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Archive for the ‘cosmology’ category

Feb 18, 2019

How Do Particles Escape Black Holes? Supercomputers May Have the Answer

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, supercomputing

The gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape once it gets too close. However, there is one way to escape a black hole — but only if you’re a subatomic particle.

As black holes gobble up the matter in their surroundings, they also spit out powerful jets of hot plasma containing electrons and positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons. Just before those lucky incoming particles reach the event horizon, or the point of no return, they begin to accelerate. Moving at close to the speed of light, these particles ricochet off the event horizon and get hurled outward along the black hole’s axis of rotation.

Known as relativistic jets, these enormous and powerful streams of particles emit light that we can see with telescopes. Although astronomers have observed the jets for decades, no one knows exactly how the escaping particles get all that energy. In a new study, researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California shed new light on the process. [The Strangest Black Holes in the Universe].

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Feb 17, 2019

There’s a black hole that could erase your past and let you live out infinite futures, study suggests

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics, singularity

According to most astrophysicists, once you enter a black hole, that’s it for you: gravity will drag you to the singularity — a one-dimensional infinitely small space containing a huge mass — at the speed of light. Then, the black hole will ‘spaghettify you”. Nice.

However, a new study from Berkley University theorises not only that humans could survive going into a black hole, but that their past could be erased, giving way to “infinite futures”.

Physicist Peter Hintz argues that if a human traveller entered a “relatively benign” black hole, they might be able to shed the natural laws of physics — and survive.

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Feb 17, 2019

One would think one third of the universe’s matter would be easy to find

Posted by in category: cosmology

However, when astronomers add up all the mass of normal matter in the universe, a third of it can’t be found. (This missing matter is distinct from the still-mysterious dark matter.) However, the matter might be contained in gigantic strands of hot gas in intergalactic space, which are invisible to optical light telescopes. Data from Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes are on the case: https://go.nasa.gov/2N7nWj6

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Feb 16, 2019

A Philosopher Is Trying to Figure out What Black Holes Really Are

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Physicists can’t agree.


Physicists define black holes according to their field’s needs.

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Feb 14, 2019

New Map of Dark Matter Spanning 10 Million Galaxies Hints at a Flaw in Our Physics

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

An invisible force is having an effect on our Universe. We can’t see it, and we can’t detect it — but we can observe how it interacts gravitationally with the things we can see and detect, such as light.

Now an international team of astronomers has used one of the world’s most powerful telescopes to analyse that effect across 10 million galaxies in the context of Einstein’s general relativity. The result? The most comprehensive map of dark matter across the history of the Universe to date.

It has yet to complete peer-review, but the map has suggested something unexpected — that dark matter structures might be evolving more slowly than previously predicted.

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Feb 13, 2019

First Light Uses a Electromagnetic Railgun to Fire Mach 58 Projectiles to Create Fusion

Posted by in category: cosmology

First Light Fusion is trying to generate energy using inertial confinement fusion. They spunout from the University of Oxford in June 2011.

First Light uses a high-velocity projectile (58 times the speed of sound) to create a shockwave to collapse a cavity containing plasma inside a ‘target’. The design of these targets is First Light’s technical USP.

The company’s approach was inspired by the only example of inertial confinement found on Earth – the pistol shrimp, which clicks its claw to produce a shockwave that stuns its prey. The only other naturally occurring inertial confinement phenomenon is a supernova. The reaction created by the collapsing cavity is what creates energy, which can then be captured and used.

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Feb 13, 2019

New Map of Dark Matter Breaks Scientists’ Understanding of Physics

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

What they found was surprising. The new map, published on the preprint server arXiv, suggests that the huge structure of dark matter in the universe formed more slowly that previously believed — results that “appear to challenge current understanding of the fundamental laws of physics,” according to the press release.

Road Ahead

But before physicists throw out the rulebook, Hikage cautioned that the new map needs to be corroborated.

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Feb 12, 2019

New theory illustrates the development of the universe may be different than we thought

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

The history of the universe is predicated on the idea that, compared to today, the universe was hotter and more symmetric in its early phase. Scientists have thought this because of the Higgs Boson finding—the particle that gives mass to all other fundamental particles. The concept is that as one analyzes time back toward the Big Bang, the universe gets hotter and the Higgs phase changes to one where everything became massless. Now, physicists are presenting a new theory that suggests an alternative history of the universe is possible.

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Feb 9, 2019

Using Black Holes As A Particle Accelerator

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Particle physics needs a larger particle accelerator. Perhaps even one using black holes.

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Feb 8, 2019

Big Bang May Have Created a Mirror Universe Where Time Runs Backwards

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Why does time seem to move forward? It’s a riddle that’s puzzled physicists for well over a century, and they’ve come up with numerous theories to explain time’s arrow. The latest, though, suggests that while time moves forward in our universe, it may run backwards in another, mirror universe that was created on the “other side” of the Big Bang.

Two leading theories propose to explain the direction of time by way of the relatively uniform conditions of the Big Bang. At the very start, what is now the universe was homogeneously hot, so much so that matter didn’t really exist. It was all just a superheated soup. But as the universe expanded and cooled, stars, galaxies, planets, and other celestial bodies formed, birthing the universe’s irregular structure and raising its entropy.

One theory, proposed in 2004 by Sean Carroll, now a professor at Caltech, and Jennifer Chen, then his graduate student, says that time moves forward because of the contrast in entropy between then and now, with an emphasis on the fact that the future universe will so much more disordered than the past. That movement toward high entropy gives time its direction.

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