Cassiopeia-A

NASA's Spitzer Confirms Closest Rocky Exoplanet












NASA - Spitzer Space Telescope logo.

July 30, 2015

Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the nearest rocky planet outside our solar system, larger than Earth and a potential gold mine of science data.


Image above: This artist’s concept shows the silhouette of a rocky planet, dubbed HD 219134b. At 21 light-years away, the planet is the closest outside of our solar system that can be seen crossing, or transiting, its star. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Dubbed HD 219134b, this exoplanet, which orbits too close to its star to sustain life, is a mere 21 light-years away. While the planet itself can’t be seen directly, even by telescopes, the star it orbits is visible to the naked eye in dark skies in the Cassiopeia constellation, near the North Star.

HD 219134b is also the closest exoplanet to Earth to be detected transiting, or crossing in front of, its star and, therefore, perfect for extensive research.

“Transiting exoplanets are worth their weight in gold because they can be extensively characterized,” said Michael Werner, the project scientist for the Spitzer mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “This exoplanet will be one of the most studied for decades to come.”


Image above: This sky map shows the location of the star HD 219134 (circle), host to the nearest confirmed rocky planet found to date outside of our solar system. The star lies just off the “W” shape of the constellation Cassiopeia and can be seen with the naked eye in dark skies. It actually has multiple planets, none of which are habitable. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DSS.

The planet, initially discovered using HARPS-North instrument on the Italian 3.6-meter Galileo National Telescope in the Canary Islands, is the subject of a study accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Study lead author Ati Motalebi of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland said she believes the planet is the ideal target for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in 2018.

“Webb and future large, ground-based observatories are sure to point at it and examine it in detail,” Motalebi said.

Only a small fraction of exoplanets can be detected transiting their stars due to their relative orientation to Earth. When the orientation is just right, the planet’s orbit places it between its star and Earth, dimming the detectable light of its star. It’s this dimming of the star that is actually captured by observatories such as Spitzer, and can reveal not only the size of the planet but also clues about its composition.


Image above: This artist’s rendition shows one possible appearance for the planet HD 219134b, the nearest confirmed rocky exoplanet found to date outside our solar system. The planet is 1.6 times the size of Earth, and whips around its star in just three days. Scientists predict that the scorching-hot planet – known to be rocky through measurements of its mass and size – would have a rocky, partially molten surface with geological activity, including possibly volcanoes. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

"Most of the known planets are hundreds of light-years away. This one is practically a next-door neighbor,” said astronomer and study co-author Lars A. Buchhave of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For reference, the closest known planet is GJ674b at 14.8 light-years away; its composition is unknown.

HD 219134b was first sighted by the HARPS-North instrument and a method called the radial velocity technique, in which a planet’s mass and orbit can be measured by the tug it exerts on its host star. The planet was determined to have a mass 4.5 times that of Earth, and a speedy three-day orbit around its star.

Spitzer followed up on the finding, discovering the planet transits its star. Infrared measurements from Spitzer revealed the planet’s size, about 1.6 times that of Earth. Combining the size and mass gives it a density of 3.5 ounces per cubic inch (six grams per cubic centimeter) – confirming HD 219134b is a rocky planet.

Now that astronomers know HD 219134b transits its star, scientists will be scrambling to observe it from the ground and space. The goal is to tease chemical information out of the dimming starlight as the planet passes before it. If the planet has an atmosphere, chemicals in it can imprint patterns in the observed starlight.

Rocky planets such as this one, with bigger-than-Earth proportions, belong to a growing class of planets termed super-Earths.

Spitzer Space Telescope. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
“Thanks to NASA’s Kepler mission, we know super-Earths are ubiquitous in our galaxy, but we still know very little about them,” said co-author Michael Gillon of the University of Liege in Belgium, lead scientist for the Spitzer detection of the transit. “Now we have a local specimen to study in greater detail. It can be considered a kind of Rosetta Stone for the study of super-Earths.”

Further observations with HARPS-North also revealed three more planets in the same star system, farther than HD 219134b. Two are relatively small and not too far from the star. Small, tightly packed multi-planet systems are completely different from our own solar system, but, like super-Earths, are being found in increasing numbers.

JPL manages the Spitzer mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive, housed at Caltech’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.

For more information about NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Felicia Chou/Gina Anderson/JPL/Whitney Clavin.

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope Confirms Closest Rocky Exo-planet

Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the nearest rocky planet outside our solar system, larger than Earth and a potential gold mine of science data.

Dubbed HD 219134b, this exoplanet, which orbits too close to its star to sustain life, is a mere 21 light-years away. While the planet itself can’t be seen directly, even by telescopes, the star it orbits is visible to the naked eye in dark skies in the Cassiopeia constellation, near the North Star.

HD 219134b is also the closest exoplanet to Earth to be detected transiting, or crossing in front of, its star and, therefore, perfect for extensive research.

“Transiting exoplanets are worth their weight in gold because they can be extensively characterized,” said Michael Werner, the project scientist for the Spitzer mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “This exoplanet will be one of the most studied for decades to come.” …

(read more: JPL - CalTech)

anonymous asked:

when it comes to writing on your blog about other characters, is there specific blogs you write into your stories or is it just character generalization?

I write with blogs in mind. I usually talk to them behind the scenes before I write about them.

I also write about a couple OCs, namely nasiraofthesands, ask-kavyn, von-the-first-mate, ioniantonitruum, and youcannotaffordme.

I have yet to have one particular blog for Cassiopeia, Malzahar, Renekton, and Amumu.

Something different 😊😘 eyes are the @anastasiabeverlyhills #worldtraveler palette (soft peach, morocco, fudge and noir in crease…Bellini and intense gaze on lid…inner corner is metallic 💙 brows are #anastasiabeverlyhills #browwiz in soft brown and taupe 💙 liner is @tartecosmetics #tarteistliner 💙 @toofaced #bornthiswayfoundation in nude and warm nude 💙 blush is @toofaced #loveflushblush in Your Love is King 💙 highlight is @narsissist shadow in Cassiopeia 💙 lips are @colourpopcosmetics #ultramattelipstick in Midi with @maccosmetics Oyster Girl gloss 💙 Giorgio Armani liquid summer drops for contour and bronze 💙

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Tattered Remnants of a Star

10,000 light-years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia, a massive star went supernova, collapsing under the weight of its own gravity and blowing its outer layers into space, causing its own explosive demise. Shattered fragments are all that remain of the star—a huge swirls of debris and stellar ejecta called Cassiopeia A. It contains gases of 10 million degrees Celsius, created when the supernova flung out materials that smashed into surrounding dust and gas at speeds of 16 million km/hour. Cas A is actually the strongest radio source in the sky beyond our solar system, and the images above show the remnants in both optical and X-ray wavelengths, capturing the complex, intricate structure of the debris, fascinating in its utter destruction. The false colours indicate chemical compositions: bright green filaments are rich in oxygen, red and purple are sulphur, and blue are hydrogen and nitrogen. The light of Cas A first reached Earth just 340 years ago, so it’s one of the youngest and freshest such remnants we know of in the Milky Way. Studying it will help us understand the evolution of the universe. But it still holds some mysteries—take a closer look at the last image, and note the small turquoise dot right in the centre. Astronomers believe this is a neutron star—an ultra-dense star created during the supernova. Years of observation have shown unexpected rapid cooling of the star, which is thought to be caused by superfluids in its dense core. Superfluids are extremely bizarre but super cool, and you can read more about them from NASA.

(Image credit: Hubble/Chandra)

First Biological Evidence of a Supernova

May 8, 2013 — In fossil remnants of iron-loving bacteria, researchers of the Cluster of Excellence Origin and Structure of the Universe at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), found a radioactive iron isotope that they trace back to a supernova in our cosmic neighborhood. This is the first proven biological signature of a starburst on our Earth. The age determination of the deep-drill core from the Pacific Ocean showed that the supernova must have occurred about 2.2 million years ago, roughly around the time when the modern human developed.

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Superfluid in Neutron Star’s Core

One of the most famous astronomical objects in the night sky is the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. This image of Cassiopeia A was taken with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and shows three different energy bands of X-ray light. The white dot in the center of the image is Cassiopeia A’s neutron star. A neutron star is fast spinning, ultradense stellar remnant that’s left over after a massive star explodes. In fact, it’s the densest known object that is directly observable. Because it’s compressed by its immense gravitational field, a single teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh about 10 million tons. The pressure inside the core is high enough that most of the electrons there are forced into a degenerate state; they penetrate the atomic nuclei and fuse with protons, producing neutrons and a tremendous amount of energy, which is mainly radiated in the form of neutrinos. The rapid cooling in Cas A’s neutron star – through neutrino emission, suggests that the neutrons in its core are in a rare form of matter known as a superfluid. Superfluids are very strange, they are friction-free, can flow upward, escape airtight containers, and also behave as if they are a single particle.

For more information:

Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

Cassiopeia A in a Million

One million seconds of x-ray image data were used to construct this view of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, the expanding debris cloud from a stellar explosion. The stunningly detailed image from the Chandra Observatory will allow an unprecedented exploration of the catastrophic fate that awaits stars much more massive than the Sun.

Credit: U. Hwang (GSFC/UMD), J.M. Lamming (NRL), et al., CXC, NASA,

Exploring the third dimension of Cassiopeia A

One of the most famous objects in the sky - the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant - will be on display like never before, thanks to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and a new project from the Smithsonian Institution. A new three-dimensional (3D) viewer, being unveiled this week, will allow users to interact with many one-of-a-kind objects from the Smithsonian as part of a large-scale effort to digitize many of the Institutions objects and artifacts.

Scientists have combined data from Chandra, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities to construct a unique 3D model of the 300-year old remains of a stellar explosion that blew a massive star apart, sending the stellar debris rushing into space at millions of miles per hour. The collaboration with this new Smithsonian 3D project will allow the astronomical data collected on Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, to be featured and highlighted in an open-access program – a major innovation in digital technologies with public, education, and research-based impacts.

To coincide with Cas A being featured in this new 3D effort, a specially-processed version of Chandra’s data of this supernova remnant is also being released. This new image shows with better clarity the appearance of Cas A in different energy bands, which will aid astronomers in their efforts to reconstruct details of the supernova process such as the size of the star, its chemical makeup, and the explosion mechanism. The color scheme used in this image is the following: low-energy X-rays are red, medium-energy ones are green, and the highest-energy X-rays detected by Chandra are colored blue.

Cas A is the only astronomical object to be featured in the new Smithsonian 3D project. This and other objects in the collection - including the Wright brothers plane, a 1,600-year-old stone Buddha, a gunboat from the Revolutionary War, and fossil whales from Chile – were being showcased in the Smithsonian X 3D event, taking place on November 13th and 14th at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. In addition to new state-of-the-art 3D viewer, the public will be able to explore these objects through original videos, online tours, and other supporting materials.

Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

Alien State of Matter Found at Neutron Star Core of Cassiopeia A.


Evidence for a bizarre state of matter was identified in the dense core of an extinct star, a so-called neutron star, based on cooling observed over a decade of Chandra observations. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered the first direct evidence for a superfluid, a bizarre, friction-free state of matter, at the core of Cassiopeia A.

Superfluids created in laboratories on Earth exhibit remarkable properties, such as the ability to climb upward and escape airtight containers. The finding has important implications for understanding nuclear interactions in matter at the highest known densities.

Neutron stars contain the densest known matter that is directly observable. One teaspoon of neutron star material weighs six billion tons. The pressure in the star’s core is so high that most of the charged particles, electrons and protons, merge resulting in a star composed mostly of uncharged particles called neutrons.

Two independent research teams studied the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, the remains of a massive star 11,000 light years away that would have appeared to explode about 330 years ago as observed from Earth. Chandra data found a rapid decline in the temperature of the ultra-dense neutron star that remained after the supernova, showing that it had cooled by about four percent over a 10-year period.”

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Cassiopeia A: Carbon Atmosphere Discovered On Neutron Star

This Chandra X-ray Observatory image shows the central region of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A, for short) the remains of a massive star that exploded in our galaxy. Evidence for a thin carbon atmosphere on a neutron star at the center of Cas A has been found. Besides resolving a ten-year-old mystery about the nature of this object, this result provides a vivid demonstration of the extreme nature of neutron stars. An artist’s impression of the carbon-cloaked neutron star is also shown.

Discovered in Chandra’s “First Light” image obtained in 1999, the point-like X-ray source at the center of Cas A was presumed to be a neutron star , the typical remnant of an exploded star, but it surprisingly did not show any evidence for X-ray or radio pulsations. By applying a model of a neutron star with a carbon atmosphere to this object, it was found that the region emitting X-rays would uniformly cover a typical neutron star. This would explain the lack of X-ray pulsations because this neutron star would be unlikely to display any changes in its intensity as it rotates. The result also provides evidence against the possibility that the collapsed star contains strange quark matter.

The properties of this carbon atmosphere are remarkable. It is only about four inches thick, has a density similar to diamond and a pressure more than ten times that found at the center of the Earth. As with the Earth’s atmosphere, the extent of an atmosphere on a neutron star is proportional to the atmospheric temperature and inversely proportional to the surface gravity. The temperature is estimated to be almost two million degrees, much hotter than the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the surface gravity on Cas A is 100 billion times stronger than on Earth, resulting in an incredibly thin atmosphere.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Southampton/W. Ho et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

3-D model lets you “fly through” a 300-year-old supernova

Check out the amazing new image that NASA just released of Cassiopeia A, the remains of a supernova that would have been visible from Earth 300 years ago. This new composite image was released to promote a new 3-D visualization tool that will allow more people to study Cas A.

The new 3-D model is a project of NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which explains:

Scientists have combined data from Chandra, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities to construct a unique 3D model of the 300-year old remains of a stellar explosion that blew a massive star apart, sending the stellar debris rushing into space at millions of miles per hour. The collaboration with this new Smithsonian 3D project will allow the astronomical data collected on Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, to be featured and highlighted in an open-access program — a major innovation in digital technologies with public, education, and research-based impacts.

To coincide with Cas A being featured in this new 3D effort, a specially-processed version of Chandra’s data of this supernova remnant is also being released. This new image shows with better clarity the appearance of Cas A in different energy bands, which will aid astronomers in their efforts to reconstruct details of the supernova process such as the size of the star, its chemical makeup, and the explosion mechanism. The color scheme used in this image is the following: low-energy X-rays are red, medium-energy ones are green, and the highest-energy X-rays detected by Chandra are colored blue.

See more details, including a guided tour of the 3-D visualization tool, over at the Chandra site.

NuSTAR untangles mystery of how stars explode

One of the biggest mysteries in astronomy, how stars blow up in supernova explosions, finally is being unraveled with the help of NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR).

The high-energy X-ray observatory has created the first map of radioactive material in a supernova remnant. The results, from a remnant named Cassiopeia A (Cas A), reveal how shock waves likely rip apart massive dying stars.

“Stars are spherical balls of gas, and so you might think that when they end their lives and explode, that explosion would look like a uniform ball expanding out with great power,” said Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator of NuSTAR at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. “Our new results show how the explosion’s heart, or engine, is distorted, possibly because the inner regions literally slosh around before detonating.”

Cas A was created when a massive star blew up as a supernova, leaving a dense stellar corpse and its ejected remains. The light from the explosion reached Earth a few hundred years ago, so we are seeing the stellar remnant when it was fresh and young.

Supernovas seed the universe with many elements, including the gold in jewelry, the calcium in bones and the iron in blood. While small stars like our sun die less violent deaths, stars at least eight times as massive as our sun blow up in supernova explosions. The high temperatures and particles created in the blast fuse light elements together to create heavier elements.

NuSTAR is the first telescope capable of producing maps of radioactive elements in supernova remnants. In this case, the element is titanium-44, which has an unstable nucleus produced at the heart of the exploding star.

The NuSTAR map of Cas A shows the titanium concentrated in clumps at the remnant’s center and points to a possible solution to the mystery of how the star met its demise. When researchers simulate supernova blasts with computers, as a massive star dies and collapses, the main shock wave often stalls out and the star fails to shatter. The latest findings strongly suggest the exploding star literally sloshed around, re-energizing the stalled shock wave and allowing the star to finally blast off its outer layers.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXC/SAO