Physics & Astronomy News

<p>Interference pattern created by neutron holography.</p>


Holograms from Neutrons Created
For the first time, scientists have used neutron beams to create holograms of large solid objects, revealing details about their interiors in ways that ordinary laser light-based visual holograms cannot.
<p>An artist’s conception of this unusual system, courtesy of Jonathan Holden/Disk Detective.</p>
Oldest Known Planet-Forming Disk Found
Scientists find a star surrounded by the oldest known circumstellar disk—a primordial ring of gas and dust that orbits around a young star and from which planets can form.

<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.

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.
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.

Science Facts

Light Fantastic

by NASA Headquarters and

Series of images over time of the light echo from the star known as V838 Monocerotis or V 838 Mon. : Image Courtesy NASA On the next hot summer day, imagine what would happen if the Sun suddenly became one million times brighter. Ice cream would quickly melt, sunscreen lotion wouldn't work very well, and that's just the beginning. Thankfully, our Sun doesn't misbehave this way. Yet, in early 2002, we witnessed strange behavior by a star in the dim winter constellation Monoceros (Moh-NO-ser-os) the Unicorn. The star, named V838 Monocerotis (Moh-NO-ser-u-tis) or V 838 Mon for short, grew very bright then cooled and faded away. The glow was bright enough to light up layers of dust surrounding the star, like a flashlight shining through smoke in a dark room.

What caused this star to become the brightest star in our Milky Way Galaxy for a short time? Astronomers think V838 Mon suddenly grew hotter and swelled to nearly 1,000 times larger than our Sun. At that size, we could see much more of the star, which explains why V838 Mon appeared so much brighter. Just that size, our Sun would swallow Earth and stretch all the way to Jupiter's orbit!

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope watched the dust shell around V838 Mon over many months after the outburst. Every time Hubble astronomers take a picture, the dust ring looks larger than before. But, in the Hubble pictures, the dust really isn't growing. Instead, light from the flash is sweeping through the dust, lighting up different parts. This illusion is called a 'light echo.'

Sound is just a sensation created in the human brain in response to small pressure fluctuations in the air.
The Doppler Effect

As any object moves through the air, the air near the object is disturbed. The disturbances are transmitted through the air at a distinct speed called the speed of sound, because sound itself is just ...
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Double rainbow, note the color reversal in the faint, secondary rainbow.
Somewhere Over Which Rainbow?

How many rainbows are there really when we only see one during a rainstorm? The answer isn't as simple as you might think! Rainbows are formed when light enters a water droplet, reflects once inside ...
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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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Science Quote

'When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.'

Albert Einstein

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