Things I love about RDJ:His perfect smile.
Things I love about Tony Stark: His perfect smile.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Chemistry, the study of the intricate dances and bondings of low-energy electrons to form the molecules of low-energy electrons to form the molecules that make up the world we live in, may seem far removed from the thermonuclear heat in the interiors of stars and the awesome power of supernovas. Yet, there is a fundamental connection between them.
To illustrate this connection, the familiar periodic table of elements-found in virtually every chemistry class-has been adapted to show how astronomers see the chemical Universe. What leaps out of this table is that the simplest elements, hydrogen and helium, are far and away the most abundant.
The universe started out with baryonic matter in its simplest form, hydrogen. In just the first 20 minutes or so after the Big Bang, about 25% of the hydrogen was converted to helium. In essence, the chemical history of the Universe can be divided into two main-phases: one lasting 20 minutes, and the rest lasting for 13.7 billion years and counting.
After the initial one third of an hour,the expanding Universe cooled below the point where nuclear fusion could operate. This meant that no evolution of matter could occur again until stars were formed a few million years later. Then the buildup of elements heavier than helium could begin.
Stars evolve through a sequence of stages in which nuclear fusion reactions in their central regions build up helium and other elements (see illustration, below). The energy supplied by fusion reactions creates the pressure needed to hold the star up against gravity. Winds of gas escaping from stars distribute some of this processed matter into space in a relatively gentle manner and supernovas do it violently.
As the enrichment of the interstellar and intergalactic gas has proceeded over vast stretches of space and time, the chemistry of the cosmos has become richer, too. Subsequent generations of stars have formed from interstellar gas enriched in heavy elements. Our Sun, Solar System, and indeed the existence of life on Earth are direct results of this long chain of stellar birth, death, and rebirth. In this way, the evolution of matter, stars and galaxies are all inextricably tied together and so too are astronomy and chemistry.
One of the principal scientific accomplishments of the Chandra X-ray Observatory has been to help unravel how the chemical enrichment by stellar winds and supernovas works on a galactic and intergalactic scale.
For more information & reading, check out links below:
If you have never heard of the Fluxtimator before, it’s this tool that estimates the meteor shower rates for you. So you select the time, location and the name of the meteor shower and it will give you some numbers on what to expect. I found it to be fairly accurate over the last few meteor showers I watched.
I made this gif showing the next few days for the Perseids this year. I selected Phoenix because I live near there and as you see it is expected to max out around 89 apparently. It stops at around 6am because that’s when the Sun rises and around the 14th you can see a dip forming on the left side of the line. That is from the Moon getting brighter (waxing) and rising earlier trying to ruin the show, but good thing it was a few days late this year.
If you read my article on the Perseids already you would know that more-southern areas will see lower rates. If you go a little bit more north than 33 degrees latitude (Phoenix) some areas will reach rates of over a 100!
(I know right, but make sure you get away from light pollution and also being on a mountain helps)
But the point for this is you can start watching for Perseids now! It is definitely not too early. I already saw some Perseid fireballs a few days ago along with some Delta Aquarids last week. You will definitely see more and more fireballs as the days progress towards the peak, and according to NASA, the Perseids produce the most fireballs out of all the other meteor showers.
So get on out there fellow stargazers, look up at night and enjoy the show! And if you want to try and photograph some meteors or just need some awesome jams to listen to, take this with you.
Physicists discover atomic clock can simulate quantum magnetism
Researchers at JILA have for the first time used an atomic clock as a quantum simulator, mimicking the behavior of a different, more complex quantum system.
Atomic clocks now join a growing list of physical systems that can be used for modeling and perhaps eventually explaining the quantum mechanical behavior of exotic materials such as high-temperature superconductors, which conduct electricity without resistance. All but the smallest, most trivial quantum systems are too complicated to simulate on classical computers, hence the interest in quantum simulators. Sharing some of the features of experimental quantum computers—a hot research topic—quantum simulators are “special purpose” devices designed to provide insight into specific challenging problems.
Following Higgs discovery, physicists offer vision to unravel mysteries of universe
After nine days of intensive discussions, nearly 700 particle physicists from about 100 universities and laboratories concluded nine months of work with a unified framework for unmasking the hidden secrets of matter, energy, space and time during the next two decades.
Physicists have made remarkable advances in understanding the fundamental laws of the universe during the last two years. On July 4, 2012, the world celebrated the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. The discovery, made possible by more than 1,500 U.S. scientists providing talent, technology and leadership, ended a decades-long search for the elusive particle. Physicists working in other facilities made progress in unmasking some of the bizarre behavior of particles called neutrinos.