In Links on April 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm
- Scientists have found a strangely quiet trinary star system in the Kepler telescope. Apparently, stars normally emit echoing, boom noises from their cores (isn’t there no sound in space because there’s no air to carry the waves??), but this trio — “HD181068A” and the two smaller dwarfs which closely orbit it — is oddly silent, particularly for the amount of movement happening.
“But HD181068 is an unusual case – firstly because it is a “triply eclipsing” system. From Kepler’s viewpoint, the two smaller binary stars pass in front of one another as they orbit each other, and they in turn pass in front of the red giant. Just what is going on in the system can be worked out from measuring the tiny amounts of light that are blocked by each star at each stage of the trio’s waltz.”
- Also, I guess we can “see” electrons jump to and from different energy levels. We’ve been able to for damn near 20 years… I’m having trouble making sense of this, but it seems to me this article from Physorg.com is mentioning a breakthrough in a sense of scientists seeing this jump in “real time”. I think. I dunno, this is all a bit over my head.
“Hopefully, this will lead us one step closer to realizing a quantum computer. “In order to correct errors which will occur in any realistic quantum computer, we need to detect them quickly and efficiently,” Siddiqi points out. “Now that we have shown that it is possible to track changes in the quantum state in real time, it should be possible to apply this functionality to quantum information processing.” Next, Siddiqi and his group want to work on error correction. “It should be possible now that we have this ability. Implementing this would be a major step for solid-state quantum computing.”
- Relatedly, here’s the marginally followable Wikipage on Quantum Computers.
In Links on January 3, 2011 at 11:00 am
BBC News is featuring a wonderful article under their “Sci-Environment” section right now detailing what is to come in terms of space exploration in 2011. In 2010 we saw some pretty large advances in science like NASA unveiling an arsenic-based life form, and the Japanese capturing and returning to Earth the first dust from an asteroid.
Apparently the search for an Earth-like planet will pickup speed in 2011. Launched by the US in 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope should release pictures and snapshots and information of it’s findings sometime this year. The hope is that it will find yet another Earth-like planet (with temps and conditions similar to our own) that’s even closer than 20 light years away.
The privatized space exploration industry will take off in 2011 (in what could have serious implications for future Sci-Fi-Realists): Richard Branson’s (well, technically Virgin’s) newest space ship will take flight this year offering a brief piercing into space for a mere 200 grand, and private companies (SpaceX and Orbital Sciences) will take those meaty government contracts and be tasked with re-stocking the International Space Station.
The article also delves into other scientific previews for the upcoming year such as the closing of the world’s largest Hadron collider (at CERN; yessss, the one from that fucking Dan Brown novel), some mumbo-jumbo about “Quantum Computing”, and the announcement of the US launching another probe/rover to Mars called Curiosity.
Again, the LINK.
In Sonny's Thoughts on February 13, 2010 at 10:54 am
I thought this was worth sharing. It’s a Wired article about the “Hourglass Nebula” — officially “Sharpless 2-106″ — and what appears to be the explanation for its unusual shape. Stewart Sharpless was an astronomer who worked out the ins and outs of the Milky Way galaxy throughout his career. His signature findings were published in 1953, under the “Sharpless Catalog” title. The old pictures were kind of crap (I’m sure we’ll be thinking the same thing in 50 years) [SEE: Image 1], but new images from the Gemini North telescope are breathtaking in their detail and dimensions. A giant star, 15 times or more larger than our Sun, is floating near the “waist” of the Hourglass. The winds from the star, traveling around 125 miles per second, are shooting through the nebula to form its distinctive shape. When you look at it, this seems obvious, I can’t believe no one thought of this before we had the quality Gemini images. Take a peek.
The original photo. Here the massive star sits to the right of the "waist".
The Gemini version of the Nebula; much clearer.