Posted: August 4th, 2012 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler Science News | Tags: black hole, Dying Star, European Space Agency, NASA, Swift Gamma Ray Burst Telescope, University of Michigan | Comments Off on Astronomers Hear Last Cry From Dying Star
For the first time astronomers have detected the last gasps of a star being torn apart by – a previously dormant – giant black hole. The signals, which came from a galaxy 3.9 billion light years away, were x-rays generated by matter heated to millions of degrees and torn apart as material from the star crosses the black hole’s event horizon.
Known as quasi-periodic oscillations, they are a characteristic feature of stellar black holes, which have about 10 times the mass of the Sun. Dr Rubens Reis from the University of Michigan is the lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science.
Dr Reis says the findings confirm the constancy of black hole physics. “This is telling us that the same physical phenomenon we observe in stellar mass black holes is also happening in black holes a million times the mass of the Sun, and in black holes that were previously asleep,” he said.
Dr Reis and colleagues first detected the event with NASA’s Swift Gamma Ray Burst Telescope last year, but did not pick up the oscillations at that time. The blips in the signals were detected in follow-up observations using the joint Japanese-NASA Suzaku and the European Space Agency ZMM-Newton orbiting X-ray observatories.
“You can think of it as hearing the star scream as it gets devoured,” said University of Michigan astronomy professor Jon Miller, who co-authored the paper.
The oscillating signal repeats at a characteristic frequency, which would sound like an ultra-low D sharp. The oscillations were occurring once every 200 seconds, meaning the stellar material was orbiting less than 9.3 million kilometres from the centre of the black hole. Professor Miller said that the discovery opens the possibility of studying orbits close to black holes, but that are extremely distant from earth.
Posted: April 18th, 2011 | Author: Buster Cookson | Filed under: Applied Science, Chronic, Engineered Life, Physics Applied, Protoscience, Tecnoid | Tags: applied physics, Applied Science, Light, Magnetic, Professor Rand, Solar panels, Stephen Rand, University of Michigan, William Fisher | Comments Off on Lights Hidden Properties
University of Michigan boffins have discovered, while shooting lasers through glass, that light shining through non conductive materials exhibit strong magnetic characteristics. The magnetic properties of light were thought to be so weak that they could simply be ignored. With this research that has all changed, the assumption as it turns out was drastically wrong. They discovered that extremely powerful light can generate magnetic fields 100 million times stronger than previously estimated. “Strong enough to induce useable voltages and create magnetic batteries.” Professor Stephen Rand says, adding, “Enough sunlight, focused into an optical fiber, could generate electricity – that’s is a simple way to think about it.”
Along with the obvious optical properties of light it also has electric and magnetic qualities. Solar panels take advantage of the electrical properties of light. These new panels will use the magnetic properties of light to create a solar panel, with the potential to produce a similar amount of power as a traditional solar panel – 10% efficiency -. This does raise the interesting idea of hybrid Electric-magnetic panels for twice the power per square meter. Add in Thermal and you have the big three.
Currently the main drawback is the required 10 million watts per square centimeter of light to induce the effect, normal sunlight produces 0.136 watts per centimeter. Research is still in its infancy so these and other hurdles will present themselves but possibilities like clear windows that generate electricity, magnetic batteries and self-powered displays will keep the white coats solving problems. Maybe even more important though is this discovery will change the way we think about light and magnetic fields interacting.
This is a monumental discovery that opens up a whole new field of science, new possibilities. This is a much bigger change than just some new power source, it’s a whole new side to light that we were blinkered to for so long. Longer term this may change how we look at light –no pun intended – this crosses the light and magnetic boundaries. How much of a game changer this is will take time. Solid numbers are required before any solid conclusions can be made. The Journal of Applied Physics this week published the initial paper by Professor Stephen Rand and doctoral student William Fisher. Keep an eye on this one it will get real interesting.
More information at Professor Rands site, Research site
Buddha’s Brother out…