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.
New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices
19.09.2017 | Graphene Flagship
Solar wind impacts on giant 'space hurricanes' may affect satellite safety
19.09.2017 | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
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