Scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have created the shortest, purest X-ray laser pulses ever achieved, fulfilling a 45-year-old prediction and opening the door to a new range of scientific discovery. The researchers, reporting today in Nature, aimed SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at a capsule of neon gas, setting off an avalanche of X-ray emissions to create the world's first "atomic X-ray laser."
Continue reading "1st Atomic X-Ray Laser Created --Opens New View into the World of Atoms and Molecules " »
Researchers working at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have used the world's most powerful X-ray laser to create and probe a two-million-degree piece of matter in a controlled way for the first time. This feat takes scientists a significant step forward in understanding the most extreme matter found in the hearts of stars and gas giant exo planets, and could help experiments aimed at recreating the nuclear fusion process that powers the sun.
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Organic chemists at the University of York have made a significant advance towards establishing the origin of the carbohydrates (sugars) that form the building blocks of life. A team led by Dr Paul Clarke in the Department of Chemistry at York have re-created a process which could have occurred in the prebiotic world.
"There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become living -- everything up to that point is chemistry," Clarke said.
Continue reading "New Clue to the Origins of Carbohydrates --The building blocks of DNA and RNA" »
Chandra's X-ray image of the core of the Perseus galaxy cluster shows hot gas in and around the supergiant galaxy, Perseus A. The colors represent low (0.5 - 1 keV = red); medium (1-2 keV = green); and high (2-7 keV = blue) X-ray energies, corresponding to low, medium and high temperatures. The small dark patch (located at two o'clock from the center of the image) is due to the absorption of X rays by gas in a galaxy of about 20 billion stars that is falling into the central galaxy.
Continue reading "Image of the Day: Supergiant Galaxy Perseus A --Billions of Stars Being Sucked into Its Central Black Hole" »
Space physicists have long lacked clues to how much electrically charged cold plasma exists tens of thousands of miles above Earth and how the stuff may impact our planet's interaction with the sun. A new method developed by Swedish researchers makes this gas measurable and reveals significantly more cold, charged ions in Earth's upper altitudes than previously imagined.
Continue reading "A Previously Hidden Solar-System Particle in Earth's Atmosphere May Improve Weather Forecasting" »
What would Earth look like to alien astronomers in the Age of the Dinosaurs? Two astronomers from Spain -- Enric Palle and Esther Sanroma, of the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands (IAC)--are modeling the clouds at different periods in Earth's past to better understand what alien worlds might look like in different stages of their evolution. The results of their reserach would not only reveal how Earth would look to a distant observer, but could also help astronomers determine the layout of landforms on alien planets.
Continue reading "What Would Earth Look Like to Alien Astronomers in the Age of Dinosaurs? --New Research Models History of Earth's Climate" »
A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) --a massive burst of solar wind, other light isotope plasma, and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space--is expected to hit Earth at about 0900 EST (1400 GMT) today, according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The radiation storm has remained at the S3 (Strong) level, but should now be at or near its peak, and is expected to begin to decrease soon, NOAA says. The forecast is for Moderate level geomagnetic storming with higher levels possible.
Continue reading "EcoAlert: Massive Solar Radiation Hitting Earth Now" »
A stunningly beautiful galaxy cluster 840 million light years from Earth with a few hundred galaxies gets its name from the strong radio source, Hydra A, above, that originates in a galaxy near the center of the cluster.
Continue reading "Galaxy Clusters & Great Walls (The Largest Structures in the Universe)" »
This image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows the dusty skeleton of a collapsed star engulfing a nearby family of stars. Scientists think the stars in the image are part of a stellar cluster in which a supernova exploded.
Continue reading "Glowing Stellar Cluster Cloaks a Neutron Star" »
Huge dunes of tiny particles of carbon cover more than 20 percent of Titan's surface. A new analysis of radar data from NASA's Cassini mission has revealed regional variations among sand dunes on Saturn's moon Titan, providing new clues about the moon's climatic and geological history.
Continue reading "Titan's Dunes --Clues to Its Climate & Geology" »