Three small, faint stars, apparently locked in the gravitational embrace of much larger and brighter companions, have been discovered in the first light from a new infrared camera with innovative optics on the 100-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California.
"This is the first time the historic Mount Wilson telescope has looked at the universe through this new infrared eye, and already it is making new discoveries," says Jian Ge, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and leader of the research team, which also developed the infrared camera. The discoveries of the faint stars, to be published in the June issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters and the July issue of the Astronomical Journal, "mark the beginning of a new era in the use of the 100-inch telescope for discovering very interesting faint objects in orbit around brighter stars, such as brown dwarfs, which are neither stars nor planets," says Robert Jastrow, director of the Mount Wilson Institute.
One innovative technique that Ge and his team designed into the new infrared camera is a specially shaped mask they installed over the "pupil" of the cameras eye to allow fainter companions to be seen around bright objects. The shaped pupil mask that Ges team used is an improvement over the circular masks that astronomers have been using to block the light from a bright star in an attempt to see a near-by fainter object, much like the appearance of the corona during a total eclipse of the Sun. The shaped pupil mask is a solid light-blocking circle into which Ge and his team have cut a dozen strategically placed eye-shaped openings. "The image resulting from the first use of the device revealed areas of greater contrast that allowed us to find one of the faint dwarf stars," Ge says. "The technique potentially improves contrast in images by more than tenfold compared to current techniques."
Barbara K. Kennedy | EurekAlert
An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics
25.09.2017 | Universität Kassel
Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin
25.09.2017 | CNRS
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
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