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A week ago today our show abruptly went dark. One of our core team members, Tim Hawkins, who went by Paranor001 online, passed away rather suddenly. His health had never been good, and natural causes caught up with him, as they can catch up with any of us. 

For a long time, Tim had been someone who I talked with almost every day. He was the first person to comment when our audio levels were off and the first to ask “are you ok?” when he realized one of us was having an off day.

This community is made of myriad people who are striving to do more, be more, and grow beyond who they are today to become something better. Tim personified this spirit of striving more than anyone else. While struggling with his own demons, he always found a way to try and protect us from the dark corners of the Twitch and Discord communities.

We are all imperfect beings. Paranor001 described himself as a “mad man without a blue box.” Over time, he became family to many of us. He was always open to a game of Ticket to Ride and went from one of the worst players to one of the best. He was always here for Minecraft and became a streamer in his own right as he shared this game he loved. One of the last things he and I worked on were plans to do a Minecraft Solar System Build during this year’s Hangout-a-thon. This was Tim’s idea, and we are going to move forward with this plan and dedicate the event and the build to him.

As a former actor, Tim would have wanted the show to go on, and after a week of struggling with our grief, the show will go on.

IMAGE: The Large Scale Structure with six galaxies around the Quasar/SMBH. CREDIT: ESO (Artist work)

In today’s space news, a consortium of major observatories, including the Very Large Telescope array (VLT), Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (LBT), and W. M. Keck Observatory, have been used to observe a massive structure in the early universe. 

Consisting of a central massive galaxy surrounded by six smaller (but still large) galaxies, this system contains a central supermassive black hole (SMBH) that is roughly one billion solar masses in size. Light from this object has been traveling toward us since the universe was less than a billion years old, and the existence of such a large SMBH at such an early time in our universe confirms that massive systems formed rapidly in the early universe.

According to lead author Marco Mignoli: This research was mainly driven by the desire to understand some of the most challenging astronomical objects — supermassive black holes in the early Universe. These are extreme systems and, to date, we have no good explanation for their existence. 

This work appears in the latest issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics

“Our finding lends support to the idea that the most distant and massive black holes form and grow within massive dark matter halos in large-scale structures, and that the absence of earlier detections of such structures was likely due to observational limitations,” says Colin Norman of Johns Hopkins University, also a co-author on the study. 

The next generation of massive telescopes, and the JWST, if it launches, will provide needed insights on these systems to help theorists understand how the largest early systems formed through one all-in process, while other systems formed slowly through merger-related processes. Until these massive new telescopes are online, we look forward to more discoveries like this, of the most extreme and rare systems which are already visible to today’s telescopes.

IMAGE: Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured the quick, fading celebrity status of a supernova, the self-detonation of a star. The supernova appears as a blazing star located on the galaxy’s outer edge in the lower left portion of the frame. CREDIT: NASA, ESA, and A. Riess (STScI/JHU) and the SH0ES team; Acknowledgment: M. Zamani (ESA/Hubble)

In other news of the rare and extreme, the High-Z Supernova Search Team and the Supernovae H0 for the Equation of State (SH0ES) Team have released a remarkable time-lapse video of supernova SN2018gv. This type 1a SN is completely average and was generated by the explosion of a white dwarf star that had mass dumped onto its surface from a companion star. This video allows us to see how, over one year, this system faded as the energy and shock waves of the explosion radiated through surrounding material. 

In our final story of the day, the extraordinary GRAVITY instrument on the VLT has allowed the direct imaging of two planets orbiting around the star beta Pictoris. 

IMAGE: These schematic images show the geometry of the β Pictoris system: The image on the left shows both the star and the two planets embedded in the dusty disk in the orientation as visible from the vantage point of the Solar System. This view was constructed using the information from actual observations. The middle panel contains an artist impression of the disk / planet system. The image on the right shows the dimensions of the system when viewed from above and previous observations of β Pictoris b (orange diamonds and red circles) and the new direct observations of β Pictoris c (green circles). The exact orbit of planet c is still somewhat uncertain (fuzzy white area). CREDIT: Axel Quetz / MPIA Graphics Department

Dubbed beta Pictoris c, this glint of light was confirmed as a planet using additional radial velocity measurements that could measure the planet’s gravitational effects on its host star. With this data, researchers can measure the planet’s mass and luminosity, and by making assumptions about the planet’s composition, they can estimate its size as well. So far, it appears that the inner world c is eight times the mass of Jupiter. It is also six times fainter than its larger, more distant sibling, which orbits every 28 years and hasn’t been known long enough for us to measure its mass yet. When that world finishes an orbit, and we can tell you its details, we’ll bring them to you here on the Daily Space.

Learn More 

Web of the Giant — Large-Scale Structure Around Distant Quasar

Hubble Watches Exploding Star Fade into Oblivion

First Direct Observation of Exoplanet Beta Pictoris c

Credits

Written by Pamela Gay
Hosted by Pamela Gay
Audio and Video Editing by Ally Pelphrey
Content Editing by Beth Johnson
Intro and Outro music by Kevin MacLeod, https://incompetech.com/music/

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