Friday, October 19, 2018

New Study Sets a Size Limit for Undiscovered Subatomic Particles

In this artist’s representation, an electron travels between two lasers in an experiment. The electron spins on its axis as a cloud of subatomic particles are constantly emitted and reabsorbed. (Credit: Nicolle R. Fuller/National Science Foundation)

A new study suggests that many theorized heavy particles, if they exist at all, do not have the properties needed to explain the predominance of matter over antimatter in the universe. If confirmed, the findings would force significant revisions to several prominent theories posed as alternatives to the Standard Model of particle physics, which was developed in the early 1970s. Researchers from Yale, Harvard, and Northwestern University conducted the study, which was published Oct. 17 in the journal Nature.

Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 Predominantly Consists of Only One Type of Material, Study Finds

The observation of Comet 29P -- the so-called Centaur object -- was carried out in the course of the Comet activity when the brightness of the celestial body increases for hundreds of times. Credit: Michael Hauss

Evgenij Zubko of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in collaboration with other international team members has developed a comprehensive model to explain the results of a photometric study of the Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 (29P) which was successfully accomplished recently. The findings came as a real surprise revealed that the dust environment of 29P predominantly consists of only one type of material - magnesium-rich silicate particles with presumably a small amount of iron (Fe-Mg silicates).

Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility

Plants that secreted high levels of strigolactone were able to thrive in the low-nutrient soil despite the microgravity conditions. (Image: istock.com/1971yes)

With scarce nutrients and weak gravity, growing potatoes on the Moon or on other planets seems unimaginable. But the plant hormone strigolactone could make it possible, plant biologists from the University of Zurich have shown. The hormone supports the symbiosis between fungi and plant roots, thus encouraging plants’ growth – even under the challenging conditions found in space.

Astronomers Find a Cosmic Titan in the Early Universe

This galaxy proto-supercluster, nicknamed Hyperion, is the largest and most massive structure yet found at such a remote time and distance, merely 2 billion years after the Big Bang. Credit: ESO/Luis Calçada and Olga Cucciati

An international team of astronomers has discovered a titanic structure in the early universe, just 2 billion years after the Big Bang. This galaxy proto-supercluster, nicknamed Hyperion, is the largest and most massive structure yet found at such a remote time and distance.

School Students Identify Sounds Caused by Solar Storm

Dr Martin Archer (second from right) with students from Eltham Hill School and Queen Mary's Professor David Berman

The findings, by a group of year 12 pupils from Eltham Hill School in south east London, have now been published in the scientific journal Space Weather. The project encouraged schools in London to take part in university research and the resulting study presents a novel approach to undertaking scientific research by making data audible for school students to explore by listening to it.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Moon Helps Reveal Secrets of the Universe

Artist’s impression of a portion in the timeline of the Universe, around the ‘epoch of reionisation’ – the process that ionised most of the material in the cosmos. This is the first moment in the history of the cosmos when matter was in an electrically neutral state (represented in yellow). After that, a few hundred million years passed before these atoms could assemble and eventually give rise to the Universe’s first generation of stars (left of centre, in the illustration). As these first stars came to life, they filled their surroundings with light, which subsequently split neutral atoms apart, turning them back into their constituent particles: electrons and protons. This process, called cosmic reionisation, is shown at the centre of the illustration. The yellow neutral hydrogen gives off a signal that we detect as faint radio waves on Earth. Image credit: ESA – C. Carreau

The Moon may be the key to unlocking how the first stars and galaxies shaped the early Universe. A team of astronomers led by Dr Benjamin McKinley at Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) observed the Moon with a radio telescope to help search for the faint signal from hydrogen atoms in the infant Universe.

ULA Sends AEHF-4 Screaming Through the Atmosphere on Powerful Atlas V

The engines and solid rocket boosters of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket begin their task of launching the AEHF-4 satellite at 12:15 a.m. EDT on Oct. 17, 2018t. Photo Credit: Scott Schilke / SpaceFlight Insider

United Launch Alliance successfully completed another major milestone in the completion of the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extreme High Frequency (AEHF) satellite system. The fourth of six planned AEHF satellites lifted off at the very opening of a two-hour-long launch window at 12:15 a.m. EDT (04:15 GMT) Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. As is the case with all East Coast flights of the Atlas V, the satellite began its journey to space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) located in Florida.