NOAO Home Page News Archive
The last 5 news items that have appeared on the NOAO Home Page.
January 10, 2018
Image Credit: R. Hahn & the DES Collaboration; inset: Alex Drlica-Wagner (Fermilab), Nora Shipp (U. Chicago), & the DES Collaboration
New Stellar Streams Confirm ‘Melting Pot’ History of the Galaxy
While most stars in the Milky Way were likely born here, many appear to have originated in other galaxies and migrated to our shores. Tell-tale evidence comes from streams of stars created when small galaxies interact with the Milky Way. Eleven new stellar streams, discovered in data from the Dark Energy Survey, currently in progress at the CTIO Blanco telescope, provide new evidence for this picture. The public release of the survey data continues the trend toward “Big Data” in astronomy.
December 06, 2017
Image Credit: Jinyi Yang, University of Arizona; Reidar Hahn, Fermilab; M. Newhouse NOAO/AURA/NSF
A Precocious Black Hole Behemoth at the Edge of Cosmic Dawn
Peering back in time, to an era when the Universe was only 5% of its current age, astronomers have spotted the most distant supermassive black hole discovered to date. The young black hole, which is rapidly feeding and growing, is already as massive as present-day black holes that reside at the centers of galaxies. The discovery, published in Nature, was made with data from the DECam Legacy Survey (DECaLS) that is being carried out with the CTIO Blanco telescope.
Read more in NOAO Press Release 17-07.
November 15, 2017
Image Credit: M. Hanna & NOAO/AURA/NSF; Inset: R. Kotulla (University of Wisconsin) & WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF
A Familiar-Looking Messenger from Another Solar System
The visit of the interstellar interloper U1, recently spotted streaking through the Solar System, gives the people of Earth their first chance to study up close an object from another planetary system. Observations with the WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak reveal that despite its foreign origins, U1 appears similar to asteroids in our Solar System. The result supports the long-held view that our Solar System once ejected its own flotilla of messengers like U1 out into interstellar space.
Read more in NOAO Press Release 17-06.
October 16, 2017
Image Credit: Babak Tafreshi; Inset: Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital, Inc.
That Gold on Your Finger May Be Dust from a Neutron Star
Telescopes pinpoint optical glow of a binary neutron star merger detected in gravitational waves
The precious elements in our Earth-bound bling are thought to have been forged in ancient fiery cataclysms, when pairs of neutron stars spiraled together and merged into black holes. Telescopes at CTIO recently pinpointed and studied the light from such a merger. The first optical counterpart to a gravitational wave detection, the discovery confirms that merging neutron star binaries are indeed major cosmic production sites of rare heavy elements.
October 02, 2017
Image Credit: Yuri Zvezdny, Russia
2017 International Earth & Sky Photo Contest Winners
A stunning collection of images showcased in the 8th International Earth & Sky Photo Contest highlights the beauty of the night sky and the battle with light pollution. The contest is a collaboration between NOAO, the World at Night (TWAN), and Global Astronomy Month, a program of Astronomers Without Borders (AWB). NOAO astronomer Connie Walker, recent president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and director of the Globe at Night program, served as one of the contest judges.