Astronomers are baffled by a newly-discovered galaxy that lacks dark matter

March 29, 2018 by  
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For the first time ever, scientists have identified a galaxy , NGC1052-DF2, that seems to lack the presence of dark matter.  For decades, scientists have believed that dark matter is a major aspect of any galaxy, which makes this discovery completely baffling. In an odd way, the new galaxy’s lack of dark matter may serve as evidence for the existence of it by demonstrating that there is much astronomers do not understand about such vast low-density galaxies. Although scientists have yet to directly observe dark matter, they believe it is out there due to the unusual motion of galaxies, which move as if under a greater gravitational force than that from the presence of regular matter. “These ultra-diffuse galaxies have a huge variety of properties,” study lead author Pieter van Dokkum told Gizmodo . “Some have a lot of dark matter , and some have no dark matter. There’s such an enormous range.” These observations have led scientists to believe that the universe may contain six times as much dark matter as ordinary matter . In a new study published in Nature , astronomers documented their observation that NGC1052-DF2 did not seem to rotate at all, indicating a lack of dark matter. “We could only derive an upper bound to the measured motion because it’s moving so slowly that our instrument couldn’t detect it,” said van Dokkum. Related: Scientists capture first ever image of dark matter web that connects galaxies The team also recently discovered a Dragonfly 44 with a similar structure to NGC1052-DF2, though its rotation suggests that the galaxy is composed of more than 99 percent dark matter. These observations were made possible by the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, a powerful telescope that shines a light on the universe’s secrets. This is exactly the sort of thing the Dragonfly instrument excels at discovering,” astrophysicist Sarah Tuttle told Gizmodo , “and confirming a low-mass galaxy without dark matter is an important step in understanding both galaxy formation and evolution, as well as cosmology.” Via Gizmodo Images via  Pieter van Dokkum and PBS

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Astronomers are baffled by a newly-discovered galaxy that lacks dark matter

How floating solar panels are helping the Maldives ditch diesel fuel

March 29, 2018 by  
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Tropical islands might boast pure natural scenery, but their energy sources are often anything but pure. Many power-hungry resorts in the Maldives rely on diesel, a notorious pollutant, for their energy needs. Swimsol , a solar power company based in Austria, is working to change that. Because many of the islands in the Maldives are tiny — you can walk across some of them in under 10 minutes — there isn’t much space for solar power , but Swimsol has solved the problem by turning to the seas. Inhabitat caught up with founder and managing director Martin Putschek to find out more. Sunshine is plentiful in the Maldives; land, not so much. To make matters more challenging, rooftop solar has limited potential – tropical buildings often aren’t made for bearing heavy loads like buildings in colder locations that must withstand snow. “But what you have is huge atolls, around 10 to 20 kilometers wide, roughly. You’ve got the outer reef around this atoll and inside this outer reef, it’s a little like a lake,” Putschek told Inhabitat. After a business trip to the Maldives, the idea came to him while practicing the violin: what if he could install floating solar panels on that water? Related: The Netherlands plans 26,910-square-foot floating solar farm at sea Swimsol’s SolarSea systems are the result of that spark of inspiration – and their first commercial pilot has been operating for just over three years. Solar panels are mounted atop a patent-pending marine-grade aluminum alloy framework designed to let waves pass through. The system, which the company says will last 30 years or more, can withstand waves of around six and a half feet high and winds of around 75 miles per hour. Each platform, which is about 46 by 46 feet, can power around 25 households. Swimsol says the systems assemble much like IKEA furniture, and three people could build one platform on a beach in under a day — no heavy machinery or welding necessary. And it turns out solar panels drifting on the sea are actually more productive than those on land, thanks to water’s cooling effect. “We measured the temperature difference between solar panels on a roof and on a floating structure which were installed very close to each other, like 200 meters apart, and at lunch time you can see a temperature difference of 20 degrees,” Putschek told Inhabitat. He said they can obtain as much as 10 percent more power from floating panels, depending on the time of day. But do floating solar panels impact marine life? Putschek said they clearly need to keep systems away from coral reefs , which need sunlight. Fortunately, there are swaths of water with sandy seabeds where they can install solar. “Regarding the fish , they actually like it. They like the shade and places where they can hide. The whole thing serves as a fish-aggregating device, which is a term for floating platforms with no purpose other than just attracting fish. Ours are solar platforms, but that’s a side effect,” Putschek said. He said corals even grow on the platforms, turning them into artificial reefs. Right now, Swimsol is not selling the floating systems, but the electricity they produce — and they’re able to sell it cheaper than diesel, without a government-subsidized feed-in tariff. “We installed a little over a megawatt last year. This year we’re probably installing about three or so, and in terms of money that’s between $3 and $6 million,” Putschek said. They’re planning a crowdfunding campaign in Austria and Germany in a couple of months, and are looking for a strategic partner for further growth and to help them get access to more funding. “If you install one kilowatt of solar, so that’s four panels, you can save 400 liters of diesel a year. So 100 kilowatts would be 40,000 liters; one megawatt would be 400,000 liters. The point is, it makes sense to go big,” said Putschek. “The idea would be to install dozens of megawatts because the space is there, the need is there. In 2014, the Maldives spent one fifth of their gross domestic product on fuel. That means every hour you work, 12 minutes you only work for diesel. People talk about tidal energy or wind energy and that’s all fantastic but it doesn’t work in the tropics. In the Caribbean, yes; there you have wind. But in the Maldives or Singapore you don’t have enough wind, and you also don’t have big waves. The renewable energy of choice is solar. Because what they do have is a lot of sun. They also have a lot of sea. We’re just combining the two.” + Swimsol Images courtesy of Swimsol

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How floating solar panels are helping the Maldives ditch diesel fuel

NASA picks two finalists for exciting new robotic mission

December 22, 2017 by  
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NASA is planning a robotic mission for the mid-2020s, and they’ve chosen two finalists for a possible destination. One option could snag a sample from a comet nucleus, which could help us understand the origins of life and the oceans on Earth. The other could fly to Saturn’s moon Titan – which scientists think holds an ingredient for life and also has enough energy resources for a United States-sized colony. Out of 12 submitted proposals, NASA has selected two finalist concepts for their robotic mission slated for sometime in the next decade. One is the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR), which would attempt to gather a sample from the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. According to NASA, comets are comprised of “materials from ancient stars, interstellar clouds, and the birth of our solar system .” Obtaining a sample could help us understand how those materials might have played a role in early Earth. Related: Saturn’s biggest moon has enough energy to power a US-sized space colony Option two is a voyage to Titan. NASA could send Dragonfly, a drone-like dual-quadcopter lander, to the ocean world near Saturn to “explore the prebiotic chemistry and habitability of dozens of sites” – some hundreds of miles apart. Dragonfly could conduct seismic studies, image landforms to delve into geological processes, and monitor surface and atmospheric conditions. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement, “This is a giant leap forward in developing our next bold mission of science discovery. These are tantalizing investigations that seek to answer some of the biggest questions in our solar system today.” Cornell University leads the team behind CAESAR, while the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is behind Dragonfly. Both will receive funding through the end of next year to develop the ideas further, and NASA plans to pick one in 2019. Via NASA Images via NASA

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Newly discovered ‘ghost galaxy’ full of dark matter is as big as the Milky Way

August 26, 2016 by  
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Astronomers have discovered, with the aid of some powerful telescopes, a galaxy made up mostly of dark matter . Dragonfly 44, as it has been named, is roughly the same size as our Milky Way but with far fewer stars. Rather, the galaxy appears to be composed largely of dark matter, which does not emit light or interact with electromagnetic radiation. Although there is much more to learn about the mysterious dark galaxy, scientists’ initial findings have surprised astronomy experts more than once. Studies of Dragonfly 44 began with curiosity, as many deep space explorations do, after it was identified last year as little more than a smudge-like spot on an image of the Coma Cluster of galaxies captured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (above left). Right away, astronomers knew they had to investigate, and time-lapse images captured by the Gemini North telescope (above right) show the galaxy’s diffuse nature. “Very soon after its discovery, we realized this galaxy had to be more than meets the eye. It has so few stars that it would quickly be ripped apart unless something was holding it together,” Yale University astronomer Pieter van Dokkum, lead author of the study, told Phys.org. Related: Newly discovered dwarf galaxy may be falling into the Milky Way More powerful equipment was needed to get a better look, so the team turned to the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini North telescope , in Hawaii, for help. Van Dokkum’s team was able to measure the velocity of stars in Dragonfly 44 by comparing images taken over six nights. Star velocity is a key element in gaining an understanding of the composition of a far-away galaxy, because it can help convey the galaxy’s mass. A higher velocity suggests a galaxy of higher mass. Knowing that the galaxy had very few stars (and thus not much light) but a mass closer to that of the Milky Way, researchers concluded that the newly discovered galaxy must be comprised mostly of dark matter . “Amazingly, the stars move at velocities that are far greater than expected for such a dim galaxy. It means that Dragonfly 44 has a huge amount of unseen mass,” said co-author Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto. Further studies of Dragonfly 44 may help scientists finally come to an understanding of what dark matter actually is, which has eluded researchers since its existence was first suggested nearly a century ago. A paper on the initial study of Dragonfly 44 was recently published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Via Phys.org Lead image via Dean Rowe ; additional image via Pieter van Dokkum, Roberto Abraham, Gemini, Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

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Newly discovered ‘ghost galaxy’ full of dark matter is as big as the Milky Way

Dyson is releasing a combination air purifier, bladeless fan, and space heater for $599

August 26, 2016 by  
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Thanks to Dyson ’s newest innovation, you will only need one outlet to run an air purifier , cooling fan, and space heater. The Pure Hot + Cool Link combines all three devices into one , saving space and money. Dyson integrated its Cool bladeless fan, Hot heater, and Pure Cool Link air purifier into one multipurpose, climate-controlling product. The Pure Hot + Cool Link uses the same revered HEPA filter used in other products, which is said to remove 99.97 percent of bothersome air particles. Nasty smells, pet dander, pollen, mold, and other forms of pollution are safely filtered away. Related: Dyson has developed an LED lamp that lasts for 37 years Hot or cool air can be dispersed throughout an entire room or in a targeted blast toward your reading corner. Auto mode can be enabled to take the guess work out of creating a comfortable environment and the whole system can be controlled with a smartphone app. The app also monitors air quality and can turn on its sleep function for quiet filtering. The $599 device will be available online starting September 8 and will hit stores on September 18, 2016. + Dyson Via  Gizmodo Images via  Dyson

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Dyson is releasing a combination air purifier, bladeless fan, and space heater for $599

Japanese Engineers Create Ultralight, 3D-Printed Ornithopter Based on a Prehistoric Dragonfly!

August 29, 2013 by  
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Since the early days of our existence, humans have always been jealous of flying animals. From bugs to birds, we’ve spent a lot of time trying to copy organisms who have the ability to defy gravity. Our modern planes, helicopters , and yes, even drones  are our best attempts to recreate nature’s engineering, but none have come close to the beauty of a real bird in flight – until now. Osaka-based  Flapping Wing Production Studio  recently released a video of their latest invention: an ultralight orinthopter (a craft that flies by flapping its wings.) Built using simple materials and mechanical parts made with a 3D printer, “Meganeuropsis” is one of the largest orinthopters to complete a successful flight. Read the rest of Japanese Engineers Create Ultralight, 3D-Printed Ornithopter Based on a Prehistoric Dragonfly! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3D printing , dragonfly , drone , Flapping Wing Production Studio , helicopter , Japan , Makerbot Replicator , Meganeuropsis , Orinthopter        

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Japanese Engineers Create Ultralight, 3D-Printed Ornithopter Based on a Prehistoric Dragonfly!

Dragonfly personal helicopter flies on hydrogen, emits water vapor

August 10, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Eco-friendly personal helicopter powered by hydrogen peroxide.

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Dragonfly personal helicopter flies on hydrogen, emits water vapor

EnSol’s new solar technology could enable buildings generate their own energy

August 10, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Thin film solar panels can be coated onto window glass for energy generation. Norwegian company EnSol AS has created a unique patented film that can be coated onto window glass so that windows in buildings can become electricity generators. The research was led by Chris Binns of Leicester University and the film could be available within five years.

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EnSol’s new solar technology could enable buildings generate their own energy

Ventus folding wind power station to meet your camping needs

August 10, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Folding wind turbine generates up to 400W of renewable power. Based on the “Savonius” type of wind turbines, the Ventus, by designer Sergej Kuckir , is a portable and folding wind power station that can be carried along during a camp or a scientific expedition in the wilds. The entire system which features a vertical axis wind turbine, turbine mast and batteries can be folded and packed in a tube just 10cm in diameter.

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Ventus folding wind power station to meet your camping needs

Electric Custom Bike Concept is a muscle car on two wheels

August 10, 2010 by  
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Eco Factor: Concept motorcycle powered by a electric engine. The brainchild of designer Jean Baptiste Robilliard , the Custom Bike is what the future of environmentally friendly two-wheelers could be like

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Electric Custom Bike Concept is a muscle car on two wheels

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