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Topic: Dark Energy

NASA to develop Telescope to Study Universe, Find Planets and more

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) project has passed a critical programmatic and technical milestone, giving the mission the official green light to begin hardware development and testing.

The WFIRST space telescope will have a viewing area 100 times larger than that of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which will enable it to detect faint infrared signals from across the cosmos while also generating enormous panoramas of the universe, revealing secrets of dark energy, discovering planets outside our solar system (exoplanets), and addressing a host of other astrophysics and planetary science topics.

This graphic shows a simulation of a WFIRST observation of M31, also known as the Andromeda galaxy. Hubble used more than 650 hours to image areas outlined in blue. Using WFIRST, covering the entire galaxy would take only three hours. (DSS, R. Gendle, NASA, GSFC, ASU, STScI, B. F. Williams)

This graphic shows a simulation of a WFIRST observation of M31, also known as the Andromeda galaxy. Hubble used more than 650 hours to image areas outlined in blue. Using WFIRST, covering the entire galaxy would take only three hours. (DSS, R. Gendle, NASA, GSFC, ASU, STScI, B. F. Williams)

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NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) to help explore the nature of Dark Energy

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists have discovered that a mysterious pressure dubbed “dark energy” makes up about 68% of the total energy content of the cosmos, but so far we don’t know much more about it.

Exploring the nature of dark energy is one of the primary reasons NASA is building the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a space telescope whose measurements will help illuminate the dark energy puzzle. With a better understanding of dark energy, we will have a better sense of the past and future evolution of the universe.

An artist's rendering of NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which will study multiple cosmic phenomena, including dark energy. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

An artist’s rendering of NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which will study multiple cosmic phenomena, including dark energy. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA creates Sensor Chip Electronics for ESA Dark Energy Mission, Euclid

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission, set to launch in 2022, will investigate two of the biggest mysteries in modern astronomy: dark matter and dark energy. A team of NASA engineers recently delivered critical hardware for one of the instruments that will fly on Euclid and probe these cosmic puzzles.

Based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the engineers designed, fabricated and tested 20 pieces of sensor-chip electronics (SCEs) hardware for Euclid (16 for the flight instrument and four backups).

The cryogenic (cold) portion of the Euclid space telescope's Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument. NASA led the procurement and delivery of the detectors for the NISP instrument. The gold-coated hardware is the 16 sensor-chip electronics integrated with the infrared sensors. (Euclid Consortium/CPPM/LAM)

The cryogenic (cold) portion of the Euclid space telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument. NASA led the procurement and delivery of the detectors for the NISP instrument. The gold-coated hardware is the 16 sensor-chip electronics integrated with the infrared sensors. (Euclid Consortium/CPPM/LAM)

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope captures last moments of dying Star

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In a galaxy far away, an old star exploded and became a supernova. About 170 million years later on February 4th, 2018, the light emanating from the explosion was received by an arsenal of high-powered telescopes.

NASA’s Kepler space telescope detected the unfurling light of SN 2018oh, as it has been labeled. The first ground-based facility to identify the signal was with the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernova and soon observatories around the globe were monitoring the supernova as part of a unique scientific experiment designed to help solve the mystery of how stars explode.

This image scenario leading to a particular kind of Type Ia supernova in which a single white dwarf siphons off so much material from its companion star that it can no longer sustain its own weight and blows up.  It is one theory explaining the data from SN 2018oh. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image scenario leading to a particular kind of Type Ia supernova in which a single white dwarf siphons off so much material from its companion star that it can no longer sustain its own weight and blows up. It is one theory explaining the data from SN 2018oh. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, European Space Agency’s Gaia Space Observatory Measure the Universe’s Expansion Rate

 

Space Telescope Science Institute

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationBaltimore, MD – Using the power and synergy of two space telescopes, NASA says astronomers have made the most precise measurement to date of the universe’s expansion rate.

The results further fuel the mismatch between measurements for the expansion rate of the nearby universe, and those of the distant, primeval universe — before stars and galaxies even existed.

This so-called “tension” implies that there could be new physics underlying the foundations of the universe. Possibilities include the interaction strength of dark matter, dark energy being even more exotic than previously thought, or an unknown new particle in the tapestry of space.

Using two of the world’s most powerful space telescopes — NASA’s Hubble and ESA’s Gaia — astronomers have made the most precise measurements to date of the universe’s expansion rate. This is calculated by gauging the distances between nearby galaxies using special types of stars called Cepheid variables as cosmic yardsticks. (NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI))

Using two of the world’s most powerful space telescopes — NASA’s Hubble and ESA’s Gaia — astronomers have made the most precise measurements to date of the universe’s expansion rate. This is calculated by gauging the distances between nearby galaxies using special types of stars called Cepheid variables as cosmic yardsticks. (NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI))

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Austin Peay State University physics student Deborah Gulledge named “Scientist of the Week” at National Lab

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – The night sky is darker, the stars brighter, in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee. The rural town sits about an hour south of Nashville, where the heavens are dimmed by excessive light pollution, and as a girl, Deborah Gulledge became curious about the brilliant stars above her home.

“I was always interested in astronomy,” she said recently.

APSU student Deborah Gulledge

APSU student Deborah Gulledge

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope finds Exploding Stars, Supernovae, as well as Exoplanets

 

Written by Alison Hawkes
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – Astronomer Ed Shaya was in his office looking at data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope in 2012 when he noticed something unusual: The light from a galaxy had quickly brightened by 10 percent. The sudden bump in light got Shaya instantly excited, but also nervous. The effect could be explained by the massive explosion of a star — a supernova! — or, more troublingly, a computer error.

“I just remember on that day, not knowing whether I should believe it or not,” he remembers. Rather than celebrate, he thought, “Did I make a mistake? Am I doing this all wrong?”

A new study describes the most extreme known example of a "fast-evolving luminous transient" (FELT) supernova. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A new study describes the most extreme known example of a “fast-evolving luminous transient” (FELT) supernova. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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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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