Friday, February 28, 2014

IceCube Cosmic Ray Data Contributes to Understanding of Interstellar Space

IceCube cosmic ray data contributes to understanding of interstellar space In a paper recently published in Science Express, cosmic ray data from IceCube was used alongside observations from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, in a study of the magnetic fields that surround our solar system.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

NeutrinoTelescopes Launch A New Era of Astronomy

ComputeSpace is now integrating data from the IceCube Antarctic Neutrino Observatory!

IceCube detects neutrinos --high-energy "ghost particles" which are passing through the earth by the trillions but rarely interact with anything.  They can tell us about stars from which they are emitted.

We expect to have an interview with IceCube scientists on the site's new ComputeSpace Observatory feature later this year.  Stay tuned! 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Computational Astronomy Lives!

Stephen Hawking’s pioneering Cosmos supercomputer for the Miracle Consortia is using the world’s first symmetric multi-processor (SMP) to be powered by Intel’s Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture

Cosmos makes use of SGI’s “Big Brain”–the SGI UV 2000–which houses 32 Xeon Phi co-processors utilizing a total of 1,856 cores in a cache-coherent shared-memory space of nearly 15 terabytes (TB) to focus on scientific discovery, leading worldwide efforts to advance our understanding of the universe.

The Cosmos supercomputer and the Miracle Consortia pursue the most vexing problems in cosmology. Consortia members include top British universities (see full list below). 

The latest COSMOS supercomputer will support key UK research in several key areas:
  • Discovering new extra-solar planets
  • Assist in lattice field-theory simulations of the early universe
  • Validate new cosmological models–including superstrings and extra dimensions
  • Study cosmic background radiation, galaxy distributions and the generation of primordial gravitational waves.
  • Answering “big brain” questions such as “how many exoplanets have the right conditions for life?”

Edison -- New Supercomputer at NERSC

Back in Berkeley, NERSC is updating systems. On my next visit, we'll put up a photo spread.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Validating the Planetary Formation Model

News from Japanese Astronomy

Validating the Planetary Formation Model

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, Japanese astronomers have spotted strong evidence of a massive planet-forming disk around a young star known as HD 142527. HD 142527 lies in the constellation Lupus at a distance of about 457 light-years from Earth. The astronomers have used ALMA to detect the submillimeter emission from the emission from the dust ring around this baby star. The emission has a non-uniform distribution and the northern side is 30 times brighter than the faint southern side, according to the team.
Recent near-infrared observations with the NAOJ Subaru Telescope revealed that protoplanetary disks have structures that are far more complex than astronomers expected. Spiral or gap structures are thought to be associated with hidden planets in the disk.
However, it is impossible to measure the amount of dust and gas in the densest part of the disk by near-infrared observations. Since near-infrared light is easily absorbed or scattered by a large amount of dust, it isn’t suitable for observing the innermost part of the dense region of the disk. Then, the key to the solution will be millimeter and submillimeter wave.
The new image of HD 142527, which was taken with ALMA, shows that cosmic dust is circling around the star in a form of asymmetric ring.
By measuring the density of dust in the densest part of the ring, the astronomers found that it is highly possible that Jupiter-like giant gaseous exoplanets or Earth-like rocky planets are now being formed in that region. This region is far from the central star, about 5 times larger than the distance between the Sun and the Neptune.
“We are very surprised at the brightness of the northern side,” said Dr Misato Fukagawa of Osaka University, who is the lead author of the paper appearing in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (full paper in .pdf / version).
“The brightest part in submillimeter wave is located far from the central star, and the distance is comparable to five times the distance between the Sun and the Neptune. I have never seen such a bright knot in such a distant position.”