The Big Question: Why are galaxies moving toward the same point, as if pulled by an unknown force?
By James Owen WeatherallPosted 10.16.2009 at 9:25 am 13 Comments
As if the universe weren't strange enough, scientists have recently discovered that entire galaxy clusters—the largest known structures in the universe, consisting of thousands of galaxies—are moving toward the same area. And we have no idea what mysterious phenomenon is drawing them along. Whatever it is, it's huge. So far, cosmologists' best guess is that it's the gravitational pull from something beyond the visible universe. NASA scientist Alexander Kashlinsky and a team of researchers discovered the mystery motion, dubbed "dark flow," last year.
Astronomers and students from the University of Khartoum form a line half a mile wide to comb the Nubian Desert for tiny fragments of a rare asteroid.
Peter Jenniskens/NASA Ames Research Center/SETI
On October 7, 2008,shortly before dawn in northern Sudan, a trucker named Omar Fadul el Mula was praying at a remote teahouse in the Nubian Desert when a bright flash lit up the landscape. It was as if the world had switched from night to day. He sprung to his feet, ran around the small building, and saw a huge trail of dust and debris stretched high in the sky.
When starlight passes through a planet's atmosphere, certain elements absorb specific wavelengths of light, and these show up as dips in the spectrum.
If aliens are out there, the best shot at finding them—assuming they resemble the life-forms on Earth—is to look for planets like ours. E.T.'s home will probably require an atmosphere to have liquid water and keep out solar radiation, so astronomers search for perfectly sized and situated planets surrounded by blankets of life-supporting gases like oxygen and water vapor. Now they know how to recognize that ideal atmosphere.
The sun doesn’t rise over the Black Rock Desert in Nevada; it ignites. One minute the blaze-orange glow of dawn is cascading down the sulfur-rich Jackson and Kamma mountain ranges, tinting the prehistoric lakebed a million shades of pink. The next, it’s full celestial throttle. By 6:30, the sun is blinding and the heat is ratcheting up.
As students everywhere return to school, the luckiest are heading for caves and rocket firing ranges instead of lecture halls
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 09.09.2009 at 11:08 am 5 Comments
So you want to explore the deepest caves? Design the cars of the future? Fire rockets? Don't wait until you graduate. Here are 10 college programs that offer the most fun per credit—and can help you land your ideal job.
I was not screwing around. When I took the first physics class of my life, at age 35, it was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and my professor was Walter Lewin, one of that institution's most respected instructors. Lewin is a man so comfortable with his vectors that he diagrams them in front of a classroom audience while wearing Teva sandals.
OK, I wasn't really "at" MIT. And "took" the class may be a stretch. I was watching the video of one of Lewin's lectures from the comfort of my backyard in Brooklyn, and I too was wearing sandals (but not Tevas; I have standards).
We test the muscle of the newest sports cars on the track.
By Don ShermanPosted 12.06.2001 at 6:14 pm 0 Comments
Nearly devoid of grandstands, Willow Springs International Raceway, a windblown track in the high desert north of Los Angeles, is a long way from the crowds and spectacle of major motorsports. Built for the heyday of sports car racing in the 1950s, Willow has seen public enthusiasm for road racing come and go, then come back again, remaining something of a mecca for amateurs and professionals alike. When we arrived with four new sports cars at the leading edge of today's roadster revival, there was a sense of coming home.