Physics news

Some physics on the edge

At www.physorg.com/print251310652.html ... University of Chicago physicists have experimentally demonstrated that atoms chilled to temperatures near absolute zero may behave like seemingly unrelated natural systems of vastly different scale offering potential insights into links between the atomic realm and deep questions of cosmology - such as the gravitational dynamics of black holes (you have been warned). Article in Science, March 2nd.

At www.physorg.com/print251369454.html ... the subject is the origin of craters on the Moon.

Hawaii offshore and comets with gravel

At www.physorg.com/print249588620.html we learn that a submersible has discovered that deep canyons off the coast of Hawaii link up to river valleys. Detritus carried by the rivers enters the canyons and supports a rich variety of marine life. Does this mean more of Hawaii was once above sea level?

At www.io9.com there is a post that says comets possess an 'atmosphere', if that is the right word, that consists largely of gravel - shades of Velikovsky.

Buckyballs and Fulgarite

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-047&cid=release_2012-047 ... news that NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered solid buckyballs in space. The real name, as mentioned in a post last year, is buckminster fullerenes as they resemble the geodesic dome of an American architect, Buckminster Fuller. In this instance, the lead author of a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is one Nye Evans of Keele University.

When there really were more days in a year

Nature 217 (March 9th, 1968) had a paper that said that back in the Cretaceous (final era of the dinosaur age) there were some 370 days in a year, derived from ridges on the surface of fossil corals and other sea shells (annual growth patterns). Even further back in time fossil corals indicate there were 400 days in a year, a fact now encompassed in consensus thinking as it is supportive of uniformitarianism and suggests the spin of the earth is actually slowing down - very slowly.

The lunar dynamo theory, white earth, and magnetic graphite

At www.physorg.com/print246867025.html ... a paper in Science (Jan 27th, 2012) claims the Moon once had a molten, convecting core of liquid metal that generated a strong magnetic field - 3.7 million years ago. Its amazing what a few moon rocks can spawn but it all stems back to the Apollo mission in 1969. The rocks were magnetised - and scientists have been looking for an explanation. The idea is that the Moon's dynamo was powered by Earth's gravitational pull as millions os years ago the Moon was much closer to the Earth than today.

Polar Wandering

Sir Henry James in an article in a journal called The Athenaeum, in 1860, explained Ice Ages by the migration of the axis of rotation. The mechanism for this, he proposed, was the rapid elevation of the world's mountain chains which had disturbed the rotational balance. In fact, during the 19th century the idea of polar wandering was aired on many occasions - even during the early 20th century. It is rarely mentioned nowadays. 

Rotation of the Earth

At www.physorg.com/print246274195.html there is a report on research in Japan and a paper in Physical Review Letters on problems associated with rotation of the Earth, namely there is not a perfect rate of spin. This led to the view that because different kinds of material make up the core, mantle and the crust this created different rates of spin that causes inherent friction. In other words, the planet wobbles. Why does it wobble? Insome way the mantle responds to the magnetic tug of the core.

Higgs and Holes and sun beams

At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/13/higgs-boson-announcement-expected-... cern/ is a piece with lots of comments on how the search for Higgs Boson is proceeding (see also www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16158374/ we have the BBC headline, 'Higgs Boson may have been glimpsed' ... but on the other hand, it might not have been. Whatever, particle physicists are apparently very excited by small signals - which might be background noise.

Up the stairs and down the stairs

Landsatt satellites used to track Yellowstone's geothermal heat - see www.physorg.com/print242540137.html. Yellowstone National Park sits on top of what is thought to be a huge ancient and still active volcano, a so called hot spot - downstairs. Heat is thought to rise from an underground chamber that creates some 10,000 hot springs, mud pots, terraces and geysers. 

Blowing Bubbles ... in the sky

At www.physorg.com/print241937908.html ... we might ask, is the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way quietly dozing away or is it secretly gobbling all that dares to come alongside? In a paper in Physical Review Letters Subir Sarkar of Oxford University discusses bubbles feeding black holes - or is it vice versa? These bubbles are gigantic structures above and below the centre of the galaxy that were discovered fairly recently and studied by Harvard astrophysicists using material from NASAs Fermi satellite.