Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's potpourri time all over again

I'm immersed in writing an intriguing (to me, anyway; YMMV) new novelette. So: today's post will be more telegraphic than my usual -- and no, that's not a hint to the nature of the story. But telegraphed or not, several physics and astronomy news items have recently caught my eye. Typical visitors to SF and Nonsense will likely find these of interest, too. So here ya go ...

When giants warped the universe. "The discovery that massive black holes existed billions of years earlier than thought possible is forcing a major rethink about galactic origins."

Researchers capture first 'image' of a dark matter web that connects galaxies. This study seriously challenges Modified Newtonian Dynamics. MOND theories are, collectively, the main alternative to dark matter as an explication of large-scale (galactic and larger) cosmic behaviors. That's not to say the new study determined anything about what dark matter itself -- if it truly exists -- might be.

Merely an artist's conception, alas
Discovery! Atmosphere Spotted on Nearly Earth-Size Exoplanet in First. That title speaks for itself.

Distant Object 'DeeDee' Makes the Dwarf Planet Grade. How many dwarf planets are out there?

Breakthrough Listen Search for Intelligent Life: First Results. Results of, so far, no evidence for ET heard. In procedural terms, however, impressive. Just in case someone is Out There ...

Foucault's ingenious pendulum
I generally avoid URLs suggesting lists of, well, whatever. Too often they're mere clickbait. IMO, this short list (with its thoughtful discussions) is well worth your time: The 5 Most Ingenious Experiments in Astronomy and Physics. (It's best we not dwell on my personal experience with the Millikan oil-drop experiment.)

Completing my segue from astronomy to physics, consider: Can Muons - Which Live For Just Microseconds - Save Experimental Particle Physics? (Short answer: yes.)

And finally (for this post, that is -- someday, I will be back in full verbose mode) ... contrary to much breathless reporting, No, Scientists Didn't Just Create Negative Mass or Defy the Laws of Physics

And now back to the story ...

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