Physics in the News

Friday, September 19, 2014

An anomaly in satellites’ flybys confounds scientists

An artist's rendition of Rosetta probe during a flyby. (Credit: ESA/C.Carreau)
When space probes, such as Rosetta and Cassini, fly over certain planets and moons, in order to gain momentum and travel long distances, their speed changes slightly for an unknown reason. A researcher has now analyzed whether or not a hypothetical gravitomagnetic field could have an influence. However, other factors such as solar radiation, tides, or even relativistic effects or dark matter could be behind this mystery. An artist’s rendition of Rosetta probe during a flyby. (Credit: ESA/C.Carreau)
via sciencedaily

Particle detector finds hints of dark matter in space

The starboard truss of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the station. The newly installed Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is visible at center left. (Credit: NASA)
The starboard truss of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the station. The newly installed Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is visible at center left. (Credit: NASA)
via mit

Finding dark energy in the details

The dome of the Blanco Telescope, which houses DECam, the 570-megapixel CCD camera used for the Dark Energy Survey, at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. (Credit: Reidar Hahn)
The dome of the Blanco Telescope, which houses DECam, the 570-megapixel CCD camera used for the Dark Energy Survey, at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. (Credit: Reidar Hahn)
via simonsfoundation

The lonely landscape of Rosetta’s comet

The lonely landscape of Rosetta's comet
The lonely landscape of Rosetta’s comet – Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from a distance of just 29 kilometers (Credit: ESA)
via abc

Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating

Mosaic of southern hemisphere of Miranda, the innermost regular satellite of Uranus, with radius of 236 km. Projection is orthographic, centered on the south pole. Visible from left to right are Elsinore, Inverness, and Arden coronae. (Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Ted Stryk)
Mosaic of southern hemisphere of Miranda, the innermost regular satellite of Uranus, with radius of 236 km. Projection is orthographic, centered on the south pole. Visible from left to right are Elsinore, Inverness, and Arden coronae. (Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Ted Stryk)
via science2.0

Physical constant is constant even in strong gravitational fields

Picture of the laser system with which the hydrogen molecules were investigated on earth. (Credit: LaserLaB VU University Amsterdam/Wim Ubachs)
An international team of physicists has shown that the mass ratio between protons and electrons is the same in weak and in very strong gravitational fields. Pictured above is the laser system with which the hydrogen molecules were investigated on earth. (Credit: LaserLaB VU University Amsterdam/Wim Ubachs)
via phys.org

NASA’s Maven spacecraft will arrive at Mars this weekend

via nypost

Shrink-wrapping spacesuits

The MIT BioSuit, a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits. (Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
The MIT BioSuit, a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits. (Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
via mit

Physics in the News

Wednesday, September, 17, 2014

Dwarf galaxy’s ‘giant dark heart’: Supermassive black hole spotted in a star cluster 500 times smaller than Milky Way

via utah.edu

Penn State team helps explain mystery of rare five-hour space explosion

The X-ray image from the Swift X-ray Telescope of the gamma-ray burst GRB 130925. The white object in the center is the gamma-ray burst.  The large diffuse region to the right is a cluster of galaxies. The other objects are X-ray-emitting celestial objects, most likely supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies. The full image is approximately the size of the full moon. (Credit: Phil Evans/ University of Leicester)
The X-ray image from the Swift X-ray Telescope of the gamma-ray burst GRB 130925. The white object in the center is the gamma-ray burst. The large diffuse region to the right is a cluster of galaxies. The other objects are X-ray-emitting celestial objects, most likely supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies. The full image is approximately the size of the full moon. (Credit: Phil Evans/ University of Leicester)
via psu

Violent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMA

via spacefellowship

Ambulance-chasing Large Hadron Collider collisions

via theguardian

Neutrino experiment that reaches for the sun has Princeton roots

The Borexino collaboration, which announced the detection of an elusive solar neutrino in August, involved several scientific contributions from Princeton over its 25-year history. The detector consists of two massive transparent nylon balloons filled with a petroleum-based liquid called "scintillator," which emits a flash of light when it detects a neutrino. These flashes are picked up by an array of sensors embedded in a stainless steel sphere that surrounds the balloons. (Credit: Borexino collaboration)
The Borexino collaboration, which announced the detection of an elusive solar neutrino in August, involved several scientific contributions from Princeton over its 25-year history. The detector consists of two massive transparent nylon balloons filled with a petroleum-based liquid called “scintillator,” which emits a flash of light when it detects a neutrino. These flashes are picked up by an array of sensors embedded in a stainless steel sphere that surrounds the balloons. (Credit: Borexino collaboration)
via princeton

Synopsis: Relativity is right on time, again

The experiment effectively measures the shift in the laser frequencies relative to what these transition frequencies are for ions at rest. The combination of two frequency shifts eliminates uncertain parameters and allows the team to validate the time dilation prediction to a few parts per billion, improving on previous limits. The result complements other Lorentz violation tests that use higher precision atomic clocks but much slower relative velocities.  (Credit: Botermann, et al., Schirber)
The experiment effectively measures the shift in the laser frequencies relative to what these transition frequencies are for ions at rest. The combination of two frequency shifts eliminates uncertain parameters and allows the team to validate the time dilation prediction to a few parts per billion, improving on previous limits. The result complements other Lorentz violation tests that use higher precision atomic clocks but much slower relative velocities. (Credit: Botermann, et al., Schirber)
via aps.org

Dark Matter as the “OS” of the Universe –“It’s a quantum fluid governing the formation of the structure of the cosmos”

The image above is a comparison of the radial density profiles of the galaxies which the researchers have created by displaying the soliton in the centre of each galaxy with a halo surrounding it. The solitons are broader but have less mass in the smaller galaxies. (Credit: /kipac.stanford.edu/kipac/media)
The image above is a comparison of the radial density profiles of the galaxies which the researchers have created by displaying the soliton in the centre of each galaxy with a halo surrounding it. The solitons are broader but have less mass in the smaller galaxies. (Credit: /kipac.stanford.edu/kipac/media)
via dailygalaxy

No, the ‘God Particle’ Is Not Going to Kill Us All

via boston

9,096 Stars in the Sky – Is That All?

The sky facing south at nightfall in late September from a dark, light-pollution-free site with stars visible to magnitude 6.5, the naked eye limit. (Credit: Stellarium)
The sky facing south at nightfall in late September from a dark, light-pollution-free site with stars visible to magnitude 6.5, the naked eye limit. (Credit: Stellarium)
via skyandtelescope

Quantum entanglement and superconductivity: Live Webcast delves into “spooky action at a distance”

Artistic rendering of the generation of an entangled pair of photons by spontaneous parametric down-conversion as a laser beam passes through a nonlinear crystal. Inspired by an image in Dance of the Photons. (Credit: A. Zeilinger)
Artistic rendering of the generation of an entangled pair of photons by spontaneous parametric down-conversion as a laser beam passes through a nonlinear crystal. Inspired by an image in Dance of the Photons. (Credit: A. Zeilinger)
via newswise

Physics in the News

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Discovery! First water ice clouds found beyond our Solar System

via space

Companion star hidden for 21 years in a supernova’s glare

This is an artist's impression of supernova 1993J, an exploding star in the galaxy M81 whose light reached us 21 years ago. The supernova originated in a double-star system where one member was a massive star that exploded after siphoning most of its hydrogen envelope to its companion star. After two decades, astronomers have at last identified the blue helium-burning companion star, seen at the center of the expanding nebula of debris from the supernova. The Hubble Space Telescope identified the ultraviolet glow of the surviving companion embedded in the fading glow of the supernova.
This is an artist’s impression of supernova 1993J, an exploding star in the galaxy M81 whose light reached us 21 years ago. The supernova originated in a double-star system where one member was a massive star that exploded after siphoning most of its hydrogen envelope to its companion star. After two decades, astronomers have at last identified the blue helium-burning companion star, seen at the center of the expanding nebula of debris from the supernova. The Hubble Space Telescope identified the ultraviolet glow of the surviving companion embedded in the fading glow of the supernova. (Credit: NASA)
via sciencedaily

Black Holes: Monsters of the Universe

The nearby galaxy Centaurus A as viewed at X-ray, radio, and optical wavelengths, showing jets powered by a massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. (Credit: NASA)
The nearby galaxy Centaurus A as viewed at X-ray, radio, and optical wavelengths, showing jets powered by a massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. (Credit: NASA)
via bigislandnow

Is there a smallest length?

via backreaction

Untethered soft robot that defies extreme conditions

via channeleye

Cryogenic on-chip quantum electron cooling leads towards computers that consume 10x less power

Researchers at UT Arlington have created the first electronic device that can cool electrons to -228 degrees Celsius (-375F), without any kind of external cooling. (Credit: S. Anthony)
Researchers at UT Arlington have created the first electronic device that can cool electrons to -228 degrees Celsius (-375F), without any kind of external cooling. (Credit: S. Anthony)
via extremetech

Purdue profs peer into final frontier

via wlfi

The search for extraterrestrial life is like hunting for pizza in a Dorm

"Our research strengthens the argument that methane and oxygen together, or methane and ozone together, are still strong signatures of life,” he said.That's because oxygen and methane abhor each other. An atmosphere heavy in one of these gases has to have its supplies of the other continually replenished, and the most reliable way that happens on Earth is through the mechanisms of life. (Credit: NASA, B. Richmond)
“Our research strengthens the argument that methane and oxygen together, or methane and ozone together, are still strong signatures of life. That’s because oxygen and methane abhor each other. An atmosphere heavy in one of these gases has to have its supplies of the other continually replenished, and the most reliable way that happens on Earth is through the mechanisms of life,” said Shawn Domagal-Goldman of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. (Credit: NASA, B. Richmond)
via motherboard

Astrophysics at the edge of the Earth

“When you get off the plane at the South Pole, there is a feeling like you’re out in the ocean,” says University of Chicago physicist John Carlstrom, the principal investigator for the South Pole Telescope team, who has logged 15 round trips to the South Pole over the past two decades. “It’s just a featureless horizon. The snow is so dry it feels like Styrofoam.” (Credit: J. Gallicchio, G. Roberts Jr.)
“When you get off the plane at the South Pole, there is a feeling like you’re out in the ocean,” says University of Chicago physicist John Carlstrom, the principal investigator for the South Pole Telescope team, who has logged 15 round trips to the South Pole over the past two decades. “It’s just a featureless horizon. The snow is so dry it feels like Styrofoam.” (Credit: J. Gallicchio, G. Roberts Jr.)
via symmetrymagazine

What makes a star starry? Is it me?

via npr

Physics in the News

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Giant geysers on Jupiter’s icy moon mysteriously disappear

In 2013, huge active plumes containing water vapour being released from the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa were discovered. This sensational find was made using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Europa has been a focus of extraterrestrial research for some time now, as there were clear indications that it harbors a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust. Now, it appears, the geysers have vanished. (Credit: K. Retherford, Southwest Research Institute, NASA/ESA/K.)
In 2013, huge active plumes containing water vapour being released from the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa were discovered. This sensational find was made using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Europa has been a focus of extraterrestrial research for some time now, as there were clear indications that it harbors a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust. Now, it appears, the geysers have vanished. (Credit: K. Retherford, Southwest Research Institute, NASA/ESA/K.)
via dailygalaxy

Precisest natural clocks can be galactic GPS

A pulsar is the rapidly spinning and highly magnetized core left behind when a massive star explodes. Because only rotation powers their intense gamma-ray, radio and particle emissions, pulsars gradually slow as they age, and eventually cease their characteristic emissions. (Credit: F. Reddy of Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA)
A pulsar is the rapidly spinning and highly magnetized core left behind when a massive star explodes. Because only rotation powers their intense gamma-ray, radio and particle emissions, pulsars gradually slow as they age, and eventually cease their characteristic emissions. (Credit: F. Reddy of Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA)
via onislam

What does it feel like when everyone else finds the Higgs, and you don’t?

via theguardian

Mother of Higgs boson found in superconductors

A weird theoretical cousin of the Higgs boson, one that inspired the decades-long hunt for the elusive particle, has been properly observed for the first time. The discovery bookends one of the most exciting eras in modern physics. The above is a simulation of the production and dec (Credit: Slezak)
A weird theoretical cousin of the Higgs boson, one that inspired the decades-long hunt for the elusive particle, has been properly observed for the first time. The discovery bookends one of the most exciting eras in modern physics. The above is a simulation of the production and dec (Credit: Slezak)
via newscientist

MAVEN Mars Orbiter ideally poised to uniquely map Comet Siding Spring composition – Exclusive interview with Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky

MAVEN is NASA’s next Mars orbiter and launched on Nov. 18, 2014 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It will study the evolution of the Red Planet’s atmosphere and climate. Universe Today visited MAVEN inside the clean room at the Kennedy Space Center. With solar panels unfurled, this is exactly how MAVEN looks when flying through space and circling Mars and observing Comet Siding Spring. (Credit: Ken Kremer)
MAVEN is NASA’s next Mars orbiter and launched on Nov. 18, 2014 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It will study the evolution of the Red Planet’s atmosphere and climate. Universe Today visited MAVEN inside the clean room at the Kennedy Space Center. With solar panels unfurled, this is exactly how MAVEN looks when flying through space and circling Mars and observing Comet Siding Spring. (Credit: Ken Kremer)
via universetoday

Cosmologists probe beyond the Big Bang

“This is a time of very rapid advances in the field.  You don’t know on any given day what new discovery you’re going to see posted that night on arXiv," said Liam McAllister, associate professor of physics and a specialist in string theory.
“This is a time of very rapid advances in the field. You don’t know on any given day what new discovery you’re going to see posted that night on arXiv,” said Liam McAllister, associate professor of physics and a specialist in string theory. (Credit: Glaser)
via cornell

Rosetta sends back science data from dark, dry comet

via pcmag

Variables of nature

Diagram illustrating quasar observations. (Credit: J. C. Berengut, Koberlein)
Diagram illustrating quasar observations. In 2010, a research team looked at light from distant quasars that had passed through large intergalactic clouds of gas. They found evidence of some slight variation of alpha depending on the direction we looked in the sky, which would imply a spatial variation of the physical constants. This made lots of news in the press, but the findings were not strong enough to be conclusive. (Credit: J. C. Berengut, Koberlein)
via phys

The first discovery of a Thorne–Żytkow object? (PDF)

The ratios of various elements found in the sample of RSGs, where the dark gray line is the theoretical model for a RSG, the lighter grey shows a three sigma deviation from normal, and the black points show the observed ratios for the sampled stars. The red, however, are the ratios observed in the TZO candidate HV 2112- indicating some elements are present at ratios far from expected. (Credit: E.Levesque et al.)
via astrobites

Newfound comet visible in binoculars and telescopes: How to see it

Once every year or two, a comet appears in the sky that is bright enough to be seen with a small telescope or binoculars. Right now, observers anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere can see such a comet. (Credit: Credit: Starry Night Software)
Once every year or two, a comet appears in the sky that is bright enough to be seen with a small telescope or binoculars. Right now, observers anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere can see such a comet. (Credit: Starry Night Software)
via space

Works starts on new European neutron source

Sofie Carsten Nielsen, Danish science minister, and Swedish education minister Jan Björklund break ground for the €1.84bn European Spallation Source in Lund, Sweden. (Credit: ESS)
via physicsworld

Physics in the News

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New map locates Milky Way in neighborhood of 100,000 galaxies

A new map places the Milky Way (black dot) within a large supercluster of galaxies (white dots) by tracing the gravitational pull of galaxies toward one another. White filaments reveal the paths of galaxies moving toward a gravitational center in the new supercluster, dubbed "Laniakea." (Blue, low galaxy density; green, intermediate; red, high.) SDvision interactive visualization software by DP at CEA/Saclay, France)
A new map places the Milky Way (black dot) within a large supercluster of galaxies (white dots) by tracing the gravitational pull of galaxies toward one another. White filaments reveal the paths of galaxies moving toward a gravitational center in the new supercluster, dubbed “Laniakea.” (Blue, low galaxy density; green, intermediate; red, high.) (Credit: DP at CEA/Saclay, France)
via nationalgeographic

Small asteroid to safely pass close to Earth Sunday

via nasa

Researcher advances a new model for a cosmological enigma — dark matter

This three-dimensional map offers a first look at the web-like large-scale distribution of dark matter, an invisible form of matter that accounts for most of the Universe's imaginary mass. The map reveals a loose network of dark matter filaments, gradually collapsing under the relentless pull of gravity, and growing clumpier over time. The three axes of the box correspond to sky position (in right ascension and declination), and distance from the Earth increasing from left to right (as measured by cosmological redshift). Note how the clumping of the dark matter becomes more pronounced, moving right to left across the volume map, from the early Universe to the more recent Universe.
This three-dimensional map offers a first look at the web-like large-scale distribution of dark matter, an invisible form of matter that accounts for most of the Universe’s imaginary mass. The map reveals a loose network of dark matter filaments, gradually collapsing under the relentless pull of gravity, and growing clumpier over time. The three axes of the box correspond to sky position, and distance from the Earth increasing from left to right. Note how the clumping of the dark matter becomes more pronounced, moving right to left across the volume map, from the early Universe to the more recent Universe. (Credit: NASA/ESA/Richard Massey)
via ku.edu

Dark energy hunt gets weird

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Cosmologists have revealed intruiging new ways to probe the mystery of whether dark energy exists and how it might be accelerating the universe’s growth. (Credit: Picturegarden/Getty)
via newscientist

Watching ‘the clock’ at the LHC

As time ticks down to the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, scientists are making sure their detectors run like clockwork.Photo by Antonio Saba, CERN
As time ticks down to the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, scientists are making sure their detectors run like clockwork.  (Credit: Antonio Saba, CERN)
via symmetrymagazine

Mind-blowing science explained: Neutron stars “are basically atoms as big as mountains”

via salon

Ultracold atoms juggle spins with exceptional symmetry

Schematic representation of a spin-exchanging collision. Two atoms in different orbitals (blue and green) and different spin orientations (black arrows) collide. The two atoms exiting the collision have swapped their spins after interacting. Crucially, the process is independent of the two specific initial spin states. Credit: LMU-München / MPQ, Quantum Many Body Systems Division Read more at: http://phys.org
Schematic representation of a spin-exchanging collision. Two atoms in different orbitals (blue and green) and different spin orientations (black arrows) collide. The two atoms exiting the collision have swapped their spins after interacting. Crucially, the process is independent of the two specific initial spin states. (Credit: LMU-München / MPQ, Quantum Many Body Systems Division)
via phys.org

How the enormous mirrors on the world’s largest telescope are made

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is a ground-based extremely large telescope planned for completion in 2020.[5] It will consist of seven 8.4 m (27.6 ft) diameter primary segments,[6] with the resolving power of a 24.5 m (80.4 ft) primary mirror and collecting area equivalent to a 22.0 m (72.2 ft) one,[7] (which is about 368 square meters) (Credit: wiki, Tarantola)
via gizmodo

Cosmic forecast: Dark clouds will give way to sunshine

via phys.org

Do exoplanets transform between classes?

A new analysis suggests that hot super-Earths might be the skeletal remnants of hot Jupiters stripped of their atmospheres. The above image is an artist’s depiction of an early stage in the destruction of a hot Jupiter by its star. (Credit: NASA / GSFC / Reddy, S. Hall)
via skyandtelescope