Riding herd on photons

To prevent microwaves passing through it from reflecting backward, a new 'metamaterial' uses antennas of alternating orientations (top) that are connected by amplifier circuits (bottom).
Computer chips that use light to move data would be much more energy efficient and possibly even faster than today’s chips, which use electricity. One of the difficulties in realizing them, however, is that light moving through a “waveguide” — unlike electrons moving through a wire — can reflect backward, interfering with subsequent transmissions and even disrupting the operation of the laser that emitted it.

Blue Moon Set For August 31, 2012, With Next One Occurring In 2015

Your last chance to see a blue moon until 2015 will come around this Friday (Aug. 31), but don't expect an azure hue in the sky.

Turing machine gives order to chaotic Penrose universe

A theoretical computer built in a mixed-up mathematical universe might not sound like the most practical invention. But the discovery shows that computation can turn up in the most unlikely places, which in turn might spur more realistic models of physical and chemical processes.


Gravity waves spotted from white-dwarf pair

An artist's conception of the white dwarf pair shows how they would radiate spirals of gravitational waves
Researchers have spotted visible-light evidence for one of astronomy's most elusive targets - gravity waves - in the orbit of a pair of dead stars.

Building Blocks of Life Found Around Young Star

A team of astronomers has found molecules of glycolaldehyde — a simple form of sugar — in the gas surrounding a young binary star. This image shows the Rho Ophiuchi star-forming region in infrared light, as seen by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WISE). IRAS 16293-2422 is the red object in the centre of the small square. The inset image is an artist’s impression of glycolaldehyde molecules, showing glycolaldehyde’s molecular structure (C2H4O2). Carbon atoms are shown as grey, oxygen atoms as red, and hydrogen atoms as white. (Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/L. Calçada (ESO) & NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team)
A team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has spotted sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star. This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star.


Weighing Molecules One at a Time

This scanning electron micrograph shows one of the molecule-weighing devices. The bridge-like section at the center vibrates sideways. The scale bar at the bottom is two microns (millionths of a meter).
[Credit: Caltech / Scott Kelberg and Michael Roukes]
A team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have made the first-ever mechanical device that can measure the mass of individual molecules one at a time.

'Eye bath' to thank for quantum vision in birds

Bird's eye view (Image: Design Pics Inc/Rex Features)
The bath of cells in avian eyes could prolong a delicate quantum state that helps to explain how some birds navigate using Earth's magnetic field.

Telescope for kids


Pulsar timekeepers measure up to atomic clocks

Keeping time: using an array of pulsars to look for gravitational waves
An international team of astronomers has come up with a new way of keeping track of time by observing a collection of pulsars – rapidly rotating stars that emit radio pulses at very regular intervals. Although the ultimate goal of the research is to use pulsar timing to detect gravitational waves, the group has shown that the pulsar-based timescale can also be used to reveal inconsistencies in timescales based on atomic clocks.

Recreating a Slice of the Universe

Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and their colleagues at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) have invented a new computational approach that can accurately follow the birth and evolution of thousands of galaxies over billions of years.

Astrophile: Red giant and the exploding dwarf

Supernovaes' multiple origins (Image: Romano Corradi and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias)
Once upon a time, in a faraway place, a white-bearded dwarf lived next to a red-haired giant.
Every so often the giant would belch a great wind through the land, which lifted his stray hairs into the air and plastered them all over the dwarf's small hovel. Blaming the giant for poor hygiene, the dwarf vowed revenge and set about brewing the hair into a potion, hoping that downing the draught would give him the giant's great stature.

Experiment: The rotary egg

Read more  http://tinanantsou.blogspot.gr/2012/03/blog-post_752.html


Black Hole 'Ingredients' Seen In Milky Way's Molecular Clouds

An artist's illustration of a newfound large star cluster near the center of the Milky Way that may be a breeding ground for intermediate black holes.
Scientists investigated our galaxy's central molecular zone, which contains the most massive, densest, and most turbulent molecular clouds in the Milky Way. These surround the heart of our galaxy, which is suspected to be home to a supermassive black hole about 4 million times the mass of the sun.

Talk Of UFOs On Mars Sparked By Curious Photos From Curiosity Rover

NASA's Curiosity rover had hardly touched down on the surface of Mars on Aug. 5 when its cameras started transmitting images back to Earth of some odd things -- what some were calling UFOs.
In one instance of Martian weirdness, YouTube poster StephenHannardADGUK put a curious Curiosity image through a series of filters, revealing a number of UFO-type objects, or specks or blotches, in the sky above.

Experiment: My compass is mad!


Jupiter-like Planet Devoured By Its Own Star

Image Caption: An artist's impression of a red super giant engulfing a Jupiter-like planet as it expands. Credit: NASA

Astronomers say they’ve witnessed the death of a planet, which found its journey ended by way of its own star.


Milky Way Now Has a Twin (or Two): Astronomers Find First Group of Galaxies Just Like Ours

This image shows one of the two ‘exact matches’ to the Milky Way system found in the survey. The larger galaxy, denoted GAMA202627, which is similar to the Milky Way clearly has two large companions off to the bottom left of the image. In this image bluer colours indicate hotter, younger, stars like many of those that are found in our galaxy. (Credit: Dr. Aaron Robotham, ICRAR/St Andrews using GAMA data)

Research presented Aug. 23, 2012 at the International Astronomical Union General Assembly in Beijing has found the first group of galaxies that is just like ours, a rare sight in the local Universe.

Higgs boson faces the perils of predictability

Fulfilling expectations is normally a good thing. But the fact that the newly discovered Higgs boson is behaving exactly as expected is cutting its chances of lighting a path to new physics.

Himalayan melt may be less than thought

Rising temperatures in the Himalayas may bring more moderate melting for the region’s glaciers than some previous studies have concluded. Combining six years of topographic measurements gathered by NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite with radar data collected aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2000, an international team mapped out glacier activity throughout the range.

First Evidence Discovered of Planet's Destruction by Its Star

The first evidence of a planet's destruction by its aging star indicates that the missing planet was devoured as the star began expanding into a "red giant" — the stellar equivalent of advanced age. "A similar fate may await the inner planets in our solar system, when the Sun becomes a red giant and expands all the way out to Earth's orbit some five-billion years from now," said Alexander Wolszczan, Evan Pugh Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State and the discoverer of the first planet ever found outside our solar system. (Credit: Marty Harris/McDonald Obs./UT-Austin)
The first evidence of a planet's destruction by its aging star has been discovered by an international team of astronomers. The evidence indicates that the missing planet was devoured as the star began expanding into a "red giant" -- the stellar equivalent of advanced age.

LHC primordial matter is hottest stuff ever made

It was the ultimate phase change. Two particle smashers are homing in on what caused the seething primordial soup of the early universe to evolve into the protons and neutrons that make up ordinary matter today. In the process one has set a new record: the hottest temperature ever created by humans.