Physics & Astronomy News

<p>Close-up of Sputnik Planum shows the slowly overturning cells of nitrogen ice. Boulders of water ice and methane debris (red) that have broken off hills surrounding the heart have collected at the boundaries of the cells. (Photo: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)</p>
Pluto’s ‘heart’ renews itself
Like a cosmic lava lamp, a large section of Pluto’s icy surface is renewed by a process called convection that replace older ices with fresher material.
<p>This illustration depicts the view from outside of a rapidly-accreting black hole. The bright light toward the center represents the super-heating of gas as it falls onto the black hole. Emanating from the center is a jet of accelerated particles moving near the speed of light. Surrounding the black hold is cool, clumpy gas and dust, which are falling inwards and will eventually join the material accreting onto the black hole.</p>

<p>Image: NRAO/AUI/NSF and Dana Berry/SkyWorks</p>
Supermassive Black Hole Feeding On Cold Gas Observed
For the first time, astronomers have detected billowy clouds of cold, clumpy gas streaming toward a black hole, at the center of a massive galaxy cluster.

<p>A public comment period has opened for the recommended names of new elements 115, 117 and 118. Moscovium (Mc) is recommended for element 115; Tennessine (Ts) is proposed for element 117; Oganesson (Og), in recognition of the pioneering contributions of Yuri Oganessian (pictured), is proposed for element 118.</p>
Three New Element Names Proposed
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) opened a public comment period for the recommended names of elements 115, 117 and 118.
<p>NIST physicists have built a quantum simulator made of trapped beryllium ions (charged atoms) that are proven to be entangled, a quantum phenomenon linking the properties of all the particles. The spinning crystal, about 1 millimeter wide, can contain anywhere from 20 to several hundred ions.</p>

<p>Credit: NIST</p>
Super Quantum Simulator Entangles Hundreds of Ions
Physicists have “entangled” or linked together the properties of up to 219 beryllium ions (charged atoms) to create a quantum simulator.

Three Potentially Habitable Worlds Found
Astronomers have discovered three potentially habitable planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth.
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.
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.

Science Facts

Dark Matter Mystery

by Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center and

Hot Gas Clouds: Image Courtesy  ROSAT 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 should be by calculating the mass of all the visible stars and gas, thereby determining the gravity of the galaxy. Much to their surprise, the measurements showed that most galaxies are rotating faster than they should. Not a little faster. Much faster! More than twice as fast. This meant that, according to Einstein's theory of gravity, these galaxies should be flying apart. Yet clearly, they are not.

What can the answer be? Is it possible that most galaxies are surrounded by some 'dark' form of matter that cannot be observed by radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X-ray, or gamma-ray telescopes? Could Einstein's theory of gravity, which has proved to be correct in all cases so far, be somehow wrong?

X-ray telescopes have discovered vast clouds of multimillion degree gas in clusters of galaxies. These hot gas clouds increase the mass of the cluster, but not enough to solve the mystery. In fact they provide an independent measurement of dark matter. The measurement shows that there must be at least four times as much dark matter as all the stars and gas we observe, or the hot gas would escape the cluster.

The Sun, The Mighty Engine Of Our Solar System

Our Sun has inspired mythology in almost all cultures, including ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Native Americans, and Chinese. We now know that the Sun is a huge, bright sphere of mostly ionized gas, abou ...
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Sonic Boom

They sound like thunder, but they're not. They're sonic booms, concentrated blasts of sound waves created as vehicles travel faster than the speed of sound. To understand how the booms are created, lo ...
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Pluto and Charon are tough to see even with the best telescopes.
Pluto Is Way Out There

Long considered to be the smallest, coldest, and most distant planet from the Sun, Pluto may also be the largest of a group of objects that orbit in a disk-like zone of beyond the orbit of Neptune cal ...
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Science Quote

'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.'

Oscar Wilde

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