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NASA Sees Black Hole Bend Light: 
NASA’s black-hole hunting telescope has captured a cosmic battle between dark and light.
NuSTAR, formally known as the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, has observed a supermassive black hole’s gravity tugging on X-ray light that’s being emitted near that black hole.
That light is getting stretched and blurred, and researchers are getting to see it all in unprecedented detail, said NASA in a news release issued today.
In this instance, the corona - a source of X-ray light that sits near a black hole - recently collapsed in toward the black hole that’s named Markarian 335.
The NuSTAR telescope has been collecting X-rays from black holes and dying stars for the past two years.
The craft completed its primary mission earlier this year, and it was redirected to investigate Markarian 335 once scientists noticed that the black hole had become dramatically brighter. NuSTAR observed that Markarian 335’s gravity sucked the corona’s light, an illuminating action that NASA likened to someone shining a flashlight for astronomers.
Scientists can now see the corona “lighting up material around the black hole,” which allows them to study “the most extreme light-bending effects” of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, said NuSTAR’s principal investigator, Fiona Harrison, in the news release. She is with the California Institute of Technology

utcjonesobservatory:

NASA Sees Black Hole Bend Light:

NASA’s black-hole hunting telescope has captured a cosmic battle between dark and light.

NuSTAR, formally known as the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, has observed a supermassive black hole’s gravity tugging on X-ray light that’s being emitted near that black hole.

That light is getting stretched and blurred, and researchers are getting to see it all in unprecedented detail, said NASA in a news release issued today.

In this instance, the corona - a source of X-ray light that sits near a black hole - recently collapsed in toward the black hole that’s named Markarian 335.

The NuSTAR telescope has been collecting X-rays from black holes and dying stars for the past two years.

The craft completed its primary mission earlier this year, and it was redirected to investigate Markarian 335 once scientists noticed that the black hole had become dramatically brighter. NuSTAR observed that Markarian 335’s gravity sucked the corona’s light, an illuminating action that NASA likened to someone shining a flashlight for astronomers.

Scientists can now see the corona “lighting up material around the black hole,” which allows them to study “the most extreme light-bending effects” of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, said NuSTAR’s principal investigator, Fiona Harrison, in the news release. She is with the California Institute of Technology

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utcjonesobservatory:

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the globular cluster IC 4499.  Globular clusters are big balls of old stars that orbit around their host galaxy. It has long been believed that all the stars within a globular cluster f…orm at the about same time, a property which can be used to determine the cluster’s age. For more massive globulars however, detailed observations have shown that this is not entirely true — there is evidence that they instead consist of multiple populations of stars born at different times. One of the driving forces behind this behaviour is thought to be gravity: more massive globulars manage to grab more gas and dust, which can then be transformed into new stars.  IC 4499 is a somewhat special case. Its mass lies somewhere between low-mass globulars, which show a single generation build-up, and the more complex and massive globulars which can contain more than one generation of stars. By studying objects like IC 4499 astronomers can therefore explore how mass affects a cluster’s contents. Astronomers found no sign of multiple generations of stars in IC 4499 — supporting the idea that less massive clusters in general only consist of a single stellar generation.  Hubble observations of IC 4499 have also helped to pinpoint the cluster’s age: observations of this cluster from the 1990s suggested a puzzlingly young age when compared to other globular clusters within the Milky Way. However, since those first estimates new Hubble data been obtained, and it has been found to be much more likely that IC 4499 is actually roughly the same age as other Milky Way clusters at approximately 12 billion years old.  Caption: NASA ESA/NASA

utcjonesobservatory:

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the globular cluster IC 4499.

Globular clusters are big balls of old stars that orbit around their host galaxy. It has long been believed that all the stars within a globular cluster form at the about same time, a property which can be used to determine the cluster’s age. For more massive globulars however, detailed observations have shown that this is not entirely true — there is evidence that they instead consist of multiple populations of stars born at different times. One of the driving forces behind this behaviour is thought to be gravity: more massive globulars manage to grab more gas and dust, which can then be transformed into new stars.

IC 4499 is a somewhat special case. Its mass lies somewhere between low-mass globulars, which show a single generation build-up, and the more complex and massive globulars which can contain more than one generation of stars. By studying objects like IC 4499 astronomers can therefore explore how mass affects a cluster’s contents. Astronomers found no sign of multiple generations of stars in IC 4499 — supporting the idea that less massive clusters in general only consist of a single stellar generation.

Hubble observations of IC 4499 have also helped to pinpoint the cluster’s age: observations of this cluster from the 1990s suggested a puzzlingly young age when compared to other globular clusters within the Milky Way. However, since those first estimates new Hubble data been obtained, and it has been found to be much more likely that IC 4499 is actually roughly the same age as other Milky Way clusters at approximately 12 billion years old.

Caption: NASA
ESA/NASA
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Sea Plankton Discovered Outside Space Station: 
Russian scientists conducting experiments on the outside surface of the International Space State made a puzzling discovery, one made all the more remarkable because it’s something that whales eat.
Samples taken from illuminators and the surface of the space station were found to have traces of sea plankton and other microorganisms, but scientists are baffled as to how they got there, the Russian chief of the orbital mission told the ITAR-TASS News Agency.
“Results of the experiment are absolutely unique,” chief of the Russian ISS orbital mission Vladimir Solovyev told ITAR-TASS. “We have found traces of sea plankton and microscopic particles on the illuminator surface. This should be studied further.”
The study shows that the sea plankton and organisms can live in space despite lack of oxygen, zero gravity, extreme temperatures, and cosmic radiation, and they proved these organisms can even develop.
More from Will Stewart in Moscow for the U.K. Express:

The news agency reported that Mr. Solovyev was uncertain “how these microscopic particles could have appeared on the surface of the space station,” adding that the organisms were not typical for Baikonur in Kazakhstan, from where the space station lifted off.
“Plankton in these stages of development could be found on the surface of the oceans.
“This is not typical for Baikonur. It means that there are some uplifting air currents which reach the station and settle on its surface,” he was quoted as saying.

The discovery was made using high-precision equipment in the experiment, apparently prompted during an operation to clean and polish the International Space Station, the Express reported.
As Solovyev said, this should be studied further.

utcjonesobservatory:

Sea Plankton Discovered Outside Space Station:

Russian scientists conducting experiments on the outside surface of the International Space State made a puzzling discovery, one made all the more remarkable because it’s something that whales eat.

Samples taken from illuminators and the surface of the space station were found to have traces of sea plankton and other microorganisms, but scientists are baffled as to how they got there, the Russian chief of the orbital mission told the ITAR-TASS News Agency.

“Results of the experiment are absolutely unique,” chief of the Russian ISS orbital mission Vladimir Solovyev told ITAR-TASS. “We have found traces of sea plankton and microscopic particles on the illuminator surface. This should be studied further.”

The study shows that the sea plankton and organisms can live in space despite lack of oxygen, zero gravity, extreme temperatures, and cosmic radiation, and they proved these organisms can even develop.

More from Will Stewart in Moscow for the U.K. Express:

The news agency reported that Mr. Solovyev was uncertain “how these microscopic particles could have appeared on the surface of the space station,” adding that the organisms were not typical for Baikonur in Kazakhstan, from where the space station lifted off.

“Plankton in these stages of development could be found on the surface of the oceans.

“This is not typical for Baikonur. It means that there are some uplifting air currents which reach the station and settle on its surface,” he was quoted as saying.

The discovery was made using high-precision equipment in the experiment, apparently prompted during an operation to clean and polish the International Space Station, the Express reported.

As Solovyev said, this should be studied further.