The universe is filled with almost incomprehensible phenomena, but astronomers can be one step closer to understanding the life cycle of stars. Astronomers observing a distant star system have identified what can be the most massive neutron star ever discovered. This could help shed light on the hazy division between black holes and neutrons stars.
Neutron stars, such as the recently discovered J0740 + 6620, are the remains of dead stars. While stars burn millions, even billions of years, they all end up running out of fuel. Some stars, those between 8 and 29 solar masses eventually become neutron stars. Small stars like the sun become white dwarfs and larger ones collapse in black holes.
A neutron star is extremely dense, with a mass greater than that of the sun in a sphere measured in tens of kilometers. The rest of the star's mass is carried away by a supernova, leaving only the dense and iron-rich nucleus. It has so much mass that it collapses internally until all the protons and electrons melt into neutrons. Some neutron stars such as J0740 + 6620 spin and emit flashes of radiation from their poles – we call them pulsars. This pulsation is the key to characterize J0740 + 6620.
J0740 + 6620 is not alone in his solar system. It's a binary arrangement with a less massive white dwarf. Fortunately, the pole of the pulsar is directed towards the Earth, scanning us with radiofrequency signals that we can measure at a distance of 4600 light-years. Using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, researchers monitored the J0740 + 6620 signal, which runs on millisecond scales. When the white dwarf passes the pulsar, its gravity causes minimal disruption in the regularity of the impulses known as the Shapiro delay. The team measured these delays, which represents a difference of about ten million seconds.
The delay of Shapiro provided the team with important information: the mass of the white dwarf. If you know the mass of an object in a binary system, it is relatively simple to determine the mass of the other. On this basis, the team determined that J0740 + 6620 had a mass of 2.14 solar masses, which is terribly close to the theoretical upper limit of 2.3 solar masses for a neutron star (based on Analysis of gravity waves).
Other studies have identified neutron stars with a solar mass of 2.4 or 2.5, but they were not measured as precisely as this one. We do not know exactly how to get massive neutron stars, but we have never spotted a black hole of less than five solar masses. What happens between the two is always a mystery, but studying J0740 + 6620 could enlighten us on the life and death of the stars.
When NASA new dragonfly drone arrives on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, it will not roll to the surface like Curiosity, Spirit and Opportunity on Mars. Instead, Dragonfly is a dual-rotor quadcopter that will fly from one point to another using a vertical take-off and landing system (VTOL). It exploits the existing UAV technology on Earth to operate the system.
Titan is, in many ways, a great place to try this type of deployment. The combination of low density of this moon and a thick atmosphere dominated by nitrogen makes it easy Fly indoors – or at least easily when flying a remote drone more than 800 million kilometers away and you can not make any mistakes.
XKCD approached this concept in a substantial "If" that evaluated all the planets and moons of the solar system based on their ability to sustain the flight of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. In most cases, the plane would crush; A sustained flight on Mars, for example, requires a ground speed greater than Mach 1 to take off. Randall Munroe, author of XKCD, told Venus: "Your plane would fly pretty well, except that it would be on fire all the time, then it would stop flying, and then stop being a plane."
But titan? Titan is a different story. Munroe written:
When it comes to flying, Titan could be better than the Earth. Its atmosphere is thick but its gravity is light, which gives it a surface pressure 50 times higher than that of the Earth, with an air four times denser. Its gravity – less than that of the Moon – means that flying is easy. Our Cessna could get into the air with pedal power.
In fact, humans on Titan could fly by muscle force. A human in a hang glider could take off and navigate comfortably with oversized boots – or even take off by beating artificial wings. The energy requirements are minimal – it probably would not take more effort than walking.
Designing a drone to fly at a distance in a world where humans could take off under their own muscle power is not as difficult as achieving the same feat on Earth. The dragonfly will be an octocopter capable of surviving the loss of at least one rotor or engine. The speed of the aircraft should be about 36 km / h and can fly up to 4 km altitude at temperatures as low as 94K (-180 ° C). It uses a combination of batteries and a thermal generator of radioisotopes to provide energy. At night, the generator will recharge the batteries, which can then be used for another day's flight.
Solar energy was not an option for this mission; Titan receives only about 1% of the amount of sunlight received by the soil surface, after accounting for the combined impact of distance and its thick nitrogen atmosphere.
"Almost everyone exposed to Dragonfly has a similar thought process. The first time you see it, you think, "You must be laughing, it's crazy," said Doug Adams, mission systems engineer, said NPR Tuesday. But, he says, "finally, you realize that it is a highly executable mission".
You can see a video showing how Dragonfly will land below.
The dragonfly will have to fly autonomously; the delay between Earth and Titan is too big to allow direct remote control. The plane will not fly during the night of Titan (the night on Titan lasts about 8 days on Earth).
During these times, Dragonfly will collect and analyze samples, study seismology, monitor Titan's weather and perform local microscopic analysis using LED lamps. It will include a mass spectrometer, a gamma and neutron spectrometer, meteorological sensors and equipment as well as microscopic and panoramic cameras for imaging. The mission is to allow Dragonfly to sample materials at many different sites scattered over much larger terrain than the Martian rovers have been able to cover even after years of work.
Each NASA probe has expanded our understanding of the universe and has given us a better and larger window onto the worlds that make up our solar system. Each new generation of probes has improved and expanded the scientific capabilities of the one that preceded it. The Cassini-Huygens probe has already considerably expanded our understanding of Saturn and its moon, Titan. Now, Dragonfly can tell us if the titan chemical soup – which looks like the Earth in its infancy, though at a much lower temperature – is capable of producing life analogs or chemical processes that we can identify as part of the series of events to find out how life was born on Earth.
Even if we do not find anything biological, however, Titan is still the only other world with a liquid supported on the surface. There are hydrological systems on Earth that can only to be reflected on Titan (though via liquid methane, not water). In some ways, it's the closest thing to a mirror of our own planet that we know, and the only thing we can achieve with the current rocket technology.
Dragonfly is expected to be launched in 2026 and will arrive at Titan in 2034.
Lost continents have always fascinated people. Fictitious lands such as Mu and Atlantis, to the real "lost" lands and microcontinents such as Zealandia (almost entirely under the waves) and Doggerland (submerged by the rise in sea level at the end of the last period glacial), humans have studied and theorized about how these lands were lost to us, as well as the animals and civilizations that may have lived on them. But the continents do not disappear under the ocean, they also disappear in the Earth.
The surface crust is created by mid-ocean rifting, when the tectonic plates are separated from their subduction in areas where it penetrates into the other plates, forcing one plate under the other. There are more than 200 million years ago, a piece of crust nicknamed the Great Adriatic has been released from the supercontinent Gondwana. A team of researchers Over the last ten years, the study of the mountain ranges from Spain to Iran has shown that a strip of this crust from Turin to the heel of the "boot" Italian still exists today, even if the rest of the island the size of Greenland has since disappeared. As the island dwindled, its fragments rooted in mountain ranges that are now part of the Apennines and the Alps. Remains also exist in the Balkans, Greece and Turkey.
"Most of the mountain ranges we studied came from a single continent that separated from North Africa more than 200 million years ago," he said. Principal Investigator Douwe van Hinsbergen, Professor of Global Tectonics and Paleogeography at the University of Utrecht. "The only remaining part of this continent is a band that goes from Turin through the Adriatic Sea up to the heel of the boot that forms Italy."
Geologists call this region "Adria". Van Hinsbergen therefore called the lost continent "Grand Adria. "
The Mediterranean is an extremely complex geological structure, described as scientific: "There is a lot of geology welded in all directions". The video below shows how the Mediterranean has formed over millions of years.
The reason why the southern mountain ranges of Europe are derived from the region of Adria when all the rest of the continental crust is now buried under the Earth is that these sections of the crust have been literally scraped off when crushing the plate. There are exceptions. the Western and Northern Alps are not derived from the Great Adriatic, nor are the Carpathians. The rest of the Great Adriatic is now more than a thousand kilometers below the surface of the planet, in the south of Europe. Scientists have been mapping the submerged sections of the continental crust for years and have detected crust remnants that were once on the surface of the Earth during previous expeditions. There are buried remains of our own past now locked away in the cloak.
Astronomers around the world were delighted in 2017 when "Oumuamua appeared in the sky, becoming the first ever confirmed alien object to visit our solar system. Unfortunately, "Oumuamua was already coming out of the solar system before it was discovered by the Pan-STARRS observatory, and we could not capture an image. Now, astronomers have successfully taken a photo the second known interstellar visitor, called Comet C / 2019 Q4 (Borisov).
Unlike Um Oumuamua, this new object was spotted by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov. The Minor Planet Center confirmed the attempt to discover the second extraterrestrial object, noting that Comet C / 2019 Q4 (Borisov) was in extreme hyperbolic orbit. Therefore, he has enough speed to escape the solar system. This strongly suggests that it does not come from our solar system.
The follow-up observations of comet C / 2019 T4 were more successful than expected. Astronomers using the Gemini multi-object spectrograph instrument at Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii captured the above image of our potential alien visitor. The team is prepared to image the object even before the final coordinates are available. These figures did not arrive until September 10, at 3 o'clock in the morning. The team finished their observation about two hours later. The image consists of four 60-second exposures in the R and G bands. The blue and red streaks in the background are distant stars that seem to stretch due to the comet's motion .
You may notice that everyone seems comfortable to call this object a comet. There was a lot of back and forth about what "Oumuamua was. At first, we assumed it was a comet, but there was no detectable coma. So an asteroid? Subsequent examinations confirmed the slight emanation of Oumuamua gas. Astronomers have decided that it was actually a very old comet. Comet C / 2019 Q4, on the other hand, has a very bright coma and tail caused by its proximity to the sun.
Fortunately, astronomers turned to Comet C / 2019 T4 early in the transition of our solar system. He is now close to the sun and will be closer to the Earth before sinking into the depths of space. Astronomers will be able to obtain even better images of comet C / 2019 Q4 (Borisov) in the months to come. These observations will help determine the object's orbit and confirm that it is coming well beyond our solar system. Presumably, someone too make sure it's not an alien ship skillfully disguised.
When a drone destroyed a Saudi Aramco oil facility producing 5% of the world's oil supply, shock waves were almost instantaneous. Crude oil prices jumped nearly 20% on Monday and could skyrocket, depending on market fears that the strike will recur this week, this month or this year.
In the interlocking worlds of automobiles and energy conservation, the question of whether buyers will be turning to smaller cars and / or highly fuel-efficient electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles will raise questions. Transportation uses a quarter of the world's energy. Here is our analysis of how we will be affected.
In the short term, sales of large vehicles may be reduced once the news has fallen, which will happen the next two times when you fill up and gas costs about $ 2.50 per gallon (US average of all mixes, all regions combined, strike) climb above $ 3 per gallon: a 20 gallon fill is $ 60, not $ 50. Look for a lower demand from buyers for vans that are not used in the trade – you can not switch from a Ford F-350 to a Ford Ranger if you're towing a 15,000-pound backhoe – as well as big SUVs and mainstream performances. cars. High end cars will be less affected (at least if the buyer still has a job and a year-end bonus). That a 2019 GTC4Lusso Ferrari reaches 13 mpg (and requires superior gasoline) is unimportant when you pay $ 250,000 and drive up to 2,500 km per year at most.
Sales will come back unless oil shocks occur. Over time, Americans are incorporating higher energy and fuel costs into their budgets, unless gas costs $ 4 per gallon and the same fuel reaches $ 80. In the short term, at least until the end of the year, this is the perfect time to buy the full-size SUV or pickup of your dreams, while dealer lots are inundated with large vehicles and factories can generate incentives of more than $ 5,000.
The prices of gasoline will increase, quickly. They will eventually retreat unless there is another price shock (new oilfield attacks, oil tanker attacks, pipeline attacks). President Trump on Monday ordered the release of oil from the US strategic oil reserve to fill the Saudi deficit. It has also accelerated agency approvals for Texas and other pipelines currently at the licensing stage. Environmentalists and (especially) Democrats will oppose this, as they see this as a final solution to longstanding procedural safeguards, which is in some respects the case.
A cynic and perhaps a realist will notice that oil prices are falling more slowly than they are skyrocketing. You may notice that your car rental agency is offering an "energy tax" for a bus or shuttle bus, which was probably set in 2012 when gasoline (the average price in the US, in current prices) was over $ 4 a gallon, the highest fuel price in US history, and it has never disappeared.
According to AAA's calculations, the average price of gasoline in the United States at the beginning of the week, one day after the Saudi Aramco attacks, was $ 2.56 per gallon. This is an insignificant figure for a particular motorist, as fuel prices depend on state taxes and, in some states (such as California), special formulations to reduce volatility and gasoline vapor formation. Summer formulas contain 1.7 times more energy than winter, but they cost more.
The average gallon of gasoline, says the Institute of Energy Research, At 52 cents per gallon of federal, state, and local taxes, while diesel has an average tax burden of 60 cents per gallon. The national government charges 18.4 cents a gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon of diesel. The average tax on gasoline is 23 cents a gallon. Alaska, Virginia, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana cost about 15 to 20 cents a gallon, while New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Washington State and Pennsylvania are at 41-58 cents. Gallon
Over the past 30 years, the United States has experienced the most dramatic gas price changes since they began tracking consumption and gasoline prices around 1920. The late eighties 90 was the cheapest period to buy gasoline, the price falling to 1 dollar a gallon in some areas. United States in 1998; this equates to $ 1.55 at current prices. Over the last decade, prices have ranged – in 2017 dollars – from $ 2.20 to 1 gallon to $ 4 to 1 gallon. There were two historical peaks of $ 4 per gallon in 2012 ($ 3.85 at the time) and $ 3.80 per gallon in 2008 ($ 3.65 at the time). Due to recent fluctuations, rising from a dollar to a gallon to $ 4 per gallon in 15 years, drivers over the age of 30 are referring to recent history and conclude that what goes up must go down and vice versa. Whatever the case may be, all of this is cheap compared to most countries in the world.
Expect more efficient car requests from some political circles. The reality: there will be requests but probably little action. The opposite may happen: President Trump wants to cancel, through an executive action, the longstanding agreement that California can set its own higher standards for emissions. Lower emissions generally mean lower fuel consumption and vice versa. Carbon dioxide emissions are directly related to the amount of fuel consumed by a car, and CO2 is a cause of greenhouse gases that, according to the vast majority of scientists, causes global warming, which, according to them, is real.
Trump's plans to unilaterally rescind California's exemption may not be subject to review by the court. Legislation that would increase (not relax) fuel economy standards could be passed by the House (controlled by the Democrats), but not by the Senate (controlled by the Republicans). If she did, the President could veto her. It will become an election issue, probably designed to protect the environmental future of our children, not to preserve America's security, strength and energy independence.
Representatives from manufacturing states such as Michigan and New South (Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi) would like the tax credits for electric vehicles to be expanded from 200,000 to 600,000. Tesla and GM have already reached the milestone. Nissan will arrive in a few years, then Ford. This too faces uncertain prospects. The majority of electric and hybrid vehicles enjoying tax credit are sold in dozens of democratically prone states. Only Pennsylvania among these states voted for Trump in 2016.
The Frankfurt Motor Show last week has been the subject of many announcements of electric vehicles, but car manufacturers worry in particular about the fact that car buyers in European markets do not are not fully convinced that electric vehicles are their future in the short term. Europe is better suited to electric vehicles than in the United States because its population, which is larger than that of the United States, is more evenly distributed geographically. There would therefore be fewer public charging stations needed for long-distance but rarely used trips. Europe is also more comfortable with the onslaught of Saudi oil fields as they rely more on foreign oil from less stable countries. Europe is also more dependent on other countries, including Russia, for natural gas.
Most of America's most recent successes in finding new sources of energy within its borders involve fracking. Hydraulic fracking, as Big Oil calls it, most people have mixed feelings about fracking. Pumping chemicals – or liquids, or aqueous solutions, depending on the preferences of the oil industry – into rock formations until they abandon their oil and natural gas costs more. expensive than pumping oil into underground reservoirs in western Texas or in the currently hot sands of Saudi Arabia. . This forces more (mostly) Americans to work in the energy sector, as well as in the oil territories of Canada. Mainly because of the production / fracturing of shale oil, the United States produces more oil this year than anyone else with 18% of world oil production, with Saudi Arabia at 12% and Russia at 11%.
The upcoming price shock will encourage some Americans to adopt smaller, more efficient vehicles. Energy consumption, pollution and climate change could be a bigger problem in the 2020 elections and should prove to be an important division between Republicans and Democrats. This will probably benefit the Democrats more.
Initially, it was unclear what was the delivery mechanism that caused 10 to 17 separate strikes at the Saudi Aramco plant in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, and two on the nearby Khurais oilfield on Saturday. The government and intelligence sources first said that it was drones launched, but unspecified, that it was a military drone in long-range or short-range civil / commercial drone; some sources have indicated cruise missiles.
Large commercial / civil drones equipped with battery-powered electric motors can carry 10 to 20 kg, which can be an explosive and convenient force. According to reports reaching Tuesday, the weapons platforms were military-type UAVs (and a cruise missile may be called a variant of a drone). But the frightening prospect remains that of armed drones that disrupt a sporting event, an outdoor concert, a parade or a fair. In the 1977 film Black Sunday (made the year when Tom Brady was born), an airship loaded with explosives attacks the Super Bowl. (It's a fiction, not a documentary.) A drone could recreate the terror of Black Sunday for $ 25,000 or less.
The result is that governments around the world can think about how drones should roam freely. They can restrict flights to more areas or require more licenses, including drones capable of lifting more than 5 to 10 pounds. It's at the same time that UAVs are doing more useful things, such as search and rescue, geological mapping and helicopter replacement for information gathering (for the price of a few hours of flying). Helicopter, you can own a drone that runs an 8K video). In other words, the government's desire to suppress what preoccupies it could endanger the interest of individuals and businesses in using drones to make their products and services more useful and affordable. Not to mention these hypothetical deliveries Amazon.
Top image credit: Getty Images
In terms of computing, dual-screen devices have never really made sense, but it is clear that more than one company is preparing to market this type of product. The latest Microsoft news suggests that we will see more products of this type in the future. The company has just obtained a new patent for dual-screen devices and it is not the only one to apply for it.
The latest patent from Microsoft relates to an application for a dual-screen device using a single flexible screen. The description states:
A flexible display can be attached to the first and second parts. The entire hinge can provide several features facilitating the use of a single flexible display. During the rotation of the first and second parts, the hinge assembly can change the length of the device under the flexible display to reduce the constraints on the flexible display. This aspect can be achieved with a cord that connects the first part to the hinge assembly. A length of a cord passage may change during rotation so that the cord pulls the first part toward the hinge assembly and / or allows the first part to be removed from the hinge assembly. hinge assembly according to the orientation.
Many patent drawings are extremely detailed examples of how such articulations bend and work as if:
There is a lot of discussion about how to interface the hinge design with the mechanisms of an OLED panel. In itself, this is further proof that the company is working on dual-screen devices. We've known this for a long time, with rumors both about Centaurus and a new dual-screen Surface device that could appear at the unveiling event of Microsoft. But MS is not the only company to engage in dual screen patents. The news surfaced earlier this month Dell patent on these types of devices too. Lenovo demonstrated its ThinkPad X1 foldable computer.
All these devices are not exactly the same, to be sure. Some of them, like Lenovo, have a folding screen, similar to the folding phone prototypes already launched by Samsung and Huawei. Some of them, such as the Microsoft and Dell patents, describe a device with multiple screens that fold, but not a "foldable PC."
The fact that companies patent the technology does not necessarily mean that they intend to market their devices. It is not uncommon for companies to engage in so-called "defensive" patents, in which they pre-emptively patent patents to ensure that other companies can not sue them, or have a war chest of patent licensors licensed in the event that they find themselves in a patent license war. By digging a little, you will find many articles on technology that explain how companies buy other companies just for their patents.
But it feels different. It's one thing for companies to strategically position themselves on patents in an area like mobile, which is heavily encumbered by patents. Dell, Microsoft, and other companies are filing patents on specific types of hinge designs and other aspects of construction – the type of protection you would want if you invested a lot of money in manufacturing concrete products. Like Mehedi Hassan marks, the author of this specific patent has written several similar documents and the design drawings are incredibly detailed. It's not a vague idea that Microsoft is trying to patent in order to conquer the market on a large class of devices, it's obviously a specific design for a particular product.
The interesting dual-screen devices we have seen so far are desktop-style notebooks, with a secondary display used to display information during games. Dual-screen devices that can be used as books or with a second screen partly used as a keyboard were presented, but there were always more questions than answers about the user interface and how the software would be used. (or more likely, updated) to take advantage of this feature.
Either many companies are spending money on secret dual-panel devices that they plan to market in the next 12 to 18 months, or we're seeing the results of many R & D activities in Skunkworks that may not be successful. It would not be the first time that a company would devote months or years of effort to products never put on the market, but the buzz around folding (or collapsible PCs) is wobbling in this liminal space between "an undeniable trend in products". and "Test the terrain to see if there is a market." Companies may hope that new form factors will rejuvenate the personal computer market, which is expected to continue to decline over the next few years. High-end boutique systems and 2-in-1 are among the only bright spots in the space. It is therefore logical that companies are looking for profitable niches likely to arouse the interest of consumers.
Feature Image: Microsoft Device Design "Andromeda" Never Launched, Thurrott.com