Stargazing audience discovers new supernova a billion light years away

Stargazing audience discovers new supernova a billion light years away

The audience of Stargazing Live on ABC TV has discovered at least one new supernova — an exploding star — as part of the citizen science effort launched on Tuesday evening.

Thousands of citizen scientists supplied more than 1 million new data points in a matter of hours, helping to classify 18,000 images from the Skymapper telescope at the Siding Spring observatory.

Four of those participants identified a flash of light emitted from a galaxy 1.1 billion light years away.

Then in the small hours of Wednesday morning, the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring took time out of its current assignment to turn and stare at that galaxy, catching some of the explosion’s afterglow.

It was that observation that allowed astronomers to confirm that the flash was indeed a type Ia supernova.

One of the four discoverers was Pip Newling from Sydney. She said it was “ridiculously exciting” to be part of the surprisingly rapid progress made by the project.

“I have to fess up, it was probably a joint effort. Neither my boyfriend nor I can remember which one we actually hit — we were sharing the task. But I got the email!”

This is just the first finding to emerge from the Supernova Sightings project, run by the Skymapper team at the Australian National University and hosted by zooniverse.org.

The initiative and its thousands of participants still have much more work to do and probably many more discoveries to make.

“1.1 billion light years means exactly that,” Stargazing Live presenter Brian Cox said.

“When that star exploded, there were no living things beyond the ocean on the Earth.

“The light was almost here when humans evolved — and it was very nearly here when we began to do astronomy.

“Then we invented television, and eventually we made a television show … and ABC viewers saw it last night.

“If it’d happened a week later, we’d never have seen it.”

Beacons for measuring the universe

In less than a day, several thousand participants joined in and classified an average of more than 200 images each.

That meant that the available images from the Skymapper telescope at Siding Spring were all assessed 60 times, on average.

More images are being added to the project tonight, from both Skymapper and the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii.

“It’s wonderful that we’ve found our first supernova,” said Professor Chris Lintott from the University of Oxford, the principal investigator at zooniverse.org.

“Who knows what else is out there, lurking in the data.”

The participants all have the chance to get their names on the scientific record.

“We recognise citizen scientists by listing the first three people to find a previously unknown supernova in the discovery when we report it to the International Astronomical Union,” said Dr Anais Moller from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Particularly notable is that the distant flash, currently catalogued as “AT2018BWQ”, appears to be a type Ia supernova.

When stars die they can explode in a variety of ways. Type Ia supernovae are particularly precious to astronomers because are very consistent; they always explode with the same brightness, so it is easy to infer how far away they are.

That makes them useful beacons for calculating some of the fundamental properties of the cosmos — like its size, its age and how fast it is expanding.

As a consequence, the Supernova Sightings project should be able to make a very slightly revised estimate of those properties in the next few days — especially if a handful more type Ia explosions are unearthed in the data.

“There’s a shared pot of these things, and as ever with science, each individual measurement … adds to the accuracy of the overall measurement. So this will go into that pot,” Professor Lintott said.

“That means we can say — it’s a gimmick but it’s a good gimmick — if the universe, as determined by this supernova, is slightly older than the average, well we’ve just made the age of the universe a bit older.

“I’m guessing it might shift by up to a hundred million years, either way.”

Given the cosmos is approximately 14 billion years old, this is not a vast correction — and of course it can be rewritten every time a few more type Ia supernovae enter the record books.

But it is not every day a TV show, with a little help from its audience, makes such calculations — and the Stargazing Live team is excited.

“It’s looking like we’ll be able to make an independent estimate of the age of the universe,” Professor Cox said.

“That’s remarkable.”

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Stargazing audience discovers new supernova

Stargazing audience discovers new supernova

Updated

May 23, 2018 20:40:45

The audience of Stargazing Live on ABC TV has discovered at least one new supernova — an exploding star — as part of the citizen science effort launched on Tuesday evening.

Thousands of citizen scientists supplied more than 1 million new data points in a matter of hours, helping to classify 18,000 images from the Skymapper telescope at the Siding Spring observatory.

Four of those participants identified a flash of light emitted from a galaxy 1.1 billion light years away.

Then in the small hours of Wednesday morning, the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring took time out of its current assignment to turn and stare at that galaxy, catching some of the explosion’s afterglow.

It was that observation that allowed astronomers to confirm that the flash was indeed a Type Ia supernova.

One of the four discoverers was Pip Newling from Sydney. She said it was “ridiculously exciting” to be part of the surprisingly rapid progress made by the project.

“I have to fess up, it was probably a joint effort. Neither my boyfriend nor I can remember which one we actually hit — we were sharing the task. But I got the email!”

This is just the first finding to emerge from the Supernova Sightings project, run by the Skymapper team at the Australian National University and hosted by zooniverse.org.

The initiative and its thousands of participants still have much more work to do and probably many more discoveries to make.

“1.1 billion light years means exactly that,” Stargazing Live presenter Brian Cox said.

“When that star exploded, there were no living things beyond the ocean on the Earth.

“The light was almost here when humans evolved — and it was very nearly here when we began to do astronomy.

“Then we invented television, and eventually we made a television show … and ABC viewers saw it last night.

“If it’d happened a week later, we’d never have seen it.”

Beacons for measuring the universe

In less than a day, several thousand participants joined in and classified an average of more than 200 images each.

That meant that the available images from the Skymapper telescope at Siding Spring were all assessed 60 times, on average.

More images are being added to the project tonight, from both Skymapper and the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii.

“It’s wonderful that we’ve found our first supernova,” said Professor Chris Lintott from the University of Oxford, the principal investigator at zooniverse.org.

“Who knows what else is out there, lurking in the data.”

The participants all have the chance to get their names on the scientific record.

“We recognise citizen scientists by listing the first three people to find a previously unknown supernova in the discovery when we report it to the International Astronomical Union,” said Dr Anais Moller from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Particularly notable is that the distant flash, currently catalogued as “AT2018BWQ”, appears to be a type Ia supernova.

When stars die they can explode in a variety of ways. Type Ia supernovae are particularly precious to astronomers because are very consistent; they always explode with the same brightness, so it is easy to infer how far away they are.

That makes them useful beacons for calculating some of the fundamental properties of the cosmos — like its size, its age and how fast it is expanding.

As a consequence, the Supernova Sightings project should be able to make a very slightly revised estimate of those properties in the next few days — especially if a handful more Type Ia explosions are unearthed in the data.

“There’s a shared pot of these things, and as ever with science, each individual measurement … adds to the accuracy of the overall measurement. So this will go into that pot,” Professor Lintott said.

“That means we can say — it’s a gimmick but it’s a good gimmick — if the universe, as determined by this supernova, is slightly older than the average, well we’ve just made the age of the universe a bit older.

“I’m guessing it might shift by up to a hundred million years, either way.”

Given the cosmos is approximately 14 billion years old, this is not a vast correction — and of course it can be rewritten every time a few more type Ia supernovae enter the record books.

But it is not every day a TV show, with a little help from its audience, makes such calculations — and the Stargazing Live team is excited.

“It’s looking like we’ll be able to make an independent estimate of the age of the universe,” Professor Cox said.

“That’s remarkable.”

Topics:

galaxies,

astronomy-space,

science-and-technology,

australia

First posted

May 23, 2018 20:12:59

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Asia Argento Just Told The Audience At Cannes “I Was Raped By Harvey Weinstein Here”

Asia Argento Just Told The Audience At Cannes “I Was Raped By Harvey Weinstein Here”

Actor Asia Argento put Harvey Weinstein on blast Saturday, telling the audience at the Cannes Film Festival that the disgraced Hollywood mogul used the event as a backdrop to rape her.

“In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes,” she said while onstage to present during the closing ceremony. “I was 21 years old. This festival was his hunting ground. I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again.”

Argento alleges Weinstein raped her while filming for the 1998 cult classic B. Monkey, under the pretext of a party at his hotel room. Her story, reported in depth by The New Yorker, was part of what brought about Weinstein’s demise as other women followed with their own allegations of sexual assault.

Weinstein now faces potential criminal charges in California, New York, and the UK following investigations by the New York Times and New Yorker that revealed decades of sexual harassment and assault allegations against the producer. He is also fighting multiple civil lawsuits regarding allegations of sexual assault, and the company he co-founded with his brother, the Weinstein Co., has filed for bankruptcy. He has also since been booted from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America.

“He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes,” Argento said before issuing a warning to the other perpetrators in the audience. “And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women for behavior that does not belong in this industry. … You know who you are. But more importantly, we know who you are. And we’re not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.”

Argento told the The New Yorker that after the initial assault in France around the time B. Monkey was being distributed, she “eventually yielded” to Weinstein and had a consensual sexual relationship with him over the course of five years. However, she also told The New Yorker that she felt she “had to” have sex with Weinstein or he would derail her career.