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Topic: Blazars

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope discovers High Energy Neutrino coming from Supermassive Black Hole

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For the first time ever, scientists using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have found the source of a high-energy neutrino from outside our galaxy. This neutrino traveled 3.7 billion years at almost the speed of light before being detected on Earth. This is farther than any other neutrino whose origin scientists can identify.

High-energy neutrinos are hard-to-catch particles that scientists think are created by the most powerful events in the cosmos, such as galaxy mergers and material falling onto supermassive black holes. They travel at speeds just shy of the speed of light and rarely interact with other matter, allowing them to travel unimpeded across distances of billions of light-years.

NASA's Fermi (top left) has achieved a new first—identifying a monster black hole in a far-off galaxy as the source of a high-energy neutrino seen by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory (sensor strings, bottom). (NASA/Fermi and Aurore Simonnet, Sonoma State University)

NASA’s Fermi (top left) has achieved a new first—identifying a monster black hole in a far-off galaxy as the source of a high-energy neutrino seen by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory (sensor strings, bottom). (NASA/Fermi and Aurore Simonnet, Sonoma State University)

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NASA’s Kepler spacecraft begins Campaign 18 observing Clusters of Stars

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft began the 18th observing campaign of its extended mission, K2, on May 12th, 2018. For the next 82 days, Kepler will stare at clusters of stars, faraway galaxies, and a handful of solar system objects, including comets, objects beyond Neptune, and an asteroid. The Kepler spacecraft is expected to run out of fuel within several months.

Campaign 18 is a familiar patch of space, as it’s approximately the same region of sky that Kepler observed during Campaign 5 in 2015. One of the advantages of observing a field over again is that planets outside the solar system, called exoplanets, may be found orbiting farther from their stars. Astronomers hope to not only discover new exoplanets during this campaign, but also to confirm candidates that were previously identified.

NASA's Kepler spacecraft campaign. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Ann Marie Cody)

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft campaign. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Ann Marie Cody)

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NASA’s NuSTAR Spacecraft discovers two nearby Black Holes that have been hidden until now

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Monster black holes sometimes lurk behind gas and dust, hiding from the gaze of most telescopes. But they give themselves away when material they feed on emits high-energy X-rays that NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission can detect.

That’s how NuSTAR recently identified two gas-enshrouded supermassive black holes, located at the centers of nearby galaxies.

“These black holes are relatively close to the Milky Way, but they have remained hidden from us until now,” said Ady Annuar, a graduate student at Durham University in the United Kingdom, who presented the results at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Grapevine, Texas. “They’re like monsters hiding under your bed.”

NGC 1448, a galaxy with an active galactic nucleus hidden by gas and dust, is seen in this image. (Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NGC 1448, a galaxy with an active galactic nucleus hidden by gas and dust, is seen in this image. (Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s WISE Explorer and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope discover infrared/gamma ray connection to Blazars

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers studying distant galaxies powered by monster black holes have uncovered an unexpected link between two very different wavelengths of the light they emit, the mid-infrared and gamma rays.

The discovery, which was accomplished by comparing data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, has enabled the researchers to uncover dozens of new blazar candidates.

Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. (M. Weiss/CfA)

Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. (M. Weiss/CfA)

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NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) takes unique X-Ray Images of the Cosmos

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is giving the wider astronomical community a first look at its unique X-ray images of the cosmos.

The first batch of data from the black-hole hunting telescope is publicly available today, August 29th, via NASA’s High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center, or HEASARC.

Artist's concept of NuSTAR on orbit. NuSTAR has a 10-m (30') mast that deploys after launch to separate the optics modules (right) from the detectors in the focal plane (left). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of NuSTAR on orbit. NuSTAR has a 10-m (30′) mast that deploys after launch to separate the optics modules (right) from the detectors in the focal plane (left). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s NuSTAR Spacecraft studies High Energy Sky

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NuSTAR has been busy studying the most energetic phenomena in the universe. Recently, a few high-energy events have sprung up, akin to “things that go bump in the night.”

When one telescope catches a sudden outpouring of high-energy light in the sky, NuSTAR and a host of other telescopes stop what they were doing and take a better look.

For example, in early April, the blazar Markarian 421 had an episode of extreme activity, brightening by more than 50 times its typical level. Blazars are a special class of galaxies with accreting, or “feeding,” supermassive black holes at their centers.

Artist's concept of NuSTAR in orbit. NuSTAR has a 33-foot (10-meter) mast that deploys after launch to separate the optics modules (right) from the detectors in the focal plane (left). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of NuSTAR in orbit. NuSTAR has a 33-foot (10-meter) mast that deploys after launch to separate the optics modules (right) from the detectors in the focal plane (left). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer sees Skies Ablaze with Blazars

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers are actively hunting a class of supermassive black holes throughout the universe called blazars thanks to data collected by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The mission has revealed more than 200 blazars and has the potential to find thousands more.

Blazars are among the most energetic objects in the universe. They consist of supermassive black holes actively “feeding,” or pulling matter onto them, at the cores of giant galaxies.

This artist's concept shows a "feeding," or active, supermassive black hole with a jet streaming outward at nearly the speed of light. Such active black holes are often found at the hearts of elliptical galaxies. Not all black holes have jets, but when they do, the jets can be pointed in any direction. If a jet happens to shine at Earth, the object is called a blazar. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist's concept shows a "feeding," or active, supermassive black hole with a jet streaming outward at nearly the speed of light. Such active black holes are often found at the hearts of elliptical galaxies. Not all black holes have jets, but when they do, the jets can be pointed in any direction. If a jet happens to shine at Earth, the object is called a blazar. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is finding Mysterious Objects at the Edge of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

 

Written by Dauna Coulter
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The human eye is crucial to astronomy. Without the ability to see, the luminous universe of stars, planets and galaxies would be closed to us, unknown forever. Nevertheless, astronomers cannot shake their fascination with the invisible.

Outside the realm of human vision is an entire electromagnetic spectrum of wonders. Each type of light–­from radio waves to gamma-rays–reveals something unique about the universe. Some wavelengths are best for studying black holes; others reveal newborn stars and planets; while others illuminate the earliest years of cosmic history.


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Fermi’s Latest Gamma-ray Census Highlights Cosmic Mysteries

 

Written by Francis Reddy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Every three hours, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope scans the entire sky and deepens its portrait of the high-energy universe. Every year, the satellite’s scientists reanalyze all of the data it has collected, exploiting updated analysis methods to tease out new sources.

These relatively steady sources are in addition to the numerous transient events Fermi detects, such as gamma-ray bursts in the distant universe and flares from the sun.

This all-sky image, constructed from two years of observations by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, shows how the sky appears at energies greater than 1 billion electron volts (1 GeV). Brighter colors indicate brighter gamma-ray sources. (Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration)

This all-sky image, constructed from two years of observations by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, shows how the sky appears at energies greater than 1 billion electron volts (1 GeV). Brighter colors indicate brighter gamma-ray sources. (Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration)

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