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Everything posted by gdaunton

  1. While a group of undergrads were learning to use a telescope from there professor at the University of London they spotted something amazing: a super nova. On Jan 21 the students' 10 minute lesson about telescopes turned into a rush to document this amazing occasion before the weather turned. The super nova happened in the sector M82 and is one of the closest of the super novas to our solar system.
  2. Just recently on the dwarf planet called Ceres a atmosphere full of water vapor has been observed. This is the first planet in our solar system besides our own to have traces of water found on it. Ceres used to be the largest asteroid in our solar system but because of its size has been named as a dwarf planet. But before you make plans for your expedition to Ceres there's one problem, its in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and its very very cold. Ceres' surface is covered in ice which, when heated, releases loads of water vapor into the planets atmosphere. If melted the ice could yield more fresh water than what we have on earth.
  3. So as my last post on black holes has seemed to gain some traction I decided to do a follow up. After a bit of research I have found out that we are all living in a lie, as it turns out, (according to Hawking) black holes don't exist. So maybe that's not entirely true, Hawking goes on to site that the properties that have been associated with black holes may not be true. He says the fact that nothing can escape a black hole is not entirely true and that the event horizon might not actually exist. Until recently all black holes have been inescapable matter suckers, however, according to Hawking recent discoveries in quantum physics suggest that information can escape a black hole which destroys the existence of a black hole as we know it. This is great news for physicists as now black holes don't necessarily have a singularity at the center making the giant vacuum within the realm of our current understanding. Basically now black holes make mathematical sense and thus physics doesn't break when you go into one. Good news for physics bad news for anyone that likes the idea of an inescapable death. Want to learn a little more about the now classical approach to black holes? Take a look at my other post here
  4. In keeping with the mars theme I found myself on the homepage of Mars One. Mars One is a privately funded expedition to mars that will transport 4 people to mars with no way back. The 15 year endeavor is currently looking for applicants from the general public to train until 2024 for the trip to mars. Anyone can apply and they are still accepting applications so if you ever wanted to be stranded on mars, now's the time. The launch of the first crew is set for 2024 along with a second crew in 2026. Want to apply? https://applicants.mars-one.com/ More info: http://www.mars-one.com/
  5. All this talk about mars is great but how are we going to get people to mars in a timely and efficient manor? Enter the plasma propelled rocket. Developed during the past 4 decades by Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former NASA astronaut and CEO of Ad Astra, the rocket could make it to mars in a blistering 39 days. The engine works by using radio waves to heat gasses to create plasma which then, using magnetic fields, is propelled out the back to create thrust. Because the large amount of thrust that this engine creates its fuel consumption is drastically smaller than a conventional booster. The company is also looking into ways to use this to create renewable energy. For more visit http://www.adastrarocket.com/
  6. So I have recently been playing the original Bioshock. For those of you that don't know Bioshock is a game set in the underwater city of rapture. Set in the 1960's you play the main character Jack who has just been in a plane crash in the Atlantic just off of Iceland. After the crash you find a strange lighthouse in the middle of the ocean and swim to it. Then after getting into a pod inside the lighthouse you are brought to rapture. So how can a city exist on the bottom of the ocean? Well it turns out that there is some truth to the physics of this city. The many glass walkways in rapture could be made of Pyrex a type of glass that is used in subs and glass casserole dishes. So because of the shape and material of the glass walkways this part of rapture could be plausible, but what about the rest of the city? Well the stone and concrete that makes up the actual buildings in rapture would erode away very quickly causing the buildings to crumble. So although part of the city could be plausible. As it turns out other people have caught onto the thought of underwater living Dubai is set to have the worlds first full size underwater hotel and some other people in Fiji are not far behind...
  7. Yeah I saw that. Both offer good advice but perhaps in different situations
  8. Next Car Game is an early access game that is in very early alpha, so what makes it so unique? The Physics Engine. This game is the first game to feature a soft body physics engine which makes it one of the best games to destroy things in. So what is a soft body physics engine? Most physics engines today don't deal too well with materials and how objects interact. Games like GTA do a relatively good job of recreating the effect of a car breaking down, but aren't able to reach a full soft body feel. The cars (as a reference) in games right now are modeled to fall apart in specific ways and most of the time don't accurately depict how the car would bend or break in the real world. But with a soft body physics engine each part has defined object properties like how resilient it is and whether it bends or breaks on impact. Then each object is put together so instead of having the car be the object the car is a group of objects just like it is in real life. This means that if the car is hit head on it bends in a different way if it was rear ended. Well all of this may be a bit confusing so instead of me explaining it, take a look at the engine in action.
  9. Well its been a while since there has been any talk about the rovers on mars and they are still chugging along. The interesting thing about that is that one of the rovers, the opportunity rover, has just reached its ten year anniversary on the big red planet. The opportunity rover landed on mars on January 25, 2004 to carry out a 3 month exploration of the surface. Remarkably after 10 long years the rover is still able to move and collect data along with its big brother curiosity. Its amazing what we have discovered about mars in the short time that we have had on the planet. It will be even more amazing when we see the first astronauts walk on mars next to those rovers, but until then may opportunity and curiosity keep on rolling.
  10. Snow, like it or hate it snow is a big part of the current landscape here in upstate New York. Although snow may seem like a luxury to others in warmer climates, the reality is that snow, a part from its appearance, makes everyday tasks 10 times harder and driving is one of the most common examples. A normal 20 minute journey can be made into an hour long ordeal with just an inch of snow. During these winter months 225,000 car crashes happen because of snow, so how can I be safe while driving in the snow? Follow the signs. On every single exit there is a recommended speed for that turn which is determined by the radius of the turn. Its simple physics which can be manipulated to be with r = radius of the curve a = angle of the bank of the curve So stay safe and follow those road signs.
  11. Im on question 11 of the Web Assign. I thought the right way to do it would be to take the added mass of the person, multiply it by gravity to get the force, and then use F=-kx to get the spring constant. Then use that with T=2pi sqrt(k/x) to get period and then 1/T = F to get frequency. Am I on the right track but just getting wrong numbers?
  12. So by my time it is about 1 am on Monday night and I yet again find myself restless... Of course, my mind starts to wander. I have recently watched a TED talk by someone a few of you might know: Michael from the YouTube channel vsause (please excuse the most likely incorrect use of punctuation). Michael talks about why people ask questions and why people have been so interested in the questions he answers in his videos. This got me thinking, why do I want to learn about all this physics in the first place? For me mostly, I am interested in how the world around me works. So in turn I don't mind taking an extra physics course on top of what's required to pass high school. However I don't see the same enthusiasm from my peers, why? What it all comes down to is our instinct: if it doesn't matter to me, I don't care. But what made you read this blog post and perhaps one if my or anyone else's blog post? 9 times out of 10 it's the title that drags you in. Tachyons, the impossible particle; a catchy title that pulls you in, with the ultamite question why, what is it about this particle that makes it impossible. The truck is to slowly spoon feed you the answer you disire while trying to teach you something along the way (at least I try to). Well it's getting late and its really hard to type on this phone, so perhaps I'll continue this rant in another post. Sorry if this post didn't contain much physics. As always, Shwibby P.S. I may retype this later if I read it and it doesn't make any sense.
  13. Is anyone else having issues with WA? I can log in, but it just continuously loads when I try to open an assignment.
  14. So many a person may be thinking, "I know what normal wind is, but what is this solar wind crap?" Well you came to the right place. Solar wind is exactly what it sounds like, "wind" from light. Basically this phenomenon is based on the fact that the sun, or any other star, emits a stream of plasma that consists of electrons and protons traveling at very high speeds. Recently there has been talk about figuring out how to harness this energy to create a spaceship that can travel long distances without having to use any fuel. This would be great for long journeys because it has no moving parts and no propellant and therefore would be very durable. The only problem with this form of travel is that it is very slow. The pressure that the wind exerts is less than 1 newton per meter. However because its a space craft, if you get a large enough wing area and a long enough trip, the force created would accelerate the ship to a high speed but over a very long period of time. Based on this, a spacecraft powered by solar wind would be possible, but is not the best way to get to mars in a lifetime.
  15. Not to mention that you almost killed me and others...
  16. So the quantum world is a relatively new thing. This new world has only recently been discovered and it indeed very odd. This is because when you start to get down to individual atoms physics doesn't entirely hold up like its supposed to. The most known phenomenon that was discovered was the fact that electrons can act like both a wave and a particle. This was found during a famous experiment call the double slit experiment. In this experiment several electrons were sent through two slits and where they landed after they passed through the slits was measured. What was expected to happen is that the electron would act like the particle it was and create two lines. However when the electrons were shot through the two slits they created a interference pattern like a wave would. The even weirder part is that when the scientists looked to see what was happening at the slits to make the electron make this pattern, the electrons went back to acting like particles. Very strange... Latter on a physicist looked at this experiment and proposed that observing a particle in the middle of this experiment, after the electron had passed through the slit, would cause it to act like a particle. This would mean that by you observing the particle after it acted like a wave or particle would cause the particle to automatically act like a particle. So basically the conclusion of this experiment is that the present can influence the past. Of course we are only talking about tiny amounts of time, however scientists believe that this property could also apply to light that is bent around a gravitational well (the well acts like the slits in the experiments). So this could mean that viewing light from distant galaxy's could change something that happened thousands of years in the past. This is crazy...
  17. Black holes, probably one of the first things many people think about when they think about space. But what is behind this matter sucker? All the black holes we know about are singularities that are created by a super nova. As a large star starts to run out of fuel to power the nuclear reactions that keep it alive, the gravity that holds the gas of the star together starts to tear the star apart. If the gravity that holds the star is strong enough, the fuel that is left in the core of the star heats up until a large explosion occurs called a super nova. After the explosion what is left of the star's core is very dense and has a substantial gravitational field. This field is so strong that it pulls everything around it toward it's self creating a funnel like effect. So what would happen if you were unfortunate enough to find yourself drifting into the pull of a black hole? Well you might still be able to escape, if the black hole is spinning, you could be ejected and launched into space, but lets say you are drifting towards a stagnate black hole. As you traveled closer and closer to the black hole time would seem to be passing slower and slower until you reached the event horizon, where time would totally stop. This is interesting because technically travelling into a black hole would be a way to live forever, if you see living as being forever trapped suspended just above the event horizon of a black hole. But this does pose a problem, what actually happens to you? Are you just eternally stuck there? There are, of course, many theories, however I would like to touch on the possibility that a black hole is actually a form of a worm hole. So a worm hole is what scientists call a hole in space and time; basically the scientific name for a time machine. The theory behind this is that because space is seen as bendable. Scientists think that space can have a hole created in it so that large distances can be traveled, or even perhaps time. Black holes seem like they could accomplish the same effect. Although we don't know if time actually reverses in a black hole, it seems possible. Think about this: If the high level of pull from the gravity of a black hole is enough to pull in light, wouldn't that mean that the mass of a black hole would have to be very large? So if as a black hole pulls in matter its mass increases, its mass would end up being very very close to infinity. If the mass of the black hole is close to infinity the gravitational force that it exerts is even closer to infinity. So, theoretically, the pull of gravity could pull an object very close if not over the speed of light which would cause time to travel backwards. I may be wrong (please correct me if I am), but black holes are a confusing subject that current physics may not even be able to explain. I'm just hoping I will never have to find out what happens if you come across one myself. UPDATE
  18. Stupid earth and its tilting. Can't it just always be warm.
  19. Just to think how long it must of taken to make one of those trebuchets back then is mind boggling.
  20. Hmmm very interesting I always wondered how they figured out how far away the stars are.
  21. Some really cool photos. Now I just need a spray bottle of the stuff...
  22. I like those circles shabba, where'd you get em?
  23. Not much is known about Dark Matter and Dark Energy, however one explanation of these objects could be that our current understanding of gravity is horribly wrong. These objects were first discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1998. Before this time it was widely thought that the rate a which the universe was expanding was slowly decreasing from the rate at which it first started. However, as the Hubble Telescope observed supernova, it determined that the most distant had occurred 7.7 billion years prior. Using some complex math scientists determined that because this nova existed 7.7 billion years ago, the rate of expansion of the universe had to actually be accelerating. This puzzled scientists because there was no other force that could cause this that had been observed. So in order to explain this phenomenon they created Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Energy was what scientists used to explain the energy which was casing the universe to expand faster. Little is known about what causes this force, but there are some prevailing theories. One theory attributes Dark Energy as a property of space its self, which plays nice with Einstein's earlier gravity theories. However other theory's see Dark Energy as proof that our current understanding of gravity is completely wrong. Dark Matter seems to be the more understood of the two mystery things. Dark Matter is mostly agreed to be the stuff that makes up the space in between real matter like stars, nebula, gas, and stuff like that. Although dark matter has just recently been discovered, scientists are confident in their understanding. This is because although dark matter is not directly visible, it can easily be found by the measurement of the way it bends and distorts light from distant galaxy's. Its odd how much is unknown about dark matter and energy. Seeing that normal matter takes up only 4.6% of the universe you would think that more would be know about the more abundant dark matter (23.3%) and dark energy (72.1%). As more is discovered about these objects, the way we see our universe could dramatically change.
  24. Well after some time the final version of the APlusPhysics app is here with loads more functionality than its predecessor. Now you can browse the entire community, post to the forms, write a blog, and post a comment. I also pulled together the videos off of aplusphysics.com and optimized them for mobile viewing. You can find the new application here (Might not be available until reviewed) Let me know what you think!
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