MIT's research in 2012 von an ancient lunar rock suggests that the moon once harbored a long-lived dynamo — a molten, convecting core of liquid metal that generated a strong magnetic field 3.7 billion years ago. The findings pointed to a dynamo that lasted much longer than scientists previously thought, and suggest that an alternative energy source may have powered the dynamo.
Continue reading ""The Moon Was Once Powered by a Dynamo Core" --MIT Research Revealed Ancient Power Source" »
A major Antarctic research project is underway in which scientists will drill through a half-mile of ice to penetrate subglacial Lake Whillans and study hidden processes that govern the dynamics of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The scientists will be the first visitors to Lake Whillans in over a million years. The Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project, funded by a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), will examine subglacial environments in Antarctica, including what may be the last unexplored aquatic environments on Earth. The project's multidisciplinary team of researchers from nine U.S. institutions.
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This past December, researchers discovered a quasar known as SDSS J1106+1939 with the most energetic outflow ever, a finding that may answer questions about how the mass of a galaxy is linked to its central black hole mass and why there are so few large galaxies in the universe. The rate that energy is carried away by the huge mass of material ejected is equivalent to two trillion times the power output of the sun. The black hole at the heart of quasar SDSS J1106-1939 is massive, estimated to be a thousand times heavier than the black hole in the Milky Way.
Continue reading "Colossal Quasar Discovered --Energy Output 100 Times Milky Way" »
A pulsar that is able, without warning, to dramatically change the way in which it shines has been identified by an international team of astronomers. Using a satellite X-ray telescope combined with terrestrial radio telescopes the pulsar was found to flip on a roughly half-hour timescale between two extreme states; one dominated by X-ray pulses, the other by a highly-organised pattern of radio pulses.The emission of X-rays and radio waves by these pulsating neutron stars is able to change dramatically in seconds, simultaneously, in a way that cannot be explained with current theory. It suggests a quick change of the entire magnetosphere. In their research the team combined observations from the X-ray space telescope XMM-Newton and the radio telescope LOFAR.
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"It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such an event -- such a singularity -- are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm."
Vernor Vinge -SciFi great
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New research this past December, led by Yale University scientists, suggests that a rocky planet twice Earth's size orbiting a nearby star is a diamond planet. "This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth," said lead researcher Nikku Madhusudhan, a Yale postdoctoral researcher in physics and astronomy. "The surface of this planet is likely covered in graphite and diamond rather than water and granite." The study estimates that at least a third of the planet's mass—the equivalent of about three Earth masses—could be diamond.
Continue reading "Rocky Planet Found With an Alien Chemistry Vastly Different than Earth (Today's Most Popular)" »
"Consider the human brain," says physicist Sir Roger Penrose. "If you look at the entire physical cosmos, our brains are a tiny, tiny part of it. But they're the most perfectly organized part. Compared to the complexity of a brain, a galaxy is just an inert lump."
Continue reading ""More Complex Than the Milky Way?" --Project 'Blue Brain' and New Insights into the Biochemical Makeup of the Human Brain" »
Astrophysicists have known for the last 80 years that most of the universe consists of an unknown, dark matter. The solution to the mystery may now be just around the corner. "We are looking for a new member of our particle zoo in order to explain dark matter. We know that it is a very exotic beast. And we have found a plausible explanation," reports Are Raklev, an associate professor in particle physics in the University of Oslo's Department of Physics --the university's leading theorist in astroparticle physics. Raklev has launched a model that explains what dark matter may consist of and how one can discover the invisible particles experimentally.
Continue reading ""Gravitinos" --Will They Unlock the Mystery of Dark Matter in the Universe?" »
The Helix Nebula is one of the closest and most remarkable examples of a planetary nebula. It lies in the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Bearer), about 700 light-years away from Earth. This strange object formed when a star like the Sun was in the final stages of its life. Unable to hold onto its outer layers, the star slowly shed shells of gas that became the nebula. It is evolving to become a white dwarf star and appears as the tiny blue dot seen at the centre of the image at bottom of the page.
Continue reading "Odd Objects of the Helix Nebula --"Each the Size of our Solar System"" »
Sri Lankan-born British mathematician, Chandra Wickramasinghe, discovered that a two-inch wide meteorite that crash landed in a fireball in central Sri Lanka in December was pitted with tiny fossils of algae, similar to the kind found in seaweed. Wickramasinghe, currently Director of the 'Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology', was a student and collaborator of Fred Hoyle. Their joint work on the infrared spectra of interstellar grains led to developing the hypothesis of panspermia that proposes that cosmic dust in the interstellar medium and in comets is partly organic, and that life on Earth was 'seeded' from space.
Continue reading "From the X Files: "A Meteroite That Crashed to Earth this December Offers Proof that We are All Aliens"" »