Saturday, 31 December 2016

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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Hubble gazes at a cosmic 'megamaser'

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This entire galaxy essentially acts as an astronomical laser that beams out microwave emission rather than visible light (hence the 'm' replacing the 'l').
via Science Daily
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Trilobites: The Biggest Digital Map of the Cosmos Ever Made

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The Pan-Starrs telescope on the island of Maui released an astronomical survey that includes two petabytes of data, roughly equivalent to a billion selfies.
via New York Times

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Piers J. Sellers, Climate Scientist and Astronaut, Dies at 61

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Mr. Sellers was a leading figure in NASA’s scientific research programs, flying to the International Space Station on the space shuttle Atlantis in 2002 and 2010 and on Discovery in 2006.
via New York Times

Space cucumbers reveal secrets of plant survival

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Researchers have examined cucumber seedlings germinated under the very weak gravity - or microgravity - conditions of the International Space Station.
via Science Daily
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Friday, 23 December 2016

Once upon a time...

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A feature-length compilation of the amazing adventures of Rosetta and Philae
via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2016/12/The_amazing_adventures_of_Rosetta_and_Philae

First light for band 5 at ALMA

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The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has begun observing in a new range of the electromagnetic spectrum. This has been made possible thanks to new receivers installed at the telescope's antennas, which can detect radio waves with wavelengths from 1.4 to 1.8 millimeters -- a range previously untapped by ALMA. This upgrade allows astronomers to detect faint signals of water in the nearby Universe.
via Science Daily
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Feeding the ravenous black hole at the center of our galaxy

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An improved method for simulating collisionless accretion disk around the supermassive Sagittarius A* at center of the Milky Way has been described in a new article.
via Science Daily
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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Hubble chases a small stellar galaxy in the Hunting Dog

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Lurking in the constellation of Canes Venatici or The Hunting Dog, NGC 4707 lies roughly 22 million light-years from Earth.
via Science Daily
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Astronauts to get help from snake robots

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Researchers are looking into how a snake robot might carry out maintenance work on the International Space Station (ISS), study comets, and explore the possibility of living and working in lava tunnels on the Moon.
via Science Daily
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Democratizing the space race with nanosatellite technology

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Smaller, faster, cheaper—miniaturized space technology opens the door to future University-based space exploration.
via Science Daily
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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Bright future for energy devices

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A new material embeds sodium metal in carbon and could improve electrode performance in energy devices. Scientists ran tests on the sodium-embedded carbon and it performed better than graphene in dye-sensitized solar cells and supercapacitors.
via Science Daily

Supercluster of galaxies near Milky Way

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Astronomers have found one of the Universe's biggest superclusters of galaxies near the Milky Way. The Vela supercluster, which had previously gone undetected as it was hidden by stars and dust in the Milky Way, is a huge mass that influenced the motion of our Galaxy.
via Science Daily
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Atomic clock mimics long-sought synthetic magnetic state

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Physicists have caused atoms in a gas to behave as if they possess unusual magnetic properties long sought in harder-to-study solid materials.
via Science Daily

Graphene able to transport huge currents on the nano scale

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New experiments have shown that it is possible for extremely high currents to pass through graphene, a form of carbon. This allows imbalances in electric charge to be rapidly rectified.
via Science Daily

161221

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CERN reminisces on a brilliant 2016

First look at birthplaces of most current stars

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Distant galaxies can be seen as they were when most of today's stars were being born, report scientists, answering longstanding questions about mechanisms of star formation billions of years ago.
via Science Daily
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Avalanche statistics suggest Tabby's star is near a continuous phase transition

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In its search for extrasolar planets, the Kepler space telescope looks for stars whose light flux periodically dims, But the timing and duration of diminished light flux episodes Kepler detected coming from KIC 846852, known as Tabby's star, are a mystery. Now a team of scientists proffer an entirely novel solution to the Tabby's star puzzle.
via Science Daily
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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Festive nebulae light up Milky Way Galaxy satellite

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The sheer observing power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is rarely better illustrated than in an image such as this. This glowing pink nebula, named NGC 248, is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, just under 200 000 light-years away and yet can still be seen in great detail.
via Science Daily
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Festive Nebulas Light Up Milky Way Galaxy Satellite


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Two glowing nebulas in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy that is a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy, have been observed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Young, brilliant stars at the center of each nebula are heating hydrogen, causing these clouds of gas and dust to glow red. The image is part of a study called Small Magellanic Cloud Investigation of Dust and Gas Evolution (SMIDGE). Astronomers are using Hubble to probe the Milky Way satellite to understand how dust is different in galaxies that have a far lower supply of heavy elements needed to create dust.


via HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2016/42/

Sharpless 308: Star Bubble

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In Practice: What is the future for experimental physics?

The BASE antiprotons celebrate their first birthday

The BASE experiment zone with the antiproton transfer line and the superconducting magnet. The screens show the signals from single antiprotons stored in the BASE measurement traps. (Image: Stefan Sellner/CERN)

The Baryon Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) at the Antiproton Decelerator (AD) facility at CERN has managed to keep a bunch of antiprotons trapped in its reservoir for more than one year now. The shot of antiprotons – the antimatter companions of protons – was loaded into the experiment’s reservoir trap on 12 November 2015 and the collaboration is still working with the same particles. This sets a number of records: no-one has previously managed to keep antimatter trapped for such a long period and, to the best of our knowledge, no other charged particles have been consistently confined for this long.

The BASE experiment is devoted to the precise comparison of the properties of protons and antiprotons: any discrepancy detected would hint at new physics beyond the Standard Model.

BASE conducts its high-precision experiments on one antiproton at a time, so it does not need a continuous beam of antiprotons. One shot of antiprotons from the AD facility contains enough antiprotons for the needs of BASE. “The antiproton reservoir enables us to run autonomously for months, which is especially useful in the winter shutdown period when there is no beam available from the AD,” says Stefan Ulmer, spokesperson for the BASE collaboration.

The reservoir trap is inside a cylinder with a volume of 1.2 litres. The particles are trapped by two overlying magnetic and electric fields, which keep the particles in a small volume in the centre of the trap. On one side of the trap there is a metal window, thin enough to allow the antiprotons to pass through but strong enough to ensure complete insulation from the outside. All the other sides of the trap are made from solid copper. The cylinder is then cooled to about 6 K (-267 °C) with liquid helium, so that an almost perfect vacuum is created. Indeed, if an antiproton meets a matter particle, it will be annihilated and disappear. The BASE team must therefore ensure that there are virtually no residual gas particles left in the reservoir. “Given that we have not observed any antiproton disappearance yet,” says Christian Smorra, a research fellow on the BASE collaboration, “we can say that there are less than three matter particles left per cubic centimetre.”

BASE’s reservoir trap has another unique characteristic. Antiparticles are the rarest species of particles in our universe, as they are only created in high-energy particle collisions or in a nuclear decay. Proton–antiproton symmetry is always extremely unbalanced towards protons. A reservoir of hundreds of antiprotons all confined in a small space in an almost perfect vacuum represents a significant local inversion of this asymmetry. “What is unique about BASE is that we can trap the particles for as long as we want to,” says Stefan Sellner, a post-doc researcher at BASE. “Also, our antiprotons are the coldest antimatter particles ever prepared, at temperatures very close to absolute zero,” he remarks.

At the end of the year, the BASE experiment will undergo a period of machine maintenance and development, which means that the antiprotons will be freed from the reservoir trap in which they have cohabited for over a year.


via CERN: Updates for the general public
http://home.cern/about/updates/2016/12/base-antiprotons-celebrate-their-first-birthday

Monday, 19 December 2016

Take a Number: Penetrating Storm Walls With 8 Powerful New Eyes

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NASA has launched eight microsatellites that will help scientists predict hurricanes and tropical storms.
via New York Times

First use of graphene to detect cancer cells

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By interfacing brain cells onto graphene, researchers have shown they can differentiate a single hyperactive cancerous cell from a normal cell, pointing the way to developing a simple, noninvasive tool for early cancer diagnosis.
via Science Daily

Tortoise electrons trying to catch up with hare photons give graphene its conductivity

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How electrons interact with other electrons at quantum scale in graphene affects how quickly they travel in the material, leading to its high conductivity. Now, researchers have developed a model attributing the greater conductivity in graphene to the accelerating effect of electrons interacting with photons under a weak magnetic field.
via Science Daily

Trilobites: 3-D Printing the Young Universe as a Lumpy Softball

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Scientists have devised a blueprint for the early universe that can be brought to life with a 3-D printer.
via New York Times

An invisible electrode

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A flexible transparent conductor free of reflection and scattering has been developed by researchers.
via Science Daily

Astronomers release largest digital survey of the visible universe

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The world's largest digital survey of the visible Universe, mapping billions of stars and galaxies, has been publicly released.
via Science Daily
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No trace of dark matter in gamma-ray background

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Researchers have just published the most precise analysis of the fluctuations in the gamma-ray background to date. By making use of more than six years of data, the researchers found two different source classes contributing to the gamma-ray background. No traces of a contribution of dark matter particles were found in the analysis.
via Science Daily
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ALPHA observes light spectrum of antimatter for first time

Supermoon over Spanish Castle

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Space Telescope Science Institute to Host Data from World's Largest Digital Sky Survey


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Data from the world's largest digital sky survey is being publicly released today by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu, Hawaii. Data from the Pan-STARRS1 Surveys will allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies. The four years of data comprise 3 billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies, and various other objects. The immense collection contains 2 petabytes of data, which is equivalent to one billion selfies, or one hundred times the total content of Wikipedia.


via HubbleSite NewsCenter -- Latest News Releases
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2016/41/

Black hole aligns with Sun and CERN telescope

Twinkle twinkle

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Space Science Image of the Week: A familiar galaxy pair takes on an unusual appearance with bright points and delicate rays
via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2016/12/False-colour_view_of_galaxy_M81

Many muons: Imaging the underground with help from the cosmos

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Muons, once used to explore the inside of pyramids and volcanoes alike, are enabling researchers to see deep underground with a technological breakthrough.
via Science Daily
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Lunar sonic booms

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Physicist have new findings on the physics surrounding mini shock waves produced on the moon.
via Science Daily
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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Southern Jupiter from Perijove 3

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Southern Jupiter looms some 37,000 kilometers away in this JunoCam image from December 11. The image data was captured near Juno's third perijove or closest approach to Jupiter, the spacecraft still in its 53 day long looping orbit. With the south polar region on the left, the large whitish oval toward the right is massive, counterclockwise rotating storm system. Smaller than the more famous Great Red Spot, the oval storm is only about half the diameter of planet Earth, one of a string of white ovals currently in the southern hemisphere of the Solar System's, ruling gas giant.
Tomorrow's picture: big wheel
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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
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Friday, 16 December 2016

Trilobites: Visualizing the Invisible Drivers of Climate Change

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A new visualization from NASA illustrates the concentration of carbon dioxide around the globe over the course of a year.
via New York Times

Magnetic mirror could shed new light on gravitational waves and the early universe

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Researchers have created a new magnetic mirror-based device that could one day help cosmologists discover new details about ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves, particularly those emitted when the universe was extremely young.
via Science Daily
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New graphene-based system could help us see electrical signaling in heart and nerve cells

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Scientists have enlisted the exotic properties of graphene to function like the film of an incredibly sensitive camera system in visually mapping tiny electric fields. They hope to enlist the new method to image electrical signaling networks in our hearts and brains.
via Science Daily

First detection of boron on the surface of Mars

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Boron has been identified for the first time on the surface of Mars, indicating the potential for long-term habitable groundwater in the ancient past.
via Science Daily
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Science News That Stuck With Us in 2016

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Here's a selection of Science desk reporters' most memorable stories of the year, with a focus on archaeology, biology and space.
via New York Times

Slovenia to enter the Associate Member State family of CERN

Today, the Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič, together with CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti signed the agreement at CERN.

At its 183 session, CERN Council voted unanimously to admit the Republic of Slovenia to Associate Membership in the pre-stage to Membership of CERN.

Today, the Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič, together with CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti signed the agreement at CERN.

"It is a great pleasure to welcome Slovenia into our ever-growing CERN family as an Associate Member State in the pre-stage to Membership,” said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti. “This now moves CERN’s relationship with Slovenia to a higher level.”

"Slovenia's membership in CERN will on the one hand facilitate, strengthen and broaden participation and activities of Slovenian scientists (especially in the field of experimental physics), on the other it will bring full access of Slovenian industry to CERN orders which will help to breakthroughs in demanding markets with products with a high degree of embedded knowledge,” said Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič, Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport today on her visit to CERN. “Slovenia is also aware of the CERN offerings in the areas of education and public outreach, therefore it will try to put them to good use for the motivation and education of high-school students and for the training of the young generation of scientists and engineers, and we are therefore looking forward to become eligible for participation in CERN’s Fellows, Associate and Student programmes."

Slovenian physicists contributed to the CERN programme long before Slovenia became an independent state in 1991, participating in an experiment at LEAR (the Low Energy Antiproton Ring) and on the DELPHI experiment – part of CERN’s previous large accelerator, the Large Electron Positron collider (LEP). In 1991, CERN and the Executive Council of the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia concluded a Co-operation Agreement concerning the further development of scientific and technical co-operation in the research projects of CERN. In 2009, Slovenia applied to become a Member State of CERN.

For the past 20 years, Slovenian physicists have been participating in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, from research and development, through construction and commissioning, to harvesting the physics results. Their focus has been on silicon tracking, protection devices and computing at the Slovenian TIER-2 data centre. They remain committed to the tracker upgrade, making use of the research reactor in Ljubljana for neutron irradiation studies.   

Following the notification of the completion of its internal approval procedures, Slovenia will join Cyprus and Serbia as an Associate Member State in the pre-stage to Membership of CERN. After a period of five years, Council will decide on the admission of Slovenia to full Membership.


via CERN: Updates for the general public
http://home.cern/about/updates/2016/12/slovenia-enter-associate-member-state-family-cern

Full go-ahead for building ExoMars 2020

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The first ExoMars mission arrived at the Red Planet in October and now the second mission has been confirmed to complete its construction for a 2020 launch. 


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/ExoMars/Full_go-ahead_for_building_ExoMars_2020

Meteors vs Supermoon

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Geminid meteors battled supermoonlight in planet Earth's night skies on December 13/14. Traveling at 35 kilometers (22 miles) per second, the bits of dust from the mysterious asteroid 3200 Phaethon that produce the meteor streaks are faster than a speeding bullet. Still, only the brightest were visible during the long night of 2016's final Perigee Full Moon. Captured in exposures made over several hours, a few meteors from the shower's radiant in Gemini can be traced through this composite nightscape. With stars of Orion near the horizon, the overexposed lunar disk illuminates still waters of the Miyun reservoir northeast of Beijing, China.
Tomorrow's picture: by Jove
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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Number of known black holes expected to double in two years with new detection method

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A method that will detect roughly 10 black holes per year has now been developed, doubling the number currently known within two years, say scientists. They add that it will likely unlock the history of black holes in a little more than a decade.
via Science Daily
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Ceres: Water ice in eternal polar night

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The cameras of the Dawn space probe discover water ice in Ceres' polar region. It can survive for aeons in the extreme cold traps, even though there is no atmosphere.
via Science Daily
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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Astronomers discover dark past of planet-eating 'Death Star'

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Scientists have made the rare discovery of a planetary system with a host star similar to Earth's sun. Especially intriguing is the star's unusual composition, which indicates it ingested some of its planets.
via Science Daily
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