Gases, as we all know, don’t generally offer a lot of resistance. That is, if you try to walk through a cloud of gas, you’ll pass right through it. The same is true for two clouds of gases that meet each other: they pass right through each other. But MIT physicists have observed the first exception to the rule by creating two clouds of ultra-cold gases that bounce right off each other like solids.
The cores of neutron stars are the densest observable known matter in the universe, so dense that a single teaspoon of neutron star core would weigh some six billion tons. That density makes them fascinating to those seeking to probe the properties of matter, and NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory has made an interesting discovery doing exactly that, finding the first direct evidence that matter there can take on a superfluid state.
Swift is the first satellite explicitly designed to solve the mystery of gamma-ray bursts, the enigmatic explosions that have puzzled astronomers for decades. Practically every day, another burst randomly appears in the sky, flashing powerful gamma rays for anywhere from a fraction of a second to two minutes. Before the burst fades, Swift quickly locates it, rotates its telescopes and other satellites for observation, and relays the burst's location to ground-based telescopes, which study it in detail.