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Elsayed Elmaghraby
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The Sun: A Really Long Filament | NASA's SDO
This week the Sun featured a very long filament that stretched at least half way across the Sun (Oct. 20-22, 2015). Filaments are elongated clouds of plasma that are tethered above the Sun by magnetic forces. They are often unstable and usually break apart in less than a week, though they can last longer than that. Filaments are darker than most of the Sun's surface when viewed in extreme ultraviolet light, as it is here.

Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA
Release Date: October 23, 2015

+SDO | Solar Dynamics Observatory 
+NASA Goddard Space Weather Research Center 
+NASA Goddard 

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Sun #Solar #Filament #Star #Magnetic #Ultraviolet #Heliophysics #Heliosphere #Science #SDO #STEM #Education
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Relativity Wins Again

One of the great things about science is how we keep testing our assumptions. Even when a phenomenon has been rigorously tested, we still push the limits of observation. Take, for example, some recent research on the speed of light.

According to relativity, the speed of light in a vacuum is an absolute constant. We’ve observed this fact for about a century, and by 1989 our measurements had gotten so precise that it’s been used to define the length of a meter ever since. As far as we can tell, the speed of light should be the same in all directions, and in all places in the universe. It’s a property often known as Lorentz symmetry or Lorentz covariance. If Lorentz symmetry is violated, then relativity is wrong. Some models trying to unify general relativity with quantum theory actually predict a violation of Lorentz symmetry by a tiny amount, so precise tests of it could provide clues to a truly unified physical model. But according to recent results presented in Nature Communications, relativity still holds true.

The most popular method of demonstrating Lorentz symmetry follows the original work of Michelson and Morley, where a beam of light is split into two beams and reflected back so that the beams interfere with each other. This interferometry method is typically the method done by undergraduate physics students. But if you’re more interested in whether light speed varies with orientation, then a more accurate method uses cavity resonance. Laser beams are bounced within a chamber. This can create a resonance in the chamber.

If you’ve ever swirled a wet finger around the rim of a wine glass, you know you can cause the glass to “ring” at a particular tone. Swirl your finger too quickly or slowly and it won’t work. There’s a “sweet point” where your finger moves just right, and the glass sings. A similar effect occurs with the resonator cavity. Light at just the right frequency will cause the cavity to resonate. If the speed of light is truly the same in all directions, then the frequency that works should be the same no matter what the orientation of the chamber. To eliminate any background vibrations, the team cooled their experiment to a mere 4 K.

In the end the team found no variation of the speed of light in different directions. Specifically, they confirmed Lorentz symmetry to 9.2 × 10^−19, which is an incredible precision. Once again, relativity passes the test.

 Paper: Moritz Nagel, et al. Direct terrestrial test of Lorentz symmetry in electrodynamics to 10−18. Nature Communications 6, Article number: 8174 (2015)
Even when a phenomenon has been rigorously tested, we still push the limits of observation. Take, for example, some recent research on the speed of light.
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[‪#‎BBKblogs‬] Buying, Selling and Impact - 'In the Market for Academic Research' -

The fourth day of Law on Trial 2015 saw Professor Fiona Macmillan chair a panel of leading academics on the issue of ‘Scholars, Intellectuals and Research Evaluation Exercises’. The panel considered the research function carried out by universities.
It reflected on the opportunities and criteria for research funding within academic research. It ended its discussion with an engaging debate on the challenges and hopes for the future of academic research.

For more information about Birkbeck’s School of Law -

For this and other interesting Birkbeck blog posts, please go to the BBK blogs page -
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Rob Jongschaap originally shared to Science:
Ultracold Experiment Could Solve One of Physics's Biggest Contradictions — NOVA Next | PBS

'There’s a mysterious threshold that’s predicted to exist beyond the limits of what we can see. It’s called the quantum-classical transition.

If scientists were to find it, they’d be able to solve one of the most baffling questions in physics: why is it that a soccer ball or a ballet dancer both obey the Newtonian laws while the subatomic particles they’re made of behave according to quantum rules? Finding the bridge between the two could usher in a new era in physics.

We don’t yet know how the transition from the quantum world to the classical one occurs, but a new experiment, detailed in Physical Review Letters, might give us the opportunity to learn more.'

Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 143004 (2015) - Matter Wave Lensing to Picokelvin Temperatures


Using a matter wave lens and a long time of flight, we cool an ensemble of Rb87 atoms in two dimensions to an effective temperature of less than 50+50−30  pK. A short pulse of red-detuned light generates an optical dipole force that collimates the ensemble. We also report a three-dimensional magnetic lens that substantially reduces the chemical potential of evaporatively cooled ensembles with a high atom number. By observing such low temperatures, we set limits on proposed modifications to quantum mechanics in the macroscopic regime. These cooling techniques yield bright, collimated sources for precision atom interferometry.'
By chilling atoms so they come to a standstill, scientists may have figured out a way to observe the transition from quantum to classical realms.
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XPLANE’s xBlog has been up and running since 1999 and contains a deep library of articles and artifacts ranging from Visual Facilitation to the Rise of Flash Video.
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Completely cord and battery-free, the Trap Light utilizes special photoluminescent pigments to absorb “waste energy” from surrounding light sources, which it then emits as a soft ambient glow at night. A thirty minute ‘charge’ of recycled light from a traditional incandescent or LED light bulb provides up to eight hours of clean, green lighting. The body of each lamp has been formed using the Murano glass blowing technique. The close, hands-on a...
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Watch Sony’s First Aerosense #Drone Take Flight

Sony has given the world the first peak of its upcoming drone project. Cool though it is — the craft takes off vertically in this YouTube video — consumers shouldn’t get too excited as these drones are for enterprise and business usage rather than the gadget-buying public.
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