Sunday December 15, 2019

NASA’s Chandra observatory spots oldest light in universe


NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has evidence, that says astronomers have discovered a jet from a very distant supermassive black hole being illuminated by the oldest light in the universe.

The discovery found that after the Big Bang, the black holes having powerful jets may be more common than previously thought in the first few billion years.

After 2.7 billion years, the light detected from this jet was emitted. That was a fifth of its present age.

At this point, the intensity of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) left over from the Big Bang was much greater than it is today.

Co-author Lukasz Stawarz of Jagiellonian University in Poland explained
“We essentially stumbled onto this remarkable jet because it happened to be in Chandra’s field of view while we were observing something else,”

The length of the jet, found in the system known as B3 0727+409, is at least 300,000 light years.

Many big jets which emittes supermassive black holes has been detected in the nearby universe, but how these jets give off X-rays has remained a matter of debate.

In B3 0727+409, it appears that the CMB is being boosted to X-ray wavelengths.

Aurora Simionescu at JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Studies (ISAS) who led the study, said.
“Because we are seeing this jet when the universe was less than three billion years old, the jet is about 150 times brighter in X-rays than it would be in the nearby Universe,”
Electrons in black hole jets usually emit strongly at radio wavelengths, so typically these systems are found using radio observations.

The discovery of the jet in B3 0727+409 is special because so far almost no radio signal has been detected from this object while it is easily seen in the X-ray image.

“Supermassive black hole activity, including the launching of jets, may be different in the early Universe than what we see later on,” noted study co-author Teddy Cheung of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

By researching more, about these jets, scientists can start to grasp how the properties of supermassive black holes might change over billions of years.

The results were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.(IANS)

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Scientists Create Map of Wind Circulation in the Upper Atmosphere of Mars

Scientists map winds in Mars' upper atmosphere for first time

The new map of Mars winds helps scientists to better understand the workings of the Martian climate. (Representational image). Pixabay

Using data from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, researchers have created the first-ever map of wind circulation in the upper atmosphere of Mars.

The new map of Mars winds helps scientists to better understand the workings of the Martian climate, giving them a more accurate picture of its ancient past and its ongoing evolution.

“The observed global circulation provides critical inputs needed to constrain global atmospheric models,” said Mehdi Benna of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“These are the same models that are used to extrapolate the state of the Martian climate into the distant past,” added Benna in the first paper published in the journal Science.

MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission) celebrated the five-year anniversary of its entrance into orbit around Mars on September 21.

Mission Mars
The winds observed in the Martian upper atmosphere are sometimes similar to what we see in global model simulations. (Representational image). Pixabay

The primary scientific goal of the mission is to study what is left of Mars’ atmosphere to determine how, in the distant past, an ocean-covered and potentially habitable Mars became the dry and desolate place it is today.

“The winds observed in the Martian upper atmosphere are sometimes similar to what we see in global model simulations, but other times can be quite different,” said Kali Roeten of University of Michigan.

“These winds can also be highly variable on the timescale of hours, yet in other cases, are consistent throughout the observation period, said Roeten in the second paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets.

Upper atmospheric winds on Earth have already been mapped in detail.

Winds drive a series of processes in the atmosphere that can affect the propagation of radio waves, which are crucial for communications purposes for those on the surface, and the prediction of paths satellites will take in their orbit around Earth.

Mapping Martian winds, therefore, is a crucial step towards understanding characteristics of extraterrestrial atmospheres beyond what we know about processes on Earth.

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The upper atmospheric winds on both Earth and Mars are in the planets’ respective thermospheres, which are areas where temperature increases with height.

This discovery was the first detection of topography-induced gravity wave ripples in the thermosphere of any planet, even Earth. (IANS)