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Cambridge, United Kingdom
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The Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO) was inaugurated at Warwick's astronomical observing facility in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias on La Palma, Canary Islands, on 3 July 2017. GOTO is an autonomous, intelligent telescope, which will search for unusual activity in the sky, following alerts from gravitational wave detectors - such as the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Adv-LIGO), which recently secured the first direct detections of gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time, created when massive bodies – particularly black holes and neutron stars – orbit each other and merge at very high speeds. These waves radiate through the Universe at the speed of light, and analysing them heralds a new era in astrophysics, giving astronomers vital clues about the bodies from which they originated – as well as long-awaited insight into the nature of gravity itself. First predicted over a century ago by Albert Einstein, they have only been directly detected in the last two years, and astronomers' next challenge is to associate the signals from these waves with signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum, such as optical light. This is GOTO's precise aim: to locate optical signatures associated with the gravitational waves as quickly as possible, so that astronomers can study these sources with a variety of telescopes and satellites before they fade away. GOTO is a significant project for the Monash-Warwick Alliance, through which the construction of the telescope was partially funded. The Alliance combines the exceptional research and teaching capabilities of two world-class universities to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Dr Danny Steeghs, from Warwick's Astronomy and Astrophysics Group, is leading the project. He comments: "After all the hard work put in by everyone, I am delighted to see the GOTO telescopes in operational mode at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory. We are all excited about the scientific opportunities it will provide." Dr. Duncan Galloway, from the School of Physics & Astronomy at Monash University, comments: "GOTO is very significant for the Monash Centre for Astrophysics. We've invested strongly in gravitational wave astronomy over the last few years, leading up to the first detection announced last year, and the telescope project represents a fundamentally new observational opportunity. "It's really satisfying seeing a research collaboration that we've build over many years coming to fruition in such an exciting way, and we couldn't have got here without the support of the Alliance and the participating universities." GOTO is the latest addition to the University of Warwick's astronomical facility at La Palma, which includes the SuperWASP Exoplanet discovery camera - the most successful ground based exoplanet discovery project in existence. GOTO is operated on behalf of a consortium of institutions including the University of Warwick, Monash University, the Armagh Observatory, Leicester and Sheffield Universities, and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT). Professor Pam Thomas, the University of Warwick's Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) was in attendance at the inauguration ceremony. La Palma is one of the world's premier astronomical observing sites, owing to the fact that it is the steepest island in the world and has very little pollution – giving researchers clear views of the sky.


News Article | May 31, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

A giant gas planet—up to fifty times the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust—is likely hurtling around a star more than a thousand light years away from Earth. Scientists identify that a large object regularly blocks the light from this rare young star—and predict that this as-yet undiscovered planet causes these eclipses. Using data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), the scientists analyzed fifteen years of the star’s activity and discovered that every two and a half years, the light from this distant star—PDS 110 in the Orion constellation, which is same temperature and slightly larger than our sun—is reduced to thirty percent for about two to three weeks. Two notable eclipses were observed in November 2008 and January 2011. “What’s exciting is that during both eclipses we see the light from the star change rapidly, and that suggests that there are rings in the eclipsing object, but these rings are many times larger than the rings around Saturn,” says Matthew Kenworthy, an astronomer at the Leiden Observatory. Assuming the dips in starlight are coming from an orbiting planet, the next eclipse is predicted to take place in September this year—and the star is bright enough that amateur astronomers all over the world will be able to witness it and gather new data. Only then will we be certain what is causing the mysterious eclipses. If confirmed in September, PDS 110 will be the first giant ring system that has a known orbital period. “September’s eclipse will let us study the intricate structure around PDS 110 in detail for the first time, and hopefully prove that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation,” says Hugh Oborn, a researcher with the Astrophysics Group at the University of Warwick. The researchers suggest that there are moons could be forming in the habitable zone around PDS 110—pointing to the possibility that life could thrive in this system. The eclipses can also be used to discover the conditions for forming planets and their moons at an early time in the life of a star, providing a unique insight into forming processes that happened in our solar system. The study appears in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


News Article | May 31, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A giant gas planet -- up to fifty times the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust -- is likely hurtling around a star more than a thousand light years away from Earth, according to astronomers, led by the University of Warwick. A giant gas planet - up to fifty times the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust - is likely hurtling around a star more than a thousand light years away from Earth, according to new research by an international team of astronomers, led by the University of Warwick. Hugh Osborn, a researcher from Warwick's Astrophysics Group, has identified that the light from this rare young star is regularly blocked by a large object - and predicts that these eclipses are caused by the orbit of this as-yet undiscovered planet. Using data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), Osborn and fellow researchers from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and Leiden Observatory analysed fifteen years of the star's activity. "We found a hint that this was an interesting object in data from the WASP survey," said Hugh Osborn, lead author, who discovered the unusual light curve, "but it wasn't until we found a second, almost identical eclipse in the KELT survey data that we knew we had something special." They discovered that every two and a half years, the light from this distant star - PDS 110 in the Orion constellation, which is same temperature and slightly larger than our sun - is reduced to thirty percent for about two to three weeks. Two notable eclipses observed were in November 2008 and January 2011. "What's exciting is that during both eclipses we see the light from the star change rapidly, and that suggests that there are rings in the eclipsing object, but these rings are many times larger than the rings around Saturn," says Leiden astronomer Matthew Kenworthy. Assuming the dips in starlight are coming from an orbiting planet, the next eclipse is predicted to take place in September this year - and the star is bright enough that amateur astronomers all over the world will be able to witness it and gather new data. Only then will we be certain what is causing the mysterious eclipses. If confirmed in September, PDS 110 will be the first giant ring system that has a known orbital period. "September's eclipse will let us study the intricate structure around PDS 110 in detail for the first time, and hopefully prove that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation," comments Hugh Oborn. The researchers suggest that there are moons could be forming in the habitable zone around PDS 110 - pointing to the possibility that life could thrive in this system. The eclipses can also be used to discover the conditions for forming planets and their moons at an early time in the life of a star, providing a unique insight into forming processes that happened in our solar system. The research, 'Periodic Eclipses of the Young Star PDS 110 Discovered with WASP and KELT Photometry', is due to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


News Article | May 31, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A giant gas planet – up to fifty times the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust – is likely hurtling around a star more than 1,000 light years away from Earth, according to new research by an international team of astronomers, led by the University of Warwick. Hugh Osborn, a researcher from Warwick’s Astrophysics Group, has identified that the light from this rare young star is regularly blocked by a large object – and predicts that these eclipses are caused by the orbit of this as-yet undiscovered planet. Using data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), Osborn and fellow researchers from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and Leiden Observatory analyzed 15 years of the star’s activity. “We found a hint that this was an interesting object in data from the WASP survey,” said Osborn, lead author, who discovered the unusual light curve. “But it wasn’t until we found a second, almost identical eclipse in the KELT survey data that we knew we had something special.” They discovered that every two and a half years, the light from this distant star - PDS 110 in the Orion constellation, which is same temperature and slightly larger than our sun - is reduced to 30 percent for about two to three weeks. Two notable eclipses observed were in November 2008 and January 2011. “What’s exciting is that during both eclipses we see the light from the star change rapidly, and that suggests that there are rings in the eclipsing object, but these rings are many times larger than the rings around Saturn,” says Leiden astronomer Matthew Kenworthy. Assuming the dips in starlight are coming from an orbiting planet, the next eclipse is predicted to take place in September this year – and the star is bright enough that amateur astronomers all over the world will be able to witness it and gather new data. Only then will we be certain what is causing the mysterious eclipses. If confirmed in September, PDS 110 will be the first giant ring system that has a known orbital period. “September’s eclipse will let us study the intricate structure around PDS 110 in detail for the first time, and hopefully prove that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation," says Osborn. The researchers suggest that moons could be forming in the habitable zone around PDS 110 – pointing to the possibility that life could thrive in this system. The eclipses can also be used to discover the conditions for forming planets and their moons at an early time in the life of a star, providing a unique insight into forming processes that happened in our solar system.


News Article | May 31, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

A giant gas planet that is 50 times the mass of Jupiter and encircled by a ring of dust is likely responsible for a mysterious series of eclipses. An international team of astronomers, led by the University of Warwick believe this planet is 1000 light years from Earth. Light from young star—PDS 110 in the Orion constellation—is regularly blocked by large object, now thought to be this orbiting planet. Moons may be forming in the habitable zone around the star, leading to the possibility that life could thrive within the system. The researched used data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) to analyze 15 years of the star’s activity. “We found a hint that this was an interesting object in data from the WASP survey,” Hugh Osborn, a researcher from Warwick's Astrophysics Group, said in a statement. “But it wasn't until we found a second, almost identical eclipse in the KELT survey data that we knew we had something special.” About every two-and-a-half years the light from PDS 110—which is slightly larger and approximately the same temperature as the sun—is reduced to 30 percent for about two-to-three weeks. Researchers have used two previous eclipses—November 2008 and January 2011—to gather much of the information used to present the recent theory. “What's exciting is that during both eclipses we see the light from the star change rapidly and that suggests that there are rings in the eclipsing object but these rings are many times larger than the rings around Saturn,” Leiden Observatory astronomer Matthew Kenworthy said in a statement. The next eclipse is expected to occur in September, which researchers hope to glean new information about and confirm the existence of the planet. “September's eclipse will let us study the intricate structure around PDS 110 in detail for the first time, and hopefully prove that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation,” Osborn said. The study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


A rare young star just a bit larger than our sun caught astronomers' eye when they noticed its light periodically disappeared from the sky. Researchers from various countries began to wonder what was causing these mysterious eclipses so they teamed up to study the baffling phenomenon, in a project led by the University of Warwick. The star is called PDS 110 and sits more than 1,000 light-years away from our home planet, in the Orion constellation. After analyzing data detailing the star's activity during the span of 15 years, Hugh Osborn, an astronomer at Warwick's Astrophysics Group, discovered an "unusual light curve" and came up with a theory to explain what was behind the curious occurrence. Along with astronomers from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and Leiden Observatory, Osborn combed through data provided by the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) to take a closer look at the star's activity. Osborn uncovered PDS 110's light is regularly blocked by a large object, which he believes is in fact an undiscovered giant planet orbiting the distant star. The astronomer is convinced the unexplained eclipses are caused by the alien exoplanet as it revolves around the young star. "We found a hint that this was an interesting object in data from the WASP survey, but it wasn't until we found a second, almost identical eclipse in the KELT survey data that we knew we had something special," said Osborn in a Warwick University news release. According to the data, the light emitted by PDS 110, which has the same temperature as our sun and only slightly larger in size, is regularly diminished to 30 percent. This happens every two and a half years and lasts for up to three weeks. The researchers also found records of two important eclipses, which took place in November 2008 and January 2011. The WASP and KELT data suggests the giant exoplanet orbiting PDS 110 is up to 50 times larger than Jupiter's mass, and is also encircled by a ring of dust. "The characteristics of the eclipses are consistent with transits by an unseen low-mass (1.8 – 70MJup) planet or brown dwarf," wrote the researchers in a study, published May 20 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Matthew Kenworthy, an astronomer at Leiden Observatory and co-author or the study, says there is a good chance the unknown exoplanet has rings just like Saturn, only many times larger. This would explain why PDS 110's light changes so rapidly, as observed during both eclipses. The researchers also have reasons to believe moons might be forming near the giant gas planet, in the habitable zone around the star. This hints at the possibility that life could spark in the new system. The team is looking forward to the next eclipse, which is expected to happen this September, so they can further study the phenomenon. According to Osborn, September's eclipse will allow astronomers to analyze the details around the young star for the first time. He hopes the new information will confirm "that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation." Since the star is considerably large, amateur astronomers worldwide will be able to witness the next eclipse and help gather new data. In case the predicted September eclipse is confirmed, "PDS 110 will be the first giant ring system that has a known orbital period," announces Warwick University. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 31, 2017
Site: phys.org

Hugh Osborn, a researcher from Warwick's Astrophysics Group, has identified that the light from this rare young star is regularly blocked by a large object – and predicts that these eclipses are caused by the orbit of this as-yet undiscovered planet. Using data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), Osborn and fellow researchers from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and Leiden Observatory analysed fifteen years of the star's activity. "We found a hint that this was an interesting object in data from the WASP survey," said Hugh Osborn, lead author, who discovered the unusual light curve, "but it wasn't until we found a second, almost identical eclipse in the KELT survey data that we knew we had something special." They discovered that every two and a half years, the light from this distant star - PDS 110 in the Orion constellation, which is same temperature and slightly larger than our sun - is reduced to thirty percent for about two to three weeks. Two notable eclipses observed were in November 2008 and January 2011. "What's exciting is that during both eclipses we see the light from the star change rapidly, and that suggests that there are rings in the eclipsing object, but these rings are many times larger than the rings around Saturn," says Leiden astronomer Matthew Kenworthy. Assuming the dips in starlight are coming from an orbiting planet, the next eclipse is predicted to take place in September this year – and the star is bright enough that amateur astronomers all over the world will be able to witness it and gather new data. Only then will we be certain what is causing the mysterious eclipses. If confirmed in September, PDS 110 will be the first giant ring system that has a known orbital period. "September's eclipse will let us study the intricate structure around PDS 110 in detail for the first time, and hopefully prove that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation," comments Hugh Oborn. The researchers suggest that there are moons could be forming in the habitable zone around PDS 110 – pointing to the possibility that life could thrive in this system. The eclipses can also be used to discover the conditions for forming planets and their moons at an early time in the life of a star, providing a unique insight into forming processes that happened in our solar system. The research, 'Periodic Eclipses of the Young Star PDS 110 Discovered with WASP and KELT Photometry', is due to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. More information: H. P. Osborn et al. Periodic Eclipses of the Young Star PDS 110 Discovered with WASP and KELT Photometry, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2017). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stx1249


News Article | May 31, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A giant gas planet -- up to fifty times the mass of Jupiter, encircled by a ring of dust -- is likely hurtling around a star more than a thousand light years away from Earth, according to new research by an international team of astronomers, led by the University of Warwick. Hugh Osborn, a researcher from Warwick's Astrophysics Group, has identified that the light from this rare young star is regularly blocked by a large object -- and predicts that these eclipses are caused by the orbit of this as-yet undiscovered planet. Using data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), Osborn and fellow researchers from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and Leiden Observatory analysed fifteen years of the star's activity. "We found a hint that this was an interesting object in data from the WASP survey," said Hugh Osborn, lead author, who discovered the unusual light curve, "but it wasn't until we found a second, almost identical eclipse in the KELT survey data that we knew we had something special." They discovered that every two and a half years, the light from this distant star -- PDS 110 in the Orion constellation, which is same temperature and slightly larger than our sun -- is reduced to thirty percent for about two to three weeks. Two notable eclipses observed were in November 2008 and January 2011. "What's exciting is that during both eclipses we see the light from the star change rapidly, and that suggests that there are rings in the eclipsing object, but these rings are many times larger than the rings around Saturn," says Leiden astronomer Matthew Kenworthy. Assuming the dips in starlight are coming from an orbiting planet, the next eclipse is predicted to take place in September this year -- and the star is bright enough that amateur astronomers all over the world will be able to witness it and gather new data. Only then will we be certain what is causing the mysterious eclipses. If confirmed in September, PDS 110 will be the first giant ring system that has a known orbital period. "September's eclipse will let us study the intricate structure around PDS 110 in detail for the first time, and hopefully prove that what we are seeing is a giant exoplanet and its moons in the process of formation," comments Hugh Oborn. The researchers suggest that there are moons could be forming in the habitable zone around PDS 110 -- pointing to the possibility that life could thrive in this system. The eclipses can also be used to discover the conditions for forming planets and their moons at an early time in the life of a star, providing a unique insight into forming processes that happened in our solar system.


News Article | September 23, 2017
Site: www.techradar.com

Earth 2.0 is out there – and telescope technology is going to find it. From a trickle to a torrent in the last decade, space telescopes keep on finding new and tantalising evidence of Earth-sized planets in our Milky Way galaxy. In early September 2017, researchers using data from the Hubble Space Telescope calculated that there could be water on the surface of the seven planets around TRAPPIST-1, a dwarf star the size of Jupiter discovered earlier this year. Found in the direction of the Aquarius constellation, TRAPPIST-1 is 40 light-years from Earth, which in relative terms puts it in our neighbourhood. How do astronomers know that water is there? And will space telescopes shed any more light on 'other Earths'? All seven of the TRAPPIST-1 planets were detected using the transit method; when an exoplanet passes across a star as seen from a telescope, that star dims slightly. The light signature recorded by the telescope can then be used to calculate the mass and radius of the planet. This is the science of spectroscopy, with powerful space telescopes like Hubble, Spitzer, and Kepler able to observe exoplanets across broad wavelengths, ranging from ultraviolet (UV) to infrared (IR) light. For this latest TRAPPIST-1 discovery, it's been all about detecting UV rays, which (above a certain level) can break-up water molecules. The researchers found that while the inner planets have probably lost all their water due to high UV levels, the outer planets (called e, f and g) have less UV, and are all in the habitable zone, so may contain rivers and oceans. "It is exciting that we can now study the environments of individual Earth-sized planets," said Professor Peter Wheatley from the University of Warwick’s Astronomy & Astrophysics Group in the Department of Physics. "Our results suggest that water, and potentially life, could have survived in the TRAPPIST-1 system, despite the relatively intense UV and X-ray irradiation of the planets." However, despite the success of the Hubble Space Telescope and the other space telescopes, a lot of ground-based telescopes were also used to corroborate the data (Belgium's Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) telescope in Chile, in particular). Besides, the conclusion that there could be water on some of TRAPPIST-1's exoplanets is based on a lot of assumptions. What astronomers need in order to probe exoplanets effectively is a much more powerful space telescope. Luckily, there's one due to launch next year. After 27 years of service, Hubble is about lose its spot as the human race's most powerful eye on the cosmos. Due for launch in October 2018 from the ESA's launch pad in French Guiana, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is twice as large as Hubble. Instead of orbiting Earth, it will orbit the Sun, 930,000 miles from Earth, at the L2 point to get our clearest-ever view of distant galaxies. It will do that by using a staggering 22-metre sunshield and gold-plated beryllium mirrors stretching 6.5 metres – three times larger than Hubble's – to detect IR light from the furthest depths of the known Universe in an effort to understand the Big Bang. It will also measure IR to detect what makes-up the atmospheres of exoplanets around distant stars. Its multiple cameras are also much more powerful than Hubble's, though it's too far away to be serviced by astronauts, (Hubble was famously fixed by a Space Shuttle visit in 1993). If all goes to plan, the JWST will change astronomy forever, with the TRAPPIST-1 planets first in line for a close look, but there are plans for many successors. Though little-known, the WFIRST proposed for launch in 2025 will mostly study dark energy and dark matter, but also be capable of carefully studying the atmospheres of exoplanets by blocking its view of stars nearby. Space telescopes are usually rated on the size of their mirror; Hubble has a 2.4-metre mirror, and JWST a 6.5-metre. So why not dream bigger and plan for a whopping 16-metre space telescope capable or confirming not whether life on exoplanets is possible, but whether it actually exists or not? That's exactly what astronomers are doing, with plans afoot for the Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR). Designed to occupy the same Sun orbit as the JWST, LUVOIR's 16-metre mirror would be a massive leap forward. The LUVOIR is not confirmed yet, and even when it is that will merely kick-start a 15-20 year countdown to its launch, but the momentum behind some kind of extra-large space telescope to succeed the JWST already exists. A 12-metre High-Definition Space Telescope (HDST) is proposed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). Its aim? To find Earth 2.0 – optically. Space telescopes of this massive size are what Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was born to launch. Ground-based telescopes are often hamstrung by clouds and distorting hot air, and they're also rendered part-time by nature of being on a rotating planet, but they have a critical role to play in discovering Earth 2.0. Usually they're used to corroborate findings of space telescopes, but don't underestimate them. Not only are the mirrors even more massive, but several exoplanets have been discovered using them. So the race is on to build ever-larger ground-based 'scopes. The Giant Magellan Telescope's (GMT) 24.5-metre mirror will probe exoplanets from Chile's Las Campanas Observatory, while to the north at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory the 39-metre mirror European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is underway and due to be completed by 2024. The E-ELT will be the 'world's biggest eye on the sky', though not far behind will be the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The latter will use a mirror of 'only' 8.4-metres, but its whopping 3,200 megapixel wide-angle camera (that's over three billion pixels of solid state detectors) will record 15 terabytes of data every night as it catalogues 10 billion stars, their type and distance from the galactic plane. The search for Earth 2.0 will take time, telescopes and many terabytes, but it's already an unstoppable mission; it now seems certain that tech will find our twin.


Green D.A.,Astrophysics Group
Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India | Year: 2014

A revised catalogue of 294 Galactic supernova remnants (SNRs) is presented, along with some simple statistics. This catalogue has twenty more entries than did the previous version (from 2009), as 21 new remnants have been added, and one object has been removed as it has been identified as an Hii region. © 2014, Astronomical Society of India, Indian Institute of Astrophysics. All rights reserved.

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