Monday December 10, 2018

NASA’s Chandra observatory spots oldest light in universe

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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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NASA’s InSight Captures The Sound Of The Martian Wind

InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26.

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InSight, Mars, NASA, Martian Wind
This Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 photo made available by NASA shows a view from the arm-mounted camera on the InSight Mars lander. The spacecraft arrived on the planet on Nov. 26. VOA

NASA’s new Mars lander has captured the first sounds of the “really unworldly” Martian wind.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released audio clips of the alien wind Friday. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by the InSight lander during its first week of operations at Mars.

The wind is estimated to be blowing 10 mph to 15 mph (16 kph to 24 kph). These are the first sounds from Mars that are detectable by human ears, according to the researchers.

“Reminds me of sitting outside on a windy summer afternoon … In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars,” Cornell University’s Don Banfield told reporters.

NASA, Insight, Martian Wind
NASA’s InSight spacecraft, destined for the Elysium Planitia region in Mars’ northern hemisphere, undergoes launch preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. VOA

Scientists involved in the project agree the martian wind has an otherworldly quality to it.

Thomas Pike of Imperial College London said the rumbling is “rather different to anything that we’ve experienced on Earth, and I think it just gives us another way of thinking about how far away we are getting these signals.”

The noise is of the wind blowing against InSight’s solar panels and the resulting vibration of the entire spacecraft. The sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that’s part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft.

The low frequencies are a result of Mars’ thin air density and even more so the seismometer itself — it’s meant to detect underground seismic waves, well below the threshold of human hearing. The seismometer will be moved to the Martian surface in the coming weeks; until then, the team plans to record more wind noise.

NASA, Insight, Martian Wind
This is an illustration showing a simulated view of NASA’s InSight lander about to land on the surface of Mars. This view shows the underside of the spacecraft. VOA

The 1976 Viking landers on Mars picked up spacecraft shaking caused by wind, but it would be a stretch to consider it sound, said InSight’s lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, of JPL in Pasadena, California.

Also Read: NASA’s InSight Lands Safely On Mars

The “really unworldly” sounds from InSight, meanwhile, have Banerdt imaging he’s “on a planet that’s in some ways like the Earth, but in some ways really alien.”

InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26.

“We’re all still on a high from the landing last week … and here we are less than two weeks after landing, and we’ve already got some amazing new science,” said NASA’s Lori Glaze, acting director of planetary science. “It’s cool, it’s fun.” (VOA)