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Archive for March 13, 2013

Space station To Host New Cosmic Ray Telescope


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has awarded $4.4 million to a collaboration of scientists at five United States universities and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to help build a telescope for deployment on the International Space Station in 2017.

The U.S. collaboration is part of a 13-nation effort to build the 2.5-meter ultraviolet telescope, called the Extreme Universe Space Observatory. UChicago Prof. Angela Olinto leads the U.S. collaboration. The telescope will search for the mysterious source of the most energetic particles in the universe, called ultra high-energy cosmic rays, from the ISS’s Japanese Experiment Module. The source of these cosmic rays has remained one of the great mysteries of science since physicist John Linsley discovered them more than 50 years ago. These cosmic rays consist of protons and other subatomic scraps of matter that fly through the universe at almost light speed.

The science goal is to discover the sources of ultra high-energy cosmic rays by observing their traces in the atmosphere looking 248 miles from the ISS down to the surface,” said Olinto, professor in astronomy & astrophysics at the University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.

Full Story: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/03/11/space-station-host-new-cosmic-ray-telescope

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Long Awaited, Comet PanSTARRS Now Glows In The Twilight


(This is written for the north’s mid-northern latitudes, including U.S., Canada, Europe except north, China, Korea, Japan.)

Look west around the middle of twilight on a clear evening this week, and with a little luck — and maybe binoculars — you might spot a one-time-only visitor newly arrived from very deep space.

Skywatchers have been anticipating Comet PanSTARRS for almost two years. A few days ago it passed closest by the Earth and is now being lit most brilliantly by the Sun. In the past couple weeks it decorated the twilight sky for folks in the Southern Hemisphere. Now people in the world’s mid-northern latitudes have their turn.The comet should be at its best March 12–18, possibly just bright enough to spot with the unaided eye in clear twilight if you know exactly where to look.

Full Story: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/about/pressreleases/New-Comet-Becomes-Visible-in-Twilight-195960441.html

Extremely Rare Triple Quasar Found


Image credit: Emanuele Paolo Farina

Image credit: Emanuele Paolo Farina

For only the second time in history, a team of scientists–including Carnegie’s Michele Fumagalli–have discovered an extremely rare triple quasar system. Their work is published by Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It is available online.

Quasars are extremely bright and powerful sources of energy that sit in the center of a galaxy, surrounding a black hole. In systems with multiple quasars, the bodies are held together by gravity and are believed to be the product of galaxies colliding.

Quasars are extremely bright and powerful sources of energy that sit in the center of a galaxy, surrounding a black hole. In systems with multiple quasars, the bodies are held together by gravity and are believed to be the product of galaxies colliding..

By combining multiple telescope observations and advanced modeling, the team–led by Emanuele Farina of the University of Insubria in Como Italy–was able to find the triplet quasar, called QQQ J1519+0627. The light from the quasars has traveled 9 billion light years to reach us, which means the light was emitted when the universe was only a third of its current age.

Full Stort: http://carnegiescience.edu/news/extremely_rare_triple_quasar_found
Image: https://www.ras.org.uk/images/stories/triple%20quasar.jpg