Domenici Science Operations Center

Socorro, NM, United States

Domenici Science Operations Center

Socorro, NM, United States
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Russell D.M.,Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias | Russell D.M.,University of La Laguna | Russell T.D.,Curtin University Australia | Miller-Jones J.C.A.,Curtin University Australia | And 30 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2013

We report striking changes in the broadband spectrum of the compact jet of the black hole transient MAXI J1836-194 over state transitions during its discovery outburst in 2011. A fading of the optical-infrared (IR) flux occurred as the source entered the hard-intermediate state, followed by a brightening as it returned to the hard state. The optical-IR spectrum was consistent with a power law from optically thin synchrotron emission, except when the X-ray spectrum was softest. By fitting the radio to optical spectra with a broken power law, we constrain the frequency and flux of the optically thick/thin break in the jet synchrotron spectrum. The break gradually shifted to higher frequencies as the source hardened at X-ray energies, from ∼1011 to ∼4 × 1013 Hz. The radiative jet luminosity integrated over the spectrum appeared to be greatest when the source entered the hard state during the outburst decay (although this is dependent on the high-energy cooling break, which is not seen directly), even though the radio flux was fading at the time. The physical process responsible for suppressing and reactivating the jet (neither of which are instantaneous but occur on timescales of weeks) is uncertain, but could arise from the varying inner accretion disk radius regulating the fraction of accreting matter that is channeled into the jet. This provides an unprecedented insight into the connection between inflow and outflow, and has implications for the conditions required for jets to be produced, and hence their launching process. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Miller-Jones J.C.A.,NRAO Headquarters | Sivakoff G.R.,University of Virginia | Altamirano D.,University of Amsterdam | Tudose V.,Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy | And 24 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2010

The 2009 November outburst of the neutron star X-ray binary Aquila X-1 (Aql X-1) was observed with unprecedented radio coverage and simultaneous pointed X-ray observations, tracing the radio emission around the full X-ray hysteresis loop of the outburst for the first time. We use these data to discuss the disk-jet coupling, finding the radio emission to be consistent with being triggered at state transitions, both from the hard to the soft spectral state and vice versa. Our data appear to confirm previous suggestions of radio quenching in the soft state above a threshold X-ray luminosity of ∼10% of the Eddington luminosity. We also present the first detections of Aql X-1 with very long baseline interferometry, showing that any extended emission is relatively diffuse and consistent with steady jets rather than arising from discrete, compact knots. In all cases where multi-frequency data were available, the source radio spectrum is consistent with being flat or slightly inverted, suggesting that the internal shock mechanism that is believed to produce optically thin transient radio ejecta in black hole X-ray binaries is not active in Aql X-1. © 2010. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


News Article | November 2, 2016
Site: phys.org

The galaxies are part of a cluster of galaxies more than 2 billion light-years from Earth. The close encounter, millions of years ago, stripped the smaller galaxy of nearly all its stars and gas. What remains is its black hole and a small galactic remnant only about 3,000 light-years across. For comparison, our Milky Way Galaxy is approximately 100,000 light-years across. The discovery was made as part of a program to detect supermassive black holes, millions or billions of times more massive than the Sun, that are not at the centers of galaxies. Supermassive black holes reside at the centers of most galaxies. Large galaxies are thought to grow by devouring smaller companions. In such cases, the black holes of both are expected to orbit each other, eventually merging. "We were looking for orbiting pairs of supermassive black holes, with one offset from the center of a galaxy, as telltale evidence of a previous galaxy merger," said James Condon, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "Instead, we found this black hole fleeing from the larger galaxy and leaving a trail of debris behind it," he added. "We've not seen anything like this before," Condon said. The astronomers began their quest by using the VLBA to make very high resolution images of more than 1,200 galaxies, previously identified by large-scale sky surveys done with infrared and radio telescopes. Their VLBA observations showed that the supermassive black holes of nearly all these galaxies were at the centers of the galaxies. However, one object, in a cluster of galaxies called ZwCl 8193, did not fit that pattern. Further studies showed that this object, called B3 1715+425, is a supermassive black hole surrounded by a galaxy much smaller and fainter than would be expected. In addition, this object is speeding away from the core of a much larger galaxy, leaving a wake of ionized gas behind it. The scientists concluded that B3 1715+425 is what has remained of a galaxy that passed through the larger galaxy and had most of its stars and gas stripped away by the encounter—a "nearly naked" supermassive black hole. The speeding remnant, the scientists said, probably will lose more mass and cease forming new stars. "In a billion years or so, it probably will be invisible," Condon said. That means, he pointed out, that there could be many more such objects left over from earlier galactic encounters that astronomers can't detect. The scientists will keep looking, however. They're observing more objects, in a long-term project with the VLBA. Since their project is not time-critical, Condon explained, they use "filler time" when the telescope is not in use for other observations. "The data we get from the VLBA is very high quality. We get the positions of the supermassive black holes to extremely good precision. Our limiting factor is the precision of the galaxy positions seen at other wavelengths that we use for comparison," Condon said. With new optical telescopes that will come on line in future years, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), he said, they will then have improved images that can be compared with the VLBA images. They hope that this will allow them to discover more objects like B3 1714+425. "And also maybe some of the binary supermassive black holes we originally sought," he said. Condon worked with Jeremy Darling of the University of Colorado, Yuri Kovalev of the Astro Space Center of the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, and Leonid Petrov of the Astrogeo Center in Falls Church, Virginia. The scientists are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal. The VLBA, dedicated in 1993, now is part of the Long Baseline Observatory. It uses ten, 25-meter-diameter dish antennas distributed from Hawaii to St. Croix in the Caribbean. It is operated from the NRAO's Domenici Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM. All ten antennas work together as a single telescope with the greatest resolving power available to astronomy. This unique capability has produced landmark contributions to numerous scientific fields, ranging from Earth tectonics, climate research, and spacecraft navigation, to cosmology.


News Article | November 2, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Astronomers using the super-sharp radio vision of the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) have found the shredded remains of a galaxy that passed through a larger galaxy, leaving only the smaller galaxy's nearly-naked supermassive black hole to emerge and speed away at more than 2,000 miles per second. The galaxies are part of a cluster of galaxies more than 2 billion light-years from Earth. The close encounter, millions of years ago, stripped the smaller galaxy of nearly all its stars and gas. What remains is its black hole and a small galactic remnant only about 3,000 light-years across. For comparison, our Milky Way Galaxy is approximately 100,000 light-years across. The discovery was made as part of a program to detect supermassive black holes, millions or billions of times more massive than the Sun, that are not at the centers of galaxies. Supermassive black holes reside at the centers of most galaxies. Large galaxies are thought to grow by devouring smaller companions. In such cases, the black holes of both are expected to orbit each other, eventually merging. "We were looking for orbiting pairs of supermassive black holes, with one offset from the center of a galaxy, as telltale evidence of a previous galaxy merger," said James Condon, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "Instead, we found this black hole fleeing from the larger galaxy and leaving a trail of debris behind it," he added. "We've not seen anything like this before," Condon said. The astronomers began their quest by using the VLBA to make very high resolution images of more than 1,200 galaxies, previously identified by large-scale sky surveys done with infrared and radio telescopes. Their VLBA observations showed that the supermassive black holes of nearly all these galaxies were at the centers of the galaxies. However, one object, in a cluster of galaxies called ZwCl 8193, did not fit that pattern. Further studies showed that this object, called B3 1715+425, is a supermassive black hole surrounded by a galaxy much smaller and fainter than would be expected. In addition, this object is speeding away from the core of a much larger galaxy, leaving a wake of ionized gas behind it. The scientists concluded that B3 1715+425 is what has remained of a galaxy that passed through the larger galaxy and had most of its stars and gas stripped away by the encounter -- a "nearly naked" supermassive black hole. The speeding remnant, the scientists said, probably will lose more mass and cease forming new stars. "In a billion years or so, it probably will be invisible," Condon said. That means, he pointed out, that there could be many more such objects left over from earlier galactic encounters that astronomers can't detect. The scientists will keep looking, however. They're observing more objects, in a long-term project with the VLBA. Since their project is not time-critical, Condon explained, they use "filler time" when the telescope is not in use for other observations. "The data we get from the VLBA is very high quality. We get the positions of the supermassive black holes to extremely good precision. Our limiting factor is the precision of the galaxy positions seen at other wavelengths that we use for comparison," Condon said. With new optical telescopes that will come on line in future years, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), he said, they will then have improved images that can be compared with the VLBA images. They hope that this will allow them to discover more objects like B3 1714+425. "And also maybe some of the binary supermassive black holes we originally sought," he said. Condon worked with Jeremy Darling of the University of Colorado, Yuri Kovalev of the Astro Space Center of the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, and Leonid Petrov of the Astrogeo Center in Falls Church, Virginia. The scientists are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal. The VLBA, dedicated in 1993, now is part of the Long Baseline Observatory. It uses ten, 25-meter-diameter dish antennas distributed from Hawaii to St. Croix in the Caribbean. It is operated from the NRAO's Domenici Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM. All ten antennas work together as a single telescope with the greatest resolving power available to astronomy. This unique capability has produced landmark contributions to numerous scientific fields, ranging from Earth tectonics, climate research, and spacecraft navigation, to cosmology. The Long Baseline Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: spaceref.com

Astronomers using the super-sharp radio vision of the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) have found the shredded remains of a galaxy that passed through a larger galaxy. This left only the smaller galaxy's nearly-naked supermassive black hole to emerge and speed away at more than 2,000 miles per second. The galaxies are part of a cluster of galaxies more than 2 billion light-years from Earth. The close encounter, millions of years ago, stripped the smaller galaxy of nearly all its stars and gas. What remains is its black hole and a small galactic remnant only about 3,000 light-years across. For comparison, our Milky Way Galaxy is approximately 100,000 light-years across. The discovery was made as part of a program to detect supermassive black holes, millions or billions of times more massive than the Sun, that are not at the centers of galaxies. Supermassive black holes reside at the centers of most galaxies. Large galaxies are thought to grow by devouring smaller companions. In such cases, the black holes of both are expected to orbit each other, eventually merging. "We were looking for orbiting pairs of supermassive black holes, with one offset from the center of a galaxy, as telltale evidence of a previous galaxy merger," said James Condon, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "Instead, we found this black hole fleeing from the larger galaxy and leaving a trail of debris behind it," he added. "We've not seen anything like this before," Condon said. The astronomers began their quest by using the VLBA to make very high resolution images of more than 1,200 galaxies, previously identified by large-scale sky surveys done with infrared and radio telescopes. Their VLBA observations showed that the supermassive black holes of nearly all these galaxies were at the centers of the galaxies. However, one object, in a cluster of galaxies called ZwCl 8193, did not fit that pattern. Further studies showed that this object, called B3 1715+425, is a supermassive black hole surrounded by a galaxy much smaller and fainter than would be expected. In addition, this object is speeding away from the core of a much larger galaxy, leaving a wake of ionized gas behind it. The scientists concluded that B3 1715+425 is what has remained of a galaxy that passed through the larger galaxy and had most of its stars and gas stripped away by the encounter -- a "nearly naked" supermassive black hole. The speeding remnant, the scientists said, probably will lose more mass and cease forming new stars. "In a billion years or so, it probably will be invisible," Condon said. That means, he pointed out, that there could be many more such objects left over from earlier galactic encounters that astronomers can't detect. The scientists will keep looking, however. They're observing more objects, in a long-term project with the VLBA. Since their project is not time-critical, Condon explained, they use "filler time" when the telescope is not in use for other observations. "The data we get from the VLBA is very high quality. We get the positions of the supermassive black holes to extremely good precision. Our limiting factor is the precision of the galaxy positions seen at other wavelengths that we use for comparison," Condon said. With new optical telescopes that will come on line in future years, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), he said, they will then have improved images that can be compared with the VLBA images. They hope that this will allow them to discover more objects like B3 1714+425. "And also maybe some of the binary supermassive black holes we originally sought," he said. Condon worked with Jeremy Darling of the University of Colorado, Yuri Kovalev of the Astro Space Center of the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, and Leonid Petrov of the Astrogeo Center in Falls Church, Virginia. The scientists are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal. The VLBA, dedicated in 1993, now is part of the Long Baseline Observatory. It uses ten, 25-meter-diameter dish antennas distributed from Hawaii to St. Croix in the Caribbean. It is operated from the NRAO's Domenici Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM. All ten antennas work together as a single telescope with the greatest resolving power available to astronomy. This unique capability has produced landmark contributions to numerous scientific fields, ranging from Earth tectonics, climate research, and spacecraft navigation, to cosmology. Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.


Rushton A.,European Southern Observatory | Rushton A.,Onsala Space Observatory | Miller-Jones J.C.A.,Curtin University Australia | Campana R.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | And 11 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2012

We present evidence for the presence of a weak compact jet during a soft X-ray state of Cygnus X-1. Very-high-resolution radio observations were taken with the VLBA, EVN and MERLIN during a hard-to-soft spectral state change, showing the hard state jet to be suppressed by a factor of about 3-5 in radio flux and unresolved to direct imaging observations (i.e. ≲1 mas at 4cm). High time-resolution X-ray observations with the RXTE-PCA were also taken during the radio monitoring period, showing the source to make the transition from the hard state to a softer state (via an intermediate state), although the source may never have reached the canonical soft state. Using astrometric very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) analysis and removing proper motion, parallax and orbital motion signatures, the residual positions show a scatter of ∼0.2 mas (at 4cm) and ∼3 mas (at 13cm) along the position angle of the known jet axis; these residuals suggest that there is a weak unresolved outflow, with varying size or opacity, during intermediate and soft X-ray states. Furthermore, no evidence was found for extended knots or shocks forming within the jet during the state transition, suggesting that the change in outflow rate may not be sufficiently high to produce superluminal knots. © 2011 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2011 RAS.


Miller-Jones J.C.A.,Curtin University Australia | Sivakoff G.R.,University of Alberta | Sivakoff G.R.,University of Virginia | Altamirano D.,University of Amsterdam | And 18 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2012

We present an intensive radio and X-ray monitoring campaign on the 2009 outburst of the Galactic black hole candidate X-ray binary H1743-322. With the high angular resolution of the Very Long Baseline Array, we resolve the jet ejection event and measure the proper motions of the jet ejecta relative to the position of the compact core jets detected at the beginning of the outburst. This allows us to accurately couple the moment when the jet ejection event occurred with X-ray spectral and timing signatures. We find that X-ray timing signatures are the best diagnostic of the jet ejection event in this outburst, which occurred as the X-ray variability began to decrease and the Type C quasi-periodic oscillations disappeared from the X-ray power density spectrum. However, this sequence of events does not appear to be replicated in all black hole X-ray binary outbursts, even within an individual source. In our observations of H1743-322, the ejection was contemporaneous with a quenching of the radio emission, prior to the start of the major radio flare. This contradicts previous assumptions that the onset of the radio flare marks the moment of ejection. The jet speed appears to vary between outbursts, with a possible positive correlation with outburst luminosity. The compact core radio jet reactivated on transition to the hard intermediate state at the end of the outburst, and not when the source reached the low hard spectral state. Comparison with the known near-infrared behaviour of the compact jets suggests a gradual evolution of the compact jet power over a few days near the beginning and end of an outburst. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 RAS.


McIntyre T.P.,University of New Mexico | Henning P.A.,University of New Mexico | Minchin R.F.,Arecibo Observatory | Momjian E.,Domenici Science Operations Center | Butcher Z.,University of Massachusetts Amherst
Astronomical Journal | Year: 2015

The Arecibo L-band Feed Array Zone of Avoidance (ALFA ZOA) Deep Survey is the deepest and most sensitive blind H i survey undertaken in the ZOA. ALFA ZOA Deep will cover about 300 square degrees of sky behind the Galactic Plane in both the inner (30 ° ≤ l ≤ 75°; b ≤ |2°|) and outer (175° ≤ l ≤ 207°;-2° ≤ b ≤ + 1°) Galaxy, using the Arecibo Radio Telescope. First results from the survey have found 61 galaxies within a 15 square degree area centered on and b = -2°. The survey reached its expected sensitivity of rms = 1 mJy at 9 km s-1 channel resolution, and is shown to be complete above integrated flux, FHi = 0.5 Jy km s-1. The positional accuracy of the survey is 28″ and detections are found out to a recessional velocity of nearly 19,000 km s-1. The survey confirms the extent of the Orion and Abell 539 clusters behind the plane of the Milky Way and discovers expansive voids, at 10,000 and 18,000 km s-1. Twenty-six detections (43%) have a counterpart in the literature, but only two of these have known redshifts. Counterparts are 20% less common beyond vhel = 10,000 km s-1 and 33% less common at extinctions higher than AB = 3.5 mag. The ALFA ZOA Deep survey is able to probe large scale structure beyond redshifts that even the most modern wide-angle surveys have been able to detect in the ZOA at any wavelength. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Miller-Jones J.C.A.,Curtin University Australia | Wrobel J.M.,Domenici Science Operations Center | Sivakoff G.R.,University of Alberta | Heinke C.O.,University of Alberta | And 8 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2012

The detections of both X-ray and radio emission from the cluster G1 in M31 have provided strong support for existing dynamical evidence for an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) of mass (1.8 ± 0.5) × 10 4 M ⊙ at the cluster center. However, given the relatively low significance and astrometric accuracy of the radio detection, and the non-simultaneity of the X-ray and radio measurements, this identification required further confirmation. Here we present deep, high angular resolution, strictly simultaneous X-ray and radio observations of G1. While the X-ray emission (L X = 1.74+0.53 -0.44 × 10 36 (d/750 kpc)2 erg s-1 in the 0.5-10keV band) remained fully consistent with previous observations, we detected no radio emission from the cluster center down to a 3σ upper limit of 4.7 μJybeam-1. Our favored explanation for the previous radio detection is flaring activity from a black hole low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB). We performed a new regression of the "Fundamental Plane" of black hole activity, valid for determining black hole mass from radio and X-ray observations of sub-Eddington black holes, finding log M BH = (1.638 ± 0.070)log L R - (1.136 ± 0.077)log L X - (6.863 ± 0.790), with an empirically determined uncertainty of 0.44dex. This constrains the mass of the X-ray source in G1, if a black hole, to be <9.7 × 103 M ⊙ at 95% confidence, suggesting that it is a persistent LMXB. This annuls what was previously the most convincing evidence from radiation for an IMBH in the Local Group, though the evidence for an IMBH in G1 from velocity dispersion measurements remains unaffected by these results. © 2012 The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


McIntyre T.P.,University of New Mexico | McIntyre T.P.,Arecibo Observatory | Minchin R.F.,Arecibo Observatory | Momjian E.,Domenici Science Operations Center | And 3 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2011

The Arecibo L-Band Feed Array Zone of Avoidance (ALFA ZOA) Survey has discovered a nearby galaxy, ALFA ZOA J1952+1428, at a heliocentric velocity of +279km s-1. The galaxy was discovered at low Galactic latitude by 21cm emission from neutral hydrogen (H I). We have obtained follow-up observations with the Expanded Very Large Array and the 0.9m Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy optical telescope. The H I distribution overlaps an uncataloged, potential optical counterpart. The H I linear size is 1.4kpc at our adopted distance of D = 7Mpc, but the distance estimate is uncertain as Hubble's law is unreliable at low recessional velocities. The optical counterpart has mB = 16.9mag and B - R = 0.1mag. These characteristics, including = 107.0 M⊙ and L B = 107.5 L⊙, if at 7Mpc, indicate that this galaxy is a blue compact dwarf, but this remains uncertain until further follow-up observations are complete. Optical follow-up observations are ongoing and near-infrared follow-up observations have been scheduled. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

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