Archive for the ‘space’ category

May 19, 2024

Mapping the Milky Way’s Magnetic Field in 3D

Posted by in categories: mapping, particle physics, space

We are all very familiar with the concept of the Earth’s magnetic field. It turns out that most objects in space have magnetic fields but it’s quite tricky to measure them. Astronomers have developed an ingenious way to measure the magnetic field of the Milky Way using polarized light from interstellar dust grains that align themselves to the magnetic field lines. A new survey has begun this mapping process and has mapped an area that covers the equivalent of 15 times the full moon.

Many people will remember experiments in school with iron filings and bar magnets to unveil their magnetic field. It’s not quite so easy to capture the magnetic field of the Milky Way though. The new method to measure the field relies upon the small dust grains which permeate space between the stars.

The grains of dust are similar in size to smoke particles but they are not spherical. Just like a boat turning itself into the current, the dust particles’ long axis tends to align with the local magnetic field. As they do, they emit a glow in the same frequency as the cosmic background radiation and it is this that astronomers have been tuning in to.

May 19, 2024

Could The UNIVERSE Be Someone’s MIND?

Posted by in category: space

Explore the profound question at the heart of the cosmos: Could the universe be someone’s mind? Delve into the enigma of the Boltzmann brain paradox as we ponder the possibility of conscious entities emerging spontaneously in the cosmic void. Join us on a journey through the mysteries of existence, where science meets philosophy in a quest for understanding.

0:00 Introduction.
0:46 The Brain and the Universe.
02:35 A Paradox Revealed.
04:30 Delving Deeper.
06:48 Resolution and Conclusion.
08:55 Parting Thoughts

May 19, 2024

Space ‘warehouse’ to deliver cargo in 1 hour, anywhere on Earth

Posted by in category: space

Inversion Space is developing reusable reentry capsules to store cargo in orbit. That cargo will be on standby for delivery to Earth. When called upon, the company will be able to deliver it anywhere on Earth within an hour.

May 18, 2024

A New Dimension of Quantum Materials: Topological Phonons Discovered in Crystal Lattices

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics, space

An international research team has shown that phonons, the quantum particles behind material vibrations, can be classified using topology, much like electronic bands in materials. This breakthrough could lead to the development of new materials with unique thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties, enhancing our understanding and manipulation of solid-state physics.

An international group of researchers has found that quantum particles, which play a key role in the vibrations of materials affecting their stability and other characteristics, can be classified through topology. Known as phonons, these particles represent the collective vibrational patterns of atoms within a crystal structure. They create disturbances that spread like waves to nearby atoms. Phonons are crucial for several properties of solids, such as thermal and electrical conductivity, neutron scattering, and quantum states including charge density waves and superconductivity.

The spectrum of phonons—essentially the energy as a function of momentum—and their wave functions, which represent their probability distribution in real space, can be computed using ab initio first principle codes. However, these calculations have so far lacked a unifying principle. For the quantum behavior of electrons, topology—a branch of mathematics—has successfully classified the electronic bands in materials. This classification shows that materials, which might seem different, are actually very similar.

May 18, 2024

Scientists Say Our Universe Might Be a Hall of Mirrors

Posted by in category: space

Could exotic topologies explain the mysteries of the cosmos?

May 17, 2024

Milky Way’s halo is filled with ‘magnetic donuts’ as wide as 100,000 light-years

Posted by in categories: evolution, space

The discovery could help better understand the origin and evolution of magnetic fields in the cosmos, a mystery that has baffled astronomers for decades.

Related: Scientists reveal never-before-seen map of the Milky Way’s central engine (image)

The new study was led by National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) scientists Xu Jun and Han Jinlin.

May 17, 2024

Deep-sea sponge’s ‘zero-energy’ flow control could inspire new energy efficient designs

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, engineering, space

Now, new research reveals yet another engineering feat of this ancient animal’s structure: its ability to filter feed using only the faint ambient currents of the ocean depths, no pumping required.

This discovery of natural ‘“zero energy” control by an international research team co-led by University of Rome Tor Vergata and NYU Tandon School of Engineering could help engineers design more efficient chemical reactors, air purification systems, heat exchangers, hydraulic systems, and aerodynamic surfaces.

In a study published in Physical Review Letters, the team found through extremely high-resolution how the skeletal structure of the Venus flower basket sponge (Euplectella aspergillum) diverts very slow deep sea currents to flow upwards into its central body cavity, so it can feed on plankton and other marine detritus it filters out of the water.

May 16, 2024

Hubble views the dawn of a sun-like star

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Looking like a glittering cosmic geode, a trio of dazzling stars blaze from the hollowed-out cavity of a reflection nebula in this new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The triple-star system is made up of the variable star HP Tau, HP Tau G2, and HP Tau G3.

HP Tau is known as a T Tauri star, a type of young variable star that hasn’t begun yet but is beginning to evolve into a hydrogen-fueled star similar to our sun. T Tauri stars tend to be younger than 10 million years old―in comparison, our sun is around 4.6 billion years old―and are often found still swaddled in the clouds of dust and gas from which they formed.

As with all , HP Tau’s brightness changes over time. T Tauri stars are known to have both periodic and random fluctuations in brightness. The random variations may be due to the chaotic nature of a developing young star, such as instabilities in the accretion disk of dust and gas around the star, material from that disk falling onto the star and being consumed, and flares on the star’s surface. The periodic changes may be due to giant sunspots rotating in and out of view.

May 16, 2024

JunoCam Images Suggest Icy Crust Shifts on Europa

Posted by in category: space

Jupiter’s moon, Europa, has long been hypothesized to contain a vast, liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust. But has this crust remained stationary, or has it moved over millions of years since it could be separated from the ocean below? This is what two recent studies published in The Planetary Science Journal and JGR Planets hope to address as high-resolution images from NASA’s Juno spacecraft revealed some unique surface features on the small moon. These images and studies hold the potential to help scientists better understand what they refer to as “true polar wander” on Europa, which is a hypothesis stating that Europa’s outer icy shell moves freely since it’s allegedly detached from the ocean underneath.

“True polar wander occurs if Europa’s icy shell is decoupled from its rocky interior, resulting in high stress levels on the shell, which lead to predictable fracture patterns,” said Dr. Candy Hansen, who is a co-investigator on Juno, along with being lead author of The Planetary Science Journal study and a co-author on the JGR Planets study. “This is the first time that these fracture patterns have been mapped in the southern hemisphere, suggesting that true polar wander’s effect on Europa’s surface geology is more extensive than previously identified.”

May 16, 2024

SPECULOOS Project Discovers Earth-Sized Planet Around Ultra-Cool Star

Posted by in categories: evolution, space

SPECULOOS-3 b is practically the same size as our planet,” said Dr. Michaël Gillon. “A year, i.e. an orbit around the star, lasts around 17 hours. Days and nights, on the other hand, should never end.

What types of exoplanets can dwarf stars possess? This is what a recent study published in Nature Astronomy hopes to address as a team of international researchers announced the discovery of SPECULOOS 3 b, which is an Earth-sized exoplanet located approximately 55 light-years from Earth orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star. What makes this study unique is astronomers know very little about dwarf stars and the exoplanets that could potentially orbit them, despite the number of dwarf stars outnumbering Sun-like stars throughout the cosmos. This study holds the potential to help astronomers better understand the formation and evolution of exoplanets around smaller stars and what the implications for finding life beyond Earth.

“SPECULOOS-3 b is practically the same size as our planet,” said Dr. Michaël Gillon, who is a professor at the University of Liège and first author of the study. “A year, i.e. an orbit around the star, lasts around 17 hours. Days and nights, on the other hand, should never end. We believe that the planet rotates synchronously, so that the same side, called the day side, always faces the star, just like the Moon does for the Earth. On the other hand, the night side hand, would be locked in endless darkness.”

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