Author Topic: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates  (Read 63819 times)

Offline robertross

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #20 on: 01/15/2010 06:03 PM »
Great news! Thanks.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #21 on: 01/19/2010 09:31 PM »
Herschel readies itself for the Orion Nebula
 
19 January 2010
ESA's Herschel observatory is back to full operation following the reactivation of its HiFi instrument. HiFi, having been offline for 160 days while engineers investigated an unexpected problem in the electronic system, is now perfectly placed to resume its study of forming stars and planets.

[corrected]
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMWIOOJH4G_index_0.html

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #22 on: 03/17/2010 09:17 AM »
Planck sees tapestry of cold dust

17 March 2010
Giant filaments of cold dust stretching through our Galaxy are revealed in a new image from ESA Planck satellite. Analysing these structures could help to determine the forces that shape our Galaxy and trigger star formation.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Planck/SEMMN9CKP6G_0.html

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #23 on: 03/17/2010 09:04 PM »
Image Advisory: 2010-087                                                                 March 17, 2010

Planck Mission Images Galactic Web of Cold Dust

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-087&cid=release_2010-087

Tendrils of the coldest stuff in our galaxy can be seen in a new, large image from Planck, a mission surveying the whole sky to learn more about the birth of our universe.

Planck, a European Space Agency-led mission with important participation from NASA, launched into space in May 2009 from Kourou, French Guiana. The space telescope has almost finished its first of at least four separate scans of the entire sky, a voluminous task that will be completed in early 2012.

The new image, available online at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/planck/pia12964.html, highlights a swath of our Milky Way galaxy occupying about one-thirteenth of the entire sky. It shows the bright band of our galaxy's spiral disk amidst swirling clouds where gas and dust mix together and, sometimes, ignite to form new stars. The data were taken in the so-called far-infrared portion of the light spectrum, using two of nine different frequencies available on Planck.

"We've got huge amounts of data streaming down from space," said Ulf Israelsson, the NASA project manager for the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The intricate process of sorting through all of it has begun."

The mission's primary objective is to map the cosmic microwave background -- relic radiation left over from the Big Bang that created our universe about 13.7 billion years ago.  Planck's state-of-the-art technology will provide the most detailed information yet about the size, mass, age, geometry, composition and fate of the universe.

In addition to cosmological questions like these, the mission will address such astronomy topics as star formation and galactic structure. Its observations will be used in synergy with data from other missions, such as the Herschel Space Observatory, another ESA mission with important NASA participation, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

"Planck is the first big cosmology mission that will also have a large impact on our understanding of our galaxy, the Milky Way," said Charles Lawrence, the mission's NASA project scientist at JPL. "We can see the cold dust and gas that permeate our galaxy on very large scales, while other missions like Herschel can zoom in to see the detail."

Planck is scheduled to release a first batch of astronomy data, called the Early Release Compact Source Catalog, in Jan. 2011. Cosmology results on the first two years' worth of data are expected to be released in Dec. 2012.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission, with significant participation from NASA. NASA's Planck Project Office is based at JPL. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck's science instruments. European, Canadian, U.S. and NASA Planck scientists will work together to analyze the Planck data. More information

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #24 on: 04/12/2010 10:14 PM »
News release: 2010-122                                                                     April 12, 2010

Herschel Reveals Ripening Stars Near Rosette Nebula

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-122&cid=release_2010-122

The Herschel Space Observatory has uncovered a cosmic garden of budding stars, each expected to grow to 10 times the mass of our sun.

The new image can be seen online at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/herschel/hersch20100412a.html. It was taken using infrared light by Herschel, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.

"Herschel can see through cold thickets of dust to where big, baby stars are forming," said Paul Goldsmith, the NASA project scientist for the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The image shows most of the cloud associated with the Rosette nebula, located about 5,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. The region contains a family of growing stars, with the oldest and most massive members in the center of the nebula, and younger and less massive generations located farther out in the associated cloud. The nebula's cluster of the most massive stars, located beyond the right edge of the picture, is responsible for hollowing out the cavity. There's enough dust and gas in the entire Rosette cloud to make about 10,000 suns.

The large, embryonic stars uncovered by Herschel are thought to be a younger generation. They are located inside the tips of pillars that appear to branch out from thicker cloud material. The pillars were, in fact, excavated by the nebula's massive star cluster. Winds and radiation from those stars pushed less dense material away from the pillars, and probably triggered the birth of the big stars inside the finger-like structures. In fact, the pillars point to the location of the massive nebula stars.

The intermediate-mass stellar embryos, each a couple of times as massive as the sun, are located in the redder regions of the image. The small spots near the center of the image are lower-mass embryonic stars, similar in mass to the sun.

Astronomers study regions like the Rosette not only to learn how stars form in our Milky Way, but also to get a better idea of what's going on in distant galaxies. When astronomers look at faraway galaxies, they are seeing light from regions that are bursting with massive stars. In order to compare our galaxy to distant ones, it is therefore important to understand high-mass star formation.

Herschel collects the infrared light from dust. The infrared light is color-coded as follows: light with a wavelength of 70 microns is blue; 160-micron light is green; and 250-micron light is red. The observations were made with Herschel's Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver instruments.

The principal investigator of this research is Frédérique Motte of the French National Center of Scientific Research and Atomic and Alternative Energies Center, Paris-Saclay, France (see http://hobys-herschel.cea.fr ). Motte was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by a consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. NASA's Herschel Project Office is based at JPL. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech in Pasadena, supports the U.S. astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information is online at http://www.herschel.caltech.edu , http://www.nasa.gov/herschel and http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/index.html .

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #25 on: 04/12/2010 10:20 PM »
Baby stars in the Rosette cloud

12 April 2010
Herschel's latest image reveals the formation of previously unseen large stars, each one up to ten times the mass of our Sun. These are the stars that will influence where and how the next generation of stars are formed. The image is a new release of 'OSHI', ESA's Online Showcase of Herschel Images.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMWQ59MT7G_index_0.html

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #26 on: 04/26/2010 09:23 PM »
Feature                                                                           April 26, 2010

Planck Sees a Cold and Stormy Orion

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-139&cid=release_2010-139

The big hunter in the sky is seen in a new light by Planck, a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA participation. The long-wavelength image shows most of the constellation Orion, highlighting turbid clouds of cold material, where new stars are being stirred into existence.

The Planck mission is busy surveying the whole sky at longer wavelengths of light than we can see with our eyes, ranging from infrared to even longer-wavelength microwaves. It is collecting ancient light, from the very beginning of time, to learn more about the birth and fate of our universe. In the process, the mission is gathering data on our Milky Way galaxy that astronomers are using to see through cold pools of gas and dust, which block visible-light views of star formation.

The new image is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/planck/planckorion20100426.html.  It shows one such region in our Milky Way, where stars are actively bursting to life. The much-photographed Orion nebula is the bright spot to the lower center. The bright spot to the right of center is around the Horsehead Nebula, so called because at high magnifications a pillar of dust resembles a horse's head. The whole view covers a square patch of sky equivalent to 26 by 26 moons.

"Because Planck is mapping the whole sky, we can capture mosaics of huge regions of the Milky Way," said Charles Lawrence, the NASA project scientist for Planck at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We are seeing the coldest material in star-forming regions, where stars are at the very earliest stages of formation."

The giant red arc of Barnard's Loop is thought to be the blast wave from a star that blew up inside the region about two million years ago. The bubble it created is now about 300 light-years across.

The picture shows light resulting from two different types of radiation. At the lowest frequencies, Planck primarily maps emission from ionized gas heated by newly formed hot stars. At higher frequencies, Planck maps the meager heat emitted by extremely cold dust. This can reveal the coldest cores in the clouds, which are approaching the final stages of collapse, before they are reborn as full-fledged stars.

Another new image from Planck shows a similar, yet less vigorous star-forming area called Perseus. It is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/planck/planckperseus20100426.html.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission, with significant participation from NASA. NASA's Planck Project Office is based at JPL. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck's science instruments. European, Canadian, U.S. and NASA Planck scientists will work together to analyze the Planck data. More information is online at http://www.nasa.gov/planck and http://www.esa.int/planck .


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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #27 on: 04/26/2010 09:24 PM »
26 April 2010 - New images from ESA’s Planck space observatory reveal the forces driving star formation and give astronomers a way to understand the complex physics that shape the dust and gas in our Galaxy.

Full story:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM0FVF098G_index_0.html

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #28 on: 05/05/2010 08:37 AM »
Paris, 5 May 2010

Webcast: Herschel Results Media Event live from ESA/ESTEC, 6 May 12:00-13:40 CEST
 
Watch a webcast of the Herschel First Results Media Day on 6 May starting at 12:00 CEST. The programme features live coverage of the 'First Results' presentations by ESA's Director of Science and Robotic Exploration and Herschel scientists.

The event will take place at Space Expo, at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, The Netherlands and on http://www.esa.int/

More information including programme schedule here: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMBQ1HMI8G_index_0.html

Note: Shortly after the end of the live webcast, the event will be available as video-on-demand together with all presentations

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #29 on: 05/11/2010 08:52 PM »
Herschel finds a hole in space
 
11 May 2010
ESA's Herschel infrared space telescope has made an unexpected discovery: a hole in space. The hole has provided astronomers with a surprising glimpse into the end of the star-forming process.

http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMFEAKPO8G_index_0.html

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #30 on: 05/11/2010 08:53 PM »
News release: 2010-155                                                                      May 11, 2010

Herschel Finds a Hole in Space

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-155&cid=release_2010-155

The Herschel Space Observatory has made an unexpected discovery: a gaping hole in the clouds surrounding a batch of young stars. The hole has provided astronomers with a surprising glimpse into the end of the star-forming process.

Stars are born hidden in dense clouds of dust and gas, which can now be studied in remarkable detail with Herschel, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation. Although jets and winds of gas have been seen streaming from young stars in the past, it has always been a mystery exactly how a star uses the jets to blow away its surroundings and emerge from its birth cloud. For the first time, Herschel may be seeing an unexpected step in this process.

A cloud of bright reflective gas known to astronomers as NGC 1999 sits next to a black patch of sky. For most of the 20th century, such black patches were known to be dense clouds of dust and gas that block light from passing through.

When Herschel looked in its direction to study nearby young stars, astronomers were surprised to see the cloud continued to look black, which shouldn't have been the case. Herschel's infrared eyes are designed to see into such clouds. Either the cloud was immensely dense or something was wrong.

Investigating further using ground-based telescopes, astronomers found the same story no matter how they looked: this patch looks black not because it is a dense pocket of gas but because it is truly empty. Something has blown a hole right through the cloud.

"No one has ever seen a hole like this," says Tom Megeath of the University of Toledo, Ohio, the principal investigator of the research. "It's as surprising as knowing you have worms tunneling under your lawn, but finding one morning that they have created a huge, yawning pit."

The astronomers think that the hole must have been opened when the narrow jets of gas from some of the young stars in the region punctured the sheet of dust and gas that forms NGC 1999. The powerful radiation from a nearby adolescent star may also have helped to clear the hole. Whatever the precise chain of events, it could be an important glimpse into the way newborn stars rip apart their birth clouds.

Other members of the research team include Thomas Stanke of the European Southern Observatory, Germany; Amy Stutz of the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany, and the Steward Observatory, Tucson; John Tobin of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Lori Allen of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson; Ali Babar of the NASA Herschel Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; and Will Fischer and Erin Kryukova, University of Toledo, Ohio.

Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. NASA's Herschel Project Office is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, supports the United States astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information is online at http://www.herschel.caltech.edu , http://www.nasa.gov/herschel and http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/index.html .



- end -

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #31 on: 07/05/2010 08:30 AM »
Paris, 02 July

Planck unveils the Universe - now and then

ESA PR 15-2010: ESA's Planck mission has delivered its first all-sky image. It not only provides
new insight into the way stars and galaxies form but also tells us how the
Universe itself came to life after the Big Bang.
"This is the moment that Planck was conceived for," says ESA Director of Science
and Robotic Exploration, David Southwood. "We're not giving the answer. We
are opening the door to an Eldorado where scientists can seek the nuggets that
will lead to deeper understanding of how our Universe came to be and how
it works now. The image itself and its remarkable quality is a tribute to the
engineers who built and have operated Planck. Now the scientific harvest must
begin."
From the closest portions of the Milky Way to the furthest reaches of space and
time, the new all-sky Planck image is an extraordinary treasure chest of new data
for astronomers.
The main disc of our Galaxy runs across the centre of the image. Immediately
striking are the streamers of cold dust reaching above and below the Milky Way.
This galactic web is where new stars are being formed, and Planck has found
many locations where individual stars are edging toward birth or just beginning
their cycle of development.
Less spectacular but perhaps more intriguing is the mottled backdrop at the top
and bottom. This is the 'cosmic microwave background radiation' (CMBR). It
is the oldest light in the Universe, the remains of the fireball out of which our
Universe sprang into existence 13.7 billion years ago.
While the Milky Way shows us what the local Universe looks like now, those
The microwave pattern is the cosmic blueprint from which today's clusters and
superclusters of galaxies were built. The different colours represent minute
differences in the temperature and density of matter across the sky. Somehow
these small irregularities evolved into denser regions that became the galaxies of
today.
The CMBR covers the entire sky but most of it is hidden in this image by the
Milky Way's emission, which must be digitally removed from the final data in
order to see the microwave background in its entirety.
When this work is completed, Planck will show us the most precise picture of
the microwave background ever obtained. The big question will be whether the
data will reveal the cosmic signature of the primordial period called inflation.
This era is postulated to have taken place just after the Big Bang and resulted
in the Universe expanding enormously in size over an extremely short period.
Planck continues to map the Universe. By the end of its mission in 2012, it will
have completed four all-sky scans. The first full data release of the CMBR is
planned for 2012. Before then, the catalogue containing individual objects in our
Galaxy and whole distant galaxies will be released in January 2011.
"This image is just a glimpse of what Planck will ultimately see," says Jan
Tauber, ESA's Planck Project Scientist.

Contacts:
Jan Tauber, ESA Planck Project Scientist
Science and Robotic Exploration Directorate, ESA, The Netherlands

Offline Space Pete

Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #32 on: 07/05/2010 03:12 PM »
Wow - take a look at the image in this article! Truly amazing! :o

BBC News: "Planck telescope reveals ancient cosmic light".
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10501154.stm

-----
EDIT:

Here's a Hi-res version of the amazing image!
www.esa.int/images/PLANCK_FSM_03_Black.jpg
« Last Edit: 07/05/2010 04:22 PM by Space Pete »
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Space Pete

Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #33 on: 07/18/2010 12:30 PM »
Astronomy and Astrophysics have published Herschel's first science highlights.
www.aanda.org/index.php?option=com_toc&url=/articles/aa/abs/2010/10/contents/contents.html
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Space Pete

Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #34 on: 09/01/2010 06:30 PM »
JPL: "Herschel Finds Water in a Cosmic Desert".

The Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that ultraviolet starlight is the key ingredient for making water in space. It is the only explanation for why a dying star is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of hot water vapor. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important participation from NASA.

Every recipe needs a secret ingredient. When astronomers discovered an unexpected cloud of water vapor around the old star IRC+10216 using NASA's Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite in 2001, they immediately began searching for the source. Stars like IRC+10216 are known as carbon stars and are thought not to make much water. Initially they suspected the star's heat must be evaporating comets or even dwarf planets to produce the water.

Now, Herschel has revealed that the secret ingredient is ultraviolet light, because the water is too hot to have come from the destruction of icy celestial bodies.

"Models predict that there should be no water in the envelopes around stars like this, so astronomers were puzzled about how it got there," said Paul Goldsmith, the NASA project scientist for Herschel at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "These Herschel observations confirm the surprising presence of water vapor in what we thought was an astronomical desert."

This research, which was led by Leen Decin of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, appears in the Sept. 2 issue of Nature.

Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. NASA's Herschel Project Office is based at JPL. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, supports the United States astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information is online at www.herschel.caltech.edu, www.nasa.gov/herschel and www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/index.html.

----------

BBC News: "Old star wallows in 'steam bath'".
« Last Edit: 09/02/2010 03:24 PM by Space Pete »
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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #35 on: 09/02/2010 10:00 AM »
Recipe for water: just add starlight
 
2 September 2010
ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that ultraviolet starlight is the key ingredient for making water in space. It is the only explanation for why a dying star is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of hot water vapour.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/SEMW76EODDG_0.html

Offline Space Pete

Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #36 on: 09/15/2010 08:55 PM »
Planck's first glimpse at galaxy clusters and a new supercluster.

Surveying the microwave sky, Planck has obtained its very first images of galaxy clusters, amongst the largest objects in the Universe, by means of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, a characteristic signature they imprint on the Cosmic Microwave Background. Joining forces in a fruitful collaboration between ESA missions, XMM-Newton followed up Planck's detections and revealed that one of them is a previously unknown supercluster of galaxies.

Matter in the Universe is distributed in a highly clustered fashion; stars congregate in galaxies and galaxies clump together, forming enormous clusters surrounded by vast, empty spaces. Galaxy clusters can host up to a thousand galaxies and they are permeated by hot gas that shines brightly in X-rays; furthermore, most of their mass consists of dark matter. On an even grander scale are the superclusters, large assemblies of galaxy groups and clusters, located at the intersections of sheets and filaments in the wispy cosmic web. As clusters and superclusters trace the distribution of both luminous and dark matter throughout the Universe, their observation is crucial to probe how cosmic structures formed and evolved.

Planck's primary goal is to capture the most ancient light of the cosmos, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), and for this purpose it boasts a superb set of nine frequency channels, spanning the spectral range from 30 to 857 GHz. Such a broad spectral coverage is not only instrumental in removing all sources of contamination from the CMB, in order to deliver what will be the sharpest image of the early Universe ever achieved - it also makes Planck an excellent hunter of galaxy clusters.

In fact, the nine frequency channels were carefully chosen by the Planck team with a particular phenomenon, known as the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect (SZE), very much in mind. This effect describes the change of energy experienced by CMB photons when they encounter a galaxy cluster as they travel towards us, in the process imprinting a distinctive signature on the CMB itself. Hence, the SZE represents a unique tool to detect galaxy clusters, even at high redshift.

"As the fossil photons from the Big Bang cross the Universe, they interact with the matter that they encounter: when travelling through a galaxy cluster, for example, the CMB photons scatter off free electrons present in the hot gas that fills the cluster," explains Nabila Aghanim of the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay, France, a leading member of the group of Planck scientists investigating SZE clusters and secondary anisotropies. "These collisions redistribute the frequencies of photons in a particular way that enables us to isolate the intervening cluster from the CMB signal."

Since the hot electrons in the cluster are much more energetic than the CMB photons, interactions between the two species typically result in the photons being scattered to higher energies. This means that, when looking at the CMB in the direction of a galaxy cluster, one observes a deficit, with respect to the average CMB signal, of low-energy photons and a surplus of more energetic ones. The threshold frequency, separating deficit and surplus, corresponds to 217 GHz. Planck's channels probe the spectrum both below and above this threshold, with one of them centred exactly on 217 GHz.

"With its unprecedented spectral coverage, Planck can detect both the positive and the negative signal of galaxy clusters, and is thus an exceptional tool to identify the locations of these enormous structures over the entire sky, and to measure their physical characteristics," says Jan Tauber, Planck Project Scientist, commenting on the first observations of the SZE in the Planck frequency bands. These first images include some clusters that are well known to astronomers, such as Coma, a very hot and nearby cluster extending over more than two degrees in the sky, and Abell 2319, another nearby cluster.

Planck's design, optimised for detecting the SZE signal from clusters scattered throughout the sky, is however not suited for in-depth investigations— its resolution is simply not sufficient to discern much detail for most of them, especially any newly discovered, high-redshift ones. Observations at other wavelengths are necessary to pin down the details of these massive structures. Since the hot gas in galaxy clusters emits copious amounts of X-rays, observations in this spectral band prove particularly useful as they probe the very same component responsible for producing the SZE.

In order to confirm their identity, Planck's cluster candidates are compared with existing catalogues of clusters, like the ROSAT all-sky X-ray catalogue of clusters. When the Planck candidates do not correspond to any known structure, and after careful quality checks of the SZ signal, they may become the target of brand new, follow-up observations with ESA's X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton.

"With its exceptional sensitivity, XMM-Newton is the ideal partner to follow-up the sources detected by Planck via the SZE," says Monique Arnaud, from the Service d'Astrophysique, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, France, who leads the Planck group following up sources with XMM-Newton. It is the special synergy between these two ESA missions that has allowed astronomers to use snapshot XMM-Newton observations to confirm that Planck's first detections are indeed clusters, and has revealed an even larger structure: a supercluster of galaxies.

"The XMM-Newton observations have shown that one of the candidate clusters is in fact a supercluster composed of at least three individual, massive clusters of galaxies, which Planck alone could not have resolved," explains Arnaud.

"The synergy between the two missions has proved extremely successful, and XMM-Newton will continue following up Planck detections in order to confirm the nature of the cluster candidates," says Norbert Schartel, XMM-Newton Project Scientist. In the future, XMM-Newton may conduct further, deeper observations of some of these clusters in order to measure their properties in greater detail.

"This is the first time that a supercluster has been discovered via the SZE," adds Aghanim. "This important discovery opens a brand new window on superclusters, one which complements the observations of the individual galaxies therein."

The SZ signal from the newly discovered supercluster arises from the sum of the signal from the three individual clusters, with a possible additional contribution from an inter-cluster filamentary structure. This provides important clues about the distribution of gas on very large scales which is, in turn, crucial also for tracing the underlying distribution of dark matter.

"These first detections, revealing both previously known clusters and brand new ones, show that Planck is working extremely well," comments Tauber. "Of course, this is only a preview of the numerous discoveries that will surely come along during the lifetime of the mission."

Notes for editors.

ESA’s Planck mission maps the sky in nine frequencies using two state-of-the-art instruments, designed to produce high-sensitivity, multi-frequency measurements of the diffuse sky radiation: the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) includes the frequency bands 100 - 857 GHz, and the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) includes the frequency bands 30 - 70 GHz.

The first Planck all-sky survey began in mid-August 2009 and was completed in June 2010. Planck will continue to gather data until the end of 2011, during which time it will complete over four all-sky scans.

The Planck team is currently analysing the data from the first all-sky survey to identify both known and new galaxy clusters for the early Sunyaev-Zel'dovich catalogue, which will be released in January of 2011 as part of the Early Release Compact Source Catalogue. Companion scientific papers will accompany the catalogue.

The initial programme of follow-up observations using XMM-Newton, undertaken in Director's Discretionary Time, has the main goal of confirming the nature of a selected set of cluster candidates detected by Planck via the SZE.

Source (with accompanying images).
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #37 on: 09/22/2010 10:44 PM »
HERSCHEL MARS OBSERVATIONS: FIRST RESULTS.

The Herschel Space Observatory is providing the first exciting results on Mars, from its guaranteed-time key program ‘Water and related chemistry in the Solar System'. An accurate globally-averaged temperature profile of the Martian atmosphere may cause scientists to revise their models about atmospheric circulation on Mars. The first sub-millimeter observation of molecular oxygen on the planet may lead to a completely new picture of the oxygen distribution in the Martian atmosphere. These are only a few of the new discoveries that will be presented by Dr. Paul Hartogh at the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome, on Monday 20th September.

The Herschel Space Observatory (HSO) is a space-borne far-infrared observation facility of the European Space Agency, launched on 14 May 2009. The “Water and related chemistry in the Solar System” project, was conceived with the sole aim to determine the origin, evolution, and distribution of water in Mars, the outer planets, Titan, Enceladus and the comets.

“Water vapor plays a key role in the Martian atmospheric chemistry and physics,” says Dr. Hartogh of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany. Herschel has observed Mars with its three instruments, the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far
Infrared (HIFI), the Photodetector Array Camera & Spectrometer, and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE).

SPIRE has provided the first continuous spectrum of the Martian atmosphere in the spectral range in the far-IR/sub-mm, as well as, the first complete set of water vapor and carbon monoxide (CO) content in this range. “SPIRE was designed for very faint sources, however unexpectedly it could even provide high quality data from the brightest far infrared object Herschel observed in the solar system,” says Dr. Hartogh.

HIFI has observed Mars between 11-16 April 2010. Only a small part of the data has been analyzed up to now, but it already provided some interesting results: A globally averaged temperature profile has been retrieved from the first simultaneous observations of two carbon monoxide isotopes. “The best fit of the Martian atmospheric model to these observations shows important differences compared to what we were predicting: between 40 and 80 km from the ground, the atmosphere appears to be more than 10 K colder than predicted,” says Dr. Hartogh.

Scientists also report on the first sub-mm detection of O2 on Mars, with an observational accuracy at least 10 times better than was done before. “Our sub-mm observations provide for the first time a vertical profile of molecular oxygen in the Martian atmosphere. We found that, contrary to the general assumption of a constant O2  content independently of altitude, the Martian atmosphere is richer in oxygen near the ground and then O2 decreases rapidly with altitude,” says Dr. Hartogh. If this profile is confirmed it may imply different oxygen production and loss processes not considered before, leading to new insights about the Martian atmosphere. “Obviously, much work still needs to be done on the vertical profile of O2 before we draw such conclusions,” he adds cautiously.

Herschel will continue exploring our solar system in the next 2–3 years of its planned mission duration. “We hope that surprises and major breakthroughs in our knowledge will keep coming in, and that at the end we will have gained a unified picture of the origin and evolution of water in the Solar System objects,” says Dr. Hartogh.


www.europlanet-eu.org/outreach/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=303&Itemid=1
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Online jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #38 on: 11/04/2010 07:23 PM »
News release: 2010-372                                                                     Nov. 04, 2010

Herschel's Hidden Talent: Digging Up Magnified Galaxies

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-372&cid=release_2010-372

PASADENA, Calif. -- It turns out the Herschel Space Observatory has a trick up its sleeve. The telescope, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions, has proven to be excellent at finding magnified, faraway galaxies. Like little kids probing patches of dirt for insects, astronomers can use these new cosmic magnifying lenses to study galaxies that are hidden in dust.

"I was surprised to learn that Herschel is so good at finding these cosmic lenses," said Asantha Cooray of the University of California, Irvine. "Locating new lenses is an arduous task that involves slogging through tons of data. With Herschel, we can find a lot of them much more efficiently." Cooray is a co-author of a paper about the discovery, appearing in the Nov. 5 issue of the journal Science. The lead author is Mattia Negrello of the Open University in the United Kingdom.

A cosmic magnifying lens occurs when a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies bends light from a more distant galaxy into a warped and magnified image. Sometimes, a galaxy is so warped that it appears as a ring -- an object known as an Einstein ring after Albert Einstein who first predicted the phenomenon, referred to as gravitational lensing. The effect is similar to what happens when you look through the bottom of a soda bottle or into a funhouse mirror.

These lenses are incredibly powerful tools for studying the properties of distant galaxies as well as the mysterious stuff -- dark matter and dark energy -- that makes up a whopping 96 percent of our universe (see http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-272 ).

"With these lenses, we can do cosmology and study galaxies that are too distant and faint to be seen otherwise," said Cooray.

Cooray and a host of international researchers made the initial discovery using Herschel. Launched in May 2009, this space mission is designed to see longer-wavelength light than that we see with our eyes -- light in the far-infrared and submillimeter portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Scanning Herschel images of thousands of galaxies, the researchers noticed five never-before-seen objects that jumped out as exceptionally bright.

At that time, the galaxies were suspected of being magnified by cosmic lenses, but careful and extensive follow-up observations were required. Numerous ground-based telescopes around the world participated in the campaign, including the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, and three telescopes in Hawaii: the W.M. Keck Observatory, the California Institute of Technology's Submillimeter Observatory, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Submillimeter Array.

The results showed that all five of the bright galaxies were indeed being magnified by foreground galaxies. The galaxies are really far away -- they are being viewed at a time when the universe was only two to four billion years old, less than a third of its current age.

The Herschel astronomers suspect that they are just scratching the surface of a much larger population of magnified galaxies to be uncovered. The images studied so far make up just two percent of the entire planned survey, a program called the Herschel Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey, or Herschel-ATLAS.

"The fact that this Herschel team saw five lensed galaxies is very exciting," said Paul Goldsmith, the U.S. project scientist for Herschel at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "This means that we can probably pick out hundreds of new lensed galaxies in the Herschel data."

The five galaxies are young and bursting with dusty, new stars. The dust is so thick, the galaxies cannot be seen at all with visible-light telescopes. Herschel can see the faint warmth of the dust, however, because it glows at far-infrared and submillimeter wavelengths. Because the galaxies are being magnified, astronomers can now dig deeper into these dusty, exotic places and learn more about what makes them tick.

Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. NASA's Herschel Project Office is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, supports the U.S. astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information and images are online at http://www.herschel.caltech.edu , http://www.nasa.gov/herschel and http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/index.html.

Whitney Clavin 818-354-4673
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
whitney.clavin@jpl.nasa.gov




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Re: ESA - Herschel and Planck updates
« Reply #39 on: 01/04/2011 02:46 PM »
Press Release
N°01-2011

Paris, 4 January 2011

Call for Media: briefing on first results from ESA's Planck mission

Media representatives are invited to a briefing on the occasion of the release of the first data and scientific results from ESA's Planck mission.
 
The media briefing will take place at the Planétarium, Cité des Sciences, Paris, France on 11 January from 12:00 to 13:30 CET. Doors open at 11:45 CET.

Scientists from ESA and several European astronomy institutes will present the first data and results from ESA's Planck mission. The Early Release Compact Source Catalogue contains thousands of sources detected by Planck from radio to far-infrared wavelengths, ranging from dense, cold clouds embedded in nearby star-forming regions to distant, supermassive clusters of galaxies.

Planck's goal is to make the most accurate measurements to date of the 'cosmic microwave background radiation', a rippling glow covering the whole sky, left over from a time just 380 000 years after the Big Bang created the expanding Universe. With these measurements, we expect to be able to learn much about the birth, early evolution and ultimate fate of the Universe.

However, there are many other objects in the Universe giving out light at the same wavelengths, including cold dust, hot gas and electrons swirling in magnetic fields. All of this emission must be identified and removed before Planck can achieve its ultimate goal of measuring the cosmic microwave background with unprecedented sensitivity and sharpness. The 11 January release of the catalogue is an important step by the Planck scientists in this direction.

Fortunately, this 'contamination' is not just thrown away: it is a scientific treasure trove for astronomers across the world to uncover in the coming years, as we shall learn at this media briefing.

Early results gleaned from the catalogue include the first imaging of galaxies clustering in the distant Universe, seen through subtle variations in the cosmic infrared background; the detection of the coldest objects in our Milky Way; and the identification and quantification of sources of microwave emission spread across our own Milky Way -so far only suspected.

For more detailed information on the Planck mission:
http://www.esa.int/planck
http://sci.esa.int/planck


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