Saturday, January 20, 2018

Research Challenges Existing Models of Black Holes

Chris Packham, associate professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has collaborated on a new study that expands the scientific community’s understanding of black holes in our galaxy and the magnetic fields that surround them. “Dr. Packham’s collaborative work on this study is a great example of the innovative research happening now in physics at UTSA. I’m excited to see what new research will result from these findings,” said George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences and Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Neurobiology.

New Technique for Finding Life on Mars

Co-author I. Altshuler sampling permafrost terrain near the McGill Arctic research station, Canadian high Arctic. Dr Jacqueline Goordial

Researchers demonstrate for the first time the potential of existing technology to directly detect and characterize life on Mars and other planets. The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, used miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques to identify and examine microorganisms in the Canadian high Arctic -- one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays that come with having to return samples to a laboratory for analysis, the methodology could also be used on Earth to detect and identify pathogens during epidemics in remote areas.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Long March 11 Lifts Off from Jiuquan with Six Small Satellites

Long March 11 launch on January 19. Photo Credit: Xinhua / Yang Xiaobo

China’s light-lift Long March 11 booster took to the skies on Friday, January 19, tasked with the delivery of six small satellites into orbit. The rocket was launched at 4:12 GMT (11:12 p.m. EST on Thursday, January 18) from Launch Area 4 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in northwestern China’s Gansu province.

Smartphones Come in Handy for the Rare Cosmic Particles Search

Researchers from the Laboratory of Methods for Big Data Analysis (LAMBDA) at the Higher School of Economics have improved their way of analyzing ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECR) with the use of mobile phones. The work has been carried out as part of the CRAYFIS experiment and the results were presented at the 22nd International Conference on Computing in High Energy and Nuclear Physics.

Neutron-Star Merger Yields New Puzzle for Astrophysicists

Graphic shows the X-ray counterpart to the gravitational wave source GW170817, produced by the merger of two neutron stars. The left image is the sum of observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory taken in late August and early September, 2017, and the right image is the sum of Chandra observations taken in early December, 2017. The X-ray counterpart to GW170817 is shown to the upper left of its host galaxy, NGC 4993, located about 130 million light years from Earth. The counterpart has become about four times brighter over three months.  GW170817 was first observed on August 17th, 2017. CREDIT : NASA/CXC/McGill/J.Ruan et al.

The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten – much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe.

Viruses Are Everywhere, Maybe Even in Space

Credit: David Marchal/Science Source

Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

North, East, South, West: The Many Faces of Abell 1758

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the northern part of the galaxy cluster Abell 1758, A1758N. The cluster is approximately 3.2 billion light-years from Earth and is part of a larger structure containing two cluster sitting some 2.4 million light-years apart.  But A1758N itself is further split into two sub-sections, known as East (A1758NE) and West (A1758NW). There appear to be disturbances within both of these sub-sections — strong evidence that they are the result of smaller clusters colliding and merging.  Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA

Resembling a swarm of flickering fireflies, this beautiful galaxy cluster glows intensely in the dark cosmos, accompanied by the myriad bright lights of foreground stars and swirling spiral galaxies. A1758N is a sub-cluster of Abell 1758, a massive cluster containing hundreds of galaxies. Although it may appear serene in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, the sub-cluster actually comprises two even smaller structures currently in the turbulent process of merging.