CBO

This week in science!Cosmic magnifying glass: http://bit.ly/1s0cbJvDinosaurs: http://bit.ly/1s1AlXGSmoking: http://bit.ly/1shcOj2Space engine: http://bit.ly/1kvzyMtGiant penguin: http://bit.ly/UK6xjOStem cells: http://bit.ly/UK6rbUCheshire cat: http://bit.ly/UUo3BNTransparent mice: http://bit.ly/1pR0wdn

This week in science!

Cosmic magnifying glass: http://bit.ly/1s0cbJv
Dinosaurs: http://bit.ly/1s1AlXG
Smoking: http://bit.ly/1shcOj2
Space engine: http://bit.ly/1kvzyMt
Giant penguin: http://bit.ly/UK6xjO
Stem cells: http://bit.ly/UK6rbU
Cheshire cat: http://bit.ly/UUo3BN
Transparent mice: http://bit.ly/1pR0wdn

mothernaturenetwork:

Halley’s comet linked to famine 1,500 years agoIn a recipe for disaster, a piece of Halley’s comet may have collided with Earth, sending particles into the atmosphere that caused a cooling climate shift.

mothernaturenetwork:

Halley’s comet linked to famine 1,500 years ago
In a recipe for disaster, a piece of Halley’s comet may have collided with Earth, sending particles into the atmosphere that caused a cooling climate shift.

kenobi-wan-obi:


Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen

An enormous alien planet — one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter — was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star.
The newfound planet, dubbed HD 106906 b, dwarfs any planetary body in the solar system, and circles its star at a distance that is 650 times the average distance between the Earth and the sun. The existence of such a massive and distantly orbiting planet raises new questions about how these bizarre worlds are formed, the researchers said.
"This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see," study lead researcher Vanessa Bailey, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Arizona’s department of astronomy, said in a statement.
In the most commonly accepted theories of planet formation, it is thought that planets that orbit close to their parent star, such as Earth, began as small, asteroid-type bodies that clumped together in the primordial disk of gas and dust around the burgeoning star. Yet, this process operates too slowly to explain how giant planets form far away from their star, the researcher said.
Alternative hypotheses have suggested that distant giant planets may form in ways similar to mini binary star systems, Baily said.

Full Article

kenobi-wan-obi:

Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen

An enormous alien planet — one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter — was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star.

The newfound planet, dubbed HD 106906 b, dwarfs any planetary body in the solar system, and circles its star at a distance that is 650 times the average distance between the Earth and the sun. The existence of such a massive and distantly orbiting planet raises new questions about how these bizarre worlds are formed, the researchers said.

"This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see," study lead researcher Vanessa Bailey, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Arizona’s department of astronomy, said in a statement.

In the most commonly accepted theories of planet formation, it is thought that planets that orbit close to their parent star, such as Earth, began as small, asteroid-type bodies that clumped together in the primordial disk of gas and dust around the burgeoning star. Yet, this process operates too slowly to explain how giant planets form far away from their star, the researcher said.

Alternative hypotheses have suggested that distant giant planets may form in ways similar to mini binary star systems, Baily said.

Full Article

(Source: afro-dominicano, via scinerds)

mothernaturenetwork:

Sun mystery solved: Giant spirals filled with hot plasma discoveredThese shifting cells of heat are responsible for the sun’s 11-year cycle of sunspots.

mothernaturenetwork:

Sun mystery solved: Giant spirals filled with hot plasma discovered
These shifting cells of heat are responsible for the sun’s 11-year cycle of sunspots.

kenobi-wan-obi:


Spooky Physics Phenomenon May Link Universe’s Wormholes
Put on your skeptic hats real quick before you give this interesting article a read. Some of what they’re talking about here loosely relies on the unproven theory of supersymmetry that last year was put into deeper questioning and scrutiny after more substantial results came back from particle colliders like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and Tevatron among others. I also posted an article last year talking about the implications of those results from the LHC and what they meant for the credibility and beauty of the supersymmetry theory, you can check that out here: LHC Breaks Supersymmetry’s Beauty

Wormholes — shortcuts that in theory can connect distant points in the universe — might be linked with the spooky phenomenon of quantum entanglement, where the behavior of particles can be connected regardless of distance, researchers say.
These findings could help scientists explain the universe from its very smallest to its biggest scales.
Scientists have long sought to develop a theory that can describe how the cosmos works in its entirety. Currently, researchers have two disparate theories, quantum mechanics and general relativity, which can respectively mostly explain the universe on its tiniest scales and its largest scales. There are currently several competing theories seeking to reconcile the pair.
One prediction of the theory of general relativity devised by Einstein involves wormholes, formally known as Einstein-Rosen bridges. In principle, these warps in the fabric of space and time can behave like shortcuts connecting any black holes in the universe, making them a common staple of science fiction.
Intriguingly, quantum mechanics also has a phenomenon that can link objects such as electrons regardless of how far apart they are — quantum entanglement.
"This is true even when the electrons are light years apart," said Kristan Jensen, a theoretical physicist at Stony Brook University in New York.
Einstein derisively called this seemingly impossible connection “spooky action at a distance.” However, numerous experiments have proven quantum entanglement is real, and it may serve as the foundation of advanced future technologies, such as incredibly powerful quantum computers and nigh-unhackable quantum encryption.
"Entanglement is one of the most bizarre but important features of quantum mechanics," Jensen said. And if entanglement really is connected to wormholes, that could help reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity, the two examples of this phenomenon, on tiny and huge scales.
Entanglement and wormholes
Recently, theoretical physicists Juan Martín Maldacena at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Leonard Susskind at Stanford University argued that wormholes are linked with entanglement. Specifically, they suggested that wormholes are each pairs of black holes that are entangled with one another.
Entangled black holes could be generated in a number of ways. For instance, a pair of black holes could in principle be made simultaneously, and these would automatically be entangled. Alternatively, radiation given off by a black hole could be captured and then collapsed into a black hole, and the resulting black hole would be entangled with the black hole that supplied the ingredients for it.
Maldacena and Susskind not only suggested that wormholes are entangled black holes, but they argued that entanglement in general was linked to wormholes. They conjectured that entangled particles such as electrons and photons were connected by extraordinarily tiny wormholes.
At first sight, such a claim might sound preposterous. For instance, entanglement works even when gravity is not known to play a role.
Now two independent groups of researchers suggest entanglement may indeed be linked to wormholes. If this connection is true, it could help bridge quantum mechanics with general relativity, potentially helping better understand both.
Holograms and wormholes
Jensen and his colleague theoretical physicist Andreas Karch at the University of Washington in Seattle investigated how entangled pairs of particles behave in a supersymmetric theory, which suggests that all known subatomic particles have “superpartner” particles not yet observed. The theory was one proposed to help unite quantum mechanics and general relativity.
An idea in this theory is that if one imagines certain quantum mechanical systems exist in only three dimensions, their behavior can be explained by objects behaving in the four dimensions that general relativity describes the universe as having — the three dimensions of space, and the fourth of time. This notion that actions in this universe may emerge from a reality with fewer dimensions is known as holography, akin to how two-dimensional holograms can give the illusion of three dimensions. [5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse]
Jensen and Karch found that if one imagined entangled pairs in a universe with four dimensions, they behaved in the same way as wormholes in a universe with an extra fifth dimension. Essentially, they discovered that entanglement and wormholes may be one and the same.
"Entangled pairs were the holographic images of a system with a wormhole," Jensen said. Independent research from theoretical physicist Julian Sonner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology supports this finding.
"There are certain things that get a scientist’s heart beating faster, and I think this is one of them," Jensen told LiveScience. "One really exciting thing is that maybe, inspired by these results, we can better understand the relation between entanglement and space-time."
The scientists detailed their findings in two papers published Nov. 20 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Full Article

kenobi-wan-obi:

Spooky Physics Phenomenon May Link Universe’s Wormholes

Put on your skeptic hats real quick before you give this interesting article a read. Some of what they’re talking about here loosely relies on the unproven theory of supersymmetry that last year was put into deeper questioning and scrutiny after more substantial results came back from particle colliders like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and Tevatron among others. I also posted an article last year talking about the implications of those results from the LHC and what they meant for the credibility and beauty of the supersymmetry theory, you can check that out here: LHC Breaks Supersymmetry’s Beauty

Wormholes — shortcuts that in theory can connect distant points in the universe — might be linked with the spooky phenomenon of quantum entanglement, where the behavior of particles can be connected regardless of distance, researchers say.

These findings could help scientists explain the universe from its very smallest to its biggest scales.

Scientists have long sought to develop a theory that can describe how the cosmos works in its entirety. Currently, researchers have two disparate theories, quantum mechanics and general relativity, which can respectively mostly explain the universe on its tiniest scales and its largest scales. There are currently several competing theories seeking to reconcile the pair.

One prediction of the theory of general relativity devised by Einstein involves wormholes, formally known as Einstein-Rosen bridges. In principle, these warps in the fabric of space and time can behave like shortcuts connecting any black holes in the universe, making them a common staple of science fiction.

Intriguingly, quantum mechanics also has a phenomenon that can link objects such as electrons regardless of how far apart they are — quantum entanglement.

"This is true even when the electrons are light years apart," said Kristan Jensen, a theoretical physicist at Stony Brook University in New York.

Einstein derisively called this seemingly impossible connection “spooky action at a distance.” However, numerous experiments have proven quantum entanglement is real, and it may serve as the foundation of advanced future technologies, such as incredibly powerful quantum computers and nigh-unhackable quantum encryption.

"Entanglement is one of the most bizarre but important features of quantum mechanics," Jensen said. And if entanglement really is connected to wormholes, that could help reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity, the two examples of this phenomenon, on tiny and huge scales.

Entanglement and wormholes

Recently, theoretical physicists Juan Martín Maldacena at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Leonard Susskind at Stanford University argued that wormholes are linked with entanglement. Specifically, they suggested that wormholes are each pairs of black holes that are entangled with one another.

Entangled black holes could be generated in a number of ways. For instance, a pair of black holes could in principle be made simultaneously, and these would automatically be entangled. Alternatively, radiation given off by a black hole could be captured and then collapsed into a black hole, and the resulting black hole would be entangled with the black hole that supplied the ingredients for it.

Maldacena and Susskind not only suggested that wormholes are entangled black holes, but they argued that entanglement in general was linked to wormholes. They conjectured that entangled particles such as electrons and photons were connected by extraordinarily tiny wormholes.

At first sight, such a claim might sound preposterous. For instance, entanglement works even when gravity is not known to play a role.

Now two independent groups of researchers suggest entanglement may indeed be linked to wormholes. If this connection is true, it could help bridge quantum mechanics with general relativity, potentially helping better understand both.

Holograms and wormholes

Jensen and his colleague theoretical physicist Andreas Karch at the University of Washington in Seattle investigated how entangled pairs of particles behave in a supersymmetric theory, which suggests that all known subatomic particles have “superpartner” particles not yet observed. The theory was one proposed to help unite quantum mechanics and general relativity.

An idea in this theory is that if one imagines certain quantum mechanical systems exist in only three dimensions, their behavior can be explained by objects behaving in the four dimensions that general relativity describes the universe as having — the three dimensions of space, and the fourth of time. This notion that actions in this universe may emerge from a reality with fewer dimensions is known as holography, akin to how two-dimensional holograms can give the illusion of three dimensions. [5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse]

Jensen and Karch found that if one imagined entangled pairs in a universe with four dimensions, they behaved in the same way as wormholes in a universe with an extra fifth dimension. Essentially, they discovered that entanglement and wormholes may be one and the same.

"Entangled pairs were the holographic images of a system with a wormhole," Jensen said. Independent research from theoretical physicist Julian Sonner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology supports this finding.

"There are certain things that get a scientist’s heart beating faster, and I think this is one of them," Jensen told LiveScience. "One really exciting thing is that maybe, inspired by these results, we can better understand the relation between entanglement and space-time."

The scientists detailed their findings in two papers published Nov. 20 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Full Article

(via scinerds)

buzzfeed:

I think we can all still agree that space is incredibly beautiful. 

Every time I see picture #4, I think of Dr. Who…

(via climate-changing)

nationalpost:

NASA set to launch Sunjammer, the largest solar sail in history, with hopes to revolutionize near space travelIt might not get you all the way to Cardassia Prime, but NASA hopes its newly launched solar-sail Sunjammer program will lead to a future where propellantless space craft are used for a multitude of functions beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.“Once proven, solar sail technology could enable a host of versatile space missions, including flying an advanced space-weather warning system to more quickly and accurately alert satellite operators and utilities on Earth of geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun,” NASA said in a release.Additionally, NASA sees the project as something that can work to help clean up the piles of floating space garbage in orbit. (NASA)

nationalpost:

NASA set to launch Sunjammer, the largest solar sail in history, with hopes to revolutionize near space travel

It might not get you all the way to Cardassia Prime, but NASA hopes its newly launched solar-sail Sunjammer program will lead to a future where propellantless space craft are used for a multitude of functions beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

“Once proven, solar sail technology could enable a host of versatile space missions, including flying an advanced space-weather warning system to more quickly and accurately alert satellite operators and utilities on Earth of geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun,” NASA said in a release.

Additionally, NASA sees the project as something that can work to help clean up the piles of floating space garbage in orbit. (NASA)

(via exclusively-positive-press)

positive-press-daily:

 The nearest single Sun-like star to the Earth hosts five planets - one of which is in the “habitable zone” where liquid water can exist, astronomers say.

Tau Ceti’s planetary quintet - reported in an online paper that will appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics - was found in existing planet-hunting data. The study’s refined methods of sifting through data should help find even more far-flung worlds.
The star now joins Alpha Centauri as a nearby star known to host planets. In both those cases, the planets were found not by spying them through a telescope but rather by measuring the subtle effects they have on their host stars’ light.
In the gravitational dance of a planet around a star, the planet does most of the moving. But the star too is tugged slightly to and fro as the planet orbits, and these subtle movements of the star show up as subtle shifts in the colour of the star’s light we see from Earth.
This “radial velocity” measurement is a tricky one; stars’ light changes also for a range of other reasons, and requires picking out the specifically planetary component from all this “noise”. Now, Hugh Jones of the University of Hertfordshire and colleagues have refined their “noise modelling” in order to subtract it, and thereby see the smallest signals hiding in the data - starting with Tau Ceti.
“It’s a star on which we have a lot of data - an order of magnitude more data than we have for pretty much any other star,” Prof Jones told BBC News. “It’s a good test case for how low can we go, what size of signals can we pick up.”
The team started with data from three planet-hunting missions: Harps, AAPS, and HiRes, all of which had data on Tau Ceti. The trick to honing the technique was to put in “fake planets” - to add signals into the messy data that planets should add - and find ways to reduce the noise until the fake planets became more and more visible in the data.
“Putting all that together, we optimised a noise-modelling strategy which allows us to recover our fake signals - but in the process of doing that, we actually saw that we were finding signals as well,” Prof Jones said - actual planets.
The quintet includes planets between two and six times the Earth’s mass, with periods ranging from 14 to 640 days. One of them, dubbed HD 10700e, lies about half as far from Tau Ceti as the Earth is from the Sun - and because Tau Ceti is slightly smaller and dimmer than our Sun, that puts the planet in the so-called habitable zone.
It is increasingly clear that in existing data from radial velocity measurements there may be evidence of many more planets. On Monday, Philip Gregory at the University of British Columbia in Canada posted an as-yet unpublished paper to the arXiv repository, claiming to have seen three planets in the habitable zone of Gliese 667C, one of three stars in a triple-star system, 22 light-years away.
It is also clear that in almost every direction we look and in every way that we look, there are planets around stars near and far.

positive-press-daily:

The nearest single Sun-like star to the Earth hosts five planets - one of which is in the “habitable zone” where liquid water can exist, astronomers say.

Tau Ceti’s planetary quintet - reported in an online paper that will appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics - was found in existing planet-hunting data. The study’s refined methods of sifting through data should help find even more far-flung worlds.

The star now joins Alpha Centauri as a nearby star known to host planets. In both those cases, the planets were found not by spying them through a telescope but rather by measuring the subtle effects they have on their host stars’ light.

In the gravitational dance of a planet around a star, the planet does most of the moving. But the star too is tugged slightly to and fro as the planet orbits, and these subtle movements of the star show up as subtle shifts in the colour of the star’s light we see from Earth.

This “radial velocity” measurement is a tricky one; stars’ light changes also for a range of other reasons, and requires picking out the specifically planetary component from all this “noise”. Now, Hugh Jones of the University of Hertfordshire and colleagues have refined their “noise modelling” in order to subtract it, and thereby see the smallest signals hiding in the data - starting with Tau Ceti.

“It’s a star on which we have a lot of data - an order of magnitude more data than we have for pretty much any other star,” Prof Jones told BBC News. “It’s a good test case for how low can we go, what size of signals can we pick up.”

The team started with data from three planet-hunting missions: Harps, AAPS, and HiRes, all of which had data on Tau Ceti. The trick to honing the technique was to put in “fake planets” - to add signals into the messy data that planets should add - and find ways to reduce the noise until the fake planets became more and more visible in the data.

“Putting all that together, we optimised a noise-modelling strategy which allows us to recover our fake signals - but in the process of doing that, we actually saw that we were finding signals as well,” Prof Jones said - actual planets.

The quintet includes planets between two and six times the Earth’s mass, with periods ranging from 14 to 640 days. One of them, dubbed HD 10700e, lies about half as far from Tau Ceti as the Earth is from the Sun - and because Tau Ceti is slightly smaller and dimmer than our Sun, that puts the planet in the so-called habitable zone.

It is increasingly clear that in existing data from radial velocity measurements there may be evidence of many more planets. On Monday, Philip Gregory at the University of British Columbia in Canada posted an as-yet unpublished paper to the arXiv repository, claiming to have seen three planets in the habitable zone of Gliese 667C, one of three stars in a triple-star system, 22 light-years away.

It is also clear that in almost every direction we look and in every way that we look, there are planets around stars near and far.

(via exclusively-positive-press)

discoverynews:

Is Antimatter a Viable Starship Fuel?

Hope springs eternal for die-hard Star Trek fans that scientists will one day build an actual, working antimatter propulsion engine similar to the one that powers the fictional starship Enterprise.
A paper published earlier this year by a pair of enterprising (get it?) physicists should fan the flames of that fantasy even further. The results from their computer simulations indicate that at least one key component of realizing a working antimatter propulsion engine — highly efficient magnetic nozzles — should be far more efficient than previously thought. And such nozzles are feasible using today’s technologies.

find out more about how this COULD work…

Way cool.

discoverynews:

Is Antimatter a Viable Starship Fuel?

Hope springs eternal for die-hard Star Trek fans that scientists will one day build an actual, working antimatter propulsion engine similar to the one that powers the fictional starship Enterprise.

A paper published earlier this year by a pair of enterprising (get it?) physicists should fan the flames of that fantasy even further. The results from their computer simulations indicate that at least one key component of realizing a working antimatter propulsion engine — highly efficient magnetic nozzles — should be far more efficient than previously thought. And such nozzles are feasible using today’s technologies.

find out more about how this COULD work…

Way cool.

theexplicitone:

Tardigrades: Extremeophile -Badasses. 

When their environment becomes to inhospitable they “die” or enter a dormant state known as cryptobiosis and once their environment becomes more suitable they can revive.  Live tardigrades have been regenerated from dried-up mosses after more than 100 years of being in their dormant state.

Tardigrades can withstand; up to 10 years of dehydration, temperatures of absolute zero or up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, radiation over 1000 times that which would kill an elephant, pressures over 6 times that found in the deepest oceans on earth oh….and outer space. 

When NASA scientist sent tardigrades into low earth orbit and then exposed them to the vacuum of space and massive amounts of UV radiation the tardigrades were able to revive and were healthy and even produced perfectly healthy offspring.   Tardigrades are believed to support the Panspermia Hypothesis

The coolest creature evair…

(via scinerds)