JUST IN: Newly Detected Gamma-Rays From Milky Way

The first-ever detection of highly energetic radiation from a microquasar has astrophysicists scrambling for new theories to explain the extreme particle acceleration. The team’s observations led by Hui Li, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Theoretical Division says; “”What’s amazing about this discovery is that all current particle acceleration theories have difficulties explaining the observations.”

A microquasar is a black hole that gobbles up debris from a nearby companion star and blasts out powerful jets of material. The team’s observations, described in the Oct. 4 issue of the journal Nature, strongly suggest that particle collisions at the ends of the microquasar’s jets produced the powerful gamma rays. Scientists think that studying messages from this microquasar, dubbed SS 433, may offer a glimpse into more extreme events happening at the centers of distant galaxies.

The team gathered data from the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Gamma-Ray Observatory (HAWC), which is a mountain-top detector in Mexico that observes gamma ray emission from supernova remnants, rotating dense stars called pulsars, and quasars. Los Alamos, funded by Department of Energy Office of High-Energy Physics, helped build HAWC, which was completed in 2015.

Based on their analysis, the researchers concluded that electrons in the jets attain energies that are about 1,000 times higher than can be achieved using earth-bound particle accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider. The jet electrons collide with the low-energy microwave background radiation that permeates space, resulting in gamma ray emission. This is a newly observed mechanism for getting high-energy gamma rays out of this kind of system and is different from what scientists have observed when the jets are aimed at Earth.

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Alexa’s and Sophia’s Kids Heart Challenge Fundraiser (American Heart Association)

At my school, I’m learning how I can help make a difference by raising lifesaving donations to help kids with heart disease.  I’m also learning about my own heart, and how to keep it healthy. And I’m getting active!

I’m excited about raising money for other kids – kids with hearts that don’t exactly work right and to help fund new medicines and treatments to be discovered.                     Please help me make a difference!  Thank you!

Alexa’s Link: http://bit.ly/2y1xSV5

Sophia’s Link: http://bit.ly/2PgnhfK

 

Unstoppable Monster In The Early Universe

Astronomers obtained the most detailed anatomy chart of a monster galaxy located 12.4 billion light-years away. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the team revealed that the molecular clouds in the galaxy are highly unstable, which leads to runaway star formation. Monster galaxies are thought to be the ancestors of the huge elliptical galaxies in today’s universe, therefore these findings pave the way to understand the formation and evolution of such galaxies.

“One of the best parts of ALMA observations is to see the far-away galaxies with unprecedented resolution,” says Ken-ichi Tadaki, a postdoctoral researcher at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the lead author of the research paper published in the journal Nature.

Monster galaxies, or starburst galaxies, form stars at a startling pace; 1000 times higher than the star formation in our Galaxy. But why are they so active? To tackle this problem, researchers need to know the environment around the stellar nurseries. Drawing detailed maps of molecular clouds is an important step to scout a cosmic monster.

Tadaki and the team targeted a chimerical galaxy COSMOS-AzTEC-1. This galaxy was first discovered with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawai`i, and later the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) in Mexico found an enormous amount of carbon monoxide gas in the galaxy and revealed its hidden starburst. The LMT observations also measured the distance to the galaxy, and found that it is 12.4 billion light-years (Note).

Researchers have found that COSMOS-AzTEC-1 is rich with the ingredients of stars, but it was still difficult to figure out the nature of the cosmic gas in the galaxy. The team utilized the high resolution and high sensitivity of ALMA to observe this monster galaxy and obtain a detailed map of the distribution and the motion of the gas. Thanks to the most extended ALMA antenna configuration of 16 km, this is the highest resolution molecular gas map of a distant monster galaxy ever made.

“We found that there are two distinct large clouds several thousand light-years away from the center,” explains Tadaki. “In most distant starburst galaxies, stars are actively formed in the center. So it is surprising to find off-center clouds.”

The astronomers further investigated the nature of the gas in COSMOS-AzTEC-1 and found that the clouds throughout the galaxy are very unstable, which is unusual. In a normal situation, the inward gravity and outward pressure are balanced in the clouds. Once gravity overcomes pressure, the gas cloud collapses and forms stars at a rapid pace. Then, stars and supernova explosions at the end of the stellar life cycle blast out gases, which increase the outward pressure. As a result, the gravity and pressure reach a balanced state and star formation continues at a moderate pace. In this way star formation in galaxies is self-regulating. But, in COSMOS-AzTEC-1, the pressure is far weaker than the gravity and hard to balance. Therefore this galaxy shows runaway star formation and has morphed into an unstoppable monster galaxy.

The team estimated that the gas in COSMOS-AzTEC-1 will be completely consumed in 100 million years, which is 10 times faster than in other star forming galaxies.

But why is the gas in COSMOS-AzTEC-1 so unstable? Researchers do not have a definitive answer yet, but galaxy merger is a possible cause. Galaxy collision may have efficiently transported the gas into a small area and ignited intense star formation.

“At this moment, we have no evidence of merger in this galaxy. By observing other similar galaxies with ALMA, we want to unveil the relation between galaxy mergers and monster galaxies,” summarizes Tadaki.

JUST IN: Another ‘Bingo’ for Science Of Cycles Research, New Study Shows Rhythmic Oscillation of Charged Particles

In an article I published on August 18th which was Part I of a three part series, I made the following statement. “As we gain increased knowledge of the when-where-how of various charged particles, which encompasses such things as Black Holes, Supernovas, Gamma Ray Blasts, and Coronal Mass Ejections – we develop a cognizance lending itself to a measure of predictability. As a naturally directed outcome of evolving research – it is the “Science Of Cycles” which takes us to the next level of aptitude which could very well bring us to the cusp of an extraterrestrial neighborhood.”   Article Here

Now, in a new discovery just published reported in a paper published at Cornell University arXiv Library, the ‘science of cycles’ has made a significant leap. Astronomers have detected transient ‘rhythmic oscillations’ in the gamma-ray emission from the blazar Markarian 501. In general, blazars are perceived by astronomers as high-energy engines serving as natural laboratories to study particle acceleration, relativistic plasma processes, magnetic field dynamics and black hole physics. Rhythmic; movement or procedure with uniform or pattern, and Oscillation; source that repeatedly and regularly fluctuates.

A group of astronomers led by Gopal Bhatta of the Astronomical Observatory of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, has analyzed the observational data of Mrk 501 collected by the Large Area Telescope (LAT) of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, between August 2008 and June 2018. The study resulted in the detection of rhythmic oscillations in the blazar’s gamma-ray emission.

**Science Of Cycles keeps you tuned-in and knowledgeable of what we are discovering, and how some of these changes will affect our communities and ways of living. CLICK HERE

Blazars, are classified as active galaxies that host active galactic nuclei (AGN). Their characteristic features are relativistic jets pointed almost exactly toward the Earth. In general, blazars are perceived by astronomers as high-energy engines serving as natural laboratories to study particle acceleration, relativistic plasma processes, magnetic field dynamics and black hole physics.

Located some 456 million light-years away, Markarian 501 (or Mrk 501 for short) is a blazar with a spectrum extending to the highest energy gamma rays. It is one of the nearest blazars that shines bright in the X-ray and one of the earliest extragalactic sources detected in the TeV band. According to the study, astronomers found a strong signal of quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) with a periodicity of around 332 days. They added that the gamma-ray flux modulation in this blazar gradually decayed in strength during the recent years.

The study presents several hypotheses about what could be the driving force behind such rhythmic oscillations in Mrk 501. The research team suggest various scenarios, including supermassive binary black holes, jet precession and accretion disk precessing under gravitational torque. Additionally, the researchers concluded that further analysis of Mrk 501 and discussion on the topic are needed in order to definitely determine the most plausible theory explaining the origin of the oscillations in this blazar.

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Part III (con’t) Cosmic Rays and There Effect to Our Solar System and Earth

The origin of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) is a half-century-old enigma. The mystery has been deepened by an intriguing coincidence: over ten orders of magnitude in energy, the energy generation rates of UHECRs, PeV neutrinos and isotropic sub-TeV gamma-rays are comparable, which hints at a grand unified picture.

Here we report that powerful black hole jets in aggregates of galaxies can supply the common origin for all of these phenomena. Once accelerated by a jet, low-energy cosmic rays confined in the radio lobe are adiabatically cooled; higher-energy cosmic rays leaving the source interact with the magnetized cluster environment and produce neutrinos and gamma-rays.

The highest-energy particles escape from the host cluster and contribute to the observed cosmic rays above 100 PeV. The model is consistent with the spectrum, composition and isotropy of the observed UHECRs, and also explains the IceCube neutrinos and the non-blazar component of the Fermi gamma-ray background, assuming a reasonable energy output from black hole jets in clusters.

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Science Of Cycles keeps you tuned in and knowledgeable of what we are discovering, and how some of these changes will affect our communities and ways of living.

 

I Am Excited to be Back; and For More Than One Reason

Hello ‘Science Of Cycles’ patrons. I’m coming off a surgery to remove a large tumor from my upper leg. What would have been a mostly unenthusiastic surgery, took a turn with a false-positive biopsy. As you have probably surmised, the final result is a benign and known as Lipoma. However, not all Lipoma’s are the same. They usually do not exhibit pain, of course mine did; and they usually grow at a very slow pace, mine seem to be in a hurry.

It appears the lump was entangled in muscle which was the cause of pain. As for the apparent faster than usual growth, it seems to have something to do with muscle entanglement. So to end this somewhat morbid explanation to my absence of articles, I am now resting reasonable well – and most importantly, able to return to my research and of bringing you the latest cutting edge news in the fields of Earth Science, Space Weather, and AstroPhysics which in fact affirms almost on a daily basis, the defining a symbiotic connection with our galaxy and universe. To date, the element which connects our little home to the seemingly vast universe is ‘charged particles’.

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Piggy Bank is empty…need your support as always to keep this machine running. I think you know I love what I do, but what’s really rewarding is when it loves me back. I attribute my thoughts to that of a healthy marriage. To give a hundred percent is a good thing, but many of us who are married, add a bit more if you have kids, have realized that sometimes a hundred percent is not enough. This is to say, even on those times you are absolutely right, it’s better to let your partner be right too.

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As we gain increased knowledge of the when-where-how of various charged particles, which encompasses such things as Black Holes, Supernovas, Gamma Ray Blasts, and Coronal Mass Ejections – we develop a cognizance lending itself to a measure of predictability. As a naturally directed outcome of evolving research – it is the “Science Of Cycles” which takes us to the next level of aptitude which could very well bring us to the cusp of an extraterrestrial neighborhood.

ps, I should mention one of the shortcomings of my healing process, is a curtailed period on the keyboard. Hence, moving on, and expect a Part II and most likely a Part III to this and coming articles.

There has been a whirlwind of activity over the last few weeks. The July 27th 2018 total lunar eclipse was visible in large parts of Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. Totality lasted for 103 minutes, making it the longest eclipse of the 21st century. Then, on August 11th a partial solar eclipse was visible from northern and Eastern Europe, northern parts of North America, and some northern and western locations in Asia, making it the most watched solar eclipse of 2018.

In Part II of this article, I will cover the 14 day prior and 14 day post events of July 27th total Lunar Eclipse, and the August 11th Partial Solar Eclipse – both of which my research has been able to identify a connection to significant earth changing events during these windows of opportunity. Events such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and extreme weather are among those which I will outline. Some outcomes are related to gravity, others with rapid temperature flux, and yet others with fluid displacement.

In Part III will encompass the incredible discoveries as it relates to Cosmic Rays, one of which is the identification of a ultra-high-energy cosmic ray, now labeled as the “OMG Particle”. Also, new information indicating a 30% increase of cosmic rays entering Earth’s atmosphere.

I hope this article refreshes your memory and enthusiasm that you can only find right here at ‘Science Of Cycles’ research and news service.

Stay Tuned…………

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Could Gravitational Waves Reveal How Fast Our Universe Is Expanding?

Since it first exploded into existence 13.8 billion years ago, the universe has been expanding, dragging along with it hundreds of billions of galaxies and stars, much like raisins in a rapidly rising dough.

Astronomers have pointed telescopes to certain stars and other cosmic sources to measure their distance from Earth and how fast they are moving away from us — two parameters that are essential to estimating the Hubble constant, a unit of measurement that describes the rate at which the universe is expanding.

But to date, the most precise efforts have landed on very different values of the Hubble constant, offering no definitive resolution to exactly how fast the universe is growing. This information, scientists believe, could shed light on the universe’s origins, as well as its fate, and whether the cosmos will expand indefinitely or ultimately collapse.

Now scientists from MIT and Harvard University have proposed a more accurate and independent way to measure the Hubble constant, using gravitational waves emitted by a relatively rare system: a black hole-neutron star binary, a hugely energetic pairing of a spiraling black hole and a neutron star. As these objects circle in toward each other, they should produce space-shaking gravitational waves and a flash of light when they ultimately collide.

In a paper to be published July 12th in Physical Review Letters, the researchers report that the flash of light would give scientists an estimate of the system’s velocity, or how fast it is moving away from the Earth. The emitted gravitational waves, if detected on Earth, should provide an independent and precise measurement of the system’s distance. Even though black hole-neutron star binaries are incredibly rare, the researchers calculate that detecting even a few should yield the most accurate value yet for the Hubble constant and the rate of the expanding universe.

“Black hole-neutron star binaries are very complicated systems, which we know very little about,” says Salvatore Vitale, assistant professor of physics at MIT and lead author of the paper. “If we detect one, the prize is that they can potentially give a dramatic contribution to our understanding of the universe.”

Vitale’s co-author is Hsin-Yu Chen of Harvard.

Competing constants

Two independent measurements of the Hubble constant were made recently, one using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and another using the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite. The Hubble Space Telescope’s measurement is based on observations of a type of star known as a Cepheid variable, as well as on observations of supernovae. Both of these objects are considered “standard candles,” for their predictable pattern of brightness, which scientists can use to estimate the star’s distance and velocity.

The other type of estimate is based on observations of the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background — the electromagnetic radiation that was left over in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang, when the universe was still in its infancy. While the observations by both probes are extremely precise, their estimates of the Hubble constant disagree significantly.

“That’s where LIGO comes into the game,” Vitale says.

LIGO, or the Laser Interferometry Gravitational-Wave Observatory, detects gravitational waves — ripples in the Jell-O of space-time, produced by cataclysmic astrophysical phenomena.

“Gravitational waves provide a very direct and easy way of measuring the distances of their sources,” Vitale says. “What we detect with LIGO is a direct imprint of the distance to the source, without any extra analysis.”

In 2017, scientists got their first chance at estimating the Hubble constant from a gravitational-wave source, when LIGO and its Italian counterpart Virgo detected a pair of colliding neutron stars for the first time. The collision released a huge amount of gravitational waves, which researchers measured to determine the distance of the system from Earth. The merger also released a flash of light, which astronomers focused on with ground and space telescopes to determine the system’s velocity.

With both measurements, scientists calculated a new value for the Hubble constant. However, the estimate came with a relatively large uncertainty of 14 percent, much more uncertain than the values calculated using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Planck satellite.

Vitale says much of the uncertainty stems from the fact that it can be challenging to interpret a neutron star binary’s distance from Earth using the gravitational waves that this particular system gives off.

“We measure distance by looking at how ‘loud’ the gravitational wave is, meaning how clear it is in our data,” Vitale says. “If it’s very clear, you can see how loud it is, and that gives the distance. But that’s only partially true for neutron star binaries.”

That’s because these systems, which create a whirling disc of energy as two neutron stars spiral in toward each other, emit gravitational waves in an uneven fashion. The majority of gravitational waves shoot straight out from the center of the disc, while a much smaller fraction escapes out the edges. If scientists detect a “loud” gravitational wave signal, it could indicate one of two scenarios: the detected waves stemmed from the edge of a system that is very close to Earth, or the waves emanated from the center of a much further system.

“With neutron star binaries, it’s very hard to distinguish between these two situations,” Vitale says.

A new wave

In 2014, before LIGO made the first detection of gravitational waves, Vitale and his colleagues observed that a binary system composed of a black hole and a neutron star could give a more accurate distance measurement, compared with neutron star binaries. The team was investigating how accurately one could measure a black hole’s spin, given that the objects are known to spin on their axes, similarly to Earth but much more quickly.

The researchers simulated a variety of systems with black holes, including black hole-neutron star binaries and neutron star binaries. As a byproduct of this effort, the team noticed that they were able to more accurately determine the distance of black hole-neutron star binaries, compared to neutron star binaries. Vitale says this is due to the spin of the black hole around the neutron star, which can help scientists better pinpoint from where in the system the gravitational waves are emanating.

“Because of this better distance measurement, I thought that black hole-neutron star binaries could be a competitive probe for measuring the Hubble constant,” Vitale says. “Since then, a lot has happened with LIGO and the discovery of gravitational waves, and all this was put on the back burner.”

Vitale recently circled back to his original observation, and in this new paper, he set out to answer a theoretical question:

“Is the fact that every black hole-neutron star binary will give me a better distance going to compensate for the fact that potentially, there are far fewer of them in the universe than neutron star binaries?” Vitale says.

To answer this question, the team ran simulations to predict the occurrence of both types of binary systems in the universe, as well as the accuracy of their distance measurements. From their calculations, they concluded that, even if neutron binary systems outnumbered black hole-neutron star systems by 50-1, the latter would yield a Hubble constant similar in accuracy to the former.

More optimistically, if black hole-neutron star binaries were slightly more common, but still rarer than neutron star binaries, the former would produce a Hubble constant that is four times as accurate.

“So far, people have focused on binary neutron stars as a way of measuring the Hubble constant with gravitational waves,” Vitale says. “We’ve shown there is another type of gravitational wave source which so far has not been exploited as much: black holes and neutron stars spiraling together,” Vitale says. “LIGO will start taking data again in January 2019, and it will be much more sensitive, meaning we’ll be able to see objects farther away. So LIGO should see at least one black hole-neutron star binary, and as many as 25, which will help resolve the existing tension in the measurement of the Hubble constant, hopefully in the next few years.”

This research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation and the LIGO Laboratory.

Explosive Volcanoes Spawned Mysterious Martian Rock Formation

Explosive volcanic eruptions that shot jets of hot ash, rock and gas skyward are the likely source of a mysterious Martian rock formation, a new study finds. The new finding could add to scientists’ understanding of Mars’s interior and its past potential for habitability, according to the study’s authors.

The Medusae Fossae Formation is a massive, unusual deposit of soft rock near Mars’s equator, with undulating hills and abrupt mesas. Scientists first observed the Medusae Fossae with NASA’s Mariner spacecraft in the 1960s but were perplexed as to how it formed.

Now, new research suggests the formation was deposited during explosive volcanic eruptions on the Red Planet more than 3 billion years ago. The formation is about one-fifth as large as the continental United States and 100 times more massive than the largest explosive volcanic deposit on Earth, making it the largest known explosive volcanic deposit in the solar system, according to the study’s authors.

“This is a massive deposit, not only on a Martian scale, but also in terms of the solar system, because we do not know of any other deposit that is like this,” said Lujendra Ojha, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and lead author of the new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Formation of the Medusae Fossae would have marked a pivotal point in Mars’s history, according to the study’s authors. The eruptions that created the deposit could have spewed massive amounts of climate-altering gases into Mars’s atmosphere and ejected enough water to cover Mars in a global ocean more than 9 centimeters (4 inches) thick, Ojha said.

Greenhouse gases exhaled during the eruptions that spawned the Medusae Fossae could have warmed Mars’s surface enough for water to remain liquid at its surface, but toxic volcanic gases like hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide would have altered the chemistry of Mars’s surface and atmosphere. Both processes would have affected Mars’s potential for habitability, Ojha said.

Determining the source of the rock

The Medusae Fossae Formation consists of hills and mounds of sedimentary rock straddling Mars’s equator. Sedimentary rock forms when rock dust and debris accumulate on a planet’s surface and cement over time.

Scientists have known about the Medusae Fossae for decades, but were unsure whether wind, water, ice or volcanic eruptions deposited rock debris in that location.

Previous radar measurements of Mars’s surface suggested the Medusae Fossae had an unusual composition, but scientists were unable to determine whether it was made of highly porous rock or a mixture of rock and ice. In the new study, Ojha and a colleague used gravity data from various Mars orbiter spacecraft to measure the Medusae Fossae’s density for the first time. They found the rock is unusually porous: it’s about two-thirds as dense as the rest of the Martian crust. They also used radar and gravity data in combination to show the Medusae Fossae’s density cannot be explained by the presence of ice, which is much less dense than rock.

Because the rock is so porous, it had to have been deposited by explosive volcanic eruptions, according to the researchers. Volcanoes erupt in part because gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor dissolved in magma force the molten rock to rise to the surface. Magma containing lots of gas explodes skyward, shooting jets of ash and rock into the atmosphere.

Ash from these explosions plummets to the ground and streams downhill. After enough time has passed, the ash cements into rock, and Ojha suspects this is what formed the Medusae Fossae. As much as half of the soft rock originally deposited during the eruptions has eroded away, leaving behind the hills and valleys seen in the Medusae Fossae today.

Understanding Mars’s interior

The new findings suggest the Martian interior is more complex than scientists originally thought, according to Ojha. Scientists know Mars has some water and carbon dioxide in its crust that allow explosive volcanic eruptions to happen on its surface, but the planet’s interior would have needed massive amounts of volatile gases — substances that become gas at low temperatures — to create a deposit of this size, he said.

“If you were to distribute the Medusae Fossae globally, it would make a 9.7-meter (32-foot) thick layer.” Ojha said. “Given the sheer magnitude of this deposit, it really is incredible because it implies that the magma was not only rich in volatiles and also that it had to be volatile-rich for long periods of time.”

The new study shows the promise of gravity surveys in interpreting Mars’s rock record, according to Kevin Lewis, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the new study. “Future gravity surveys could help distinguish between ice, sediments and igneous rocks in the upper crust of the planet,” Lewis said.