Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Amateur astronomer captures rare first light from massive exploding star

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First light from a supernova is hard to capture; no one can predict where and when a star will explode. An amateur astronomer has now captured on film this first light, emitted when the exploding core hits the star's outer layers: shock breakout. Subsequent observations by astronomers using the Lick and Keck observatories helped identify it as a Type IIb supernova that slimmed down from 20 to 5 solar masses before exploding.
via Science Daily
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Trilobites: He Took a Picture of a Supernova While Setting Up His New Camera

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Astronomers rarely see the beginnings of these explosions, but an Argentine amateur’s lucky picture helped them study the start of a massive star’s violent death.
via New York Times

'Ultramassive' black holes discovered in far-off galaxies

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Thanks to data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope on galaxies up to 3.5 billion light years away from Earth, an international team of astrophysicists was able to detect what is likely to be the most massive black holes ever discovered in the universe. The team’s calculations showed that these “ultramassive” black holes are growing faster than the stars in their respective galaxies.
via Science Daily
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Splitting crystals for 2-D metallic conductivity

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Adding oxygen atoms to a perovskite-like crystal material splits it into layers, giving it unique electrical properties.
via Science Daily

Collimators: the LHC’s bodyguards

Installation of a collimator in the LHC. Collimators protect the sensitive equipment from escaping particles. (Image: Maximilien Brice, Julien Ordan/CERN)

The performance of the LHC relies on accelerating and colliding beams made of tiny particles with unprecedented intensities. If even a small fraction of the circulating particles deviates from the precisely set trajectory, it can quench a super-conducting LHC magnet or even destroy parts of the accelerator. The energy in the two LHC beams is sufficient to melt almost one tonne of copper.

This is why the LHC shows its teeth every time particles misbehave. These “teeth” are part of special devices around the LHC, called collimators. Their jaws – moveable blocks of robust materials – close around the beam to clean it of stray particles before they come close to the collision regions. The materials the jaws are made of can withstand extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, as well as high levels of radiation.

More than a hundred of these bodyguards are placed around the LHC. They are also installed on each side of the LHC experiments to absorb the stray particles before they come close to the collision regions.

With the expected increase in the number of particle collisions in the High-Luminosity LHC, the beam intensity will be much higher. New collimators are being developed by CERN’s Engineering department to meet the beam-cleaning requirements of the future project. Some of the recent innovations in the LHC collimation system include a wire and a crystal collimator. You can learn more about them in this article.


via CERN: Updates for the general public
https://home.cern/about/updates/2018/02/collimators-lhcs-bodyguards

Surfing complete

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Slowed by skimming through the very top of the upper atmosphere, ESA’s ExoMars has lowered itself into a planet-hugging orbit and is about ready to begin sniffing the Red Planet for methane.


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Surfing_complete

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Researchers achieve 'Olympic ring' molecule breakthrough just in time for Winter Games

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More than 7,000 miles away from the snowcapped peaks of PyeongChang, scientists in Florida have unlocked a novel strategy for synthesizing a highly versatile molecule called olympicene -- a compound of carbon and hydrogen atoms named for its familiar Olympic ring shape.
via Science Daily

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to reveal secrets of the Red Planet

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Mars rovers and orbiters have found signs that Mars once hosted liquid water on its surface. Much of that water escaped over time. How much water was lost, and how does the water that’s left move from ice to atmosphere to soil? During its first year of operations, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will seek answers. Webb also will study mysterious methane plumes that hint at possible geological or even biological activity.
via Science Daily
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NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to Reveal Secrets of the Red Planet


Webb will investigate how Mars went from wet to dry

Mars rovers and orbiters have found signs that Mars once hosted liquid water on its surface. Much of that water escaped over time. How much water was lost, and how does the water that’s left move from ice to atmosphere to soil? During its first year of operations, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will seek answers. Webb also will study mysterious methane plumes that hint at possible geological or even biological activity.


via Hubble - News feed
http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2018-10

Astronomers reveal secrets of most distant supernova ever detected

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Astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the most distant supernova ever detected -- a huge cosmic explosion that took place 10.5 billion years ago, or three-quarters the age of the Universe itself.
via Science Daily
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