Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UC San Diego's HPWREN aids in recent supernova discovery

14.09.2011
High-performance networks speed data on explosion's early discovery

A recent discovery by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley, of a supernova within hours of its explosion was made possible by a specialized telescope, state-of-the-art computational tools – and the high-speed data transmissions network of UC San Diego's High-Performance Wireless and Research Education Network (HPWREN), as well as the Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network (ESnet).

The discovery late last month of the supernova is unique because it is closer to Earth –approximately 21 million light-years away – than any other of its kind in a generation of observations. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova just as it was about to explode, and researchers are now scrambling to observe it with as many telescopes as possible, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

The supernova, dubbed PTF 11kly, occurred in the Pinwheel Galaxy, located near the "Big Dipper," in the Ursa Major constellation. It was discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) survey, which is designed to observe and uncover astronomical events as they happen.

The PTF survey uses a robotic telescope mounted on the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory in Southern California to scan the sky nightly. As soon as the observations are taken, the data travels more than 400 miles to the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a Department of Energy supercomputing center at Berkeley Lab, via HPWREN and ESnet. Within hours of identifying PTF 11kly, this automated system sent the coordinates to telescopes around the world for follow-up observations.

"This discovery, and the process that followed, is a perfect example of the power of coordinated collaboration," said Hans-Werner Braun, a research scientist with SDSC and HPWREN's director. "It shows how effective scientific discovery can be when researchers combine their expertise to leverage technologies such as reliable telescopes, high-end spectrum analyzers, advanced supercomputing resources and high-speed data networks."

Joshua Bloom, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the machine learning code that tipped off astronomers to the candidate, called it "the supernova of a generation." Astronomers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, who made the discovery, predict that it will be a target for research for the next decade, making it one of the most-studied supernovae in history.

"We caught this supernova very soon after explosion. PTF 11kly is getting brighter by the minute," said Peter Nugent, the senior scientist at Berkeley Lab who first spotted the supernova. Nugent is also an adjunct professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley. "Observing PTF 11kly unfold should be a wild ride. It is an instant cosmic classic."

"We still do not know for sure what causes such explosions," said Weidong Li, senior scientist at UC Berkeley and collaborator of Nugent. "We are using images from the Hubble Space Telescope, taken fortuitously years before an explosion to search for clues to the event's origin."

The team will be watching carefully during the next few weeks, and the Hubble Space Telescope has studied the supernova's chemistry and physics. Catching supernovae so early allows a rare glimpse at the outer layers of the supernova, which contain hints about what kind of star exploded.

The scientists in the PTF have discovered more than 1,000 supernovae since it started operating in 2008, but they believe this could be their most significant discovery yet. The last time a supernova of this sort occurred so close was in 1986, but Nugent notes that this one was peculiar and heavily obscured by dust. "Before that, you'd have to go back to 1972, 1937, and 1572 to find more nearby Type Ia supernovae," according to Nugent.

The project is supported by DOE's Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program and by NASA.

The Palomar Transient Factory is a survey operated at Palomar Observatory by the California Institute of Technology on behalf of a worldwide consortium of partner institutions. Collaborators on PTF 11kly with Nugent, Bloom, and Li include Brad Cenko, Alex V. Filippenko, Geoffrey Marcy, Adam Miller (UC Berkeley), Rollin C. Thomas (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Sullivan (Oxford University), and Andrew Howell (UC Santa Barbara/Las Cumbres Global Telescope Network).

HPWREN is a collaborative Internet-connected cyberinfrastructure on research, education, and public safety activities. The project supports a wireless data network in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties. The network includes backbone nodes, typically on mountain tops, to connect often hard-to-reach areas in remote environments. As one of the Applied Network Research (ANR) projects at the UC San Diego, HPWREN operates as a joint activity between SDSC and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

Jan Zverina | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sdsc.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds
20.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
19.10.2017 | California Institute of Technology

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>