Physics news

The problem on the Sun

One of physics biggest unsolved problems is described at ... where two astrophysicists claim they have 'almost' solved why the Sun's corona is much hotter than the surface of the Sun. The corona is the source of the solar wind and solar flares are a potential problem to the inhabitants of the Earth, affecting power grids and telecommunications technology (such as satellites).

Oxygen, the atmosphere, and black smokers

This is the third link that is reminiscent of Malaga Bay (remember the black smokers on the ocean bottom) - see ... a paper in Nature Geoscience by a team from the Norwegian Geological Survey claims oxygenation of the atmosphere and oceans came about two billion years ago. This also produced phosphorous - and phosphorus was the clue to the findings. Phosphorous is an important ingredient of life and all this popped out when the team were looking at rocks in Karelia (next door to Finland but in Russia) reputed to be two billion years of age.

Methane producing microbes

Malaga Bay also came to mind when I read the headline here too - see ... microbiologists have found that methanogen microbes can reduce carbon dioxide to methane by a mechanism in which they make 'electrical connections' with other micro organisms, something not recognised in methanogens before. Bacteria anaerobically digest biomass to produce methane gas, an important piece of bio-energy. In nature these methanogens are active in bogs, swamps, and wetland zones, and their productivity is a source of angst to climate alarmists.

the evolution of the atmosphere of the Earth

I couldn't help thinking of some of Malaga Bay's postings when coming across this at ... a piece of research on amber deposits. A team of sicentists have analysed modern and fossil resins and the results seem to suggest there was less oxygen in the atmosphere in the geological past than previously imagined. The study therefore raises a question mark about current theories on the evolution of climate and of life itself, including the causes of gigantism in dinosaurs.

The Ring Nebula, atmospheric rivers in the sky

Tim Cullen has a post on the Ring Nebula (Messier 57) which provides an example of the fluorescence produced by gases when they are irradiated - with ultra violet light (see ... complete with images

Meanwhile, at ... we have atmospheric river storms over the Pacific. These are short lived wind tunnels that carry water vapour from the tropical ocean to mid latitude land ares and are prolific producers of rain and snow in the Americas and East Asia

The hard and the soft of it

Cadbury's Milk Tray, brought by a hunk to a swooning lady, was depicted with a selection of hard and soft centres, chocolates to suit any taste. At ... it asks, do the centre of planets contain molten magma or a rocky slush? A gravity map of Titan made by the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn suggests its interior is a mixture of rock and ice with no layering. Variations in the gravity seem to imply a variationin density - unlike the body of Earth's Moon.

Nir Shariv at EIKE 2013

Nir Shariv of the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem can be seen on video addressing the German EIKE conference on solar and cosmic ray connections with climate physics. This is not to say that what he says is embraced by the sceptic community - only that he offers an alternative view, in one respect, and one that doesn't shirk from the idea of electrical effects on the atmosphere of the Earth. His work is not the same as that of Svensmark, and colleagues, but involves cosmic rays, too.

Computer to the Rescue

At ... computer simulation solves another puzzle. The beginning of the last glacial period required an accumulation of snow at higher latitudes to form the ice sheet that expanded from the poles to cover a vast area of the northern hemisphere. Snow fall is associated with high humidity and moderate temperatures - it is when the rain meets cold air that it turns to snow (as we regularly can see on weather forecasts as produced for television). Snow does not form in the freezing weather, enough to feed a growing glaciation.

Why is the Universe expanding faster

This story can be found at ... and this time it is UK scientists in the chase (based at an observatory in Chile). The 'Dark Energy Survey' is just commencing so no conclusions as yet but the title is the name of the game - finding out why the universe seems to be accelerating instead of closing down due to gravity. The side dish to the plate is to probe the mystery of dark energy, the force that is widely held to be powering the acceleration, overriding gravity.