Whoever said that with the discovery of the Higgs boson, the field of cosmology suddenly became dull and everything of significance is known known.
Enter Lithium, a particle physicist’s worst nemesis. The reason why this simple element is such a big problem is that we know how stellar hydrogen fuses to become Lithium
in Big bang like conditions. We’ve verified this experimentally. However the amount of Lithium found in stars and the observable universe is much much lesser.
Scientists at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) studied how much lithium forms under Big Bang conditions for the first time and determined that the theoretical calculations were indeed correct. The phenomena under which Lithium is created has a rather fancy name called “primordial nucleosynthesis”. The things scientists do for getting grant money
The experiment was performed in an underground lab called the Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics (LUNA), shielded by cosmic particles using a lead barrier.
These are the extreme setup conditions needed to get correct results.
The question is, if the theory works what’s happening out there. Why do stars contain much lesser quantity that what we should have seen.
For the advanced reader See
M. Anders et al. (2014), First Direct Measurement of the 2H(a,?)6Li Cross Section at Big Bang Energies and the Primordial Lithium Problem. Physical Review Letters 113, 042501. DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.042501
Earth is passing through a debris field of meteors left behind by Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). These meteors manifest themselves to us as a Lyrids. Expected activity at peak is 10-20 meteors per hour. But since the weather is nice and warm outside AT NIGHT, its officially time to go out and enjoy these space rocks with friends and family.
Lyrids seem to radiate from the bright star Vega in Lyra ( hence the name Lyrids ). For those who are not that interesting in meteors should know that what they lack in activity they make up in brightness. Lyrid meteors are usually bright and chances of seeing fireballs are good.
Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting in the “habitable zone” of another star. The planet, named “Kepler-186f” orbits an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms the long held theory that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. This means that with similar climate profiles like earth, life similar to earth may exist elsewhere in the universe.
The “habitable zone” is defined as the range of distances from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, the previous finds are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging.
Greetings AAAD Members,
I congratulate all of you as AAAD today celebrates its 2nd anniversary as a registered body.
This is to bring to notice all annual members (2013-2014) and all life members that in the governing body meeting held at the Nehru Planetarium on January 11, 2014 it was decided that AAAD will hold its Annual General Body Meeting on Sunday, February 16th 2014 at 12 noon.
We request all members to send the agendas they wish to be addressed at the GBM on firstname.lastname@example.org and cc email@example.com
The account details and transaction details for 2012-2013(previous financial year) will be available with the treasurer of AAAD Mr. Vishnu Rethinam during the GBM if any present members are interested in knowing the details they may approach him.
All members are requested to be there for the meeting. The GBM can last long as some important decisions are to be made. All members are requested to keep their afternoons free on the 16th february.
All members who wish to make donations to AAAD are also welcome to do so during the GBM.
Please carry your id cards for this meeting
General Secretary AAAD
Physicists R. Nemiroff (of APOD fame) and his student Teresa Wilson, recently published their results of a grand internet search to look for evidence of time travelers. In a nutshell they were looking for ‘time traveler activity’ over the internet, say a timer traveler used his time machine to move back in time and say…send an email, or put information online about world events that just happened way before it actually did. Time travel to the future is allowed by special relativity, however there is much debate if we can actually go back in time.
The search as you may have expected didn’t turn out much …. but made for a pretty good story.
To read more you can download their preprint paper here
The Autumn equinox happens today Sept 22nd at 2044 UTC. This moment marks the official end of summer in the Northern hemisphere and hopefully New Delhi too! Hopefully the weather gods will get the memo too. The autumn equinox marks the time of equal length days and nights. From now on nights will become longer than days in the northern hemisphere. Hopefully that would mean that mortals can sleep a bit more.
Greetings Fellow Astronuts
Its a great time to go under the stars and look for Saturn. Today on April 28th the planet makes its closest pass to earth in all of 2013. Finding Saturn is easy. Just look south for a bright magnitude 0 star due west of Spica in Virgo.