Universe

Lawrence M. Krauss writes in the LA Times: The illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis. Everywhere…




Maybe Jack Nicholson was right after all. Via Yahoo News: Leonid Ksanfomaliti, an astronomer based at the Space Research Institute of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, analyzed photographs taken by a Russian landing…


Discovered two days ago (likely due to its small size). Reports BBC News:

The asteroid, estimated to be about 11 m (36 ft) in diameter, was first detected on Wednesday. At its closest, the space rock — named 2012 BX34 — passed within about 60,000 km of Earth — less than a fifth of the distance to the Moon. Astronomers stressed that there had been no cause for concern. “It’s one of the closest approaches recorded,” said Gareth Williams, associate director of the US-based Minor Planet Center.

“It makes it in to the top 20 closest approaches, but it’s sufficiently far away …” he told the BBC. The asteroid’s path made it the closest space-rock to pass by the Earth since object 2011 MD in June 2011.

Here’s more from Space.com:


Canis MajorisFor those of you who hated this proposed Earth-centric view of our Solar System, check out this video below. (VY Canis Majoris RULES for now; Giordano Bruno would be proud …):

VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant star located in the constellation Canis Major. At between 1800 and 2100 solar radii (8.4–9.8 astronomical units, 3.063 billion km or 1.7 billion miles in diameter), it is currently the largest known star and also one of the most luminous known …


There’s always something, says a Swedish study. Phenomenica reports: Scientists claim to have produced particles of light out of vacuum, proving that space is not empty. An international team says that its…






Time ReversalShelley Littin writes in Space Daily:

A simple atomic nucleus could reveal properties associated with the mysterious phenomenon known as time reversal and lead to an explanation for one of the greatest mysteries of physics: the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe.

The physics world was rocked recently by the news that a class of subatomic particles known as neutrinos may have broken the speed of light.

Adding to the rash of new ideas, University of Arizona theoretical physicist Bira van Kolck recently proposed that experiments with another small particle called a deuteron could lead to an explanation for one of the most daunting puzzles physicists face: the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe. A deuteron is a simple atomic nucleus, or the core of an atom. Its simplicity makes it one of the best objects for experiments in nuclear physics …




Granted this video is a promo for the New Scientist‘s recent issue on “existence”, it’s pretty interesting, if you are OK with incomplete answers. (Figuring out how the universe got so large is still a serious head-scratcher.) My takeaway after watching this, is if “something” is not really that different from “nothing” (according to our human perception) then, well, there is still much to ponder …




Michael Reilly reports in the New Scientist: An asteroid 300 metres in diameter is stalking the Earth. Hiding in the pre-dawn twilight, it has marched in lockstep with our planet for years,…


Radio BroadcastsLook for the tiny blue dot for our impact. Adam Grossman writes about “The Tiny Humanity Bubble” on jackadamblog:

Mankind has been broadcasting radio waves into deep space for about a hundred years now — since the days of Marconi.

That, of course, means there is an ever-expanding bubble announcing Humanity’s presence to anyone listening in the Milky Way. This bubble is astronomically large (literally), and currently spans approximately 200 light years across.

But how big is this, really, compared to the size of the Galaxy in which we live (which is, itself, just one of countless billions of galaxies in the observable universe)?






When we look up at the night sky we see millions of  twinkling stars. But how many planets are we not seeing? Astronomers’ new study has found that ‘Jupiter-like gas giants’ are…