Penn States Alex Wolszczan, the discoverer in 1992 of the first planets ever found outside our solar system, now has discovered with Caltechs Maciej Konacki the smallest planet yet detected,in that same far-away planetary system. Immersed in an extended cloud of ionized gas, the new planet orbits a rapidly spinning neutron star called a pulsar. The discovery, to be announced during a press conference at a meeting concerning planetary formation and detection in Aspen, Colorado, on 7 February, yields an astonishingly complete description of the pulsar planetary system and confirms that it is remarkably like a half-size version of our own solar system — even though the star these planets orbit is quite different from our Sun.
"Despite the extreme conditions that must have existed at the time these planets were forming, Nature has managed to create a planetary system that looks like a scaled-down copy of our own inner solar system," Wolszczan reports. The star at the center of this system is a pulsar named PSR B1257+12 — the extremely dense and compact neutron star left over from a massive star that died in a violent explosion 1,500 light years away in the constellation Virgo.
Wolszczan and his colleagues earlier had discovered three terrestrial planets around the pulsar, with their orbits in an almost exact proportion to the spacings between Mercury, Venus, and Earth. The newly discovered fourth planet has an orbit approximately six times larger than that of the third planet in the system, which Konacki says is amazingly close to the average distance from our Sun to our solar systems asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Barbara K. Kennedy | EurekAlert!
Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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