The gold in your favorite jewelry could be the messy leftovers from a newborn black hole’s first meal.
Heavy elements such as gold, platinum and uranium might be formed in collapsars — rapidly spinning, massive stars that collapse into black holes as their outer layers explode in a rare type of supernova. A disk of material, swirling around the new black hole as it feeds, can create the...
If two dense neutron stars collided relatively close to Earth, the resulting kilonova would shine day and night with the brightness of the moon squeezed into a small dot.
“At night, it would be by far the brightest thing up there,” says physicist Imre Bartos of the University of Florida in Gainesville, who describes what the bright burst would look like in a study posted May 7 at arXiv....
Seekers of gravitational waves are on a cosmic scavenger hunt.
Since the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory turned on in 2015, physicists have caught these ripples in spacetime from several exotic gravitational beasts — and scientists want more.
This week, LIGO and its partner observatory Virgo announced five new possible gravitational wave detections in a...
News in Brief
Gravitational wave sightings are now a weekly occurrence.
It took decades of work to find the first set of ripples in spacetime, detected in 2015 (SN: 3/5/16, p. 6). But now, just a month after reviving the search with newly revamped detectors, scientists with the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories have already made five potential sightings of the tiny, elusive tremors....
The Science Life
The mysterious cube arrived in the summer of 2013. Physicist Timothy Koeth had agreed to go to a parking lot for an unspecified delivery. Inside a blue cloth sack, swathed in paper towels, he found a small chunk of uranium.
It was about 5 centimeters across, with “a white piece of paper wrapped around it, like a ransom note on a stone,” Koeth says. On the paper was a message: “Taken from...
We’re one step closer to understanding the mysterious atmospheric light show called STEVE.
Short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, STEVE is an unusual type of sky glow that appears closer to the equator than auroras (SN: 4/14/18, p. 5). Unlike the shimmery green ribbons that make up the northern lights, STEVE consists of a mauve band of light that stretches east to west,...
Professor Schrödenberg is missing, and evil agents want to use her quantum computing research for nefarious purposes. Stopping them is up to you, but completing your mission will require solving some mind-bending puzzles —based on science.
If you are up for the challenge, you can test your wits at LabEscape, a science-themed escape room at the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana, Ill. Escape...
Another route to 104 —04/25/2019 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics
In 1964, a few radioactive atoms existed for three-tenths of a second in a Soviet laboratory, and G.N. Flerov and his colleagues, who detected it, announced the discovery of element 104. But the announcement was met with skepticism in the United States.… Now, U.S. scientists declare they have gone their own route to corral the elusive element. — Science News,...
For the first time, researchers have directly observed an exotic type of radioactive decay called two-neutrino double electron capture.
The decay, seen in xenon-124 atoms, happens so sparingly that it would take 18 sextillion years (18 followed by 21 zeros) for a sample of xenon-124 to shrink by half, making the decay extremely difficult to detect. The long-anticipated observation of two...
The big science news of this issue, and so far this year, is the first-ever view of a black hole, announced at 9:07 a.m. April 10 by the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, an international effort that linked radio telescopes around the globe to create a planet-sized “camera.” This issue of Science News went to press that very afternoon, and we had a marvelous time making sure the...04/23/2019 - 06:30 Astronomy, Physics, Psychology