Physics & Astronomy News

Solar Eclipse 2017
On August 21, 2017, all of North America was treated to an eclipse of the sun. Viewers around the world can now see a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station – each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event.

Click here to view the 2017 solar eclipse photos

<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
<p>This image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveals an unusual sight: a runaway quasar fleeing from its galaxy's central hub. A quasar is the visible, energetic signature of a black hole. Black holes cannot be observed directly, but they are the energy source at the heart of quasars — intense, compact gushers of radiation that can outshine an entire galaxy.</p>

<p>The green dotted line marks the visible periphery of the galaxy. The quasar, named 3C 186, appears as a bright star just off-center. The quasar and its host galaxy reside 8 billion light-years from Earth. Researchers estimate that it took the equivalent energy of 100 million supernovas exploding simultaneously to jettison the black hole. The most plausible explanation for this propulsive energy is that the monster object was given a kick by gravitational waves unleashed by the merger of two hefty black holes at the center of the host galaxy.</p>

<p>The Hubble image combines visible and near-infrared light taken by the Wide Field Camera 3.</p>

<p>Courtesy: NASA</p>
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.

<p>Composite ALMA and optical image of a young Milky Way-like galaxy 12 billion light-years away and a background quasar 12.5 billion light-years away. Light from the quasar passed through the galaxy's gas on its way to Earth, revealing the presence of the galaxy to astronomers. New ALMA observations of the galaxy's ionized carbon (green) and dust continuum (blue) emission show that the dusty, star-forming disk of the galaxy is vastly offset from the gas detected by quasar absorption at optical wavelengths (red). This indicates that a massive halo of gas surrounds the galaxy. The optical data are from the Keck I Telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. Neeleman & J. Xavier Prochaska; Keck Observatory</p>
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.
<p>NEOS Detector</p>

<p>Courtesy: ibs</p>
Finding the 'Ghost Particles' Might be More Challenging
Results from the NEOS experiment on sterile neutrinos differ partly from the theoretical expectations.

Earth’s Magnetic Field Reveals Details Of A Dramatic Past
ESA’s Swarm satellites are seeing fine details in one of the most difficult layers of Earth’s magnetic field to unpick – as well as our planet’s magnetic history imprinted on Earth’s crust.
Scientists Evade The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
The study, published in Nature, reports a technique to bypass the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Using Light to Control Curvature of Plastics
Researchers have developed a technique that uses light to get two-dimensional (2-D) plastic sheets to curve into three-dimensional (3-D) structures, such as spheres, tubes or bowls.

Science Facts

Introduction to Constellations

by Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center and

Constellation Sagittarius.: Image Courtesy Chandra 'Constellation' is the name we give to seeming patterns of starsin the night sky. 'Stella' is the Latin word for star and a constellation is a grouping of stars. In general, the stars in these groups are not actually close to each other in space, they just appear to be close when viewed from Earth. If we could travel by spaceship to another part of the galaxy, we would imagine an entirely different set of constellations. In the meantime, for us on Earth, the constellations are a handy way to locate a star in the sky. On Earth, we see different constellations as we travel to different parts of the globe. The fact that some constellations were visible in the northern hemisphere and not the southern hemisphere, and vice-versa, was used more than 2000 years ago by Greek astronomers to argue that the Earth is round.

Long before the invention of the telescope, early civilizations invented star patterns and named them after animals, objects, heroes, gods, and beasts from stories and myths. Many of these myths were probably created to explain changes in the sky due to seasons, etc. The ancient Greeks named many constellations. For example, they told the story of Orion, the hunter, who leaped into the sea to escape a scorpion's bite, which explained why the constellation Orion disappears from the sky when the constellation Scorpius rises. Different civilizations imagined different patterns, and some stars were included in more than one pattern. Over time, the situation became confusing.

In 1929 the International Astronomical Union defined 88 constellations that are today recognized as the 'official' constellations. Many of these constellations are derived from the complex creations of Greek mythology, like Andromeda, Perseus, and Orion. Others came from ancient cultures such as the Egyptians and Chaldeans and still others were not defined until the 17th and 18th century. In the past, people used the constellations as markers. Some used the constellations to navigate their boats across the sea, to mark seasons of the year, or to locate special stars. Today, astronomers still use constellations as a handy marker to indicate a general area of the sky where far away celestial objects appear. Many of these extremely distant objects can be seen only with powerful telescopes.

Constellation Sagittarius.
Introduction to Constellations

'Constellation' is the name we give to seeming patterns of starsin the night sky. 'Stella' is the Latin word for star and a constellation is a grouping of stars. In general, the stars in these groups ...
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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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The brilliant stars seen in this image are members of the popular open star cluster known as the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.
How Far Are The Seven Sisters?

The Pleiades cluster, named by the ancient Greeks, is easily seen as a small grouping of stars lying near the shoulder of Taurus, the Bull, in the winter sky. Although it might be expected that the di ...
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Science Quote

'All of us, are truly and literally a little bit of stardust.'

William Fowler

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