney is pointed upwards.

These images show evidence for an exhaust vent attached to a chimney releasing hot gas from a region around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. In the main image of this graphic, X-rays from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) have been combined with radio data from the MeerKAT telescope (red).

Previously, astronomers had identified a “chimney” of hot gas near the Galactic Center using X-ray data from Chandra and ESA’s XMM-Newton. Radio emission detected by MeerKAT shows the effect of magnetic fields enclosing the gas in the chimney.

Several X-ray ridges showing brighter X-rays appear in white, roughly perpendicular to the plane of the Galaxy. Researchers think these are the walls of a tunnel, shaped like a cylinder. This helps funnel hot gas as it moves upwards along the chimney and away from the Galactic Center.

Chandra data reveal several X-ray ridges that astronomers think are the walls of a tunnel, shaped like a cylinder. It helps to funnel hot gas as it moves away from the Galactic Center. This “exhaust vent” is connected to a previously-discovered “chimney” and helps release hot gas generated by the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center. Chandra’s X-rays are shown with radio data from MeerKAT to demonstrate the chimney and vent, with a closer-in view of the exhaust vent as well. Our galaxy's supermassive black hole is near the bottom of the images.

The newly discovered vent is located near the top of the chimney about 700 light-years from the center of the Galaxy. 

The authors of the new study think that the exhaust vent formed when hot gas rising through the chimney struck cooler gas lying in its path. The brightness of the exhaust vent walls in X-rays is caused by shock waves—similar to sonic booms from supersonic planes—generated by this collision. The left side of the exhaust vent is likely particularly bright in X-rays because the gas flowing upwards is striking the tunnel wall at a more direct angle and with more force than other regions.

The researchers determined that the hot gas is most likely coming from a sequence of events involving material falling towards Sgr A*. They think eruptions from the black hole then drove the gas upwards along the chimneys, and out through the exhaust vent.

It is unclear how often material is falling onto Sgr A*. Previous studies have indicated that dramatic X-ray flares take place every few hundred years at or near the location of the central black hole, so those could play important roles in driving the hot gas upwards through the exhaust vent. Astronomers also estimate that the Galactic black hole rips apart and swallows a star every 20,000 years or so. Such events would lead to powerful, explosive releases of energy, much of which would be destined to rise through the chimney vent.

The paper describing these results is published in The Astrophysical Journal and a preprint is available online. The authors of the paper are Scott Mackey (University of Chicago), Mark Morris (University of California, Los Angeles), Gabriele Ponti (Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Merate ), Konstantina Anastasopoulou (Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Palermo), and Samaresh Mondal (Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Merate).

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.


Image Credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)/X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Chicago/S.C. Mackey et al.; Radio: NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT

Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/N. Wolk

Release Date: May 9, 2024


#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #BlackHole #Venting #Chimney #SajAstar #SagittariusAstar #MilkyWayGalaxy #Cosmos #Universe #Astrophysics #NASAChandra #ChandraObservatory #Xray #SpaceTelescope #MSFC #SAO #CXC #UnitedStates #MeerKAT #RadioTelescope #SouthAfrica #Infographic #STEM #Education

The Journey of NS-25: American Ed Dwight Makes Historic Spaceflight

The Journey of NS-25: American Ed Dwight Makes Historic Spaceflight

A life-changing journey. Edward Joseph Dwight Jr. (born September 9, 1933) is an American sculptor, author, former United States Air Force test pilot, and astronaut. He is the first African American to have entered the Air Force training program from which NASA selected astronauts. He was controversially not selected to officially join NASA. He finally achieved spaceflight on May 19, 2024, surpassing William Shatner as the oldest person to fly in space. In 2021, NASA named an asteroid after him.

Learn more about the NS-25 flight and its crew:

https://www.blueorigin.com/news/ns-25-mission-updates

Space for Humanity sponsored Ed Dwight’s historic flight:

https://spaceforhumanity.org


Video Credit: Blue Origin

Duration: 1 minutes, 41 seconds

Release Date: May 20, 2024


#NASA #Earth #Space #BlueOrigin #NewShepardRocket #LaunchVehicle #CrewCapsule #NS25 #Astronauts #EdDwight #TestPilot #AfricanAmerican #USAF #JeffBezos #SpaceTechnology #Engineering #Texas #UnitedStates #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceTourism #NewSpace #CommercialSpace #History #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Pan of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4689: A Jewel in the Queen’s Hair | Hubble

Pan of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4689: A Jewel in the Queen’s Hair | Hubble

 

This picture shows the jewel-bright spiral galaxy NGC 4689. It lies 54 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices. This constellation has the distinction of being the only one of the 88 constellations officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to be named after an historical figure, Queen Berenice II of Egypt. The latin word ‘coma’ references her hair, meaning that NGC 4689 can be said to be found in the hair of a queen. People of Berenice’s time would have meant this quite literally, as the story goes that her court astronomer thought that a missing lock of Berenice’s hair had been catasterized (a word meaning ‘placed amongst the stars’) by the gods: hence the name of the constellation, Coma Berenices.

NGC 4689 holds an interesting—albeit less royal—place in modern astronomy too. The Universe is so incredibly vast that at a distance of a mere 54 million light-years NGC 4689 is relatively nearby for a galaxy. This image has been made using data from two sets of observations, one made in 2019 and 2024. These were made as a part of programs that observed multiple ‘nearby’ galaxies. The 2024 observing program is an interesting example of how Hubble—a relatively old but extraordinarily productive telescope—can support the work of the technologically cutting-edge Webb telescope.

Image Description: A spiral galaxy is viewed close up and fills most of the scene. It has a bright, glowing spot at the core, broad spiral arms that are covered by many dark threads of dust, and pink glowing spots across the disc that mark areas of star formation. The disc of the galaxy is surrounded by a faint halo that bleeds into the dark background.

Observations collected by Webb stand to transform our understanding of how galaxies transform and evolve over time, by providing data of an unprecedented level of detail and clarity. However, thanks to their complementary capabilities, new observations from Hubble—such as those used to create this image—can assist the work done using Webb. In this case, the Hubble data were collected in order to get a more accurate grasp of the stellar populations of nearby galaxies. This is crucial to understanding the evolution of galaxies. 

Thus, NGC 4689 is playing an important role in developing our understanding of how all galaxies evolve. In fact, it is observed enough that it has been the subject of a Hubble Picture of the Week in 2020. 

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Thilker, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team, N. Bartmann (ESA/Hubble)
Duration: 30 seconds
Release Date: May 20, 2024

#NASA #ESA #Astronomy #Space #Hubble #Galaxies #Galaxy #NGC4689 #Spiral #ComaBerenices #Constellation #Cosmos #Universe #SpaceTelescope #GSFC #STScI #UnitedStates #Europe #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Spiral Galaxy NGC 4689: A Jewel in the Queen’s Hair | Hubble

Spiral Galaxy NGC 4689: A Jewel in the Queen’s Hair | Hubble


This picture shows the jewel-bright spiral galaxy NGC 4689. It lies 54 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices. This constellation has the distinction of being the only one of the 88 constellations officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to be named after an historical figure, Queen Berenice II of Egypt. The latin word ‘coma’ references her hair, meaning that NGC 4689 can be said to be found in the hair of a queen. People of Berenice’s time would have meant this quite literally, as the story goes that her court astronomer thought that a missing lock of Berenice’s hair had been catasterized (a word meaning ‘placed amongst the stars’) by the gods: hence the name of the constellation, Coma Berenices.

NGC 4689 holds an interesting—albeit less royal—place in modern astronomy too. The Universe is so incredibly vast that at a distance of a mere 54 million light-years NGC 4689 is relatively nearby for a galaxy. This image has been made using data from two sets of observations, one made in 2019 and 2024. These were made as a part of programs that observed multiple ‘nearby’ galaxies. The 2024 observing program is an interesting example of how Hubble—a relatively old but extraordinarily productive telescope—can support the work of the technologically cutting-edge Webb telescope.

Image Description: A spiral galaxy is viewed close up and fills most of the scene. It has a bright, glowing spot at the core, broad spiral arms that are covered by many dark threads of dust, and pink glowing spots across the disc that mark areas of star formation. The disc of the galaxy is surrounded by a faint halo that bleeds into the dark background.

Observations collected by Webb stand to transform our understanding of how galaxies transform and evolve over time, by providing data of an unprecedented level of detail and clarity. However, thanks to their complementary capabilities, new observations from Hubble—such as those used to create this image—can assist the work done using Webb. In this case, the Hubble data were collected in order to get a more accurate grasp of the stellar populations of nearby galaxies. This is crucial to understanding the evolution of galaxies. 

Thus, NGC 4689 is playing an important role in developing our understanding of how all galaxies evolve. In fact, it is observed enough that it has been the subject of a Hubble Picture of the Week in 2020. 

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Thilker, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team
Release Date: May 20, 2024

#NASA #ESA #Astronomy #Space #Hubble #Galaxies #Galaxy #NGC4689 #Spiral #ComaBerenices #Constellation #Cosmos #Universe #SpaceTelescope #GSFC #STScI #UnitedStates #Europe #STEM #Education

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Have you ever seen a hamburger in the sky? (May 20-26) | BBC Sky at Night

Have you ever seen a hamburger in the sky? (May 20-26) | BBC Sky at Night

The Hamburger Galaxy is well placed in the sky this week, while Comet C 2023 A3 Tsuchinshan-ATLAS makes an appearance amongst the stars. Find out how you can see these for yourself as well as our usual stargazing highlights in this week’s podcast guide, Star Diary, May 20 to 26, 2024, for the northern hemisphere.

Transcript: https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/podcasts/star-diary-20-may-2024


Video Credit: BBC Sky at Night Magazine

Duration: 18 minutes

Release Date: May 19, 2024


#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Earth #Planets #SolarSystem #Comets #Stars #Constellations #StarClusters #MilkyWayGalaxy #Galaxies #Universe #Skywatching #BBC #UK #Britain #Europe #UnitedStates #Canada #NorthernHemisphere #STEM #Education #Podcast #HD #Video