New work from Carnegie's Peter Driscoll suggests Earth's ancient magnetic field was significantly different than the present day field, originating from several poles rather than the familiar two. Then, shortly after our planet's core solidified, Driscoll's work predicts that Earth's magnetic field transitioned to a 'strong,' two-pole one.
Research teams on both sides of the Atlantic have shown that precise modeling of the universe and its contents will change the detailed understanding of the evolution of the universe and the growth of structure in it. Both groups independently created software to solve the Einstein Field Equations, which describe the complicated interrelationships between the contents of the universe and the curvature of space and time, at billions of places and times over the history of the universe.
New calculations predict that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) will detect approximately 1,000 mergers of massive black holes annually once it achieves full sensitivity early next decade. The prediction, published online June 22 in the journal Nature, is based on computer simulations of more than a billion evolving binary stars. The simulations are based on state-of-the-art modeling of the physics involved, informed by the most recent astronomical and astrophysical observations.
New images obtained on May 16, 2016, by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirm the presence of a dark vortex in the atmosphere of Neptune.
Hydrogen is the most-abundant element in the universe, but there is still so much we have to learn about it. One of the biggest unknowns is its transformation under the extreme pressures and temperatures found in the interiors of giant planets, where it is squeezed until it becomes liquid metal, capable of conducting electricity. New work measures the conditions under which hydrogen undergoes this transition in the lab and finds an intermediate 'dark hydrogen' state.
KM3NeT -- a European collaboration pioneering the deployment of kilometer cubed arrays of neutrino detectors off the Mediterranean coast -- has reported in detail on the scientific aims, technology and costs of its proposal in the Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics.
A European team of astronomers have used the new GRAVITY instrument at ESO's Very Large Telescope to obtain exciting observations of the center of the Milky Way by combining light from all four of the 8.2-meter Unit Telescopes for the first time. These results provide a taste of the groundbreaking science that GRAVITY will produce as it probes the extremely strong gravitational fields close to the central supermassive black hole and tests Einstein's general relativity.
In the Optical Society's journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers from MIT and Australian National University report on improvements to what is called a squeezed vacuum source. Although not part of the original Advanced LIGO design, injecting the new squeezed vacuum source into the LIGO detector could help double its sensitivity. This would allow detection of gravitational waves that are far weaker or that originate from farther away than is possible now.
In the first billion years of Earth's history, the planet was bombarded by primordial asteroids, while a faint Sun provided much less heat. A Southwest Research Institute-led team posits that this tumultuous beginning may have ultimately fostered life on Earth, particularly in terms of sustaining liquid water.
Billions of years ago in the heart of a distant galaxy, a monster black hole shredded a passing star and emitted X-rays. Now astronomers are using X-ray echoes to study a newly awakened black hole for the first time.