AAS NOVA — Research Highlights 2020

Find out the latest thinking about our universe.
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Distant Metals Reveal the Universe’s Evolution

Post by bystander » Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:41 pm

Distant Metals Reveal the Universe’s Evolution
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Mar 30
Susanna Kohler wrote:
When did the first sources of light bombard the universe’s gas, tearing electrons from atoms in a period known as reionization? A new study uses the metal-filled gas surrounding galaxies to learn more about this important transition. ...

The Evolution of O I over 3.2 < z < 6.5: Reionization of the Circumgalactic Medium ~ George D. Becker et al
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New Evidence for a Middleweight Black Hole

Post by bystander » Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:41 pm

New Evidence for a Middleweight Black Hole
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 01

We’ve searched for decades for concrete evidence of intermediate-mass black holes, black holes with masses between 100 and 100,000 times that of the Sun. In spite of our best efforts, these monsters have remained elusive — but a new study provides some hope. ...

Multiwavelength Follow-up of the Hyperluminous Intermediate-Mass
Black Hole Candidate 3XMM J215022.4-055108
~ Dacheng Lin et al
viewtopic.php?t=40413
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Peering Into the Atmosphere of the Hottest Planet Known

Post by bystander » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:03 pm

Peering Into the Atmosphere of the Hottest Planet Known
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 03
Susanna Kohler wrote:
As the ultra-hot Jupiter KELT-9b blazes across the face of its host star, we have an excellent opportunity to examine its scalding atmosphere. A new study now reports on what we’ve found. ...

Detection of Ionized Calcium in the Atmosphere of the Ultra-hot Jupiter KELT-9b ~ Jake D. Turner et al
viewtopic.php?t=40232
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Jets from a Galaxy Collision

Post by bystander » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:08 pm

Jets from a Galaxy Collision
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 08
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Dramatic collisions of galaxies can provide fireworks shows in more ways than one. New observations have now confirmed a long-theorized link between galaxy mergers and the launch of powerful relativistic jets. ...

TXS 2116−077: A Gamma-Ray Emitting Relativistic Jet Hosted in a Galaxy Merger ~ Vaidehi S. Paliya et al
viewtopic.php?t=40438
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Merger Partners? Maybe.

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 11, 2020 3:36 pm

Merger Partners? Maybe.
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 10
Tarini Konchady wrote:
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer have been turning up more and more binary black hole mergers in their observing runs. Do the black holes involved in these mergers have anything in common or are they paired purely by chance? ...

Picky Partners: The Pairing of Component Masses in Binary Black Hole Mergers ~ Maya Fishbach, Daniel E. Holz
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Astronomy Impacts of Satellite Megaconstellations

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:36 pm

Astronomy Impacts of Satellite Megaconstellations
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 13
Susanna Kohler wrote:
In May of 2019, SpaceX launched a batch of 60 satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) in the first of a series of launches designed to populate a “megaconstellation” of satellites called Starlink. A new study now examines how the presence of these satellites — and those of future megaconstellations — will impact optical astronomy. ...

The Low Earth Orbit Satellite Population and Impacts of the SpaceX Starlink Constellation ~ Jonathan C. McDowell
viewtopic.php?t=39469
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Observations of Betelgeuse’s Dimming from the Stratosphere

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:47 pm

Observations of Betelgeuse’s Dimming from the Stratosphere
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 15
Susanna Kohler wrote:
The unprecedented dimming of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse has been making headlines since late last year. To find out what’s causing it, an airplane-borne telescope took to the skies. ...
SOFIA-EXES Observations of Betelgeuse during the Great Dimming of 2019/2020 ~ Graham M. Harper et al
viewtopic.php?t=40345
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Pulsar Discovery from an Enormous Telescope

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:54 pm

Pulsar Discovery from an Enormous Telescope
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 17
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Magnetized neutron stars in distant globular clusters are a challenge to detect — but it’s a job made easier by the world’s largest filled-aperture radio telescope. Recent high-sensitivity observations have uncovered an erratic new star system. ...

The FAST Discovery of an Eclipsing Binary Millisecond Pulsar
in the Globular Cluster M92 (NGC 6341)
~ Zhichen Pan et al
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Rescuing an Overlooked Planet

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:31 pm

Rescuing an Overlooked Planet
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 22
Susanna Kohler wrote:
In every batch of detections from the Kepler spacecraft, some transit signals get relegated to “false positive” status by an automated vetting pipeline. How do we ensure that real exoplanet detections don’t accidentally get discarded by the pipeline?

The Kepler False Positive Working Group is on the case — and they just rescued quite a find from being relegated to a false-positive fate. ...
A Habitable-Zone Earth-Sized Planet Rescued from False Positive Status ~ Andrew Vanderburg et al
viewtopic.php?t=40465
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A Stellar Method of Catalog Creation

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:38 pm

A Stellar Method of Catalog Creation
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 24
Tarini Konchady wrote:
Star catalogs are critical to astronomy research. However, they’re only as reliable as the methods used to create them. As telescopes probe further and fainter regions of the sky, how can we ensure that our methods of catalog creation extract as much information as possible from the returned images? ...

Multiband Probabilistic Cataloging: A Joint Fitting Approach to
Point Source Detection and Deblending
~ Richard M. Feder et al
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Searching Pulsars for Planets

Post by bystander » Mon May 04, 2020 3:32 pm

Searching Pulsars for Planets
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 27
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Are there more hidden exoplanets lurking around extreme pulsar hosts? A recent study explores a well-observed set of pulsars in the hunt for planetary companions. ...

The NANOGrav 11 yr Data Set: Constraints on Planetary Masses Around 45 Millisecond Pulsars ~ E. A. Behrens et al
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Spins Point to How Black Hole Binaries Formed

Post by bystander » Mon May 04, 2020 3:38 pm

Spins Point to How Black Hole Binaries Formed
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Apr 29
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Before stellar-mass black holes merge in a spectacular burst of gravitational waves, they’re locked in a fatal dance around each other as a binary black hole. A new study uses clues from black hole spins to explore how these binaries came to be paired together in the first place. ...

The Branching Ratio of LIGO Binary Black Holes ~ Mohammadtaher Safarzadeh
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Challenging a Plasma Assumption

Post by bystander » Mon May 04, 2020 3:45 pm

Challenging a Plasma Assumption
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 May 01
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Simplifying a problem to make it solvable is a classic trademark of scientific modeling. But what happens when cows simply aren’t spheres? ...

Steady Electron Runaway Model SERM: Astrophysical Alternative for the Maxwellian Assumption ~ J. D. Scudder et al
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Build Your Own White Dwarf Photosphere

Post by bystander » Sat May 09, 2020 4:36 pm

Build Your Own White Dwarf Photosphere
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 May 06
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Have you ever wanted to examine the photosphere of a white dwarf up close and personal? Now you, too, can recreate and observe the atmospheric conditions of these extreme, dense, dead stars — assuming you have access to Sandia Labs’ Z Machine. ...

Hβ and Hγ Absorption-line Profile Inconsistencies in Laboratory
Experiments Performed at White Dwarf Photosphere Conditions
~ M.-A. Schaeuble et al
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The Case of the Missing CO

Post by bystander » Sat May 09, 2020 4:46 pm

The Case of the Missing CO
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 May 08
Tarini Konchady wrote:
Planets start their lives in disks of gas and matter around stars, so understanding these so-called protoplanetary disks is key to decoding planet formation. One interesting feature of protoplanetary disks is that they contain less carbon monoxide gas than the typical interstellar medium. When and how does this deficit arise? ...

Rapid Evolution of Volatile CO from the Protostellar Disk
Stage to the Protoplanetary Disk Stage
~ Ke Zhang et al
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Signs of Collisions to Come

Post by bystander » Fri May 15, 2020 3:45 pm

Signs of Collisions to Come
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 May 11
Susanna Kohler wrote:
We know that when two neutron stars — the dense, compact cores of evolved stars — collide, they produce signals that span the electromagnetic spectrum. But could these binaries also flare before they merge, as well? ...

Electromagnetic Precursors to Gravitational-wave Events: Numerical Simulations of Flaring
in Pre-merger Binary Neutron Star Magnetospheres
~ Elias R. Most, Alexander A. Philippov
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Cosmic Rays as the Source of Life’s Handedness

Post by bystander » Sun May 24, 2020 12:55 am

Cosmic Rays as the Source of Life’s Handedness
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 May 20
Susanna Kohler wrote:
You might expect living cells to be composed of a random soup of materials — but look closely and you’ll find they’re built from molecules with distinct orientation preferences. How did life’s preferred “handedness” arise? ...

The Chiral Puzzle of Life ~ Noemie Globus, Roger D. Blandford
Cosmic Rays and the Chiral Puzzle of Life ~ Noemie Globus, Roger D. Blandford
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Making Galaxies of All Sorts

Post by bystander » Sun May 24, 2020 1:03 am

Making Galaxies of All Sorts
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 May 22
Tarini Konchady wrote:
It’s hard to translate an image taken by a telescope to a physical object like a galaxy, but, like with most things, computers have made the job easier. Astronomers can code models of galaxies and determine the most realistic models based on observations. A recent study showcases this, presenting a code that can model all sorts of galaxies along with their internal motions. ...

A New Implementation of the Schwarzchild Method for Constructing Observationally
Driven Dynamical Models of Galaxies of All Morphological Types
~ Eugene Vasiliev, Monica Valluri
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Are We Watching a Planet Disintegrate?

Post by bystander » Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:57 pm

Are We Watching a Planet Disintegrate?
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 May 27
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Among the wealth of exoplanets we’ve discovered beyond our solar system, some are temperate, some less so. New observations have now revealed what may be a particularly inhospitable environment: a planet literally disintegrating as it orbits its host. ...

A Possible Transit of a Disintegrating Exoplanet in the Nearby Multiplanet System DMPP-1 ~ Mark H. Jones et al
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Seeing Things in Threes

Post by bystander » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:23 pm

Seeing Things in ThreesSeeing Things in Threes
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Jun 12
Tarini Konchady wrote:
GW Ori is a system of three stars that are gravitationally bound. Aside from being a triple system, GW Ori also stands out for another reason — it harbors a circumtriple disk, which is a disk of gas and dust surrounding all three stars. ...

GW Ori: Interactions between a Triple-star System and Its Circumtriple Disk in Action ~ Jiaqing Bi et al
viewtopic.php?t=23399
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The Traits of Supernova Siblings

Post by bystander » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:42 pm

The Traits of Supernova Siblings
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Jun 15
Susanna Kohler wrote:
What can we learn about the large-scale properties of our universe from Type Ia supernovae — cosmic flashes thought to be caused by the explosions of white dwarfs? The answer may depend on the shared traits of pairs of supernova siblings. ...

Supernova Siblings: Assessing the Consistency of Properties
of Type Ia Supernovae that Share the Same Parent Galaxies
~ D. Scolnic et al
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Spotted: A Galactic PeVatron?

Post by bystander » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:50 pm

Spotted: A Galactic PeVatron?
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Jun 17
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Speeding charged particles — far more energetic than any we can create in laboratory particle accelerators — constantly bombard the Earth’s atmosphere. But what extreme environments produce these high-energy particles? A new study may have identified one cosmic accelerator in our galaxy. ...

HAWC J2227+610 and Its Association with G106.3+2.7,
A New Potential Galactic PeVatron
~ A. Albert et al
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Exploring Links Between Nearby Asteroids

Post by bystander » Sun Jun 21, 2020 5:01 pm

Exploring Links Between Nearby Asteroids
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Jun 19
Susanna Kohler wrote:
It’s not easy being a speeding rock in our solar system.

Over their lifetimes, the millions of minor rocky bodies of our solar system — asteroids — are subject to extreme conditions. Some experience dramatic collisions, some are spun up to such high rotation speeds that they fly apart, and some venture so close to the Sun that our star’s heat cracks them into pieces.

Over time, these violent processes create families of asteroids that dance around our solar system on similar paths. Where one rock once orbited, there might now be a group of genetically linked asteroids that follow similar trajectories — all produced by the splitting of one parent rock.

In a new study, scientists have explored two especially nearby asteroids to determine whether they might be linked. ...

New Evidence for a Physical Link between Asteroids
(155140) 2005 UD and (3200) Phaethon
~ Maxime Devogèle et al
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LIGO-Virgo’s New Find Shakes Things Up

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:07 pm

LIGO-Virgo’s New Find Shakes Things Up
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Jun 23
Susanna Kohler wrote:
Neutron star or black hole? That’s the question scientists are asking about the latest gravitational-wave detection announced from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and its sister observatory, Virgo. In a new publication, scientists detail this newest addition to the list of confirmed collisions — and explain why it’s rather unexpected. ...

GW190814: Gravitational Waves from the Coalescence of a 23 Solar Mass
Black Hole with a 2.6 Solar Mass Compact Object
~ R. Abbott et al
viewtopic.php?t=40706
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Orbits Evolving Under Gravity

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:24 pm

Orbits Evolving Under Gravity
NOVA | American Astronomical Society | 2020 Jun 26
Tarini Konchady wrote:
The solar system extends well beyond Pluto, encompassing small objects on their own unusual orbits around the Sun. How did they get there? A new study attempts to answer this question with simulations. ...

Apsidal Clustering Following the Inclination Instability ~ Alexander Zderic et al
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