Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Refining a cosmic clock

16.07.2010
Particle accelerator research helps narrow down the age of our galaxy

Physicists will soon have a better measure of the age of our galaxy, thanks to experiments described in a trio of papers appearing in the journal Physical Review C.

The papers report on experiments at the CERN neutron time-of-flight (n_TOF) facility and the Karlsruhe Van de Graaff accelerator that clarify the processes that affect the abundance of the element osmium-187. The element is created when rhenium-187 decays. Because rhenium-187 was produced in the first stellar explosions after the birth of the galaxy, measuring the amounts of rhenium-187 and osmium-187 we observe today can provide an estimate of the galaxy's age. In effect, the elements act as a cosmic clock that started ticking when the galaxy was born.

Unfortunately, there are various processes that can affect the amounts of osmium we measure. Uncertainties in our understanding of those processes have limited the accuracy of the cosmic clock to more than a billion years. The CERN and Karlsruhe experiments involve firing pulses of neutrons into an osmium target to determine how frequently the element is likely to capture neutrons and convert to another material. The data the researchers collected has reduced uncertainties in the rhenium-osmium cosmic clock to less than a billion years, allowing a better estimate of our roughly 14 billion year old galaxy.

For further information, see a synopsis of papers on the APS Physics website (physics.aps.org).

About APS Physics:

APS Physics (http://physics.aps.org) publishes expert written commentaries and highlights of papers appearing in the journals of the American Physical Society.

James Riordon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aps.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light
23.10.2017 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons
23.10.2017 | Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>