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Archive for the ‘Popular Science’ Category

Oldest Alien Planets Found

Posted by ChevScience on June 1, 2012

Two huge planets found orbiting a star 375 light-years away are the oldest alien worlds yet discovered, scientists say.

With an estimated age of 12.8 billion years, the host star—and thus the planets—most likely formed at the dawn of the universe, less than a billion years after the big bang.

The Milky Way itself was not completely formed yet at that time!

Despite the newfound planets’ longevity, it’s unlikely the worlds will survive for another 13 billion years.

The parent star will soon transform into a red giant, one of the last stages of a sunlike star’s life. During this stage, the star will swell in size and most likely engulf any nearby planets. Learn more here.


Posted in Astrophysics, Popular Science | Leave a Comment »

Nine-Planet Star System Discovered

Posted by ChevScience on June 1, 2012

A star about 127 light-years from Earth may have even more planets than the sun, which would make the planetary system the most populated yet found.

According to a new study, HD 10180—a sunlike star in the southern constellation Hydrus—may have as many as nine orbiting planets, besting the eight official planets in our solar system.

The star first made headlines in 2010 with the announcement of five confirmed planets and two more planetary candidates.

Now, reanalysis of nearly a decade’s worth of data has not only confirmed the existence of the two possible planets but also uncovered the telltale signals of two additional planets possibly circling the star, bringing the total to nine. Learn more here.

Posted in Main Sequence, Popular Science | Leave a Comment »

Photovoltaic glass

Posted by ChevScience on March 18, 2012

This will be cool

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Meet the elements

Posted by ChevScience on March 11, 2012

Just for fun

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3.6 Million Degrees

Posted by ChevScience on March 6, 2012

An x-ray laser fired at a sample of aluminum has generated temperatures of 2 million °C (3.6 million °F) — hotter than the sun’s corona.

Scientists achieved the sizzling temperatures using a powerful x-ray laser. They did it by focusing rapid-fire pulses from the beam on a piece of aluminum foil thinner than spider’s silk, they were able to create a material known as hot dense matter.

The advancement represents the first time researchers have been able to produce such plasmas in a controlled way.

Hot dense matter is some of the most extreme material in the universe, only existing in the hearts of stars and giant gas planets. Having a sample of it in the lab should provide insights into the material, helping scientists to create better models of its behaviour. Learn more here.

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Gummy bear oxidising

Posted by ChevScience on March 4, 2012

Photosynthesis is a process whereby energy from the sun is converted to chemical energy stored in the sugar glucose.

Cellular respiration is a process that occurs in all living cells whereby glucose is broken down to provide the cell with the energy it needs to survive.

If you’d like to get an idea of just how much energy glucose molecules can store, check this out.

This occurs because molten potassium chlorate is a strong oxidizing agent that reacts violently with sugar.

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Obama Puts $126 Million Toward Next-Generation Exascale Computer Research

Posted by ChevScience on June 15, 2011

President Obama’s 2012 budget request specifically focuses on exascale computing, the first time the word has appeared in the federal books.

Can stick this in my PS2? Imagine playing Tetris with that!

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Is It Safe to Walk Barefoot in New York City?

Posted by ChevScience on June 15, 2011

The obvious concern is that city sidewalks are dirty. And that’s a valid concern, says Daniel Howell, a biologist at Liberty University in Virginia who has lived mainly shoeless for the past few years. “There’s a lot of soot, so your feet get blacker than if you were in the woods,” explains Howell, who has toured New York barefoot several times. But, he says, a little soot isn’t bad.

What do you think? Have a good read. I love barefoot walking but there can be real concerns with hepatitis / tetanus

Posted in Environment, Popular Science | Leave a Comment »

Two Planets Discovered Sharing the Same Orbit

Posted by ChevScience on June 15, 2011

In a cosmic first, the Kepler telescope has discovered two planets sharing the same orbit. There is a theory that says our moon was created when a body sharing our orbit crashed into Earth, but up until now no one had found evidence of co-orbiting planets elsewhere in the universe.

This is fascinating. Not only that, it mentions the term Lagrange points. A concept included in the 2010 HSC physics paper. It was a nasty question and few in the state answered it well. It goes to show how important wider reading is in Science

Posted in Astrophysics, Popular Science, Space, Yr.11 Physics | 1 Comment »

By Tuning a Laser to Pull Rather Than Push, Researchers Design a Working Tractor Beam

Posted by ChevScience on June 15, 2011

There’s no escaping it: though the tractor beam is a staple of sci-fi space-faring scenarios, it’s also extremely counter-intuitive. How does one pull something in via an outward propagating beam? Now a few Chinese researchers think they’ve found the answer via a theoretical method that should generate a backward pulling force from a forward traveling stream of photons.

Read on

Posted in Popular Science | Leave a Comment »