Working at the Armagh Observatory with Dr Simon Jeffery and Dr Tolis Christou, Nuffield Science Bursary scholar Elizabeth Connolly was using an internet connection to control the Faulkes Telescope in Hawaii. During her half-hour observing session, she briefly turned the telescope to where the new planet had been discovered. After taking a photograph with the 2-metre telescope, she compared the new image with an old image of the same patch of sky. The new planet was clearly visible as a faint smudge amongst other background stars, where before there had been nothing. Asked what she felt about sighting the new planet, Elizabeth, a student at Loreto Grammar School, Omagh, said, "Wow, its cool! Its amazing how a little tiny dot can make you realise your complete insignificance in the universe!"
2003 UB313 was discovered by a team of Californian astronomers on January 5, 2005 from images taken in 2003, and the discovery was announced on July 29, 2005. It has been described as "definitely bigger than Pluto", and is the largest known member of a family of objects orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune. Right now, 2003 UB313 is three times further from the Sun than Neptune, and 97 times farther from the Sun than Earth. Since the discovery of Pluto in 1930, the solar system has contained nine planets. Being larger than Pluto, 2003 UB313 might now be considered as the tenth planet in the Solar System, and is already being described as such by NASA. However, the status of Pluto as a planet has been subject to debate for some time. Both Pluto and 2003 UB313 are considerably smaller than the Earth and quite unlike the giant outer planets Uranus and Neptune. Also, they travel in orbits that are quite unlike the other planets. So what is a planet? The International Astronomical Union, which adjudicates on all matters astronomical, has been reviewing the definition of the term. Whether Pluto remains a planet, and whether it will be joined by a new family of outer planets or whether these ghostly wanderers will be downgraded, is a question not just for astronomers, but for everyone. Meanwhile, 2003 UB313 awaits a real name rather than just a number.
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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