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kenobi-wan-obi:

NASA Releases Movie of Sun’s Canyon of Fire

A magnetic filament of solar material erupted on the sun in late September, breaking the quiet conditions in a spectacular fashion. The 200,000 mile long filament ripped through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, leaving behind what looks like a canyon of fire.

The glowing canyon traces the channel where magnetic fields held the filament aloft before the explosion. Visualizers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. combined two days of satellite data to create a short movie of this gigantic event on the sun.

In reality, the sun is not made of fire, but of something called plasma: particles so hot that their electrons have boiled off, creating a charged gas that is interwoven with magnetic fields.

These images were captured on Sept. 29-30, 2013, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which constantly observes the sun in a variety of wavelengths.

Different wavelengths help capture different aspect of events in the corona. The red images shown in the movie help highlight plasma at temperatures of 90,000° F and are good for observing filaments as they form and erupt. The yellow images, showing temperatures at 1,000,000° F, are useful for observing material coursing along the sun’s magnetic field lines, seen in the movie as an arcade of loops across the area of the eruption.

The browner images at the beginning of the movie show material at temperatures of 1,800,000° F, and it is here where the canyon of fire imagery is most obvious. By comparing this with the other colors, one sees that the two swirling ribbons moving farther away from each other are, in fact, the footprints of the giant magnetic field loops, which are growing and expanding as the filament pulls them upward. The movie runs 2.3 minutes and is available for download in high resolution here.

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly.

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Trev Warth (via lou-ouija)

World’s most powerful digital camera opens eye, records first images in hunt for dark energy

Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. That ancient starlight has now found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly-constructed Dark Energy Camera, the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created, has captured and recorded it for the first time.

That light may hold within it the answer to one of the biggest mysteries in physics – why the expansion of the universe is speeding up.

Scientists in the international Dark Energy Survey collaboration announced this week that the Dark Energy Camera, the product of eight years of planning and construction by scientists, engineers, and technicians on three continents, has achieved first light. The first pictures of the southern sky were taken by the 570-megapixel camera on Sept. 12.

“The achievement of first light through the Dark Energy Camera begins a significant new era in our exploration of the cosmic frontier,” said James Siegrist, associate director of science for high energy physics with the U.S. Department of Energy. “The results of this survey will bring us closer to understanding the mystery of dark energy, and what it means for the universe.”

The Dark Energy Camera was constructed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and mounted on the Victor M. Blanco telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile, which is the southern branch of the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). With this device, roughly the size of a phone booth, astronomers and physicists will probe the mystery of dark energy, the force they believe is causing the universe to expand faster and faster.

“The Dark Energy Survey will help us understand why the expansion of the universe is accelerating, rather than slowing due to gravity,” said Brenna Flaugher, project manager and scientist at Fermilab. “It is extremely satisfying to see the efforts of all the people involved in this project finally come together.”

The Dark Energy Camera is the most powerful survey instrument of its kind, able to see light from over 100,000 galaxies up to 8 billion light years away in each snapshot. The camera’s array of 62 charged-coupled devices has an unprecedented sensitivity to very red light, and along with the Blanco telescope’s large light-gathering mirror (which spans 13 feet across), will allow scientists from around the world to pursue investigations ranging from studies of asteroids in our own Solar System to the understanding of the origins and the fate of the universe.

“We’re very excited to bring the Dark Energy Camera online and make it available for the astronomical community through NOAO’s open access telescope allocation,” said Chris Smith, director of the Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory. “With it, we provide astronomers from all over the world a powerful new tool to explore the outstanding questions of our time, perhaps the most pressing of which is the nature of dark energy.”

Scientists in the Dark Energy Survey collaboration will use the new camera to carry out the largest galaxy survey ever undertaken, and will use that data to carry out four probes of dark energy, studying galaxy clusters, supernovae, the large-scale clumping of galaxies and weak gravitational lensing. This will be the first time all four of these methods will be possible in a single experiment.

The Dark Energy Survey is expected to begin in December, after the camera is fully tested, and will take advantage of the excellent atmospheric conditions in the Chilean Andes to deliver pictures with the sharpest resolution seen in such a wide-field astronomy survey. In just its first few nights of testing, the camera has already delivered images with excellent and nearly uniform spatial resolution.

Over five years, the survey will create detailed color images of one-eighth of the sky, or 5,000 square degrees, to discover and measure 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernovae.

The Dark Energy Survey is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy; the National Science Foundation; funding agencies in the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Switzerland; and the participating DES institutions.

More information about the Dark Energy Survey, including the list of participating institutions, is available at the project website:www.darkenergysurvey.org.

For a summary of the major components contributed to the Dark Energy Camera by the participating institutions, read these symmetryarticles: www.symmetrymagazine.org/cms/?pid=1000880http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/september-2012/the-dark-energy-camera-opens-its-eyes

Released by Fermilab and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) on behalf of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC. Visit Fermilab’s website at www.fnal.gov and follow us on Twitter at @FermilabToday.

The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

Media Contacts:

  • Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication. Office: 630-840-6733, cell phone: 630-940-8239, email media@fnal.gov.
  • Stephen Pompea, Public Information Office, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Office: 520-318-8285, cell phone: 520-907-2493, email spompea@noao.edu

Science Contacts:

  • Josh Frieman, Dark Energy Survey Director, Fermilab scientist and University of Chicago professor. Office: 630-840-2226, cell phone: 847-274-0429, email frieman@fnal.gov .
  • Chris Smith, Director of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and NOAO Astronomer. Office: 520-777-0005 or +56-51-205214 (Chile)

Photos and background information:

jtotheizzoe:

nevver:

Large object impact on Jupiter, Sept. 10th

Being ~100 times more massive than Earth, Jupiter is bound to take more of a beating from celestial projectiles than Earth is. Looks like the big guy took another one for the team yesterday, as captured by amateur astronomers in the video above.

Eyes will be trained on Jupiter in the coming weeks to see how the collision affects cloud patterns, etc. A friendly reminder that planets get hit by stuff, including Earth. It’s a matter of when, not if.

More at NBC News’ Cosmic Log. Reminds me of ol’ Shoemaker-Levy hitting Jupiter back in 1994, the first time we ever witnessed such celestial destruction.

jtotheizzoe:

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

Unlike most racket sports, badminton uses a projectile that is nothing like a sphere. The unusual shape of the shuttlecock not only creates substantial drag in comparison to a ball but increases the complexity of its flight path. The heavy head of the shuttlecock creates a moment that stabilizes its flight, ensuring that the head always points in the direction of travel. The skirt, traditionally made of feathers though many today are plastic, is responsible for the aerodynamic forces that make the shuttlecock’s behavior so interesting.

Measuring the drag coefficient of the shuttlecock, modeling its trajectory and behavior in the four common badminton shots, and even attempting computational fluid dynamics of the shuttlecock are all on-going research problems in sports engineering. (Photo credit: Rob Bulmahn)

FYFD is celebrating the Olympics with the fluid dynamics of sports. Check out our previous posts on how the Olympic torch works, what makes a pool fast, and the aerodynamics of archery.

Things I didn’t think I’d see this Olympics season: Fluid dynamic analysis of a shuttlecock.

Things I’m glad I saw this Olympics season: See above

jtotheizzoe:

Physics That Resonates With Everyone
Chladni patterns mix sound with science
In the late 18th century, musician and scientist Ernst Chladni demonstrated the two-dimensional vibration of a flat plane caused by certain sound waves. Following in the footsteps of Robert Hooke, Chladni drew a rosined bow across the edge of a sand-covered metal plate. When the bow created certain frequencies of vibration, the beautiful patterns above were formed.
When sound travels through a solid medium like a metal plate, certain frequencies will produce resonance. Resonance is the property of a given material to vibrate easily and vigorously at specific frequencies, and the patterns created in Chladni’s experiments represent the nodes between intersecting two-dimensional waves. Every solid material from wood to glass to metal to buildings to our inner ear membranes have a set of frequencies that will cause these resonant vibrations.
Today we use these kind of vibrations to perfect the acoustics of instruments like guitars and violins, and we even see their relatives in the standing waves that underly electron orbitals.
Check out this video for more. Got a violin bow? Try it yourself!

jtotheizzoe:

Physics That Resonates With Everyone

Chladni patterns mix sound with science

In the late 18th century, musician and scientist Ernst Chladni demonstrated the two-dimensional vibration of a flat plane caused by certain sound waves. Following in the footsteps of Robert Hooke, Chladni drew a rosined bow across the edge of a sand-covered metal plate. When the bow created certain frequencies of vibration, the beautiful patterns above were formed.

When sound travels through a solid medium like a metal plate, certain frequencies will produce resonance. Resonance is the property of a given material to vibrate easily and vigorously at specific frequencies, and the patterns created in Chladni’s experiments represent the nodes between intersecting two-dimensional waves. Every solid material from wood to glass to metal to buildings to our inner ear membranes have a set of frequencies that will cause these resonant vibrations.

Today we use these kind of vibrations to perfect the acoustics of instruments like guitars and violins, and we even see their relatives in the standing waves that underly electron orbitals.

Check out this video for more. Got a violin bow? Try it yourself!