Physics & Astronomy News

<p>This artist’s impression shows an imagined view from the surface one of the three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star.</p>

<p>In this view one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.</p>

<p>Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser</p>
Three Potentially Habitable Worlds Found
Astronomers have discovered three potentially habitable planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth.
<p>Artist's conception of Planet Nine.</p>

<p>Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)</p>
Planet Nine: A World That Shouldn't Exist
Researchers examines a number of scenarios for Planet Nine existence and find that most of them have low probabilities.

<p>Expanding polymer-coated gold nanoparticles</p>

<p>Credit: Yi Ju/University of Cambridge NanoPhotonics</p>
Little ANTs
Researchers have built a nano-engine that could form the basis for future applications in nano-robotics, including robots small enough to enter living cells.
<p>Artist’s impression depicting a compact object – either a black hole or a neutron star – feeding on gas from a companion star in a binary system.</p>

<p>Credit: ESA - C. Carreau</p>
Winds at 0.25c spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
Astronomers have observed two black holes in nearby galaxies devouring their companion stars at an extremely high rate, and spitting out matter at a quarter the speed of light.

Dark matter does not contain certain axion-like particles
Researches are getting closer to corner light dark-matter particle models. Observations can rule out some axion-like particles in the quest for the content of dark matter.
The Universe, where space - time becomes discrete
It time continuous or discrete? Scientists propose a non-local union of relativity and quantum mechanics.
New state of water molecule discovered
Researchers have discovered a new state of water molecule using neutron scattering & computational modeling.

Science Facts

New Evidence Points to a Gamma-Ray Burst... In Our Own Backyard

by NASA Headquarters and

A composite Chandra X-ray (blue) and Palomar infrared (red and green) image of the supernova remnant W49B.: Image Courtesy X-ray: NASA/Chandra X-ray Center/Spitzer Science Center; Infrared: Caltech/Palomar Only 35,000 light years away lies W49B, the supernova remnant left over from the cataclysmic burst. New evidence pointing to a gamma ray burst origin for this remnant was discovered by X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, combined with infrared observations from the Palomar 200-inch telescope in southern California. The discovery is exciting for two reasons. It may be the first time a supernova remnant from a gamma-ray burst has been found so close to Earth. It also appears to be tied to a special type of black hole called a 'collapsar,' which was first theorized by scientists more than a decade ago. 'The nearest known gamma-ray burst to Earth is several million light years away -- most are billions of light years distant -- so the detection of the remnant of one in our own galaxy would be a major breakthrough,' said William Reach of the California Institute of Technology. W49B is barrel-shaped and ringed by bright, infrared 'hoops.'

But one of its most intriguing features is the intense X-radiation produced by concentrations of iron and nickel ions along the axis of the barrel. This makes it 'a prime candidate for being the remnant of a gamma-ray burst involving a black hole collapsar,' according to Jonathan Keohane of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. In a traditional supernova, only the outer parts of the star are flung outward during the explosion. But in the collapsar model, iron and nickel from the center of the exploding star is ejected outward along the jets of hot gas. W49B appears to fit the collapsar pattern. For more than a decade, astronomers have suspected that gamma-ray bursts are produced when the core of a massive star collapses, forming a black hole collapsar. A disk of superhot, magnetized gas spins rapidly around the black hole, which pulls in most of the gas. But some is hurled outward in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light.

An observer in the path of one of these jets would be blinded by a gamma-ray burst packing as much power as ten quadrillion suns. Until the discovery of W49B, there was a problem with the collapsar theory. Massive stars -- stars large enough to form collapsars -- are usually formed in a dense cloud of dust. But the afterglow of gamma-ray bursts seem to point to the explosion taking place in a low-density gas. Keohane and his colleagues believe barrel-shaped W49B nebula may help solve that problem. The infrared image reveals four rings of warm gas that were most likely flung away from the star a few hundred thousand years before the explosion. A hot wind blowing from the star pushed these rings even further outward. By the time of its collapse, the star had carved out a low-density cavity immediately around itself. 'This star appears to have exploded inside a bubble it had created,' Keohane of said. 'In a sense, it dug its own grave.'

The Sun’s Corona

The White-Light Corona - The Corona is the Sun's outer atmosphere. It is visible during total eclipses of the Sun as a pearly white crown surrounding the Sun. The corona displays a variety of features ...
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Color image of the Antennae galaxies (NGC 4038/4039)
The First Starlight

Imagine being able to see our Universe 14 billion years ago when it was just a baby. If we had a time machine, we could go back and watch how its infant features emerged after the Big Bang. There are ...
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Carbon dating the bones of an animal can pinpoint the time this animal died to within a few years.
Carbon Dating From The Skies

Determining the age of relatively recent fossils, those of plants and animals that lived tens of thousands of years ago, is not a guessing game but an exact science. By using carbon dating we can dete ...
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Science Quote

'Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.'

Bertrand Russell

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