Northrop Grumman launched a Cygnus spacecraft filled with NASA supplies (and some tasty treats) to the International Space Station Saturday (Feb. 15) in an afternoon liftoff that had some impeccable timing.
An Antares rocket (also built by Northrop Grumman) launched the uncrewed Cygnus NG-13 spacecraft at 3:21 p.m. EST (2043 GMT) — that’s “3-2-1” for a liftoff time — from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
“Awesome launch today,” Joel Montalbano, NASA’s deputy program manager for the International Space Station, said just after launch during live commentary.
A study by British and American scientists revealed that a massive sheet of ice known as the “doomsday glacier” is melting faster than experts previously believed—edging the world closer to a possible sea-level rise of more than 10 feet. Researchers at New York University and the British Antarctic Survey drilled through nearly 2,000 feet of […]
Surprisingly, the results contradicted some expectations that scientists had regarding how solar winds behave. According to the results, there are flips in the Sun’s magnetic field direction called “switchbacks”, which can sometimes even point the winds back at the Sun. At the moment, the cause of these “switchbacks” is still unknown to scientists, but through the understanding of them, we could learn a deeper understanding of how stars are born. Scientists were again shocked at the discovery of solar winds traveling at speeds that are “nearly ten times larger than predicted by the standard models”, said Justin Kasper, principal investigator at the University of Michigan. Scientists also discovered that the Sun’s radiation vaporizes dust particles at about 3.5 million miles around itself. The Parker Probe is at the moment suffering in terribly hot conditions, but scientists say the information that it is providing them is revolutionary.
Austrian and Chinese scientists have succeeded in teleporting three-dimensional quantum states for the first time. High-dimensional teleportation could play an important role in future quantum computers.
With this, the international research team has also made an important step towards practical applications such as a future quantum internet, since high-dimensional quantum systems can transport larger amounts of information than qubits. “This result could help to connect quantum computers with information capacities beyond qubits”, says Anton Zeilinger, quantum physicist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna, about the innovative potential of the new method.
The participating Chinese researchers also see great opportunities in multidimensional quantum teleportation.
The speed and extent of current global warming exceeds any similar event in the past 2,000 years, researchers say.
They show that famous historic events like the “Little Ice Age” don’t compare with the scale of warming seen over the last century.
The research suggests that the current warming rate is higher than any observed previously.
The scientists say it shows many of the arguments used by climate sceptics are no longer valid.
Fernando Corbató, whose work on computer time-sharing in the 1960s helped pave the way for the personal computer, as well as the computer password, died on Friday at a nursing home in Newburyport, Mass. He was 93.
His wife, Emily Corbató, said the cause was complications of diabetes. At his death he was a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Corbató, who spent his entire career at M.I.T., oversaw a project in the early 1960s called the Compatible Time-Sharing System, or C.T.S.S., which allowed multiple users in different locations to access a single computer simultaneously through telephone lines.
At the time, computing was done in large batches, and users typically had to wait until the next day to get the results of a computation.
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How to watch the solar eclipse
The solar eclipse will be visible over a 125-mile (200km) wide path which spans from coast to coast across Chile and Argentina.
However, the maximum time of four minutes and 33 seconds may be visible only to observers on boats and aeroplanes, as it will be happening over the Pacific Ocean.
Countries nearby such as Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Ecuador will be able to witness a partial eclipse, as only part of the Sun will be blocked.
Totality will first make landfall over Oeno Island, a British territory in the South Pacific Ocean, at 10.24 am local time (7.24pm BST).
A Florida woman wanted after a picture of her riding a sea turtle went viral on social media was arrested early Saturday, police said.
Stephanie Moore, 20, was jailed on a $2,000 bond on a felony warrant on charges of possessing, selling or molesting a marine turtle or eggs nest, the Melbourne Police Department said on Facebook.
Moore was allegedly one of two women sitting on sea turtles in photographs from early July. After the pictures were shared online, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took up the case as a criminal investigation. The department asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspects.
Moore was arrested after police in Melbourne, on Florida’s Atlantic coast, responded to a disturbance at a home Saturday. They determined a warrant had been out for her.
Green sea turtles make a comeback in Florida 2:22
The University of New Orleansand Louisiana State University have scheduled public viewing events for the unusual total lunar eclipse that will occur Sunday night (Sept. 27). The eclipse — the last total lunar eclipse until 2017 — begins at 8:07 p.m. and ends at 11:27 p.m. in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas.
UNO astrophysicist C. Greg Seab and the Pontchartrain Astronomy Society are sponsoring a public gathering to discuss and view the eclipse on the university campus. Seab, a physics professor, will discuss “Moons, Supermoons and Lunar Eclipses” at 7 p.m. in Room 1001 of the Science Building.
Seab said those viewing the eclipse are likely to see dramatic changes in the moon’s color — from dusky gray to bright red-orange. “It has been called a blood moon because of its color, Seab said. “But that is not an astronomical term.”
If weather permits, the public will be able to watch the full moon rise and also be able to see Saturn. Pontchartrain Astronomical Society members will have telescopes set up at about 7 p.m. for public viewing.
Parking for the UNO event is located in a lot off Leon C. Simon Boulevard and St. Anthony Boulevard.
The Landolt Astronomical Observatory on the LSU campus will be open to the public between 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The observatory is making its large Alvan Clark Telescope available for public viewing of the “blood moon.”
“An astronaut standing on the moon would see our earth completely covering the sun, with the sun’s corona sticking out, giving a halo around the Earth,” said professor Bradley Schaefer of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy. “But the brightest light will actually be a brilliant red rim all around the Earth’s edge caused by seeing all of the world’s sunsets simultaneously.”
The Ladolt observatory is on the roof of Nicholson Hall on Tower Drive next to the LSU Student Union. Free parking will be available in the parking lot between Nicholson Hall and the Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex. A stairway to the observatory is on the first floor of Nicholson Hall. The observatory is accessible to handicapped persons.
The observatory is open to the public once a month. The next scheduled viewing will be of Saturn and its rings Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
Interested in combining eclipse watching and night fishing? The St. Tammany Parish Fishing Pier is providing an opportunity to do both, with $1 admission just for viewing, $3 for fishing. The pier is located at 54001 E. Howze Beach Road, Slidell, and will be open Sunday from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Just want to check out the eclipse in your own yard, or on the Web? Check out Sky & Telescope magazine’s tips for viewers and its scheduled high-definition webcast:
The magazine also has made available a lunar eclipse ebook. It includes a large moon map and lots of information about the eclipse.
By Rachel Feltman September 22 at 8:03 AM
Researcher: ‘We’re finding a lost world of dinosaurs’
A research team in Alaska have discovered a new species of duck-billed dinosaur that endured months of winter darkness and probably experienced snow. The researchers from Florida State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks say the remote area they’re exploring may hold many more dino-discoveries. (Florida State University/University of Alaska Fairbanks)
Paleontology can be pretty grueling work, especially if you want to study dinosaurs who could handle snow.
To get to the Prince Creek Formation of Alaska — an area rich with fossils of creatures who lived in the ancient Arctic — scientists have to wait for things to thaw. Then they have to come in on tiny bush planes and take inflatable boats down rivers plagued by crumbling cliffs. If they make it to the dig site without a plane crash or a cascade of boulders, they’re in for freezing rain, snow, and hordes of mosquitoes — not to mention bears, wolves, and other dangerous predators.
esearchers spent a month at the dig site along the Colville River on Alaska’s North Slope, which meant they experienced a wide variety of weather, including snow. (Greg Erickson)
They endure all this for a single month of field work. It would be a tad longer if not for falcon nesting season.
“The falcons do dive bomb us pretty frequently,” Florida State University professor Greg Erikson told The Post.
But for Erikson and his colleagues, it’s worth it. To them, this part of Alaska is the last frontier of dinosaur discovery. Along with Patrick Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and associate professor of geology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Erikson has just announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur found in the area.
[New York’s Natural History Museum is getting a dinosaur so huge its head will peek into the next room]
But the duck-billed dino is even more exciting than your usual find. The dinosaur, which was previously believed to belong to a well-known species, was incredibly abundant around 70 million years ago. They’ve already found some 10,000 bones from the species.
A handful of bones from the new species. Over 10,000 bones from the creature have been found. (Pat Druckenmiller)
And that means that it thrived in an area that was — at least for a dinosaur — remarkably cold.
“It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of dinosaurs living up in the polar world was kind of, you know, really? Are you kidding?” Druckenmiller said. We don’t know a ton about how dinosaur metabolisms worked (in fact, the debate over whether they were warm or cold blooded still rages on) but most people think of them as fairly tropical creatures, like modern lizards.
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It’s an intriguing question, and one that’s difficult to answer with bones alone: Did dinosaurs, like modern reptiles, need to bask in the sun and heat to survive? Or were they warm-blooded, like the birds that would become their only surviving descendants — able to survive in the cold and dark? Erikson and Druckenmiller’s new species shows that the answer may be quite complicated.
The new species, called Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, is described in a study published Tuesday in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. At 25 feet long, the plant eater looked very similar to Edmontosaurus, a duck-billed dinosaur frequently found in Alberta and Montana. But the abundant bones, which the researchers believe are gathered in one place because a herd of young dinosaurs were attacked, showed enough small differences to make them suspicious. Detailed analysis by Hirotsugu Mori, a former graduate student at UAF, helped confirm that this was a new creature.
[Scientists find a new dinosaur with well preserved, bird-like wings — but not for flight]
At the time that these dinosaurs lived their region would have averaged temperatures in the low 40s. “By reptilian standards, that’s pretty chilly,” Druckenmiller said. So he and his colleagues believe that this species must have had special adaptations to live in the cold.
“These were dinosaurs living at the very edge of what we think dinosaurs were physiological capable of,” he said.
Greg Erickson repels down to the dig site on a rare sunny day. (Greg Erickson)
Erickson added that these extreme conditions created a sort of “natural laboratory.” If the team can figure out how U. kuukpikensis was different from its close cousins in balmier regions, they might figure out how the new species managed to survive the cold.
[Dinosaurs aren’t really extinct]
The researchers are particularly interested in looking at how quickly the new species grew, which could tell them whether or not it used an unusually slow metabolism to manage the cold. They can track growth rates by looking at lines of arrested growth in the dinosaur bones, which are basically the same as the rings on a tree.
In addition to cold and occasional snow, the dinosaurs also endured darkness: The region would have been dark for three to five months a year, and there’s no sign that the dinosaurs migrated to get some sun. The researchers already have evidence of at least 13 species of dinosaurs taking up permanent residence in this inhospitable place, and they expect to find even more — including a few unknown species.
“It’s intriguing for us to ponder how they survived those months of darkness,” Erickson said. “We’re just finding this whole new world of dinosaurs we didn’t know existed.”
Light reflects off the cloak (red arrows) as if it were reflecting off a flat mirror in this 3D illustration
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cloak of invisibility may be common in science fiction but it is not so easy in the real world. New research suggests such a device may be moving closer to reality.
Scientists said on Thursday they have successfully tested an ultra-thin invisibility cloak made of microscopic rectangular gold blocks that, like skin, conform to the shape of an object and can render it undetectable with visible light.
The researchers said while their experiments involved cloaking a miniscule object they believe the technology could be made to conceal larger objects, with military and other possible applications.
The cloak, 80 nanometers in thickness, was wrapped around a three-dimensional object shaped with bumps and dents. The cloak’s surface rerouted light waves scattered from the object to make it invisible to optical detection.
It may take five to 10 years to make the technology practical to use, according to Xiang Zhang, director of the Materials Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
“We do not see fundamental roadblocks. But much more work needs to be done,” said Zhang, whose research was published in the journal Science.
The technology involves so-called metamaterials, which possess properties not present in nature. Their surfaces bear features much smaller than the size of a wavelength of light. They redirect incoming light waves, shifting them away from the object being cloaked.
The cloaking “skin” boasts microscopic light-scattering antennae that make light bouncing off an object look as if it were reflected by a flat mirror, rendering the object invisible.
“The fact that we can make a curved surface appear flat also means that we can make it look like anything else. We also can make a flat surface appear curved,” said Penn State University electrical engineering professor Xingjie Ni, the study’s lead author.
The researchers said they overcame two drawbacks of previous experimental microscopic cloaks that were bulkier and harder to “scale up,” or become usable for larger objects.
Ni said the technology eventually could be used for military applications like making large objects like vehicles or aircraft or even individual soldiers “invisible.”
Ni also mentioned some unconventional applications.
How about a cloaking mask for the face? “All the pimples and wrinkles will no longer be visible,” Ni said. How about fashion design? Ni suggested a cloak that “can be made to hide one’s belly.”
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Eric Beech)
- US scientists make tiny invisibility cloakAFP
- Invisibility Cloak May Be Moving Closer To Reality Huffington Post
- Scientists May Have Finally Developed a Practical Invisibility Cloak Complex Media
- Invisibility Cloaks Could Change the Face of Military Operations Newsweek
- 26 Images Will Make You Re-evaluate Your Existence Neekly Sponsored
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can achieve an energy that no other particle accelerators have reached before, but Nature routinely produces higher energies in cosmic-ray collisions. Concerns about the safety of whatever may be created in such high-energy particle collisions have been addressed for many years. In the light of new experimental data and theoretical understanding, the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) has updated a review of the analysis made in 2003 by the LHC Safety Study Group, a group of independent scientists.
LSAG reaffirms and extends the conclusions of the 2003 report that LHC collisions present no danger and that there are no reasons for concern. Whatever the LHC will do, Nature has already done many times over during the lifetime of the Earth and other astronomical bodies. The LSAG report has been reviewed and endorsed by CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee, a group of external scientists that advises CERN’s governing body, its Council.
The following summarizes the main arguments given in the LSAG report. Anyone interested in more details is encouraged to consult it directly, and the technical scientific papers to which it refers.
The LHC, like other particle accelerators, recreates the natural phenomena of cosmic rays under controlled laboratory conditions, enabling them to be studied in more detail. Cosmic rays are particles produced in outer space, some of which are accelerated to energies far exceeding those of the LHC. The energy and the rate at which they reach the Earth’s atmosphere have been measured in experiments for some 70 years. Over the past billions of years, Nature has already generated on Earth as many collisions as about a million LHC experiments – and the planet still exists. Astronomers observe an enormous number of larger astronomical bodies throughout the Universe, all of which are also struck by cosmic rays. The Universe as a whole conducts more than 10 million million LHC-like experiments per second. The possibility of any dangerous consequences contradicts what astronomers see – stars and galaxies still exist.
Microscopic black holes
Nature forms black holes when certain stars, much larger than our Sun, collapse on themselves at the end of their lives. They concentrate a very large amount of matter in a very small space. Speculations about microscopic black holes at the LHC refer to particles produced in the collisions of pairs of protons, each of which has an energy comparable to that of a mosquito in flight. Astronomical black holes are much heavier than anything that could be produced at the LHC.
According to the well-established properties of gravity, described by Einstein’s relativity, it is impossible for microscopic black holes to be produced at the LHC. There are, however, some speculative theories that predict the production of such particles at the LHC. All these theories predict that these particles would disintegrate immediately. Black holes, therefore, would have no time to start accreting matter and to cause macroscopic effects.
Although theory predicts that microscopic black holes decay rapidly, even hypothetical stable black holes can be shown to be harmless by studying the consequences of their production by cosmic rays. Whilst collisions at the LHC differ from cosmic-ray collisions with astronomical bodies like the Earth in that new particles produced in LHC collisions tend to move more slowly than those produced by cosmic rays, one can still demonstrate their safety. The specific reasons for this depend whether the black holes are electrically charged, or neutral. Many stable black holes would be expected to be electrically charged, since they are created by charged particles. In this case they would interact with ordinary matter and be stopped while traversing the Earth or Sun, whether produced by cosmic rays or the LHC. The fact that the Earth and Sun are still here rules out the possibility that cosmic rays or the LHC could produce dangerous charged microscopic black holes. If stable microscopic black holes had no electric charge, their interactions with the Earth would be very weak. Those produced by cosmic rays would pass harmlessly through the Earth into space, whereas those produced by the LHC could remain on Earth. However, there are much larger and denser astronomical bodies than the Earth in the Universe. Black holes produced in cosmic-ray collisions with bodies such as neutron stars and white dwarf stars would be brought to rest. The continued existence of such dense bodies, as well as the Earth, rules out the possibility of the LHC producing any dangerous black holes.
Strangelet is the term given to a hypothetical microscopic lump of ‘strange matter’ containing almost equal numbers of particles called up, down and strange quarks. According to most theoretical work, strangelets should change to ordinary matter within a thousand-millionth of a second. But could strangelets coalesce with ordinary matter and change it to strange matter? This question was first raised before the start up of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, RHIC, in 2000 in the United States. A study at the time showed that there was no cause for concern, and RHIC has now run for eight years, searching for strangelets without detecting any. At times, the LHC will run with beams of heavy nuclei, just as RHIC does. The LHC’s beams will have more energy than RHIC, but this makes it even less likely that strangelets could form. It is difficult for strange matter to stick together in the high temperatures produced by such colliders, rather as ice does not form in hot water. In addition, quarks will be more dilute at the LHC than at RHIC, making it more difficult to assemble strange matter. Strangelet production at the LHC is therefore less likely than at RHIC, and experience there has already validated the arguments that strangelets cannot be produced.
The analysis of the first LHC data from heavy ion collisions has now confirmed the key ingredients used in the LSAG report to evaluate the upper limit on the production of hypothetical strangelets. For more details see this addendum to the LSAG report: Implications of LHC heavy ion data for multi-strange baryon production (2011)
There have been speculations that the Universe is not in its most stable configuration, and that perturbations caused by the LHC could tip it into a more stable state, called a vacuum bubble, in which we could not exist. If the LHC could do this, then so could cosmic-ray collisions. Since such vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe, they will not be made by the LHC.
Magnetic monopoles are hypothetical particles with a single magnetic charge, either a north pole or a south pole. Some speculative theories suggest that, if they do exist, magnetic monopoles could cause protons to decay. These theories also say that such monopoles would be too heavy to be produced at the LHC. Nevertheless, if the magnetic monopoles were light enough to appear at the LHC, cosmic rays striking the Earth’s atmosphere would already be making them, and the Earth would very effectively stop and trap them. The continued existence of the Earth and other astronomical bodies therefore rules out dangerous proton-eating magnetic monopoles light enough to be produced at the LHC.
Other aspects of LHC safety:
Concern has recently been expressed that a ‘runaway fusion reaction’ might be created in the LHC carbon beam dump. The safety of the LHC beam dump had previously been reviewed by the relevant regulatory authorities of the CERN host states, France and Switzerland. The specific concerns expressed more recently have been addressed in a technical memorandum by Assmann et al. As they point out, fusion reactions can be maintained only in material compressed by some external pressure, such as that provided by gravity inside a star, a fission explosion in a thermonuclear device, a magnetic field in a Tokamak, or by continuing isotropic laser or particle beams in the case of inertial fusion. In the case of the LHC beam dump, it is struck once by the beam coming from a single direction. There is no countervailing pressure, so the dump material is not compressed, and no fusion is possible.
Concern has been expressed that a ‘runaway fusion reaction’ might be created in a nitrogen tank inside the LHC tunnel. There are no such nitrogen tanks. Moreover, the arguments in the previous paragraph prove that no fusion would be possible even if there were.
Finally, concern has also been expressed that the LHC beam might somehow trigger a ‘Bose-Nova’ in the liquid helium used to cool the LHC magnets. A study(link is external) by Fairbairn and McElrath has clearly shown there is no possibility of the LHC beam triggering a fusion reaction in helium.
We recall that ‘Bose-Novae’ are known to be related to chemical reactions that release an infinitesimal amount of energy by nuclear standards. We also recall that helium is one of the most stable elements known, and that liquid helium has been used in many previous particle accelerators without mishap. The facts that helium is chemically inert and has no nuclear spin imply that no ‘Bose-Nova’ can be triggered in the superfluid helium used in the LHC.
Comments on the papers by Giddings and Mangano, and by LSAG
The papers by Giddings and Mangano(link is external) and LSAG(link is external) demonstrating the safety of the LHC have been studied, reviewed and endorsed by leading experts from the CERN Member States, Japan, Russia and the United States, working in astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, mathematics, particle physics and risk analysis, including several Nobel Laureates in Physics. They all agree that the LHC is safe.
The paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano has been peer-reviewed by anonymous experts in astrophysics and particle physics and published(link is external) in the professional scientific journal Physical Review D. The American Physical Society chose to highlight this as one of the most significant papers it has published recently, commissioning acommentary(link is external) by Prof. Peskin from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory in which he endorses its conclusions. The Executive Committee of the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society has issued a statement(link is external) endorsing the LSAG report.
The conclusions of LSAG have also been endorsed(link is external) by the Particle and Nuclear Physics Section (KET) of the German Physical Society. A translation into German of the complete LSAG report may be found on the KET website, as well as here. (A translation into French of the complete LSAG report is also available.)
Thus, the conclusion that LHC collisions are completely safe has been endorsed by the three respected professional societies of physicists that have reviewed it, which rank among the most highly respected professional societies in the world.
World-renowned experts in astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, mathematics, particle physics and risk analysis, including several Nobel Laureates in Physics, have also expressed clear individual opinions that LHC collisions are not dangerous:
“To think that LHC particle collisions at high energies can lead to dangerous black holes is rubbish. Such rumors were spread by unqualified people seeking sensation or publicity.”
Academician Vitaly Ginzburg, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Lebedev Institute, Moscow, and Russian Academy of Sciences
“The operation of the LHC is safe, not only in the old sense of that word, but in the more general sense that our most qualified scientists have thoroughly considered and analyzed the risks involved in the operation of the LHC. [Any concerns] are merely hypothetical and speculative, and contradicted by much evidence and scientific analysis.”
Prof. Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Boston University,
Prof. Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Prof. Richard Wilson, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University
“The world will not come to an end when the LHC turns on. The LHC is absolutely safe. … Collisions releasing greater energy occur millions of times a day in the earth’s atmosphere and nothing terrible happens.”
Prof. Steven Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University
“Nature has already done this experiment. … Cosmic rays have hit the moon with more energy and have not produced a black hole that has swallowed up the moon. The universe doesn’t go around popping off huge black holes.”
Prof. Edward Kolb, Astrophysicist, University of Chicago
“I certainly have no worries at all about the purported possibility of LHC producing microscopic black holes capable of eating up the Earth. There is no scientific basis whatever for such wild speculations.”
Prof. Sir Roger Penrose, Former Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University
“There is no risk [in LHC collisions, and] the LSAG report is excellent.”
Prof. Lord Martin Rees, UK Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society of London
“Those who have doubts about LHC safety should read LSAG report where all possible risks were considered. We can be sure that particle collisions at the LHC cannot lead to a catastrophic consequences.”
Academician V.A. Rubakov, Institute for Nuclear Research, Moscow, and Russian Academy of Sciences
“We fully endorse the conclusions of the LSAG report: there is no basis for any concerns about the consequences of new particles or forms of matter that could possibly be produced at the LHC.”
R. Aleksan et al., the 20 external members of the CERN Scientific Policy Committee, including Prof. Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics.
The overwhelming majority of physicists agree that microscopic black holes would be unstable, as predicted by basic principles of quantum mechanics. As discussed in the LSAG report(link is external), if microscopic black holes can be produced by the collisions of quarks and/or gluons inside protons, they must also be able to decay back into quarks and/or gluons. Moreover, quantum mechanics predicts specifically that they should decay via Hawking radiation.
Nevertheless, a few papers have suggested that microscopic black holes might be stable. The paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano and the LSAG report(link is external) analyzed very conservatively the hypothetical case of stable microscopic black holes and concluded that even in this case there would be no conceivable danger. Another analysis(link is external) with similar conclusions has been documented by Dr. Koch, Prof. Bleicher and Prof. Stoecker of Frankfurt University and GSI, Darmstadt, who conclude:
“We discussed the logically possible black hole evolution paths. Then we discussed every single outcome of those paths and showed that none of the physically sensible paths can lead to a black hole disaster at the LHC.”
Professor Roessler (who has a medical degree and was formerly a chaos theorist in Tuebingen) also raised doubts on the existence of Hawking radiation. His ideas have been refuted by Profs. Nicolai (Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics – Albert-Einstein-Institut – in Potsdam) and Giulini, whose report(link is external) (see herefor the English translation, and here for further statements) point to his failure to understand general relativity and the Schwarzschild metric, and his reliance on an alternative theory of gravity that was disproven in 1915. Their verdict:
“[Roessler’s] argument is not valid; the argument is not self-consistent.”
The paper of Prof. Roessler has also been criticized by Prof. Bruhn of the Darmstadt University of Technology, who concludes(link is external) that:
“Roessler’s misinterpretation of the Schwarzschild metric [renders] his further considerations … null and void. These are not papers that could be taken into account when problems of black holes are discussed.”
A hypothetical scenario for possibly dangerous metastable black holes has recently been proposed(link is external) by Dr. Plaga. The conclusions of this work have been shown to be inconsistent in a second paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano, where it is also stated that the safety of this class of metastable black hole scenarios is already established by their original work(link is external).
- Download the Comments on claimed risks from metastable black holes(link is external)
- Download the Statement from the Executive Board of the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society(link is external) (APS)
- Download this summary of the LSAG report. Translations are available in the following languages : fr de el esit jp no pl ru.
- Download the LSAG report (2008) A translation is available in: fr
- Download the addendum to the LSAG report: Implications of LHC heavy ion data for multi-strange baryon production (2011)
- Download the specialist report published in Europe (2003)
- Download the specialist report published in the United States (1999)
- Download expert comment on speculations raised by Professor Otto Roessler about the production of black holes at the LHC
- Download further expert comment on speculations raised by Professor Otto Roessler about the production of black holes at the LHC. Translations are available in the following languages : fr
- Download another independent assessment(link is external) of the safety of black hole scenarios at the LHC
Two black holes billions of light-years away are about to slam into each other, and it could gives us a front-row seat to an incredible event.
The scientific world is abuzz with news that two supermassive black holes that are circling each other and will collide in slow motion, releasing extraordinary amounts of energy, as we reported recently — but just what happens in this mysterious effect and how it does it affect the space-time fabric?
Scientists have spotted two black holes in the Virgo constellation billions of light-years away, spotting two quasars close to each other that seem to indicate the presence of two black holes circling each other at just a light-week apart, less than the size of our Solar System.
It’s not the first time supermassive black holes have collided in our universe’s history, but rarely has mankind been able to witness it about to happen. Most of the time scientists can only view the after-effects.
First, to understand what is really going on, you have to understand that supermassive black holes are often found at the center of galaxies — almost always, in fact. So when you see two supermassive black holes combining, you’re seeing two galaxies colliding and merging with each other, a tremendous cosmic event that is difficult for us to even comprehend.
The two black holes in particular are well within the galaxy merging process, circling each other at a very close distance, and after a period of time they will collide with each other, release a vast amount of energy and sending ripples through the space-time fabric.
Before this most recent discovery, the closest black hole pair was still 20 light years apart.
By this time, both black holes have entered the point of no return — there is no chance they escape each other’s gravity. No force exists that could possible separate them, and so it is inevitable they will collide to form a bigger black hole.
It’s an extremely violent event, and it’s a good thing we’re nowhere near it when it happens — in fact, since we’re viewing black holes that are billions of light-years away, this event already happened in our distance past, and we are only just witnessing it now.
Scientists don’t have a lot of answers on what happens when two black holes collide, other than that they form a new, larger black hole. After all, we’ve never actually witnessed one, and it certainly would not be possible to do anything but observe one at a great distance with a very powerful telescope.
However, we do know that the surface area of the new black hole will be at least the surface area of those two black holes added together. A law of black hole thermodynamics is that the total surface area of black holes can only increase.
So what exactly is a black hole anyway? Essentially, it’s a geometrically defined region of space-time that exhibits incredible gravitational effects — so great that nothing can escape its pull, not even light.
General relativity holds that a mass that is compact enough can cause space-time to be deformed to the point that it can collapse into a black hole.
Black holes are often formed when massive stars collapse at the end of a life cycle. This black hole can continue to grow as the mass of other stars and other black holes feeds it to become a behemoth, often known as a supermassive black hole. These are usually found at the center of galaxies, the center around which all of the untold amount of stars in the galaxy circle, so great is the gravity of this black hole.
It’s difficult to observe a black hole directly because it is invisible as it gives off no light, so scientists must observe it by how it interacts with other matter and visible light. An accretion disk can be formed when matter falls into a black hole, and it can be blasted out into space in the form of a quasar, which is one of the brightest known objects in the universe. Scientists can use stars orbiting the black hole to come up with some estimates on where it is located and what its mass is.
At the center of a black hole there is something called a gravitational singularity, which is where the space-time curvature suddenly becomes infinite. This single point can be described as having infinite density. Once anything is caught in the event horizon, it cannot escape being dragged into the singularity. It is then crushed into infinite density, and the mass is added to the total mass of the black hole. The immense power of the gravity will stretch out or tear apart anything that reaches this point, which is often called “spaghettification.”
Black holes have entranced the scientific community for decades. They are fundamental to understanding the laws of physics, and the difficult of observing these bodies makes them all the more mysterious.
The popular film “Interstellar” dove into the subject of both space travel and black holes. The film was a hit, grossing nearly $700 million, showing how interested the public was in such scientific questions.
Just this week, a team of researchers out of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has reported the discovery of a new galaxy—which they call EGS8p7—estimated to be in the distant space “neighborhood,” and has been estimated to be about 13.2 billion years old. Scientists say, then, that this universe must be about the same age as the universe—born about 600,000 years later than the Big Bang.
“We report the discovery of Lyman-alpha emission (Lyα) in the bright galaxy EGSY-2008532660 (hereafter EGSY8p7) using the Multi-Object Spectrometer For Infra-Red Exploration spectrograph at the Keck Observatory,” explains the study researchers. Furthermore, the research paper adds, “Redshift results from the Doppler effect, the same phenomenon that causes the siren on a fire truck to drop in pitch as the truck passes.”
Galaxy EGS8p7, as seen from the Hubble Space Telescope (wide and top right) and Spitzer Space Telescope (inset, bottom right), taken in infrared. Credit: I. Labbé (Leiden University), NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech
In addition, NASA Hubble astronomy post-doctoral scholar Adi Zitrin comments, “If you look at the galaxies in the early universe, there is a lot of neutral hydrogen that is not transparent to this emission. We expect that most of the radiation from this galaxy would be absorbed by the hydrogen in the intervening space. Yet still we see Lyman-alpha from this galaxy.”
Of course, this is just a new discovery so much more research is necessary before reaching any conclusions. At the same time, scientists know that data from this galaxy will certainly provide us with new insights into the evolution of our solar system.
Zitrin concludes, “We are currently calculating more thoroughly the exact chances of finding this galaxy and seeing this emission from it, and to understand whether we need to revise the timeline of the reionization, which is one of the major key questions to answer in our understanding of the evolution of the universe.”
- Freeman Hatch, 36, charged with criminal mischief and drug possession
- Residents of Kennebunk, Maine, had seen his alleged graffiti for a year
- Police appealed for help from populace after historical sign defaced
- Hatch had previously posted pictures of Sasquatch on his social media
Though the search for the real Sasquatch continues, police have tracked down the graffiti artist behind a number of spray-painted sightings of the mythical creature in coastal Maine.
Police in the town of Kennebunk grew tired of graffiti featuring Bigfoot and charged Freeman Hatch, 36, with counts of criminal mischief and possession of drugs.
He’s due in court in November after more than a dozen images of the beast began popping up over a year ago on the sides of businesses, in the street and on a historical sign.
Freeman Hatch, 36 (right), has been charged with criminal mischief and drug possession after police accused him of being behind Sasquatch graffiti (left) that had been appearing in the coastal town of Kennebunk, Maine
More than a dozen of the stenciled graffiti tags had appeared in the small town of 10,000, though police appealed for help after a sign about Kennebunk history was defaced
Police Chief Robert MacKenzie says the Sasquatches defaced public and private property and cost ‘time and money to repair or replace.’
Authorities grew particularly upset after one of the eight-inch-tall yetis could not be fully removed from a sign about the town’s history, according to WCSH.
They said the sign could cost $500 to replace.
After reaching out for tips on social media, police found enough evidence in Hatch’s home to charge him with the graffiti based off of a Bigfoot silhouette popular online.
Sasquatch is the folkloric beast thought by some people to roam the forests, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3223825/Sasquatch-Maine-Graffiti-artist-spray-painted-Bigfoot-small-coastal-town-tracked-charged.html#ixzz3kzEMn7X2
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