News from our Pale Blue Dot for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend: from the “telescope that ate astronomy” to what “Impossible” meant to the legendary physicist, Richard Feynman to black-hole bubbles that could swallow to Universe to poaching triggers the evolution of tuskless elephants to tech companies ‘don’t get’ science-fiction.
In 2017, an international group of astronomers and physicists excitedly reported the first simultaneous detection of light and gravitational waves from the same source–a merger of two neutron stars. In the world of astrophysics, Aug. 17, 2017, was a red-letter day. “This is a game-changer for astrophysics,” said UC Santa Barbara faculty member Andy Howell, who leads the supernova group at the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO). “A hundred years after Einstein theorized gravitational waves, we’ve seen them and traced them back to their source to find an explosion with new physics of the kind we’ve only dreamed about.”
In 2019, scientists confirmed the existence of “superionic ice,” a new almost metal-like phase of water that is black and hot, first theoretically predicted more than 30 years ago. Although it has never been seen until then, scientists think this new state of matter might be among the most common forms of water in the universe. “It’s not quite a new phase of water. It’s really a new state of matter,” said physicist Livia Bove of France’s National Center for Scientific Research and Pierre and Marie Curie University. “Which is rather spectacular.”
Another amazing week of news from the Cosmos: from Einstein’s forgotten idea that might save cosmology to the physicist who denies that dark matter exists to black holes may be expanding along with our Universe. This week’s Galaxy Report brings you news of space and science that has the capacity to provide clues to the mystery of our existence and adds a much needed cosmic perspective in our current Anthropocene Epoch.
From the afterglow of the Big Bang to the world’s premier particle accelerators to mystery particles beaming up from the South Pole, physicists are chasing down promising hints of new phenomena that would extend the standard model — a remarkably successful but incomplete physics theory that describes matter and forces.
The center of our Galaxy has been intensely studied for many years, but it still harbors surprises for scientists. A snake-like structure lurking near our galaxy’s supermassive black hole is one of the more intriguing discoveries. “Part of the thrill of science is stumbling across a mystery that is not easy to solve,” said Jun-Hui Zhao of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics,. “While we don’t have the answer yet, the path to finding it is fascinating.”