VLBA Marks 30 Years Pushing the Bounds of Science

On August 20, 2023, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) marked 30 years since the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) had its inauguration ceremony in the high desert of New Mexico. In the three decades since, the VLBA has become not only one of the world’s most famous radio telescopes, but has also played a key role in radio astronomy across the country and the world.

St. Croix: Radio Astronomy in the Caribbean

Although the location of St. Croix is perfect for a VLBA antenna, the island poses significant challenges for using and maintaining a radio antenna. The St. Croix dish is located on the eastern side of the island, almost at sea level. So it is constantly bombarded by salt air, ocean rains, and even the occasional tropical storm.

NSF Telescopes Image M87’s Supermassive Black Hole and Massive Jet Together for the First Time

Scientists studying the supermassive black hole at the heart of the M87 galaxy have revealed the origins of the monster’s powerful jet and imaged the jet and its source together for the first time. What’s more, the observations have revealed that the black hole’s ring is much larger than scientists previously believed.

Telescopios de la NSF obtienen imagen de agujero negro supermasivo de M87 y su chorro juntos por primera vez

Un equipo científico que estudió el agujero negro supermasivo presente en el corazón de la galaxia M87 reveló los orígenes de su poderoso chorro y logró obtener las primeras imágenes del chorro y su fuente juntos. Las observaciones también revelaron que el anillo del agujero negro es mucho más grande de lo que la comunidad científica creía.

Baseline 15: Space Lasers! How Astronomers Use Astrophysical Masers

Artificial lasers on Earth are used for everything from scanning grocery items to delicate surgery. But there are also naturally occurring lasers known as astrophysical masers. Join National Radio Astronomy Observatory as we explore what these “space lasers” tell astronomers about the Universe.

A Decade of Unveiling the Hidden Universe: ALMA at 10

n March 13th, 2023, astronomers around the world will mark the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the world’s largest radio telescope. Over the past decade, the international ALMA collaboration— led by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)— has revolutionized our understanding of the Universe and unveiled its secrets, from the formation of planets, stars, and galaxies to deciphering the chemistry of the cosmos, and even taking part in capturing the first images of black holes.

Science Highlights 2022: Black Holes, Pulsars and Turbulence

The Universe is a dynamic and exciting place, with stars, planets, and galaxies being born, dying, and undergoing dramatic changes. In 2022, the telescopes of the National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) revealed fascinating new details about several of these processes, and we’re giving you a taste of the greatest radio astronomy moments of the year.

Baseline 14— Central Development Laboratory: The Magic Behind the Wonder

Radio telescopes are powerful tools that allow astronomers to study the Universe. We often read about the discoveries they make, but we rarely get a glimpse of the engineers and technicians that design and build these telescopes. Join our host Summer Ash as she talks about NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory (CDL) and how CDL helps make modern radio astronomy a reality.

NSF and SpaceX Finalize Radio Spectrum Coordination Agreement

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and SpaceX have finalized a radio spectrum coordination agreement to limit interference from the company’s Starlink satellites to radio astronomy assets operating between 10.6 and 10.7 GHz. The agreement, detailed in a statement released by NSF today, ensures that Starlink satellite network plans will meet international radio astronomy protection standards, and protect NSF-funded radio astronomy facilities, including the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the Green Bank Observatory (GBO).

NRAO’s Marian Pospieszalski Receives EuMA Pioneer Award

The European Microwave Association (EuMA) has announced Marian Pospieszalski— a senior research engineer at the National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)— as the recipient of its 2022 Pioneer Award. The EuMA Pioneer Award recognizes individuals responsible for noteworthy advances in the field of microwaves that have had a lasting and significant impact on the microwave community.

ALMA Witnesses Deadly Star-Slinging Tug-of-War Between Merging Galaxies

While observing a newly-dormant galaxy using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), scientists discovered that it had stopped forming stars not because it had used up all of its gas but because most of its star-forming fuel had been thrown out of the system as it merged with another galaxy. The result is a first for ALMA scientists. What’s more, if proven common, the results could change the way scientists think about galaxy mergers and deaths.

NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory to Launch New Women in Engineering Program With Support from the Heising-Simons Foundation

Following a generous grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Central Development Laboratory (CDL) at NSF’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) will soon launch an ambitious Women in Engineering program that will increase opportunities for women to enter the field of radio astronomy through engineering pathways. The program will include a postdoctoral fellowship and a co-op program for undergraduate and graduate students. 

Resultados sin precedentes de HL Tau alcanzados por ALMA en 2014 superan las 1000 citaciones en menos de una década

Los datos observacionales sin precedentes de HL Tau obtenidos por el Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) en 2014 han sido citados en más de mil estudios científicos en los últimos 7 años y medio. Ello ha permitido que la comunidad astronómica logre importantes avances en el estudio de la formación de planetas.El hito se produce cuando los ingenieros del Observatorio Nacional de Radioastronomía (NRAO) de la Fundación Nacional de Ciencias de EE. UU. se embarcan en ambiciosas actualizaciones de los receptores responsables de la claridad de las observaciones iniciales.

ALMA’s 2014 Ground-Breaking HL Tau Results Have Appeared in Over 1,000 Scientific Papers in Less Than a Decade

Ground-breaking 2014 HL Tau observational data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has been cited in more than 1,000 scientific studies in the past 7.5 years, aiding in major breakthroughs in scientists’ understanding of planet formation. The milestone comes as engineers at the U.S. National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) embark on ambitious upgrades to the receivers responsible for the clarity of initial observations.

ALMA Makes First-Ever Detection of Gas in a Circumplanetary Disk

Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)— in which the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a partner— to study planet formation have made the first-ever detection of gas in a circumplanetary disk. What’s more, the detection also suggests the presence of a very young exoplanet.

ALMA obtiene vista privilegiada de duelo entre fuerzas opuestas en incubadora de Gran Nube de Magallanes

Tras usar el Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) para observar regiones donde se forman estrellas en la Gran Nube de Magallanes, un equipo de investigación descubrió la existencia de un turbulento fenómeno de tira y afloja en la incubadora 30 Doradus. Las observaciones revelaron que, a pesar de una intensa retroalimentación estelar, la gravedad está incidiendo en la forma de la nube molecular y, contra todo pronóstico, fomentando la formación de estrellas jóvenes y masivas. Los resultados de las observaciones se presentaron hoy en una conferencia de prensa durante la asamblea n.o 240 de la Sociedad Astronómica Estadounidense (AAS, en su sigla en inglés), celebrada en Pasadena (California, EE. UU.), y se publicarán la revista The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ).

ALMA gets front-row seat to an ongoing star-formation standoff in the Large Magellanic Cloud

While using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe large star-forming regions in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), scientists discovered a turbulent push-and-pull dynamic in the star-forming region, 30 Doradus. Observations revealed that despite intense stellar feedback, gravity is shaping the molecular cloud, and against scientific odds, is driving the ongoing formation of young, massive stars. The observations were presented today in a press conference at the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Pasadena, California, and are published in The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ).

Undergraduate Researcher Captures Young Galaxy’s “Coming of Age” and Finds Evidence That Early Galaxies May Be Bigger and More Complex Than We Thought

Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)— an international observatory co-operated by the US National Science Foundation’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)—have observed a significant amount of cold, neutral gas in the outer regions of the young galaxy A1689-zD1, as well as outflows of hot gas coming from the galaxy’s center. These results may shed light on a critical stage of galactic evolution for early galaxies, where young galaxies begin the transformation to be increasingly like their later, more structured cousins. The observations were presented today in a press conference at the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Pasadena, California, and will be published in an upcoming edition of The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ).

Scientists on the Hunt for Planetary Formation Fossils Reveal Unexpected Eccentricities in Nearby Debris Disk

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have imaged the debris disk of the nearby star HD 53143 at millimeter wavelengths for the first time, and it looks nothing like they expected. Based on early coronagraphic data, scientists expected ALMA to confirm the debris disk as a face-on ring peppered with clumps of dust. Instead, the observations took a surprise turn, revealing the most complicated and eccentric debris disk observed to date.

Equipo científico en busca de fósiles de formación planetaria revela inesperadas excentricidades en disco de escombros cercano

Gracias al Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), un equipo de astrónomos y astrónomas obtuvo la primera imagen de un disco de escombros de la estrella cercana HD 53143 en longitudes de onda milimétricas, y el resultado dista mucho del que se esperaba. Sobre la base de datos coronagráficos, la comunidad científica esperaba que ALMA confirmara que el disco tenía el aspecto de un anillo visto de frente y con aglomeraciones de polvo. En cambio, el estudio reveló el disco más complejo y excéntrico observado a la fecha.

Science Results From NRAO Facilities to Be Presented at Multiple AAS 240 Press Conferences

Seven new scientific results from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) will be revealed at multiple press conferences during the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) between June 13-15, 2022 in Pasadena, California.

Astronomers Reveal First Image of the Black Hole at the Heart of Our Galaxy

At simultaneous press conferences around the world, including at a National Science Foundation-sponsored press conference at the US National Press Club in Washington, D.C., astronomers have unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the center of most galaxies. The image was produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, using observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes.

Scientists Find Elusive Gas From Post-starburst Galaxies Hiding in Plain Sight

Post-starburst galaxies were previously thought to scatter all of their gas and dust—the fuel required for creating new stars—in violent bursts of energy, and with extraordinary speed. Now, new data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) reveals that these galaxies don’t scatter all of their star-forming fuel after all. Instead, after their supposed end, these dormant galaxies hold onto and compress large amounts of highly-concentrated, turbulent gas. But contrary to expectation, they’re not using it to form stars.

Mind the Gap: Scientists Use Stellar Mass to Link Exoplanets to Planet-Forming Disks

Data from 500 young stars observed with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submilliter Array (ALMA) is giving scientists a window back through time, allowing them to predict what exoplanetary systems looked like through each stage of their formation. And it all starts with a link between higher mass stars, disks with gaps in them, and a high occurrence of observed exoplanets.

No olviden el surco: científicos usan masa estelar para establecer vínculo entre exoplanetas y discos protoplanetarios

A partir de los datos de más de 500 estrellas jóvenes observadas con el Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), los científicos descubrieron un vínculo directo entre las estructuras de los discos protoplanetarios (los discos que rodean a las estrellas y donde se forman planetas nuevos) y las características demográficas de los planetas que allí nacen.

Study of Young Chaotic Star System Reveals Planet Formation Secrets

A team of scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study the young star Elias 2-27 have confirmed that gravitational instabilities play a key role in planet formation, and have for the first time directly measured the mass of protoplanetary disks using gas velocity data, potentially unlocking one of the mysteries of planet formation.

Cosmic cartographers map the nearby Universe revealing the diversity of star-forming galaxies

A team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has completed the first census of molecular clouds in the nearby Universe. The study produced the first images of nearby galaxies with the same sharpness and quality as optical imaging and revealed that stellar nurseries do not all look and act the same. In fact, they’re as diverse as the people, homes, neighborhoods, and regions that make up our own world.