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Saturn’s Rings Reveal Sought After Spin Rate

astrophysics science news Jun 06, 2018
Image by NASA's Cassini spacecraft

The rotation speed – spin rate – of Saturn was previously found through observations of its magnetic field. Now, scientists have determined the spin rate through ripples in its rings!

NASA's twin voyager probes, launched over 40 years ago, observed the swirling magnetic field of Saturn, from which it was able to deduce a rotation period for the magnetic field and conclude a spin rate of 10 hours and 40 minutes. During this mission, in the 1980’s, the ring system was observed in great detail revealing the gravitational effects of Saturn’s moons on the rock and ice particles in the rings. When the particles and moons orbit at simple ratios of each other, the particles are periodically kicked by the moons. These kicks, known as orbital resonance, can launch waves that propagate away from the planet – with some anomalous “backwards” waves.

Detailed observations of these waves have been made, since 2000,...

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Back to the Future as Researchers Invent Real-Life Flux Capacitor

The "Back to the Future" time machine runs on an imaginary flux capacitor but could the movie invention become reality?

In the popular movie franchise Back to the Future, an eccentric scientist creates a time machine that runs on a flux capacitor.

Now a group of actual physicists from Australia (RMIT University, University of Queensland) and Switzerland (ETH Zurich) have proposed a similar device that can break time-reversal symmetry.

While their flux capacitor doesn’t enable time travel, it’s a critical step in future technologies like the quantum computer and could lead to better electronics for mobile phones and wifi.

The research, published in Physical Review Letters, proposes a new generation of electronic circulators - devices that control the direction in which microwave signals move.

RMIT’s Professor Jared Cole said the device proposed in the research was built from a superconductor, in which electricity can flow without electrical...

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Astrophysics Gets Turned On Its Head: Black Holes Come First

Article by William Brown and Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientists
Supermassive black holes observed for the first time at the earliest epoch of star and galaxy formation are indicating that black holes form first and guide the later accretion and structuring of stars and galaxies

For decades physicist Nassim Haramein has been expounding a controversial idea in astrophysics—that structures from elementary particles to galaxies and the universe itself are the result of infinitely curved spacetime geometries, popularly known as black holes. In essence, this means that all the stuff we think of as material, physical objects in fact only appear substantive because of the geometry and torque of spacetime in these regions. As Charles Misner and John Wheeler stated it:

There is nothing in the world except empty curved space. Matter, charge, electromagnetism, and other fields are only manifestations of the bending of space. Physics is...

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Dark Matter Particles Elude Scientists in the Biggest Search of its Kind

Article by Emily Conover

The largest particle detector of its kind has failed to turn up any hints of dark matter, despite searching for about a year.

Known as XENON1T, the experiment is designed to detect elusive dark matter particles, which are thought to make up most of the matter in the cosmos. Physicists don’t know what dark matter is. One of the most popular explanations is a particle called a WIMP, short for weakly interacting massive particle. XENON1T searches for WIMPs crashing into atomic nuclei in 1,300 kilograms of chilled liquid xenon. But XENON1T saw no such collisions. The particles’ absence further winnowed down their possible hiding places by placing new limits on how frequently WIMPs can interact with nuclei depending on their mass.

Researchers describe the results May 28 in two talks, one at Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, where XENON1T is located, and the other at the European particle physics lab CERN in Geneva. XENON1T...

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Cosmic Dawn Could Now Be in Sight

Article by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Astrophysicist

Cosmic dawn, the epoch given to the point in time when the first ever stars formed, may now just be in sight.

To look back in time to when the first ever stars formed in the Universe, we need ever more powerful telescopes to be able to detect the faintest of light. This electromagnetic radiation, that has travelled billions of light years across the universe, is stretched towards the red end of the spectrum – its wavelength is said to be red-shifted. A measurement of this redshift can tell us how far this light has travelled and thus what epoch in time it came from.

A team of scientists led by Takuya Hashimoto, from Osaka Sangyo University in Japan, have just observed the gravitationally lensed galaxy, MACS149-JDI, and confirmed it to be one of the farthest objects from Earth. Utilizing the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large...

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Detection of Echoes of Gravitational Waves Support Planck-Scale Structure of Spacetime Predicted by Quantum Gravity

Article by Edwin Cartlidge, science writer based in the UK

The first detection of gravitational waves in 2015 created huge excitement because it confirmed a long-standing prediction of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and opened up a completely new way of observing the universe. Physicists have also been scrutinizing data from the growing number of gravitational-wave detections for “echoes” – the existence of which could mean that our understanding of relativity is incomplete. Physicists in Canada and Iran have found tentative evidence for such echoes gravitational waves from colliding black holes, and now say a stronger signal exists in data from colliding neutron stars.

“So far everyone who has looked for echoes has found them, including the LIGO group.”

—Niayesh Afshordi of the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Many physicists believe that general relativity is incomplete...

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Weak Charge Of The Proton Measured For The First Time

Article by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Astrophysicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Charge – that is the degree to which an entity is affected by an external force – comes in all shapes in sizes. Now for the first-time scientists have been able to determine the weak charge of the proton.

The weak force is one of the four fundamental forces of nature and is significant in radioactivity – the spontaneous emission of energy and/or subatomic particles i.e. an unstable nucleus will decompose spontaneously (decay) into a more stable configuration. Note, this is done by emitting specific particles and/or specific amounts/forms of energy. For example, radioactive beta decay transforms a neutron into a proton, an electron, and an electron anti-neutrino.

The standard model describes these forces in terms of the exchange of virtual force carriers. In this model the weak force is thought to interact thorough the exchange of the massive (~ 100 x mass of a proton)...

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3D Map of The Milky Way Questions Our Understanding of Expansion

By Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Astrophysicist

The biggest map of our galaxy just got revealed and it confirms the intriguing discrepancy in the value of the Hubble constant, further questioning our understanding of the expanding Universe.

Hubble’s constant – which is essentially a measure of the speed of the expanding universe – is determined by two different methods. One method looks at the early universe through the observation of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and the other method looks at the local universe through the light emitted by Cepheid variables.

In a recent news post, we described how Nobel laureate Adam Reiss and his team at the Space Telescope Science Institute determined a value for the Hubble constant 9% higher than that found by the CMB method. This value was found to an improved accuracy compared to previous studies and thus brings into question the reason for such a discrepancy.

Now with the help of Gaia, the...

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Sound Resonance Used to Maintain High Coherence in Electron Spin Orbitals of Single-Crystal Diamond

As Reported by Syl Kacapyr at Cornell University:

While defects in a diamond are mostly undesirable, certain defects are a quantum physicist’s best friend, having the potential to store bits of information that could one day be used in a quantum computing system.

Applied physicists at Cornell have demonstrated a technique for engineering some of the key optical properties of those defects, providing a new tool for exploring quantum mechanics.

A group of researchers led by Greg Fuchs, professor of applied and engineering physics, have become the first to use vibrations produced by a resonator to help stabilize those optical properties, forcing the diamond’s electrons into an excited orbital state. The research is detailed in the paper “Orbital State Manipulation of a Diamond Nitrogen-Vacancy Center Using a Mechanical Resonator,” published April 17 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Much like a computer’s transistors record binary information by...

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Metamaterial Device Controls Transmission and Reflection of Acoustic Waves

Article by Ken Kingery, Duke University

Metamaterials researchers at Duke University have demonstrated the design and construction of a thin material that can control the redirection and reflection of sound waves with almost perfect efficiency.

While many theoretical approaches to engineer such a device have been proposed, they have struggled to simultaneously control both the transmission and reflection of sound in exactly the desired manner, and none have been experimentally demonstrated.

The new design is the first to demonstrate complete, near-perfect control of sound waves and is quickly and easily fabricated using 3-D printers. The results appear online April 9 in Nature Communications.

"Controlling the transmission and reflection of sound waves this way was a theoretical concept that did not have a path to implementation—nobody knew how to design a practical structure using these ideas," said Steve Cummer, professor of electrical and computer...

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