Yay, Judy! Another discovery!!

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Yay, Judy! Another discovery!!

Post by owlice » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:07 am

Judy does it again!
Although astronomers have been studying the galaxy for decades, it took a non-scientist to make the surprising discovery. Judy Schmidt, an artist and amateur astronomer based in Modesto, California, uncovered the dark shadows when she reprocessed Hubble exposures of the galaxy in December 2019. Schmidt routinely culls the Hubble archive for interesting observations that she can turn into beautiful images. She shares those images on her Twitter feed with her many followers, who include astronomers such as Maksym.

Schmidt selected the Hubble observations of IC 5063 from the archive because she is interested in galaxies that have active cores. The cone-shaped shadows were not apparent in the original exposures, so she was surprised to see them in her reprocessed image. "I had no idea they were there, and even after I'd processed it, I kept blinking my eyes wondering if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing," she said.

She immediately posted her image to her Twitter account. "It was something I'd never seen before, and even though I had strong suspicions about them being shadow rays or 'crepuscular rays,' as Peter has dubbed them, it's easy to let one's imagination and wishful thinking run wild," she explained. "I figured if I was wrong, someone would come to ground me."

The image prompted a lively Twitter discussion among her astronomer followers, including Maksym, who debated the rays' origin. Maksym had already been analyzing Hubble images of the jets produced by the galaxy's black hole. So he took the lead in studying the rays and writing a science paper. His study is based on near-infrared observations made by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys in March and November 2019. Red and near-infrared light pierces the dusty galaxy to reveal the details that may be enshrouded in dust.
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/20 ... f-a-galaxy

The paper is here: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3 ... 213/abb9b6 (Pre-print [PDF] is here.)

And the Twitter thread that started the discussion is here: https://twitter.com/SpaceGeck/status/12 ... 6945017856
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Re: Yay, Judy! Another discovery!!

Post by geckzilla » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:58 am

Thanks, owlice! Yeah, it was a lot of fun to work on this. :)
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: Yay, Judy! Another discovery!!

Post by orin stepanek » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:21 pm

Congratulations Judy! 8-)

Smile today; tomorrow's another day!

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Re: Yay, Judy! Another discovery!!

Post by bystander » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:44 pm

Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor

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Re: Yay, Judy! Another discovery!!

Post by neufer » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:14 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2020-30 wrote:
"Judy has a keen eye for what looks weird..."
geckzilla wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:51 pm

you're weird, Art.
The tweet that led to a science paper about galactic crepuscular rays
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: Yay, Judy! Another discovery!!

Post by Ann » Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:20 pm

So well done, Geck!

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