vendredi 19 juin 2020

Crew Readies Satellite and Organizes Station

ISS - Expedition 63 Mission patch.

June 19, 2020

The International Space Station is getting ready to deploy another satellite while the Expedition 63 crew winds down the work week on logistics and space science.

Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Bob Behnken set up hardware today in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module that will deploy another Red-Eye satellite. The third and final Red-Eye microsatellite will be deployed outside Kibo to test satellite communications, flight computers and thermal management technologies.

Image above: NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken talk to mission controllers on the ground. Image Credit: NASA.

Cassidy then joined fellow NASA astronaut Doug Hurley transferring resupply racks from the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) into Japan’s HTV-9 space freighter. Behnken helped out as he moved gear from the PMM into the Unity module to make space for the rack swap work during the afternoon.

Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin changed out fuel bottles in the Combustion Integrated Rack this morning to continue the safe research of flames in microgravity. Then he moved on observing particle clouds for a plasma crystal study that seeks to increase fundamental knowledge and improve spacecraft designs.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

First-time Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner was photographing the Earth today documenting natural and man-made catastrophes. He also sampled the atmosphere in the Russian segment of the station before working on the Zvezda service module’s ventilation system.

Related links:

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Commercial Crew Program:

Kibo laboratory module:

Red-Eye satellite:

Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM):

HTV-9 space freighter:

Unity module:

Combustion Integrated Rack:

Plasma crystal study:

Natural and man-made catastrophes:

Zvezda service module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.


Space Station Science Highlights: Week of June 15 2020

ISS - Expedition 63 Mission patch.

June 19, 2020

Scientific investigations conducted aboard the International Space Station the week of June 15 included research on capillary flows in small devices and demonstrations of fluorescent imaging of plant and yeast proteins. The three NASA astronauts aboard the station, Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, also set up hardware and reviewed plans for two spacewalks planned to start at the end of the month.

Now in its 20th year of continuous human presence, the space station provides a platform for long-duration research in microgravity and for learning to live and work in space. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, once again launching astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil, increases the crew time available for science on the orbiting lab.

Image above: Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) is pictured behind the elbow of the Canadarm2 robotic arm while docked to the space station on May 25. The visiting vehicle brought up new science equipment, including the integrated Standard Imager for Microsatellites (iSIM) and the Confocal Space Microscope (COSMIC). Image Credit: NASA.

Here are details on some of the microgravity investigations currently taking place:

Putting fluid flows to work

Image above: Equipment for the Capillary Driven Microfluidics investigation, which studies how capillary flows in small devices in microgravity works. Image Credit: NASA.

Capillary forces are the interaction of a liquid with the solid sides of a narrow tube that serves to draw the fluid up the tube. These forces act even in the absence of gravity. Capillary Driven Microfluidics examines capillary flows in small devices in microgravity in order to improve understanding of how it works and can be used. Improved fluid control methods could advance development of better medical diagnostic tools. Some devices, for example, require separation of blood cells and plasma, which have different densities, and microgravity improves the efficiency of this separation. During the week, the crew installed hardware for the investigation and completed several initial runs.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Better imaging for life science research

Spectrum-001 tests hardware used to take images of fluorescent proteins in plants and yeast grown in Petri plates. This investigation is one of a number aboard the space station that require little or no crew involvement – crew members set up the hardware last week and now ground crews control lighting as well as carbon dioxide and ethylene levels in the chamber during the growth period and collect and transmit images to the ground. Image collection is a vital part of life science microgravity research using organisms grown in Petri plates. This demonstration should improve that capability and contribute to a better understanding of biological responses to the stresses of spaceflight.

A better diet for spaceflight

Image above: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy with photos of fresh food items. The Food Physiology investigation tracks daily food intake during the duration of a crew member’s flight to document the effects on an enhanced diet on the body’s adaptation to space. Image Credit: NASA.

Nutritional status, immune function and the gut microbiome are linked and can affect adaptation to spaceflight. The Integrated Impact of Diet on Human Immune Response, the Gut Microbiota, and Nutritional Status During Adaptation to Spaceflight (Food Physiology) documents the effects of dietary improvements on these factors. Researchers track daily food intake during the duration of a crew member’s flight and for several pre- and post-flight sessions and have weekly in-flight conferences to discuss diet with the crew members.

Image above: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy configures the Spectrum imager for testing of its capabilities to take images of fluorescent proteins in plants and yeast growing in Petri plates. Image collection is a vital part of life science microgravity research, and this demonstration should improve that capability and contribute to a better understanding of biological responses to the stresses of spaceflight. Image Credit: NASA.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

- Scientists are studying melting of materials in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF). Reactions of the raw materials melted to make glass and metals with the crucible or container that holds them can cause imperfections. To prevent these reactions, scientists use static electricity to cause the materials to levitate or float, which is much easier in microgravity than on Earth.

- Electrolytic Gas Evolution Under Microgravity (Electrolysis Measurement) examines the influence of gravity on electrolytic gas evolution. This process, which uses electrodes to pass an electric current through a substance and separate out gases in the form of bubbles, could be used in microfluidic devices to produce oxygen in spacecraft and future human habitations on the Moon and Mars.

- Hourglass, another JAXA investigation, examines the behavior under different gravity conditions of various granular materials that simulate regolith, a dust that covers the surface of planets and planetary-like bodies.

- Structure and Response of Spherical Diffusion Flames (s-Flame) studies the structure and dynamics of soot-free and sooty flames. Findings could contribute to development of engines with improved efficiency and reduced emissions on Earth. S-Flame is part of the Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME) project, a series of independent studies of gaseous flames performed in the station’s Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR).

Space to Ground: Alpha Guys: 06/19/2020

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Crew involvement:

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Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/John Love, Lead Increment Scientist Expedition 63.

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Black Hole Bounty Captured in the Center of the Milky Way

NASA - Chandra X-ray Observatory patch.

June 19, 2020

Astronomers have discovered evidence for thousands of black holes located near the center of our Milky Way galaxy using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

This black hole bounty consists of stellar-mass black holes, which typically weigh between five to 30 times the mass of our Sun. These newly identified black holes were found within three light-years — a relatively short distance on cosmic scales — of the supermassive black hole at our Galaxy's center known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*).

Theoretical studies of the dynamics of stars in galaxies have indicated that a large population of stellar mass black holes — as many as 20,000 — could drift inward over the eons and collect around Sgr A*. This recent analysis using Chandra data is the first observational evidence for such a black hole bounty.

Chandra X-ray Observatory. Animation Credits: NASA/CXC

A black hole by itself is invisible. However, a black hole — or neutron star — locked in close orbit with a star will pull gas from its companion (astronomers call these systems "X-ray binaries"). This material falls into a disk and heats up to millions of degrees and produces X-rays before disappearing into the black hole. Some of these X-ray binaries appear as point-like sources in the Chandra image.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory:

Image, Animation, Text,  Credits: NASA/Yvette Smith/Chandra X-Ray Observatory.


China's Chang'e-4 probe resumes work for 19th lunar day

CLEP - China Lunar Exploration Program logo.

June 19, 2020

Chang'e-4 lunar day 19 is underway. Yutu-2 awoke at 17:54 UTC June 14, with the lander following at 05:49 June 15. Yutu 2 will start with examining a nearby crater for potential impact melt glass. The spacecraft have now spent 529 days on the far side of the Moon.

Yutu 2 lunar rover

China's Chang'e-4 probe and Yutu-2 rover resumed work on Monday, Beijing time, after hibernating through the extreme cold of lunar night, according to the China National Space Administration.

Entering the 19th lunar day of their exploration, the probe and rover are focusing their exploration on a pit three meters southwest of Yutu-2's position. The pit, with a diameter of about 1.3 meters and a depth of no more than 20 centimeters, contains substances of high reflectivity, which makes it significantly brighter than its surrounding lunar soil. The rover will next further probe the pit with infrared imaging spectrometer.

China National Space Administration (CNSA):

Images, Text, Credits: CNSA/CLEP.


Milky Way on x-ray sky map

ROSCOSMOS & DLR - Spectrum Roentgen Gamma (Spektr-RG) patch.

June 19, 2020

A week ago, the ART-XC and eROSITA telescopes, mounted on board the Russian Spectrum-RG orbital observatory, completed scanning of the entire sky in X-rays. Work on building a map and determining the number of sources detected during the scan continues. Russian scientists process data from one side of the sky, and German scientists work with x-ray photons that came from the other half of the sky. The map of the whole sky, built by scientists of two scientific consortia and shown in the illustration, was surprisingly informative.

At the very center of the map is a supermassive black hole with a mass of 4 million solar masses (this is a rather weak x-ray source). At the equator of the image passes the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, which we can observe in full glory in the south of our country on a moonless summer night. On the X-ray map, the Milky Way looks like a dark strip due to the fact that molecular gas and dust in the plane of the Galaxy absorb X-rays. The blue dots located in this region demonstrate the presence of a large number of bright and powerful sources of X-ray radiation in the Milky Way - these are X-ray pulsars accreting black holes in binary stellar systems, the remnants of supernova explosions (the result of recent star death).

This card is multicolor, and various colors immediately allow you to judge the characteristic energy of incoming photons. It shows all X-ray photons recorded by eROSITA detectors in the energy range from 300 electron-volts to 2.3 kiloelectron-volts for half a year of continuous scanning of the sky. Red color corresponds to photons with an energy of 0.3-0.6 keV, green - 0.6-1 keV, blue - 1-2.3 keV. For ease of understanding, we can say that these three energy ranges correspond, for example, to the temperature of a radiating hot substance from 3 million to 6 million degrees (red); from 6 to 10 million degrees (green) and from 10 to 25 million degrees (blue).

Good angular resolution (~ 20 arc seconds) and the highest sensitivity of the eROSITA telescope allowed it to map over a million compact sources and tens of thousands of extended ones. Such a quantity cannot be demonstrated in a single image. Only the brightest of the sources are visible on the map as dots. The very first sky survey by the Russian Astrophysical Observatory “Spectrum-RG” allowed the eROSITA telescope to construct a map containing almost 10 times more sources and four times more sensitive than the former best-in-the-world map of the German satellite ROSAT, obtained in 1990. In just six months of sky scanning, eROSITA was able to double the total number of sources recorded by all satellites in the world in 60 years of X-ray astronomy.

“This map of the whole sky completely changes our view of high-energy processes in the Universe,” says Peter Predel, scientific director of the eROSITA telescope at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. “We see such a wealth of detail - the beauty of this image is simply amazing.”

This map allows you to see how hundreds of supernova explosions, and possibly the activity, from time to time, of a supermassive black hole in the center of the Galaxy, lead to gushing emissions of hot gas with temperatures up to 10 million degrees from the plane of our Galaxy (bright zones above and below the plane Galaxies). About two hundred thousand stars quite close to us with crowns much more powerful than those of our Sun also contribute to the emission of zones with a lower temperature.

Three quarters of all objects on this map are distant quasars and nuclei of active galaxies, that is, supermassive black holes emitting due to the fall of matter on them. They are located far beyond the Milky Way at distances of hundreds of millions and billions of light years from us. Among the newly discovered objects on this map, quasars with redshifts of more than 6 have already been found (all lines in their spectra are shifted to the red side more than 7 times due to the expansion of the Universe). We see on the map about 20 thousand clusters of galaxies filled with the mysterious "dark matter". Using optical telescopes to obtain complete information on the redshifts of most quasars and clusters of galaxies discovered by the eROSITA telescope will take years.

Spektr-RG / SRG (Spectrum Roentgen Gamma) satellite

“But now we can begin to use this set of objects located at gigantic distances to determine the time of their appearance in the Universe and to clarify its properties and parameters, that is, for the purposes of cosmology,” says academician of the Spectrum RG observatory academician Rashid Sunyaev.

The telescopes of the Spectrum RG observatory continue to work, it is planned that in a few days it will begin a second survey of the sky. It is expected that it will last until the end of the year. In total, it is planned to get seven more such eROSITA cards - it will take another three and a half years. The total map will be about 5 times more sensitive than the first, and the number of sources on it should increase by more than 10 times.

“Then there will be confidence that our maps and source catalogs will be used by astrophysicists and cosmologists of all countries of the world for at least the next twenty years, until more advanced X-ray telescopes appear, and scientists decide that it is time to create a new, more sensitive map of the X-ray sky” - notes Rashid Sunyaev.

Relate article in Russian:

Рентгеновская карта неба от eROSITA:

ROSCOSMOS Press Release:

Related links in Russian:



«Спектр-РГ» - (Spectrum-RG):

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Images, Text, Credits: ROSCOSMOS/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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jeudi 18 juin 2020

Spacesuit Work, Earth and Physics Studies Today

ISS - Expedition 63 Mission patch.

June 18, 2020

Two NASA astronauts are getting their spacesuits ready for a pair of spacewalks set to begin next week. The rest of the Expedition 63 crew juggled a variety of space science and life support work aboard the International Space Station today.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken spent Thursday filtering cooling loops and refilling water tanks inside the U.S. spacesuits they will wear during two maintenance spacewalks. The duo will exit the station’s U.S. Quest airlock on June 26 and July 1 starting at 7:35 a.m. EDT to finalize the long-running power upgrade work.

Image above: The sun’s glint on the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia is mellowed by cloud cover in this photograph from the station. Image Credit: NASA.

The experienced spacewalkers, who each have six spacewalks from previous missions, reviewed their complex tasks step-by-step on a computer during the afternoon. Cassidy and Behnken will swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the Starboard-6 truss structure. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of both spacewalks, planned for about seven hours each, starting at 6 a.m.

Flight Engineers Doug Hurley of NASA and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos reviewed their support roles for the upcoming spacewalks. They will help the astronauts in and out of their spacesuits and monitor the spacewalks from inside the orbiting lab.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Hurley later serviced samples for a space bubbles study, possibly improving oxygen and medicine delivery systems, while also working on light plumbing tasks after lunchtime. Vagner checked out communications gear, had an Earth photography session and worked on a Russian oxygen generator.

Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin also spent some time photographing the Earth to help scientists forecast natural and man-made catastrophes. He then continued more plasma crystal research to gain fundamental knowledge and improve spacecraft designs.

Related links:

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Starboard-6 truss structure:

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Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

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Hubble Provides Holistic View of Stars Gone Haywire

NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

June 18, 2020

As nuclear fusion engines, most stars live placid lives for hundreds of millions to billions of years. But near the end of their lives they can turn into crazy whirligigs, puffing off shells and jets of hot gas. Astronomers have employed Hubble's full range of imaging capabilities to dissect such crazy fireworks happening in two nearby young planetary nebulas. NGC 6303 is dubbed the Butterfly Nebula because of its wing-like appearance. In addition, NGC 7027 resembles a jewel bug, an insect with a brilliantly colorful metallic shell.

Butterfly Nebula & The planetary nebula NGC 7027. Images Credits: NASA, ESA and J. Kastner (RIT)

The researchers have found unprecedented levels of complexity and rapid changes in jets and gas bubbles blasting off of the stars at the centers of both nebulas. Hubble is allowing the researchers to converge on an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the chaos.

"When I looked in the Hubble archive and realized no one had observed these nebulas with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 across its full wavelength range, I was floored," said Joel Kastner of Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, leader of the new study. "These new multi-wavelength Hubble observations provide the most comprehensive view to date of both of these spectacular nebulas. As I was downloading the resulting images, I felt like a kid in a candy store."

By examining this pair of nebulas with Hubble's full, panchromatic capabilities — making observations in near-ultraviolet to near-infrared light — the team has had several "aha" moments. In particular, the new Hubble images reveal in vivid detail how both nebulas are splitting themselves apart on extremely short timescales — allowing astronomers to see changes over the past couple decades. Some of this rapid change may be indirect evidence of one star merging with its companion star.

"The nebula NGC 7027 shows emission at an incredibly large number of different wavelengths, each of which highlights not only a specific chemical element in the nebula, but also the significant, ongoing changes in its structure," said Kastner. The research team also observed the Butterfly Nebula, which is a counterpart to the "jewel bug" nebula: Both are among the dustiest planetary nebulas known and both also contain unusually large masses of gas because they are so newly formed. This makes them a very interesting pair to study in parallel, say researchers.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Animation Credits: NASA/ESA

Hubble's broad multi-wavelength views of each nebula are helping the researchers to trace the nebulas' histories of shock waves. Such shocks typically are generated when fresh, fast stellar winds slam into and sweep up more slowly expanding gas and dust ejected by the star in its recent past, generating bubble-like cavities with well-defined walls.

Researchers suspect that at the hearts of both nebulas are — or were — two stars circling around each other, like a pair of figure skaters. Evidence for such a central "dynamic duo" comes from the bizarre shapes of these nebulas. Each has a pinched, dusty waist and polar lobes or outflows, as well as other, more complex symmetrical patterns.

A leading theory for the generation of such structures in planetary nebulas is that the mass-losing star is one of two stars in a binary system. The two stars orbit one another closely enough that they eventually interact, producing a gas disk around one or both stars. The disk is the source of outflowing material directed in opposite directions from the central star.

Similarly, the smaller star of the pair may merge with its bloated, more rapidly evolving stellar companion. This also can create outflowing jets of material that may wobble over time. This creates a symmetric pattern, perhaps like the one that gives NGC 6302 its "butterfly" nickname. Such outflows are commonly seen in planetary nebulas.

"The suspected companion stars in NGC 6302 and NGC 7027 haven't been directly detected because they are next to, or perhaps have already been swallowed by, larger red giant stars, a type of star that is hundreds to thousands of times brighter than the Sun," said team member Bruce Balick of the University of Washington in Seattle. "The hypothesis of merging stars seems the best and simplest explanation for the features seen in the most active and symmetric planetary nebulas. It's a powerful unifying concept, so far without rival."

The Butterfly Nebula

Imagine a lawn sprinkler spinning wildly, tossing out two S-shaped streams. At first it appears chaotic, but if you stare for a while, you can trace its patterns. The same S-shape is present in the Butterfly Nebula, except in this case it is not water in the air, but gas blown out at high speed by a star. And the "S" only appears when captured by the Hubble camera filter that records near-infrared emission from singly ionized iron atoms.

"The S-shape in the iron emission from the Butterfly Nebula is a real eye-opener," Kastner said. The S-shape directly traces the most recent ejections from the central region, since the collisions within the nebula are particularly violent in these specific regions of NGC 6302. "This iron emission is a sensitive tracer of energetic collisions between slower winds and fast winds from the stars," Balick explained. "It's commonly observed in supernova remnants and active galactic nuclei, and outflowing jets from newborn stars, but is very rarely seen in planetary nebulas."

"The fact that the iron emission is only showing up along these opposing, off-center directions implies that the source of the fast flows is wobbling over time, like a spinning top that's about to fall," added Kastner. "That's another tell-tale sign of the presence of a disk, which directs the flow, and also a binary companion."

Image above: Hubble was recently retrained on NGC 6302, known as the "Butterfly Nebula," to observe it across a more complete spectrum of light, from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared, helping researchers better understand the mechanics at work in its technicolor "wings" of gas. The observations highlight a new pattern of near-infrared emission from singly ionized iron, which traces an S-shape from lower left to upper right. This iron emission likely traces the central star system’s most recent ejections of gas, which are moving at much faster speeds than the previously expelled mass. The star or stars at its center are responsible for the nebula's appearance. In their death throes, they have cast off layers of gas periodically over the past couple thousand years. The "wings" of NGC 6302 are regions of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit that are tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour. NGC 6302 lies between 2,500 and 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius. Image Credits: NASA, ESA and J. Kastner (RIT).

The 'Jewel Bug' Nebula

The planetary nebula NGC 7027 had been slowly puffing away its mass in quiet, spherically symmetric or perhaps spiral patterns for centuries — until relatively recently. "In some respects, the changes within this nebula are even more dramatic than those within the Butterfly," Kastner said. "Something recently went haywire at the very center, producing a new cloverleaf pattern, with bullets of material shooting out in specific directions."

The research team's new images of NGC 7027 show emission from singly ionized iron that closely resembles observations made by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2000 and 2014 as part of earlier research by Kastner, team member Rodolfo Montez Jr. of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and collaborators. The iron emission traces the southeast-to-northwest-oriented outflows that also produce the X-ray-emitting shocks imaged by Chandra. "We have a sneaking suspicion that this nebula is a great example of what happens when a red giant star abruptly swallows a companion," Montez Jr. said.

Image above: Recently, NGC 7027's central star was identified in a new wavelength of light — near-ultraviolet — for the first time by using Hubble's unique capabilities. The near-ultraviolet observations will help reveal how much dust obscures the star and how hot the star really is. This object, which resembles a colorful jewel bug, is a visibly diffuse region of gas and dust that may be the result of ejections by closely orbiting binary stars that were first slowly sloughing off material over thousands of years, and then entered a phase of more violent and highly directed mass ejections. Hubble first looked at this planetary nebula in 1998. By comparing the old and new Hubble observations, researchers now have additional opportunities to study the object as it changes over time. Planetary nebulas are expanding shells of gas created by dying stars that are shedding their outer layers. When new ejections encounter older ejections, the resulting energetic collisions shape the nebula. The mechanisms underlying such sequences of stellar mass expulsion are far from fully understood, but researchers theorize that binary companions to the central, dying stars play essential roles in shaping them. NGC 7027 is approximately 3,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. Image Credits: NASA, ESA and J. Kastner (RIT).

The research team also includes Ph.D. students Jesse Bublitz and Paula Moraga of Rochester Institute of Technology, and Adam Frank and Eric Blackman of the University of Rochester.

The team's paper, "First Results from a Panchromatic HST/WFC3 Imaging Study of the Young, Rapidly Evolving Planetary Nebulae NGC 7027 and NGC 6302" was published on June 15, 2020, in the journal Galaxies.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.

Related links:

Journal Galaxies:

"First Results from a Panchromatic HST/WFC3 Imaging Study of the Young, Rapidly Evolving Planetary Nebulae NGC 7027 and NGC 6302":

Hubble Space Telescope:

Animation (mentioned), Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Rob Garner/GSFC/Claire Andreoli/Space Telescope Science Institute/Claire Blome/Ray Villard/Rochester Institute of Technology/Joel Kastner.

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X-rays From a Newborn Star Hint at Our Sun's Earliest Days

NASA - Chandra X-ray Observatory patch.

June 18, 2020

By detecting an X-ray flare from a very young star using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, researchers have reset the timeline for when stars like the Sun start blasting high-energy radiation into space, as reported in our latest press release. This is significant because it may help answer some questions about our Sun's earliest days as well as some about the Solar System today.

Animation Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Aix-Marseille University/N. Grosso et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss.

This artist's illustration depicts the object where astronomers discovered the X-ray flare. HOPS 383 is called a young "protostar" because it is in the earliest phase of stellar evolution that occurs right after a large cloud of gas and dust has started to collapse. Once it has matured HOPS 383, which is located about 1,400 light years from Earth, will have a mass about half that of the Sun.

The illustration shows HOPS 383 surrounded by a donut-shaped cocoon of material (dark brown) — containing about half of the protostar's mass — that is falling in towards the central star. Much of the light from the infant star in HOPS 383 is unable to pierce through this cocoon, but X-rays from the flare (blue) are powerful enough to do so. Infrared light emitted by HOPS 383 is scattered off the inside of the cocoon (white and yellow). A version of the illustration with a region of the cocoon cut out shows the bright X-ray flare from HOPS 383 and a disk of material falling towards the protostar.

Image Credits: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

Chandra observations in December 2017 revealed the X-ray flare, which lasted for about 3 hours and 20 minutes. The flare is shown as a continuous loop in the inset box of the illustration. The rapid increase and slow decrease in the amount of X-rays is similar to the behavior of X-ray flares from young stars more evolved than HOPS 383. No X-rays were detected from the protostar outside this flaring period, implying that during these times HOPS 383 was at least ten times fainter, on average, than the flare at its maximum. It is also 2,000 times more powerful than the brightest X-ray flare observed from the Sun, a middle-aged star of relatively low mass.

As material from the cocoon falls inward toward the disk, there is also an exodus of gas and dust. This "outflow" removes angular momentum from the system, allowing material to fall from the disk onto the growing young protostar. Astronomers have seen such an outflow from HOPS 383 and think powerful X-ray flare like the one observed by Chandra could strip electrons from atoms at the base of it. This may be important for driving the outflow by magnetic forces.

Furthermore, when the star erupted in X-rays, it would have also likely driven energetic flows of particles that collided with dust grains located at the inner edge of the disk of material swirling around the protostar. Assuming something similar happened in our Sun, the nuclear reactions caused by this collision could explain unusual abundances of elements in certain types of meteorites found on Earth.

Chandra X-ray Observatory. Animation Credits: NASA/CXC

No other flares from HOPS 383 were detected over the course of three Chandra observations with a total exposure of just under a day. Astronomers will need longer X-ray observations to determine how frequent such flares are during this very early phase of development for stars like our Sun.

A paper describing these results appeared in the journal of Astronomy & Astrophysics and is available online at The authors of the paper are Nicolas Grosso (Astrophysics Laboratory of Marseille at Aix-Marseille University in France), Kenji Hamaguchi (Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science & Technology and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD), David Principe (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Joel Kastner (Rochester Institute of Technology).

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra X-ray Center controls science and flight operations from Cambridge and Burlington, Massachusetts.

Read more from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory:

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Image (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Lee Mohon/Marshall Space Flight Center/Molly Porter/Chandra X-ray Center/Megan Watzke.


Are Planets with Oceans Common in the Galaxy? It’s Likely, NASA Scientists Find

NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center logo.

June 18, 2020

Several years ago, planetary scientist Lynnae Quick began to wonder whether any of the more than 4,000 known exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system, might resemble some of the watery moons around Jupiter and Saturn. Though some of these moons don’t have atmospheres and are covered in ice, they are still among the top targets in NASA’s search for life beyond Earth. Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa, which scientists classify as “ocean worlds,” are good examples.

“Plumes of water erupt from Europa and Enceladus, so we can tell that these bodies have subsurface oceans beneath their ice shells, and they have energy that drives the plumes, which are two requirements for life as we know it,” says Quick, a NASA planetary scientist who specializes in volcanism and ocean worlds. “So if we’re thinking about these places as being possibly habitable, maybe bigger versions of them in other planetary systems are habitable too.”

Image above: This illustration shows NASA's Cassini spacecraft flying through plumes on Enceladus in October 2015. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Quick, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, decided to explore whether — hypothetically — there are planets similar to Europa and Enceladus in the Milky Way galaxy. And, could they, too, be geologically active enough to shoot plumes through their surfaces that could one day be detected by telescopes.

Through a mathematical analysis of several dozen exoplanets, including planets in the nearby TRAPPIST-1 system, Quick and her colleagues learned something significant: More than a quarter of the exoplanets they studied could be ocean worlds, with a majority possibly harboring oceans beneath layers of surface ice, similar to Europa and Enceladus. Additionally, many of these planets could be releasing more energy than Europa and Enceladus.

Scientists may one day be able to test Quick’s predictions by measuring the heat emitted from an exoplanet or by detecting volcanic or cryovolcanic (liquid or vapor instead of molten rock) eruptions in the wavelengths of light emitted by molecules in a planet’s atmosphere. For now, scientists cannot see many exoplanets in any detail. Alas, they are too far away and too drowned out by the light of their stars. But by considering the only information available — exoplanet sizes, masses and distances from their stars — scientists like Quick and her colleagues can tap mathematical models and our understanding of the solar system to try to imagine the conditions that could be shaping exoplanets into livable worlds or not.

While the assumptions that go into these mathematical models are educated guesses, they can help scientists narrow the list of promising exoplanets to search for conditions favorable to life so that NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope or other space missions can follow up.

 Ocean Planets Could be Common in Galaxy; TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets. Image Credit: NASA

“Future missions to look for signs of life beyond the solar system are focused on planets like ours that have a global biosphere that’s so abundant it’s changing the chemistry of the whole atmosphere,” says Aki Roberge, a NASA Goddard astrophysicist who collaborated with Quick on this analysis. “But in the solar system, icy moons with oceans, which are far from the heat of the Sun, still have shown that they have the features we think are required for life.”

To look for possible ocean worlds, Quick’s team selected 53 exoplanets with sizes most similar to Earth, though they could have up to eight times more mass. Scientists assume planets of this size are more solid than gaseous and, thus, more likely to support liquid water on or below their surfaces. At least 30 more planets that fit these parameters have been discovered since Quick and her colleagues began their study in 2017, but they were not included in the analysis, which was published on June 18 in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

With their Earth-size planets identified, Quick and her team sought to determine how much energy each one could be generating and releasing as heat. The team considered two primary sources of heat. The first, radiogenic heat, is generated over billions of years by the slow decay of radioactive materials in a planet’s mantle and crust. That rate of decay depends on a planet’s age and the mass of its mantle. Other scientists already had determined these relationships for Earth-size planets. So, Quick and her team applied the decay rate to their list of 53 planets, assuming each one is the same age as its star and that its mantle takes up the same proportion of the planet’s volume as Earth’s mantle does. 

Next, the researchers calculated heat produced by something else: tidal force, which is energy generated from the gravitational tugging when one object orbits another. Planets in stretched out, or elliptical, orbits shift the distance between themselves and their stars as they circle them. This leads to changes in the gravitational force between the two objects and causes the planet to stretch, thereby generating heat. Eventually, the heat is lost to space through the surface.

One exit route for the heat is through volcanoes or cryovolcanoes. Another route is through tectonics, which is a geological process responsible for the movement of the outermost rocky or icy layer of a planet or moon. Whichever way the heat is discharged, knowing how much of it a planet pushes out is important because it could make or break habitability.

Animation above: Venus may have once had liquid water oceans and active volcanoes, a setting that's hospitable to life. But over time the planet got so hot the oceans boiled away. Gradually, volcanic gases created a super thick atmosphere on Venus, with clouds of sulfuric acid. Animation Credits: Michael Lentz & Mike Mirandi/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

For instance, too much volcanic activity can turn a livable world into a molten nightmare. But too little activity can shut down the release of gases that make up an atmosphere, leaving a cold, barren surface. Just the right amount supports a livable, wet planet like Earth, or a possibly livable moon like Europa.

In the next decade, NASA’s Europa Clipper will explore the surface and subsurface of Europa and provide insights about the environment beneath the surface. The more scientists can learn about Europa and other potentially habitable moons of our solar system, the better they’ll be able to understand similar worlds around other stars — which may be plentiful, according to today’s findings.

"Forthcoming missions will give us a chance to see whether ocean moons in our solar system could support life,” says Quick, who is a science team member on both the Clipper mission and the Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s moon Titan. “If we find chemical signatures of life, we can try to look for similar signs at interstellar distances.”

When Webb launches, scientists will try to detect chemical signatures in the atmospheres of some of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, which is 39 light years away in the constellation Aquarius. In 2017, astronomers announced that this system has seven Earth-size planets. Some have suggested that some of these planets could be watery, and Quick’s estimates support this idea. According to her team’s calculations, TRAPPIST-1 e, f, g and h could be ocean worlds, which would put them among the 14 ocean worlds the scientists identified in this study.

Animation above: This animated graph shows levels of predicted geologic activity among exoplanets, with and without oceans, compared to known geologic activity among solar system bodies, with and without oceans. Animation Credits: Lynnae Quick & James Tralie/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The researchers predicted that these exoplanets have oceans by considering the surface temperatures of each one. This information is revealed by the amount of stellar radiation each planet reflects into space. Quick’s team also took into account each planet’s density and the estimated amount of internal heating it generates compared to Earth.

“If we see that a planet’s density is lower than Earth’s, that’s an indication that there might be more water there and not as much rock and iron,” Quick says. And if the planet’s temperature allows for liquid water, you’ve got an ocean world.

NASA & TRAPPIST-1: A Treasure Trove of Planets Found

“But if a planet’s surface temperature is less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), where water is frozen,” Quick says, “then we have an icy ocean world, and the densities for those planets are even lower.”

Other scientists who participated in this analysis with Quick and Roberge are Amy Barr Mlinar from the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and Matthew M. Hedman from the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Related links:

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):

Astronomical Society of the Pacific:

NASA’s Europa Clipper:

Dragonfly mission:


Image (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Svetlana Shekhtman/GSFC/Lonnie Shekhtman.


CASC - Long March-2D launches Gaofen-9 03 and HEAD-5 satellites

CASC - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

June 18, 2020

Long March-2D launches Gaofen-9 03 and HEAD-5 satellites

A Long March-2D rocket launched two satellites, Gaofen-9 03 and HEAD-5, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu Province, northwest China, on 17 June 2020, at 07:19 UTC (15:19 local time). According to official sources, the satellites entered their planned orbits.

Long March-2D launches Gaofen-9 03 and HEAD-5 satellites

Gaofen-9 03 is an optical remote sensing satellite capable of providing photographs with a resolution of about one meter.  HEAD-5, developed by Beijing-based HEAD Aerospace Technology Co. Ltd., can carry out on-orbit information collection, including that on ships and aircraft, and the Internet of Things.

Gaofen satellite

A Chinese Long March 2D launches China’s third Gaofen 9-series Earth observation satellite.

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC):

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Credits: China Central Television (CCTV)/China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)/SciNews/Günter Space Page/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


mercredi 17 juin 2020

Dragon Work, Space Research and Spacewalk Preps Today

ISS - Expedition 63 Mission patch.

June 17, 2020

Two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station are getting ready for a pair of spacewalks set to begin at the end of June. Meanwhile, the Expedition 63 crew is still performing advanced space research to benefit Earth and space industries.

Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Bob Behnken are studying the tasks they will perform during two spacewalks to upgrade station power systems. NASA TV will broadcast both spacewalks live on July 26 and July 1 when the astronauts will swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the Starboard-6 truss structure.

Image above: Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy prepares to stow biological samples for preservation inside a science freezer. Image Credit: NASA.

Flight Engineers Doug Hurley of NASA and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos teamed up Wednesday morning readying the jetpacks the spacewalkers would use in the unlikely event they became detached from the station. They later joined Cassidy and Behnken during the afternoon for a spacewalk review with engineers on the ground.

Cassidy was back on biology work this morning collecting and stowing his blood and urine samples to learn how microgravity affects the human body. Behnken and Hurley checked their Dragon crew suits and charged their crew ship’s computer tablets.

International Space Station (ISS) EarthCam view. Animation Credits: NASA/ISS HD Live

Vagner also had time for a trio of Russian experiments as he photographed the Earth, researched future spacecraft piloting techniques and studied plasma crystals. Fellow cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin was also studying plasma crystals today while researching the dynamic forces the station experiences in orbit.

The Red-Eye microsatellite was deployed into Earth orbit this afternoon using the NanoRacks Kaber Microsat deployer outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The 110-kilogram Red-Eye will test satellite communications, flight computers and thermal management technologies.

Related article:

More Hands Make Light Work: Crew Dragon Duo Increases Science Tempo on Space Station

Related links:

Expedition 63:

Commercial Crew Program:

Starboard-6 truss structure:

Photographed the Earth:

Piloting techniques:

Plasma crystals:

Red-Eye microsatellite:

NanoRacks Kaber Microsat deployer:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards,

More Hands Make Light Work: Crew Dragon Duo Increases Science Tempo on Space Station

ISS - Expedition 63 Mission patch / NASA & SpaceX - Dragon Demo-2 - Behnken & Hurley patch.

June 17, 2020

The saying “more hands make light work” is rarely more apt than when those hands are 250 miles up on the International Space Station, overseeing research to extend humanity’s reach into the solar system and offer new scientific breakthroughs on Earth.

With the arrival on station of two new sets of hands -- NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, whose May 30 launch from U.S. soil on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight was the first for American astronauts on American rockets to the space station since the space shuttle era ended -- the Expedition 63 crew swelled to five. As a result, more crew time is available for research activities.

Image above: The Expedition 63 crew includes, clockwise from front right, NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, Roscosmos flight engineer Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA Commander Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos flight engineer Ivan Vagner. Image Credit: NASA.

“Those extra hands are one reason NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is so important to research planners,” said Bryan Dansberry, space station associate program scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Any business owner or homeowner understands a number of maintenance and cleaning tasks are required to keep things running smoothly. The more available hands, the more time you can spend doing the tasks that make your business successful. In our case, that means more science -- conducting research in the unique laboratory that is the space station to conduct more experiments and technology demonstrations.”

During their stay, Behnken and Hurley have their own priority tasks -- mainly continuing to test the Crew Dragon spacecraft in support of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. But they’re also pitching in to help fellow NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner support some 240 new and ongoing experiments during the latest station expedition, also called an increment.

That science tempo is the station’s hallmark, said Beau Simpson, payload operations manager in the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama -- the round-the-clock science hub linking global researchers to the astronauts overseeing their experiments on station.

What has really impressed the payload operations team at Marshall, Simpson said, is how Behnken and Hurley -- trained exhaustively for Crew Dragon’s groundbreaking flight -- have also hit the ground running with science on station. “These are seasoned pilots, sharp guys dedicated to NASA’s mission,” he said. “They got their space legs pretty quickly and jumped right into the mix.”

They even helped launch two new studies right off the bat. They’re both supporting the Electrolysis Measurement experiment, which studies how gravity influences electrolytic gas evolution. That electrochemical process generates bubbles that can help adjust pressure in devices such as skin patches used to deliver medication. Hurley also worked on the Capillary Structures investigation, which studies the management of fluid and gas mixtures for next-generation life support systems to better recycle water and remove carbon dioxide from cabin air on spacecraft. Behnken also is prepping the Plant Habitat-02 facility, an environmentally controlled chamber for the cultivation of edible plants -- critical to future long-duration missions in space.

Image above: “Score” is the real-time, interactive scheduling software used by NASA to plan and track the space station crew’s science work and other activities. Image Credit: NASA.

Integrating even industrious self-starters such as Behnken and Hurley into the science mix relies on months of work by planners at Marshall, space station leads at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and partner scientists around the world.

“Science scheduling and crew training starts six months out,” said Lori Meggs, lead payload communications manager at Marshall for Increment 63. That pace never slows. A week before each expedition starts, the payload planning team delivers final, step-by-step guidelines to walk the crew through each science activity.

By then, station science planners also have used scheduling software -- a real-time, interactive database that includes instructions for each experiment and task on station -- to meticulously schedule the station crew’s research activities, exercise, personal time and sleep cycles.

The team also prepares for launch date slips caused by unforeseen contingencies -- such as the weather that scrubbed the Dragon’s first launch attempt on May 27. “We had multiple backup schedules, based on possible delays of various lengths,” Simpson said. “Those backups took into account our plans for integrating the new arrivals into the mix. What tasks would the current crew need to handle if Bob and Doug were delayed?”

The schedule is key, Simpson said. Crew and flight controllers monitor it all day long, keeping an eye on the marching red bar which identifies where they should be at any moment. He calls that “chasing the red line” -- and he credits the crew for consistently finishing tasks early, not chasing the line so much as challenging it to keep up.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Nor is finishing early a license to kick back, Meggs added. “They can use unscheduled time however they like, but we keep ‘honey-do’ lists, non-critical tasks that can be pursued any time. Whenever they finish scheduled work, each of them can choose duties from that list until it’s time for their next activity,” she said. “It’s a fun detour for them, and for us -- seeing what items they choose from the list gives us insight into their interests and preferences.”

Each astronaut’s average schedule calls for six-and-a-half hours of scheduled science and maintenance tasks, two daily planning meetings with NASA and its global partners, two mandatory workout hours to mitigate the effects of microgravity on bones and muscles, and eight-and-a-half hours of time reserved for a good night’s sleep. Then they get up and do it all over again, for months on end.

“Our crew on station is so good,” Meggs said. “They’re having the time of their lives -- and we’re living it with them. It’s a thrill to be part of the history they’re writing on orbit.”

Learn more about space station research here:

Related links:

Expedition 63:

Commercial Crew Program:

Payload Operations Integration Center:

Electrolysis Measurement experiment:

Capillary Structures:

Habitat-02 facility:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Lee Mohon/Marshall Space Flight Center/Janet Anderson.


XMM-Newton spies youngest baby pulsar ever discovered

ESA - XMM-Newton Mission patch.

June 17, 2020

An observation campaign led by ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory reveals the youngest pulsar ever seen – the remnant of a once-massive star – that is also a ‘magnetar’, sporting a magnetic field some 70 quadrillion times stronger than that of Earth.

Illustration of a magnetar

Pulsars are some of the most exotic objects in the Universe. They form as massive stars end their lives via powerful supernova explosions and leave extreme stellar remnants behind: hot, dense and highly magnetised. Sometimes pulsars also undergo periods of greatly enhanced activity, in which they throw off enormous amounts of energetic radiation on timescales from milliseconds to years.

Smaller bursts often mark the onset of a more enhanced ‘outburst’, when X-ray emission can become a thousand times more intense. A multi-instrument campaign led by XMM-Newton has now captured such an outburst emanating from the youngest baby pulsar ever spotted: Swift J1818.0−1607, which was originally discovered by NASA’s Swift Observatory in March.

And there is more. Not only is this pulsar the youngest of the 3000 known in our Milky Way galaxy, but it also belongs to a very rare category of pulsars: magnetars, the cosmic objects with the strongest magnetic fields ever measured in the Universe.

“Swift J1818.0−1607 lies around 15,000 light-years away, within the Milky Way,” says lead author Paolo Esposito of the University School for Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia, Italy.


“Spotting something so young, just after it formed in the Universe, is extremely exciting. People on Earth would have been able to see the supernova explosion that formed this baby magnetar around 240 years ago, right in the middle of the American and French revolutions.”

The magnetar has yet more claims to fame. It is one of the fastest-spinning such objects known, whirling around once every 1.36 seconds – despite containing the mass of two Suns within a stellar remnant measuring just 25 kilometres across.

Immediately after the discovery, the astronomers looked at this object in further detail using XMM-Newton, NASA’s Swift and NuSTAR X-ray satellites, and the Sardinia Radio Telescope in Italy.

XMM-Newton observations of Swift J1818.0−1607, the youngest magnetar known

Unlike most magnetars, which are only observable in X-rays, the observations revealed that Swift J1818.0−1607 is one of the very few to also show pulsed emission in radio waves.

“Magnetars are fascinating objects, and this baby one appears to be especially intriguing given its extreme characteristics,” says Nanda Rea of the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC, IEEC) in Barcelona, Spain, and principal investigator of the observations.

“The fact that it can be seen in both radio waves and X-rays offers an important clue in an ongoing scientific debate on the nature of a specific type of stellar remnant: pulsars.”

An especially magnetised type of pulsar, magnetars are generally thought to be uncommon in the Universe – astronomers have only detected around 30 – and are assumed to be distinct from other types of pulsar that show up strongly in radio emission.

But X-ray researchers have long suspected that magnetars may be far more common than this view suggests. This new finding supports the idea that, rather than being exotic, they may instead form a substantial fraction of the pulsars found in the Milky Way.

“The fact that a magnetar formed just recently indicates that this idea is well-founded,” explains co-author Alice Borghese, who worked on the data analysis with colleague Francesco Coti Zelati – both also based at the Institute of Space Sciences in Barcelona.

“Astronomers have also discovered many magnetars in the past decade, doubling the known population,” she adds. “It’s likely that magnetars are just good at flying under the radar when they’re dormant, and are only discovered when they ‘wake up’ – as demonstrated by this baby magnetar, which was far less luminous before the outburst that led to its discovery.”

Extreme explosion

Additionally, there may not be as wide a diversity of pulsars as initially thought. The distinctive phenomena shown by magnetars may also occur in other types of pulsar, just as Swift J1818.0−1607 exhibits characteristics – radio emission – not usually attributed to magnetars.

“While interesting in their own right, magnetars are relevant on a far wider scale: they might play a key role in driving a whole host of transient events we see in the Universe,” adds Francesco.

“Such events are thought to be somehow connected to magnetars either during their birth, or in the very early stages of their lives, making this discovery especially exciting.”

Examples of transient events include gamma-ray bursts, super-luminous supernova explosions, and the mysterious fast radio bursts. These energetic events are potentially linked to the formation and existence of young, strongly magnetised objects – like Swift J1818.0−1607.

“To infer this magnetar’s age, the researchers needed high-resolution long-term measurements of both the rate at which it is spinning, and of how this spin is changing over time,” adds ESA XMM-Newton Project Scientist Norbert Schartel.

“XMM-Newton’s European Photon Imaging Camera, EPIC, observed Swift J1818.0−1607 just three days after it was discovered, enabling the researchers to extract an accurate picture of its X-ray emission, and characterise its rotation and spectral properties in detail.”

“This kind of research is hugely important in understanding more about the stellar content of the Milky Way, and revealing the intricacies of phenomena occurring throughout the wider Universe.”

More information

“A very young radio-loud magnetar” by P. Esposito et al. (2020) is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters:

Related links:

ESA’s XMM-Newton:

NASA’s Swift Observatory:

NASA’s NuSTAR X-ray:

Sardinia Radio Telescope:

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/C. Carreau/Norbert Schartel/Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC, IEEC)/Nanda Rea/University School for Advanced Studies IUSS/Paolo Esposito/ESA/XMM-Newton; P. Esposito et al. (2020)/Illustration by ESA/ECF.