Physics

NASA's Chandra Suggests Rare Explosion Created Our Galaxy's Youngest Black Hole

New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest a highly distorted supernova remnant may contain the most recent black hole formed in the Milky Way galaxy. The remnant appears to be the product of a rare explosion in which matter is ejected at high speeds along the poles of a rotating star.

How to prevent earthquake damage: make buildings invisible

(Phys.org)—When an earthquake strikes, damage to buildings such as nuclear power stations can worsen the catastrophe. Researchers from France's Institut Fresnel and the French division of Menard, a ground-improvement specialist company, have developed an invisibility cloak that could protect buildings during an earthquake by redirecting seismic waves around them.

Asteroid Will Make Close Pass by Earth on Friday

On Friday, February 15, astronomers will get an unusually good look at a near-Earth asteroid called 2012 DA14. It will be the first time a known object of this size will come this close to Earth---a mere 8 percent the distance between us and our moon.

The asteroid, which measures 150 feet across, was first spotted by astronomers when it zoomed by Earth this time last year. This asteroid's fly-bys occur about once a year since its orbit around the sun is very similar to our own.

There's

Metamaterials provide active control of 'slow light' devices

LANL researchers and collaborators have made the first demonstration of rapidly switching on and off "slow light" in specially designed metamate­rials at room temperature. Metamaterials are assemblies of multiple individual elements fashioned from conventional microscopic materials arranged in periodic patterns. This work opens the possibility to design novel chip-scale, ultrafast devices for applications in terahertz wireless communications and all-optical computing.

Mix uranium from Russian nuclear weapons with Norwegian rock, researcher says

The USA uses uranium from Russian nuclear weapons as fuel in its civilian nuclear power plants. If the weapon-grade uranium is mixed with the Norwegian element thorium, the waste becomes 95 per cent less radioactive, a researcher has found.

NASA'S Orion Lands Safely on Two of Three Parachutes in Test

NASA engineers have demonstrated the agency's Orion spacecraft can land safely if one of its three main parachutes fails to inflate during deployment.

NASA Satellite Data Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

Crowdsourcing New Names for Pluto's Moons

Any mention of Pluto among astronomy buffs, around water coolers and in comments sections, is enough to spark controversy. When the diminutive world officially became known as a dwarf planet in 2006, many took the “demotion” personally. But an announcement today from the SETI Institute might just be cool enough to bring everyone together.

The discoverers of Pluto’s two smallest moons are reaching out to the world for help in naming them. Currently designated P4 and P5, these tiny satellit

Invisible tool enables new quantum experiments

Physicists have now succeeded in constructing a novel matter wave interferometer which enables new quantum studies with a broad class of particles, including atoms, molecules and nanoparticles. These lumps of matter are exposed to three pulsed laser light gratings which are invisible to the human eye, exist only for a billionth of a second and never simultaneously.

Ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy as a probe of nonequilibrium dynamics in ruthenium complexes

(Phys.org)—Exciting the atoms or molecules of a substance via the use of visible light, or photoexcitation, can play a significant role in a range of energy-conversion processes, such as natural photosynthesis (oxygen from water) and manmade solar cells (electricity from sunlight). But a better understanding of the photoexcitation process is necessary in order to fully exploit this potential resource.

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