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Physics & Astronomy News

<p>This spectacular image from the VLT Survey Telescope shows the Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334, upper right) and the Lobster Nebula (NGC 6357, lower left). These dramatic objects are regions of active star formation where the hot young stars are causing the surrounding hydrogen gas to glow red. The very rich field of view also includes dark clouds of dust. With around two billion pixels this is one of the largest images ever released by ESO. A zoomable version of this giant image is available here.</p>

<p>Note that the circular features in the image around bright stars are not real, they are due to reflections within the optics of the telescope and camera.</p>


The Cat’s Paw and Lobster Nebulae
The beautiful, glowing, cosmic clouds of gas and dust catalogued as NGC 6334 and NGC 6357 now have new names.
<p>3-D visualization of chemically-ordered phases in an iron-platinum (FePt) nanoparticle. Using the Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory simulated the magnetic properties of strongly magnetic phases in the FePt nanoparticle using the precise 3-D atomistic structure obtained by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Video credit to Colin Ophus, Berkeley Lab. Video courtesy of Nature.</p>
First Look at Magnetism of Real Nanoparticle
Scientist help solve a unique problem: to model magnetism at the atomic level using experimental data from a real nanoparticle.

<p>This map of dark matter in the Universe was obtained from data from the KiDS survey, using the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. It reveals an expansive web of dense (light) and empty (dark) regions. This image is one out of five patches of the sky observed by KiDS. Here the invisible dark matter is seen rendered in pink, covering an area of sky around 420 times the size of the full moon. This image reconstruction was made by analysing the light collected from over three million distant galaxies more than 6 billion light-years away. The observed galaxy images were warped by the gravitational pull of dark matter as the light travelled through the Universe.</p>

<p>Some small dark regions, with sharp boundaries, appear in this image. They are the locations of bright stars and other nearby objects that get in the way of the observations of more distant galaxies and are hence masked out in these maps as no weak-lensing signal can be measured in these areas.</p>


<p>Kilo-Degree Survey Collaboration/H. Hildebrandt & B. Giblin/ESO</p>
Dark Matter May be Smoother than Expected
Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought.
<p>Interference pattern created by neutron holography.</p>


Holograms from Neutrons Created
For the first time, scientists have used neutron beams to create holograms of large solid objects, revealing details about their interiors in ways that ordinary laser light-based visual holograms cannot.

Oldest Known Planet-Forming Disk Found
Scientists find a star surrounded by the oldest known circumstellar disk—a primordial ring of gas and dust that orbits around a young star and from which planets can form.
New Technique May Help Detect Martian Life
A novel interpretation of Raman spectra will help the 2020 Mars rover select rocks to study for signs of life.
Stable Propagation of Light in Nano-Photonic Fibers
New model on how to achieve a more stable propagation of light for future optical technologies was published.

Science Facts

Solar Spitwads

by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and

The SOHO spacecraft recorded this CME on July 14, 2000. High-energy particles accelerated by the blast peppered the spacecraft 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 of relativistic protons accelerated in the shock front of a solar coronal mass ejection (CME). It was done in the name of science. Really. Solar explosions and spitwads do have something in common. CMEs hurl subatomic particles across the solar system at nearly light speed. Those particles are guided, much like a spitwad in a straw, by the Sun's magnetic field.

The Sun is a star-sized magnet; its magnetic field permeates the solar system all the way from Mercury to Pluto and beyond. We don't feel it on Earth only because our planet's own magnetic field is locally stronger--but in interplanetary space, the Sun's magnetic field rules. Because the Sun rotates on its axis (once every 27 days), the Sun's magnetic field out among the planets has a spiral shape. Researchers call it 'the Parker spiral' after the physicist who first described it.

The Mars Climate Orbiter
The Devil's In The Details

Did you ever make a mistake converting English numbers to metric numbers? Let's hope that your mistake didn't cost anyone $125 million dollars. That's what happened to NASA. The Mars Climate Orbiter's ...
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Powerful Quasars

Quasars appear as distant, highly luminous objects that look like stars. Strong evidence now exists that a quasar is produced by gas falling into a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy. Q ...
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Among the biggest challenges for GP-B is keeping its Science Instrument Assembly constantly cooled to a temperature of 1.8 Kelvin, or minus 271.4 degrees Celsius (slightly above absolute zero), which will last 18 to 24 months.
GP-B: More Than Just a Pretty Face

Questions about the ways space, time, light and gravity relate to each other have been asked for eons. Theories have been offered, yet many puzzles remain to be solved. No spacecraft ever built has re ...
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