Thursday, December 29, 2011

Martian Atmosphere found to be Supersaturated with Water.

Mars Express an ESA probe that has been orbiting Mars for several years has measured the water content of the Martian atmosphere using it’s SPICAM spectrometer. IT found that it is above that of saturation a state called supersaturating. This is the first time this type of measurement has been made on a global scale. The result will help in prove our understanding of Mar’s weather.

This result is also consistent with catastrophic Martian geology. If Mars' atmosphere had temporarily been raised to allow surface water by dust from impacts and volcanic activity, when Martian atmospheric pressure dropped as this dust settled the resulting evaporation would supersaturated atmosphere. This state would continue because the low pressure makes rain impossible so the only way to reduce it is for the water to slowly bleed off into space.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Levitating Slinky

If you drop a dangling slinky, you would expect it to just fall to the ground but that is not what happens. What actually happens is that the bottom just hovers for a moment until the top collapses on top of it as seem in the video There are two main reasons why this occurs.

This first has to do with newtons law of action reaction. As top falls the spring of the slinky is pulls it down faster the pull of gravity. At the same time the spring is pulling the bottom up countering the pull of gravity. As a result the bottom remains  suspended until the top collapses on to it ending the action reaction effect.
The second is that because the bottom of the slinky is held up by tension and it take the time needed for the top to collapse for the bottom to get the message that the top was dropped.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two Earth size Planets by Discovered Kepler Space Telescope.

Astronomers working with the Kepler Space Telescope have confirmed the discovery of two roughly earth size planets orbiting a star other than our sun. The good news is that these are planets; unlike other claims, are not 2-3 time the size of Earth but actually about the size of the Earth. Designated as Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f they are the smallest planets found out side the solar system so far.

Kepler-20f is slightly bigger than Earth with a diameter of 8,200 miles in diameter, which is only 1.03 x Earth’s 7961 miles. The difference of in diameter 3% suggests that a human could stand on the surface with only a few pounds increase in weight definitely tolerable.

Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus with a diameter of 6,900 miles in diameter, or 0.87 x that of the Earth. For comparison Mars is about O.53 Earth’s diameter and Venus is 0.949.
These two planets two of five known planets orbiting a stat designated Kepler-20 that it 1,000 light years away and a little smaller and dimmer than our sun. The other three planets are Neptune size gas giants.

The bad new for Earth like planet hunters is that these planers are uncomfortably closet o the sun. Kepler-20e obits the star every 6 earth days at 0.0537 AU (Earth’s Orbit is 1 AU) and has an estimated surface temperature of 1,412.33 Fahrenheit. Kepler-20f obits the star every 20 earth days at 0.117 AU and has an estimated surface temperature of 809.33 Fahrenheit. 

What is even stranger about the Kepler-20 system is the planet order. Not only do all five planets orbit closer to their sun than Mercury dose to our sun but they have an odd order. The Solar system has all terrestrial planes closer to the sun than all four gas giants. The Kepler-20 system on the other hand goes gas giant, terrestrial, gas giant, terrestrial, gas giant. This raises yet another issue for planetary formation theory.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Faster than Light Neutrinos Flaw Found

Two Indian physicists have found serious a problem with the experimental observations that neutrinos went faster than Light. That problem is has to do with the fact that if the neutrinos has traveled faster than Light relativity shows that their energy would have actually been much lower than what was actually observed. This throws an interesting wrench in problem.

Interestingly there is a way of reconciling these results that is consistent with established physics, specifically Quantum Mechanics. That solution is that the CERN neutrinos did travel at sublight speeds but only through the space they actually went through and that the instantly skipped the rest of it making their average speed faster than light. Quantum Mechanics has several phenomenon like quantum tunneling that allow this to happen

Looking at Statistical Entropy

Statistical Entropy is probability theory applied to the principle of entropy showing it to be a measurement of the disorder in a system. It is based mainly on the probability of the positions of molecules explaining the tendency; seen in the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics; of entropy to increase. This tendency is because configurations with high entropy are more probable than configurations of low entropy.
The biggest problem with entropy is its tendency to increase. So understanding how to decrease entropy is vary important. The most common answer is adding energy to the system as if that is all that is needed to decrease its entropy.  But such an answer is overly simplistic since when energy is applied to a system the way it affects the system’s entropy depends on the way the energy is applied to the system. Consider the difference between construction work and a bomb. Construction work will decrease the entropy of a building under construction. One the other hand a bomb with the same amount of energy and on the same site will inevitably increase the site’s entropy.

This shows that the manner by which energy is applied to a system affects how that energy changes that system’s entropy. What is needed is a general principle that describes this difference and statistical entropy shows exactly how and when entropy can be decreased it shows how to produce order from disorder.

Friday, December 23, 2011

No joke, Water found on the sun!.

Yes an international team of scientists, including a chemist form the University of Waterloo has indeed found water on the sun. However before you go running off complaining that its impossible, it is extremely hot steam and not liquid water but it’s there.

The steam is found in dark sum spots and was identified by water’s spectral signature. The water produces a stellar green house effect that influences the spots output of energy.

What makes it even more interesting is that the team had discovered the spectral absorption lines that made the discovery possible. They then found the signature in data from the sun.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

CERN Traps Antimatter Atoms

Scientists have successfully produced and trapped Antimatter hydrogen. They have managed to keep it in a magnetic bottle. In the past the Antimatter hydrogen has managed to leak out and get annihilated. This is the first time that any degree of long term storage of antimatter atoms has been achieved.

The importance of this is that real long term storage of antimatter atoms is need if antimatter is ever going to be used as an energy source. While the math of a real warp drive is now in place, like it’s Star Trek counter part only antimatter has any hope of providing the needed energy and long term storage of antimatter atoms beings this a  step closer.

Monday, December 19, 2011

NASA Planning to Harpoon Asteroids and Comets

The plan is to shoot a spike in to the asteroid or comet that is designed to collect samples and retune them to Earth. The first probe to use this method is OSIRIS-REx, a probe scheduled to be launch in 2016 to collect samples from an asteroid in 2023.

In preparation for this flight scientists at JPL are using a crossbow to test the penetration of test harpoon to determine how much power to put in the cannon that will shoot it at the asteroid. This is a mission to keep an eye on there is no telling what surprises it will discover.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Two elements finally get their names.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry have given elements 114 and 116 their permanent names. They are the chemistry organization with the authority to officially designate the names of elements.

Now called Flerovium (Fl) element 114 is a synthetic element discovered in December 1998 with an atomic weight of 289 and a half life of 2.6 s.

With its new name of livermorium (Lv) element 116 is a synthetic element discovered on July 19, 2000 with an atomic weight of 293 and a half life of 61 ms.

The are two the 118 elements that make up the periodic table and it is these elements that make up every thing we see. This is an amazing fact that everything we see including distant galaxies are made from these elements.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Two enormous suppermassive black holes Discovered.

Calling these truly massive monsters suppermassive black holes would probably be gross understatements because they dwarf the previous record of 6.3 billion times the mass of the sun. Both of these black holes are larger in dynamiter than the entire solar system and could easily swallow us whole.  
They were discovered by way of the Hubble Space Telescope and were found at the centers of other galaxies.

The smaller of the two was found at the center of galaxy NGC 3842 in the consolation Leo and has an estimated distance of about 331 million light-years. It mass is that 9.7 billion Suns but compared to other one it is actually small.

The larger one and undisputed champion of the suppermassive black holes was found at the center of galaxy NGC 4889 in the Coma constellation. This monster of a black hole has a the mass of a whopping 21 billion Suns.

Discoveries like these are show that the universe sill has many mysteries hiding in the depths of space. It needs to be noted that suppermassive black holes like this are so large that planets and even stars could fall through the event horizon intact.