Friday, 18 August 2017

Astrophysicist predicts detached, eclipsing white dwarfs to merge into exotic star

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Astrophysicists have discovered two detached, eclipsing double white dwarf binaries with orbital periods of 40 and 46 minutes, respectively. White dwarfs are the remnants of Sun-like stars, many of which are found in pairs, or binaries.
via Science Daily
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Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

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NASA's Mars 2020 mission, which will look for signs of past life on Mars, will use smart methods originally developed to find the oldest life on Earth, according the mission's Deputy Project Scientist. The 2020 mission will make coordinated measurements that could detect signs of ancient life - or biosignatures - in their original spatial context. These techniques, known as 'spatially resolved biosignature analysis' derive from geochemical analysis of early life on Earth.
via Science Daily
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Spoiler alert: Computer simulations provide preview of upcoming eclipse

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Scientists have forecast the corona of the sun during the upcoming eclipse. The findings shed light on what the eclipse of the sun might look like Aug. 21 when it will be visible across much of the US, tracing a 70-mile-wide band across 14 states.
via Science Daily
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The Demons of Darkness Will Eat Men, and Other Solar Eclipse Myths

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Here’s a glimpse at the way that civilizations around the world have understood solar eclipses, and used them to reinforce cultural norms and values.
via New York Times

Perseids over the Pyrénées

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This mountain and night skyscape stretches across the French Pyrenees National Park on August 12, near the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The multi-exposure panoramic view was composed from the Col d'Aubisque, a mountain pass, about an hour before the bright gibbous moon rose. Centered is a misty valley and lights from the region's Gourette ski station toward the south. Taken over the following hour, frames capturing some of the night's long bright perseid meteors were aligned against the backdrop of stars and Milky Way.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Graphene-like materials printed with inkjet printer

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Researchers have developed inks made of graphene-like materials for inkjet printing. New black phosphorous inks are compatible with conventional inkjet printing techniques for optoelectronics and photonics. The inkjet printing demonstration makes possible for the first time the scalable mass fabrication of black phosphorous based photonic and optoelectronic devices with long-term stability necessary for a wide range of industrial applications.
via Science Daily

TED-Ed: The hunt for dark matter

NASA Protects its super heroes from space weather

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When astronauts travel in space they can't see or even feel radiation. However, NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is studying the effects radiation plays on the human body and developing ways to monitor and protect against this silent hazard.
via Science Daily
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Art Review: How Do You Paint an Eclipse? Work Fast in the Dark

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In 1918, astronomers invited the artist Howard Russell Butler to record the last total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States.
via New York Times

NGC 2442: Galaxy in Volans

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Distorted galaxy NGC 2442 can be found in the southern constellation of the flying fish, (Piscis) Volans. Located about 50 million light-years away, the galaxy's two spiral arms extending from a pronounced central bar have a hook-like appearance in wide-field images. But this mosaicked close-up, constructed from Hubble Space Telescope and European Southern Observatory data, follows the galaxy's structure in amazing detail. Obscuring dust lanes, young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions surround a core of yellowish light from an older population of stars. The sharp image data also reveal more distant background galaxies seen right through NGC 2442's star clusters and nebulae. The image spans about 75,000 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 2442.

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Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

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As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced 'wonder' material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind, the research group has developed a cleaner and more environmentally friendly method to isolate graphene using carbon dioxide in the form of carbonic acid as the electrolyte solution.
via Science Daily

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Supermassive black holes feed on cosmic jellyfish

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Observations of 'Jellyfish galaxies' with ESO's Very Large Telescope have revealed a previously unknown way to fuel supermassive black holes. It seems the mechanism that produces the tentacles of gas and newborn stars that give these galaxies their nickname also makes it possible for the gas to reach the central regions of the galaxies, feeding the black hole that lurks in each of them and causing it to shine brilliantly.
via Science Daily
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Perseid by the Sea

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Just after moonrise on August 12 this grain of cosmic sand fell by the sea, its momentary flash part of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. To create the Perseid meteors, dust along the orbit of periodic comet Swift-Tuttle is swept up by planet Earth. The cometary debris plows through the atmosphere at nearly 60 kilometers per second and is quickly vaporized at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so. Perseid meteors are often bright and colorful, like the one captured in this sea and night skyscape. Against starry sky and faint Milky Way the serene view looks south and west across the Adriatic Sea, from the moonlit Dalmatian coast toward the island of Brac.

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Meals for Your Eclipse Menu

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In parts of the United States, the eclipse will occur around lunchtime. Consider planning a picnic. (At least, have a crescent-shaped cookie.)
via New York Times

Sneak peek in colour

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A preview of Gaia’s sky in colour provides a taste of the full-colour map of more than a billion stars that will be released next year
via ESA Space Science
http://sci.esa.int/gaia/59404-sneak-peek-of-gaias-sky-in-colour/

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Cassini says goodbye to a true Titan

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Mere weeks away from its dramatic, mission-ending plunge into Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has a hectic schedule, orbiting the planet every week in its Grand Finale. On a few orbits, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has been near enough to tweak Cassini's orbit, causing the spacecraft to approach Saturn a bit closer or a bit farther away. A couple of those distant passes even pushed Cassini into the inner fringes of Saturn's rings.
via Science Daily
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Cosmic magnifying lens reveals inner jets of black holes

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Jet material ejected from a black hole is magnified in new observations from Caltech's Owens Valley Radio Observatory. This discovery provides the best view yet of blobs of hot gas that shoot out from supermassive black holes.
via Science Daily
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Tracking a solar eruption through the solar system

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Ten spacecraft, from ESA's Venus Express to NASA's Voyager-2, felt the effect of a solar eruption as it washed through the solar system while three other satellites watched, providing a unique perspective on this space weather event.
via Science Daily
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Monogram Starry Wingtip of Small Magellanic Cloud Throw Pillow

Monogram Starry Wingtip of Small Magellanic Cloud Throw Pillow
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series: The tip of the "wing" of the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy is dazzling in this new view from NASA's Great Observatories. The Small…


Atomically thin layers bring spintronics closer to applications

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Scientists have created a graphene-based device, in which electron spins can be injected and detected with unprecedented efficiency. The result is a hundredfold increase of the spin signal, big enough to be used in real life applications, such as new spin transistors and spin-based logic.
via Science Daily

Tidally locked exoplanets may be more common than previously thought

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Many exoplanets to be found by coming high-powered telescopes will probably be tidally locked -- with one side permanently facing their host star -- according to new research.
via Science Daily
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Stars, Gas, and Dust Battle in the Carina Nebula

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Chaos reigns in the Carina Nebula where massive stars form and die. Striking and detailed, this close-up of a portion of the famous nebula is a combination of light emitted by hydrogen (shown in red) and oxygen (shown in blue). Dramatic dark dust knots and complex features revealed are sculpted by the winds and radiation of Carina's massive and energetic stars. One iconic feature of the Carina Nebula is the dark V-shaped dust lane that occurs in the top half of the image. The Carina Nebula spans about 200 light years, lies about 7,500 light years distant, and is visible with binoculars toward the southern constellation of Carina. In a billion years after the dust settles -- or is destroyed, and the gas dissipates -- or gravitationally condenses, then only the stars will remain -- but not even the brightest ones.

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Tracking a solar eruption through the Solar System

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Ten spacecraft, from ESA’s Venus Express to NASA’s Voyager-2, felt the effect of a solar eruption as it washed through the Solar System while three Earth-orbiting satellites watched, providing a unique perspective on this space weather event.


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Tracking_a_solar_eruption_through_the_Solar_System

Earth in Suspension

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A total solar eclipse is not just the momentary theft of day. It is a profound interruption of the world as we know it.
via New York Times

Monday, 14 August 2017

Your Playlist for the Solar Eclipse

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Eclipses provoke strong feelings that make us reckon with the awesomeness of space. Here are some songs that might give you the feeling of totality.
via New York Times

How to Watch the Eclipse Online if You’re Stuck Indoors (or It’s Cloudy)

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Whether you live somewhere you won’t see it or the weather is terrible, here’s how to see the eclipse online — and when to tune in.
via New York Times

Scientists to Take Flight for Longer Views of the Eclipse

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Specialized jets will be used to grab data about the sun that cannot be collected from the ground during the Great American Eclipse.
via New York Times

The Illuminating Power of Eclipses

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With the sun obscured, eclipses can be revelatory: Starting at least over 2,000 years ago, they have been fodder for significant discoveries.
via New York Times

Out There: During an Eclipse, Darkness Falls and Wonder Rises

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A total solar eclipse brings tears, screams, even reverence to those in its path.
via New York Times

A fleeting blue glow

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In the 2009 film 'Star Trek,' a supernova hurtles through space and obliterates a planet unfortunate enough to be in its path. Fiction, of course, but it turns out the notion is not so farfetched.
via Science Daily
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Studying the Sun's atmosphere with the total solar eclipse of 2017

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A total solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth about once every 18 months. But because Earth's surface is mostly ocean, most eclipses are visible over land for only a short time, if at all. The total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, is different -- its path stretches over land for nearly 90 minutes, giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to make scientific measurements from the ground.
via Science Daily
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Two-faced 2-D material: flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium

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Mterials scientists replace all the atoms on top of a three-layer, two-dimensional crystal to make a transition-metal dichalcogenide with sulfur, molybdenum and selenium. The new material has unique electronic properties that may make it a suitable catalyst.
via Science Daily

New 3-D simulations show how galactic centers cool their jets

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Scientists have developed new theories and 3-D simulations to explain what's at work in the mysterious jets of energy and matter beaming from the center of galaxies at nearly the speed of light.
via Science Daily
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ATLAS observes direct evidence of light-by-light scattering

A light-by-light scattering event measured in the ATLAS detector (Image: ATLAS/CERN)

Physicists from the ATLAS experiment at CERN have found the first direct evidence ofhigh energy light-by-light scattering, a very rare process in which two photons – particles of light – interact and change direction. The result, published today in Nature Physics, confirms one of the oldest predictions of quantum electrodynamics (QED).

"This is a milestone result: the first direct evidence of light interacting with itself at high energy,” says Dan Tovey(University of Sheffield), ATLAS Physics Coordinator. “This phenomenon is impossible in classical theories of electromagnetism; hence this result provides a sensitive test of our understanding of QED, the quantum theory of electromagnetism."

Direct evidence for light-by-light scattering at high energy had proven elusive for decades – until the Large Hadron Collider’s second run began in 2015. As the accelerator collided lead ions at unprecedented collision rates, obtaining evidence for light-by-light scattering became a real possibility. “This measurement has been of great interest to the heavy-ion and high-energy physics communities for several years, as calculations from several groups showed that we might achieve a significant signal by studying lead-ion collisions in Run 2,” says Peter Steinberg (Brookhaven National Laboratory), ATLAS Heavy Ion Physics Group Convener.

Heavy-ion collisions provide a uniquely clean environment tostudy light-by-light scattering. As bunches of lead ions are accelerated, an enormous flux of surrounding photons is generated. When ions meet at the centre of the ATLAS detector, very few collide, yet their surrounding photons can interact and scatter off one another. These interactions are known as ‘ultra-peripheral collisions’. 

Studying more than 4 billion events taken in 2015, the ATLAS collaboration found 13 candidates for light-by-light scattering. This result has a significance of 4.4 standard deviations, allowing the ATLAS collaboration to report the first direct evidence of this phenomenon at high energy.

“Finding evidence of this rare signature required the development of a sensitive new ‘trigger’ for the ATLAS detector,” says Steinberg. “The resulting signature — two photons in an otherwise empty detector — is almost the diametric opposite of the tremendously complicated eventstypically expected from lead nuclei collisions. The new trigger’s success in selecting these events demonstrates the power and flexibility of the system, as well as the skill and expertise of the analysis and trigger groups who designed and developed it.”

ATLAS physicists will continue to study light-by-light scattering during the upcoming LHC heavy-ion run, scheduled for 2018. More data will further improve the precision of theresult and may open a new window to studies of new physics. In addition, the study of ultra-peripheral collisions should play a greater role in the LHC heavy-ion programme, as collision rates further increase in Run 3 and beyond.​


via CERN: Updates for the general public
http://home.cern/about/updates/2017/08/atlas-observes-direct-evidence-light-light-scattering

Eclipsing the Sun

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On August 21, the moon will paint a swath of North America in darkness. The Great American Eclipse.
via New York Times

Charon Flyover from New Horizons

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What if you could fly over Pluto's moon Charon -- what might you see? The New Horizons spacecraft did just this in 2015 July as it zipped past Pluto and Charon with cameras blazing. The images recorded allowed for a digital reconstruction of much of Charon's surface, further enabling the creation of fictitious flights over Charon created from this data. One such fanciful, minute-long, time-lapse video is shown here with vertical heights and colors of surface features digitally enhanced. Your journey begins over a wide chasm that divides different types of Charon's landscapes, a chasm that might have formed when Charon froze through. You soon turn north and fly over a colorful depression dubbed Mordor that, one hypothesis holds, is an unusual remnant from an ancient impact. Your voyage continues over an alien landscape rich with never-before-seen craters, mountains, and crevices. The robotic New Horizons spacecraft has now been targeted at Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU 69, which it should zoom past on New Year's Day 2019.

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Space eclipse

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Space Science Image of the Week: Get ready for the total solar eclipse next week
via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/08/A_partial_solar_eclipse_seen_from_space

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Detailed View of a Solar Eclipse Corona

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Only in the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse is the light of the solar corona easily visible. Normally overwhelmed by the bright solar disk, the expansive corona, the sun's outer atmosphere, is an alluring sight. But the subtle details and extreme ranges in the corona's brightness, although discernible to the eye, are notoriously difficult to photograph. Pictured here, however, using multiple images and digital processing, is a detailed image of the Sun's corona taken during the 2008 August total solar eclipse from Mongolia. Clearly visible are intricate layers and glowing caustics of an ever changing mixture of hot gas and magnetic fields. Bright looping prominences appear pink just above the Sun's limb. A similar solar corona might be visible through clear skies in a thin swath across the USA during a total solar eclipse that occurs just one week from tomorrow.

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Experience A Zero Gravity Flight

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Experience zero gravity in 360. If you ever wished to become an astronaut, this is your first step.
via New York Times

NASA watches the Sun put a stop to its own eruption

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On Sept. 30, 2014, multiple NASA observatories watched a failed solar eruption. Because scientists had so many eyes on the event, they were able to explain how the Sun's magnetic landscape shredded its own eruption.
via Science Daily
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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Cassini to begin final five orbits around Saturn

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NASA's Cassini spacecraft will enter new territory in its final mission phase, the Grand Finale, as it prepares to embark on a set of ultra-close passes through Saturn's upper atmosphere with its final five orbits around the planet.
via Science Daily
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RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

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An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
via Science Daily
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Starry Wingtip of Small Magellanic Cloud All-Over-Print Tank Top

Starry Wingtip of Small Magellanic Cloud All-Over-Print Tank Top
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series: The tip of the "wing" of the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy is dazzling in this new view from NASA's Great Observatories. The Small…


A Day in the Life of a (mostly) Human Sundial

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Have you ever wanted to be a gnomon? Of course, a gnomon is the tall part of a sundial that casts a shadow. The gnomon's shadow moves as the Sun moves across the sky, indicating time by the shadow's position on the dial face. So on July 19th, the Astronomy Group of the Progymnasium Rosenfeld created a human sundial, each participant patiently playing the role of the gnomon for 10 minutes. In this timelapse video of their temporal voyage of discovery, one image was taken every 20 seconds from 8 am until 4 pm Central European Summer Time. Drawn on the ground are the dial hour marks calculated to show the local time for that specific date. Behind, the tower clock offers a time check. Can you find the local time of solar noon? (Hint: At solar noon the Sun is on the meridan.) The persistent group plans a repetition of the human sundial performance next winter to compare the length of the day and the altitude of the Sun.

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New mission going to the space station to explore mysteries of 'cosmic rain'

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A new experiment set for launch to the International Space Station will provide an unprecedented look at a rain of particles from deep space, called cosmic rays, that constantly showers our planet. The mission is designed to measure the highest-energy particles of any detector yet flown in space.
via Science Daily
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New ultrathin semiconductor materials exceed some of silicon's 'secret' powers

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Chip makers appreciate what most consumers never knew: silicon's virtues include the fact that it 'rusts' in a way that insulates its tiny circuitry. Two new ultrathin materials share that trait and outdo silicon in other ways that make them promising materials for electronics of the future.
via Science Daily

Friday, 11 August 2017

U.R. Rao, Pioneer of India’s Space Program, Dies at 85

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Mr. Rao helped India propel its first satellites into space, providing television signals and weather forecasting data to the most rural parts of the country.
via New York Times

A Total Solar Eclipse of Saros 145

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A darkened sky holds bright planet Venus, the New Moon in silhouette, and the shimmering corona of the Sun in this image of a total solar eclipse. A composite of simultaneous telephoto and wide angle frames it was taken in the path of totality 18 years ago, August 11, 1999, near Kastamonu, Turkey. That particular solar eclipse is a member of Saros 145. Known historically from observations of the Moon's orbit, the Saros cycle predicts when the Sun, Earth, and Moon will return to the same geometry for a solar (or lunar) eclipse. The Saros has a period of 18 years, 11 and 1/3 days. Eclipses separated by one Saros period belong to the same numbered Saros series and are very similar. But the path of totality for consecutive solar eclipses in the same Saros shifts across the Earth because the planet rotates for an additional 8 hours during the cycle's fractional day. So the next solar eclipse of Saros 145 will also be a total eclipse, and the narrow path of totality will track coast to coast across the United States on August 21, 2017.

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Controlled manipulation of carbon nanostructures

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Researchers around the world are looking at how they can manipulate the properties of carbon nanostructures to customize them for specific purposes; the idea is to make the promising mini-format materials commercially viable. A research team has now managed to selectively influence the properties of hybrid systems consisting of carbon nanostructures and a dye.
via Science Daily

Day to night and back again: Earth's ionosphere during the total solar eclipse

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Three NASA-funded studies will use the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse as a ready-made experiment, courtesy of nature, to improve our understanding of the ionosphere and its relationship to the Sun.
via Science Daily
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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Galactic winds push researchers to probe galaxies at unprecedented scale

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After using the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to rule out a potential mechanism for galactic wind, astrophysicists are aiming to generate nearly a trillion-cell simulation of an entire galaxy, which would be the largest simulation of a galaxy ever.
via Science Daily
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Why massive galaxies don't dance in crowds

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Scientists have discovered why heavyweight galaxies living in a dense crowd of galaxies tend to spin more slowly than their lighter neighbors. Contrary to earlier thinking, the spin rate of the galaxy is determined by its mass, rather than how crowded its neighborhood is.
via Science Daily
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Night of the Perseids

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This weekend, meteors will rain down near the peak of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. Normally bright and colorful, the Perseid shower meteors are produced by dust swept up by planet Earth from the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle. They streak from a radiant in Perseus, above the horizon in clear predawn skies. Despite interfering light from August's waning gibbous moon, this year's Perseids will still be enjoyable, especially if you can find yourself in an open space, away from city lights, and in good company. Frames used in this composite view capture bright Perseid meteors from the 2016 meteor shower set against a starry background along the Milky Way, with even the faint Andromeda Galaxy just above center. In the foreground, astronomers of all ages have gathered on a hill above the Slovakian village of Vrchtepla.

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New observations of Crab Nebula and Pulsar reveal polarized emissions

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New observations of polarised X-rays from the Crab Nebula and Pulsar may help explain sudden flares in the Crab’s X-ray intensity, as well as provide new data for modeling – and understanding – the nebula.
via Science Daily
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Hunting season at the LHC

Preserving the stress of volcanic uprise on Mars

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An ancient mountain range on Mars preserves a complex volcanic and tectonic past imprinted with signs of water and ice interactions. 


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express/Preserving_the_stress_of_volcanic_uprise_on_Mars

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Landscapes give latitude to 2-D material designers

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Researchers predict and experimentally confirm that two-dimensional materials grown onto a cone allows control over where defects appear. These defects, called grain boundaries, can be used to enhance the materials' electronic, mechanical, catalytic and optical properties.
via Science Daily

Lunar dynamo's lifetime extended by at least 1 billion years

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Astronomers report that a lunar rock collected by NASA's Apollo 15 mission exhibits signs that it formed 1 to 2.5 billion years ago in the presence of a relatively weak magnetic field of about 5 microtesla. That's around 10 times weaker than Earth's current magnetic field but still 1,000 times larger than fields in interplanetary space today.
via Science Daily
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Successful filming of fastest aurora flickering

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Researchers conducted a 3 year continuous high-speed imaging observation at Poker Flat Research Range, Alaska, USA, and identified the physics behind the flickering of aurora. At the same time, they discovered faster flickerings at speeds of 1/60-1/50 and 1/80 of a second.
via Science Daily
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The mystery of the pulsating blue stars

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In the middle of the Chilean Atacama desert, a team of astronomers are monitoring millions of celestial bodies. In 2013, the team was surprised when they discovered, in the course of their survey, stars that pulsated much faster than expected. In the following years, the team studied these stars in more detail and concluded that they had stumbled upon a new class of variable star.
via Science Daily
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August's Lunar Eclipse

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August's Full Moon is framed in this sharp, high dynamic range composition. Captured before sunrise on August 8 from Sydney, Australia, south is up and the Earth's dark, umbral shadow is at the left, near the maximum phase of a partial lunar eclipse. Kicking off the eclipse season, this time the Full Moon's grazing slide through Earth's shadow was visible from the eastern hemisphere. Up next is the much anticipated total solar eclipse of August 21. Then, the New Moon's shadow track will include North America, the narrow path of totality running coast to coast through the United States.

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Name, Wreath Nebula, outer space picture Luggage Tag

Name, Wreath Nebula, outer space picture Luggage Tag
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series: For the long distance traveller! A luggage tag featuring the gorgeous Wreath Nebula, located in our Milky way. Tiny particles of dust glowing…


Chasing Shadows for a Glimpse of a Tiny World Beyond Pluto

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From just five blinks of starlight, scientists now know more about the next destination of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.
via New York Times

Next-generation battery technology to feature graphene

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Experiments with graphene in next-generation batteries are highlighting the important role that this material will have in future energy storage solutions.

The domination of lithium-based batteries on the portable energy market continues, due to the low cost and natural abundance of elemental lithium, coupled with the material’s good energy density properties. Rising energy demands pushed forward by our mobile communication devices, electric vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and other portable technologies are putting a strain on lithium-ion battery performance and driving research into novel battery solutions.

New materials for electrodes are a very active research direction, due to the pivotal role of electrodes in battery performance. Increasing demands on charge/discharge power consumption and stability requirements have prompted researchers to engineer new composite materials that can stand the test of power-hungry mobile users.

Earlier, researchers experimented with graphene-boron composites, graphene with nanopores, and graphene-vanadium oxide mixtures as electrode materials for modern lithium-ion batteries. The replacement of standard graphite electrodes with these materials yielded 10x faster charging, 10x larger energy storage, charging in 20 seconds, and excellent cycling stability. It was concluded that there are three most promising strategies for enhancing lithium-ion batteries with graphene and other 2D materials. The first of these strategies is hybridization, when graphene or other conductive nanostructures are hybridized with other 2D materials, improving their conductivity and cycling stability. The second strategy is edge and surface functionalization, whereby adatoms of other materials are attached to 2D materials to tune their properties such as electronic structure, surface chemical reactivity, and interlayer spacing. The final strategy is to control the 2D material nanoparticle morphology, such as for example introducing nanopores or controlling thickness and lateral dimensions, which can significantly impact electrochemical performance or increase the surface-to-volume ratio. Research in this direction continues, as scientists find new ways to synthesize 2D materials for use in electrodes, resulting in more durable and long lasting Li-Ion batteries.

Lithium-ion technology can only go so far, and the search is on for viable replacement technologies that will satisfy the demand of the ever-growing mobile power demand. Graphene oxide (GO) in particular has arisen as a candidate cathode material for future lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. Li-S is widely regarded as a most promising successor for today’s lithium-ion batteries. GO-based cathodes for these experimental batteries have shown to increase discharge capacity retention by 50% and improve cycle stability by up to 86%, more than any other type of cathode. Recent results show that graphene-based cathodes support a very high reversible capacity (1160 mAh/g). In these GO/sulfur composites, graphene plays a significant role in improving the electronic conductivity of sulfur, inhibiting the shuttle effect of soluble polysulfides that causes cathode cracking in traditional cathodes.

Finally, researchers are looking beyond lithium, to experimental solutions such as aluminum-ion batteries, which hold potential to deliver enormous capacity and high current capability, while being friendlier to the environment than lithium-based technology. These batteries also contain graphene electrodes. Although the capacity achieved in the first instance is modest, a full charge-discharge cycle takes less than three minutes.

Development in recent years has shown without a doubt that graphene can be a true enabling technology for novel portable energy solutions, with graphene-based electrode materials now being regarded as the cutting edge in battery components.


via Graphenea

Density Waves in Saturn's Rings from Cassini

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What causes the patterns in Saturn's rings? The Cassini spacecraft, soon ending its 13 years orbiting Saturn, has sent back another spectacular image of Saturn's immense ring system in unprecedented detail. The physical cause for some of Saturn's ring structures is not always understood. The cause for the beautifully geometric type of ring structure shown here in ring of Saturn, however, is surely a density wave. A small moon systematically perturbing the orbits of ring particles circling Saturn at slightly different distances causes such a density wave bunching. Also visible on the lower right of the image is a bending wave, a vertical wave in ring particles also caused by the gravity of a nearby moon. Cassini's final orbits are allowing a series of novel scientific measurements and images of the Solar System's most grand ring system.

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