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Jun. 16, 2012
Volume: III
Number: 23
National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society    South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society   
'Extremely Little Telescope' discovers unique bodies
Vanderbilt University    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescopes," KELT for short, are capable but low-cost instruments useful for exoplanet-hunting. They use mostly off-the-shelf technology and cost less than $75,000 each. There are two KELTs commissioned in the world, KELT North in Arizona, and KELT South in South Africa. According to Josh Pepper, who created KELT for his Ph.D. work at Ohio State University, "KELT-South is a great example of the kind of low-cost, high reward astronomy that can be done by universities all over the world."

Using the transit method, KELT North has discovered two very unusual bodies. The first, KELT-1b, is the shortest period and brightest transiting brown dwarf ever discovered, and is only the second definitively inflated brown dwarf known. It is both super dense and super-hot. Super dense because it contains 27 times the mass of Jupiter but is only slightly larger than Jupiter and super-hot because it is very close to its parent star orbiting it every 1.2 days and receives 6,000 times the radiation earth receives from the sun and should have a temperature of about 4,000 degrees.

The second discovery, KELT-2Ab, is the ninth brightest transiting planet, and the third-brightest one discovered by a ground-based survey. The evolutionary state of the star means that this exoplanet has one of the best measured ages of any known exoplanet. Both of these bodies orbit a very bright star, and consequently astronomers will be able to make detailed measurements of their atmospheres.

Small planets do not need stars with heavy metal content to form
Center for Star and Planet Formation    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Using NASA's Kepler Telescope to study the elemental composition of more than 150 stars harboring 226 planet candidates, an international team of researchers has found that small planets form around stars with a wide range of heavy metal content. Astronomers refer to all chemical elements heavier than hydrogen and helium as metals. Planets are created in disks of gas and dust around new stars, and the metal content of the planet-forming disk mirrors the metal content of the star. Gas giants, large planets that are not primarily composed of rock and other solid matter, are associated with metal-rich stars. The current results, published in Nature, show that formation of smaller planets is not strongly dependent on the heavy element content of their host stars. More

NASA's Fermi detects the highest-energy photons from a solar flare
NASA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During a powerful March 7 solar blast, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected the highest-energy photons ever associated with an eruption on the sun. The discovery heralds Fermi's new role as a solar observatory. The powerful March 7 flare produced such an outpouring of gamma rays that the sun briefly became the brightest object in the gamma-ray sky. The detection of 4GeV photons set a new record for the highest-energy photons ever detected during or immediately after a solar flare. The flux was more than 1,000 times greater than the sun's steady output. The March flare also is notable for the persistence of its gamma-ray emission, with detection lasting 20 hours, two and a half times longer than any event on record. Additionally, the event marks the first time a greater-than-100-MeV gamma-ray source has been localized to the sun's disk. More

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A new theory of heat capacity
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Physicists in the U.K. and Russia have revived concepts first put forth in the 1940s to develop a new theory of the heat capacity of liquids. While physicists have a good theoretical understanding of the heat capacity of both solids and gases, a general theory of the heat capacity of liquids has remained elusive. Published in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal published by the Nature Publishing Group, the new "phonon theory of liquid thermodynamics" rests upon an expression for the energy of a liquid in terms of its temperature and three parameters — the liquid's coefficient of expansion, and its Debye and Frenkel frequencies. The researchers say that the theory covers both the classical and quantum regimes, and has successfully predicted the heat capacity of 21 different liquids ranging from metals to noble and molecular liquids. More

2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress
The 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress will be hosted by Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 8-12. It will center on the theme Connecting Worlds Through Science & Service. Undergraduates, practicing physicists and physics alumni from a broad spectrum of career paths will gather together to address the interconnectivity of the modern world and what it means to science. More

Important dates
Sept. 17 — Early Registration Deadline
Oct. 15 — Registration Deadline, Artwork Submission Deadline, Abstract Submission Deadline

New results challenge prevailing ideas on growth of supermassive black holes
Chanda X-ray Observatory    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Astronomers long have thought that a supermassive black hole and the bulge of stars at the center of its host galaxy grow at the same rate. A new study of Chandra data has revealed two nearby galaxies, NGC4342 and NGC4291, whose supermassive black holes are growing faster than the galaxies themselves. These two galaxies have black holes that are 10 times to 35 times more massive than they should be compared to their bulges. The new study suggests the two supermassive black holes and their evolution are tied to their dark matter halos and they did not grow in tandem with the galactic bulges. In this new view, the black holes and dark matter halos are not excessively massive, rather the total mass in the galaxies is too low. Moreover, the authors suppose that in the black holes' early history they consumed large concentrations of gas in the galactic center. The energy outflows from the respective black holes prevented the interstellar medium from cooling, which limited the production of new stars. This represents a significant change in our way of thinking about how galaxies and black holes evolve together. More

No evidence for 'knots' in space
University College of London    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the Universe cooled it underwent a series of phase transitions, analogous to water freezing into ice. Many transitions cannot occur consistently throughout space, giving rise in some theories to imperfections in the structure of the cooling material known as cosmic textures or "knots." Cosmic textures can be identified by looking at radiation from the cosmic microwave background. If produced in the early Universe, textures would interact with photons from the CMB to leave a set of characteristic hot and cold spots. A 2007 study on a small piece of the sky provided a tantalizing hint that a feature of the CMB called the "Cold Spot" could be due to cosmic texture. But in the first search for textures on the full sky using NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite, a team of researchers found no evidence for such cosmic textures. Their result, published in Physical Review Letters, places the best limits available on theories that produce textures, ruling out at 95 percent confidence theories that produce more than six detectable textures on our sky. More

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New observations show a galaxy formed 1.1 billion years after the Big Bang
Ars Technica    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers have reported via Nature the submillimeter observation of HDF 805.1, an object first observed by the Hubble Deep Field Survey in 1996. HDF 805.1 is the brightest infrared object in the survey, but the object is invisible as far as other wavelengths that Hubble can detect. Without other data, astronomers could not determine the size of, or distance to, HDF 805.1. The new observations made using the Jansky Very Large Array now allows astronomers to determine the location of HDF 805.1 It corresponds to a bright source about 12.6 billion light years away, meaning the object formed only 1.1 billion years after the Big Bang. Observations suggest that HDF 805.1 is a galaxy with surprisingly high star formation rate. While HDF 805.1 is not the earliest galaxy ever seen, it certainly has a higher star formation rate than known galaxies of similar reshift. Moreover it is a vexing mystery as to where such an early galaxy could have gotten so much of the presumed dust that hides it from Hubble at visible-light wavelengths. More

The optics of recycling
Optics and Photonics News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Optical technologies, including laser scanning and spectroscopy, can be used to identify and sort recyclable materials in a way that makes efficient use of available natural resources and helps to reduce fossil fuel consumption — all in a cost-effective manner. More

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast
365 Days of Astronomy Podcast publishes daily podcasts, five to 10 minutes in duration. They are written, recorded and produced by people around the world. We are looking for individuals, schools, companies and clubs to provide five to 10 podcasts. You can do as few as one episode or up to 12 episodes (one per month, subject, of course, to our editorial discretion). Our goal is to encourage people to sign up for a particular day (or days) of the year. For more information, see the 365 Days of Astronomy website.

Quantum bar magnets in a transparent salt
University College of London    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An international team of researchers have discovered a transparent LiErF4 salt where they could image all the atomic spins in a layered sample. The transparent salt is the perfect material to see what's going on at the quantum level for a dense collection of tiny bar magnets. The researchers found that the spins are parallel within pairs of layers, while for adjacent layer pairs, they are antiparallel, as large bar magnets placed adjacent to each other would be. The team was also able to follow the magnetism as function of quantum phase transition under an external magnetic field. This new model system is a test bed for understanding frustrated dipolar magnetic interactions. The report is published in Science. More

International Conference of Physics Students
The International Conference of Physics Students is an annual conference of the International Association of Physics Students. Usually, up to 400 students from all over the world attend the event. The 2012 ICPS will be held in the Netherlands in Aug. 4-10. During this week, approximately 400 students from around the world can enjoy lectures from top-class physicists, trips to scientific institutions and cultural excursions. Registration opens in February at

Atoms 'split,' reassembled in new quantum physics experiment
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Physicists at the University of Bonn have "split" an atom into its two possible spin states, up and down, and measured the difference between them even after the atom resumed the properties of a single state. Picking up on the double-slit experiment, the researchers fired two lasers in sequence at a single cold atom of cesium, moving it to the left or right. Unlike splitting an atom into its constituent subatomic particles, as happens in radioactive decay, in this case the atom was essentially splitting into a set of twins. It was in two states at once — up and down. It is not possible to see both states at once. If one were to try to measure the state of the atom, it would "collapse" into a single state. But when one looks at the atom at the end of its journey, the combination of the two states can be measured. The work is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. More

Funding for US fusion energy research restored
Planet Princeton    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would restore $76 million in funding to the Department of Energy's fusion program. The funding, which supports the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab and other energy research laboratories, was not included in the President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget request. Many plasma physicists were concerned that domestic fusion programs had money drawn away from them to increase funding for ITER, a move defended by DOE Office of Science Director William Brinkman. The latest legislation would however take a big bite out of DOE's fledgling Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, an agency that many legislators have opposed from its very inception. More

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Designed as a unique and much-needed resource for educators, managers and policymakers, the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering publishes original, peer-reviewed papers that report innovative ideas and programs for classroom teachers, scientific studies and formulation of concepts related to the education, recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Accelerator Physicist/Engineer (Research Associate)
Advanced Topics in Astrostatistics
Biophotonic Solutions 2012 MIIPS Ultrafast Pulse Shaping Workshop
Faculty Positions in Science, Technology and Innovation
Research Datacenter and Computing Infrastructure Manager
SKA Project Scientist
Women's Business Enterprise National Council Student Program
3x Senior Astronomers — SKA Africa
Nanoscale Measurements For Soft Matter Systems
NASA Postdoctoral Fellowships
National Astrophysics and Space Science Program
Postdoctoral Research Associate Positions

Latest research from Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
IOP Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Analysis of electron cyclotron emission by fast electrons generated by lower hybrid current drive at JET

Influence of gas puff location on the coupling of lower hybrid waves in JET ELMy H-mode plasmas

JET scrape-off-layer ionization at lower hybrid wave launching

H-mode power threshold reduction in a slot-divertor configuration on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak

Formation of a natural X-point multifaceted asymmetric radiation from the edge in numerical simulations of divertor plasmas

Latest research from Physica C: Superconductivity and its Applications
Elsevier    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Transport critical current dependence on magnetic fields in ceramic high temperature superconducting samples

2 energy gaps in superconducting Lu2Fe3Si5 single crystal derived from the temperature dependence of lower critical field Hc1(T)

Performance analysis of a model-sized superconducting DC transmission system based VSC-HVDC transmission technologies using RTDS

Planar hybrid superconductor-normal metal-superconductor thin film junctions based on BaFe1.8Co0.2As2

Temperature dependence of magnetic-field angle dependent critical current density and the flux pinning in YBa2Cu3O7 thin films


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