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SPACE: Astronomers Discover “Arches of Chaos” in the Solar System

black hole - pixabay

A vast network of invisible energy structures have been discovered in the solar system — a celestial superhighway that future space probes might use to explore far-away corners of solar space. These hidden energy structures, called manifolds, emerge in space-time due to the gravitational interaction of massive objects like the planets, said Nataša Todorović, a mathematician at the Serbian Belgrade Astronomical Observatory and lead author of a paper on the discovery. While astronomers have long known about such pathways, and even used them to navigate our celestial neighborhood, the new study has revealed a new shape in these manifolds: “arches … Read more

SPACE: heavy-Metal Planet May Be Football-Shaped

Heavy Metal Football Planet - NASA

An exoplanet may be shaped like an American football due to the mighty gravitational forces it experiences close to its star, a new study finds. Scientists investigated KOI 1843.03, an exoplanet candidate that scientists need further observations to say for sure is real. This world putatively orbits a red dwarf star with slightly less than half the mass of our sun and is located about 395 light-years from Earth. Previous research found KOI 1843.03 was about 44% Earth’s mass and 60% Earth’s diameter. Prior work suggested KOI 1843.03 orbited its star more closely than any other planet known yet. “Whizzing … Read more

Spacetime Ripples Could Explain Why Universe Exists

A new study may help answer one of the universe’s biggest mysteries: Why is there more matter than antimatter? That answer, in turn, could explain why everything from atoms to black holes exists. Billions of years ago, soon after the Big Bang, cosmic inflation stretched the tiny seed of our universe and transformed energy into matter. Physicists think inflation initially created the same amount of matter and antimatter, which annihilate each other on contact. But then something happened that tipped the scales in favor of matter, allowing everything we can see and touch to come into existence — and a … Read more

STUDY: Sound Has a Negative Mass

sound waves - pixabay

Sound has negative mass, and all around you it’s drifting up, up and away — albeit very slowly. That’s the conclusion of a paper submitted on July 23 to the preprint journal arXiv, and it shatters the conventional understanding that researchers have long had of sound waves: as massless ripples that zip through matter, giving molecules a shove but ultimately balancing any forward or upward motion with an equal and opposite downward motion. That’s a straightforward model that will explain the behavior of sound in most circumstances, but it’s not quite true, the new paper argues. [The Mysterious Physics of … Read more

SPACE: Live On a Heavy World? Slingshot Your Way Into Space!

NASA planet

Woe be to alien civilizations on large planets. On rocky worlds more massive than our own, gravity’s powerful pull makes it nearly impossible for any life-forms that might exist there to launch satellites and explore the cosmos, previous research found. But one physicist has now come to extraterrestrials’ rescue and figured out how they could develop a multi-part system called a space tether, which would slingshot spacecraft to the farthest reaches using a rotating orbital cable. “My initial reaction when I first heard about [the space tether] was, ‘There was no way that would work,’” said Alex Howe, an astrophysicist … Read more

SCIENCE: Are We Living in a Hologram?

Hologram - Pixabay

In the late 1990s, theoretical physicists uncovered a remarkable connection between two seemingly unrelated concepts in theoretical physics. That connection is almost inscrutably technical, but it might have far-reaching consequences for our understanding of gravity and even the universe. To illustrate this connection, we’re going to start at — of all places — a black hole. Researchers have found that when a single bit of information enters a black hole, its surface area increases by a very precise amount: the square of the Planck length (equal to an incredibly small 1.6 x 10^-35 meters on a side). At first blush, … Read more