Physics & Astronomy News

<p>An artist’s conception of this unusual system, courtesy of Jonathan Holden/Disk Detective.</p>
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.
<p>Mars’ Valles Marineris canyon, pictured, spans as much as 600 kilometers across and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. The image was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.</p>

<p>Image: NASA</p>
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.

<p>Simplification to represent PT (Parity-Time) symmetry. Imagine a situation where two cars are traveling at the same speed at some instant in time, but car A is speeding up, and car B is slowing down. In order to go at the same speed, you can jump from one car to the other (Parity reversal) and back in time (Time reversal). The cars are like the light waves inside the fiber, the speed of the cars is a representation of the intensity of light and the jump symbolizes a phenomenon called tunneling. (Graphics modified from freepiks).</p>
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.
<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.

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).
Individual Atoms Behavior Observed
For first time, researchers see individual atoms keep away from each other or bunch up as pairs.
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.

Science Facts

Does Earth Have Its Own Neon Sign?

by Willa Larsen and

: Image Copyright © Dennis Mammana, You might wonder what the Northern Lights and neon signs have in common. Actually, a lot! What makes luminous colors shimmer across the Northern sky? The answer is in the Sun. Charged particles are constantly ejected from the Sun. These particles, collectively called solar winds, travel toward Earth with an average speed of 400 kilometers per second. Earth is shielded from the solar winds by its atmosphere and magnetic field. The magnetic field pulls the charged particles toward the North and South poles. As the particles strike atoms in the upper atmosphere, electrons are knocked free. We call atoms whose electrons have been knocked free 'ionized'. When the electrons re-unite with the ionized gas, they emit light.

In a neon tube, light is produced by a similar mechanism. The tube contains a low-pressure gas that is under high voltage. The high voltage ionizes the gas, and when the electrons recombine, they emit light. The color of the light depends upon the type of gas that is ionized: Oxygen emits bluish light, and neon emits reddish light. Because the chemical makeup of the Earth's atmosphere changes with altitude, the color of the aurora depends on altitude. The most spectacular auroras occur at elevations of 75 to 150 kilometers, and can produce red, green, yellow, blue and violet light. The shimmering is due to motion of the ionized gas as it is pulled by the Earth's magnetic field. And what is our planetary sign saying? Come and see and learn!

An artist
Not Quite A Planet

Astronomers have dubbed it 'Quaoar' (pronounced kwa-whar) after a Native American god. It lies a billion kilometers beyond Pluto and moves around the Sun every 288 years in a near-perfect circle. Unti ...
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Our Sun emits light at all the different wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, but it is ultraviolet waves that are responsible for causing our sunburns. This is an image of the Sun taken at an Extreme Ultraviolet wavelength.
Ultraviolet Light

Ultraviolet light is a form of radiation which is not visible to the human eye. It's in an invisible part of the 'electromagnetic spectrum'. Radiated energy, or radiation, is given off by many objects ...
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The Moon
Lunar Explorations

Ever since the beginning of intelligent life on Earth, the moon has been a focal point of human curiosity. Galileo’s discovery in 1610 that the moon had craters, valleys and mountains, instead of the ...
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Science Quote

'A theory with mathematical beauty is more likely to be correct than an ugly one that fits some experimental data. God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.'

Paul Dirac

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