Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NuSTAR Provides New Look at Black Holes

13.06.2012
When NASA launches a new telescope this Wednesday that will look at black holes in ways never seen before, Georgia Tech astrophysicist David Ballantyne will be more than a curious bystander. He helped plan the mission.

Ballantyne, one of the Institute’s black hole experts, is on the science team of NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), which is now scheduled for launch Wednesday morning. He’s one of a handful of people who decided where the high-energy X-ray telescope will point while in orbit. NuSTAR’s technology will allow it to image areas of the universe in never-before-seen ways. Ballantyne will be among the first scientists to see the images and examine the data when it becomes available this later this summer.


NuSTAR is the first telescope capable of focusing high-energy X-rays. It will also map supernova explosions and microflares on the surface of the sun.

“NuSTAR will provide a window to the murky world of black holes,” said Ballantyne, an assistant professor in the School of Physics. “The high-energy X-ray technology will allow us to see black holes that are buried deep inside their galaxies, hidden behind thick clouds of dust and gas. The goal is to unmask these black holes, study their host galaxies, and figure out how the black holes affect galaxy formation and evolution.”

Ballantyne has worked on the project, which is overseen by Fiona Harrison, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, since 2007. He and his peers have plotted three areas in the sky to survey, the largest of which spans approximately five full moons. Together, the surveys will uncover about 500 black holes, some of which have never been detected by any other telescope.

Seeing more means learning more, according to Ballantyne. He compares the study of black holes with learning about mankind.

“If you knew nothing about humans and looked at one person, you would quickly discover that we have two eyes, a nose and a mouth,” said Ballantyne. “But the deeper knowledge – traits such as aging, cultures – is only discovered by looking at a wide range of people. The more black holes we discover and study, the more we will understand about their roles in the cosmos.”

NuSTAR is the first telescope capable of focusing high-energy X-rays. It will also map supernova explosions and microflares on the surface of the sun. It is the first American high-energy telescope launched since 2008 and the last one for the foreseeable future. There are no other planned projects.

NuSTAR will lift off aboard an airplane in the South Pacific. The plane will then launch a Pegasus rocket, which will carry the telescope into orbit. Images and data should be available for Ballantyne and his colleagues about a month after liftoff. Selected images and science stories will be made available for the public throughout the mission.

NASA will host a news teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT today (June 11) to discuss the launch. For dial-in information, reporters must email their name, media affiliation and telephone number to J.D. Harrington at j.d.harrington@nasa.gov by 2 p.m.

NuSTAR is a Small Explorer mission led by the California Institute of Technology and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, both in Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Va. Its instrument was built by a consortium including Caltech; JPL; the University of California, Berkeley; Columbia University, New York; NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; the Danish Technical University in Denmark; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Calif.; and ATK Aerospace Systems, Goleta, Calif. NuSTAR will be operated by UC Berkeley, with the Italian Space Agency providing its equatorial ground station located at Malindi, Kenya. The mission's outreach program is based at Sonoma State University, Calif. NASA's Explorer Program is managed by Goddard. JPL is managed by Caltech for NASA.

For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/nustar and http://www.nustar.caltech.edu

Jason Maderer | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu
http://www.nasa.gov/nustar
http://www.nustar.caltech.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>