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... in the News

Below is a list of articles featuring the JCA as well as the work of members of & visitors to the JCA.
(See also the JCA News page.)


2006 Nov

UMBC Astronomer Helps Discover Possible New Black Hole

JCA Scientist Dr. Volker Beckmann and collegues from NASA/GSFC and elsewhere around the world report on a new X-ray Nova studied using the Swift and INTEGRAL spacecraft. They suggest this is the result of a black hole in a binary system suddenly "switching on" as it consumed material from its companion. Why it feeds in bursts, rather than with a steady stream remains a mystery.

This work resulted in
an ESA press release entitled INTEGRAL catches a new erupting black hole
a UMBC press release entitled UMBC Astronomer Helps Discover Possible New Black Hole
This work even made The Retriever Weekly!


2006 Jul

NASA Scientists Conduct Census of Nearby Hidden Black Holes

JCA Scientist Dr. Volker Beckmann and collegues from USRA and ISDC report on a census of Compton-thick AGN using INTEGRAL. They find a deficit of such sources (aka "hidden black holes") in the local universe, with implications for star and galaxy formation in the early universe.

This work resulted in
a NASA press release entitled NASA Scientists Conduct Census of Nearby Hidden Black Holes
an ESA press release entitled Where are the supermassive black holes hiding?
a UMBC press release entitled a NASA Scientists Conduct Census of Nearby Hidden Black Holes: UMBC Astrophysicist, International Team, Searching X-Ray Sky
An article related to this work was the lead story on the main ESA HomePage on 2006 July 26.


2006 Jun

XMM-Newton spots the greatest of great balls of fire

JCA Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist Alexis Finoguenov and UMBC's Prof Mark Henriksen report on XMM-Newton observations of a comet-like ball of gas hurling through a distant galaxy cluster. The gas ball is about three million light years across (or about five billion times the size of our solar system), and traveling at 750 kilometres per second. From our perspective, it appears as a circular X-ray glow with a comet-like tail nearly half the size of the moon.

This work resulted in
an ESA Press Release entitled XMM-Newton spots the greatest of great balls of fire
UMBC Press Release entitled UMBC Scientists Spot the Greatest of Great Balls of Fire
These releases were picked up by several organisations, including:
Nature News: "Goodness gracious, great ball of fire"
USA Today: "Goodness, that's a great ball of fire"
The Los Angles Times: "Great Ball of Fire: X-Rays Spot Mass of Gas 5 Billion Times Larger Than Solar System"
Discovery Magazine "Map: X-Ray Vision Shows How a Galaxy Cluster Grows" (full page feature)


2005 Jul

Three Satellites Needed to Discover One Shy Star

Volker Beckmann and colleagues have discovered a "shy star" (the neutron star IGR J16283-4838 in the Norma spirqal arm of the Galaxy), using INTEGRAL, RXTE and Swift observations.

This work resulted in
an ESA Press Release entitled Three satellites needed to bring out 'shy star'
a UMBC press release. entitled Three Satellites Needed to Discover One Shy Star


2005 Mar

New Image of Earth, Seen Through Gamma-Ray Eyes

Dirk Petry's work on cosmic ray interactions in the Earth's atmosphere is the subject of a NASA's "Looking at Earth" Feature.


2005 Jan

Close to Black Holes' Edges, Scientists Make Two Discoveries

Jane Turner's discovery of three hotspots orbiting the supermassive black hole in Mrk 766 is the subject of a press release by This release was picked up by several organisations worldwide.

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