213647At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a study co-led by researchers make a rare and striking discovery in deep space.

Led by graduate student Yu-Ching Chen of UIUC and astronomy professors Xin Liu and Yue Shen, the team conducted their research using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in combination with terrestrial and space-based observatories. The astronomers discovered two quasars that are gravitationally bound by their two galaxies. Their study identifies emerging binary quasar populations and rules out other astronomical explanations using a clear method to detect double quasars that are separated by an obscure distance.

The conception of quasars begins with a supermassive black hole consuming neighboring stars. Gas and debris from the stars spin rapidly into cosmic beams called accretion discs. Before reaching their final destination into the black hole, the debris rotates at unfathomable speeds while being pulled by a celestial body that is billions of times more massive than our sun. Friction in the accretion disc creates heat on a level almost difficult to fully appreciate. This results in a glowing disc that shines more brightly than even some of our galaxy’s brightest stars, which is the impressive quasar that these astronomers captured.

Like a needle-in-a-haystack, according to Professor Yue Shen, the search for this double quasar required the combined power of the Hubble’s sensitivity and the university’s leading researchers in their astronomy department. UIUC is committed to continuing their rich history of astronomical achievements inside the classroom by providing students hands-on experience using real data sets and outside campus in research projects led by students and faculty alike. Much of our universe is still unexplored and there is plenty of room for discoveries. UIUC is a pioneering research institution in observational astronomy, theoretical astrophysics, astronomical imagining, and cosmology. Faculty members have access to world-class facilities including the South Pole Telescope and large survey projects like DES. The university sets a high standard for undergraduate studies, which leads students to advance their academic expertise in year-round research as well as occasional collaborations with astronomy professors.

For more information: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/1173956073

nanceUnbeknownst to many, Central Illinois has quite a bit of history tied to Juneteenth.

Peoria-based historians discovered the first slaves to be emancipated by Abraham Lincoln, who was an attorney at the time, was Nance Legins-Costley, a woman from Pekin, Illinois, and her infant son William “Bill” Costley.

Nance was freed on July 23, 1841, as a result of the Illinois Supreme Court case Bailey v. Cromwell. This ruling by Justice Sidney Breese was extremely significant in our state’s history for declaring that Illinois was a free state where slavery was illegal, causing other states to follow.

The Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued by then-President Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, declared that all enslaved people in the Confederate states were free. However, Texas was not under Union control at the time, so the Emancipation Proclamation did not take effect there until June 19, 1865, when federal troops under the command of Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and announced that all enslaved people in the state were free. Nance’s son Bill was among Union troops on that day.

This day became an unofficial Independence Day for the Black community in America and is now celebrated as Juneteenth, a federal holiday in the United States.

Here in Illinois, many of the celebrations included reading the Emancipation Proclamation and telling harrowing stories of the past generations’ journey to freedom.

In particular, throughout the 1990s, Decatur, Illinois had an annual Juneteenth celebration organized by the African-American Cultural & Genealogical Society of Illinois where they crowned a Mr. and Mrs. Juneteenth.

In Chicago, a local African-American radio station WVON hosted a celebration at Mandrake Park near the Bronzeville neighborhood with former Alderman Dorothy Tillman in 2002, causing other informal celebrations to pop up at Rosenblum Park. In this same year Mayor Richard J. Daley acknowledged the holiday in a city council meeting and urged all Chicagoans to celebrate.

Since then, Juneteenth was commemorated in Illinois in 2003, and became a state and federal holiday in 2021. This day is a time to celebrate and acknowledge Black lives, stories, and experiences and this country's painful history of injustice.

If you would like to attend any local Illinois Juneteenth events, read more here.

Juneteenth FB

Across Illinois there are hundreds of Juneteenth celebrations, commemorating the emancipation of ensalved African Americans, which has been observed for 160 years. Come celebrate the importance of this day in your local community near you! If you would like to learn more about Illinois' history to Juneteenth click here.

Friday, June 16:
Juneteenth Illinois Scholarship Reception
-When: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
-Where: 540 W. Madison St, Chicago
Registration: bit.ly/3ZZV9EB

Juneteenth Lake County & The African American Museum at The England Manor Juneteenth Celebration
-When: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
-Where: 2400 Dowie Memorial Drive, Zion

Illinois State Museum Art Fair - Noir Art Fair
-When: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
-Where: 501 S Spring St, Springfield

City of Blue Island Juneteenth Resource and Health Fair
-When: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
-Where: John D. Rita Recreation Center - 2805 141 St., Blue Island

Read more ...

readingChicago high school athletes are taking time out of their busy school and sporting schedule to help mentor and promote a love of reading in younger students. They have been giving their time and energy to encourage elementary school students in Englewood to read.

One such student athlete read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” to kindergarten students in Englewood on Wednesday, April 12. The students sat and listened eagerly to the story, while also enjoying a pizza party. This visit was just one in a regular series of commitment from high school athletes to encourage younger students to read.

These mentors are already seeing great results in their young pupils. Teachers say it is very beneficial for the younger students to hear from and look up to the older kids. At Dulles Elementary, many teachers say their students were struggling with their reading before the visits, and now many of them are reading above their grade level. The younger classes compete to have the most reading minutes every month in order to win a prize, such as the pizza party in the kindergarten class.

Back in October, the high school students donated around 3,000 books to Dulles Elementary and each classroom now has their own mini library of books for students to check out and bring home. Reading opens up new worlds to young children, and their older mentors are inspiring a love of learning and reading!

ILIARCHERYThe National Archery in the Schools Program, aimed at improving educational performance among students in grades 4 – 12 through archery, had its Illinois State Tournament March 25 and 26.

Champaign Centennial High School won first place at the tournament, where the team scored 3,400 during the two days.

Champaign Central High School scored 3,390 points putting them in second place and East Dubuque High School finished in third with 3,329.

Edison Middle School in Champaign won first place in the middle school division, scoring 3,332. Jefferson Middle School in Champaign took second place with a score of 3,297 and East Dubuque students took third with a score of 3,250.

In the elementary school division, East Dubuque won first place, scoring 2,844. Next Generation School in Champaign finished second with a score of 2,798 and Armstrong-Potomac in Vermilion County finished third with 2,769.

First place for individual performance was awarded to Shayna Sigh from Champaign Central with a score of 293. Westin Ballantine from East Dubuque High School was the top male score with 289.

The NASP Illinois State Tournament was hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at Champaign Centennial High School this year. Top finishers qualified for the NASP U.S. Eastern Nationals will be held May 11-13 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Congratulations to all of our student athletes. For the full Illinois State Tournament results, visit the NASP website at https://nasptournaments.org.