Physics in the News

Friday, September 5, 2014

The plan to make the Moon an enormous detector of cosmic rays

Artist impression of the Square Kilometer Array. If all goes according to plan in the next decade, we could see these small perturbations on the moon—and begin to solve some of the mysteries of space. (Credit: SKA)
Artist impression of the Square Kilometer Array. If all goes according to plan in the next decade, we could see these small perturbations on the moon—and begin to solve some of the mysteries of space. (Credit: SKA)
via gizmodo

NASA scientists study the Sun by listening to it

via popsci

What would it be like if you fell into a black hole?

via universetoday

Astronaut all-stars will visit China to talk space cooperation

China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, is now vice director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office. (Credit: CMS)
Space travelers from around the world are headed to China this month for an international Planetary Congress, which will explore the possibilities for expanding human spaceflight cooperation among different countries. Pictured above is China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, is now vice director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office. (Credit: CMS)
via space

The ATLAS Humanoid Robot has advanced to the level of a lazy teenager

via gizmodo

AI: How Algorithms make systems smart

An animation of the quicksort algorithm sorting an array of randomized values. The red bars mark the pivot element; at the start of the animation, the element farthest to the right hand side is chosen as the pivot. (Credit: RonaldH)
An animation of the quicksort algorithm sorting an array of randomized values. The red bars mark the pivot element; at the start of the animation, the element farthest to the right hand side is chosen as the pivot. (Credit: RonaldH)
via wired

Google branches out from D-Wave in quantum computing initiative

rather than keeping all its eggs in D-Wave's basket, Google's "Quantum A.I. Lab" announced that it is starting a collaboration with an academic quantum computing researcher, John Martinis of the University of California-Santa Barbara. (Credit: Wiki, Timmer)
Rather than keeping all its eggs in D-Wave’s basket, Google’s “Quantum A.I. Lab” announced that it is starting a collaboration with an academic quantum computing researcher, John Martinis of the University of California-Santa Barbara. (Credit: Wiki, Timmer)
via arstechnica

Sep 5th: Mysterious outer solar system series – The Kuiper Belt

via cosmoquest

Space Station’s ‘Cubesat Cannon’ has Mind of its Own

In the grasp of the Japanese robotic arm, NanoRack’s CubeSat deployer releases a pair of miniature satellites last month. (Credit: NASA)
In the grasp of the Japanese robotic arm, NanoRack’s CubeSat deployer releases a pair of miniature satellites last month. (Credit: NASA)
via discovery

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

Physics in the News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Researchers discover new clues to determining the solar cycle

Magnetic stripes of solar material – with alternating south and north polarity – march toward the sun's equator. Such observations may change the way we think about what's driving the sun's 22-year solar cycle. (Credit:  S. McIntosh)
Magnetic stripes of solar material – with alternating south and north polarity – march toward the sun’s equator. Such observations may change the way we think about what’s driving the sun’s 22-year solar cycle. (Credit: S. McIntosh)
via nasa

Finding the ‘Holy Grail’ of making smarter robots

via abcnews

Do most cosmologists accept the reality of the cosmic fine tuning?

via winteryknight

DARPA’s experimental space plane XS-1 starts development

via dailycaller

How the space craft Dawn will get the low-down on the first dwarf planet ever discovered

This image illustrates Dawn’s spiral transfer from high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO) to low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). The trajectory turns from blue to red as time progresses over two months. Red dashed sections are where ion thrusting is stopped so the spacecraft can point its main antenna toward Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
This image illustrates Dawn’s spiral transfer from high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO) to low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). The trajectory turns from blue to red as time progresses over two months. Red dashed sections are where ion thrusting is stopped so the spacecraft can point its main antenna toward Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
via nasa

Japan’s decade long mission to mine an asteroid

The little mushroom cap between the two high-gain antennas is the X-band low-gain antenna. The little blue thing is DCAM3, a deployable camera that will hopefully take pictures of the explosion and impact of Hayabusa's "Small Carry-on Impactor" while the mothership hides safely in the shadow of the asteroid.
The little mushroom cap between the two high-gain antennas is the X-band low-gain antenna. The little blue thing is DCAM3, a deployable camera that will hopefully take pictures of the explosion and impact of Hayabusa’s “Small Carry-on Impactor” while the mothership hides safely in the shadow of the asteroid. (Credit: Lakdawalla)
via gizmodo

Phase change memory lets a single bit act as different logic gates

Phase change materials can switch between two forms depending on how quickly they're cooled. Cool them quickly and you get an amorphous form, which provides significant resistance to the flow of electrons. Cool them slowly and they will allow electrons to flow more readily. Once cooled, these two forms remain stable, locking the differences in conduction in place. (Credit: Columbia University)
Phase change materials can switch between two forms depending on how quickly they’re cooled. Cool them quickly and you get an amorphous form, which provides significant resistance to the flow of electrons. Cool them slowly and they will allow electrons to flow more readily. Once cooled, these two forms remain stable, locking the differences in conduction in place. (Credit: Columbia University, Timmer)
via arstechnica

Rosetta set for ‘capture’ manoeuvres

Rosetta scientists will be heading to Lisbon, Portugal, next week to present their early impressions of the comet to their peers.
Rosetta scientists will be heading to Lisbon, Portugal, next week to present their early  impressions of the comet to their peers.
via bbc

Deflecting near Earth asteroids with paint

The Yarkovsky Effect: The daylight side absorbs the solar radiation. As the object rotates, the dusk side cools down and hence emits more thermal photons than the dawn side. It may be possible to exploit this effect for planetary defense.
The Yarkovsky Effect: The daylight side absorbs the solar radiation. As the object rotates, the dusk side cools down and hence emits more thermal photons than the dawn side. It may be possible to exploit this effect for planetary defense.
via thespacereview

The beginning of extra-galactic Neutrino astronomy

 An event in the IceCube neutrino telescope. Photomultipliers attached to strings buried deep in the Antarctic ice detect the bursts of light emitted when a neutrino collides with the ice and produces a muon. The event shown was generated by an upward moving muon, which was produced by an upward moving muon neutrino that passed through the Earth.  APS/Joan Tycko;
An event in the IceCube neutrino telescope. Photomultipliers attached to strings buried deep in the Antarctic ice detect the bursts of light emitted when a neutrino collides with the ice and produces a muon. The event shown was generated by an upward moving muon, which was produced by an upward moving muon neutrino that passed through the Earth. APS/Joan Tycko;
via physics.aps

Is it the era of racing for colliders’ physics?

A 1974 photo of the part named Intersection 5 (I5) of the ISR of CERN's old PS, clearly shows the layout of the magnets and the crossing of the two beams pipes. (Credit: Salem)
A 1974 photo of the part named Intersection 5 (I5) of the ISR of CERN’s old PS, clearly shows the layout of the magnets and the crossing of the two beams pipes. (Credit: Salem)
via onislam

Design completed for prototype fast reactor

Russian power engineering R&D institute NIKIET has completed the engineering design for the BREST-300 lead-cooled fast reactor.  (NIKIET)
Russian power engineering R&D institute NIKIET has completed the engineering design for the BREST-300 lead-cooled fast reactor. (NIKIET)
via world-nuclear-news

Physics in the News

Sunday, August 31, 2014

What time is it in the Universe? (VIDEO)

via universetoday

The limits of gravity, space and time… (VIDEO)

via astronomytoday

Robonaut 2 gets legs, New Horizons Pluto-bound (VIDEO)

via floridatoday

Our Sun’s power is stable and steadfast (VIDEO)

via techtimes

Latest theory of everything to hit the physics shelves

Agravity, short for ‘adimensional gravity’, is one of the most recent Theory of Everything (ToE) proposals in a long line of such proposals that have come about ever since the problem of reconciling Gravity with the Standard Model was realized by physicists. It attempts to merge gravity with the Higgs interaction (the thing that gives particles mass and electric charge) and thus the rest of the Standard Model by reconciling the huge difference between the Planck Scale (on the order of 1019 giga-electron-volts (GeV) = 1011 Joules (J)) and the relatively small masses of all the other particles
Agravity, short for ‘adimensional gravity’, is one of the most recent Theory of Everything proposals in a long line of such proposals that have come about ever since the problem of reconciling Gravity with the Standard Model was realized by physicists.  It attempts to merge gravity with the Higgs interaction, and thus the rest of the Standard Model, by reconciling the huge difference between the Planck Scale and the relatively small masses of all the other particles. (Credit: SGTW, Daniels)

via united-academics

Mars Rover Opportunity to have memory wiped

The decision to reformat Opportunity’s flash memory early next month is prompted by the multiple computer resets the rover has been experiencing. This month alone, Opportunity has had to be rebooted a dozen times, interrupting valuable time that should be taken up with carrying out science near the rim of Endeavour crater. (Credit: NASA, O'Neil)
The decision to reformat Opportunity’s flash memory early next month is prompted by the multiple computer resets the rover has been experiencing. This month alone, Opportunity has had to be rebooted a dozen times, interrupting valuable time that should be taken up with carrying out science near the rim of Endeavour crater. (Credit: NASA, O’Neil)

via discovery

Astronomers spot the birth of ‘Sparky,’ a massive star factory(PDF)

“It’s fascinating that the early universe could make galaxies in this way and the modern universe just can’t anymore, and we’re really beginning to understand in a profound way how different the early universe was than it is now,” said Erica Nelson of Yale University. (Credit: Neslson)
via washingtonpost

NASA probes studying Earth’s radiation belts to celebrate two year anniversary

NASA’s Van Allen Probes orbit through two giant radiation belts surrounding Earth. Their observations help explain how particles in the belts can be sped up to nearly the speed of light. Image (Credit: NASA)

Mysteries of space dust revealed

This is a scanning electron microscope image of an interplanetary dust particle that has roughly chondritic elemental composition and is highly rough (chondritic porous: "CP"). CP types are usually aggregates of large numbers of sub-micrometer grains, clustered in a random open order. (Credit: Donald E. Brownlee)
This is a scanning electron microscope image of an interplanetary dust particle that has roughly chondritic elemental composition and is highly rough (chondritic porous: “CP”). CP types are usually aggregates of large numbers of sub-micrometer grains, clustered in a random open order. (Credit: Donald E. Brownlee)
via phys.org

Are there evidences for cosmic inflation?

Inflation explains the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. Many physicists believe that inflation explains why the Universe appears to be the same in all directions (isotropic), why the cosmic microwave background radiation is distributed evenly, why the universe is flat, and why no magnetic monopoles have been observed. (Credit: NASA)
Inflation explains the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. Many physicists believe that inflation explains why the Universe appears to be the same in all directions (isotropic), why the cosmic microwave background radiation is distributed evenly, why the universe is flat, and why no magnetic monopoles have been observed. (Credit: NASA)
via science20

Sparks fly as NASA pushes the limits of 3-D printing technology

Engineers just completed hot-fire testing with two 3-D printed rocket injectors. Certain features of the rocket components were designed to increase rocket engine performance. The injector mixed liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen together, which combusted at temperatures over 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, producing more than 20,000 pounds of thrust. (Credit: NASA photo/David Olive)
Engineers just completed hot-fire testing with two 3-D printed rocket injectors. Certain features of the rocket components were designed to increase rocket engine performance. The injector mixed liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen together, which combusted at temperatures over 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, producing more than 20,000 pounds of thrust. (Credit: NASA photo/David Olive)
via spacefellowship

Physics in the News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The pivotal discovery you’ve probably never heard of

Three consecutive images of comet C/1979 Q1 plunging into the solar atmosphere on August 30, 1979. In these SOLWIND coronagraph images, the Sun is masked behind the solid disk in the center of the image. (Credit: NRL)
Three consecutive images of comet C/1979 Q1 plunging into the solar atmosphere on August 30, 1979. In these SOLWIND coronagraph images, the Sun is masked behind the solid disk in the center of the image. (Credit: NRL)
via planetary

NASA’s Spitzer scopes out huge asteroid smashup, and just misses it

Spitzer's observations of the aftermath of an asteroid collision offer insights into how Earth was formed. (Credit: NASA)
Spitzer’s observations of the aftermath of an asteroid collision offer insights into how Earth was formed. (Credit: NASA)
via latimes

Yes, the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, sort of

Before the big explosion: The artist’s impression shows a binary star system where mass is transferred from a companion to a white dwarf. As soon as sufficient matter has collected on the surface of the dwarf star, this can trigger a nuclear explosion which in turn ignites the catastrophic nuclear burning and destroys the white dwarf – a type Ia supernova flares up. (Credit: ESA, Justyn R. Maund)
Before the big explosion: The artist’s impression shows a binary star system where mass is transferred from a companion to a white dwarf. As soon as sufficient matter has collected on the surface of the dwarf star, this can trigger a nuclear explosion which in turn ignites the catastrophic nuclear burning and destroys the white dwarf – a type Ia supernova flares up. (Credit: ESA, Justyn R. Maund)
via newscientist

Distillery anticipates zero gravity single malt whiskeys return to Earth

Director of distilling, Bill Lumsden. Ardbeg Scottish whisky was sent into space three years ago in an experiment looking at the impact of gravity on how it matures.  It will return to Earth September 12th. (Credit: Paul Dodds/Ardbeg/PA)
Director of distilling, Bill Lumsden. Ardbeg Scottish whisky was sent into space three years ago in an experiment looking at the impact of gravity on how it matures. It will return to Earth September 12th. (Credit: Paul Dodds/Ardbeg/PA)
via theguardian

The largest ever made rocket may carry humans to Mars

via mysteriousuniverse

Meet the computer scientist trying to digitize, analyze and visualize our past

via gigaom

NASA warns massive solar flare can disrupt communication signals

NASA has warned that a new sunspot spewing powerful X-class flares is beginning to rotate to a position directly in line with Earth. (Credit: NASA)
NASA has warned that a new sunspot spewing powerful X-class flares is beginning to rotate to a position directly in line with Earth. (Credit: NASA)
via austriantribune

Why the multiverse may be the most dangerous idea in physics

In the past decade an extraordinary claim has captivated cosmologists: that the expanding universe we see around us is not the only one; that billions of other universes are out there, too. (Credit: Slim Films, Ellis)
In the past decade an extraordinary claim has captivated cosmologists: that the expanding universe we see around us is not the only one; that billions of other universes are out there, too. (Credit: Slim Films, Ellis)
via scientificamerican

Experiments reveal a neutron halo around neutron-rich magnesium nuclei

Neutron-rich magnesium nuclei have a neutron halo that extends beyond the tightly packed core of the nucleus. (Credit: Ken-ichiro Yoneda, RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science)
Neutron-rich magnesium nuclei have a neutron halo that extends beyond the tightly packed core of the nucleus. (Credit: K. Yoneda, RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science)
via phys.org

Voyage to Pluto: NASA’s New Horizons mission continuing Voyager’s legacy of exploration

via spaceref

Happy 30th birthday to Discovery, NASA’s greatest space shuttle

On August 30th, 1984, the space shuttle Discovery launched on its first voyage to space. It wasn't the first, but over the next 27 years it became the undeniable king of NASA's shuttle program. (Credit: NASA)
On August 30th, 1984, the space shuttle Discovery launched on its first voyage to space. It wasn’t the first, but over the next 27 years it became the undeniable king of NASA’s shuttle program. (Credit: NASA)
via gizmodo