Black holes, gateways to other universes, rather than dead ends?

Friday, 29 April, 2016

Hadn’t people thought this to be the case already? British physicist Stephen Hawking thinks that black holes, rather than being objects from which nothing can escape, including light, could possibly be portals to other universes. Anyone game enough to find out?

“For more than 200 years, we have believed in the science of determinism, that is that the laws of science determine the evolution of the universe” Stephen Hawking said. If information was lost in black holes, we wouldn’t be able to predict the future because the black hole could emit any collection of particles.” In an earlier talk, Hawking had said things can escape out a black hole, both from the outside and probably through another universe.

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MOON, a globe of the Moon to end all globes of the Moon

Friday, 22 April, 2016

MOON, by Oscar Lhermitte and Kudu

MOON stands to be the most topographically accurate globe ever produced of the Earth’s satellite, if designer Oscar Lhermitte, and design studio Kudu, are able to raise sufficient funds to make the idea a reality, something they already appear to have achieved.

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I was busted by my brainwaves during last night’s heist

Thursday, 21 April, 2016

Forget about wearing the balaclava and gloves during tonight’s heist, it’s not your facial features, or finger prints, that will give you away, but rather your brainwaves, or brain prints, that stand to reveal your identity to the powers that be (though possibly a tin-foil hat might help).

Researchers at Binghamton University in US recorded the brain activity of 50 people wearing an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset while they looked at a series of 500 images designed specifically to elicit unique responses from person to person – eg a slice of pizza, a boat, or the word “conundrum.” They found that participants’ brains reacted differently to each image, enough that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer’s ‘brainprint’ with 100 per cent accuracy.

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Fresh water? That stuff is older than the Sun…

Tuesday, 19 April, 2016

It’s a fair bet the water you drink daily may not be quite as fresh as you’d think. And I don’t mean it’s been sitting on the shelf for a week or something, but rather it may be billions of years old:

It’s a mystery how the world became awash in it. But one prevailing theory says that water originated on our planet from ice specks floating in a cosmic cloud before our sun was set ablaze, more than 4.6 billion years ago. As much as half of all the water on Earth may have come from that interstellar gas according to astrophysicists’ calculations. That means the same liquid we drink and that fills the oceans may be millions of years older than the solar system itself.

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Wanted, two comets transmitting would-be signals from aliens

Tuesday, 19 April, 2016

In 1977, US astronomer Jerry Ehman, while listening into the cosmos by way of the Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope, detected a short radio signal that some scientists felt could only have been transmitted by an extraterrestrial intelligence elsewhere in the galaxy.

Ehman’s find soon became known as the WOW! signal, but to the disappointment of those hoping to have found another civilisation within the Milky Way, no more transmissions were ever picked up in the vicinity of the Chi Sagittarii group of stars, the signal’s apparent source.

Now forty years later, Antonio Paris, a professor at Florida’s St Petersburg College, thinks he has found an explanation for the mysterious signal, it may have something to do with two comets that were in the same part of the sky, when the WOW! signal was detected.

Known as 266P/Christensen and 335P/Gibbs, they have never been investigated before because they were only discovered in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Paris found that they were both in the vicinity of Chi Sagittarii on the day that the ‘Wow!’ signal was detected. This could be significant because comets are surrounded by clouds of hydrogen gas that are millions of kilometres in diameter. The ‘Wow!’ signal itself was detected by Ehman at 1420MHz, which is a radio frequency that hydrogen naturally emits.

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A description of the outer reaches of the solar system

Monday, 11 April, 2016

A guide to the outer reaches of the solar system, that takes in the likes of Pluto, dwarf planets, the Kuiper belt, and the Oort cloud.

The boundaries of the Solar System are still poorly understood but it is already known that beyond the Neptune’s orbit there are trillions of comets and asteroids left from the formation of the Solar System. The area where they are located is called the Oort cloud. It has supposedly a spherical shape and is a source of long-period comets. The existence of the cloud is not yet confirmed but many factors indirectly indicate its existence. Observations of similar Solar Systems could be an example.

It seems to me it will take many lifetimes of research just to understand this region of space, to say nothing of interstellar, and then intergalactic, space.

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Galileo, just another ordinary mathematics professor then?

Tuesday, 5 April, 2016

A re-evaluation of the work of Renaissance era astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei, seems to suggest his achievements, and reputation, may be overrated.

Could that really be the case?

In 1609, Galileo Galilei was a 45-year-old, largely unknown, north Italian professor of mathematics, a profession with a low social status, well on his way to total obscurity. He had produced his brilliant experimental demonstrations of the laws of falling bodies years earlier but had not published them. He was known among his circle of friends as a purveyor of good wines and a castigating, razor-sharp wit. Then Galileo stumbled upon the recently invented telescope and began the astronomical observations that would make him famous. Realising that he had lucked onto the scientific equivalent of winning the lottery, he rushed into print in early 1610.

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Here’s what happens just before a star explodes as a supernova

Friday, 1 April, 2016

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has glimpsed a supernova shockwave, the precursor of a supernova explosion, just before a distant red giant star, KSN 2011d, blew up.

While this video clip is an animated illustration of the event, rather than actual footage, it is nonetheless a sight to behold.

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In the event you need to start a fire, carry lemons

Tuesday, 29 March, 2016

How to start a fire using a… lemon. You never know when this knowledge may be useful, though I’m not sure everyone will happen to be carrying the other necessary bits and pieces, at the exact moment they need to start a fire using this method.

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A satellite’s view of this week’s solar eclipse

Friday, 11 March, 2016

In case you missed it, and a few of us did, literally, there was a solar eclipse on Wednesday. Depending on where exactly you were on the planet, it may have been total, that is, day would have turned to night for the merest instant.

While total eclipses are spectacular from the perspective of ground based observers, who are favoured with suitable weather conditions, they are a sight to behold from above the Earth, as this footage, recorded by Himawari 8, a Japanese weather satellite, demonstrates. It’s the first time I’ve an eclipse from this point of view.

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