Vera Rubin (July 23, 1928- ) is an American astronomer responsible for pioneering work on galaxy rotation rates. Famous for uncovering the differences between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion using galactic rotation curves, she noted that, according to calculations of the data gathered from visible matter, galaxies should have been moving at much slower of a pace. This discrepancy became the evidence for a hypothetical invisible matter, better known by its alternate name of “dark matter.” (via)

Vera Rubin (July 23, 1928- ) is an American astronomer responsible for pioneering work on galaxy rotation rates. Famous for uncovering the differences between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion using galactic rotation curves, she noted that, according to calculations of the data gathered from visible matter, galaxies should have been moving at much slower of a pace. This discrepancy became the evidence for a hypothetical invisible matter, better known by its alternate name of “dark matter.” (via)

Physicists may be inching closer to a possible to answer to a mystery that has preoccupied their minds for years: if matter and antimatter exist throughout the universe in equal proportions, why is our universe primarily matter? 
A finding has been recently confirmed by an American team of physicists, concluding that certain matter particles actually decay differently than antimatter, a trait that is outside our current understanding of physics. Scientists believe that these differences could hold the key to an explanation of the presence off far more matter than antimatter within our cosmos.
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Physicists may be inching closer to a possible to answer to a mystery that has preoccupied their minds for years: if matter and antimatter exist throughout the universe in equal proportions, why is our universe primarily matter? 

A finding has been recently confirmed by an American team of physicists, concluding that certain matter particles actually decay differently than antimatter, a trait that is outside our current understanding of physics. Scientists believe that these differences could hold the key to an explanation of the presence off far more matter than antimatter within our cosmos.

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Quasar Jets

An artist’s rendering, made using data collected by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, shows a quasar galaxy with a jet of high-energy particles extending more than 100,000 light-years from the supermassive black hole at its center. The object, located 12 billion light-years from Earth, is the most distant such jet ever detected. These quasar jets are formed when electrons emitted from a black hole impact with cosmic background radiation left by the big bang, giving astronomers clues about the conditions in the early universe.

Quasar Jets

An artist’s rendering, made using data collected by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, shows a quasar galaxy with a jet of high-energy particles extending more than 100,000 light-years from the supermassive black hole at its center. The object, located 12 billion light-years from Earth, is the most distant such jet ever detected. These quasar jets are formed when electrons emitted from a black hole impact with cosmic background radiation left by the big bang, giving astronomers clues about the conditions in the early universe.

Distant “Waterworld” is Confirmed
A new class of planet has been confirmed by astronomers, after the discovery exoplanet GJ 1214b in 2009. This planet is referred to as a “Super Earth”, as it is a waterworld that is about 2.7 times the time Earth’s diameter and almost 7 times as heavy, with a thick and steamy atmosphere.
Since the planet was originally discovered by a land-based telescope in 2009, it required the use of the Hubble telescope to confirm that a large portion of its mass is water. Previously, in 2010, astronomers released measurements of its atmosphere, suggesting that the exoplanet’s atmosphere was most likely composed of water; however, it was just as likely that it was comprised of a haze similar to Titan’s.
The planet orbits a red-dwarf star at a distance of just two million kilometers, thus inducing temperatures most likely higher than 200˚C on its atmosphere. These high temperatures could signify the existence of exotic materials.

Distant “Waterworld” is Confirmed

A new class of planet has been confirmed by astronomers, after the discovery exoplanet GJ 1214b in 2009. This planet is referred to as a “Super Earth”, as it is a waterworld that is about 2.7 times the time Earth’s diameter and almost 7 times as heavy, with a thick and steamy atmosphere.

Since the planet was originally discovered by a land-based telescope in 2009, it required the use of the Hubble telescope to confirm that a large portion of its mass is water. Previously, in 2010, astronomers released measurements of its atmosphere, suggesting that the exoplanet’s atmosphere was most likely composed of water; however, it was just as likely that it was comprised of a haze similar to Titan’s.

The planet orbits a red-dwarf star at a distance of just two million kilometers, thus inducing temperatures most likely higher than 200˚C on its atmosphere. These high temperatures could signify the existence of exotic materials.

Image of Big Bang Experiments at CERN

The scientists shoot the particles through a 16-mile long accelerator called CERN at the speed of light. And when the particles collide together in a vacuum colder than -271 Celsius, they put on a spectacular show. Above, particle tracks from the first lead ion collision as seen by the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) detector.

Image of Big Bang Experiments at CERN

The scientists shoot the particles through a 16-mile long accelerator called CERN at the speed of light. And when the particles collide together in a vacuum colder than -271 Celsius, they put on a spectacular show. Above, particle tracks from the first lead ion collision as seen by the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) detector.

Star V838 Monocerotis’s Echo

Star V838 Monocerotis’s (V838 Mon) light echo, which is about six light years in diameter, is seen from the Hubble Space Telescope in this February 2004 handout photo released by NASA on December 4, 2011. Light from the flash is reflected by successively more distant rings in the ambient interstellar dust that already surrounded the star. V838 Mon lies about 20,000 light years away toward the constellation of Monoceros the unicorn. It became the brightest star in the Milky Way Galaxy in January 2002 when its outer surface greatly expanded suddenly.

Star V838 Monocerotis’s Echo

Star V838 Monocerotis’s (V838 Mon) light echo, which is about six light years in diameter, is seen from the Hubble Space Telescope in this February 2004 handout photo released by NASA on December 4, 2011. Light from the flash is reflected by successively more distant rings in the ambient interstellar dust that already surrounded the star. V838 Mon lies about 20,000 light years away toward the constellation of Monoceros the unicorn. It became the brightest star in the Milky Way Galaxy in January 2002 when its outer surface greatly expanded suddenly.

Image of a Big Bang Experiment within Particle Accelerators at CERN

A collection of tracks left by subatomic particles in a bubble chamber. A bubble chamber is a container filled with liquid hydrogen which is superheated - momentarily raised above its normal boiling point by a sudden drop in pressure in the container. Any charged particle passing through the liquid in this state leaves behind a trail of tiny bubbles as the liquid boils in its wake. These bubbles are seen as fine tracks, showing the characteristic paths of different types of particle.

Image of a Big Bang Experiment within Particle Accelerators at CERN

A collection of tracks left by subatomic particles in a bubble chamber. A bubble chamber is a container filled with liquid hydrogen which is superheated - momentarily raised above its normal boiling point by a sudden drop in pressure in the container. Any charged particle passing through the liquid in this state leaves behind a trail of tiny bubbles as the liquid boils in its wake. These bubbles are seen as fine tracks, showing the characteristic paths of different types of particle.

An argon plasma jet forms a rapidly growing corkscrew, known as a kink instability. This instability causes an even faster-developing behavior called a Rayleigh-Taylor instability, in which ripples grow and tear the jet apart. This phenomenon, the Caltech researchers say, has never been seen before and could be important in understanding solar flares and in developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source. 
Here’s the video.
For details, go here.

An argon plasma jet forms a rapidly growing corkscrew, known as a kink instability. This instability causes an even faster-developing behavior called a Rayleigh-Taylor instability, in which ripples grow and tear the jet apart. This phenomenon, the Caltech researchers say, has never been seen before and could be important in understanding solar flares and in developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source. 

Here’s the video.

For details, go here.

Doomed Asteroids
A group of scientists have recently uncovered the source of many mysterious X-ray flares around the supper massive black hole within the center of our galaxy. What appears as a cloud surrounding this black hole, officially known as Sagittarius A*, is actually composed of trillions of asteroids and comets, torn from their parent stars by incomprehensible gravitational forces. When one of these asteroids, with a radius of over six miles or so, is consumed, one of these X-ray flares is emitted.
According to Live Science:

If the asteroid passes within about 100 million miles (161 million kilometers) of the black hole, roughly the distance between the Earth and the sun, it is torn into pieces by the tidal forces from the black hole. These fragments would then be vaporized by friction as they pass through the hot, thin gas flowing onto Sgr A*, similar to a meteor heating up and glowing as it falls through Earth’s atmosphere. A flare is produced and eventually the remains of the asteroid are swallowed by the black hole.

Doomed Asteroids

A group of scientists have recently uncovered the source of many mysterious X-ray flares around the supper massive black hole within the center of our galaxy. What appears as a cloud surrounding this black hole, officially known as Sagittarius A*, is actually composed of trillions of asteroids and comets, torn from their parent stars by incomprehensible gravitational forces. When one of these asteroids, with a radius of over six miles or so, is consumed, one of these X-ray flares is emitted.

According to Live Science:

If the asteroid passes within about 100 million miles (161 million kilometers) of the black hole, roughly the distance between the Earth and the sun, it is torn into pieces by the tidal forces from the black hole. These fragments would then be vaporized by friction as they pass through the hot, thin gas flowing onto Sgr A*, similar to a meteor heating up and glowing as it falls through Earth’s atmosphere. A flare is produced and eventually the remains of the asteroid are swallowed by the black hole.

Our Tangled Magnetic Field

This is a computer simulation of the complex and crazy magnetic fields that make up Earth’s magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is the result of the interaction of charged particles from the sun and the magnetic field that surrounds the planet. When solar storms send particles flowing toward Earth, the result can be stunning space weather — the kind that creates beautiful auroras but also can disrupt satellites, telecommunications and electrical power grids. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are trying to understand how these storms work in order to better predict how storms on the sun will influence life on our planet.

Our Tangled Magnetic Field

This is a computer simulation of the complex and crazy magnetic fields that make up Earth’s magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is the result of the interaction of charged particles from the sun and the magnetic field that surrounds the planet. When solar storms send particles flowing toward Earth, the result can be stunning space weather — the kind that creates beautiful auroras but also can disrupt satellites, telecommunications and electrical power grids. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are trying to understand how these storms work in order to better predict how storms on the sun will influence life on our planet.

Spinning Stars Slow Down by Flying Apart

The spectacularly fast-whirling dead stars known as millisecond pulsars put the brakes on their spinning in large part by blasting pieces of themselves into space, a new model suggests.
Pulsars are the super-dense, strongly magnetized cores of massive stars left behind after they go supernova. Specifically, pulsars are neutron stars made of densely packed neutrons, with each sugar cube-size piece of neutron star matter weighing as much as a mountain of about 100 million tons.
These neutron stars can bulk up on matter and energy by cannibalizing companion stars, a process that makes the pulsars give off X-rays and spin extraordinarily fast — at rates of 100 to 1,000 turns each second — earning them the moniker “millisecond pulsars.”
Later, after siphoning all the matter in the outer envelopes of their companion stars, millisecond pulsars gradually slow down and emit radio waves instead. However, little was known about what happens during the actual slowdown before these pulsars start blasting radio waves.

Spinning Stars Slow Down by Flying Apart

The spectacularly fast-whirling dead stars known as millisecond pulsars put the brakes on their spinning in large part by blasting pieces of themselves into space, a new model suggests.

Pulsars are the super-dense, strongly magnetized cores of massive stars left behind after they go supernova. Specifically, pulsars are neutron stars made of densely packed neutrons, with each sugar cube-size piece of neutron star matter weighing as much as a mountain of about 100 million tons.

These neutron stars can bulk up on matter and energy by cannibalizing companion stars, a process that makes the pulsars give off X-rays and spin extraordinarily fast — at rates of 100 to 1,000 turns each second — earning them the moniker “millisecond pulsars.”

Later, after siphoning all the matter in the outer envelopes of their companion stars, millisecond pulsars gradually slow down and emit radio waves instead. However, little was known about what happens during the actual slowdown before these pulsars start blasting radio waves.

First Subliming Planet Forshadows Mercury’s Fate

A rocky exoplanet about the size of Mercury appears to be evaporating before our eyes. If confirmed, this would be the first time a rocky planet has been found turning to gas, demonstrating just how wacky alien planets can be. The provocative suggestion may also foreshadow the fate of Mercury.
"My first reaction was disbelief," says Dan Fabrycky of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the new analysis. After playing with the data himself, however, he has come around – though he is still cautious. “After turning it over in my mind a few days, I cannot come up with a more natural theoretical explanation,” he says.
The evaporation was inferred from observations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. These show that a star called KIC 12557548, which is slightly smaller than the sun, is dimming every 15.685 hours precisely. That suggests an orbiting companion is transiting, or passing in front of the star. Unlike other transits seen by Kepler, though, the dimming in this system varies wildly from one pass to another.
The best explanation is a rocky planet about the size of Mercury that is subliming – turning directly to a gas - due to the intense radiation from its star, conclude a team led by Saul Rappaport of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

First Subliming Planet Forshadows Mercury’s Fate

A rocky exoplanet about the size of Mercury appears to be evaporating before our eyes. If confirmed, this would be the first time a rocky planet has been found turning to gas, demonstrating just how wacky alien planets can be. The provocative suggestion may also foreshadow the fate of Mercury.

"My first reaction was disbelief," says Dan Fabrycky of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the new analysis. After playing with the data himself, however, he has come around – though he is still cautious. “After turning it over in my mind a few days, I cannot come up with a more natural theoretical explanation,” he says.

The evaporation was inferred from observations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. These show that a star called KIC 12557548, which is slightly smaller than the sun, is dimming every 15.685 hours precisely. That suggests an orbiting companion is transiting, or passing in front of the star. Unlike other transits seen by Kepler, though, the dimming in this system varies wildly from one pass to another.

The best explanation is a rocky planet about the size of Mercury that is subliming – turning directly to a gas - due to the intense radiation from its star, conclude a team led by Saul Rappaport of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"The biggest surprise to me is that I never saw any place where I couldn’t see the impact of humans— even the oceans. You can see smoke coming off the east coast of China, smoke and dust, travelling all the way across to the Yukon. These are things that the human eye can see."
John Grunsfeld, former astronaut and new head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in an interview with Nature.
This artist’s concept illustrates what scientists say is the fastest rotating star found to date. Called VFTS 102, the massive, bright young star rotates at a million miles per hour, or 100 times faster than our sun does. Centrifugal forces from this dizzying spin rate have flattened the star into an oblate shape and spun off a disk of hot plasma, seen edge-on in this view from a hypothetical planet. The star may have “spun up” by accreting material from a binary companion star, according to the scientists involved. The rapidly evolving companion later exploded as a supernova. The whirling star lies 160,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

This artist’s concept illustrates what scientists say is the fastest rotating star found to date. Called VFTS 102, the massive, bright young star rotates at a million miles per hour, or 100 times faster than our sun does. Centrifugal forces from this dizzying spin rate have flattened the star into an oblate shape and spun off a disk of hot plasma, seen edge-on in this view from a hypothetical planet. The star may have “spun up” by accreting material from a binary companion star, according to the scientists involved. The rapidly evolving companion later exploded as a supernova. The whirling star lies 160,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.