A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Finding the missing links of black hole astronomy

Credit: Two black holes circling around each other before they merge and form a bigger one; Gettyimages

A deeper understanding of black holes could revolutionise our understanding of physics, but their mysterious nature makes them difficult to observe.

The weirdness exhibited by black holes boggles the mind. Formed when a star burns all its nuclear fuel and collapses under its own gravitation, black holes are such oddities that at one time, even Einstein didn't think they were possible.

They are regions in space with such intense gravitation that not even light escapes their pull. Once magnificent shining stars burn out and shrink to a relatively tiny husk, all their mass is concentrated in a small space. Imagine our Sun with its diameter of roughly 1.4 million kilometres shrinking to a black hole the size of a small city just six kilometres across. This compactness gives black holes immense gravitational pull.

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Laboratory experiments replicate volatile plasma at the center of galaxy clusters

Credit: Giannandrea Inchingolo

Scientists use simulations and high-power lasers to explain how turbulent plasma can stay hot 

A team of U.S. National Science Foundation grantee astronomers and astrophysicists based at the University of Rochester and other institutions examined the inner workings of heat conduction in galaxy clusters -- thousands of galaxies held together by gravity.

The matter in galaxy clusters is mostly tenuous ionized gas (plasma) with magnetic fields in a turbulent state. Turbulent plasma is incredibly hot; the new study provides an explanation. The team published the work in Science Advances.

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How scientists are ‘looking’ inside asteroids

The shape of asteroids such as 243 Ida can reveal information about what they're made of, which can, in turn, tell us more about the formation of the solar system. Image credit - NASA/JPL/USGS

Asteroids - treasure troves of knowledge

Asteroids can pose a threat to life on Earth but are also a valuable source of resources to make fuel or water to aid deep space exploration. Devoid of geological and atmospheric processes, these space rocks provide a window onto the evolution of the solar system. But to really understand their secrets, scientists must know what's inside them.

Only four spacecraft have ever landed on an asteroid – most recently in October 2020 – but none has peered inside one. Yet understanding the internal structures of these cosmic rocks is crucial for answering key questions about, for example, the origins of our own planet.

'Asteroids are the only objects in our solar system that are more or less unchanged since the very beginning of the solar system's formation,' said Dr Fabio Ferrari, who studies asteroid dynamics at the University of Bern, Switzerland. 'If we know what's inside asteroids, we can understand a lot about how planets formed, how everything that we have in our solar system has formed and might evolve in the future.'

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Astrophysicists detect first black hole-neutron star mergers

An artistic image inspired by a black hole-neutron star merger event. Credit: Carl Knox, OzGrav/Swinburne

First-ever detection of a black hole merging with a neutron star

A long time ago, in two galaxies about 900 million light-years away, two black holes each gobbled up their neutron star companions, triggering gravitational waves that finally hit Earth in January 2020.

Discovered by an international team of astrophysicists including Northwestern University researchers, two events -- detected just 10 days apart -- mark the first-ever detection of a black hole merging with a neutron star. The findings will enable researchers to draw the first conclusions about the origins of these rare binary systems and how often they merge.

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Which way does the solar wind blow?

A July 12, 2021, coronal mass ejection seen in coronagraphs; Image credit: Talwinder Singh et al., The American Astronomical Society

Researchers develop new software for improved space weather prediction

The surface of the sun churns with energy and frequently ejects masses of highly magnetized plasma toward Earth. Sometimes these ejections are strong enough to crash through the magnetosphere -- the natural magnetic shield that protects the Earth -- damaging satellites or electrical grids. Such space weather events can be catastrophic.

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Could we harness energy from black holes?

Photo credit: JPL-Caltech/NASA

Study indicates that energy can be extracted from black holes

A new study indicates that, someday, energy could be extracted from black holes.

A remarkable prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity -- the theory that connects space, time, and gravity -- is that rotating black holes have enormous amounts of energy available to be tapped.

For the last 50 years, scientists have tried to come up with methods to unleash this power.

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