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
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
Poor Voyager, he just can’t catch a break. We’ve said it’s hit interstellar space more times than we want to admit and in 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that […]... Read more »
G. Gloeckler, & L. A. Fisk. (2014) A test for whether or not Voyager 1 has crossed the heliopause. Geophysical Research Letters. info:/10.1002/2014GL060781
Black holes suck. Nothing can escape a black hole, not even light, which is why they are “black”. They are also an interesting bit of physics. Normally “classical” physics applies […]... Read more »
Zamaninasab, M., Clausen-Brown, E., Savolainen, T., & Tchekhovskoy, A. (2014) Dynamically important magnetic fields near accreting supermassive black holes. Nature, 510(7503), 126-128. DOI: 10.1038/nature13399
S. W. Hawking. (2014) Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes. Cornell University Library . arXiv: 1401.5761v1
Interest in atmospheres of outer planets took Jim Hansen from Iowa to NASA, where he came to realise that humans adding CO2 to Earth’s atmosphere would lead to an unprecedented warming, and brought that fact to the world’s attention.... Read more »
Matsushima, S., Zink, J., & Hansen, J. (1966) Atmospheric extinction by dust particles as determined from three-color photometry of the lunar eclipse of 19 December 1964. The Astronomical Journal, 103. DOI: 10.1086/109863
Hansen, J., & Matsushima, S. (1967) The Atmosphere and Surface Temperature of Venus: a Dust Insulation Model. The Astrophysical Journal, 1139. DOI: 10.1086/149410
Somerville, R.C.J., P.H. Stone, M. Halem, J.E. Hansen, J.S. Hogan, L.M. Druyan, G. Russell, A.A. Lacis, W.J. Quirk, and J. Tenenbaum. (1974) The GISS model of the global atmosphere. J. Atmos. Sci. DOI: 10.1007/BFb0019776
HANSEN, J., WANG, W., & LACIS, A. (1978) Mount Agung Eruption Provides Test of a Global Climatic Perturbation. Science, 199(4333), 1065-1068. DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4333.1065
Hansen, J., Johnson, D., Lacis, A., Lebedeff, S., Lee, P., Rind, D., & Russell, G. (1981) Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Science, 213(4511), 957-966. DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4511.957
The galaxy known as M87 has a fastball that would be the envy of any baseball pitcher. It has thrown an entire star cluster toward us at more than two million miles per hour. The newly discovered cluster, which astronomers named HVGC-1, is now on a fast journey to nowhere. Its fate: to drift through the void between the galaxies for all time.
News release April 30, 2014 HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS... Read more »
Nelson Caldwell, Jay Strader, Aaron J. Romanowsky, Jean P. Brodie, Ben Moore, Jurg Diemand, & Davide Martizzi. (2014) A Globular Cluster Toward M87 with a Radial Velocity . Cornell University Library. arXiv: 1402.6319v2
For the first time an international team of astronomers has measured circular polarisation in the bright flash of light from a dying star collapsing to a black hole, giving insight into an event that happened almost 11 billion years ago.
New insights into gamma-ray Burst afterglows-Niels Bohr Institute University of Copenhagen
Astronomers observe corkscrew nature of light from a distant black hole - Curtin University
Study of Gamma-Ray Bursts afterglow surprises scientists -University o........ Read more »
Wiersema, K., Covino, S., Toma, K., van der Horst, A., Varela, K., Min, M., Greiner, J., Starling, R., Tanvir, N., Wijers, R.... (2014) Circular polarization in the optical afterglow of GRB 121024A. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13237
A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough suggests the search for life on planets outside our solar system may be more difficult than previously thought.
The study, authored by a team of international researchers led by UTSC Assistant Professor Hanno Rein from the Department of Physical and Environmental Science, finds the method used to detect biosignatures on such planets, known as exoplanets, can produce a false positive result.
News release Apr 29, 2014 By Don Campbell Uni........ Read more »
Rein, H., Fujii, Y., & Spiegel, D. (2014) Some inconvenient truths about biosignatures involving two chemical species on Earth-like exoplanets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401816111
Kashiwa Japan – A team of researchers led by Robert Quimby at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) has announced the discovery of a galaxy that magnified a background, Type Ia supernova thirtyfold through gravitational lensing. This is the first example of strong gravitational lensing of a supernova confirms the team’s previous explanation for the unusual properties of this supernova.
News release April 25, 2014 Kavli Institute for ........ Read more »
Quimby, R., Oguri, M., More, A., More, S., Moriya, T., Werner, M., Tanaka, M., Folatelli, G., Bersten, M., Maeda, K.... (2014) Detection of the Gravitational Lens Magnifying a Type Ia Supernova. Science, 344(6182), 396-399. DOI: 10.1126/science.1250903
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