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

Friday, September 12, 2014

The sound of an atom has been captured

On the right, an artificial atom generates sound waves consisting of ripples on the surface of a solid. The sound, known as a surface acoustic wave (SAW) is picked up on the left by a "microphone" composed of interlaced metal fingers. According to theory, the sound consists of a stream of quantum particles, the weakest whisper physically possible. The illustration is not to scale. (Credit: Philip Krantz, Krantz NanoArt)
On the right, an artificial atom generates sound waves consisting of ripples on the surface of a solid. The sound, known as a surface acoustic wave (SAW) is picked up on the left by a “microphone” composed of interlaced metal fingers. According to theory, the sound consists of a stream of quantum particles, the weakest whisper physically possible. The illustration is not to scale. (Credit: Philip Krantz, Krantz NanoArt)
via chalmers

Fluid mechanics suggests alternative to quantum orthodoxy

Close-ups of an experiment conducted by John Bush and his student Daniel Harris, in which a bouncing droplet of fluid was propelled across a fluid bath by waves it generated. (Credit: Dan Harris)
Close-ups of an experiment conducted by John Bush and his student Daniel Harris, in which a bouncing droplet of fluid was propelled across a fluid bath by waves it generated. (Credit: Dan Harris)
via phys

Thermodynamics beats single-electron Maxwell demon

 

The Smoluchowsi trapdoor is a simple test for any proposed exorcism of Maxwell's demon. It is immediately obvious that an information based exorcism is of no use. The are no sensors in this simple device that collect information; and there are memory devices that would need erasure if the demon is to return to its original state. (Credit: Hemmo, M.; Shenker)
The Smoluchowsi trapdoor is a simple test for any proposed exorcism of Maxwell’s demon. It is immediately obvious that an information based exorcism is of no use. The are no sensors in this simple device that collect information; and there are memory devices that would need erasure if the demon is to return to its original state. (Credit: Hemmo, M.; Shenker)
via aip

Experimental search for quantum gravity – What is new?

Gravity Probe B (GP-B) has measured spacetime curvature near Earth to test related models in application of Einstein's general theory of relativity.
Gravity Probe B (GP-B) has measured spacetime curvature near Earth to test related models in application of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. (Credit: S. Hossenfelder, Wiki Commons)
via backreaction

Ardbeg ‘space whisky’ back on Earth after flavor experiment

Whisky that was fired into space three years ago as part of an experiment into flavour has returned to Earth. (Credit: Unknown)
Whisky that was fired into space, three years ago as part of an experiment into flavor, has returned to Earth. (Credit: Unknown)
via bbc

Japanese team fabricates single-photon sources in solid matter

The research group resolved the challenging issue attributed to solid crystals, namely widely spread emission wavelengths, and succeeded in fabricating many single-photon sources that emit photons with nearly identical emission wavelengths. (Credit: National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS))
The research group resolved the challenging issue attributed to solid crystals, namely widely spread emission wavelengths, and succeeded in fabricating many single-photon sources that emit photons with nearly identical emission wavelengths. (Credit: National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS))
via innovations-report

Information loss, made worse by quantum gravity(PDF)

C H Figure 1: Acausality: Penrose diagram of a black hole with signature c hange at high curvature (hashed region). In contrast to traditional non-sing ular models, there is an event horizon (dashed line H , the boundary of the region that is determined by backward evolution from future infinity) and a Chauchy horizon (dash-dotte d line C , the boundary of the region obtained by forward evolution of the high-curvature re gion) (Credit:
C H Figure 1: Acausality: Penrose diagram of a black hole with signature c hange at high curvature (hashed region). In contrast to traditional non-sing ular models, there is an event horizon (dashed line H , the boundary of the region that is determined by backward evolution from future infinity) and a Chauchy horizon (dash-dotte d line C , the boundary of the region obtained by forward evolution of the high-curvature re gion) (Credit: Martin Bojowald)
via arXiv

Mystery of ‘hot Jupiter’ planets’ crazy orbits may be solved

Giant alien planets known as "hot Jupiters" can induce wobbles in their parent stars that may lead to the wild, close orbits seen by astronomers. This diagram shows the relationship between wobbling stars and the orbital tilt of hot Jupiter planets. (Credit: Cornell University/N.Storch, K.Anderson, D.La)
Giant alien planets known as “hot Jupiters” can induce wobbles in their parent stars that may lead to the wild, close orbits seen by astronomers. This diagram shows the relationship between wobbling stars and the orbital tilt of hot Jupiter planets. (Credit: Cornell University/N.Storch, K.Anderson, D.Lai)
via space

Scientists put their heads together over the unbearable lightness of the Higgs mass

University of Maryland’s Raman Sundrum leads a discussion at the recent Nature Guiding Theory workshop. (Credit: Joe Lykken)
via fnal.gov

‘It was a child’s dream to see the stars’: 1st Russian female cosmonaut, Yelena Serova, in 17 yrs ready to lift-off

via discovery

Physics in the News

September 10, 2014

The asteroid mining race begins

(Credit: Planetary Resources)
(Credit: Planetary Resources)
via bloombergview

A Black Hole doesn’t die — It does something a lot weirder

Chandra Observatory
If a particle and its antiparticle pop into being on the event horizon, one gets sucked in. The other gets away. If the antiparticle gets sucked into the black hole, and the particle breaks free, the particle no longer has a chance to annihilate. It is now real, and not virtual. Its presence and energy count in the universe. And real radiation leaking from a black hole means that the black hole itself is slowly shrinking. (Credit: Chandra Observatory, NASA, Inglis-Arkell)
via io9

China eyes first space station by around 2022

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China's increasing space capabilities, however, saying China was pursuing activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.(Credit: Jaime FlorCruz - CNN Beijing Bureau Chief)
The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, however, saying China was pursuing activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.(Credit: Jaime FlorCruz – CNN Beijing Bureau Chief)
via reuters

Evidence of forming planet discovered 335 light-years from Earth

This graphic is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. (Credit: VP. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF)
The new planet would be an uninhabitable gas giant at least three times the size of Jupiter, and the distance from the star would be about the same distance that Saturn is from the Sun. This graphic is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. (Credit: VP. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF)
via astronomy

Is the universe a stable quantum system?

If our understanding is correct, then the universe as a whole could be in a locally stable configuration, but it could also jump to a lower energy state through a process of quantum tunneling. If that happened, the universe would collapse and we'd all go bye bye. So to our best understanding, it is possible for the universe to collapse. (Credit: )
If our understanding is correct, then the universe as a whole could be in a locally stable configuration, but it could also jump to a lower energy state through a process of quantum tunneling. If that happened, the universe would collapse and we’d all go bye bye. So to our best understanding, it is possible for the universe to collapse. (Credit: )
via phys.org

Newly discovered ‘Tetraquark’ fuels quantum feud

Quarks have one of three “color charges,” which are analogous to the primary colors red, green and blue. Just as an atom strikes a balance between positive and negative electrical charges, particles made of quarks balance colors to reach a neutral state. In the color analogy, that means combining colors to make white. (Credit: Quanta Magazine)
Quarks have one of three “color charges,” which are analogous to the primary colors red, green and blue. Just as an atom strikes a balance between positive and negative electrical charges, particles made of quarks balance colors to reach a neutral state. In the color analogy, that means combining colors to make white. (Credit: Quanta Magazine)
via wired

Alcohol clouds in space

(Credit: HUbble)
There is a giant cloud of alcohol in outer space. It’s in a region known as W3(OH), only about 6500 light years away. Unfortunately it is methyl alcohol (commonly known as wood alcohol, though this stuff is not derived from wood), so it isn’t suitable for drinking. There is some ethyl alcohol (the drinkable kind).(Credit: Hubble)
via phys.org

Why is the Space Station launching satellites on its own?

Two tiny satellites escaping on their own doesn’t sound too bad … except it’s not the first time this has happened. On August 23rd, NASA reports that two other CubeSats set themselves free. OK, 4 out of 100 doesn’t sound too bad either … except only 12 have been launched so far, which means a quarter of the CubeSats un-tethered themselves. (Credit: NASA)
Two tiny satellites escaping on their own doesn’t sound too bad … except it’s not the first time this has happened. On August 23rd, NASA reports that two other CubeSats set themselves free. OK, 4 out of 100 doesn’t sound too bad either … except only 12 have been launched so far, which means a quarter of the CubeSats un-tethered themselves. (Credit: NASA)
via mysteriousuniverse

Black hole thermodynamics

Simulation of a black hole merger. (Credit: NASA/Chandra)
Classical black holes have “no hair”, meaning that they are simply described by their mass, charge and rotation. Because of this, you could toss an object (with a great deal of entropy) into a black hole, and the entropy would simply go away. (Credit: NASA/Chandra, B. Koberlein )
via phys.org

Physics in the News

Monday, Sept 8, 2014

Jupiter’s moon Europa could have tectonic plates, like Earth

Schematic sketch of the growth mechanics of a cycloid Note that the reversal in curvature of the second segment above cannot be explained by the previous model of cycloid formation. (Credit: Marshall & Kattenhorn (2005))
Schematic sketch of the growth mechanics of a cycloid Note that the reversal in curvature of the second segment above cannot be explained by the previous model of cycloid formation. (Credit: Marshall & Kattenhorn (2005))
via motherboard

A strange new theory of how Space-Time is emerging

“What Mark has done is put his finger on a key ingredient of how space-time is emerging: entanglement,” says Gary Horowitz, who studies quantum gravity at the University of California Santa Barbara. Horowitz says this idea has changed how people think about quantum gravity, though it hasn’t yet been universally accepted. “You don’t come across this idea by following other ideas. It requires a strange insight,” Horowitz adds. “He is one of the stars of the younger generation.”
via dailygalaxy

Weird comet is darker than charcoal

via libertariannews

Researchers part water: ‘Electric prism’ separates water’s nuclear spin states

Researchers have separated the nuclear spin states of water. In para water, the spins (depicted as arrows) of water's two hydrogen nuclei cancel out. They add up in ortho water. The scientists produced an ultracold, supersonic beam of water molecules -- a mixture of para and ortho water -- and sent it through an electric deflector (blue device on the left). The deflector acts as a prism for nuclear spin states, separating para and ortho water molecules in space (right). (Credit: Daniel A. Horke, CFEL/DESY)
Researchers have separated the nuclear spin states of water. In para water, the spins (depicted as arrows) of water’s two hydrogen nuclei cancel out. They add up in ortho water. The scientists produced an ultracold, supersonic beam of water molecules — a mixture of para and ortho water — and sent it through an electric deflector (blue device on the left). The deflector acts as a prism for nuclear spin states, separating para and ortho water molecules in space (right). (Credit: Daniel A. Horke, CFEL/DESY)
via phys.org

Part of an asteroid set to skim Earth fell and made a big crater

In this Sunday Sept. 7, 2014, publicly distributed handout photo provided by the Nicaraguan Army shows an impact crater made by a small meteorite in a wooded area near Managua's international airport and an air force base. Nicaraguan government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said Sunday that a loud boom heard overnight by residents of the capital was a "relatively small" meteorite that "appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth." (Credit: Nicaraguan Army/AP)
In this Sunday Sept. 7, 2014, publicly distributed handout photo provided by the Nicaraguan Army shows an impact crater made by a small meteorite in a wooded area near Managua’s international airport and an air force base. Nicaraguan government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said Sunday that a loud boom heard overnight by residents of the capital was a “relatively small” meteorite that “appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth.” (Credit: Nicaraguan Army/AP)
via newsweek

Astronaut trio to return after six months on International Space Station

Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, performs maintenance and retrieves science experiment packages during a spacewalk on Aug. 18. Skvortsov, along with two other astronauts return to Earth on Sept. 10. (Credit: NASA)
Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, performs maintenance and retrieves science experiment packages during a spacewalk on Aug. 18. Skvortsov, along with two other astronauts return to Earth on Sept. 10. (Credit: NASA)
via pbs

Long March 4B lofts Yaogan-21 in China’s surprise launch

As usual for this type of satellite, the Chinese media is referring to the new satellite as ‘a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.’ (Credit: NASA)
As usual for this type of satellite, the Chinese media is referring to the new satellite as ‘a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.’ (Credit: NASA)
via nasaspaceflight

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