15th Anniversary Sale
15th Anniversary Sale

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

Earth's Magnetism

by Anton Skorucak and

Front page of the William Gilbert Most ancient civilizations were aware of the magnetic phenomenon. Sailors in the late thirteenth century used magnetized needles floating in water as primitive compasses to find their way on the sea. However, most believed that the magnetization of the Earth came from the heavens, from the so called celestial spheres which Greeks invented. It was believed that the night sky is just a shell with small holes were the stars are visible and that beyond that shell was an amazing apparatus of instruments, amongst which magnets, that controlled lives of people on the surface of the Earth.

It was William Gilbert, an English physician, who was the first one to question the notions of magnetic heavens. He proposed that Earth itself was magnetic. Lodestones, naturally occurring magnetic magnetite (an ore of iron) were known at that time and he thought that Earth may be just a giant lodestone. He created a simple model to prove his point. He made a sphere of lodestone; he called it terrella, and then used a primitive compass on and around this sphere to investigate the phenomenon.

He noticed that the compass needle moved as expected, always pointing to the magnetic poles no matter where it was placed around the sphere. But only an intelligent scientist like himself could have noticed something else that was proof positive that the Earth’s magnetism comes from below and not above. The compass needle had a small horizontal declination or dipping towards the pole, and this dipping changed depending if the position of the compass was on the northern or southern hemisphere. When he removed his sphere the declination was still there, it did not change into an inclination or upward rise as it should have done if the magnets were truly above in the heavens. He published his findings in his book ‘De Magnete’ in 1600 and placed himself as one of history’s first true scientists and experimenters.

The story of Isaac Newton discovering the laws of gravity by watching apples falling from a tree is probably just a myth. He did do his work on gravity while at a farm, but that is about as much as can be proven.
Newton's First Law of Motion

Sir Isaac Newton first presented his three laws of motion in the 'Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis' in 1686. His first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion ...
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The Fourth State of Matter

There are three classic states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas; however, plasma is considered by some scientists to be the fourth state of matter. The plasma state is not related to blood plasma, th ...
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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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Science Quote

'There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.'

Albert Einstein

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