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Archive for March 29, 2013

Spotlight Live: Starbursts In The Early Universe


THE MILKY WAY TODAY may fire up one new star every year, but billions of years ago, a subset of galaxies in the relatively young universe were producing new stars at a rate of 1,000 per year. Now, a multi-national team of astronomers has found that these distant, dusty galaxies were churning out stars much earlier than once believed – as early as one billion years after the Big Bang, nearly 13 billion years ago.

On Friday March 29, 12:00-12:30pm PDT, science writer Bruce Lieberman will ask your questions about the starbursts and the early universe with members of the research team: John E. Carlstrom, Dan P. Marrone and Joaquin D. Vieira.

Full Story and Live Interview Link: http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/spotlight-live-starbursts-and-early-universe

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Saturn Is Like An Antiques Shop, Cassini Suggests


A new analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests that Saturn’s moons and rings are gently worn vintage goods from around the time of our solar system’s birth.

Though they are tinted on the surface from recent “pollution,” these bodies date back more than 4 billion years. They are from around the time that the planetary bodies in our neighborhood began to form out of the protoplanetary nebula, the cloud of material still orbiting the sun after its ignition as a star. The paper, led by Gianrico Filacchione, a Cassini participating scientist at Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, Rome, has just been published online by the Astrophysical Journal.

“Studying the Saturnian system helps us understand the chemical and physical evolution of our entire solar system,” said Filacchione. “We know now that understanding this evolution requires not just studying a single moon or ring, but piecing together the relationships intertwining these bodies.”

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-117

Hunting High-Mass Stars With Herschel


Copyright: ESA/PACS & SPIRE consortia, A. Rivera-Ingraham & P.G. Martin, Univ. Toronto, HOBYS Key Programme (F. Motte)

Copyright: ESA/PACS & SPIRE consortia, A. Rivera-Ingraham & P.G. Martin, Univ. Toronto, HOBYS Key Programme (F. Motte)

In this new view of a vast star-forming cloud called W3, ESA’s Herschel space observatory tells the story of how massive stars are born.

Spanning almost 200 light-years, W3 is one of the largest star-formation complexes in the outer Milky Way, hosting the formation of both low- and high-mass stars. The distinction is drawn at eight times the mass of our own Sun: above this limit, stars end their lives as supernovas.

Dense, bright blue knots of hot dust marking massive star formation dominate the upper left of the image in the two youngest regions in the scene: W3 Main and W3 (OH). Intense radiation streaming away from the stellar infants heats up the surrounding dust and gas, making it shine brightly in Herschel’s infrared-sensitive eyes.

By studying the two regions of massive star formation – W3 Main and W3 (OH) – scientists have made progress in solving one of the major conundrums in the birth of massive stars. That is, even during their formation, the radiation blasting away from these stars is so powerful that they should push away the very material they are feeding from. If this is the case, how can massive stars form at all?

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Herschel/Hunting_high-mass_stars_with_Herschel