the gamma rays

Neutron Stars Are Weird!

There, we came right out and said it. They can’t help it; it’s just what happens when you have a star that’s heavier than our sun but as small as a city. Neutron stars give us access to crazy conditions that we can’t study directly on Earth.

Here are five facts about neutron stars that show sometimes they are stranger than science fiction!

1. Neutron stars start their lives with a bang

When a star bigger and more massive than our sun runs out of fuel at the end of its life, its core collapses while the outer layers are blown off in a supernova explosion. What is left behind depends on the mass of the original star. If it’s roughly 7 to 19 times the mass of our sun, we are left with a neutron star. If it started with more than 20 times the mass of our sun, it becomes a black hole.

2. Neutron stars contain the densest material that we can directly observe

While neutron stars’ dark cousins, black holes, might get all the attention, neutron stars are actually the densest material that we can directly observe. Black holes are hidden by their event horizon, so we can’t see what’s going on inside. However, neutron stars don’t have such shielding. To get an idea of how dense they are, one sugar cube of neutron star material would weigh about 1 trillion kilograms (or 1 billion tons) on Earth—about as much as a mountain. That is what happens when you cram a star with up to twice the mass of our sun into a sphere the diameter of a city.

3. Neutron stars can spin as fast as blender blades

Some neutron stars, called pulsars, emit streams of light that we see as flashes because the beams of light sweep in and out of our vision as the star rotates. The fastest known pulsar, named PSR J1748-2446ad, spins 43,000 times every minute. That’s twice as fast as the typical household blender! Over weeks, months or longer, pulsars pulse with more accuracy than an atomic clock, which excites astronomers about the possible applications of measuring the timing of these pulses.

4. Neutron stars are the strongest known magnets

Like many objects in space, including Earth, neutron stars have a magnetic field. While all known neutron stars have magnetic fields billions and trillions of times stronger than Earth’s, a type of neutron star known as a magnetar can have a magnetic field another thousand times stronger. These intense magnetic forces can cause starquakes on the surface of a magnetar, rupturing the star’s crust and producing brilliant flashes of gamma rays so powerful that they have been known to travel thousands of light-years across our Milky Way galaxy, causing measurable changes to Earth’s upper atmosphere.

5. Neutron stars’ pulses were originally thought to be possible alien signals

Beep. Beep. Beep. The discovery of pulsars began with a mystery in 1967 when astronomers picked up very regular radio flashes but couldn’t figure out what was causing them. The early researchers toyed briefly with the idea that it could be a signal from an alien civilization, an explanation that was discarded but lingered in their nickname for the original object—LGM-1, a nod to the “little green men” (it was later renamed PSR B1919+21). Of course, now scientists understand that pulsars are spinning neutron stars sending out light across a broad range of wavelengths that we detect as very regular pulses – but the first detections threw observers for a loop.

The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload that is soon heading to the International Space Station will give astronomers more insight into neutron stars—helping us determine what is under the surface. Also, onboard NICER, the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT) experiment will test the use of pulsars as navigation beacons in space.

Want to learn even more about Neutron Stars? Watch this…

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:


Newest LIGO Signal Raises A Huge Question: Do Merging Black Holes Emit Light?

“The second merger held no such hints of electromagnetic signals, but that was less surprising: the black holes were of significantly lower mass, so any signal arising from them would be expected to be correspondingly lower in magnitude. But the third merger was large in mass again, more comparable to the first than the second. While Fermi has made no announcement, and Integral again reports a non-detection, there are two pieces of evidence that suggest there may have been an electromagnetic counterpart after all. The AGILE satellite from the Italian Space Agency detected a weak, short-lived event that occurred just half a second before the LIGO merger, while X-ray, radio and optical observations combined to identify a strange afterglow less than 24 hours after the merger.”

Whenever there’s a catastrophic, cataclysmic event in space, there’s almost always a tremendous release of energy that accompanies it. A supernova emits light; a neutron star merger emits gamma rays; a quasar emits radio waves; merging black holes emit gravitational waves. But if there’s any sort of matter present outside the event horizons of these black holes, they have the potential to emit electromagnetic radiation, or light signals, too. Our best models and simulations don’t predict much, but sometimes the Universe surprises us! With the third LIGO merger, there were two independent teams that claimed an electromagnetic counterpart within 24 hours of the gravitational wave signal. One was an afterglow in gamma rays and the optical, occurring about 19 hours after-the-fact, while the other was an X-ray burst occurring just half a second before the merger.

Could either of these be connected to these merging black holes? Or are we just grasping at straws here? We need more, better data to know for sure, but here’s what we’ve got so far!

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Our Psyche mission to a metal world, which will explore a giant metal asteroid known as 16 Psyche, is getting a new, earlier launch date. Psyche is now expected to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in 2022, cruise through the solar system for 4.6 years, and arrive at the Psyche asteroid in 2026, four years earlier than planned. 

Below are 10 things to know about this mission to a completely new and unexplored type of world.

1. Psyche, Squared 

Psyche is the name of the NASA space mission and the name of the unique metal asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. The asteroid was discovered in 1852 by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis and named after the Greek mythological figure Psyche, whom Cupid fell in love with. “Psyche” in Greek also means “soul.”

2. Mission: Accepted

The Psyche Mission was selected for flight earlier this year under NASA’s Discovery Program. And it will take a village to pull off: The spacecraft is being built by Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto, California; the mission is led by Arizona State University; and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be responsible for mission management, operations and navigation.

3. An Unusual Asteroid 

For the very first time, this mission will let us examine a world made not of rock and ice, but metal. Scientists think Psyche is comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core - which means Psyche could be an exposed core of an early planet as large as Mars.

4. Sweet 16 

Psyche the asteroid is officially known as 16 Psyche, since it was the 16th asteroid to be discovered. It lies within the asteroid belt, is irregularly shaped, about the size of Massachusetts, and is about three times farther away from the sun than Earth.

5. Discoveries Abound 

The Psyche mission will observe the asteroid for 20 months. Scientists hope to discover whether Psyche is the core of an early planet, how old it is, whether it formed in similar ways to Earth’s core, and what its surface is like. The mission will also help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers including cores, mantles and crusts early in their histories. “Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core,” said Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University.

6. Think Fast 

The mission launch and arrival were moved up because Psyche’s mission design team were able to plot a more efficient trajectory that no longer calls for an Earth gravity assist, ultimately shortening the cruise time. The new trajectory also stays farther from the sun, reducing the amount of heat protection needed for the spacecraft, and will still include a Mars flyby in 2023.

7. Gadgets Galore

The Psyche spacecraft will be decked out with a multispectral imager, gamma ray and neutron spectrometer, magnetometer, and X-band gravity science investigation. More:

8. Stunning Solar Panels 

In order to support the new mission trajectory, the solar array system was redesigned from a four-panel array in a straight row on either side of the spacecraft to a more powerful five-panel x-shaped design, commonly used for missions requiring more capability. Much like a sports car, combining a relatively small spacecraft body with a very high-power solar array design means the Psyche spacecraft will be able to speed to its destination much faster. Check out this artist’s-concept illustration here:

9. See For Yourself

Watch the planned Psyche mission in action.

10. Even More Asteroids

Our missions to asteroids began with the orbiter NEAR of asteroid Eros, which arrived in 2000, and continues with Dawn, which orbited Vesta and is now in an extended mission at Ceres. The mission OSIRIS-REx, which launched on Sept. 8, 2016, is speeding toward a 2018 rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu, and will deliver a sample back to Earth in 2023. The Lucy mission is scheduled to launch in October 2021 and will explore six Jupiter Trojan asteroids. More:

Want to learn more? Read our full list of the 10 things to know this week about the solar system HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

I’m still alive! And hey, while in the middle of watching season 2 of How the Universe Works I decided to start playing with my butt on camera. No idea why. Maybe Gamma-ray bursts turn me on? Anyway, yes, the video turned out pretty cool. It’s 5 minutes long and I just wanna know if any of you humans would be interested in purchasing it? Not for massive amounts of money ofc, as it’s recorded on an iPhone and you can only see my face for a few seconds throughout the video. Just send me an instant message on here and I’ll get back to you within the next couple of days probably as I still have to upload the entire thing aaaand I’m still kinda busy with work and stuff. HERE’S A VERY SHORT CLIP!

Gamma-ray view of the sky

This view of the gamma-ray sky is constructed from one year of Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) observations. The blue color includes the extragalactic gamma-ray background. The map shows the rate at which the LAT detects gamma rays with energies above 300 million electron volts – about 120 million times the energy of visible light – from different sky directions. Brighter colors represent higher rates.

Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration

New Hubble mosaic of the Orion Nebula

In the search for rogue planets and failed stars astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have created a new mosaic image of the Orion Nebula. During their survey of the famous star formation region, they found what may be the missing piece of a cosmic puzzle; the third, long-lost member of a star system that had broken apart.

The Orion Nebula is the closest star formation region to Earth, only 1400 light-years away. It is a turbulent place – stars are being born, planetary systems are forming and the radiation unleashed by young massive stars is carving cavities in the nebula and disrupting the growth of smaller, nearby stars.

Keep reading

unstablestar  asked:

Can black holes die? if not, then is it possible for black holes to continue merging and expanding until all matter in the universe is pulled into one big massive black hole? if black holes can die then what happens with the matter that has been pulled in by the gravitational force? would a white hole then be produced after the black hole dies?

Black holes can, in fact, die! The way they die, however, is theoretical and not proven, but it’s possible and it’s called Hawking radiation. To summarize // oversimplify (because it’s really complicated), according to quantum physics we know that particle-antiparticle pairs pop in and out of existence all the time, and usually annihilate each other almost immediately. They are able to come into existence by “borrowing” energy from the universe, and when they annihilate they “return” that energy back.

Now, what if a particle-antiparticle pair comes into being right at the edge of a black hole’s event horizon, and one particle falls in and the other escapes? Well, now you’ve just “created” one particle that’s entered the universe, and one particle that’s entered the black hole (and can’t escape). Since these two particles can’t annihilate, they can’t “return” their borrowed energy to the universe. However, you can’t just spontaneously create energy; it has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is, you guessed it, the black hole. So, the amount of energy in the black hole decreases by the amount of energy required to create the particle-antiparticle pair. Since mass and energy are equivalent (e=mc2), the mass of the black hole decreases ever so slightly - the mass of an electron, positron, or other subatomic particle. 

This process takes billions of years, and it will be another several billion years before we’re able to see black holes finish evaporating. This process is expected to be faster the smaller the black hole is - once a black hole is small enough, this process happens faster and faster, until the black hole gives off lots and lots of radiation and “explodes” (think: gamma rays, really bright, as bright or brighter than a supernova), and no longer exists. While this isn’t proven and is entirely theoretical, it’s pretty cool that black holes, the killers of the universe from which nothing should be able to escape, are slowly losing mass over billions and trillions of years, one subatomic mass at a time.

Little Sister
Queens Of The Stone Age
Little Sister

Day 17: Q is for Queens of the Stone Age

you whisper secrets in my ear, slowly dancing cheek to cheek
it’s such a sweet thing when you open up, baby
they say i’ll only do you wrong
we come together ‘cause i understand just who you really are, baby

cryptoking  asked:

This is more of an astronomical question than a physics question but which is brighter: Quasars or Supernovas?

Quasars, by far. A typical type II supernova has the luminosity of about 10^37 watts, while a quasar has a luminosity of about 10^39 watts. While these may be extremely bright, they are both outmatched when compared to gamma-ray bursts, the brightest things in the universe. Gamma-ray bursts have a luminosity of about 10^45 watts, about 19 orders of magnitude brighter than our own Sun.

you ever hear some nerd talk about “the universe is so big and we are so small” and youre like uhhh… sure lol because youre thinking about fried rice. then you watch a space thing and remember oh right space is really big, i forgot. and a guy in a sweater with an Author of subtitle is like “actually theres a 100% chance that a Mega-Sun will Fuck You Up Right Now and the Universe Will Explode

anyway i hope that if theres a big gamma ray burst or supernova or something we all put our differences aside and beat the crap out of it before it hurts any baby goats or dogs or whatever or any little animals like that

In A Moment Ch. 1

An Avengers Series

Character Pairing: Steve x Bucky x Female Reader

Word Count: 1150

Warnings: None that I can think of! Maybe a little fluff…

A/N: I know that some of my facts may be a little off, but I’m not perfect! I’m just trying to do my best! Stay with me guys, we’re building up to the good stuff!

Read the Prologue HERE to get caught up!

Originally posted by thiagobanana


The steady chimes of the many machines surrounding your hospital bed were the only sounds in the silent room. Bucky held your limp hand in his and watched the line on the heart monitor repeat its cycle with the beats. He placed his metal elbow on the bed and rested his forehead in his hand. He knew you would hate this. You would hate being in this bed, a machine helping you breathe. It had been confirmed by many neurologists that you have brain function. But for some reason, you wouldn’t open your eyes.  

Bucky lifted his head when he heard the sliding glass door open to your hospital room. Steve walked in and placed his hand on Bucky’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze before going to the other side of the bed and sitting in a chair.

“Buck, you need to leave this room once and awhile,” Steve said as he scooted his chair closer to the bed and leaned his elbows on it.

“I don’t want her to be alone,” Bucky sighed as he leaned back in his chair and looked across at Steve.

“There are like 50 people milling around this place at all times,” Steve pointed to the glass walls that made up your room. “She wouldn’t be alone.”

“You know what I mean,” Bucky rubbed his forehead. “She could wake up any minute.”

They both fell silent, neither of them wanting to voice the other option. Steve looked up at the monitor and made a mental note of the stats before looking down at you. Pale, you looked so pale. The circles under your eyes were so dark that they looked like bruises. You had a small rash around the tape holding the breathing tube in your mouth.

“I have never thought of her as small,” Steve said absentmindedly. “I have never once looked at her and thought that she was small or weak. But, as she lays here that is all I see. She looks so small.”

Bucky nodded in agreement. He watched as Steve wrapped your hand in his, rubbing smalls circles. “You are in love with her too, aren’t you?” Steve’s eyes snapped up to meet his. “Yea, I know the feeling, pal.”

Before Steve could answer, Tony walked in with Bruce trailing behind him. He looked between Steve and Bucky with a questioning look while Bruce wrote your vitals on the clipboard at the end of the bed. Bucky got up from his chair and moved to lean against the wall. Steve did the same, watching Bruce closely as he lifted the blanket that was covering you. Folding it to your hips, he raised the hospital gown to inspect the bandage around your chest.

“So, Banner and I are here to discuss a course of action fellas,” Tony said clapping his hands in front of him. “It’s been a week and sleeping beauty here has had enough rest. One of you Prince Charming’s need to kiss her so we can wake her up.”

Bruce chuckled lightly, but Steve and Bucky stared at him less than amused.

“Wow… tough crowd,” Tony looked down at his feet for a moment before looking back up. “In all seriousness, we have two options and neither of you are going to like them.”

Bruce spoke up from his spot by the door, “The first option is taking her off the vent and see if she will breathe on her own.”

“And if that doesn’t work?” Bucky asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Then we let nature take its course,” Tony answered before Bruce could.

“What is the second option?” Steve asked, shaking his head at Tony.

Both Tony and Bruce seemed to get uncomfortable and sent nervous glances at each other. Bruce looked at Steve first and then at Bucky before he answered. “We inject her with the serum.”

“No.” Steve and Bucky said at the same time.

“Guys, hear him out,” Tony tried to reason.

Steve looked over at Bucky to see him looking down at you, clenching his jaw. He looked at Bruce and nodded for him to continue.

“I have been working all week on a special chemical solution that I think would work well for her,” Bruce pulled out the papers that he had stuffed in his back pocket and handed them to Steve. “It’s not the same serum from the 1940’s or even the same that we have seen in recent years.”

Steve was reading through Banner’s notes when Bucky spoke up, “What will it do?”

“F.R.I.D.A.Y., bring up the diagram please.” Tony said to the A.I.

“Yes Mr. Stark,” she said as a yellow computerized version of yourself appeared over your body. Bruce stepped up and pressed a few buttons on a handheld console.

Blue lines started to thread through the computerized veins, showing where the serum would go. “It will enhance her,” Bruce began. “Her body, her abilities, her mind. She’ll have the faster healing abilities and no Gamma or Vita rays will be involved so her personality will stay the same… she shouldn’t turn green.”

Bucky and Steve just stared at the computerized silhouette in front of them and Tony looked pained.

“It really is a tough crowd in here,” Bruce shook his head with a laugh. “She will essentially be just like you Cap. Or that is the hope at least.”

“Will her being an assassin affect anything?” Steve asked, looking at Tony. “Her past has her straddling the line between good or bad.”

“She’s not a bad person,” Bucky was quick to defend you.

“I didn’t say she was Buck,” Steve handed the notes over to Bucky. “I’m just saying we have heard the rumors on what she was forced to do before Tony found her.”

“She’ll become a Super Soldier,” Tony said, clicking a button on Bruce’s handheld to vaporize the diagram.

“A Super Assassin,” Bucky said quietly.

Everyone in the room fell silent and looked at one another. Bucky sat back down in his chair, placing his elbows on his knees and ran his fingers through his hair. Steve watched him, wondering what he was thinking.

Tony was the first to break the silence, “We need to be real here, it is the only thing that is going to save her. I’ll give you time to think about that.”

With that, him and Bruce exited the room.  

Steve walked to the end of your bed and placed his hands on the slat, hanging his head. Normally he was the calm one under pressure, but this was making him want to scream out his frustration.

“Answer my question from earlier,” Bucky said, getting up and moving to stand next to Steve.

He glanced over at Bucky before looking at you lie in that hospital bed. “Yea Bucky, I am.” Steve placed his hand on Bucky’s shoulder again, “Let’s save her life.”

Tag List: @badassbaker @sebastianstanisyourboyfriend @crushed-pink-petals @arabellaaurorabarnes @bunchofandoms @chipilerendi

Hubble dates black hole's last big meal

For the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it’s been a long time between dinners. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has found that the black hole ate its last big meal about 6 million years ago, when it consumed a large clump of infalling gas. After the meal, the engorged black hole burped out a colossal bubble of gas weighing the equivalent of millions of suns, which now billows above and below our galaxy’s center.

The immense structures, dubbed the Fermi Bubbles, were first discovered in 2010 by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. But recent Hubble observations of the northern bubble have helped astronomers determine a more accurate age for the bubbles and how they came to be.

Keep reading