The plot points for my books are usually sparked by a single scientific discovery, discussion or new and novel theory. In this section, we will explore the latest, greatest, newest or oldest scientific ideas. Those developed from direct observation, experimentation or conceptual thought. I’ll add new things on an ongoing basis with new discoveries. Below are the most current stories, please see my Science Archive for past entries.
After three years of downtime for upgrades and modifications, the 27 kilometer LHC is back up and running. Beams of protons are racing around the track in opposite direction, accelerating to near lightspeed before colliding with each other. The results of this collision—new particles!
In July 2022, these collisions found three new exotic particles—a pentaquark and a pair of tetraquarks.
Quarks are the building blocks of all larger particles—protons and neutrons—also, known as hadrons. Particles which make up the nuclei of atoms. Quarks come in six ‘flavors’—up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. Commonly two or three quarks and their opposite partners (anti-quarks) will combine to form larger hadron particles. Rarely, they will combine into groups of four- or five-quark particles. These are known as tetraquarks (four quark combos) and pentaquarks (five quark combos).
These four- and five-quark combos making exotic hadrons were predicted over six decades ago by theoretical physicists. The new particles observed in July are new. The pentaquark is the first to contain a strange quark. The second is a new tetra quark which is doubly charged. It was discovered with its neutral counterpart.
After detecting the first gravitational waves in 2015, the LIGO observatories in Washington State and Louisiana will join forces with the VIRGO observatory in Italy and the Japanese KAGRA observatory for Observation Run 04. By having observatories on different places around the globe, it is hoped we will be able to locate the source of the observed gravitational waves. This will add a new method of astronomical detection for black holes, neutron stars and merging galaxies.
Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by the collision of massive objects. First predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein and his Theory of General Relativity, these ripples would be produced extreme acceleration of super-massive objectives. Like the ripples produced by a stone thrown into still water, gravitational waves would spread outward across the universe. First indirectly observed in 1974 at the Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico as they measured radio-emission from a binary pulsar – two neutron stars orbiting each other at extreme speeds. Gravitations waves were physically measured in September, 2015 by the two LIGO observatories. Since numerous gravitational waves have been detected. It is predicted, the universe is filled with them.
Remember the intragalactic starships built and flown by the Terrans in the Nexus Series? They utilize gravitational waves and their internal gravitational energy to power their ships to speeds greater than the speed of light.
The James Webb telescope is not only looking for old light but also helping with our exploration for new exoplanets. And with Webb’s array of camera and infrared-spectral capabilities we can identify atmospheric compositions.
The Webb telescope isn’t just looking away from our solar system but also exploring planets within our system. This processed-photo of Jupiter taken with the infrared cameras highlights the polar auroras, haze, winds aloft, and its rings. This provides insight into the planet’s inner workings. “We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest,” said planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley.
These comparator images show the amazing high-resolution photos the James Webb telescope will provide scientists in the exploration of the oldest light in our universe. The ‘deep field’ image on the left was captured by the NASA’s Hubble space telescope over a period of ten consecutive days in 1995. The image on the right is the first ‘deep-field’ James Webb image of the same galaxy cluster-SMACS 0723. The Webb image took 12.5 hours to capture. Found within this cluster is the most distant galaxy, GLASS-z13. It appeared about 300 to 400 million years after the Big Bang, meaning light from this distant galaxy is at least 13.5 billion years old. The age of the universe is estimated at 13.8 billion years.