Physics & Astronomy News

<p>Regime of a single 1D wire subband filled</p>

<p>Credit: Dr Maria Moreno</p>
Quantum Effects Observed in ‘One-Dimensional’ Wires
Researchers have observed quantum effects in electrons by squeezing them into one-dimensional ‘quantum wires’ and observing the interactions between them.
<p>This illustration shows a glowing stream of material from a star as it is being devoured by a supermassive black hole in a tidal disruption flare.</p>

<p>When a star passes within a certain distance of a black hole -- close enough to be gravitationally disrupted -- the stellar material gets stretched and compressed as it falls into the black hole. In the process of being accreted, the gas heats up and creates a lot of optical and ultraviolet light, which destroys nearby dust but merely heats dust further out. The farther dust that is heated emits a large amount of infrared light. In recent years, a few dozen such flares have been discovered, but they are not well understood.</p>

<p>Astronomers gained new insights into tidal disruption flares thanks to data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Studies using WISE data characterized tidal disruption flares by studying how surrounding dust absorbs and re-emits their light, like echoes. This approach allowed scientists to measure the energy of flares from stellar tidal disruption events more precisely than ever before.</p>

<p>JPL manages and operates WISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The spacecraft was put into hibernation mode in 2011, after it scanned the entire sky twice, thereby completing its main objectives. In September 2013, WISE was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission to assist NASA's efforts to identify potentially hazardous near-Earth objects.</p>

<p>Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech</p>
Echoes of Black Holes Eating Stars Found
Astronomers now have new insights into tidal disruption flares, thanks to data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

<p>“Learning from this model, we can understand what’s really going on in these superconductors, and what one should do to make higher-temperature superconductors, approaching hopefully room temperature,” says Martin Zwierlein, professor of physics and principal investigator in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.</p>

<p>Illustration: Sampson Wilcox</p>
Individual Atoms Behavior Observed
For first time, researchers see individual atoms keep away from each other or bunch up as pairs.
<p>Gaia’s first sky map</p>

<p>Image credit: ESA</p>
Gaia’s First Sky Map
The first catalogue of more than a billion stars from ESA’s Gaia satellite was published – the largest all-sky survey of celestial objects to date.

Attosecond Science opens new Avenues in Femtochemistry
Attosecond Science is a new exciting frontier in contemporary physics, aimed at time-resolving the motion of electrons in atoms, molecules and solids on their natural timescale.
Physicists Confirm Possible Discovery of Fifth Force of Nature
Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature.
Vortex Laser Offers Hope For Moore’s Law
The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold

Science Facts

The Strange Spin of Uranus

by Gene Mascoli and

The Eccentric Spin of Uranus: Image Courtesy NASA, Science@NASA Directional terms like north and south make sense here on Earth. The north and south axis of the Earth is relatively perpendicular to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun. Actually, Earth's axis of rotation is 23.5 degrees from the vertical. The variance from the vertical is what causes our seasons.

But imagine being on the planet Uranus. There you'd get really confused about north and south, because Uranus spins on its side. Its rotation is about 90 degrees off the vertical. This means that its polar axis points towards the horizon. But which axis? If it is spinning counterclockwise like Earth, we can easily fix one of the poles as the north pole. But most scientists think that it is actually spinning slightly less than 90 degrees. This would mean its rotation is retrograde, spinning clockwise. So actually we should be calling the south pole the north pole instead.

To make matters more interesting, Uranus' magnetic pole is not even close to its true pole. Scientists are split as to why Uranus rotates horizontally. A popular theory is that Uranus collided with a large planetary body in the early solar system that, in effect, knocked it on its side.

Look, Up in the Sky. It's A Bird. No It's A Meteorite!

Most folks probably think of swallows and the ringing of the Mission bells when the words San Juan Capistrano are heard or seen. This is a popular tradition that celebrates the return of cliff swallow ...
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This new galaxy was detected in a long exposure of the nearby cluster of galaxies Abell 2218, taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the Hubble Space Telescope.
Hubble & Keck Teams Find Farthest Known Galaxy in Universe

An international team of astronomers may have set a new record in discovering what is the most distant known galaxy in the universe. Located an estimated 13 billion light-years away, the object is bei ...
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Beta Decay
Neutrinos to the Rescue

Have you ever wondered what the most abundant particle in the universe is after photons of light? The answer is: Neutrinos. These tiny, neutral and almost mass-less particles that move at almost the ...
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Science Quote

'Our job in physics is to see things simply, to understand a great many complicated phenomena, in terms of a few simple principles.'

Steven Weinberg

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