XL-Calibur telescope launched to study black holes

Scientists from Washington University in St. Louis have launched a balloon-borne telescope to unlock the secrets of astrophysical black holes and neutron stars, some of the most extreme objects in the universe. The device known as XL-Calibur was launched from the Swedish Space Corporation’s Esrange Space Center, situated north of the Arctic Circle near Kiruna, Sweden, July 9.

Webb Unlocks Secrets of One of the Most Distant Galaxies Ever Seen

Delivering on its promise to transform our understanding of the early universe, the James Webb Space Telescope is probing galaxies near the dawn of time. One of these is the exceptionally luminous galaxy GN-z11, which existed when the universe was just a tiny fraction of its current age. One of the youngest and most distant galaxies ever observed, it is also one of the most enigmatic. Why is it so bright? Webb appears to have found the answer.

An Enigmatic Cosmic Crime Scene

During a dive through archival data, astronomers unearth an unusual tidal disruption event that occurred in a nearby star-forming galaxy. Obscured by the interstellar medium, this incredibly close and luminous event went unnoticed for seven years. The SOAR telescope’s integral role in pinpointing its uncommon location illustrates how future searches for tidal disruption events will be conducted.

UCI-led astronomers capitalize on early access to James Webb Space Telescope data

First in line to receive data transmissions from the James Webb Space Telescope, a team of astronomers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions is using the unprecedentedly clear observations to reveal the secret inner workings of galaxies. In a paper published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the researchers describe their examination of the nearby galaxy NGC 7469 with the JWST’s ultrasensitive mid-infrared detection instruments.

Astrónomos descubren agujero negro cerca de la Tierra

Utilizando el telescopio de Gemini Norte en Hawai‘i, que opera NOIRLab de NSF y AURA, los astrónomos detectaron el agujero negro más cercano a la Tierra, apenas a 1.600 años luz de distancia. Se trata de la primera detección de un agujero negro de masa estelar en la Vía Láctea, cuya proximidad ofrece un objetivo de estudio único para avanzar en la comprensión de la evolución de los sistemas binarios.

Polarized X-rays reveal shape, orientation of extremely hot matter around black hole

Researchers’ recent observations of a stellar-mass black hole called Cygnus X-1 reveal new details about the configuration of extremely hot matter in the region immediately surrounding the black hole. Matter is heated to millions of degrees as it is pulled toward a black hole. This hot matter glows in X-rays. Researchers are using measurements of the polarization of these X-rays to test and refine models that describe how black holes swallow matter, becoming some of the most luminous sources of light — including X-rays — in the universe.

NOvA turns its eyes to the skies

The NOvA experiment, best known for its measurements of neutrino oscillations using particle beams from Fermilab accelerators, has been turning its attention to measurements of cosmic phenomena. In a series of results, NOvA reports on neutrinos from supernovae, gravitational-wave events from black hole mergers, muons from cosmic rays, and its search for the elusive monopole.

Monster Black Hole Found in the Early Universe

Astronomers have discovered the second most distant quasar ever found, using the international Gemini Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), Programs of NSF’s NOIRLab. It is also the first quasar to receive an indigenous Hawaiian name, Pōniuāʻena. The quasar contains a monster black hole, twice the mass of the black hole in the only other quasar found at the same epoch, challenging the current theories of supermassive black hole formation and growth in the early Universe.

UAH has significant role in LEAP, a mission selected for NASA flight review

In collaboration with Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has a significant role in LEAP – the LargE Area burst Polarimeter – a mission that is one of four proposals approved by NASA for further review.

Going Against the Flow Around a Supermassive Black Hole

At the center of a galaxy called NGC 1068, a supermassive black hole hides within a thick doughnut-shaped cloud of dust and gas. When astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
to study this cloud in more detail, they made an unexpected discovery that could explain why supermassive black holes grew so rapidly in the early Universe.

“Thanks to the spectacular resolution of ALMA, we measured the movement of gas in the inner orbits around the black hole,” explains Violette Impellizzeri of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), working at ALMA in Chile and lead author on a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. “Surprisingly, we found two disks of gas rotating in opposite directions.”