AT THE ENTRANCE to my lab’s clean room, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror: I look like a clown. I’m drowning in a disposable coverall that hangs off of me in droopy folds, and my size 7½ feet are swallowed up by the smallest rubber boots the lab had on hand—a men’s size 12. The thick mass of curls framing my face only accentuates the caricature.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity puts a speed limit on all matter in the universe, creating a barrier preventing acceleration from below to above the speed of light.
However, an independent group of scientists, inventors, and engineers called Applied Physics recently proposed the first model for a physical warp drive, according to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.
LET’S IMAGINE THAT you are in a car with no windows. I know that’s crazy, but just hold on. Although there are no windows, you can see the speedometer. So here is the question. Is it possible to figure out how far you have traveled just by looking at the speedometer? This is a classic physics problem—and we are going to do it in real life. It’s going to be fun.
In his upcoming book published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb makes a provocative assertion: The mysterious “cigar-shaped object” that NASA dubbed “1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua” was junk from an alien civilization.
Astronomers are having an easier time finding fast radio bursts as of late, and that now includes the first regular pattern for those bursts. A research team from MIT and elsewhere has discovered that something 500 million light-years away is routinely producing four days of seemingly random but frantic bursts, followed by 12 days of silence — something that happened consistently for 500 days of study. Continue reading Astronomers find the first known regular pattern of fast radio bursts
At the center of the Milky Way galaxy, nearly 26,000 light-years away, a cluster of stars circles close to the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*. As these few dozen stars, called S-stars, approach the black hole—which is about four million times more massive than the sun—its immense gravitational force whips them around faster than 16 million miles per hour. In fact, the gravitational pull of Sagittarius A* is so intense that it warps the light from these stars when they stray too close, stretching the wavelengths toward the red part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Continue reading A Star Orbiting in the Extreme Gravity of a Black Hole Validates General Relativity
A human-made object has entered the space between the stars for the second time in history, scientists report. Continue reading It’s Official: Voyager 2 Has Entered Interstellar Space