A 100 Gbps Highway for Science

Climate researchers are producing some of the fastest growing datasets in science. Five years ago, the amount of information generated for the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report was 35 terabytes—equivalent to the amount of text in 35 million books, occupying a bookshelf 248 miles (399 km) long. By 2014, when the next IPCC report is published, experts predict that 2 petabytes of data will have been generated for it—that’s a 580 percent increase in data production. Read More →

Seeing Inside the Nose of an Aircraft

This terahertz measurement system for non-destructive testing measures the thickness of multi-layered plastic films at a rate of 40 times per second. © Fraunhofer IPM

The planned arrival time, the request to land or the landing direction – this is the kind of information pilots discuss via radio with ground staff in the control tower. The nose of the aircraft, the „radar dome“, receives incoming radio signals and transmits radio signals sent by the pilot as well. It is made of a fiberglass composite. But if even tiniest imperfections arise during production – if, for instance, little foreign particles, drops of water or air bubbles become enclosed in the resin – over time they can cause fine cracks through which moisture can seep. This causes interference in radio traffic through the aircraft nose, introducing static into the signal. Read More →

A Paradoxical Laser Effect [Research]

Two lamps are brighter than one. This simple truism does not necessarily apply to lasers, as a team of scientists, led by the Vienna University of Technology found out. When one laser is shining and next to it another laser is turned on gradually, complex interactions between the two lasers can lead to a total shutdown and no light is emitted anymore. For technologies connecting the fields of electronics and photonics, this result may be very important. The new findings have now been published in the journal “Physical Review Letters” (referenced below). Read More →

Scientists a Step Closer to Fusion Harnessing

Physicists have discovered a possible solution to a mystery that has long baffled researchers working to harness fusion. If confirmed by experiment, the finding could help scientists eliminate a major impediment to the development of fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for producing electric power. Read More →

Telescopes Made of Cow Bones

When in museums, we are accustomed to seeing the beautiful instruments of the Scientific Enlightenment constructed of gleaming brass.  But, in an early example of recycling, five telescopes made from the metatarsal (foot) bone of a cow were discovered recently in Amsterdam.  Dating to the 18th Century, over 100 years after the invention of the telescope and microscope, these small (8-14 cm long) telescopes are of surprising sophistication. Read More →

A New First – Uranus Auroras Glimpsed from Earth

These composite images show Uranus auroras,

For the first time, scientists have captured images of auroras above the giant ice planet Uranus, finding further evidence of just how peculiar a world that distant planet is. Detected by means of carefully scheduled observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, the newly witnessed Uranian light show consisted of short-lived, faint, glowing dots – a world of difference from the colorful curtains of light that often ring Earth’s poles. Read More →

Microlaunchers Hopes to Make Space Exploration Accessible to Everyone [Interview]

As I continue to explore all of the exciting citizen science projects and space-related initiatives going on around the world today, I always keep an eye out for projects that are unique and can get lots of people excited about space. I recently came across one such project, called Microlaunchers. What caught my attention is that the founders are focused not only on creating new ways to access space, but to do it affordably and on a mass-scale. This is a subject near and dear to my heart so I thought I’d reach out to the folks behind the project to learn more. Read More →

Could ‘Advanced’ Dinosaurs Rule Other Planets?

New scientific research (referenced below) raises the possibility that advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs — monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans — may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe. “We would be better off not meeting them,” concludes the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Read More →

Spotting Something New On the Sun

One day in the fall of 2011, Neil Sheeley, a solar scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., did what he always does – look through the daily images of the sun from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

But on this day he saw something he’d never noticed before: a pattern of cells with bright centers and dark boundaries occurring in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. These cells looked somewhat like a cell pattern that occurs on the sun’s surface — similar to the bubbles that rise to the top of boiling water — but it was a surprise to find this pattern higher up in the corona, which is normally dominated by bright loops and dark coronal holes. Read More →

A Cannibalistic Galaxy With a Powerful Heart

Elliptical Galaxy Centaurus A at Visible, Far-Infrared and X-Ray Wavelengths

Observations by two of the European Space Agency‘s space observatories have provided a multi-wavelength view of the mysterious galaxy Centaurus A. The new images, from the Herschel Space Observatory and the XMM-Newton x-ray satellite, are revealing further hints about its cannibalistic past and energetic processes going on in its core. Read More →