Physics & Astronomy News

<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.
<p>This illustration shows a glowing stream of material from a star as it is being devoured by a supermassive black hole in a tidal disruption flare.</p>

<p>When a star passes within a certain distance of a black hole -- close enough to be gravitationally disrupted -- the stellar material gets stretched and compressed as it falls into the black hole. In the process of being accreted, the gas heats up and creates a lot of optical and ultraviolet light, which destroys nearby dust but merely heats dust further out. The farther dust that is heated emits a large amount of infrared light. In recent years, a few dozen such flares have been discovered, but they are not well understood.</p>

<p>Astronomers gained new insights into tidal disruption flares thanks to data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Studies using WISE data characterized tidal disruption flares by studying how surrounding dust absorbs and re-emits their light, like echoes. This approach allowed scientists to measure the energy of flares from stellar tidal disruption events more precisely than ever before.</p>

<p>JPL manages and operates WISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The spacecraft was put into hibernation mode in 2011, after it scanned the entire sky twice, thereby completing its main objectives. In September 2013, WISE was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission to assist NASA's efforts to identify potentially hazardous near-Earth objects.</p>

<p>Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech</p>
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.
Attosecond Science opens new Avenues in Femtochemistry
Attosecond Science is a new exciting frontier in contemporary physics, aimed at time-resolving the motion of electrons in atoms, molecules and solids on their natural timescale.

Science Facts

Your Serve

by NASA Aerospace Technology Enterprise and

: Image Courtesy of NASA NASA is well known for developing technology that makes things better, so can you believe that NASA actually did research on how to make tennis balls slower?

A couple of years ago, the London-based International Tennis Federation (ITF) decided to look into introducing a slower tennis ball, and used NASA research in making the decision. The slower ball is intended to compensate for other new technology that has been introduced to the game. Improved racquets and other advancements have led to changes in the way tennis is played at professional matches. With the new racquets, tennis pros can serve the ball at almost 241 kilometers per hour [kph] (150 miles per hour [mph]), contributing to shorter rallies and more tie-breaker sets. In comparison, the fastest pitch on record in baseball was only 166 kph [103 mph].

In order to try to restore the way the game is played at these matches, the ITF used research conducted at NASA Ames Research Center in California to learn about the effects of changing the size of a tennis ball. NASA had already been studying the aerodynamics of tennis balls, and was involved in a project, in collaboration with Cislunar Aerospace Inc., to help get students interested in science and technology. The project used various aspects of tennis to demonstrate different principles of physics and aerodynamics. Students across the country were encouraged to perform experiments with tennis balls to help them learn more.

Gravity Is the Weakest!
The Weakest Force

Did you know that gravity is the weakest force in the universe? Well, it's true! There are four fundamental forces (that we know of) in our universe: Strong Nuclear, Electromagnetic, Weak Nuclear an ...
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Quick Change Artist

The word transformation means one thing changing into another, like Dr. Jekyl changing into Mr. Hyde. In mathematics, sets of numbers often go through transformations. For example, the numbers represe ...
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Astronaut in free fall
Can You Miss the Earth?

Have you ever wondered why astronauts float in space? Well, it isn't because there is no gravity in space. Astronauts float because they are in constant free fall. If a baseball pitcher throws a ba ...
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Science Quote

'A scientist is happy, not in resting on his attainments but in the steady acquisition of fresh knowledge.'

Max Planck

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