Physics and Astronomy News Archive: June 2003

Image: Firehose-like jet discovered in action
Firehose-like jet discovered in action
Source: NASA/MSFC   Posted: 6/30/03
An X-ray movie of the Vela pulsar, made from a series of observations by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, reveals a spectacularly erratic jet that varies in a way never seen before. The jet of high-energy particles whips about like an untended firehose at about half the speed of light.

Image: Uncharted Meteors
Uncharted Meteors
Source: NASA   Posted: 6/27/03
The solar system is littered with uncharted clouds of space dust. They can trigger unexpected meteor showers on Earth and cause trouble for interplanetary spacecraft. Later tonight June 27th, our planet might run into one of these clouds--or not--during the annual June Bootid meteor shower.

Image: NASA's Odyssey Orbiter Watches a Frosty Mars
NASA's Odyssey Orbiter Watches a Frosty Mars
Source: NASA/JPL   Posted: 6/27/03
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is revealing new details about the intriguing, dynamic character of the frozen layers now known to dominate the high northern latitudes of Mars. The implications have a bearing on science strategies for future missions in the search of habitats.

Image: Improving Control of Quantum Dots
Improving Control of Quantum Dots
Source: NIST   Posted: 6/25/03
In the June 23 on-line issue of Applied Physics Letters, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report a way to measure accurately the amount of laser light needed to shift the electrons in a particular type of quantum dot between two discrete states.

Image: Nanowires Grown At Room Temperature
Nanowires Grown At Room Temperature
Source: UCBerkeley   Posted: 6/24/03
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found an innovative way to grow silicon nanowires and carbon nanotubes directly on microstructures in a room temperature chamber, opening the doors to cheaper and faster commercialization of a myriad of nanotechnology-based devices.

Image: Powerful 'Conveyor Belts' Drive Sun's 11-year Cycle
Powerful 'Conveyor Belts' Drive Sun's 11-year Cycle
Source: NASA/MSFC   Posted: 6/22/03
NASA Marshall Center and university astronomers have found evidence the 11-year sunspot cycle is driven in part by a giant conveyor belt-like, circulating current within the Sun.

Image: Approaching Mars
Approaching Mars
Source: NASA   Posted: 6/19/03
Everyone on Earth is hurtling toward Mars at 25,000 mph. Amateur astronomers report that the red planet is now so close, you can see its south polar cap through a backyard telescope. The view will only get better in the weeks ahead as Earth and Mars converge for a close encounter on August 27th.

Image: Imaging Lithium Atoms..
Imaging Lithium Atoms..
Source: LBL   Posted: 6/17/03
For the first time researchers have used a transmission electron microscope -- the One Angstrom Microscope (OÅM) at the Department of Energy's National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory -- to image lithium atoms.

Image: World's First Tunable 'Photon Copier' on a Chip
World's First Tunable 'Photon Copier' on a Chip
Source: UCSB   Posted: 6/17/03
A research team at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) has for the first time incorporated on a single chip both a widely tunable laser and an all-optical wavelength converter, thereby creating an integrated photonic circuit for transcribing data from one color of light to another.

Image: European Experiment Hardware Reaches The ISS
European Experiment Hardware Reaches The ISS
Source: ESA   Posted: 6/17/03
Preparations for the Spanish Soyuz mission on the International Space Station (ISS) in October took another step forward with the docking of an unmanned Progress M1-10 spacecraft with the International Space Station, on 11 June at 13:17 Central European Time.

Image: BEC Behavior Explained?
BEC Behavior Explained?
Source: Ohio State U   Posted: 6/12/03
Physicists at Ohio State University may have explained some strange behavior of the ultra-cold material known as Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). The new analysis shows that scientists are closer than ever to harnessing BEC to perform useful functions such as quantum computing, said Tin-Lun Ho, professor of physics at Ohio State and the project's principal investigator.

Image: Electronics/Living Cell Toxic Sensor Created
Electronics/Living Cell Toxic Sensor Created
Source: Berkeley   Posted: 6/10/03
In experiments conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers have found a way to tap into the telltale electrical signals that mark cell death, opening the door to the creation of a 'canary on a chip' that can be used to sound the alarm of a biochemical attack or test drug toxicity on human tissue.

Image: Powering Fuel Cells: Oxide Materials that
Powering Fuel Cells: Oxide Materials that "Exhale and Inhale"
Source: Georgia Tech   Posted: 6/10/03
Scientist at the Georgia Tech demonstrate a unique group of oxide materials that readily gives up and accepts oxygen atoms with changes in temperature. These materials could be the basis for a small-scale hydrogen production system able to power fuel cells in homes -- and potentially in automotive applications.

Image: Cracking the Nanonewton Force Barrier
Cracking the Nanonewton Force Barrier
Source: NIST   Posted: 6/10/03
How do you weigh a dust mite? Or determine the force required to pull a molecule apart? Such tasks require a device that measures nanonewtons—forces 1 billion times smaller than the force required to hold an apple against Earth’s gravity. NIST may have an answer ...

Image: Earth Grows Greener
Earth Grows Greener
Source: NASA/GSFC   Posted: 6/6/03
A NASA-Department of Energy jointly funded study concludes the Earth has been greening over the past 20 years. As climate changed, plants found it easier to grow.

Image: Astronomers
Astronomers "Weigh" Pulsar's Planets
Source: Caltech   Posted: 6/3/03
For the first time, the planets orbiting a pulsar have been "weighed" by measuring precisely the variations in the time it takes them to complete an orbit, according to a team of astronomers from Caltech and Pennsylvania State University.

Image: Sun In The Middle Galactic Hole?
Sun In The Middle Galactic Hole?
Source: UCBerkeley   Posted: 6/2/03
The first detailed map of space within about 1,000 light years of Earth places the solar system in the middle of a large hole that pierces the plane of the galaxy, perhaps left by an exploding star one or two million years ago.

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