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May 27, 2015

Emergence of Spacetime --"Built by Quantum Entanglement"

 

 

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"It was known that quantum entanglement is related to deep issues in the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics, such as the black hole information paradox and the firewall paradox," says Hirosi Ooguri, a Principal Investigator at the University of Tokyo's Kavli IPMU. "Our paper sheds new light on the relation between quantum entanglement and the microscopic structure of spacetime by explicit calculations. The interface between quantum gravity and information science is becoming increasingly important for both fields."

Continue reading "Emergence of Spacetime --"Built by Quantum Entanglement"" »


Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"Intervals of Life in the Cosmos"

 

 

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"There are only certain intervals of time when life of any sort is possible in an expanding universe and we can practice astronomy only during that habitable time interval in cosmic history."

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"Intervals of Life in the Cosmos"" »


"The Bizarre Nature of Quantum Reality" --An Update

 

 

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The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured. Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler's experiment then asks - at which point does the object decide?

Continue reading ""The Bizarre Nature of Quantum Reality" --An Update" »


May 26, 2015

Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Cosmos Would Not Exist Without Consciousness"

 

 

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"The universe and the observer exist as a pair. I cannot imagine a consistent theory of the universe that ignores consciousness."

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Cosmos Would Not Exist Without Consciousness"" »


Sun-Like G-Dwarf Stars --"Best Bet for Locating Habitable Planets"

 

 

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The search for habitable planets currently focuses on so-called M dwarfs - stars with less than half the mass of the Sun. These stars are thought to have more habitable orbiting planets that are easier to find compared with G dwarfs - stars that have a similar mass to the Sun. However, according to recent simulations by a collaborative research team composed of Shigeru Ida at Tokyo Tech and Feng Tian at Tsinghua University indicate that Earth-like planets are more likely to be found orbiting Sun-like stars rather than lower-mass stars that are currently targeted, in terms of water contents of planets.

Continue reading "Sun-Like G-Dwarf Stars --"Best Bet for Locating Habitable Planets"" »


The "Quantum" Sleeping Beauty --Why Einstein's Paper Took Half a Century to Make an Impact

 

 

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Why do some discoveries fade into obscurity while others blaze a new trail the moment they are published? More mysteriously, why do some research papers remain dormant for years and then suddenly explode with great impact upon the scientific community? The last group, dubbed "sleeping beauties," is the subject of a new study from the Indiana University Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing's Center for Complex Networks and Systems. 

Continue reading "The "Quantum" Sleeping Beauty --Why Einstein's Paper Took Half a Century to Make an Impact" »


May 25, 2015

Holiday 'Galaxy' Insight --"Why the Cosmos, Why the Quantum, Why Existence"

 

 

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"Behind it all is surely an idea so simple, so beautiful, that when we grasp it - in a decade, a century, or a millennium - we will all say to each other, how could it have been otherwise? How could we have been so stupid?"

Continue reading " Holiday 'Galaxy' Insight --"Why the Cosmos, Why the Quantum, Why Existence"" »


The 30-Million-Year Mass Extinction Cycle --"A Coincidence, or a Dark-Matter Event?" (Holiday Feature)

 

 

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In 1980, Walter Alvarez and his group at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered a thin layer of clay in the geologic record, which contained an anomalous amount of the rare element iridium. They proposed that the iridium-rich layer was evidence of a massive comet hitting the Earth 66 million years ago, at the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs. The Alvarez group suggested that the global iridium-rich layer formed as fallout from an intense dust cloud raised by the impact event. The cloud of dust covered the Earth, producing darkness and cold, and lead to the extinction of 75% of life on the planet. At first, there was much resistance in the geological community to this idea, but in 1990, the large 100-mile diameter crater produced by the impact was found in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Continue reading "The 30-Million-Year Mass Extinction Cycle --"A Coincidence, or a Dark-Matter Event?" (Holiday Feature)" »


Mystery of the Giant ExoPlanets --An Update

 

 

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There are 565 exoplanets currently known that are as massive as Jupiter or bigger, about one third of the total known, confirmed exoplanet population. About one quarter of the massive population orbits very close to its star, with periods of less than ten days (the Earth takes about 365 days to orbit the Sun). Heated by the nearby star’s radiation, these giants are often called hot Jupiters.

Continue reading "Mystery of the Giant ExoPlanets --An Update" »


May 24, 2015

Strange Rapidly Aging Star Observed --"Never Seen Before"

 

 

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Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the star is so weird that astronomers have nicknamed it "Nasty 1," a play on its catalog name of NaSt1. The star may represent a brief transitory stage in the evolution of extremely massive stars.

Continue reading " Strange Rapidly Aging Star Observed --"Never Seen Before" " »


Earth's Oxygen Engine: Is the Invisible Ocean Virus Ecosystem Threatened?

 

 

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When you mention rich ecosystems that are vital for life on Earth, people tend to think of rainforests, but ocean plankton are actually just as crucial. The microscopic beings that drift on the upper layer of the oceans are globally referred to as "plankton"; together they produce half of our oxygen, act as carbon sinks, influence our weather, and serve as the base of the ocean food web that sustains the larger fish and marine mammals that we depend upon or draw delight from.

Continue reading "Earth's Oxygen Engine: Is the Invisible Ocean Virus Ecosystem Threatened?" »


Weekend 'Galaxy' Insight --"Enigma of the Universe"

 

 

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"There is a certain sense in which I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance. Some people take the view that the universe is simply there and it runs along-it's a bit as though it just sort of computes, and we happen by accident to find ourselves in this thing. I don't think that's a very fruitful or helpful way of looking at the universe, I think that there is something much deeper about it, about its existence, which we have very little inkling of at the moment."

Continue reading "Weekend 'Galaxy' Insight --"Enigma of the Universe"" »


May 23, 2015

Clues to Prehistoric Global Warming Locked in Subterranian Caves

 

 

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The Holocene Climate Optimum was a period of global climate warming that occurred between six to nine thousand years ago. At that time, the global average temperatures were somewhere between four to six degrees Celsius higher than they are today. That is the range of warming that climatologists are predicting due to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activity. So information about the behavior of the monsoon during the Holocene could provide clues to how it is likely to behave in the future. This knowledge could be very important for the 600 million people living on the Indian subcontinent who rely on the monsoon, which provides the area with 75 percent of its annual rainfall.

Continue reading "Clues to Prehistoric Global Warming Locked in Subterranian Caves" »


May 22, 2015

The Most Luminous Galaxy in the Universe --"May Harbor a Behemoth Black Hole"

 

 

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A remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns has been discovered using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The galaxy is the most luminous galaxy found to date and belongs to a new class of objects recently discovered by WISE -- extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs. The brilliant galaxy, known as WISE J224607.57-052635.0, may have a behemoth black hole at its belly, gorging itself on gas.

Continue reading "The Most Luminous Galaxy in the Universe --"May Harbor a Behemoth Black Hole"" »


Friday's 'Galaxy' Insight --"Why the Universe Exists"

 

 

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"In the beginning there were only probabilities. The universe could only come into existence if someone observed it. It does not matter that the observers turned up several billion years later. The universe exists because we are aware of it."  

Continue reading "Friday's 'Galaxy' Insight --"Why the Universe Exists"" »


May 21, 2015

Spectacular Galaxy With a 2,400 Light-Year Ring of Star Clusters -- Observed Devouring a Dwarf Neighbor

 

 

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A team of Australian and Spanish astronomers have caught greedy galaxy NGC 1512, a spectacular barred spiral galaxy, gobbling on its neighbors and leaving crumbs of evidence about its dietary past. Galaxies grow by churning loose gas from their surroundings into new stars, or by swallowing neighbouring galaxies whole. However, they normally leave very few traces of their cannibalistic habits.

Continue reading "Spectacular Galaxy With a 2,400 Light-Year Ring of Star Clusters -- Observed Devouring a Dwarf Neighbor" »


Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"Life in the Milky Way"

 

 

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"Should we find a second form of life right here on our doorstep, we could be confident that life is a truly cosmic phenomenon. If so, there may well be sentient beings somewhere in the galaxy wondering, as do we, if they are not alone in the universe." 

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"Life in the Milky Way"" »


"Mars' Gale Crater on Earth" --The Extreme Life of Chile's Atacama Desert

 

 

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Researchers have pinpointed the driest location on Earth in the Atacama Desert, a region in Chile already recognised as the most arid in the world. They have also found evidence of life at the site, a discovery that could have far-reaching implications for the search for life on Mars.

Continue reading ""Mars' Gale Crater on Earth" --The Extreme Life of Chile's Atacama Desert" »


May 20, 2015

Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Universe's Existence"

 

 

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"We are about five Einsteins away from explaining the universe's existence."

Martin Amis, English novelist and author of Einstein's Monsters and Heavy Water.

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Universe's Existence"" »


Climate Change Impact--A 3-D Look at the Planet's Mountain Ranges

 

 

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People commonly perceive mountain ranges as jumbles of pyramid-shaped masses that steadily narrow as they slope upward. While that's certainly how they appear from a ground-level human viewpoint, new research shows that pyramid-shaped mountains are not only a minority in nature, but also that most ranges actually increase in area at higher elevations. Besides reshaping the mountains in our mind's eye, the findings could lead scientists to reconsider conservation strategies -- which are often based on misconceptions about mountain terrain -- for mountain animal species threatened by climate change.

Continue reading "Climate Change Impact--A 3-D Look at the Planet's Mountain Ranges" »


Evolution of Complex Life --"Did It Occur In the Oceans Depths or On Continents?"

 

 

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An ancient lake could hold the key to our understanding of how complex life evolved on Earth, according to research carried out by the University of Aberdeen. Scientists have studied samples of lake sediments deposited 1.5 billion years ago in the Bay of Stoer region in north-west Scotland, and discovered high levels of the metal molybdenum, a key element in the evolution of multicellular life, which challenges the commonly held view that an important stage of evolution, leading eventually to human life, occurred in the deep ocean, as opposed to a continental environment.

Continue reading "Evolution of Complex Life --"Did It Occur In the Oceans Depths or On Continents?"" »


May 19, 2015

Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --Freeman Dyson

 

 

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"As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming."

Physicist Freeman Dyson, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton.

Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --Freeman Dyson" »


Sunset at Mars' Gusev Crater -- "An Ancient Habitat for Life?"

 

 

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Wide view of sunset over Gusev Crater taken by NASA’s Spirit Rover in 2005. Both blue aureole and pink sky are seen. Because of the fine nature of Martian dust, it can scatter blue light coming from the Sun forward towards the observer.

Continue reading "Sunset at Mars' Gusev Crater -- "An Ancient Habitat for Life?"" »


With Thanks to Our Twitter Community!

 

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Our thanks to our vibrant Twitter community. We've just reached 343,000 followers, growing at 1,000 per week, including many of the planet's leading astronomers and scientists, astronauts, space observatories, news organizations, universities and governmental space organizations such as NASA, JPL, ESO, SETI, International Space Station, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and Royal Astronomy Society members, as well celebrities from Mia Farrow to Kevin Spacey, William Shatner, and Gary Busey. 


May 18, 2015

NASA: "Mars' Opportunity Mission Reaches 11 Years in Its Search for Ancient Life"

 

 

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On Tuesday, March 24th 2015, NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity completed its first Red Planet marathon-- 26.219 miles – with a finish time of roughly 11 years and two months. "This mission isn't about setting distance records; it's about making scientific discoveries," says Steve Squyres, Opportunity principal investigator at Cornell University. "Still, running a marathon on Mars feels pretty cool."

Continue reading "NASA: "Mars' Opportunity Mission Reaches 11 Years in Its Search for Ancient Life"" »


Ocean Microbe-Sea Spray Climate Link Discovered

 

 

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Few things are more refreshing than the kiss of sea spray on your face. You may not realize it, but that cool, moist air influences our climate by affecting how clouds are formed and how sunlight is scattered over the oceans. Today, researchers demonstrate that microbes in seawater can control the chemistry of sea spray ejected into the atmosphere.

Continue reading "Ocean Microbe-Sea Spray Climate Link Discovered" »


May 16, 2015

"Intriguing Hints" --Our 30-Light-Year Voyage Through the Local Interstellar Cloud

 

 

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Our solar system has been voyaging through the very low density Local Interstellar Cloud, a region about 30 light-years across that's as sparse as a handful of air stretched over a column that is hundreds of light years long, or about one atom per three cubic centimeters of space. Earth and our Sun has been traveling through the Cloud for somewhere between 40,000 and 150,000 years and will probably not emerge for another 20,000 years. A mere blip in our 250 million-year orbit through the Milky Way.

Continue reading ""Intriguing Hints" --Our 30-Light-Year Voyage Through the Local Interstellar Cloud " »


May 15, 2015

"Extremely Improbable" --Supermassive Black-Hole Quartet Discovered Inside Colossal Structure

 

 

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Using the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, a group of astronomers of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have discovered the first quadruple quasar: four rare active black holes situated in close proximity to one another. The quartet resides in one of the most massive structures ever discovered in the distant universe, and is surrounded by a giant nebula of cool dense gas. Because the discovery comes with one-in-ten-million odds, perhaps cosmologists need to rethink their models of quasar evolution and the formation of the most massive cosmic structures. The results are being published in the May 15, 2015 edition of the journal Science.

Continue reading ""Extremely Improbable" --Supermassive Black-Hole Quartet Discovered Inside Colossal Structure" »


Hubble Observes Migration Routes of Relic Stars in Ancient Clusters

 

 

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Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, collected a census of young white dwarf stars beginning their migration from the crowded center of an ancient star cluster to its less populated outskirts. The new results challenge our ideas about how and when a star loses its mass near the end of its life.White dwarfs are the burned-out relics of ancient stars that rapidly shut down their nuclear furnaces, cooling down and losing mass at the end of their active lives. As these stellar carcasses age and shed mass, they are expelled from the densely packed center of the globular cluster and migrate to wider orbits . Whilst astronomers knew about this process, they had never seen it in action, until now.

Continue reading "Hubble Observes Migration Routes of Relic Stars in Ancient Clusters" »


May 14, 2015

"Mystery of the Missing Antimatter" --Solved by the Magnetic Field That Spans the Cosmos?

 

 

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The discovery of a 'left-handed' magnetic field that pervades the universe could help explain a long standing mystery – the absence of cosmic antimatter. Planets, stars, gas and dust are almost entirely made up of 'normal' matter of the kind we are familiar with on Earth. But theory predicts that there should be a similar amount of antimatter, like normal matter, but with the opposite charge. For example, an antielectron (called a positron) has the same mass as its conventional counterpart, but a positive rather than negative charge.

Continue reading ""Mystery of the Missing Antimatter" --Solved by the Magnetic Field That Spans the Cosmos?" »




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