Thursday June 21, 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 Plans To Install An Instrument To Monitor Plant Water Use

The instrument, called ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometre Experiment on Space Station

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NASA Plans To Install An Instrument To Monitor Plant Water Use
NASA Plans To Install An Instrument To Monitor Plant Water Use, Flickr

NASA plans to install on the International Space Station (ISS) an instrument that will measure the temperature of plants from space, enabling researchers to determine plant water use and to study how drought conditions affect plant health.

The instrument, called ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometre Experiment on Space Station, will hitch a ride to the space station on a SpaceX cargo resupply mission scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 29, NASA said on Tuesday.

Plants draw in water from the soil, and as they are heated by the Sun, the water is released through pores on the plants’ leaves through a process called transpiration.

This cools the plant down, much as sweating does in humans. However, if there is not enough water available to the plants, they close their pores to conserve water, causing their temperatures to rise.

Plants use those same pores to take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis — the process they use to turn carbon dioxide and water into the sugar they use as food.

If they continue to experience insufficient water availability, or “water stress,” they eventually starve or overheat, and die.

The data from ECOSTRESS will show these changes in plants’ temperatures, providing insight into their health and water use while there is still time for water managers to correct agricultural water imbalances.

“When a plant is so stressed that it turns brown, its often too late for it to recover,” said Simon Hook, ECOSTRESS principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“But measuring the temperature of the plant lets you see that a plant is stressed before it reaches that point,” Hook said.

Space
Space, Pixabay

These temperature measurements are also considered an early indicator of potential droughts.

When plants in a given area start showing signs of water stress through elevated temperature, an agricultural drought is likely underway.

Having these data in advance gives the agricultural community a chance to prepare and/or respond accordingly, NASA said.

Also read: Woman Sues NASA Over Keeping Moon Dust Gifted to Her by Neil Armstrong

“ECOSTRESS will allow us to monitor rapid changes in crop stress at the field level, enabling earlier and more accurate estimates of how yields will be impacted,” said Martha Anderson, an ECOSTRESS science team member with the US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. (IANS)