Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Science Articles

At first I misunderstood this Universe Today headline, Curiosity Captures Gravity Wave Shaped Clouds On Mars, to be about gravitational waves, but it's a more normal phenomenon they're seeing in studying Martian clouds from Curiosity. But I loved this line in the article:

But as Moore explained in an interview with Science Magazine, seeing an Earth-like phenomenon on Mars is consistent with what we’ve seen so far from Mars. ‘The Martian environment is the exotic wrapped in the familiar,’ he said. ‘The sunsets are blue, the dust devils enormous, the snowfall more like diamond dust, and the clouds are thinner than what we see on the Earth.’"

Universe Today also reported, Large Hadron Collider Discovers 5 New Gluelike Particles

According to the research paper, which appeared in arXiv on March 14th, 2017, the particles that were detected were excited states of what is known as a “Omega-c-zero” baryon. Like other particles of its kind, the Omega-c-zero is made up of three quarks – two of which are “strange” while the third is a “charm” quark. The existence of this baryon was confirmed in 1994. Since then, researchers at CERN have sought to determine if there were heavier versions.

And now, thanks to the LHCb experiment, it appears that they have found them. The key was to examine the trajectories and the energy left in the detector by particles in their final configuration and trace them back to their original state. Basically, Omega-c-zero particles decay via the strong force into another type of baryon (Xi-c-plus) and then via the weak force into protons, kaons, and pions.

From this, the researchers were able to determine that what they were seeing were Omega-c-zero particles at different energy states (i.e. of different sizes and masses). Expressed in megaelectronvolts (MeV), these particles have masses of 3000, 3050, 3066, 3090 and 3119 MeV, respectively. This discovery was rather unique, since it involved the detection of five higher energy states of a particle at the same time.

Extraterrestrial Origin Of Fast Radio Burst Phenomenon Confirmed:

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) have puzzled astronomers since they were first detected in 2007. These mysterious milliseconds-long blasts of radio waves appear to be coming from long distances, and have been attributed to various things such as alien signals or extraterrestrial propulsion systems, and more ‘mundane’ objects such as extragalactic neutron stars. Some scientists even suggested they were some type of ‘local’ source, such as atmospheric phenomena on Earth, tricking astronomers about their possible distant origins.

So far, less than two dozen FRBs have been detected in a decade. But now researchers from the Australian National University and Swinburne University of Technology have detected three of these mystery bursts in just six months using the interferometry capabilities of the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) in Canberra, Australia. In doing so, they were able to confirm that these FRBs really do come from outer space.

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