Multiverse of Awesomeness

Multiverse of Awesomeness

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    Chandra helps explain “red and dead galaxies”

    NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has shed new light on the mystery of why giant elliptical galaxies have few, if any, young stars. This new evidence highlights the important role that supermassive black holes play in the evolution of their host galaxies.

    Because star-forming activity in many giant elliptical galaxies has shut down to very low levels, these galaxies mostly house long-lived stars with low masses and red optical colors. Astronomers have therefore called these galaxies “red and dead”.

    Previously it was thought that these red and dead galaxies do not contain large amounts of cold gas − the fuel for star formation − helping to explain the lack of young stars. However, astronomers have used ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory to find surprisingly large amounts of cold gas in some giant elliptical galaxies. In a sample of eight galaxies, six contain large reservoirs of cold gas. This is the first time that astronomers have seen large quantities of cold gas in giant elliptical galaxies that are not located at the center of a massive galaxy cluster.

    With lots of cold gas, astronomers would expect many stars to be forming in these galaxies, contrary to what is observed. To try to understand this inconsistency, astronomers studied the galaxies at other wavelengths, including X-rays and radio waves. The Chandra observations map the temperature and density of hot gas in these galaxies. For the six galaxies containing abundant cold gas, including NGC 4636 and NGC 5044 shown here, the X-ray data provide evidence that the hot gas is cooling, providing a source for the cold gas observed with Herschel. However, the cooling process stops before the cold gas condenses to form stars. What prevents the stars from forming?

    A strong clue comes from the Chandra images. The hot gas in the center of the six galaxies containing cold gas appears to be much more disturbed than in the cold gas-free systems.  This is a sign that material has been ejected from regions close to the central black hole. These outbursts are possibly driven, in part, by clumpy, cold gas that has been pulled onto the black hole. The outbursts dump most of their energy into the center of the galaxy, where the cold gas is located, preventing the cold gas from cooling sufficiently to form stars.

    The other galaxies in the sample, NGC 1399 and NGC 4472, are also forming few if any stars, but they have a very different appearance.  No cold gas was detected in these galaxies, and the hot gas in their central regions is much smoother. Additionally, they have powerful jets of highly energetic particles, as shown in radio images from the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. These jets are likely driven by hot gas falling towards the central supermassive black holes.  By pushing against the hot gas, the jets create enormous cavities that are observed in the Chandra images, and they may heat the hot, X-ray emitting gas, preventing it from cooling and forming cold gas and stars. The centers of NGC 1399 and NGC 4472 look smoother in X-rays than the other galaxies, likely because their more powerful jets produce cavities further away from the center, where the X-ray emission is fainter, leaving their bright cores undisturbed.

    Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Stanford Univ/N.Werner et al; Optical: DSS

    (Source:, via multiverseofawesomeness)


    This Is the Most Detailed Image of the Universe Ever Captured

    NASA has just published the most detailed view of the Universe ever taken. It’s called the Extreme Deep Field—or XDF for short. It took ten years of Hubble Space Telescope photographs to make it and it shows some the oldest galaxies ever observed by humans, going 13.2 billion years back in time.

    It’s a mindblowing, extremely humbling view. Not only for what it shows, but for what it doesn’t show. While this image contains about 5,500 galaxies, it only displays a tiny part of the sky, a ridiculously small slice of the Universe.

    Mind blowing

    (via multiverseofawesomeness)


    Ultra-cool. Ultra-Ever Dry is a superhydrophobic (water) and oleophobic (hydrocarbons) coating that will completely repel almost any liquid.

    A droplet resting on a solid surface and surrounded by a gas forms a characteristic contact angle θ. If the solid surface is rough, and the liquid is in intimate contact with the solid asperities, the droplet is in the Wenzel state. If the liquid rests on the tops of the asperities, it is in the Cassie-Baxter state.

    (via multiverseofawesomeness)


    Amateur Picture Submission

    For those who have yet to look at a celestial object through a telescope, believe that a proper telescope is a worthy investment, especially if you’re a star gazer. The images shown here were taken by amateur astronomer, Steve Loy, in the Winter of 2013. Steve’s telescope is a Skywatcher Explorer 150p which he has mounted on an EQ5 Pro Go-To mount.

    Steve was able to capture three brilliant images using his telescope and imaging equiment, one of the Moon, one of Jupiter, and one of the M82 Galaxy. The image of the Moon was simple enough, taken using his iPhone camera. However, the other two were taken using a Philips SPC900 webcam. In the image of Jupiter, you can see three of the four Galilean moons, Callisto, Europa, and Io. After using an imaging software called Registax, Steve was able to produce this great image of Jupiter.

    The complicated part was capturing M82. Where the image of Jupiter was captured with the SPC900 in normal mode, to capture a good image of M82 Steve had to use the camera’s long exposure mode. It wasn’t just one image though. Steve had to take 20 images, each with an exposure of 55 seconds, and stack them on top of each other using the DeepSkyStacker software.

    According to Steve, the skies in Bradford, UK are ‘rubbish’, but we think he took some excellent pictures.


    IMAGE CREDIT: Steve Loy

    (Source:, via multiverseofawesomeness)


    You guys like Saturn, right? Here’s a whole gallery of Saturn GIFs, from rings to moons, captured by the Cassini spacecraft. They’re part modern art and part science.

    Next to the Voyager twins, I think Cassini might be the best satellite NASA ever launched. Certainly takes the best pictures. Tumblr’s own staceythinx  has an iPad app called Cassini HD that features even more photos, plus color, plus science.

    (GIFs by framesandflames)

    (via multiverseofawesomeness)


    Spooky Physics Phenomenon May Link Universe’s Wormholes

    Put on your skeptic hats real quick before you give this interesting article a read. Some of what they’re talking about here loosely relies on the unproven theory of supersymmetry that last year was put into deeper questioning and scrutiny after more substantial results came back from particle colliders like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and Tevatron among others. I also posted an article last year talking about the implications of those results from the LHC and what they meant for the credibility and beauty of the supersymmetry theory, you can check that out here: LHC Breaks Supersymmetry’s Beauty

    Wormholes — shortcuts that in theory can connect distant points in the universe — might be linked with the spooky phenomenon of quantum entanglement, where the behavior of particles can be connected regardless of distance, researchers say.

    These findings could help scientists explain the universe from its very smallest to its biggest scales.

    Scientists have long sought to develop a theory that can describe how the cosmos works in its entirety. Currently, researchers have two disparate theories, quantum mechanics and general relativity, which can respectively mostly explain the universe on its tiniest scales and its largest scales. There are currently several competing theories seeking to reconcile the pair.

    One prediction of the theory of general relativity devised by Einstein involves wormholes, formally known as Einstein-Rosen bridges. In principle, these warps in the fabric of space and time can behave like shortcuts connecting any black holes in the universe, making them a common staple of science fiction.

    Intriguingly, quantum mechanics also has a phenomenon that can link objects such as electrons regardless of how far apart they are — quantum entanglement.

    "This is true even when the electrons are light years apart," said Kristan Jensen, a theoretical physicist at Stony Brook University in New York.

    Einstein derisively called this seemingly impossible connection “spooky action at a distance.” However, numerous experiments have proven quantum entanglement is real, and it may serve as the foundation of advanced future technologies, such as incredibly powerful quantum computers and nigh-unhackable quantum encryption.

    "Entanglement is one of the most bizarre but important features of quantum mechanics," Jensen said. And if entanglement really is connected to wormholes, that could help reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity, the two examples of this phenomenon, on tiny and huge scales.

    Entanglement and wormholes

    Recently, theoretical physicists Juan Martín Maldacena at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Leonard Susskind at Stanford University argued that wormholes are linked with entanglement. Specifically, they suggested that wormholes are each pairs of black holes that are entangled with one another.

    Entangled black holes could be generated in a number of ways. For instance, a pair of black holes could in principle be made simultaneously, and these would automatically be entangled. Alternatively, radiation given off by a black hole could be captured and then collapsed into a black hole, and the resulting black hole would be entangled with the black hole that supplied the ingredients for it.

    Maldacena and Susskind not only suggested that wormholes are entangled black holes, but they argued that entanglement in general was linked to wormholes. They conjectured that entangled particles such as electrons and photons were connected by extraordinarily tiny wormholes.

    At first sight, such a claim might sound preposterous. For instance, entanglement works even when gravity is not known to play a role.

    Now two independent groups of researchers suggest entanglement may indeed be linked to wormholes. If this connection is true, it could help bridge quantum mechanics with general relativity, potentially helping better understand both.

    Holograms and wormholes

    Jensen and his colleague theoretical physicist Andreas Karch at the University of Washington in Seattle investigated how entangled pairs of particles behave in a supersymmetric theory, which suggests that all known subatomic particles have “superpartner” particles not yet observed. The theory was one proposed to help unite quantum mechanics and general relativity.

    An idea in this theory is that if one imagines certain quantum mechanical systems exist in only three dimensions, their behavior can be explained by objects behaving in the four dimensions that general relativity describes the universe as having — the three dimensions of space, and the fourth of time. This notion that actions in this universe may emerge from a reality with fewer dimensions is known as holography, akin to how two-dimensional holograms can give the illusion of three dimensions. [5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse]

    Jensen and Karch found that if one imagined entangled pairs in a universe with four dimensions, they behaved in the same way as wormholes in a universe with an extra fifth dimension. Essentially, they discovered that entanglement and wormholes may be one and the same.

    "Entangled pairs were the holographic images of a system with a wormhole," Jensen said. Independent research from theoretical physicist Julian Sonner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology supports this finding.

    "There are certain things that get a scientist’s heart beating faster, and I think this is one of them," Jensen told LiveScience. "One really exciting thing is that maybe, inspired by these results, we can better understand the relation between entanglement and space-time."

    The scientists detailed their findings in two papers published Nov. 20 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

    Full Article

    (via multiverseofawesomeness)

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