Physics & Astronomy News

<p>ESA Astronauts training in terrestrial lava tubes in Lanzarote during the PANGEA 2016 course. Credit: ESA/L. Ricci</p>
Lava Tubes: Human Habitats on the Moon and Mars?
Lava tubes, underground caves created by volcanic activity, could provide protected habitats large enough to house streets on Mars or even towns on the Moon.
<p>PR Image heic1715a</p>

<p>The binary asteroid 288P (artist’s impression)</p>
Hubble Discovers a Unique Type of Object in the Solar System
Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

<p>Professor Kyoung Jin Choi (left) and Yeon Soo Jung (right) are examining a wearable TEG. As shown right, the output voltage of the W-STEG attached to clothes was measured to be 52.3 mV.</p>
Wearable Solar Thermoelectric Generator
UNIST has introduced a new advanced energy harvesting system, capable of generating electricity by simply being attached to clothes, windows, and outer walls of a building.
<p>How Gravity Can Bend Starlight</p>

<p>This illustration reveals how the gravity of a white dwarf star warps space and bends the light of a distant star behind it.</p>

<p>White dwarfs are the burned-out remnants of normal stars. The Hubble Space Telescope captured images of the dead star, called Stein 2051 B, as it passed in front of a background star. During the close alignment, Stein 2051 B deflected the starlight, which appeared offset by about 2 milliarcseconds from its actual position. This deviation is so small that it is equivalent to observing an ant crawl across the surface of a quarter from 1,500 miles away. From this measurement, astronomers calculated that the white dwarf's mass is roughly 68 percent of the sun's mass.</p>

<p>Stein 2051 B resides 17 light-years from Earth. The background star is about 5,000 light-years away. The white dwarf is named for its discoverer, Dutch Roman Catholic priest and astronomer Johan Stein.</p>
Observation confirms Einsteins general theory of relativity.
Astronomers have used NASA Hubble Space Telescope to repeat a century-old test of Einsteins general theory of relativity

Gravitational Wave Kicks Monster Black Hole Out of Galactic Core
Astronomers have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the center of a distant galaxy by what could be the awesome power of gravitational waves.
Milky Way-like Galaxies in Early Universe Embedded in 'Super Halos'
By harnessing the extreme sensitivity of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have directly observed a pair of Milky Way-like galaxies seen when the universe was only eight percent of its current age.
Finding the 'Ghost Particles' Might be More Challenging
Results from the NEOS experiment on sterile neutrinos differ partly from the theoretical expectations.

Science Facts

Two Face? Absolutely!

by Bob Riddle and

On the first day of the Mapping Phase of the Mars Global Surveyor mission, MOC was greeted with this view of During the Viking missions to Mars in the mid 1970s, the planet was imaged from orbit by the Viking 1 and 2 Orbiters. These spacecraft returned images of regions of the planet that, while similar to geological features on Earth, are vastly different. One of the areas viewed by the Viking 1 Orbiter as it searched for potential landing sites was a flat-topped elevated area known as Cydonia. This is a mid-northern latitude (40.9oN, 9.45oW) area of low-lying hills, buttes, and mesas approximately 854 km across with a few impact craters. Among the hills and rocks is a weathered formation about 1.5 km across that quickly caught the attention of NASA scientists when the only picture taken by the Viking Orbiter of that area was examined. The formation somewhat resembled a face.

Images from NASA missions are routinely made available to the public and, as the Viking Mission at Mars progressed, NASA scientists wanted to release images that not only provided an insight into the complexities of the mission but also would help to make Mars appear a little more familiar. And what could be more familiar to people than a natural rock formation that resembled a face, like the 'Old Man in the Mountain' in New Hampshire, which by the way now graces the back of one of the new quarters. What NASA did not expect was the heated debate, lasting nearly 3 decades, over the origin of the formation. To some, the Cydonia Mesa was artificial, made by someone, while others argued that it was natural, simply an effect created by the rocks and long shadows caused by the low angle of Sun over the Martian horizon. Recent images from the Mars Global Surveyor show the formation to be nothing more than a weathered rock formation.

Interestingly, there is another, much larger, rock formation that does resemble a face. Lying about 90 degrees south of the Cydonia formation is a very large impact basin (868 km diameter) named the Argyre Planitia (low plains). While the floor of the basin is relatively smooth due to flooding from lava flows, numerous smaller impact craters surround it. One of these is the large crater Galle (230 km diameter), named after the discoverer of the planet Neptune. Crater Galle is very conspicuous in its appearance, looking quite a bit like a 'happy face'.

Hot Gas Clouds
Dark Matter Mystery

While carefully measuring the speed of rotation of galaxies, astronomers stumbled upon a profound cosmic mystery. Determining the gravity of the galaxy. They could estimate what the rotation speed sho ...
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The artist
White Dwarfs

White dwarfs are among the dimmest stars in the universe. Even so, they have commanded the attention of astronomers ever since the first white dwarf was observed by optical telescopes in the middle of ...
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Sir Issac Newton
Newton's Three Laws of Motion

The motion of an aircraft through the air can be explained and described by physical principals discovered over 300 years ago by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton worked in many areas of mathematics and physic ...
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Science Quote

'An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject and how to avoid them.'

Werner Heisenberg

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