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Media invitation: new details about our Milky Way in the third Gaia data release


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    • By NASA
      Hurricane Idalia brought significant storm surge, heavy rains, and strong winds to Florida as a Category 3 hurricane in 2023. This image is from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite, acquired at 11:35 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29, 2023.Credits: NASA Earth Observatory NASA invites media to an event at the agency’s headquarters at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 13, to learn about a new Disaster Response Coordination System that will provide communities and organizations around the world with access to science and data to aid disaster response.  
      The event will be held in NASA’s James E. Webb Auditorium at 300 E St. SW, Washington, and air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. To attend the briefing in person, media should RSVP no later than 12 p.m. EDT June 13, to Liz Vlock at elizabeth.a.vlock@nasa.gov. NASA’s media accreditation policy is online.
      The briefing speakers include:
      NASA Administrator Bill Nelson NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy Nicky Fox, associate administrator, NASA Science Mission Directorate Karen St. Germain, division director, NASA Earth Sciences Division Jainey Bavishi, deputy administrator, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Erik Hooks, deputy administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency David Applegate, director, U.S. Geological Survey Dianna Darsney de Salcedo, assistant to the U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Clayton Turner, director, NASA Langley Research Center Shanna McClain, program manager, NASA Disasters Program Joshua Barnes, manager, NASA Disaster Response Coordination System Judith Mitrani-Reiser, senior scientist, National Institute of Standards and Technology The Disaster Response Coordination System will connect NASA’s Earth science data, technology, and expertise with disaster response organizations in the U.S. and internationally. The goal is to reduce disaster impacts to lives and livelihoods through timely, actionable, and accurate information.
      For more information about NASA’s Disasters program, visit: 
      https://disasters.nasa.gov/response
      -end-
      Liz Vlock
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      elizabeth.a.vlock@nasa.gov
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Jun 11, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Natural Disasters Earth Observatory Earth Science Science & Research Science Mission Directorate View the full article
    • By NASA
      6 Min Read NASA’s Webb Opens New Window on Supernova Science
      The JADES Deep Field uses observations taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as part of the JADES (JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey) program. A team of astronomers studying JADES data identified about 80 objects that changed in brightness over time. Most of these objects, known as transients, are the result of exploding stars or supernovae. See annotated image below. Peering deeply into the cosmos, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is giving scientists their first detailed glimpse of supernovae from a time when our universe was just a small fraction of its current age. A team using Webb data has identified 10 times more supernovae in the early universe than were previously known. A few of the newfound exploding stars are the most distant examples of their type, including those used to measure the universe’s expansion rate.
      “Webb is a supernova discovery machine,” said Christa DeCoursey, a third-year graduate student at the Steward Observatory and the University of Arizona in Tucson. “The sheer number of detections plus the great distances to these supernovae are the two most exciting outcomes from our survey.”
      DeCoursey presented these findings in a press conference at the 244th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Madison, Wisconsin.
      Image A: Jades Deep Field Annotated
      The JADES Deep Field uses observations taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as part of the JADES (JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey) program. A team of astronomers studying JADES data identified about 80 objects (circled in green) that changed in brightness over time. Most of these objects, known as transients, are the result of exploding stars or supernovae. Prior to this survey, only a handful of supernovae had been found above a redshift of 2, which corresponds to when the universe was only 3.3 billion years old — just 25% of its current age. The JADES sample contains many supernovae that exploded even further in the past, when the universe was less than 2 billion years old. It includes the farthest one ever spectroscopically confirmed, at a redshift of 3.6. Its progenitor star exploded when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old.
      ‘A Supernova Discovery Machine’
      To make these discoveries, the team analyzed imaging data obtained as part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) program. Webb is ideal for finding extremely distant supernovae because their light is stretched into longer wavelengths — a phenomenon known as cosmological redshift.
      Prior to Webb’s launch, only a handful of supernovae had been found above a redshift of 2, which corresponds to when the universe was only 3.3 billion years old — just 25% of its current age. The JADES sample contains many supernovae that exploded even further in the past, when the universe was less than 2 billion years old.
      Previously, researchers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to view supernovae from when the universe was in the “young adult” stage. With JADES, scientists are seeing supernovae when the universe was in its “teens” or “pre-teens.” In the future, they hope to look back to the “toddler” or “infant” phase of the universe.
      To discover the supernovae, the team compared multiple images taken up to one year apart and looked for sources that disappeared or appeared in those images. These objects that vary in observed brightness over time are called transients, and supernovae are a type of transient. In all, the JADES Transient Survey Sample team uncovered about 80 supernovae in a patch of sky only about the thickness of a grain of rice held at arm’s length.
      “This is really our first sample of what the high-redshift universe looks like for transient science,” said teammate Justin Pierel, a NASA Einstein Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. “We are trying to identify whether distant supernovae are fundamentally different from or very much like what we see in the nearby universe.”
      Pierel and other STScI researchers provided expert analysis to determine which transients were actually supernovae and which were not, because often they looked very similar.
      The team identified a number of high-redshift supernovae, including the farthest one ever spectroscopically confirmed, at a redshift of 3.6. Its progenitor star exploded when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old. It is a so-called core-collapse supernova, an explosion of a massive star. 
      Image B: Jades Deep Field Transients (NIRCam)
      This mosaic displays three of about 80 transients, or objects of changing brightness, identified in data from the JADES (JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey) program. Most of the transients are the result of exploding stars or supernovae. By comparing images taken in 2022 and 2023, astronomers could locate supernovae that recently exploded (like the examples shown in the first two columns), or supernovae that had already exploded and whose light was fading away (third column). The age of each supernova can be determined from its redshift (designated by ‘z’). The light of the most distant supernova, at a redshift of 3.8, originated when the universe was only 1.7 billion years old. A redshift of 2.845 corresponds to a time 2.3 billion years after the big bang. The closest example, at a redshift of 0.655, shows light that left its galaxy about 6 billion years ago, when the universe was just over half its current age.
      Uncovering Distant Type Ia Supernovae
      Of particular interest to astrophysicists are Type Ia supernovae. These exploding stars are so predictably bright that they are used to measure far-off cosmic distances and help scientists to calculate the universe’s expansion rate. The team identified at least one Type Ia supernova at a redshift of 2.9. The light from this explosion began traveling to us 11.5 billion years ago when the universe was just 2.3 billion years old. The previous distance record for a spectroscopically confirmed Type Ia supernova was a redshift of 1.95, when the universe was 3.4 billion years old.
      Scientists are eager to analyze Type Ia supernovae at high redshifts to see if they all have the same intrinsic brightness, regardless of distance. This is critically important, because if their brightness varies with redshift, they would not be reliable markers for measuring the expansion rate of the universe.
      Pierel analyzed this Type Ia supernova found at redshift 2.9 to determine if its intrinsic brightness was different than expected. While this is just the first such object, the results indicate no evidence that Type Ia brightness changes with redshift. More data is needed, but for now, Type Ia supernova-based theories about the universe’s expansion rate and its ultimate fate remain intact. Pierel also presented his findings at the 244th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
      Looking Toward the Future
      The early universe was a very different place with extreme environments. Scientists expect to see ancient supernovae that come from stars that contain far fewer heavy chemical elements than stars like our Sun. Comparing these supernovae with those in the local universe will help astrophysicists understand star formation and supernova explosion mechanisms at these early times.
      “We’re essentially opening a new window on the transient universe,” said STScI Fellow Matthew Siebert, who is leading the spectroscopic analysis of the JADES supernovae. “Historically, whenever we’ve done that, we’ve found extremely exciting things — things that we didn’t expect.”
      “Because Webb is so sensitive, it’s finding supernovae and other transients almost everywhere it’s pointed,” said JADES team member Eiichi Egami, a research professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “This is the first significant step toward more extensive surveys of supernovae with Webb.”
      The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). 
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      Media Contacts
      Laura Betz – laura.e.betz@nasa.gov, Rob Gutro – rob.gutro@nasa.gov
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      Ann Jenkins – jenkins@stsci.edu / Christine Pulliam – cpulliam@stsci.edu
      Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
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      Details
      Last Updated Jun 10, 2024 Editor Stephen Sabia Contact Laura Betz laura.e.betz@nasa.gov Related Terms
      Astrophysics Galaxies Galaxies, Stars, & Black Holes James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Missions Origin & Evolution of the Universe Science & Research The Universe View the full article
    • By NASA
      The core stage is the backbone of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will help power NASA’s Artemis II mission to send a crew of four astronauts around the Moon in 2025. Here, the core stage is currently behind scaffolding to allow work to continue at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The stage’s two massive propellant tanks hold a collective 733,000 gallons of liquid propellant to power the four RS-25 engines at its base. Following hardware acceptance reviews and final checkouts, the stage will be readied for delivery via the agency’s Pegasus barge to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for Artemis II launch preparations. (NASA/ Eric Bordelon) NASA will roll the fully assembled core stage for the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will launch the first crewed Artemis mission out of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans in mid-July. The 212-foot-tall stage will be loaded on the agency’s Pegasus barge for delivery to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
      Media will have the opportunity to capture images and video, hear remarks from agency and industry leadership, and speak to subject matter experts with NASA and its Artemis industry partners as crews move the rocket stage to the Pegasus barge.
      NASA will provide additional information on specific timing later, along with interview opportunities. This event is open to U.S. and international media. International media must apply by June 14. U.S. media must apply by July 3. The agency’s media credentialing policy is available online.  
      Interested media must contact Corinne Beckinger at corinne.m.beckinger@nasa.gov and Craig Betbeze at craig.c.betbeze@nasa.gov. Registered media will receive a confirmation by email.
      The rocket stage with its four RS-25 engines will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust to send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis II mission. Once at Kennedy, teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program will finish outfitting the stage and prepare it for stacking and launch. Artemis II is currently scheduled for launch in September 2025.
      Building, assembling, and transporting the core stage is a collaborative process for NASA, Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, and lead RS-25 engines contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3 Harris Technologies company.
      NASA is working to land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon under the agency’s Artemis campaign. The SLS rocket is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, supporting ground systems, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. The SLS rocket is the only rocket designed to send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single launch.
      Learn more about NASA’s Artemis campaign:
      https://www.nasa.gov/artemis/
      -end- 
      Rachel Kraft
      NASA Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      rachel.h.kraft@nasa.gov
      Corinne Beckinger 
      Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. 
      256-544-0034
      corinne.m.beckinger@nasa.gov 
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA will roll the fully assembled core stage for the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will launch the first crewed Artemis mission out of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans in mid-July. The 212-foot-tall stage will be loaded on the agency’s Pegasus barge for delivery to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
      Media will have the opportunity to capture images and video, hear remarks from agency and industry leadership, and speak to subject matter experts with NASA and its Artemis industry partners as crews move the rocket stage to the Pegasus barge.
      The core stage is the backbone of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will help power NASA’s Artemis II mission to send a crew of four astronauts around the Moon in 2025. Here, the core stage is currently behind scaffolding to allow work to continue at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The stage’s two massive propellant tanks hold a collective 733,000 gallons of liquid propellant to power the four RS-25 engines at its base. Following hardware acceptance reviews and final checkouts, the stage will be readied for delivery via the agency’s Pegasus barge to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for Artemis II launch preparations. NASA will provide additional information on specific timing later, along with interview opportunities. This event is open to U.S. and international media. International media must apply by June 14. U.S. media must apply by July 3. The agency’s media credentialing policy is available online.  
      Interested media must contact Corinne Beckinger at corinne.m.beckinger@nasa.gov and Craig Betbeze at craig.c.betbeze@nasa.gov. Registered media will receive a confirmation by email.
      The rocket stage with its four RS-25 engines will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust to send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis II mission. Once at Kennedy, teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program will finish outfitting the stage and prepare it for stacking and launch. Artemis II is currently scheduled for launch in September 2025.
      Building, assembling, and transporting the core stage is a collaborative process for NASA, Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, and lead RS-25 engines contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3 Harris Technologies company.
      NASA is working to land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon under the agency’s Artemis campaign. The SLS rocket is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, supporting ground systems, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. The SLS rocket is the only rocket designed to send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single launch.
      Learn more about NASA’s Artemis campaign:
      News Media Contact
      Rachel Kraft
      NASA Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      rachel.h.kraft@nasa.gov
      Corinne Beckinger
      Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
      256-544-0034
      corinne.m.beckinger@nasa.gov
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Star Cluster Westerlund 1.X-ray: NASA/CXC/INAF/M. Guarcello et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/L. Frattare Westerlund 1 is the biggest and closest “super” star cluster to Earth. New data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, in combination with other NASA telescopes, is helping astronomers delve deeper into this galactic factory where stars are vigorously being produced.
      This is the first data to be publicly released from a project called the Extended Westerlund 1 and 2 Open Clusters Survey, or EWOCS, led by astronomers from the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Palermo. As part of EWOCS, Chandra observed Westerlund 1 for about 12 days in total.
      Currently, only a handful of stars form in our galaxy each year, but in the past the situation was different. The Milky Way used to produce many more stars, likely hitting its peak of churning out dozens or hundreds of stars per year about 10 billion years ago and then gradually declining ever since. Astronomers think that most of this star formation took place in massive clusters of stars, known as “super star clusters,” like Westerlund 1. These are young clusters of stars that contain more than 10,000 times the mass of the Sun. Westerlund 1 is between about 3 million and 5 million years old.
      This new image shows the new deep Chandra data along with previously released data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The X-rays detected by Chandra show young stars (mostly represented as white and pink) as well as diffuse heated gas throughout the cluster (colored pink, green, and blue, in order of increasing temperatures for the gas). Many of the stars picked up by Hubble appear as yellow and blue dots.
      Only a few super star clusters still exist in our galaxy, but they offer important clues about this earlier era when most of our galaxy’s stars formed. Westerlund 1 is the biggest of these remaining super star clusters in the Milky Way and contains a mass between 50,000 and 100,000 Suns. It is also the closest super star cluster to Earth at about 13,000 light-years.
      These qualities make Westerlund 1 an excellent target for studying the impact of a super star cluster’s environment on the formation process of stars and planets as well as the evolution of stars over a broad range of masses.
      This new deep Chandra dataset of Westerlund 1 has more than tripled the number of X-ray sources known in the cluster. Before the EWOCS project, Chandra had detected 1,721 sources in Westerlund 1. The EWOCS data found almost 6,000 X-ray sources, including fainter stars with lower masses than the Sun. This gives astronomers a new population to study.
      One revelation is that 1,075 stars detected by Chandra are squeezed into the middle of Westerlund 1 within four light-years of the cluster’s center. For a sense of how crowded this is, four light-years is about the distance between the Sun and the next closest star to Earth.
      The diffuse emission seen in the EWOCS data represents the first detection of a halo of hot gas surrounding the center of Westerlund 1, which astronomers think will be crucial in assessing the cluster’s formation and evolution, and giving a more precise estimate of its mass.
      A paper published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, led by Mario Guarcello from the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Palermo, discusses the survey and the first results. Follow-up papers will discuss more about the results, including detailed studies of the brightest X-ray sources. This future work will analyze other EWOCS observations, involving NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and NICER (Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer).
      NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science from Cambridge Massachusetts and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.
      Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
      For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/mission/chandra-x-ray-observatory/
      Visual Description:
      This is an image of the Westerlund 1 star cluster and the surrounding region, as detected in X-ray and optical light. The black canvas of space is peppered with colored dots of light of various sizes, mostly in shades of red, green, blue, and white.
      At the center of the image is a semi-transparent, red and yellow cloud of gas encircling a grouping of tightly packed gold stars. The shape and distribution of stars in the cluster call to mind effervescent soda bubbles dancing above the ice cubes of a recently poured beverage.
      News Media Contact
      Megan Watzke
      Chandra X-ray Center
      Cambridge, Mass.
      617-496-7998
      Jonathan Deal
      Marshall Space Flight Center
      Huntsville, Ala.
      256-544-0034
      View the full article
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