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Posts Tagged ‘national astronomy meeting’

Galaxy Distribution When Universe Was Half Its Age


At the UK-Germany National Astronomy Meeting NAM2012, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) team today announced the most accurate measurement yet of the distribution of galaxies between five and six billion years ago. This was the key ‘pivot’ moment at which the expansion of the universe stopped slowing down due to gravity and started to accelerate instead, due to a mysterious force dubbed ”dark energy”. The nature of this ”dark energy” is one of the big mysteries in cosmology today, and scientists need precise measurements of the expansion history of the universe to unravel this mystery – BOSS provides this kind of data. In a set of six joint papers presented today, the BOSS team, an international group of scientists with the participation of the Max Planck Institute of Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, used these data together with previous measurements to place tight constraints on various cosmological models.

The BOSS survey, which is a part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), was started in 2009 to probe the universe at a time when dark energy started to dominate. The survey will continue until 2014, collecting data for 1.35 million galaxies with a custom-designed new spectrograph on the 2.5-metre Sloan Telescope at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, USA. In the first year-and-a-half, it has already mapped the three-dimensional positions of more than a quarter of a million galaxies spread across about one tenth of the sky, yielding the most accurate and complete map of the galaxy distribution up to a distance of about 6 billion light years.

Full Story: http://www.mpe.mpg.de/News/PR20120330/text.html

Measuring the Cosmic Dust Swept Up by the Earth


Although we think of space as being empty, there is more out there than meets the eye – dust, for example, is everywhere. If all the material between the Sun and Jupiter were compressed together it would form a moon 25 km across. Now a new research programme will try to see how much of this dust enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Metals from the cosmic dust play a part in various phenomena that affect our climate. An accurate estimate of dust would also help us understand how particles are transported through different layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. Professor John Plane of the University of Leeds will present the Cosmic Dust in the Terrestrial Atmosphere (CODITA) project on Friday 30 March at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester.

CODITA has received a EUR 2.5 million grant from the European Research Council to investigate the dust input over the next 5 years. The international team, led by Professor Plane, is made up of 11 scientists in Leeds and a further 10 research groups in the US and Germany.

Full Story: http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/meetings/nam2012/pressreleases/nam24.html

When Dark Energy Turned On


The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) today announced the most accurate measurements yet of the distances to galaxies in the faraway universe, giving an unprecedented look at the time when the universe first began to expand at an ever-increasing rate. Scientists from the University of Portsmouth and the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics will present the new results in a press conference at 1000 BST on Friday 30 March at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester.

The results are available in six related papers posted to the arXiv preprint server and are the culmination of more than two years of work by the team of scientists and engineers behind the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), one of the SDSS-III’s four component surveys.

“There’s been a lot of talk about using galaxy maps to find out what’s causing accelerating expansion,” says David Schlegel of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the principal investigator of BOSS. “We’ve been making a map, and now we’re using it – starting to push our knowledge out to the distances when dark energy turned on.”

Full Story: http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/meetings/nam2012/pressreleases/nam23.html

Interstellar Beacons Could Help Future Astronauts Find Their Way


The use of stars, planets and stellar constellations for navigation was of fundamental importance for mankind for thousands of years. Now a group of scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany have developed a new technique using a special population of stars to navigate not on Earth, but in voyages across the universe. Team member Prof. Werner Becker will present their work at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester on Friday 30 March.

Full Story: http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/meetings/nam2012/pressreleases/nam15.html

How Comets Fizzle Out or Survive a Flight Through the Sun’s Atmosphere


Since the 1980s astronomers have seen thousands of comets falling towards the Sun, most of them too small to survive a close approach, let alone to re-emerge. Until recently no such objects had been seen very close to the Sun as the glare of sunlight made them impossible to observe. Now a team of scientists led by Professor Emeritus John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and former Regius Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow University, have worked out which comets make it through this fiery journey, which fizzle out high up and which explode just above the surface. Prof. Brown will present this new work in a paper at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester on Friday 30 March.

Full Story: http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/meetings/nam2012/pressreleases/nam17.html

Solar Eruptions Cause Sunquakes

April 2, 2012 1 comment

A study led by UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory has shown for the first time that sunquakes can be produced during eruptions of magnetic field and charged particles, as the immense magnetic structure blasts off into the Solar System. The results will be presented by Dr Sergei Zharkov at the National Astronomy Meeting 2012 in Manchester on Friday 30th March 2012.

The first observation of a sunquake was reported by Kosovichev & Zharkova in the late 1990s. During the last decade it has become well established that explosions in the Sun’s atmosphere, known as solar flares, can create sunquakes through the impact of powerful beams of particles which travel into the Sun. This new study shows that eruptions of material known as coronal mass ejections are also able to produce sunquakes.

Full Story: http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/meetings/nam2012/pressreleases/nam16.html

Milky Way Image Reveals a Billion Stars

March 29, 2012 Leave a comment

More than one billion stars in the Milky Way can be seen together in detail for the first time in an image captured by an international team of astronomers. Scientists created the colour picture by combining infra-red light images from telescopes in the northern and southern hemispheres. Large structures of the Milky Way galaxy, such as gas and dust clouds where stars have formed and died, can be seen in the image. Dr Nick Cross of the University of Edinburgh will present the new work on Thursday 29 March at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester.

The picture represents part of a 10-year project involving scientists from the UK, Europe and Chile, who gathered data from the two telescopes. The information has been processed and archived by teams at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, who have made it available to astronomers around the world for further studies.

Archived information from the project – known as the VISTA Data Flow System – is expected to enable scientists to carry out groundbreaking research in future years without the need to generate further data.

Full Story: http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/meetings/nam2012/pressreleases/nam21.html