Physics news

A storm on Saturn, dark energy is real, and a fractal Sun

At we learn that ESOs Very Large Telescope and NASAs Cassini spacecraft have been looking at a huge storm in the upper atmosphere of Saturn (see also NASA news release May 19th 'Cassini and Telescope see violent Saturn storm' and the full story at and ). It created a gigantic violent and complex eruption of bright cloud material which spread to encircle the entire planet.

Staying with the Sun ...

Another web site or blog that is interesting for those into the Electric Universe theory - see It seems that beneath the photosphere the surface of the Sun is solid - not gaseous. It goes on to say that Birkeland said this nearly 100 years ago. His early laboratory research with an electrified iron sphere suspended in a vacuum created images remarkably similar to modern satellite x-ray images of the Sun (with pictures). 

Cosmic Rays, Clouds, and the Solar Wind

At May 15th and May 17th Nigel Calder draws our attention on an update on the Svensmark hypothesis. As the CERN CLOUD experiment took so long to get going and is not due out for awhile as yet and so the Danish decided to do their own laboratory experiment, in Copenhagen. A study of their findings has just been published in Geophysical Review Letters (12th May), with the title 'Aerosol nucleation induced by a high energy particle beam'.

Dark Matter

Also at 'What is 96 per cent of the Universe made of? Astronomers don't know' ... Richard Panek says that all the stars, planets, and galaxies make up just 4 per cent of the universe. The other 96 per cent is made of stuff astronomers can't see, detect, or even comprehend. They are tagged dark energy and dark matter and their existence is inferred based on gravitational influences on the little bits of the universe that can be seen - but themselves elude detection.

Hoyle from the Grave

At - it seems the Big Bang did not produce carbon yet life is carbon based. Where did it come from? A supercomputer simulation claims to have proved Fred Hoyle right. He suggested 50 years ago that carbon was made in stars from three helium nuclei or alpha particles. This has now been demonstrated - on a computer (published in the May issue of Physical Research Letters and see ).

Movements of the earth at the point of axis

The New York Times (see 'As the World Turns' asks, do shifts of the earth's axis produced by earthquakes alter world weather? - presumably a question an earnest AGW enthusiast might be concerned about - why is snow still falling in parts of the US and Canada? Its supposed to be spring. Its very warm over here in NW Europe but other parts of the northern hemisphere are not so lucky.

An electric plume - under Yellowstone

At - a computer simulation has come up with an image based on variations in electrical conductivity in underground rock formations beneath Yellowstone. It is thought to have a connection with the famous hot spot, a volcanic plume that has blown in a mega-blast on at least three previous occasions, the so called and much hyped super-volcano. The image was produced by geophysicists at the University of Utah and is due to be published by Geophysical Research Letters.

Ocean Circulation Systems

At (there is a broken link here so if there is a problem go to site and look at archive on LH menu). This is a taster article for those who know very little about the Ocean Circulation System, ENSO events (El Nino and La Nina cycles) and how they influence global climate.

Black Holes ... gamma ray bursts and things

At we have an interesting interpretation of an astronomical event - two neutron stars merge and within mill-seconds, it is said, form a black hole. It can't of course be seen but is thought to happen, even the neutron stars are hypothetical as far as composition is concerned. What is known for sure is that such an event coincides with the formation of a strong magnetic field along the rotational axis which creates a jet that shoots ultra hot matter into space - a gamma ray burst event.

Earthquakes ... are they increasing?

Piers Corbyn has attributed current earthquake activity to lunar and solar factors - and presumably the much smaller influences on earth by the planets. In effect, it is a peculiarity of 2011 - but that peculiarity pops up at where it asks, 'Are we living in an age of giant earthquakes?' - following a succession of large tremors. An earthquake, it suggests, represents the abrupt release of seismic strain that has built up over years as plates of the earth's crust slowly grind and rub up against each other.