New technique helps NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
Astronomers have turned a cluster of galaxies into a gargantuan magnifying lens, using it to study another galaxy, 10.7 billion light years away, in unprecedented detail.
Taking advantage of a phenomenon known as “gravitational lensing”, the team of scientists, led by NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre scientist Dr Soniya Sharma, identified star forming regions in the distant and ancient galaxy.
The research was funded by Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D), and will be of direct benefit to NASA’s next orbiting observer.
Without the use of the massive magnifying effect, the galaxy, dubbed cswa128, would be a tiny blur to even the most powerful telescopes on Earth. With it, the astronomers can see stars being formed just three billion years after the Big Bang.
Dr Stuart Ryder is venturing into the stratosphere on a NASA jet to study the birthplace of massive stars.
Macquarie University astronomer Dr Stuart Ryder is in New Zealand to hitch a ride on a NASA jet and take a closer look at how stars are born in one of the most active stellar nurseries ever seen.
“We’re looking at a molecular cloud called BYF73, which is collapsing in on itself at extremely high speeds and forming massive stars,” says Stuart, who is an Adjunct Fellow with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Macquarie University.
On a series of calm, cool mornings in April 2017, 70 French scientists (from the French space science agency CNES, CNRS IRAP, and the Université Paul Sabatier de Toulouse) launched three enormous balloons into the sky above the heart of Australia.
CNES was using the Alice Springs Balloon Launching Centre (ASBLS) to send three precision scientific instruments up to altitudes of 30–40 kilometres to make observations that are impossible from the ground.
Scientists are using the unique advantages of Australia’s Red Centre to conduct high-altitude balloon flights for astronomical research. The clear air and low population of central Australia make it the ideal location for balloon-based research.
Stars forming in clusters from a single galactic dust cloud are not as similar to one another as previously thought, according to an international team of astronomers who analysed ‘starquakes’ from just three months of data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope. And there is at least another four years’ data to come.
“In the past, it was assumed that the only difference [between stars in the same cluster] would be their mass,” says Dennis Stello of the University of Sydney. “But the seismology [data] tells us that might not be correct. There’s probably a spread in age or in composition because the original cloud of gas was not homogeneous.” Continue reading Starquakes reveal family secrets→
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