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Australian Scientists Determines Precise Location of Cosmic Radio Waves

Having discovered that the burst originated on the outskirts of a Milky Way-sized galaxy 3.6 billion light years from Earth

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Australian, Scientists, Cosmic
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Friday revealed that it made the discovery using its new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope. Pixabay

In a first, a team of Australian scientists has determined the precise location of a powerful one-off burst of cosmic radio waves.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Friday revealed that it made the discovery using its new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in Western Australia, Xinhua news agency reported.

Having discovered that the burst originated on the outskirts of a Milky Way-sized galaxy 3.6 billion light years from Earth, researchers were then able to image that galaxy using three of the world’s largest optical telescopes.

“This is the big breakthrough that the field has been waiting for since astronomers discovered fast radio bursts in 2007,” Keith Bannister, the lead author from the CSIRO, said in a media release.

Australian, Scientists, Cosmic
In a first, a team of Australian scientists has determined the precise location of a powerful one-off burst of cosmic radio waves. Pixabay

In the 12 years since the radio bursts were first detected scientists across the world have detected another 85 bursts, most of which were “one-offs”.

The source of one of the few “repeater” bursts was discovered in 2017 but localising a one-off burst has proved more challenging because they last for only a millisecond.

In order to make the discovery Bannister’s team developed technology that can freeze and save data detected by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder less than a second after it is detected.

“From these tiny time differences, just a fraction of a billionth of a second, we identified the burst’s home galaxy and even its exact starting point, 13,000 light years out from the galaxy’s centre in the galactic suburbs,” said team member Adam Deller of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

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“It comes from a massive galaxy that is forming relatively few stars. This suggests that fast radio bursts can be produced in a variety of environments, or that the seemingly one-off bursts detected so far by ASKAP are generated by a different mechanism to the repeater.”

The results were published online in the journal Science. (IANS)

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Jupiter not as Dry as it was Predicted to be: NASA Scientists

Jupiter not as dry as earlier thought, reveals new NASA probe

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Jupiter
Jupiter may not be as dry as earlier shown by a NASA probe, according to the first science. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The largest planet in our solar system may not be as dry as earlier shown by a NASA probe, according to the first science results revealed by the US space agency’s Juno mission on the amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

At the equator, water makes up about 0.25 per cent of the molecules in Jupiter’s atmosphere — almost three times that of the Sun, said the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

These are also the first findings on the gas giant’s abundance of water since NASA’s 1995 Galileo mission suggested Jupiter might be extremely dry compared to the Sun. The comparison is based not on liquid water but on the presence of its components, oxygen and hydrogen, present in the Sun.

“We found the water in the equator to be greater than what the Galileo probe measured,” said Cheng Li, a Juno scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. “Because the equatorial region is very unique at Jupiter, we need to compare these results with how much water is in other regions,” Li said.

An accurate estimate of the total amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere has been on the wish lists of planetary scientists for decades. The figure in the gas giant represents a critical missing piece to the puzzle of our solar system’s formation.

Jupiter
These are also the first findings on the gas giant’s abundance of water since NASA’s 1995 Galileo mission suggested Jupiter might be extremely dry compared to the Sun. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Jupiter was likely the first planet to form, and it contains most of the gas and dust that was not incorporated into the Sun.

Water abundance also has important implications for the gas giant’s meteorology (how wind currents flow on Jupiter) and internal structure. While lightning — a phenomenon typically fuelled by moisture — detected on Jupiter by Voyager and other spacecraft implied the presence of water, an accurate estimate of the amount of water deep within Jupiter’s atmosphere remained elusive.

Before the Galileo probe stopped transmitting 57 minutes into its Jovian descent in December 1995, it radioed out spectrometer measurements of the amount of water in the gas giant’s atmosphere down to a depth of about 120 kilometres. The scientists working on the data were dismayed to find ten times less water than expected.

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A rotating, solar-powered spacecraft Juno was launched in 2011. Because of the Galileo probe experience, the mission seeks to obtain water abundance readings across large regions of the immense planet.

The Juno science team used data collected during Juno’s first eight science flybys of Jupiter to generate the findings. (IANS)