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  • News

    Emissions of a banned ozone-destroying chemical have been traced to China

    China has continued producing an ozone-destroying chemical called CFC-11 in violation of an international agreement, an analysis of atmospheric gas finds.

    Air samples collected in South Korea and Japan suggest that eastern China emitted around 7,000 metric tons more trichlorofluoromethane a year from 2014 to 2017 than it did from 2008 to 2012. This boost in emissions explains a large...

    05/22/2019 - 13:00 Pollution, Chemistry
  • News

    The kilogram just got a revamp. A unit of time might be next

    The new kilogram has finally arrived.

    Updates to scientists’ system of measurement went into force May 20, redefining the kilogram and several other units in the metric system. The revamp does away with some outdated standards — most notably, a metal cylinder kept in a vault near Paris that has defined the kilogram for 130 years (SN: 12/8/18, p. 7).

    Tinkering with units allows...

    05/20/2019 - 07:00 Physics, Numbers
  • News

    An experiment hints at quantum entanglement inside protons

    Protons are complicated. The subatomic particles are themselves composed of smaller particles called quarks and gluons. Now, data from the Large Hadron Collider hint that protons’ constituents don’t behave independently. Instead, they are tethered by quantum links known as entanglement, three physicists report in a paper published April 26 at arXiv.org.

    Quantum entanglement has...

    05/17/2019 - 11:18 Quantum Physics, Particle Physics
  • News

    Dying stars called collapsars may forge much of the universe’s gold

    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...

    05/08/2019 - 13:02 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    What a nearby kilonova would look like

    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....

    05/08/2019 - 09:16 Physics, Astronomy
  • News

    LIGO is on the lookout for these 8 sources of gravitational waves

    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...

    05/06/2019 - 13:14 Physics, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Antimatter keeps with quantum theory. It’s both particle and wave

    For the first time, researchers have performed a version of the famous double-slit experiment with antimatter particles.

    The double-slit experiment demonstrates one of the fundamental tenets of quantum physics: that pointlike particles are also waves. In the standard version of the experiment, particles travel through a pair of slits in a solid barrier. On a screen on the other side, an...

    05/03/2019 - 14:00 Quantum Physics
  • News in Brief

    LIGO and Virgo made 5 likely gravitational wave detections in a month

    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.

    ...
    05/02/2019 - 13:41 Physics, Astronomy
  • The Science Life

    How scientists traced a uranium cube to Nazi Germany’s nuclear reactor program

    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...

    05/01/2019 - 03:00 Physics
  • Mystery Solved

    Here’s what causes the aurora-like glow known as STEVE

    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,...

    04/30/2019 - 07:00 Physics, Earth