Friday, April 22, 2016

Water telescope’s first sky map shows flickering black holes

The HAWC observatory near the Sierra Nevada volcano in Mexico, from New Scientist.

“This is our deepest look at two-thirds of the sky, as well as the highest energy photons we’ve ever seen from any source,” says Brenda Dingus of Los Alamos National Laboratory, who presented the map at the American Physical Society meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on 18 April. “We’re at the high energy frontier.”

HAWC has been operating from the top of a mountain in central Mexico for about a year, and has caught some of the highest-energy photons ever observed. It is sensitive to gamma rays between 0.1 and 100 teraelectronvolts (TeV) in energy – more than 7 times higher energy than the particles produced in the Large Hadron Collider. (Full Story)

Also in Science News

Numerical simulations shed new light on early universe

BURST predicts light nuclei synthesized in the Big Bang. LANL image.

Anticipating precision cosmological data from the next generation of "Extremely Large" telescopes, the BURST code developed by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with colleagues at University of California San Diego, "promises to open up new avenues for investigating existing puzzles of cosmology," says Los Alamos physicist Mark Paris of the Nuclear and Particle, Astrophysics and Cosmology group. "These include the nature and origin of visible matter and the properties of the more mysterious 'dark matter' and 'dark radiation.' " (Full Story)

Also in the Daily Galaxy

Forest die-offs predicted in U.S. Southwest

McDowell at the tree survival/mortality (SUMO) research facility, LANL photo.

New research predicts that nearly all coniferous forests in the American Southwest could be lost to climate change by the end of the century.

Dr. Nathan McDowell, who led the Los Alamos National Laboratory study, says the projected mass die-off of trees like junipers and piñon pines will be widespread within the next thirty-four years.

McDowell: “The key take away from a study like this is that while the exact numbers are tenuous, the general trajectories they project are pretty robust. All of the different research is pointing in the same direction, which is that we’re going to lose forests around the world.” (Full Story)

The space weather threat ... and how we protect ourselves

Solar eruption, NASA image.

Many people think of space as a silent, empty void and the Sun as only a distant source of light and heat. Not true. The Sun and the Earth are connected in more complex, intimate, and sometimes dangerous ways.

The Sun continually ejects high-energy electrons, protons, and other nuclei that bombard the Earth, producing space-weather effects such as the beautiful northern lights but also others that can destroy satellites and disrupt our lives here on Earth. (Full Story)

One step closer to printable perovskite solar cells?

Perovskite solar cell, LANL image.

Perovskites are the latest buzzword in solar power. Named after a Russian mineralogist called Lev Perovski, their crystal structure – similar to that of CaTiO3 – along with their optical and electrical properties, have seen them touted for use in a number of optoelectronic applications.

To investigate the effect of the process on perovskite crystal growth, the Los Alamos team varied substrate temperature, solution volume and blade speed. They found that the size of the perovskite ‘islands’ that formed in the film was strongly correlated to the temperature of the substrate. (Full Story)

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