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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why do particle physicists demand 99.9999% certainty before they believe a new discovery?

"I confess that in my early in my career as a physicist I was rather cynical about sophisticated statistical tools, being of the opinion that “if any of this makes a difference, just get more data”. That is, if you do enough experiments, the confidence level will be so high that the exact statistical treatment you use to evaluate it is irrelevant." (Credit: Michael Slezak)
“I confess that in my early in my career as a physicist I was rather cynical about sophisticated statistical tools, being of the opinion that “if any of this makes a difference, just get more data”. That is, if you do enough experiments, the confidence level will be so high that the exact statistical treatment you use to evaluate it is irrelevant.” (Credit: Jon Butterworth)
via theguardian

Curtain closing on Higgs boson photon soap opera

It was the daytime soap opera of particle physics. But the final episode of the first season ends in an anticlimax. The Higgs boson's decay into pairs of photons – the strongest yet most confusing clue to the particle's existence – is looking utterly normal after all. (Credit: D. Moir/Reurters, M. Slezak)
It was the daytime soap opera of particle physics. But the final episode of the first season ends in an anticlimax. The Higgs boson’s decay into pairs of photons – the strongest yet most confusing clue to the particle’s existence – is looking utterly normal after all. (Credit: D. Moir/Reurters, M. Slezak)
via newscientist

Three’s a charm: NIST detectors reveal entangled photon triplets

NIST chip containing a single-photon detector was made of superconducting nanowires. Four chips like this were used in the experiment that entangled three photons.  (Credit: Verma/NIST)
NIST chip containing a single-photon detector was made of superconducting nanowires. Four chips like this were used in the experiment that entangled three photons. (Credit: Verma/NIST)
via extremetech

How to turn the Moon into a giant cosmic ray detector

The new plan, proposed by researchers at the University of Southampton in England, is to eavesdrop on the faint nanosecond radio signals sent our way when cosmic rays hit edges of the Moon at a near-tangent. (Credit J. Hewitt, astrobiology.aob.rs)
The new plan, proposed by researchers at the University of Southampton in England, is to eavesdrop on the faint nanosecond radio signals sent our way when cosmic rays hit edges of the Moon at a near-tangent. (Credit J. Hewitt, astrobiology.aob.rs)
via extremetech

Are ‘ghost waves’ behind quantum strangeness?

"The key question is whether a real quantum dynamics, of the general form suggested by de Broglie and the walking drops, might underlie quantum statistics," Bush said. "While undoubtedly complex, it would replace the philosophical vagaries of quantum mechanics with a concrete dynamical theory," said  John Bush of MIT. (Credit: D. Harris/MIT, M. Byrne)
“The key question is whether a real quantum dynamics, of the general form suggested by de Broglie and the walking drops, might underlie quantum statistics,” Bush said. “While undoubtedly complex, it would replace the philosophical vagaries of quantum mechanics with a concrete dynamical theory,” said John Bush of MIT. (Credit: D. Harris/MIT, M. Byrne)
via motherboard

Comet probe finds elements of life

A composite photo of comet 67P/C-G showing gases escaping from the ‘neck’. The first jets of dust were detected spurting from the comet as Rosetta approached it in August but detailed photographs weren’t available until last week. (Credit: Emily Lakdawalla/ESA)
A composite photo of comet 67P/C-G showing gases escaping from the ‘neck’. The first jets of dust were detected spurting from the comet as Rosetta approached it in August but detailed photographs weren’t available until last week. (Credit: Emily Lakdawalla/ESA)
via forbes

Saturn is making and destroying mini-moons all the time

PIA18420
The spacecraft captured the views between July 20 and July 22, 2014, as it departed Titan following a flyby. Cassini tracked the system of clouds as it developed and dissipated over Ligeia Mare during this two-day period. Measurements of the cloud motions indicate wind speeds of around 7 to 10 miles per hour (3 to 4.5 meters per second). (Credit: NASA, Cassini)
via smithsonianmag

ULA aims for top-secret CLIO launch tomorrow

via americaspace

Where to grab space debris

via yumanewsnow

ESA’s Gaia observatory locates its first Supernova

Less than two months after it first began repeatedly scanning the sky, the ESA’s Gaia space observatory has discovered its first supernova – a powerful stellar explosion that had occurred in a distant galaxy located some 500 million light-years from Earth, the agency announced on Friday.  The above is an artist’s impression of a Type Ia supernova – the explosion of a white dwarf locked in a binary system with a companion star. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab/C. Carreau, Bednar)
Less than two months after it first began repeatedly scanning the sky, the ESA’s Gaia space observatory has discovered its first supernova – a powerful stellar explosion that had occurred in a distant galaxy located some 500 million light-years from Earth, the agency announced on Friday. The above is an artist’s impression of a Type Ia supernova – the explosion of a white dwarf locked in a binary system with a companion star. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab/C. Carreau, Bednar)
via redorbit

Phosphorus a promising semiconductor

Grain boundaries are rows of defects that disrupt the electronic properties of two-dimensional materials like graphene, but new theory by scientists at Rice University shows no such effects in atomically flat phosphorus. That may make the material ideal for nano-electronic applications. (Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)
Grain boundaries are rows of defects that disrupt the electronic properties of two-dimensional materials, like graphene, but a new theory by scientists at Rice University shows no such effects in atomically flat phosphorus. That may make the material ideal for nano-electronic applications. (Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)
via energy-daily

Curiosity rover reaches long-term goal: a massive Martian mountain

via theverge

Universe may be an illusion or hologram?

To find out if the universe is a hologram, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have powered up their exotic holographic inferometer, or Holometer. The results of the Fermilab E-990 experiment could indeed indicate that the nature of the universe is holographic. (Credit: Baskin, M. Freiberger)
To find out if the universe is a hologram, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have powered up their exotic holographic inferometer, or Holometer. The results of the Fermilab E-990 experiment could indeed indicate that the nature of the universe is holographic. (Credit: Baskin, M. Freiberger)
via guardianlv

Can we survive the end of the Universe?

The ultimate fate of the universe depends on the nature of dark matter and dark energy, about which we know almost nothing. (Credit: NASA)
The ultimate fate of the universe depends on the nature of dark matter and dark energy, about which we know almost nothing. (Credit: NASA)
via mysteriousuniverse

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

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

mg22329852.400-1_300
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