Physics & Astronomy News

<p>This artist’s impression shows an imagined view from the surface one of the three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star.</p>

<p>In this view one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.</p>

<p>Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser</p>
Three Potentially Habitable Worlds Found
Astronomers have discovered three potentially habitable planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth.
<p>Artist's conception of Planet Nine.</p>

<p>Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)</p>
Planet Nine: A World That Shouldn't Exist
Researchers examines a number of scenarios for Planet Nine existence and find that most of them have low probabilities.

<p>Expanding polymer-coated gold nanoparticles</p>

<p>Credit: Yi Ju/University of Cambridge NanoPhotonics</p>
Little ANTs
Researchers have built a nano-engine that could form the basis for future applications in nano-robotics, including robots small enough to enter living cells.
<p>Artist’s impression depicting a compact object – either a black hole or a neutron star – feeding on gas from a companion star in a binary system.</p>

<p>Credit: ESA - C. Carreau</p>
Winds at 0.25c spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
Astronomers have observed two black holes in nearby galaxies devouring their companion stars at an extremely high rate, and spitting out matter at a quarter the speed of light.

Dark matter does not contain certain axion-like particles
Researches are getting closer to corner light dark-matter particle models. Observations can rule out some axion-like particles in the quest for the content of dark matter.
The Universe, where space - time becomes discrete
It time continuous or discrete? Scientists propose a non-local union of relativity and quantum mechanics.
New state of water molecule discovered
Researchers have discovered a new state of water molecule using neutron scattering & computational modeling.

Science Facts

Laser Guide Stars

by Anton Skorucak and

Image of the Keck observatory with a laser shining. Image of the planet Neptune without and with the adaptive optics correction.: NSF Did you ever wonder why we have to have the Hubble Space Telescope so high up in the Earth's orbit? Why not just make a bigger and better telescope on the surface?

The reason is that our atmosphere disturbs the heavens' image. Even on a clear night, there are countless movements of hot and cold air that cause, among other things, light diffraction and small particle scattering. All of these effects distort the image seen through a telescope. These disturbances can even be seen with the naked eye: they are the reason stars appear to twinkle in the night sky. That's why we have space telescopes, to avoid the atmospheric distortions. But imagine if we could somehow predict or measure these distortions in real time and correct for them.

That is exactly what laser guide stars and adaptive optics are all about. Originally developed in the US during the cold war for the Star Wars anti-missile project, this technology was declassified several years ago and is now being used to 'clean-up' Earth-based telescope images. Astronomers shine a really bright laser beam up into the night sky, close to the heavenly object (planet, star, galaxy, nebula, etc.) they want to observe. Then they image (record in real time with a camera) this laser beam, which appears in the sky as a bright, artificial laser-produced star. The image analysis tells them exactly how the laser beam has been distorted while passing through this particular part of the atmosphere. This then allows them to literally adapt / deform their telescope's mirrors with small actuators in such a way as to undo the atmospheric distortions. Sometimes dented and crinkly mirrors are just what you need to get a clear image.

The SOHO spacecraft recorded this CME on July 14, 2000. High-energy particles accelerated by the blast peppered the spacecraft
Solar Spitwads

Take a piece of paper. Make a little wad. If you're a kid, spit on it. Put it in a straw and blow hard. If your teacher sends you to the principal's office, here's your excuse: you were making a model ...
continue reading this fact
What Makes a Frisbee Fly?

If you have ever been to the park or the beach, you've probably seen one of these plastic discs flying through the air. We're not talking about a UFO, we're talking about the Frisbee, more commonly kn ...
continue reading this fact

Sputnik and The Dawn of the Space Age

History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took ...
continue reading this fact

Science Quote

'A scientist is happy, not in resting on his attainments but in the steady acquisition of fresh knowledge.'

Max Planck

All rights reserved. © Copyright '1995-'2016