252 articles from TUESDAY 2.6.2020

Instagram’s blackout means well—but doing these 4 things is more useful

“Blackout Tuesday” has overtaken Instagram, but there are more effective ways to show support. What’s Blackout Tuesday? If you’ve been on Instagram today, you may notice black posts. The movement was started by musicians calling for “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change But if you want to support the protests against police brutality without marching, there...

The extraordinary sample-gathering system of NASA's Perseverance Mars rover

The samples Apollo 11 brought back to Earth from the Moon were humanity's first from another celestial body. NASA's upcoming Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission will collect the first samples from another planet (the red one) for return to Earth by subsequent missions. In place of astronauts, the Perseverance rover will rely on the most complex, capable and cleanest mechanism ever to be sent into...

Terrawatch: could granite solve the hard problem of nuclear waste storage?

Researchers have found the rock has a self-sealing mechanism that keeps fluids locked awayWe need to find somewhere safe to dispose of high-level nuclear waste; a place where we can be confident it will be isolated and contained for hundreds of thousands of years. And if we want to keep a lid on global warming then we may well need to find a similar place to store carbon dioxide too. But where?...

New tricks from old data: Astronomer uses 25-year-old Hubble data to confirm planet Proxima Centauri c

Fritz Benedict has used data he took over two decades ago with Hubble Space Telescope to confirm the existence of another planet around the Sun's nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, and to pin down the planet's orbit and mass. Benedict, an emeritus Senior Research Scientist with McDonald Observatory at The University of Texas at Austin, will present his findings today in a scientific session and...

The US’s draft law on contact tracing apps is a step behind Apple and Google

American legislators have outlined a plan to regulate digital contact tracing apps to protect people’s privacy. But the bill, unveiled on June 1 with bipartisan support, largely recommends measures already built in to a technology provided by Silicon Valley giants Apple and Google. The Exposure Notification Privacy Act is a proposal to prevent potential abuses by the apps, which aim to alert...

Citizen scientists spot closest young brown dwarf disk yet

Brown dwarfs are the middle child of astronomy, too big to be a planet yet not big enough to be a star. Like their stellar siblings, these objects form from the gravitational collapse of gas and dust. But rather than condensing into a star's fiery hot nuclear core, brown dwarfs find a more zen-like equilibrium, somehow reaching a stable, milder state compared to fusion-powered stars.

Magnetic fields force new perspective on Milky Way's black hole

Observations from Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) indicate that the magnetic field near our galaxy's core is strong enough to control the material moving around the black hole, even in the presence of the black hole's enormous gravitational forces.

A new galactic center adventure in virtual reality

By combining data from telescopes with supercomputer simulations and virtual reality (VR), a new visualization allows you to experience 500 years of cosmic evolution around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

JPL mission breaks record for smallest satellite to detect an exoplanet

Long before it was deployed into low-Earth orbit from the International Space Station in Nov. 2017, the tiny ASTERIA spacecraft had a big goal: to prove that a satellite roughly the size of a briefcase could perform some of the complex tasks much larger space observatories use to study exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. A new paper soon to be published in the Astronomical Journal...

The U.K. Records Its Sunniest Spring Ever Amid Worrying Climate Change Trends

The U.K. has recorded its sunniest spring, with May being its sunniest calendar month, since records began over 90 years ago, according to data published by the Met Office—the U.K.’s national weather service—on June 1. For many people in the U.K, it has meant long days of soaking up the sun as lockdown restrictions eased from May 13. However, experts say that this record, along...

Discoveries of high-Chern-number and high-temperature Chern insulator states

The Quantum Hall effect (QHE) is one of the most important discoveries in physical sciences. Due to the one-dimensional (1-D) dissipationless edge states, QHE exhibits exotic transport properties with quantized Hall resistance of h/νe2 and vanishing longitudinal resistance. Here, h is Planck's constant, ν is Landau filling factor and e is electron charge. QHE usually originates from the...