Nicolaus Copernicus's 1543 book, "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres", moved Earth from being the center of the Universe to just another planet orbiting the Sun. Since then, astronomers have extended the idea and formed the Copernican Principle, which says that our place in the Universe as a whole is completely ordinary, completely random and kind of a downer. Although the Copernican Principle is a pillar of modern cosmology, finding conclusive evidence that our neighborhood of the Universe really isn't special has proven difficult.
That's right, it's darn hard for Nihilists out there but University of British Columbia researchers are trying to help.
Found in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud, 30 Doradus is one of the largest massive star forming regions close to the Milky Way. Enormous stars in 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, are producing intense radiation and searing winds of multimillion-degree gas that carve out gigantic bubbles in the surrounding cooler gas and dust.
Other massive stars have raced through their evolution and exploded catastrophically as supernovae, expanding these bubbles into X-ray- brightened superbubbles. They leave behind pulsars as beacons of their former lives and expanding supernova remnants that trigger the collapse of giant clouds of dust and gas to form new generations of stars.
Millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at once should be enough to tear anything apart, including atomic nuclei. But ever since observations of a solar flare from NASA's STEREO spacecraft in 2006 suggested otherwise, scientists have wondered how a large amount of hydrogen atoms managed to make through the flare seemingly unscathed.
Researchers at MIT recently found an elegant solution to a sticky scientific problem in basic fluid mechanics: why water doesn't soak into soil at an even rate, but instead forms what look like fingers of fluid flowing downward.
Scientists call these rivulets "gravity fingers," and the explanation for their formation has to do with the surface tension where the water—or any liquid—meets the soil (or other medium). Knowing how to account for this phenomenon mathematically will have wide-ranging impact on science problems and engineering applications, including the recovery of oil from reservoirs and the sequestration of carbon underground.
The Milagro collaboration, comprised of scientists from 16 institutions across the United States, has discovered two nearby regions with an unexpected excess of cosmic rays. This is the second finding of a source of galactic cosmic rays relatively near Earth announced in the past week. In the November 20 issue of Nature, ATIC an international experiment led by LSU scientists announced finding an unexpected surplus of cosmic-ray electrons from an unidentified but relatively close source.
What is the latest recipe for anti-matter? Take a gold sample the size of the head of a push pin, shoot a laser through it, and suddenly more than 100 billion particles of anti-matter appear. The anti-matter, also known as positrons, shoots out of the target in a cone-shaped plasma "jet."
This new ability to create a large number of positrons in a small laboratory opens the door to several fresh avenues of anti-matter research, including an understanding of the physics underlying various astrophysical phenomena such as black holes and gamma ray bursts. Anti-matter research also could reveal why more matter than anti-matter survived the Big Bang at the start of the universe.
A new approach to calibrating quantum mechanical measurement has been developed with particular applications in optics and super-secure quantum communication.Scientists have used the approach to directly calibrate a detector that can sense the presence of multiple individual photons, it is revealed in research published today in Nature Physics.
Being able to sense the presence of individual photons is an important requirement for the development of future long-distance quantum communication devices and networks. One of the potential applications of this new detector is in devices for secret communications, which could allow information to be exchanged in total security guaranteed by the laws of physics, with no possibility of interception, or eavesdropping.
A major milestone has been achieved in the completion of the U's next-generation particle accelerator, ALICE, which is set to produce an intense beam of light that will revolutionize the way in which accelerator based light source research facilities will be designed in the future.
ALICE is an acronym standing for Accelerators and Lasers In Combined Experiments. Financed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council with seed funding from the North West Development Agency, the project is designed to produce light from both the accelerator and advanced lasers that can be used simultaneously in cutting edge experiments.
Dark matter is believed to account for 85 per cent of the Universe’s mass but has never been detected. Scientists inferred its existence from gravitational effects of objects in space more than 75 years ago and it has become quite prominent in physics, for something that's never been seen or verified.
The international Virgo Consortium say they can change that and have used a massive computer simulation showing the evolution of a galaxy like the Milky Way to “see” gamma-rays given off by dark matter. They say their findings, published in Nature, could help NASA’s Fermi Telescope in its search for the dark matter and open a new chapter in our understanding of the Universe.