from the world's big
Astrophysicists discover why black holes and neutron stars shine bright
Researchers find what causes the glow coming from the densest objects in our universe.
- Columbia University astrophysicists discovered the cause of the unusual glow coming from regions of space with black holes and neutron stars.
- The researchers ran some of the largest computer simulations ever to reach their conclusions.
- They found that turbulence and reconnection of super-strong magnetic fields are responsible for the light.
Demonstrating again that space is a limitless reservoir of scientific wonders, a new study discovered why areas hosting black holes and neutron stars emit strange bright glows. Astrophysicists found that turbulence and reconnection of super-strong magnetic fields are behind the cosmic mystery.
The cause of the phenomenon, which illuminates these super-dense parts of space, has been attributed previously to high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Scientists speculated that it's created by electrons moving at just about the speed of light. The new study from researchers at Columbia University explained why these particles accelerate.
Astrophysicists Luca Comisso and Lorenzo Sironi carried out the research by running some of the largest super-computer simulations ever conducted in this area. They managed to calculate the trajectories of hundreds of billions of charged particles.
Comiso, a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia, explained their conclusion:
"Turbulence and magnetic reconnection—a process in which magnetic field lines tear and rapidly reconnect—conspire together to accelerate particles, boosting them to velocities that approach the speed of light," said Comisso in a press release.
As Comiso further described, the space region that is home to black holes and neutron stars is also full of a super-hot gas of charged particles. Their chaotic motion affects magnetic field lines and results in "vigorous magnetic reconnection". This, in turn, creates an electric field which accelerates particles to energies that are "much higher than in the most powerful accelerators on Earth, like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN," added Comisso.
Amazing astronomy: How neutron stars create ripples in space-time
Interestingly, the simulations showed that the particles gathered most of their energy through the process of random bouncing at super-high speeds.
"This is indeed the radiation emitted around black holes and neutron stars that make them shine, a phenomenon we can observe on Earth," said Sironi, the study's principal investigator and an assistant professor of astronomy at Columbia.
Next, the scientists plan to confirm their findings by comparing them to the electromagnetic spectrum from the Crab Nebula, a bright remnant of a supernova.
You can check out the study published in the December issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
A massive super-computer simulation demonstrates the strong particle density fluctuations that happen in the extreme turbulent environments home to black holes and neutron stars. The dark blue regions are low particle density regions, and the yellow regions are over-dense regions. Particles are accelerated to extremely high speeds from interacting with turbulence fluctuations.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.