Cosmology and astrophysics

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Loop quantum gravity. More precisely, space can be viewed as an extremely fine fabric or network "woven" of finite loops. These networks of loops are called spin networks. The evolution of a spin network over time is called a spin foam. Black Hole Cores May Not Be Infinitely Dense. The cores of black holes may not hold points of infinite density as currently thought, but portals to elsewhere in the universe, theoretical physicists say.

Black Hole Cores May Not Be Infinitely Dense

A black hole possesses a gravitational field so powerful that not even light can escape. A black hole generally forms after a star dies in a titanic explosion known as a supernova, which crushes the remaining core into dense lumps. New? Start Here. Hi, and welcome to my site “Of Particular Significance”.

New? Start Here

If you are an interested layperson, whether you have very little knowledge of science or quite a lot already, this website is mainly intended for you — although as you’ll see, it has a number of scientists among its readers. It’s still young and growing, so check back often for new material. You’ll see there’s a blog with up-to-date comments, but most of the web-pages are permanent or semi-permanent articles.

Why one Higgs boson will not be enough. On Tuesday, scientists announced promising signs in the data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva of the existence of the Higgs boson.

Why one Higgs boson will not be enough

If the discovery is confirmed with new data, what will it mean for physics and why should we care? First, the short answer. If the Higgs is discovered, it will represent perhaps one of the greatest triumphs of the human intellect in recent memory, vindicating 50 years spent building one of the greatest theoretical edifices in all of science and requiring the construction of the most complicated machine that has ever been made. That's the good news. The Accelerating Universe and Dark Energy Might Be Illusions. In 1929, cosmologists discovered that the universe is expanding that space-time, the fabric of the cosmos, is stretching.

The Accelerating Universe and Dark Energy Might Be Illusions

Then in 1998, light coming from exploding stars called supernovas suggested that the universe is not only expanding, but that it has recently begun expanding faster and faster; its expansion has entered an "accelerating phase. " This was bad news for the fate of the cosmos: An accelerating universe is ultimately racing toward a "Big Rip," the moment at which its size will become infinite and, in a flash, everything in it will be torn apart. The discovery was bad news for the state of cosmology, too. Dark Matter: Just Fine, Thanks. Astrophysical ambulance-chasers everywhere got a bit excited this week, and why wouldn’t they?

Dark Matter: Just Fine, Thanks

Here are some of the headlines we read: Wow. Does This Ontological Commitment Make Me Look Fat? 3:am magazine (yes, that’s what it’s called) has a very good interview with Craig Callender, philosopher of physics at UC San Diego and a charter member of the small club of people who think professionally about the nature of time.

Does This Ontological Commitment Make Me Look Fat?

The whole thing is worth reading, so naturally I am going to be completely unfair and nitpick about the one tiny part that mentions my name. The interviewer asks: But there is nothing in the second law of thermodynamics to explain why the universe starts with low entropy. Floating Gyroscopes Vindicate Einstein. Four superconducting pingpong balls floating in space have just confirmed two key predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, physicists announced in a press conference Wednesday.

Floating Gyroscopes Vindicate Einstein

“We have completed this landmark experiment testing Einstein’s universe, and Einstein survives,” said physicist Francis Everitt of Stanford University, the principal investigator on NASA’s Gravity Probe B mission. The probe, which launched in 2004, was designed to test the effect Earth’s gravity has on the space-time around it. According to Einstein, the Earth warps its local space-time like a bowling ball sitting on a trampoline, a phenomenon called the geodetic effect. This effect means that a circle of fabric with the Earth’s circumference, about 24,900 miles, would be pulled into a shallow cone with a circumference 1.1 inches shorter. Scientists release most accurate simulation of the universe to date.

The Bolshoi supercomputer simulation, the most accurate and detailed large cosmological simulation run to date, gives physicists and astronomers a powerful new tool for understanding such cosmic mysteries as galaxy formation, dark matter, and dark energy.

Scientists release most accurate simulation of the universe to date

The simulation traces the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe, including the evolution and distribution of the dark matter halos in which galaxies coalesced and grew. Initial studies show good agreement between the simulation's predictions and astronomers' observations. "In one sense, you might think the initial results are a little boring, because they basically show that our standard cosmological model works," said Joel Primack, distinguished professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Beyond space-time: Welcome to phase space - space - 08 August 2011. Read full article Continue reading page |1|2|3 A theory of reality beyond Einstein's universe is taking shape – and a mysterious cosmic signal could soon fill in the blanks IT WASN'T so long ago we thought space and time were the absolute and unchanging scaffolding of the universe.

Beyond space-time: Welcome to phase space - space - 08 August 2011

Then along came Albert Einstein, who showed that different observers can disagree about the length of objects and the timing of events. A glimpse of the (almost) impossible... The universe is littered with the weird and wonderful and GRB 060614 could turn out to be one of the weirdest and most wonderful of them all.

A glimpse of the (almost) impossible...

GRB 060614, which we’ll call Ralph to smooth things along, was a gamma-ray burst with some very puzzling properties detected by Nasa’s Swift satellite on June 14, 2006. Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the universe. They usually come in two flavours: long bursts, which are normally caused by the sudden release of energy that occurs when a collapsing star forms a black hole in a massive supernova event, and short bursts, which occur when two neutron stars – the superdense remains of dead stars – collide.

What Happened Before the Big Bang? The New Philosophy of Cosmology - Technology. What existed before the big bang? What is the nature of time? Is our universe one of many? On the big questions science cannot (yet?) Sean Carroll: Distant time and the hint of a multiverse. A Step-by-Step Guide to Cosmology’s Best-Kept Secret. How far is each of these galaxies? Appearances may deceive. In my previous post, I described the little-known and somewhat counterintuitive idea that objects in the distant universe appear larger and larger the farther they are, in a reversal of the usual rules of perspective. I called it the cosmic magnifying lens.

As promised, I will now explain the physics behind it. The Beginning of the Universe and the Limit of Knowledge. “Despite its name, the big bang theory is not really a theory of a bang at all. It is really only a theory of the aftermath of a bang.” -Alan Guth So you finally understand it. 'A Universe From Nothing' by Lawrence Krauss, AAI 2009. A Lenticular Galaxy Reveals Spinning Black Holes. In the heart of MCG-6-30-15, a galaxy 130 million light-years away, there is a hole. It’s as big around as the orbit of Mars. Into this hole stars and star stuff are always falling—a lot of stuff, the equivalent of a hundred million suns so far. From this hole nothing escapes, not even light. It is perfectly black, like the mouth of a long tunnel.