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Novel Nanoparticle Production Method Could Lead to Better Lights, Lenses, Solar Cells

July 7, 2014 3:57 pm | by Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has come up with an inexpensive way to synthesize titanium-dioxide nanoparticles and is seeking partners who can demonstrate the process at industrial scale for everything from solar cells to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Titanium-dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles show great promise as fillers to tune the refractive index of anti-reflective coatings ...

Optical Invisibility Cloak Works in Fog

June 23, 2014 11:00 am | by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Real invisibility cloaks are rather complex and work in certain situations only, but physicists...

Exquisitely Engineered Human Vision Featured in Optical Engineering

June 13, 2014 7:31 pm | by SPIE - International Society for Optics and Photonics | News | Comments

BELLINGHAM, WA — A new special section on Human Vision in the current issue of Optical...

New LEGO Set Celebrates Women in Science

June 5, 2014 10:10 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

LEGO has announced that a female minifigure set, featuring three scientists along with their lab...

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The newly discovered "mega-Earth" Kepler-10c dominates the foreground in this artist's conception. Its sibling, the lava world Kepler-10b, is in the background. Both orbit a sunlike star. Kepler-10c has a diameter of about 18,000 miles, 2.3 times as large

Mega-Earth: Astrophysicists Find New Type of Planet

June 4, 2014 7:38 pm | by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | News | Comments

Astronomers announced that they have discovered a new type of planet — a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn't form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered "super-Earths," making it a "mega-Earth."

Computer-aided design drawing of the optical module on the satellite showing the telescope and gimbal (pivoted support). Courtesy of NASA.

First Broadband Wireless Connection … to the Moon?!

May 22, 2014 3:28 pm | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

If future generations were to live and work on the moon or on a distant asteroid, they would probably want a broadband connection to communicate with home bases back on Earth. They may even want to watch their favorite Earth-based TV show. That may now be possible thanks to a team of researchers from MIT's Lincoln Laboratory who, working with NASA last fall, demonstrated for the first time that a data communication technology exists ...

This composite image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the planet Jupiter and the The Great Red Spot

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Shrinking Before Our Eyes

May 16, 2014 3:16 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Jupiter's Great Red Spot seems to be on a cosmic diet, shrinking rapidly before our eyes. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope calculate that the spot, a giant long-lasting storm, is narrowing by about 580 miles a year, much faster than before.


Ancient Microwaves Key to Testing Einstein Theory

May 14, 2014 3:25 pm | by UC San Diego | News | Comments

Astrophysicists at UC San Diego have measured the minute gravitational distortions in polarized radiation from the early universe and discovered that these ancient microwaves can provide an important cosmological test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. These measurements have the potential to narrow down the estimates for the mass of ghostly subatomic particles known as neutrinos.

M5 is one of the oldest globulars. -- Courtesy of NASA, Hubble Space Telescope, ESA

Beautiful Globular Star Cluster: Messier 5

May 14, 2014 2:09 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

"Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens] ..." begins the description of the 5th entry in 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's famous catalog of nebulae and star clusters. Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter

Crystallization of Tartrazine

March 28, 2014 3:54 pm | News | Comments

A crystallization of tartrazine (dye primarily used as a food coloring) image won an honorable mention in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition. The 40x differential interference contrast photo was taken by Frederic Labaune of Education Nationale at Auxonne, France.

Evidence Spotted for Universe's Early Growth Spurt

March 17, 2014 3:39 pm | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now, researchers say they've spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos began with a powerful jump-start.

NASA Announces Mother Lode of New Planets: 715

February 27, 2014 3:12 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Our galaxy is looking far more crowded and hospitable. NASA on February 26, 2014, confirmed a bonanza of 715 newly discovered planets outside our solar system. Scientists using the planet-hunting Kepler telescope pushed the number of planets discovered in the galaxy to about 1,700. Twenty years ago, astronomers had not found any planets circling stars other than the ones revolving around our sun.


Giant Magellan Telescope Poised to Enter Construction Phase

February 21, 2014 11:09 am | by The University of Texas McDonald Observatory | News | Comments

The upcoming world’s largest telescope has passed two critical milestones, according to founding partner The University of Texas at Austin. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) has passed major reviews on its design and cost estimates and is ready to proceed to construction.

Three-Star System Challenges Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

January 9, 2014 3:29 pm | by University of British Columbia | News | Comments

A newly discovered system of two white dwarf stars and a superdense pulsar — all packed within a space smaller than the Earth’s orbit around the sun — is enabling astronomers to probe a range of cosmic mysteries, including the very nature of gravity itself.

Hubble Catches Stellar Explosions in NGC 6984

January 9, 2014 3:09 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

Supernovae are intensely bright objects. They are formed when a star reaches the end of its life with a dramatic explosion, expelling most of its material out into space. The subject of this new Hubble image, spiral galaxy NGC 6984, played host to one of these explosions back in 2012, known as SN 2012im. Now, another star has exploded

Fermi Observatory Makes First Gamma-ray Study of Gravitational Lens

January 7, 2014 9:12 am | by NASA | News | Comments

An international team of astronomers, using NASA's Fermi observatory, has made the first-ever gamma-ray measurements of a gravitational lens, a kind of natural telescope formed when a rare cosmic alignment allows the gravity of a massive object to bend and amplify light from a more distant source.

Astronomers Discover Planet that Shouldn't be There

December 5, 2013 6:42 pm | by University of Arizona | News | Comments

An international team of astronomers, led by a University of Arizona graduate student, has discovered the most distantly orbiting planet found to date around a single, sun-like star. It is the first exoplanet – a planet outside of our solar system – discovered at the UA. Weighing in at 11 times Jupiter's mass and orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance, planet HD 106906 b...


Glowing Wreck of a Star Reveals Neutron Secrets

December 4, 2013 4:13 pm | by University of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

With the help of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Australia Telescope Compact Array, an international team of astronomers has identified the glowing wreck of a star that exploded a mere 2,500 years ago — the blink of an eye in astronomical terms.

Hubble Sees a Horsehead of a Different Color

November 22, 2013 10:31 am | News | Comments

Looking like an apparition rising from whitecaps of interstellar foam, the iconic Horsehead Nebula has graced astronomy books ever since its discovery more than a century ago. It is shadowy in optical light. It appears transparent and ethereal when seen at infrared wavelengths. The rich tapestry of the Horsehead Nebula pops out against the backdrop of Milky Way stars and distant galaxies that easily are visible in infrared light.

Einstein@Home Discovers 24 New Pulsars in Archival Data

August 29, 2013 4:20 am | by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

The combined computing power of 200,000 private PCs helps astronomers take an inventory of the Milky Way. The Einstein@Home project connects home and office PCs of volunteers from around the world to a global supercomputer. Using this computer cloud, an international team lead by scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Gravitational Physics and for Radio Astronomy analysed archival data

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Enters Extended Mission

August 21, 2013 5:15 pm | by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

During its five-year primary mission, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has given astronomers an increasingly detailed portrait of the universe's most extraordinary phenomena, from giant black holes in the hearts of distant galaxies to thunderstorms on Earth.

Astronomers Take Sharpest Photos Ever of the Night Sky

August 21, 2013 5:15 pm | by University of Arizona | News | Comments

Astronomers have developed a new type of camera that allows scientists to take sharper images of the night sky than ever before. The team has been developing this technology for more than 20 years at observatories in Arizona, most recently at the Large Binocular Telescope, or LBT, and has now deployed the latest version of these cameras in the high desert of Chile at the Magellan 6.5-meter telescope.

Spectacular Stellar Nursery

July 30, 2013 2:22 pm | by ESO | News | Comments

This intriguing new view of a spectacular stellar nursery, IC 2944, is being released to celebrate a milestone: 15 years of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. This image also shows a group of thick clouds of dust known as the Thackeray globules silhouetted against the pale pink glowing gas of the nebula.

Hubble Finds New Neptune Moon

July 15, 2013 4:12 pm | by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a new moon orbiting the distant blue-green planet Neptune, the 14th known to be circling the giant planet. The moon, designated S/2004 N 1, is estimated to be no more than 12 miles across, making it the smallest known moon in the Neptunian system.

Hidden Identity of Exoplanet Uncovered

July 1, 2013 6:22 pm | by University of California - Santa Barbara | News | Comments

Santa Barbara, CA –– Hovering about 70 light-years from Earth –– that's "next door" by astronomical standards –– is a star astronomers call HD 97658, which is almost bright enough to see with the naked eye. But the real "star" is the planet HD 97658b, not much more than twice the Earth's diameter and a little less than eight times its mass. HD 97658b is a super-Earth, a class of planet for...

Father-son Team Demonstrates Simple Optical Cloaking of Large Objects

June 25, 2013 9:24 pm | by University of Rochester | News | Comments

John Howell, a Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, decided to tackle an unusual DIY project. With the help of his 14 year-old son, Benjamin, he built three simple, but surprisingly effective optical cloaking devices with inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials.

Fly Larva Muscles and Nerves

June 25, 2013 8:58 pm | by Nikon Small World | News | Comments

This 10x Confocal image of drosophila larval musculature and its innervating and synaptic connections was an Image of Distinction in the 2012 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competion.  It ws taken by Dr. Timothy James Mosca of the Stanford University Department of Biology in Standford, California.

Weevil with the Long Snout

June 24, 2013 4:37 pm | by Nikon Small World | News | Comments

A weevil with an extremely long snout was photographed by Chao Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China. The 4x image of reflected light was an Image of Distinction in the 2012 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition.

Waspy Parasite

June 23, 2013 4:40 pm | by Nikon Small World | News | Comments

This 21.2x photo of Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae (parasitic wasp) was taken using a  reflected light technique by Nikola Rahme of Budapest, Hungary. The photo was an Image of Distinction in the 2012 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competion.

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