Tracking the latest developments

This exercise is a part of Educator Guide: SN 2017 Year in Review / View Guide

1. Find the most recent article in the archives that closely relates to one of the 10 year-end articles. Briefly describe the article, and give the citation for the article you found (ask your teacher about which citation style to use).

Example student response for neutron star collision article: The previous article “Neutron star crash seen for first time,” published in the November 11, 2017 issue, covers the public announcement of the neutron star collision observations and the scientific discoveries that followed from those observations.

APA:

Conover, E. (2017, November 11). Neutron star crash seen for first time. Science News, 192(8), 6-7.

MLA:

Conover, Emily. “Neutron star crash seen for first time.” Science News, 11 Nov. 2017, pp. 6-7

2. What information is the same in the archive article and the year-end article? Explain.

Example student response for neutron star collision article: Both articles describe the collision of the neutron stars 130 million light-years away. Both describe the separate observations of gravitational waves and light waves from the collision. Both describe some of the important discoveries from those observations: the creation of heavy elements in this collision, the nearly simultaneous arrival of both gravitational and electromagnetic waves and the new measurement of the expansion rate of the universe.

3. What information is different between the two articles? Explain what information is only in one article or the other and what new research or information has been added or changed in the year-end article when compared with the earlier article.

Example student response for neutron star collision article: The article “Neutron star crash seen for first time,” published in the November 11, 2017 issue, gives more details about the neutron stars (their masses were between 1.17 and 1.60 times that of the sun) and how their location was determined (the gravitational waves were coming from a small area of the sky that was a blind spot for the Virgo gravitational wave detector in Italy). “Neutron star crash seen for first time” gives more details about the observations, such as that detectable gravitational waves lasted for about 100 seconds, and also the order and general length of time between when the various types of radiation were detected. Finally, “Neutron star crash seen for first time” gives more information about some of the discoveries that those observations enabled, such as confirming where the r-process for forming heavy elements occurs, confirming the origin of short gamma-ray bursts and gaining clues to the rough stiffness of neutron star material.

The year-end neutron star article gives more context to the event: It was one of the most significant events in the last two decades of astronomy, and roughly 15 percent of astronomers were involved in the observations and discovery. Though the concept was mentioned in the previous article, the year-end article gives a deeper explanation about how the near-simultaneous detection of gravitational and electromagnetic waves from the neutron star collision ruled out hundreds of theories that had been proposed as alternatives to the existence of dark energy, the mysterious force that appears to be accelerating the expansion rate of the universe. Finally, the year-end article mentions that the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors are now shut down for upgrades, and that additional gravitational wave detectors in Japan and India are planned.

Optional: Create a Venn diagram or chart showing the information that is shared between the two articles and the information unique to each article.

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