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    From chris_mackintosh
    Phoenix has Found...
    From chris_mackintosh
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
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    Sat, Dec 29, 2007  Permanent link

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    WASHINGTON — NASA's Kepler mission has discovered its first Earth-size planet candidates and its first candidates in the habitable zone, a region where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface. Five of the potential planets are near Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of smaller, cooler stars than our sun.

    Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets. Kepler also found six confirmed planets orbiting a sun-like star, Kepler-11. This is the largest group of transiting planets orbiting a single star yet discovered outside our solar system.

    "In one generation we have gone from extraterrestrial planets being a mainstay of science fiction, to the present, where Kepler has helped turn science fiction into today's reality," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "These discoveries underscore the importance of NASA's science missions, which consistently increase understanding of our place in the cosmos."

    The discoveries are part of several hundred new planet candidates identified in new Kepler mission science data, released on Tuesday, Feb. 1. The findings increase the number of planet candidates identified by Kepler to-date to 1,235. Of these, 68 are approximately Earth-size; 288 are super-Earth-size; 662 are Neptune-size; 165 are the size of Jupiter and 19 are larger than Jupiter.

    Of the 54 new planet candidates found in the habitable zone, five are near Earth-sized. The remaining 49 habitable zone candidates range from super-Earth size — up to twice the size of Earth — to larger than Jupiter.

    The findings are based on the results of observations conducted May 12 to Sept. 17, 2009, of more than 156,000 stars in Kepler's field of view, which covers approximately 1/400 of the sky.

    "The fact that we've found so many planet candidates in such a tiny fraction of the sky suggests there are countless planets orbiting sun-like stars in our galaxy," said William Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., the mission's science principal investigator. "We went from zero to 68 Earth-sized planet candidates and zero to 54 candidates in the habitable zone, some of which could have moons with liquid water."

    Among the stars with planetary candidates, 170 show evidence of multiple planetary candidates. Kepler-11, located approximately 2,000 light years from Earth, is the most tightly packed planetary system yet discovered. All six of its confirmed planets have orbits smaller than Venus, and five of the six have orbits smaller than Mercury's. The only other star with more than one confirmed transiting planet is Kepler-9, which has three. The Kepler-11 findings will be published in the Feb. 3 issue of the journal Nature.

    "Kepler-11 is a remarkable system whose architecture and dynamics provide clues about its formation," said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist and Kepler science team member at Ames. "These six planets are mixtures of rock and gases, possibly including water. The rocky material accounts for most of the planets' mass, while the gas takes up most of their volume. By measuring the sizes and masses of the five inner planets, we determined they are among the lowest mass confirmed planets beyond our solar system."

    All of the planets orbiting Kepler-11 are larger than Earth, with the largest ones being comparable in size to Uranus and Neptune. The innermost planet, Kepler-11b, is ten times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. Moving outward, the other planets are Kepler-11c, Kepler-11d, Kepler-11e, Kepler-11f, and the outermost planet, Kepler-11g, which is half as far from its star as Earth is from the sun.

    The planets Kepler-11d, Kepler-11e and Kepler-11f have a significant amount of light gas, which indicates that they formed within a few million years of the system's formation.

    "The historic milestones Kepler makes with each new discovery will determine the course of every exoplanet mission to follow," said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

    Kepler, a space telescope, looks for planet signatures by measuring tiny decreases in the brightness of stars caused by planets crossing in front of them. This is known as a transit.

    Since transits of planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars occur about once a year and require three transits for verification, it is expected to take three years to locate and verify Earth-size planets orbiting sun-like stars.

    The Kepler science team uses ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope to review observations on planetary candidates and other objects of interest the spacecraft finds.

    The star field that Kepler observes in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra can only be seen from ground-based observatories in spring through early fall. The data from these other observations help determine which candidates can be validated as planets.

    For more information about the Kepler mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler
    Thu, Feb 3, 2011  Permanent link

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    Geneva, 17 November 2011. The ALPHA experiment at CERN1 has taken an important step forward in developing techniques to understand one of the Universe’s open questions: is there a difference between matter and antimatter? In a paper published in Nature today, the collaboration shows that it has successfully produced and trapped atoms of antihydrogen. This development opens the path to new ways of making detailed measurements of antihydrogen, which will in turn allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter.

    Antimatter – or the lack of it – remains one of the biggest mysteries of science. Matter and its counterpart are identical except for opposite charge, and they annihilate when they meet. At the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been produced in equal amounts. However, we know that our world is made up of matter: antimatter seems to have disappeared. To find out what has happened to it, scientists employ a range of methods to investigate whether a tiny difference in the properties of matter and antimatter could point towards an explanation.

    One of these methods is to take one of the best-known systems in physics, the hydrogen atom, which is made of one proton and one electron, and check whether its antimatter counterpart, antihydrogen, consisting of an antiproton and a positron, behaves in the same way. CERN is the only laboratory in the world with a dedicated low-energy antiproton facility where this research can be carried out.

    The antihydrogen programme goes back a long way. In 1995, the first nine atoms of man-made antihydrogen were produced at CERN. Then, in 2002, the ATHENA and ATRAP experiments showed that it was possible to produce antihydrogen in large quantities, opening up the possibility of conducting detailed studies. The new result from ALPHA is the latest step in this journey.

    Antihydrogen atoms are produced in a vacuum at CERN, but are nevertheless surrounded by normal matter. Because matter and antimatter annihilate when they meet, the antihydrogen atoms have a very short life expectancy. This can be extended, however, by using strong and complex magnetic fields to trap them and thus prevent them from coming into contact with matter. The ALPHA experiment has shown that it is possible to hold on to atoms of antihydrogen in this way for about a tenth of a second: easily long enough to study them. Of the many thousands of antiatoms the experiment has created, ALPHA’s latest paper reports that 38 have been trapped for long enough to study.

    “For reasons that no one yet understands, nature ruled out antimatter. It is thus very rewarding, and a bit overwhelming, to look at the ALPHA device and know that it contains stable, neutral atoms of antimatter,” said Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University, Denmark, spokesman of the ALPHA collaboration. “This inspires us to work that much harder to see if antimatter holds some secret.”

    In another recent development in CERN’s antimatter programme, the ASACUSA experiment has demonstrated a new technique for producing antihydrogen atoms. In a paper soon to appear in Physical Review Letters, the collaboration reports success in producing antihydrogen in a so-called Cusp trap, an essential precursor to making a beam. ASACUSA plans to develop this technique to the point at which beams of sufficient intensity will survive for long enough to be studied.

    “With two alternative methods of producing and eventually studying antihydrogen, antimatter will not be able to hide its properties from us much longer,” said Yasunori Yamazaki of Japan’s RIKEN research centre and a member of the ASACUSA collaboration. “There’s still some way to go, but we’re very happy to see how well this technique works.”

    “These are significant steps in antimatter research,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer, “and an important part of the very broad research programme at CERN.”

    Full information about the ASACUSA approach will be made available when the paper is published.

    For further information on ALPHA experiment, please read here:http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/30577
    Pictures available here:http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1307522
    Footage available here:http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1307524


    Contact

    CERN Press Office, press.office@cern.ch
    +41 22 767 34 32
    +41 22 767 21 41

    Jeffrey Hangst, ALPHA experiment spokesperson
    +41 76 487 45 89

    1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.
    Wed, Nov 17, 2010  Permanent link

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    The amazing properties of graphene now include the ability to create mass, according to a new prediction.

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    Tue, Oct 26, 2010  Permanent link

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    Sun, Jun 13, 2010  Permanent link

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    "Dark flow" is no fluke, suggests a new study that strengthens the case for unknown, unseen "structures" lurking on the outskirts of creation.

    In 2008 scientists reported the discovery of hundreds of galaxy clusters streaming in the same direction at more than 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) an hour.

    This mysterious motion can't be explained by current models for distribution of mass in the universe. So the researchers made the controversial suggestion that the clusters are being tugged on by the gravity of matter outside the known universe.

    Now the same team has found that the dark flow extends even deeper into the universe than previously reported: out to at least 2.5 billion light-years from Earth.

    After using two additional years' worth of data and tracking twice the number of galaxy clusters, "we clearly see the flow, we clearly see it pointing in the same direction," said study leader Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

    "It looks like a very coherent flow."

    The find adds to the case that chunks of matter got pushed outside the known universe shortly after the big bang—which in turn hints that our universe is part of something larger: a multiverse.

    (Related: "Searching for Other Earths" in National Geographic magazine.)

    Dark Flow's Extended Reach

    Kashlinsky and colleagues first noticed the dark flow when studying the way gas in galaxy clusters interacts with the cosmic microwave background radiation. This burst of light is thought to have been released just 380,000 years after the big bang and now permeates the universe.

    (Related: "Universe 20 Million Years Older Than Thought.")

    Data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) can show the minute temperature changes created as the cosmic microwave background radiation moves through gases in galaxy clusters.

    These gases scatter light from the cosmic microwave background radiation as it passes through the clusters, similar to the way Earth's atmosphere can scatter starlight, making some stars twinkle.

    But the clusters are also moving relative to the background radiation, so the scattered light gets distorted further by the Doppler effect. This distortion appears in the form of temperature shifts in WMAP data, which can reveal the clusters' direction and speed.

    "It is very difficult to isolate [the temperature change] for each individual cluster," Kashlinsky said, so the original study had examined 700 clusters.

    The new study is based on the collective motion of about 1,400 galaxy clusters, and seeing dark flow with the greater number of clusters gives the researchers more confidence in their result.

    In addition, the team tested their analysis method by comparing the x-ray brightness of certain clusters with the strength of temperature changes seen in the WMAP data. Brighter clusters—those with more hot gases—would be expected to have greater effects on the cosmic microwave background, and that's what the new study confirmed.

    Kashlinsky speculates that the dark flow extends "all the way across the visible universe," or about 47 billion light-years, which would fit with the notion that the clusters are being pulled by matter that lies beyond known horizons.

    Dark flow, he said, "would be much more difficult to explain theoretically if it extended [2.5 billion light-years] and then just stopped."

    Nat Geo
    Thu, May 13, 2010  Permanent link

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    DRIVING through the countryside south of Hanover, it would be easy to miss the GEO600 experiment. From the outside, it doesn't look much: in the corner of a field stands an assortment of boxy temporary buildings, from which two long trenches emerge, at a right angle to each other, covered with corrugated iron. Underneath the metal sheets, however, lies a detector that stretches for 600 metres.

    For the past seven years, this German set-up has been looking for gravitational waves - ripples in space-time thrown off by super-dense astronomical objects such as neutron stars and black holes. GEO600 has not detected any gravitational waves so far, but it might inadvertently have made the most important discovery in physics for half a century.

    via NewScientist / Space
    Fri, Jan 16, 2009  Permanent link

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    How could bees of little brain come up with anything as complex as a dance language? The answer could lie not in biology but in six-dimensional math and the bizarre world of quantum mechanics.


    More Here.
    Tue, Dec 9, 2008  Permanent link

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    A stunning light display over Saturn has stumped scientists who say it behaves unlike any other planetary aurora known in our solar system.

    'We've never seen an aurora like this elsewhere,' said Tom Stallard, a scientist working with Cassini data at the University of Leicester.

    'This aurora covers an enormous area across the pole. Our current ideas on what forms Saturn's aurora predict that this region should be empty, so finding such a bright aurora here is a fantastic surprise.'


    More here.
    Thu, Nov 13, 2008  Permanent link

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    Sat, Aug 2, 2008  Permanent link

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