Comparing data from VLA sky surveys made some two decades apart revealed that the black hole-powered "engines" at the cores of some distant galaxies have launched new, superfast jets of material during the interval between the surveys.
Winners in NRAO's VLA 40th Anniversary Image Contest are from around the world, and their works illustrate a fascinating variety of celestial objects. Entries combined observational data from the VLA with data from optical, infrared, and X-ray telescopes, and from computer simulations.
Using the VLBA, astronomers have made the first direct geometric measurement of the distance to a magnetar. This precision measurement could help determine if such objects are responsible for generating the mysterious Fast Radio Bursts.
How fast is the universe expanding? We don’t know for sure.Astronomers study cosmic expansion by measuring the Hubble constant. They have measured this constant in several different ways, but some of their results don’t agree with each other. This disagreement, or tension, in the Hubble constant is a growing controversy in astronomy.
Something done routinely for decades -- move VLA antennas -- suddenly became challenging because of COVID-19. With careful planning and teamwork, the NRAO staff got the job done to keep the scientific research going.
A central mission of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is to nurture and inspire the next generation of radio astronomers. One way NRAO does this is through the Jansky Fellowship Program. Jansky Fellows are allowed to pursue their personal research interests with the support of NRAO observatories. This year, five postdoctoral awards were made.
An international team of astronomers has created the most detailed map yet of the atmosphere of the red supergiant star Antares. The unprecedented sensitivity and resolution of both the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) revealed the size and temperature of Antares’ atmosphere from just above the star’s surface, throughout its chromosphere, and all the way out to the wind region.
In some pairs of young stars, astronomers found a "hot corino" of organic molecules around one, but not the other. Researchers studied such a pair with the VLA at radio wavelengths that readily pass through dust, and found the other one.
Analysis of two cosmic explosions indicates to astronomers that the pair, along with a puzzling blast from 2018, constitute a new type of event, with similarities to some supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, but also with significant differences.
In our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, most galaxies like our Milky Way form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But a new discovery made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age, challenges the traditional models of galaxy formation. This research appears on 20 May 2020 in the journal Nature.
Join our host Melissa Hoffman of the NRAO as she shows how a donut-shaped cloud around the black hole of galaxy Cygnus A can explain why seemingly different phenomena in the Universe are actually very similar.
A galactic visitor entered our solar system last year – interstellar comet 2I/Borisov. When astronomers pointed the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) toward the comet on 15 and 16 December 2019, for the first time they directly observed the chemicals stored inside an object from a planetary system other than our own. This research is published online on 20 April 2020 in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Nestled among the hills of the University of Virginia campus are a couple of nondescript buildings. They are home to NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory (CDL). The buildings are easy to overlook, just as it is easy to overlook the work done by CDL. We see photographs of the radio dishes at Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Array (VLA) under a starry sky, and the beautifully rendered scientific images they produce. But between these two extremes is a complex set of processes that transform the faint radio signals of distant space into usable scientific data. Achieving that transformation effectively is one of CDLs most important jobs.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found striking orbital geometries in protoplanetary disks around binary stars. While disks orbiting the most compact binary star systems share very nearly the same plane, disks encircling wide binaries have orbital planes that are severely tilted. These systems can teach us about planet formation in complex environments.
An international team of astronomers used two of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world to create more than three hundred images of planet-forming disks around very young stars in the Orion Clouds. These images reveal new details about the birthplaces of planets and the earliest stages of star formation.
An international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.
Studies with the VLA indicate that roughly half of the massive black holes in dwarf galaxies are not in the centers of those galaxies. This gives astronomers new insights into the conditions in which similar black holes formed and grew in the early history of the Universe.
Thousands of galaxies are visible in this radio image of an area in the Southern Sky, made with the MeerKAT telescope. The numerous faint dots are distant galaxies like our own Milky Way, that have never been observed in radio light before.
For the first time, astronomers using ALMA have witnessed 3D motions of gas in a planet-forming disk. At three locations in the disk around a young star called HD 163296, gas is flowing like a waterfall into gaps that are most likely caused by planets in formation. These gas flows have long been predicted and would directly influence the chemical composition of planet atmospheres. This research is published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.
At the center of a galaxy called NGC 1068, a supermassive black hole hides within a thick doughnut-shaped cloud of dust and gas. When astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
to study this cloud in more detail, they made an unexpected discovery that could explain why supermassive black holes grew so rapidly in the early Universe.
“Thanks to the spectacular resolution of ALMA, we measured the movement of gas in the inner orbits around the black hole,” explains Violette Impellizzeri of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), working at ALMA in Chile and lead author on a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. “Surprisingly, we found two disks of gas rotating in opposite directions.”
An international team of astronomers has discovered one of the largest features ever observed in the center of the Milky Way – a pair of enormous radio-emitting bubbles that tower hundreds of light-years above and below the central region of our galaxy.
This hourglass-like feature, which dwarfs all other radio structures in the galactic center, is likely the result of a phenomenally energetic burst that erupted near the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole a few million years ago.
New radio wave images made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) provide a unique view of Jupiter’s atmosphere down to fifty kilometers below the planet’s visible (ammonia) cloud deck.
New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
provide an unprecedented close-up view of a swirling disk of cold interstellar gas rotating around a supermassive black hole.
Summary: Using the both ALMA and the VLT, astronomers have imaged the cold, rock-strewn rings encircling the planet Uranus. Rather than observing the reflected sunlight from these rings, ALMA and the VLT imaged the millimeter and mid-infrared “glow” naturally emitted by the frigidly cold particles of the rings themselves.
The first direct visual evidence of a black hole will help scientists understand how the universe behaves under conditions of extreme gravity, forces so strong that they warp the fabric of space and time.