ALMA Resolves Atomic Carbon

Top left we have the Hubble image of NGC 6302, bottom left we have the emission spectrum of Carbon, and to the right we have a  composite image of the ALMA data overlaying the Hubble image of NGC 6302.

Top left we have the Hubble image of NGC 6302, bottom left we have the emission spectrum of Carbon, and to the right we have a composite image of the ALMA data overlaying the Hubble image of NGC 6302.

 

Hello fellow astrogeeks,

We have some very exciting news, despite the recent Labour dispute at ALMA (Atacama Large millimetre/sub-millimetre Array), the data that has been obtained thus far presents the first high resolution resolvement of Carbon atoms around the planetary nebular NGC 6302; the 500GHz frequency band where the line emission peak of atomic Carbon lies had only been previously resolved to 15 arcseconds with single dish interferometers, ALMA can resolve to 3.5 arcseconds.

That’s cool, but err… What does this all mean?

Well, this is the first step into observing the evolutionary processes at different points in a star’s life, thanks to the massive array in collaboration with the Band 8 antennae fitted to each dish we can now resolve and spatially map the location of specific atomic species to a greater accuracy than before, this will provide more precise determinations of the velocities of gas clouds, understand what mechanisms are at work during stellar formation, better understand higher mass stars… The list is never ending and represents an exciting time in observational astronomy.

Mapping this carbon to the Hubble image of the nebula NGC 6302 shows us the scope of the data and puts it in context for those not familiar with radio astronomy, it’s a brilliant portrayal on how far the technology in science has come and how it’s quickly advancing man-kind’s understanding of the Universe, in the hope of harnessing the understanding of these new intuitive technologies along the path of discovery.

That’s all for now astrogeeks and keep looking up,

TheObsAstro

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/~/link.aspx?_id=16940f89-aac3-4854-87a6-73c2317520c5&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+astronomy%2ForOJ+%28Astronomy.com+News+-+Presented+by+Astronomy+Magazine%29

Poor ALMA is all alone

ALMA 5km high with (not so) fresh air

Salutations fellow Astrogeeks,

Sad news this week as it comes to our attention that ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array) is now closed for business for the unforeseeable future, this comes from a recent labour dispute with the observatory workers performing strike action; this is the problem when Science and politics collide, no matter how big or small the problem. All astronomers that were present at the site have been ordered to return to their respective homes, however despite this there is still data analysis that can be performed ‘off-site’ from the so called ‘cycle 1’ phase; observations were made with half of the total array collecting area (33 dishes instead of the total 66).

ALMA, atop the very high and oxygen starving altitudes (5km) of the Atacama desert in northern Chile, is a massive radio array, which when finished will have a total of 66 working dishes acting as one massive dish. At this altitude the array can analyse incoming infrared radiation, as the air is thin enough to allow it to pass through into the atmosphere at this altitude, the massive array will allow us to resolve to a greater degree of detail than ever before when it’s at full operational capacity, even now running half of the array it’s already bringing back very valuable data.

So, it’s a frustrating point in time, as the strike comes close to the final stages of completing the array in its entirety, however despite this minor setback there is already some exciting data beaming from the array; hopefully helping us to gain a greater understanding the processes and mechanisms that help cause the more massive stars to be born, as well as to greater understand the formation and evolution of galaxies. Hopefully the ‘table discussions’ between the Union and the legal employer of the Chilean staff, Associated Universities Incorporated (AUI), can be settled and completion of the Array will continue, so it is finished by the end of the year.

Speak to you soon fellow astrogeeks,

TheObAstro

Source: http://www.nature.com/news/alma-observatory-halts-work-amid-labour-dispute-1.13612

Petition to the Open University for a Masters in Astrophysics/Astronomy

Robert_Hook_building_at_Open_University_Campus_in_Milton_Keynes,_spring_2013_(2) Hello fellow Astrogeeks and enthusiasts,

Sorry to bombard you with politics, but this is politics of the Sciencey, Physicisy kind, the Open University (the very University I study Astronomy at) teaches Astronomy and Physics to an undergraduate level, as well as this it has a lot of PhD research projects in Astronomy itself, despite the support the University gives to Astronomy, it is surprising and somewhat a sad shame that there is no postgraduate level Masters scheme.

Why is the Open University special in particular?

Well, it’s solely a part-time distance learning institution, that is every undergraduate and postgraduate (minus full-time PhD students) student studies from home, via the internet with a wealth of academic support from tutors and materials. It helps those who have family/money/health problems and can’t attend University full-time, and a distance learning postgraduate qualification in Astrophysics/Astronomy is something we should be crying out for. So I believe quite passionately in this.

How on earth could you do a practical project from a distance?

Well, it’s a lot easier with astronomy, the OU has a robotic telescope in Majorca called PIRATE, not only that but it has a planned robotic radio telescope in the works too.

Where do I sign for this megaly awesome idea?

Sign right here of course 🙂 http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-open-university-construct-a-mphys-msc-astrophysics-astronomy-degree-scheme

And if you can sign and pass on the link to genuinely interested people that’d be beyond brilliantly amazing from all of you shining stars, please leave a comment as well as to why you think it’s a good idea :-).

Speak to you soon Astrogeeks and thanks again for reading,

The ObsAstro