2nd Sep 2014

The Feynman Lectures on Physics

A complete online version of The Feynman Lectures on Physics is now available in a very nice looking HTML format. Separated by volume, and further by chapter, this new version includes equations and figures that are scalable so it can be read on any device.

29th Aug 2014

Interview with Maryam Mirzakhani, the brilliant Iranian mathematician who was the first woman to win the Fields Medal

  • Interviewer: What advice would you give lay persons who would like to know more about mathematics—what it is, what its role in our society has been and so on? What should they read? How should they proceed?
  • Dr. Mirzakhani: This is a difficult question. I don’t think that everyone should become a mathematician, but I do believe that many students don’t give mathematics a real chance. I did poorly in math for a couple of years in middle school; I was just not interested in thinking about it. I can see that without being excited mathematics can look pointless and cold. The beauty of mathematics only shows itself to more patient followers.
Source: allofthemath
20th Aug 2014
Another Comet Discovery for Lovejoy
On August 17th, Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy discovered his fifth comet! This comet, given the name C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), has a magnitude of +15, which makes it dimmer than Pluto. It is currently visible in the southern hemisphere, but will transition over into the northern hemisphere later in the fall when it gets closer to its perihelion.
Observation information about the comet can be found on the Minor Planet Center’s website here.
Image: Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) (Credit: Alain Maury and Jean-François Soulier)

Another Comet Discovery for Lovejoy

On August 17th, Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy discovered his fifth comet! This comet, given the name C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), has a magnitude of +15, which makes it dimmer than Pluto. It is currently visible in the southern hemisphere, but will transition over into the northern hemisphere later in the fall when it gets closer to its perihelion.

Observation information about the comet can be found on the Minor Planet Center’s website here.

Image: Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) (Credit: Alain Maury and Jean-François Soulier)

Source: twitter.com
20th Aug 2014
A Nearby Hypervelocity Star
Title: The First Hypervelocity Star from the LAMOST Survey
Authors: Zheng Zheng et. al.
In 1988, Jack Hills predicted the existence of a star whose velocity was greater than the escape velocity of the galaxy. Such a star, a hypervelocity star (HVS), was first discovered in 2005. Since then, about 20 hypervelocity stars have been found. Recently, another HVS was found using the LAMOST survey. This is the closest HVS that we currently know.
This HVS, known as J091206.52+091621.8, or LAMOST-HVS1, is the first hypervelocity star to be discovered with the LAMOST survey. The star has an apparent magnitude of 13, which is brighter than Pluto. LAMOST-HVS1 is an early B-type star with a strong helium presence. Comparing to our Sun, LAMOST-HVS1 is larger, brighter, and hotter.
LAMOST-HVS1 is found in the same area as the other known HVSs. The data gathered on the star suggests that it originated near the galactic center. With further measurements, the exact origin of LAMOST-HVS1 can be identified.
Image: An artist’s impression of a hypervelocity star (Credit: Ben Bromley, University of Utah)

A Nearby Hypervelocity Star

In 1988, Jack Hills predicted the existence of a star whose velocity was greater than the escape velocity of the galaxy. Such a star, a hypervelocity star (HVS), was first discovered in 2005. Since then, about 20 hypervelocity stars have been found. Recently, another HVS was found using the LAMOST survey. This is the closest HVS that we currently know.

This HVS, known as J091206.52+091621.8, or LAMOST-HVS1, is the first hypervelocity star to be discovered with the LAMOST survey. The star has an apparent magnitude of 13, which is brighter than Pluto. LAMOST-HVS1 is an early B-type star with a strong helium presence. Comparing to our Sun, LAMOST-HVS1 is larger, brighter, and hotter.

LAMOST-HVS1 is found in the same area as the other known HVSs. The data gathered on the star suggests that it originated near the galactic center. With further measurements, the exact origin of LAMOST-HVS1 can be identified.

Image: An artist’s impression of a hypervelocity star (Credit: Ben Bromley, University of Utah)

14th Aug 2014
ucresearch:

Jupiter’s moon spews lava for two weeks
Imagine looking up at the moon and seeing super-volcanos erupt for two weeks straight.  That was the scene last year for Jupiter’s moon Io, a celestial body roughly the same size as our lunar companion.  
However, unlike our moon, Io is highly volcanic and due to it’s low gravity the eruptions can shoot debris high into space. Scientists at JPL and UC Berkeley have been monitoring the events as a way to understand what early Earth was like.

ucresearch:

Jupiter’s moon spews lava for two weeks


Imagine looking up at the moon and seeing super-volcanos erupt for two weeks straight.  That was the scene last year for Jupiter’s moon Io, a celestial body roughly the same size as our lunar companion.  

However, unlike our moon, Io is highly volcanic and due to it’s low gravity the eruptions can shoot debris high into space. Scientists at JPL and UC Berkeley have been monitoring the events as a way to understand what early Earth was like.

14th Aug 2014
Clouds on Titan
Over a two day period at the end of July, the Cassini spacecraft has captured some images of clouds forming and disappearing on Saturn’s moon Titan. Moving above the large hydrocarbon lake Ligeia Mare, these clouds were measured to be moving about 7 to 10 mph. Scientists are interested in learning if these cloud formations signal the changing of seasons and if they naturally form over bodies of liquid.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Clouds on Titan

Over a two day period at the end of July, the Cassini spacecraft has captured some images of clouds forming and disappearing on Saturn’s moon Titan. Moving above the large hydrocarbon lake Ligeia Mare, these clouds were measured to be moving about 7 to 10 mph. Scientists are interested in learning if these cloud formations signal the changing of seasons and if they naturally form over bodies of liquid.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Source: jpl.nasa.gov
12th Aug 2014

underthesymmetree:

Fibonacci you crazy bastard….

As seen in the solar system (by no ridiculous coincidence), Earth orbits the Sun 8 times in the same period that Venus orbits the Sun 13 times! Drawing a line between Earth & Venus every week results in a spectacular FIVE side symmetry!!

Lets bring up those Fibonacci numbers again: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34..

So if we imagine planets with Fibonacci orbits, do they create Fibonacci symmetries?!

You bet!! Depicted here is a:

  • 2 sided symmetry (5 orbits x 3 orbits)
  • 3 sided symmetry (8 orbits x 5 orbits)
  • sided symmetry (13 orbits x 8 orbits) - like Earth & Venus
  • sided symmetry (21 orbits x 13 orbits)

I wonder if relationships like this exist somewhere in the universe….

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9th Aug 2014
Storms on Uranus
This last week, astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii spotted some huge storms on Uranus. Prior to 2007, when Uranus’ southern hemisphere was visible, there was a really bright storm known as the Berg. Over a few years, that storm started to migrate towards the equator before it disappeared. The current storm, spotted on August 6th in Uranus’ northern hemisphere, is even brighter than the Berg. Near-infrared images show that the storm will reach high altitudes near the tropopause. By studying this storm, we can see how storms on other planets evolve and compare it to those on Earth.

Storms on Uranus

This last week, astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii spotted some huge storms on Uranus. Prior to 2007, when Uranus’ southern hemisphere was visible, there was a really bright storm known as the Berg. Over a few years, that storm started to migrate towards the equator before it disappeared. The current storm, spotted on August 6th in Uranus’ northern hemisphere, is even brighter than the Berg. Near-infrared images show that the storm will reach high altitudes near the tropopause. By studying this storm, we can see how storms on other planets evolve and compare it to those on Earth.

8th Aug 2014

ucresearch:

Understanding the real shape of our moon


In the 1960s lunar orbiters photographed the moon with great precision and sent back some of the most detailed images of the lunar surface.  This was to scout a location for the manned missions to the moon.  

Today the tape drives that these images were stored on are part of a recent project to bring the images to the public.  A group of techno archaeologists operate out of an abandoned McDonalds (in the top photo) that they call “McMoons”.  With today’s technology they’re able to view much higher resolution versions from the tapes.

Over fifty years after these images were made we’re still trying to understand lingering mysteries about our moon.  Recently UC Santa Cruz researchers have found that it’s shape is not a sphere, but more of a lemon in that the moon flattens out in some areas.  The shape is slight and masked by craters so we cannot tell with our own eyes. 

By knowing the shape of our moon we can better understand how it came into existence in the first place.  One of the leading theories is that when Earth was still forming in a molten state it had been hit by a large Mars sized object.  The collision created a disc of debris around the Earth that eventually formed into our moon.  

You can read more about the moon here.

6th Aug 2014

numenor42 said: In your opinion was maths discovered or invented

I say both: the processes and concepts of mathematics were discovered, but the language that we use to express it was invented.

The structure of mathematics is visible in everything, like the spirals of galaxies down to the complex patterns of molecules. It has always been there, but it just takes time for someone to figure out how to identify it. 

And once someone does figure it out, how do they express it to others? By defining symbols for the operations and assigning any reoccurring numbers to a simple letter for reuse later. Soon enough, you’ll have a mathematical language.

This is one of those debates that has been going on for a while and everyone has different opinions. As stated in this Quantum Diaries blog post:

The difference between terrestrial and extra-terrestrial mathematics would tell us the extent to which mathematics is discovered or invented.

I think that is a good way to resolve the debate.