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

Uncharted Meteors

by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and

What does a piece of space dust look like? This picture shows one that is only 10 microns across. It was captured by a U2 aircraft in the stratosphere.: Image Courtesy NASA In 1967, NASA's Mariner 4 spacecraft was cruising through the solar system, not far from Earth, when something unexpected happened. 'Mariner 4 ran into a cloud of space dust,' says Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center Space Environments Team. 'For about 45 minutes the spacecraft experienced a shower of meteoroids more intense than any Leonid meteor storm we've ever seen on Earth.' The impacts ripped away bits of insulation and temporarily changed the craft's orientation in space. Fortunately, the damage was slight and the mission's main objective--a flyby of Mars--had been completed two years earlier. But it could have been worse. 'There are many uncharted dust clouds in interplanetary space. Some are probably quite dense,' says Cooke. Most of these clouds are left behind by comets, others are formed when asteroids run into one another. 'We only know about the ones that happen to intersect Earth's orbit and cause meteor showers such as the Perseids or Leonids.' The Mariner 4 cloud was a big surprise.

Mapping these clouds and determining their orbits is important to NASA for obvious reasons: the more probes we send to Mars and elsewhere, the more likely they are to encounter uncharted clouds. No one wants their spaceship to be surprised by a meteor shower hundreds of millions of miles from Earth. Much of Cooke's work at NASA involves computer-modeling of cometary debris streams--long rivers of dust shed by comets as they orbit the sun. He studies how clumps form within the streams and how they are deflected by the gravity of planets (especially giant Jupiter). He and his colleagues also watch the sky for meteor outbursts here on Earth. 'It's a good way to test our models and discover new streams,' he says. One such outburst happened on June 27, 1998. Sky watchers were surprised when hundreds of meteors streamed out of the constellation Bootes over a few-hour period. Earth had encountered a dust cloud much as Mariner 4 had done years earlier.

The meteors of 1998 were associated with a well-known meteor shower called the June Bootids. Normally the shower is weak, displaying only a few meteors per hour at maximum. But in 1998 it was intense. Similar outbursts had occurred, with no regular pattern, in 1916, 1921, and perhaps 1927. The source of the June Bootids is comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke, which orbits the Sun once every 6.37 years. The comet follows an elliptical path that carries it from a point near the orbit of Earth to just beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Pons-Winnecke last visited the inner solar system in 2002. The comet's dusty trail is evidently clumpy. When our planet passes through a dense spot in the debris stream, a meteor shower erupts.

Galileo at age 38.
Galileo Thermometers

Every substance has the property of 'mass', which is the basic physical presence of matter. Matter occupies space. A physical mass contained within a physical space produces the physical property of ' ...
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It's a Supernova

Scientists have discovered that one of the brightest gamma ray bursts on record is also a supernova. It's the first direct evidence linking these two types of explosions, both triggered by the death o ...
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Without buoyancy, the vapor produced by boiling simply floats as a bubble inside the liquid after the heating has stopped. Surface tension effects cause the many small bubbles produced to coalesce into one large sphere.
Bizarre Boiling

The next time you're watching a pot of water boil, perhaps for coffee or a cup of soup, pause for a moment and consider: what would this look like in space? Would the turbulent bubbles rise or fall? A ...
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Science Quote

'The most precious things in life are not those one gets for money.'

Albert Einstein

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