Archive for the Physics Category

Theoretical upper limit for existing black holes: ridiculously stupidly big

Posted in Astronomy, Physics on 2009/07/15 by iyokobat


from Luke McKinney at the Daily Galaxy:

Scientists have determined the mass of the largest things that could possibly exist in our universe. New results have placed an upper limit on the current size of black holes – and at fifty billion suns it’s pretty damn big. That’s a hundred thousand tredagrams, and you’ll never get the chance to use that word in relation to anything else.

Read more here:  50 Billion Suns -The Biggest Black Hole in the Universe


New Solar Cycle Prediction

Posted in Astronomy, Physics with tags , on 2009/06/04 by iyokobat


The debate has been going back and forth for a few years about how powerful or how mild the next solar cycle will be. Now NASA is saying that the upcoming cycle will likely be one of quietest in regards to the number of sunspots:

An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots.

“If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78,” says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

It is tempting to describe such a cycle as “weak” or “mild,” but that could give the wrong impression.

“Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather,” points out Biesecker. “The great geomagnetic storm of 1859, for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting for 2013.”

The 1859 storm–known as the “Carrington Event” after astronomer Richard Carrington who witnessed the instigating solar flare–electrified transmission cables, set fires in telegraph offices, and produced Northern Lights so bright that people could read newspapers by their red and green glow.

Read more

Black hole simulation

Posted in Astronomy, Physics, Video on 2009/05/09 by iyokobat

Inside a black hole

Two scientists from the University of Colorado, Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus, have created an awesome simulation of traveling through a black hole.

Here is an excerpt from Technology Review:

Hamilton provides a commentary for this and other videos which dismisses some of the myths that have grown up around black holes, such as the notion that falling inside one would engulf you in darkness.

Not by any means. According to Hamilton and Polhemus, inside a black hole the view in the horizontal plane is highly blueshifted, but all directions other than horizontal appear highly redshifted.

To read the full story and see the video, click here.

JPL Open House

Posted in Astronomy, Physics, Space Exploration, Technology with tags , , , , on 2009/05/01 by iyokobat


If you have an interest in space, science, or engineering, and you’re near Pasadena, CA this weekend, (May 2 and May 3 2009) there’s a fantastic opportunity for you:

“One weekend a year, NASA’s JPL opens its doors to space exploration enthusiasts of all ages…”

“For two days, more than 200 scientists and engineers present live demonstrations of today’s most exciting space missions.”

For more information check out JPL’s website or a video of highlights from last year’s event.

JPL Open House

Video highlights of last year’s Open House

Cosmos series available on Hulu

Posted in Astronomy, Physics, The Future with tags , , , , on 2009/04/19 by iyokobat


This may be old news to the highly wired community, but I wanted to mention that the great PBS series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”, is now available for free streaming on Hulu. From episode 1, “The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean”, through Episode 13, “Who Speaks for Earth?”, the entire series may be watched on your own desktop.  Unlike the original airing on PBS, note that Hulu does inject a few commercials, but don’t let this stop you from seeing these classic episodes of science.  According to the Science channel, it is still the most widely watched PBS series in the world.

“In 1980, the landmark series Cosmos premiered on public television. Since then, it is estimated that more than a billion people around the planet have seen it. Cosmos chronicles the evolution of the planet and efforts to find our place in the universe. Each of the 13 episodes focuses on a specific aspect of the nature of life, consciousness, the universe and time. Topics include the origin of life on Earth (and perhaps elsewhere), the nature of consciousness, and the birth and death of stars. When it first aired, the series catapulted creator and host Carl Sagan to the status of pop culture icon and opened countless minds to the power of science and the possibility of life on other worlds.”

Cosmos on Hulu