AI Created a Detailed 3D Map of Stars, Galaxies, and Quasars

Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawai’i

Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawai’i
Image: University of Hawai’i

A team of astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA) has produced the most comprehensive astronomical imaging catalog of stars, galaxies, and quasars ever created with help from an artificially intelligent neural network.

The group of astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA) released a catalog containing 3 billion celestial objects in 2016, including stars, galaxies, and quasars (the active cores of supermassive black holes). Needless to say, the parsing of this extensive database—packed with 2 petabytes of data—was a task unfit for puny humans, and even grad students. A major goal coming out of the 2016 catalog release was to better characterize these distant specks of light, and to also map the arrangement of galaxies in all three dimensions. The Pan-STARRS team can now check these items off their

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Black Hole From the Beginning of Time Has Galaxies Caught in Its ‘Spider Web’

Artist’s impression of the ancient web-like structure, featuring a central supermassive black hole, copious amounts of gas, and at least six primordial galaxies.

Artist’s impression of the ancient web-like structure, featuring a central supermassive black hole, copious amounts of gas, and at least six primordial galaxies.
Image: ESO

A remote structure consisting of a supermassive black hole, several primordial galaxies, and copious amounts of gas finally explains how some of the earliest black holes were able to grow so quickly.

The deeper we look into space, the further we look back into time. In this case, astronomers have caught a glimpse of the universe when it was just a toddler—a mere 900 million years after the Big Bang. Using a batch of powerful telescopes, and after a decade’s worth of astronomical observations, an international team of scientists has confirmed the presence of multiple primordial galaxies caught under the influence of an unusually large and bright supermassive black hole, the light from which took 12.9 billion years to reach Earth.

“This is the

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‘Echo mapping’ in faraway galaxies could measure vast cosmic distances

'Echo mapping' in faraway galaxies could measure vast cosmic distances
A disk of hot material around a supermassive black hole emits a burst of visible light, which travels out to a ring of dust that subsequently emits infrared light. The blue arrows show the light from the disk moving toward the dust and the light from both events traveling toward an observer. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

When you look up at the night sky, how do you know whether the specks of light that you see are bright and far away, or relatively faint and close by? One way to find out is to compare how much light the object actually emits with how bright it appears. The difference between its true luminosity and its apparent brightness reveals an object’s distance from the observer.


Measuring the luminosity of a celestial object is challenging, especially with black holes, which don’t emit light. But the supermassive black holes that lie at the center of

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Monstrous black hole traps six ancient galaxies in a cosmic ‘spider’s web’

The bright galaxies are trapped in a cosmic web of gas that surrounds the quasar  SDSS J103027.09+052455.0


ESO/L. Calçada

The first billion years of the universe was about as chaotic as Tuesday’s first presidential debate. Galaxies were forming, gas was flowing… It was a real time. While we won’t want to look back on Tuesday too often, we do like to look back in time. And, in a cosmic sense, Earth is perfectly positioned to do so. Because of how long it takes light to travel across the universe, our telescopes can pick up the faint signals of what life was like in the universe’s very early days. 

On Thursday, astronomers announced the discovery of a massive, intriguing structure from when the universe was just 900 million years old. The structure, about 300 times the size of the Milky Way, contains a supermassive black hole that has ensnared six

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Very Large Telescope finds 6 galaxies trapped in web of supermassive black hole

Oct. 1 (UPI) — Using the Very Large Telescope, a powerful observatory in Chile, astronomers have identified six galaxies trapped in the web of a supermassive black hole when the universe was just 900 million years old.

The discovery, described Thursday in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, helps explain how supermassive black holes got so big so soon after the Big Bang.

“This research was mainly driven by the desire to understand some of the most challenging astronomical objects — supermassive black holes in the early universe,” lead study author Marco Mignoli said in a news release.

“These are extreme systems and to date we have had no good explanation for their existence,” said Mignoli, an astronomer at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy.

The findings lend support to the theory that web-like structures of gas fueled the rapid growth of supermassive black holes in the early universe. When

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Astronomers model, determine how disk galaxies evolve so smoothly — ScienceDaily

Computer simulations are showing astrophysicists how massive clumps of gas within galaxies scatter some stars from their orbits, eventually creating the smooth, exponential fade in the brightness of many galaxy disks.

Researchers from Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and IBM Research have advanced studies they started nearly 10 years ago. They originally focused on how massive clumps in young galaxies affect star orbits and create galaxy disks featuring bright centers fading to dark edges.

(As Curtis Struck, an Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy, wrote in a 2013 research summary: “In galaxy disks, the scars of a rough childhood, and adolescent blemishes, all smooth away with time.”)

Now, the group has co-authored a new paper that says their ideas about the formation of exponential disks apply to more than young galaxies. It’s also a process that is robust and universal in all kinds of galaxies. The exponential

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