NSF Telescopes Image M87’s Supermassive Black Hole and Massive Jet Together for the First Time

Observations also revealed that the supermassive black hole’s ring is bigger than imagined

Scientists observing the compact radio core of M87 have discovered new details about the galaxy’s supermassive black hole. In this artist’s conception, the black hole’s massive jet is seen rising up from the center of the black hole. The jet was born from energy created by the magnetic fields surrounding the spinning core of the black hole and winds rising up from the black hole’s accretion disk. The observations represent the first time that the jet and the black hole have been imaged together, giving scientists new context into the compact radio core of M87. These observations also revealed that the black hole’s ring is 50% larger than previously believed. Credit: S. Dagnello (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Scientists studying the supermassive black hole at the heart of the M87 galaxy have revealed the origins of the monster’s powerful jet and imaged the jet and its source together for the first time. What’s more, the observations have revealed that the black hole’s ring is much larger than scientists previously believed. The observations published today in Nature.

(more…)

West Virginia, Green Bank Observatory, Revitalize Workforce Through Apprenticeships

More and more students are turning away from college and toward apprenticeships.

Machinist apprentice Priscilla Grimes operates a lathe in the Mechanical Division of the Green Bank Observatory. The Green Bank apprenticeship program was developed by the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University to assist the observatory in passing on the skills of experienced employees to a new generation of workers.

Today, the nation’s colleges and universities enroll about 15 million undergraduate students, while companies employ about 800,000 apprentices. But federal data shows that in the past decade college enrollment has declined by about 15 percent, while the number of apprentices has increased by more than 50 percent.

(more…)

Can We Modernize the National Radio Quiet Zone?

A new Request for Information (RFI) has been issued by the National Science Foundation (NSF), taking first steps to develop effective strategies for improving communications in the National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ). 

The Green Bank Observatory campus. Photo credit Jay Young.
(more…)

Radio interference from satellites is threatening astronomy

A proposed zone for testing new technologies could head off the problem.

Image credit: Jay Young
(more…)

Are we alone in the universe? UCLA astronomers enlist the public to find out

Anyone can help classify radio signals from the Green Bank Telescope that could reveal existence of intelligent life elsewhere

Artist’s depiction of Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. A project launched by UCLA scientists will enlist members of the public to identify possible signs of intelligent life elsewhere in our universe. Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle.

Join a community that’s helping UCLA astronomers search for life in the universe using the Green Bank Telescope. UCLA SETI launched a new project to crowdsource the search for extraterrestrial civilizations. (SETI is an acronym for “search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”) 

(more…)