Physics & Astronomy News

<p>Schematic view of a bubble implosion, which is an envisioned picture showing the whole main events integrated, i.e., laser illumination, hot electron spread, implosion, and proton flash. (credit/ M. Murakami)</p>
Laser-driven Implosion
Scientists have discovered a novel particle acceleration mechanism called ‘micro-bubble implosion’
<p>Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA)</p>
New Insights into Solar Flares
New insights into solar flares' explosive energy releases were released by the Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA)

<p>In this illustration, the grid in the background represents the computational lattice that theoretical physicists used to calculate a particle property known as nucleon axial coupling. This property determines how a W boson (white wavy line) interacts with one of the quarks in a neutron (large transparent sphere in foreground), emitting an electron (large arrow) and antineutrino (dotted arrow) in a process called beta decay. This process transforms the neutron into a proton (distant transparent sphere). (Credit: Evan Berkowitz/Jülich Research Center, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)</p>
Life and Death of a Neutron
Experiments that measure the lifetime of neutrons reveal a perplexing and unresolved discrepancy.
<p>Precision assembly and mechanical technician Ryan Wilkinson inspects MOMA during thermal vacuum testing at Goddard</p>

<p>Credits: NASA</p>
Looking for Signs Life on Mars
Scientists have created a tiny chemistry lab for a rover that will drill beneath the Martian surface looking for signs of past or present life.

Massive Black Hole Devours a Star
Scientist create new models of Tidal Disruption Events - rare, but extremely forceful events taking place in the center of galaxies.
Dark Matter Limit Established
Experimental results from the XENON1T dark matter detector limit the effective size of dark matter particles to 4.1X10-47 square centimeters.
Water is not the same as water
Researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms of water to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities.

Science Facts

Can You Miss the Earth?

by Willa Larsen and

Astronaut in free fall: Courtesy NASA 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 ball perfectly level, a few feet above the ground, and another person drops a ball from the same height, both balls will hit the ground at the same time, neglecting any effects caused by the air. The lateral velocity of the pitched ball does not affect the amount of time the ball is in the air.

Now, imagine this pitcher is a very talented guy, and can pitch the ball faster and faster. As the ball is given more velocity, it travels farther over the Earth's surface. When it starts to fall, it traces a parabolic, or curved path. But the Earth's surface is curved too. As the ball falls, the Earth's surface curves away from the ball. Eventually, he can pitch the ball so hard that it falls and falls, but misses the Earth. At this point, the ball is in orbit, or free fall. The ball is just falling and falling. An object can orbit the Earth at any altitude provided it can be given enough velocity. The higher you go, the less velocity you need to stay in orbit. There are geosynchronous satellites that orbit Earth at 35,900 Km (about 22,500 miles) above the Earth on the equatorial plane with a rotational period that matches the Earth. That means that if there is one stationed over LA, it will be over LA during any time day or night. Communication satellites are in stationary orbits, with three or more spaced around the orbit to give worldwide coverage.

When astronauts orbit the Earth, they are simply falling, but missing the Earth. Astronauts look as if they are floating, but they are actually in orbit, falling continually at 17,500 MPH (about 28,000 KPH)! You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you just crest the hill on a roller coaster and start to descend? That is temporary weightlessness, when your stomach is not feeling the force of gravity. And yes, astronauts feel that every second they are orbiting, or missing, the Earth!

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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Saturn Voyager Mission Artwork depicts the spacecraft
Voyager Phone Home

After historic visits to Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 1 is now on course to be the first human-made object to leave our solar system. In space for more than 25 years, it has already traveled farther th ...
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(A) Silver oxide film exposed to DC current; (B) activated regions emitting light when conected to AC current; (C) zoom shows single molecule electroluminescence
Single Molecule Electroluminescence

Incandescence and luminescence are two main ways of producing light. In incandescence, electric current is passed through a conductor (filament of a light bulb for example). The resistance to the cur ...
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Science Quote

'The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poets, must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.'

Godfrey Hardy

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