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Topic: Dark Energy

NASA says Dark Energy Survey helps us understand structure of the Universe

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – What is our universe made of, and has its composition changed over time? Scientists have new insights about these fundamental questions, thanks to an international collaboration of more than 400 scientists called the Dark Energy Survey (DES).

Three scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are part of this group that is helping to further our understanding of the structure of the universe.

The advances in astrophysics from DES are crucial to preparations for two upcoming space missions that will probe similar questions about the nature of the universe: ESA’s Euclid mission (which has significant NASA participation) and NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope mission, both expected to launch in the 2020s.

Map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey. The map covers about 1/30th of the entire sky and spans several billion light years in extent. Red regions have more dark matter than average, blue regions less dark matter. (Chihway Chang/Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago/DES Collaboration)

Map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey. The map covers about 1/30th of the entire sky and spans several billion light years in extent. Red regions have more dark matter than average, blue regions less dark matter. (Chihway Chang/Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago/DES Collaboration)

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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts selects 22 proposals for advancement

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A mechanical rover inspired by a Dutch artist. A weather balloon that recharges its batteries in the clouds of Venus.

These are just two of the five ideas that originated at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and are advancing for a new round of research funded by the agency.

In total, the space agency is investing in 22 early-stage technology proposals that have the potential to transform future human and robotic exploration missions, introduce new exploration capabilities, and significantly improve current approaches to building and operating aerospace systems.

PL's AREE rover for Venus is just one of the concepts selected by NASA for further research funding. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PL’s AREE rover for Venus is just one of the concepts selected by NASA for further research funding. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA to use Super Low Temperatures to slow Atoms for observation on International Space Station

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – This summer, an ice chest-sized box will fly to the International Space Station, where it will create the coolest spot in the universe.

Inside that box, lasers, a vacuum chamber and an electromagnetic “knife” will be used to cancel out the energy of gas particles, slowing them until they’re almost motionless. This suite of instruments is called the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), and was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. CAL is in the final stages of assembly at JPL, ahead of a ride to space this August on SpaceX CRS-12.

Its instruments are designed to freeze gas atoms to a mere billionth of a degree above absolute zero. That’s more than 100 million times colder than the depths of space.

Artist's concept of an atom chip for use by NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) aboard the International Space Station. CAL will use lasers to cool atoms to ultracold temperatures. (NASA)

Artist’s concept of an atom chip for use by NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) aboard the International Space Station. CAL will use lasers to cool atoms to ultracold temperatures. (NASA)

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APSU physics student Jacob Robertson discovers Quasar while visiting Fermilab

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Quasars—massive black holes that emit large amounts of radiation—are among the brightest objects in the universe, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to identify.

For centuries, they’ve been mistaken for other shining celestial objects, and in recent years, astronomers had yet to accurately identify a certain one of these brilliant specks in the southern sky.

Austin Peay physics student Jacob Robertson

Austin Peay physics student Jacob Robertson

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NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) to help unravel Secrets of the Universe

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After years of preparatory studies, NASA is formally starting an astrophysics mission designed to help unlock the secrets of the universe — the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

With a view 100 times bigger than that of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, WFIRST will aid researchers in their efforts to unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and explore the evolution of the cosmos. It also will discover new worlds outside our solar system and advance the search for worlds that could be suitable for life.

WFIRST, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, is shown here in an artist's rendering. It will carry a Wide Field Instrument to provide astronomers with Hubble-quality images covering large swaths of the sky, and enabling several studies of cosmic evolution. (NASA)

WFIRST, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, is shown here in an artist’s rendering. It will carry a Wide Field Instrument to provide astronomers with Hubble-quality images covering large swaths of the sky, and enabling several studies of cosmic evolution. (NASA)

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NASA reports Euclid Mission to investigate mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Euclid, a planned mission to investigate the profound cosmic mysteries of dark matter and dark energy, has passed its preliminary design review. This clears the way for construction to begin.

Euclid is a European Space Agency mission with important contributions from NASA, including infrared detectors for one instrument and science and data analysis.

Euclid is designed to give us important new insights into the “dark side” of the universe — namely dark matter and dark energy, both thought to be key components of our cosmos.

Artist's impression of the Euclid spacecraft, a dark energy and dark matter mission planned for launch in 2020. (ESA/C. Carreau)

Artist’s impression of the Euclid spacecraft, a dark energy and dark matter mission planned for launch in 2020. (ESA/C. Carreau)

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NASA reports Planck Space Telescope helps Scientists look at the Universe’s Past

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Hot gas, dust and magnetic fields mingle in a colorful swirl in this new map of our Milky Way galaxy. The image is part of a new and improved data set from Planck, a European Space Agency mission in which NASA played a key role.

Planck spent more than four years observing relic radiation left over from the birth of our universe, called the cosmic microwave background. The space telescope is helping scientists better understand the history and fabric of our universe, as well as our own Milky Way.

A festive portrait of our Milky Way galaxy shows a mishmash of gas, charged particles and several types of dust. The composite image comes from the European Space Agency's Planck mission, in which NASA plays an important role. It is constructed from observations made at microwave and millimeter wavelengths of light, which are longer than what we see with our eyes.

A festive portrait of our Milky Way galaxy shows a mishmash of gas, charged particles and several types of dust. The composite image comes from the European Space Agency’s Planck mission, in which NASA plays an important role. It is constructed from observations made at microwave and millimeter wavelengths of light, which are longer than what we see with our eyes.

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NASA Scientists look for ways to measure Dark Matter and Dark Energy

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – How do you measure something that is invisible? It’s a challenging task, but astronomers have made progress on one front: the study of dark matter and dark energy, two of the most mysterious substances in our cosmos.

Dark matter is intermixed with normal matter, but it gives off no light, making it impossible to see. Dark energy is even more slippery, yet scientists think it works against gravity to pull our universe apart at the seams.

Galaxy warping occurs naturally in nature in a phenomenon called strong gravitational lensing. The gravity of matter in front of a more distant galaxy, either dark or normal matter, bends and twists the galaxy's light, resulting in wacky shapes and sometimes multiple versions of the same galaxy. It's like seeing a galaxy in a funhouse mirror. Scientists use these natural lenses to make maps of dark matter, an invisible substance permeating our cosmos.

Galaxy warping occurs naturally in nature in a phenomenon called strong gravitational lensing. The gravity of matter in front of a more distant galaxy, either dark or normal matter, bends and twists the galaxy’s light, resulting in wacky shapes and sometimes multiple versions of the same galaxy. It’s like seeing a galaxy in a funhouse mirror. Scientists use these natural lenses to make maps of dark matter, an invisible substance permeating our cosmos.

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APSU Students earn high marks for research at famed Fermilab

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Mees Fix, an Austin Peay State University physics student, thought he might be in trouble. He was outside of Chicago, analyzing white dwarf stars at Fermilab – the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratory – when he noticed something strange. One of the stars was giving off way too much light energy.

“At first, I thought I broke something,” he said. “I figured I messed something up. I walked over to Dr. Smith and said, ‘check this out? What’s going on here?’” «Read the rest of this article»

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NASA reports Radio Bursts from Beyond Our Galaxy Discovered

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA reports that Astronomers, including a team member from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, have detected the first population of radio bursts known to originate from galaxies beyond our own Milky Way.

The sources of the light bursts are unknown, but cataclysmic events, such as merging or exploding stars, are likely the triggers.

A radio burst is a quick surge of light from a point on the sky, made up of longer wavelengths in the radio portion of the light spectrum. A single radio burst was detected about six years ago, but researchers were unclear about whether it came from within or beyond our galaxy.

This image shows the Parkes telescope in Australia, part of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Researchers, including a team member from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, used the telescope to detect the first population of radio bursts known to originate from beyond our galaxy. (Image courtesy Shaun Amy)

This image shows the Parkes telescope in Australia, part of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Researchers, including a team member from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, used the telescope to detect the first population of radio bursts known to originate from beyond our galaxy. (Image courtesy Shaun Amy)

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