Quantum Gas Temperature Goes Below Absolute Zero

Energy distribution of atoms in a thermal state. Positive absolute temperatures above, in blue; negative absolute temperatures below, in red. Credit: LMU/MPQ Munich

Physicists have been able to create an atomic gas that can attain a temperature below absolute zero, -273.15˚C. They were able to create this gas using negative-Kelvin materials and new quantum devices.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Twin US Spy Telescopes Could Further American Astronomy

Hubble space telescope

In the cavernous area of Building 1230, located at the ITT Exelis facility in Rochester, New York, there are two 2.4-meter telescopes, each as big as the Hubble Space Telescope and never flown, sitting on low pedestals.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Mira Supercomputer Will Run Simulation of Our Universe


The advent of the Mira supercomputer, along with more powerful Sequoia and K supercomputers, marks the first time that computers have enough computational power to simulate trillions of particles on the move, running a simulation of the Universe.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

The Bolshoi Simulation: Boxing the Universe


The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe. Larger simulations, including the BigBolshoi and Multidark, run at a volume 64 times bigger than Bolshoi and have just been publicly made available to astronomers and astrophysicists. The Bolshoi simulation used data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe that measured tiny spatial variations in the cosmic microwave background radiation, giving a glimpse of the distribution of matter and energy at an earlier epoch of the visible universe.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey Measures the Universe’s Expansion and Dark Energy


One of nature’s biggest mysteries, dark energy, is being explored thanks to a deceptively simple tool that David Schlegel came up with. 2,200 aluminum plates, about the size of a manhole cover, each one drilled with a specific pattern of holes that match the arrangement of galaxies in a particular section of the sky, are used for an hour each at the prime focus of the 2.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. When the telescope points to the right spot, the light from each galaxy streams through its corresponding hole. This light is then broken up and used to measure how fast each galaxy is being carried away.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

SN Primo Is Farthest Type Ia Supernova Discovered


Supernova Primo originated 9 billion years ago, when its progenitor star exploded. The light was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope by a three-year project specifically trying to find Type Ia supernovae. These types of supernovae are paramount in order to discover more about the inflationary nature of our universe.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

Large Hadron Collider

Fantastic images of the large hadron collider in Switzerland and France, which is almost completed. It looks extremely complicated.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27 kilometer (17 mile) long particle accelerator straddling the border of Switzerland and France, is nearly set to begin its first particle beam tests.

At a total cost of 10 billion dollars, the LHC is going to be used to smash particles together to search for the illusive Higgs boson. It’s presence has been predicted.

Another particle that physicists have been searching for is the graviton, which would be to gravity what a photon is to light. Finding the graviton would help the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Neutralinos are also particles that would be important to find. They are partly predicted by supersymmetry. Visible matter makes up 4% of the universe. 22% is made out of dark matter. The other 74% is made out of dark energy. Dark energy is the opposite of gravity, since it’s that force which pushes the universe to expand. Many physicists suspect that dark matter is made out of neutralinos.

What dark energy is, though, is a mystery. It is possible, just, that the properties of the Higgs boson will cast a little light on that mystery.

To find out more, consult the excellent article at the Economist about the LHC.