Starts With a Bang! 27 Apr 2017, 14:01 UTC The LHCb collaboration is far less famous than CMS or ATLAS, but the bottom-quark-containing particles they produce holds new physics hints that the other detectors cannot probe. Image credit: CERN / LHCb collaboration.Wanting there to be something beyond the standard model may be influencing what we actually investigate.“In recent years several new particles have been discovered which are currently assumed to be “elementary,” that is, essentially structureless. The probability that all such particles should be really elementary becomes less and less as their number increases. It is by no means certain that nucleons, mesons, electrons, neutrinos are all elementary particles.” -Enrico FermiOver at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, particles are accelerated to the greatest energies they’ve ever reached in history. In the CMS and ATLAS detectors, new fundamental particles are continuously being searched for, although only the Higgs boson has come through. But in a much lesser-known detector — LHCb — particles containing bottom quarks are produced in tremendous numbers. One class of these particles, quark-antiquark pairs where one is a bottom quark, have recently been observed to decay in a way that runs counter to the Standard Model’s predictions. Even though the evidence isn’t very good, it’s the ...
The Guardian 27 Apr 2017, 13:36 UTC
SPACE.com 27 Apr 2017, 11:30 UTC
Astronomy.com News 27 Apr 2017, 10:00 UTC
The TeCake 27 Apr 2017, 07:23 UTC Scientists have discovered a new planet with the mass of Earth, orbiting its star at the same distance that we orbit our sun. The planet is likely far too cold to be habitable for life as we know it, however, because its star is so faint. But the discovery adds to scientists’ understanding of the types of planetary systems that exist beyond our own. “This ‘iceball’ planet is the lowest-mass planet ever found through microlensing,” said Yossi Shvartzvald, a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and lead author of a study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Microlensing is a technique that facilitates the discovery of distant objects by using background stars as flashlights. When a star crosses precisely in front of a bright star in the background, the gravity of the foreground star focuses the light of the background star, making it appear brighter. A planet orbiting the foreground object may cause an additional blip in the star’s brightness. In this case, the blip only lasted a few hours. This technique has found the most distant known exoplanets from Earth, and can detect low-mass planets that are substantially farther from their stars than Earth ...
Astronomy Now 26 Apr 2017, 22:58 UTC Scientists will now be able to measure how fast the universe is truly expanding with the kind of precision not possible before. This, after an international team of astronomers led by Stockholm University, Sweden, captured four distinct images of a gravitationally lensed Type Ia supernova, named iPTF16geu. To get a high-resolution view, the discovery team used the W. M. Keck Observatory’s OSIRIS and NIRC2 instruments with laser-guided adaptive optics at near-infrared wavelengths.
Astro Bob 26 Apr 2017, 20:18 UTC Several people have asked me in recent days what that bright “star” is shining near the sun at dawn. It’s Venus, brightest of the planets. Venus was in inferior conjunction with the sun on March 25, the date it wrapped up its evening sky run.
Universe Today 26 Apr 2017, 18:30 UTC Since the 1960s, astronomers have been aware of the electromagnetic background radiation that pervades the Universe. Known as the Cosmic Microwave Background, this radiation is the oldest light in the Universe and what is left over from the Big Bang. By 2004, astronomers also became aware that a large region within the CMB appeared to be colder than its surroundings. Known as the “CMB Cold Spot”, scientists have puzzled over this anomaly for years, with explanations ranging from a data artifact to it being caused by a supervoid. According to a new study conducted by a team of scientists from Durham University, the presence of a supervoid has been ruled out. This conclusion once again opens the door to more exotic explanations – like the existence of a parallel Universe!