While mass media was busy misquoting Stephen Hawking and arguing about black holes, astrophysicists have been hard at work trying to solve still unanswered questions about them. Now a team has not only proven that a supermassive black hole exists in a place where it isn’t supposed to be, but in doing so have opened a new door to what things were like in the early universe.... Read more »
Thomas J. Whalen, Ryan C. Hickox, Amy E. Reines, Jenny E. Greene, Gregory R. Sivakoff, Kelsey E. Johnson, David M. Alexander, & Andy D. Goulding. (2015) Variable Hard X-ray Emission from the Candidate Accreting Black Hole in Dwarf Galaxy Henize 2-10. The Astrophysical journal . arXiv: 1504.03331v1
We are expanding, well more accurately the universe is expanding. However researchers have found certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought. The results have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say.... Read more »
Milne, P., Foley, R., Brown, P., & Narayan, G. (2015) THE CHANGING FRACTIONS OF TYPE IA SUPERNOVA NUV–OPTICAL SUBCLASSES WITH REDSHIFT. The Astrophysical Journal, 803(1), 20. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/803/1/20
Deflector shields allowed Star Trek and other sci-fi franchises to have long space battles. Without them, one good strike and everyone was dead – that wouldn’t lend itself to sequels.
We don’t need shields for space battles yet, but we do need them to get to Mars. Cosmic radiation will kill or injure every astronaut unless we can deflect the radiation away from the spacecraft. We’re just about to build real deflectors, and our teachers are the magnetic fields we find ........ Read more »
Bamford, R., Kellett, B., Bradford, J., Todd, T., Benton, M., Stafford-Allen, R., Alves, E., Silva, L., Collingwood, C., Crawford, I.... (2014) An exploration of the effectiveness of artificial mini-magnetospheres as a potential solar storm shelter for long term human space missions. Acta Astronautica, 105(2), 385-394. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2014.10.012
Bamford, R., Gibson, K., Thornton, A., Bradford, J., Bingham, R., Gargate, L., Silva, L., Fonseca, R., Hapgood, M., Norberg, C.... (2008) The interaction of a flowing plasma with a dipole magnetic field: measurements and modelling of a diamagnetic cavity relevant to spacecraft protection. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 50(12), 124025. DOI: 10.1088/0741-3335/50/12/124025
Walsh, B., Foster, J., Erickson, P., & Sibeck, D. (2014) Simultaneous Ground- and Space-Based Observations of the Plasmaspheric Plume and Reconnection. Science, 343(6175), 1122-1125. DOI: 10.1126/science.1247212
Lifeforms that live off methane instead of water are possible on Titan’s surface.... Read more »
Scientist identify 'azotosomes' - short carbon chains with a nitrogen terminus native to the atmosphere of Titan which can potentially self-assemble into bilayers in liquid methane.... Read more »
“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying” (Arthur C. Clarke)
Life on Earth is a common thing. Life on clouds and in water looks interesting. And life on places other than the Earth (extraterrestrial life) looks…ummmm…possible. In this article, I will try to note some information ranging from hypothesis to scientific information related to the life on places other than Earth.
The Drake Equation
In........ Read more »
Life as we know it, when we peer deep into the vastness of space we look for someone — or something — that resembles ourselves. Carbon based, needs water lifeforms, but what if we’re being narrow-minded? A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of researchers suggests we are being too closed minded about life.... Read more »
James Stevenson,, Jonathan Lunine,, & Paulette Clancy. (2015) Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome. Science Advances. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400067
There is a saying that life imitates art and while people like to disagree with the meaning of it, sometimes art can imitate life. For instance the team responsible for the Oscar-nominated visual effects at the centre of Interstellar, have turned science fiction into science fact by providing new insights into the powerful effects of black holes.... Read more »
Oliver James, Eugenie von Tunzelmann, Paul Franklin, & Kip S. Thorne. (2015) Gravitational Lensing by Spinning Black Holes in Astrophysics, and in the Movie Interstellar. Classical and Quantum Gravity. arXiv: 1502.03808v1
The quintessential feature of a black hole is its “point of no return,” or what is more technically called its event horizon, yes just like the movie. When anything—a star, a particle, or wayward human—crosses this horizon, the black hole’s massive gravity pulls it in with such force that it is impossible to escape. At least, this is what happens in traditional black hole models based on general relativity. In general, the existence of this event horizon is responsible for most of the ........ Read more »
Ali, A., Faizal, M., & Majumder, B. (2015) Absence of an effective Horizon for black holes in Gravity's Rainbow. EPL (Europhysics Letters), 109(2), 20001. DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/109/20001
Amelino-Camelia, G. (2002) Relativity in space-times with short-distance structure governed by an observer-independent (Planckian) length scale. International Journal of Modern Physics D, 11(01), 35-59. DOI: 10.1142/S0218271802001330
Freidel, L., & Livine, E. (2006) 3D Quantum Gravity and Effective Noncommutative Quantum Field Theory. Physical Review Letters, 96(22). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.221301
Redefining space exploration: SpaceX's crazy week in the private space race. [Infographic]... Read more »
Genta, G. (2014) Private space exploration: A new way for starting a spacefaring society?. Acta Astronautica, 104(2), 480-486. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2014.04.008
Rainshowers are a lot more dramatic if you imagine every drop is a tiny asteroid imperiling miniature dinosaurs or sending little astronaut Ben Afflecks into space. It turns out your fantasy wouldn't be that far off, aside from that last part. Researchers have found startling similarities between asteroid craters and the fleeting indentations left by raindrops on sand.
At the University of Minnesota, physicist Xiang Cheng and three undergraduate students scrutinized what happens when a dr... Read more »
Runchen Zhao, Qianyun Zhang, Hendro Tjugito, & Xiang Cheng. (2014) Granular impact cratering by liquid drops: Understanding raindrop imprints through an analogy to asteroid strikes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. arXiv: 1407.7420v2
On March 29, 2011, a TEXUS-49 rocket took off from northern Sweden for a short trip into space and back …Continue reading →... Read more »
Thiel CS, Tauber S, Schütte A, Schmitz B, Nuesse H, Moeller R, & Ullrich O. (2014) Functional activity of plasmid DNA after entry into the atmosphere of Earth investigated by a new biomarker stability assay for ballistic spaceflight experiments. PloS one, 9(11). PMID: 25426925
We know that about half the the stars out there (with sizes close to that of our sun) are binary systems. However, for a long time we've been lacking information on how they develop, since it's not been easy to get a whole lot of data from surrounding scattered mass that's so damned far away! Congrats to all involved!... Read more »
Shigehisa Takakuwa, Masao Saito, Kazuya Saigo, Tomoaki Matsumoto, Jeremy Lim, Tomoyuki Hanawa, & Paul T. P. Ho. (2014) Angular Momentum Exchange by Gravitational Torques and Infall in the Circumbinary Disk of the Protostellar System L1551 NE. The Astrophysical Journal. arXiv: 1409.4903v1
Where in our Solar System most of the ingredients for life have been found, and thus stand a good chance of harbouring life that evolved completely separate from Earth?... Read more »
Khurana KK, Kivelson MG, & Russell CT. (2002) Searching for liquid water in Europa by using surface observatories. Astrobiology, 2(1), 93-103. PMID: 12449858
Vance, S., Bouffard, M., Choukroun, M., & Sotin, C. (2014) Ganymede׳s internal structure including thermodynamics of magnesium sulfate oceans in contact with ice. Planetary and Space Science, 62-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2014.03.011
Waite JH Jr, Combi MR, Ip WH, Cravens TE, McNutt RL Jr, Kasprzak W, Yelle R, Luhmann J, Niemann H, Gell D.... (2006) Cassini ion and neutral mass spectrometer: Enceladus plume composition and structure. Science (New York, N.Y.), 311(5766), 1419-22. PMID: 16527970
Iess L, Stevenson DJ, Parisi M, Hemingway D, Jacobson RA, Lunine JI, Nimmo F, Armstrong JW, Asmar SW, Ducci M.... (2014) The gravity field and interior structure of Enceladus. Science (New York, N.Y.), 344(6179), 78-80. PMID: 24700854
Mankind is about to take a huge step in understanding himself and his universe. The Rosetta orbiter has traveled 3.8 billion miles to catch comet 67P/C-G. Traveling at more than 24,000 miles per hour, the Philae Lander is now going to land on the comet. A visitor from deep space and from deep time, 67P/C-G contains clues about the solar system, water, and perhaps life itself.... Read more »
Evans, A., Meinert, C., Giri, C., Goesmann, F., & Meierhenrich, U. (2012) Chirality, photochemistry and the detection of amino acids in interstellar ice analogues and comets. Chemical Society Reviews, 41(16), 5447. DOI: 10.1039/c2cs35051c
Venus, the place where women are from... supposedly. To say Venus has a harsh climate would be an understatement, this is one of many reasons why we will never (or maybe not soon) see a "long lasting" Venus rover counterpart to our Mars rover missions. Still, the planet (much like all the other plants) can teach us a lot about not just our own origins, but the origins of the universe. Also like all our neighbor planets Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds, a mystery t........ Read more »
Harrington, E. et. Al. (2014) The puzzle of radar-bright highlands on venus: a high-spatial resolution study in Ovda regio. Geological Society of America. info:other/136-4
Black holes, physicists have been fighting over them forever, heck there is even a book entitled the black hole war! (which I do recommend for anyone interested) It’s no real surprise since they are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren't bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don’t exist.... Read more »
Laura Mersini-Houghton. (2014) Backreaction of Hawking Radiation on a Gravitationally Collapsing Star I: Black Holes?. Physics Letters B. arXiv: 1406.1525v1
Laura Mersini-Houghton, Harald P. Pfeiffer. (2014) Back-reaction of the Hawking radiation flux on a gravitationally collapsing star II: Fireworks instead of firewalls . Physics Letters B. info:/arXiv:1409.1837
Are you feeling a little… flat? Well that might be because you are only in 2 dimensions. I know what you’re thinking, insane! Well first check the name of the business and second, check out the science. In fact, it may seem like a joke, but the math suggests that it could very well be true and with it could come a deeper understanding of the universe. Testing this hypothesis (which was first made in the late 90’s) has been harder to do than you might think, but that has now changed. We are........ Read more »
Cowen, R. (2013) Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature.2013.14328
Piao, Y. (2007) Primordial perturbation spectra in a holographic phase of the Universe. Physical Review D, 76(4). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.76.043509
The solar system is believed to vertically oscillate relative to the galactic disc. A new study analyses proxy-climate data to establish a link between the galactic cycle and climate.... Read more »
Shaviv, N., Prokoph, A., & Veizer, J. (2014) Is the Solar System's Galactic Motion Imprinted in the Phanerozoic Climate?. Scientific Reports, 6150. DOI: 10.1038/srep06150
Gravitational lensing is a clean probe of the Universe and has much to tell us about its two most mysterious components – dark matter and dark energy. This article explains what it is, what is can discover and what Sherlock Holmes has to do with it.... Read more »
Kenneth C. Wong, Kim-Vy H. Tran, Sherry H. Suyu, Ivelina G. Momcheva, Gabriel B. Brammer, Mark Brodwin, Anthony H. Gonzalez, Aleksi Halkola, Glenn G. Kacprzak, Anton M. Koekemoer.... (2014) Discovery of a Strong Lensing Galaxy Embedded in a Cluster at z . The Astrophysical Journal Letters vol. 789 . arXiv: 1405.3661v2
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