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Astrophysicists are having a heated debate over the wave structure of the Sun’s Corona - a debate which may one day influence solar weather forecasting and the theory behind fusion reactors. The Sun’s core is about 6000 degrees C, but its outer layer, the Corona, which is filled with a strong magnetic field, is 200 to 300 times hotter.

Last year American scientists thought they had cracked this paradox with research showing how high-energy Alfvén wave structures could super-heat the Corona.

The astrophysicists said they could detect Alfvén waves within the Corona – waves that have a corkscrew motion along the magnetic field at supersonic speed.

Alfvén waves or magneto-acoustic kink waves?


The Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham, Ariz., has taken celestial images using its twin side-by-side, 8.4-meter (27.6 foot) primary mirrors together, achieving first "binocular" light.

U.S., Italian and German partners in the telescope, known as the LBT, are releasing the images today. First binocular light is a milestone not only for the LBT, “now the world's most powerful telescope" but for astronomy itself, the partners say. The University of Arizona in Tucson is a quarter owner of telescope observing time.

The first binocular light images show three false-color renditions of the spiral galaxy NGC 2770. The galaxy is 102 million light years from our Milky Way, a relatively close neighbor.

Scientists studying images from The High Resolution Imaging Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have discovered never-before-seen impact "megabreccia" and a possibly once-habitable ancient lake on Mars at a place called Holden crater.

The megabreccia is topped by layers of fine sediments that formed in what apparently was a long-lived, calm lake that filled Holden crater on early Mars, HiRISE scientists say.

"Holden crater has some of the best-exposed lake deposits and ancient megabreccia known on Mars," said HiRISE's principal investigator, professor Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "Both contain minerals that formed in the presence of water and mark potentially habitable environments.

A new study published in The Journal of Finance explores the economic significance of “smart money” in the U.S. and U.K. mutual fund marketplaces.

The “Smart Money” hypothesis states that investor money is “smart” enough to flow to funds that will outperform in the future, and that investors have genuine fund selection ability. The current study employs a British data set of monthly fund information differentiated between individual and institutional investors.

Research by Aneel Keswani at the Cass Business School in London, England, and David Stolin at the Toulouse Business School in Toulouse, France, documented a smart money effect in the United Kingdom using monthly data available from 1991 to 2000. Inflows, not outflows, gave rise to the smart money effect in the U.K.

An atomic clock that uses an aluminum atom to apply the logic of computers to the peculiarities of the quantum world now rivals the world's most accurate clock, based on a single mercury atom. Both clocks are at least 10 times more accurate than the current U.S. time standard.

The measurements were made in a yearlong comparison of the two next-generation clocks, both designed and built at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The clocks were compared with record precision, allowing scientists to measure the relative frequencies of the two clocks to 17 digits-the most accurate measurement of this type ever made.

The method to the madness of quasicrystals has been a mystery to scientists. Quasicrystals are solids whose atoms aren't arranged in a repeating pattern, as they are in ordinary crystals. Yet they form intricate patterns that are technologically useful.

A computer simulation performed by University of Michigan scientists has given new insights into how this unique class of solids forms. Quasicrystals incorporate clusters of atoms as they are, without rearranging them as regular crystals do, said Sharon Glotzer, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.