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

This result is of cosmic significance, says scientist of new form of matter

December 11, 2017 by  
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Physicists at the University of Illinois have announced they have discovered a new form of matter known as excitonium. Although theorized more than half a century ago, excitonium was only recently confirmed in experiments by the research team, which also included scientists from University of California at Berkeley, and University of Amsterdam. Excitonium is composed of a type of boson, a composite particle whose unique qualities enable the new form of matter to serve as a superconductor, superfluid, or an insulating electronic crystal. In this regard, it could be used to bolster existing technologies, aid the development of new ones, or help to bring clarity to some of the most vexing mysteries of quantum mechanics. Excitonium is composed of excitons, a combination of electrons and the empty “holes” left by empty electron states. When in an excited state, electrons on the edge of an energy level in an atom can jump to a different energy level , leaving a “hole” behind. This hole then acts with a positive force, trying to pull the negatively charged electron back to its original space. While scientists had envisioned such a state of matter , they were only recently able to identify it through a novel technique. Their work was documented in a study published in the journal Science . Related: Scientists locate half of the universe’s missing ordinary matter Although further study is needed, the implications of excitonium’s demonstrated existence is substantial. “This result is of cosmic significance,” said study co-author and University of Illinois Professor Peter Abbamonte in a press release. “Ever since the term ‘excitonium’ was coined in the 1960s by Harvard theoretical physicist Bert Halperin, physicists have sought to demonstrate its existence… Since the 1970s, many experimentalists have published evidence of the existence of excitonium, but their findings weren’t definitive proof and could equally have been explained by a conventional structural phase transition.” Via Futurism Images via  Peter Abbamonte/U. of I. Department of Physics and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory and  L. Brian Stauffer/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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This result is of cosmic significance, says scientist of new form of matter

America’s first private high-speed train could take 3M cars off the roads

December 11, 2017 by  
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America isn’t known for high-speed rail travel. But a new express train project taking off in Florida could shake up that perception. Brightline , owned by Florida East Coast Industries , will be the country’s first private, high-speed rail service, and will allow people to travel from Fort Lauderdale to Miami in half an hour, on trains powered by diesel electric engines. Floridians could soon get around Southeast Florida in around an hour aboard Brightline. The $3 billion project could take up to three million cars off the roads, on trains the company says were “designed with green in mind” with diesel electric engines that are quieter and spew less emissions . They’ll operate in Florida’s densest population corridor, where over six million people live and tourists continually visit. Related: Amtrak purchasing new high-speed trains to speed up travel between New York, Boston and Washington DC Brightline will start transporting travelers from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale this month, and in early 2018 into downtown Miami . Phase 2 will take people all the way to Orlando . Much of Brightline’s marketing revolves around ease, advertising frequent departures and the ability to book on the fly. They say rideshares will be waiting at their modern stations, and while traveling people can take advantage of free WiFi. All Aboard Florida obtained state approval earlier this year to sell bonds to finance Brightline, and said no public money will go towards paying for it. The Brightline project is the first test into an American foray into high-speed rail, according to Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions director John Renne. The vehicle speeds still won’t be as fast as some trains in other countries. Brightline trains will travel at 120 miles per hour (mph) at their fastest, but during the rollout they’ll operate at around 80 mph. The company has not yet confirmed ticket prices; a 2015 study they commissioned suggested it could be around $16 to go from Miami to West Palm, which is around $10 more than the price to journey on a government-run train on a similar route. + Brightline Via Brightline and NPR Images via Brightline and Brightline Twitter

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America’s first private high-speed train could take 3M cars off the roads

Wildfires in California now larger than NYC and Boston combined

December 11, 2017 by  
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The wildfires raging throughout Southern California are now so fierce and widespread they cover a land area larger than Boston and New York City combined. The Thomas Fire, the largest of the six blazes, covers 230,000 acres, making it the fifth largest wildfire in modern Californian history. Firefighters are struggling to make progress against the inferno, with containment of the Thomas Fire shrinking from 15 percent to 10 percent on Sunday. The fire’s spread has been aided by powerful, dry Santa Ana winds and a lack of rainfall , which are fairly typical of the Southern California coastal region. “Every single year, we have ideal conditions for the types of wildfires we’re experiencing,” ecologist Alexandra Syphard at the Conservation Biology Institute told Wired . “What we don’t have every single year is an ignition during a wind event. And we’ve had several.” Related: The fearless dog who refused to leave his goats during the Santa Rosa wildfire “The problem is not fire,” Syphard added. “The problem is people in the wrong places.” While wildfires were a normal occurrence before the development of Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California, they would typically only occur once or twice a year. Human activity in one of the most populous regions in the United States has increased the rate of wildfires, which has damaged the local ecology. “We’ve lost a lot of our natural heritage [to wildfires],” US Geological Survey research ecologist Jon Keeley told Wired . As the effects of climate change continue to become more pronounced and powerful, these ferocious wildfires may become ordinary occurrences. “With climate change, some scientists are saying that Southern California is literally burning up,” said California Governor Jerry Brown, “so we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we also have to invest in managing the vegetation and forests … in a place that’s getting hotter.” Via CNN and Wired Images via Depositphotos , US Fish and Wildlife Services  and Glenn Beltz/Flickr

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Wildfires in California now larger than NYC and Boston combined

Scientists create a new kind of matter called time crystals

January 30, 2017 by  
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Proving that there is still so much for science to discover, two groups of scientists have created a new phase of matter called time crystals. Based on a blueprint from University of California, Berkeley assistant professor of physics Norman Yao, the scientists created crystals whose structure repeats in time rather than space. If time crystals sound like a far-fetched science fiction daydream, Yao explained they move somewhat like jiggling Jell-O, but through time. Regular crystals, like diamonds , are comprised of an atomic lattice, an arrangement of atoms, that repeats in space. Time crystals’ structure can continue through time, in perpetual movement. Yao said, “Wouldn’t it be super weird if you jiggled the Jell-O and found that somehow it responded at a different period? But that is the essence of the time crystal.” Related: Scientists blend photosynthesis and quantum physics to improve solar cells The creation of time crystals in itself is crazy, but Yao said that’s not the only thrilling aspect of this advance. In a statement, he said, “This is a new phase of matter, period, but it is also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter. For the last half-century, we have been exploring equilibrium matter, like metals and insulators. We are just now starting to explore a whole new landscape of non-equilibrium matter.” In contrast, other crystals like rubies or diamonds are in motionless equilibrium, but as non-equilibrium matter time crystals continually move. Groups at Harvard University and the University of Maryland followed Yao’s blueprint and were able to create time crystals, turning futuristic fantasy into reality. They used “two totally different setups,” according to the UC Berkeley statement, and have both submitted articles for publication, with Yao as co-author on both. Physical Review Letters published a paper online earlier this month in which Yao detailed the process to create time crystals. There may be few uses for time crystals – Yao couldn’t immediately think of any – but their discovery is important as scientists begin exploring non-equilibrium matter, other phases of which could be useful, for example, in quantum computers. Via Phys.org and Popular Mechanics Images via Pixabay and Chris Monroe

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A 700-Year-Old Virus Was Brought Back to Life and Used to Infect Plants

October 28, 2014 by  
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If you thought you had nothing to worry about from 700-year-old viruses, think again. Researchers just resurrected a virus from seven century old caribou poop and used it to infect a plant, showing that viruses can remain noxious for a very, very long time. So why does this matter to us? Because as climate change causes arctic ice to melt, it could release any sort of unknown virus into the environment – and there’s no telling what kind of impact long-dormant viruses could have for modern plants and animals. Read the rest of A 700-Year-Old Virus Was Brought Back to Life and Used to Infect Plants Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags:

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A 700-Year-Old Virus Was Brought Back to Life and Used to Infect Plants

Scientists Develop Process to Turn Light into Matter

May 20, 2014 by  
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Scientists at Imperial College London have worked out a way to turn light into matter. This is achieved by colliding two photons—the particles of light —to create an electron and a positron. While theoretically this has been considered possible since 1934, when physicists Gregory Breit and John A. Wheeler identified the process, no was sure how to actually achieve it in a lab setting until now. Read the rest of Scientists Develop Process to Turn Light into Matter Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Breit-Wheeler process , hohlraums , Imperial College London , light into matter , mass-energy equivalence , matter , Oliver Pike , particle collider , photon , photon-photon collider , photons , physics

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Scientists Develop Process to Turn Light into Matter

Switching To Natural Gas From Coal Will Reduce Global Warming Much Less Than Hoped

September 9, 2011 by  
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photo: Daniel Boyd / CC BY Natural gas may have lower greenhouse gas emissions when burned than coal, but widespread switching over to natural gas for electricity won’t have much of an impact on reducing global warming, a new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research concludes. Two well-documented situations are at the heart of the matter:

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Switching To Natural Gas From Coal Will Reduce Global Warming Much Less Than Hoped

Size Doesn’t Matter in Reducing Environmental Impacts

May 19, 2010 by  
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A seasoned lifecycle assessment engineer recently pointed out differences between big-impact elements and small ones, and suggested they must be big enough to be worth an effort in an LCA-driven impact reduction exercise. That’s where he lost me.

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Size Doesn’t Matter in Reducing Environmental Impacts

Texas-Sized Swath of Canadian Forest Saved by Industry-NGO Partnership

May 18, 2010 by  
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A Canadian trade group and a slew of environmental NGOs have partnered to develop conservation plans for 72 million hectares of public Boreal Forest — an area larger than the state of Texas.

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Texas-Sized Swath of Canadian Forest Saved by Industry-NGO Partnership

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