Tag Archives: Explosion

Missing Link Between The Universe’s Most Powerful Explosions Found

Scientists have created a simulation that proves how some of the most powerful explosions in the universe, hypernovae, can be responsible for some of its brightest and most mysteriousevents, gamma ray bursts (GRBs). Incredibly, this is all based on just the first 10 milliseconds (10 millionths of a second) after a massive star collapses.

The research was carried out by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and is published in Nature. The process itself involves a rapidly rotating star collapsing. As this happens, it spins faster and faster with its attached magnetic field, producing a dynamo effect that is a million billion times stronger than Earths magnetic field.

A dynamo is a way of taking the small-scale magnetic structures inside a massive star and converting them into larger and larger magnetic structures needed to produce hypernovae and long gamma-ray bursts, said Philipp Msta, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow and first author of the paper, in a statement. People had believed this process could work out. Now we actually show it.

Hypernovae are hypothesized to be extremely powerful supernovae stellar explosions but their cause is not fully understood. In a hypernova, the inner star that is about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) across collapses into a neutron star about 10 miles (15 kilometers) across, known as a core-collapse supernova.

GRBs, meanwhile, are among the brightest events in the universe, hugely powerful emissions of gamma rays of unknown origin lasting up to 100 seconds, while hypernovae shine more than 10 times brighter than an average supernova.

Crucially, the simulation helps to explain a missing link in connecting hypernovae with GRBs. Scientists had been unsure how a star could amplify a magnetic field not wholly dissimilar to the Suns in terms of powerinto one a quadrillion times more powerful during these explosive events.

This supercomputer visualization shows how a stars rotation can rev up its magnetic field to a million billion times the power of our Suns. UC Berkeley Campus Life

The key appears to be a shear zone 10 to 20 miles (15 to35 kilometers) from the inner star where its different layers are rotating at different speeds, creating a large amount of turbulence that causes the dynamo effect and leads to the hugely amplified magnetic fields. These in turn produce two jets in opposite directions composed of extremely energetic gamma rays, namely gamma ray bursts.

In this simulation, 130,000 computer cores at the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were used to model the brief fraction of a second after the core collapse, producing the intriguing results.

The breakthrough here is that Philipps team starts from a relatively weak magnetic field and shows it building up to be a very strong and large-scale coherent magnetic field of the kind that is usually assumed to be there when people make models of gamma-ray bursts, said Eliot Quataert, a UC Berkeley professor of astronomy who was not involved with the study, in the statement.

The simulation shows how the dynamo effect causes a feedback loop that can create huge magnetic fields when a massive star collapses, producing both cosmic phenomena. Future simulations from the same team will seek to model more than just 10 milliseconds of a hypernovas evolution to further understand the process taking place.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/missing-link-between-universes-most-powerful-explosions-found

These 15 GIFs Prove Science Is More Amazing Than Fiction

Warning: Don’t try some of these things at home.

1. This is what happens when you cut a water droplet using a superhydrophobic knife on a surface that doesn’t get wet.

Arizona State University/Sploid / Via journals.plos.org

2. This is the view from the Soyuz capsule, the spacecraft that takes astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA / Via youtube.com

3. This is what vibrating guitar strings look like up close (captured using a rolling shutter effect).

Andy Nicolai / Via youtube.com

4. This is how Astronaut Koichi Wakata rides a flying carpet in space.

AFP News / Via youtube.com

5. This is what happens when you light a CD and blow on it.

Science Videos / Via youtube.com

6. This is what happens when you stuff an orange full of fireworks.

Michael Hession/ Slo Mo Lab / Via youtube.com

7. This is what happens when cardinal fish eat ostracod plankton. Ostracods produce bioluminescence so that the fish spits them out.

BBC / Via bbc.co.uk

8. This is what happens when you mix Russell pit viper snake venom with human blood.

BBC / Via youtube.com

9. These Neodymium magnets spark when they collide in a blender.

Blendtec / Via youtube.com

10. These Astronauts put a GoPro camera inside a floating ball of water in space.

NASA / Via youtube.com

11. These magnets can attract cereal.

Omar Kardoudi / Via sploid.gizmodo.com

12. This is what you see when a GoPro is strapped to the back of a lioness while she’s hunting prey.

GoPro / Via youtube.com

13. This is what happens when you crack an egg 60 feet below the surface of the ocean.

Live Science / Via youtube.com

14. Airplanes look like shooting stars in this time lapse of an airport.

Milton Tan / Via youtube.com

15. This bot fly from Belize emerges from a scientist’s skin after he let them incubate inside of him.

Piotr Naskecki / Via thesmallermajority.com

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/natashaumer/these-15-gifs-prove-science-is-more-amazing-than-fiction

Volcanic Eruptions On Mars Used To Explode Through Ancient Ice Sheets

Volcanoes are many things: spectacular, terrifying, gargantuan, and enigmatic. They free us from ice ages, destroy civilizations and build new islands from the sea as we watch. They captivateboth scientists and non-scientists alike, so whenever a new one is found, its always a cause for celebration.

These volcanoes arent on Earth this time around, however.They can be found on a peculiar southern region of our faded crimson neighbor, Mars. As reported by NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted some unusually textured surfaces inSisyphi Montes, an area packed with flat-topped mountains.

The characteristic signatures revealed the presence of a collection of minerals zeolites, sulfates, and iron oxides which can only collectively form from one type of volcanic eruption, one that occurred through a layer of ice. As ice is no longer present in the region, this means that the MRO has uncovered evidence of an ancient subglacial eruption, probably from one of those suspicious, volcano-like mountains in the region.

Rocks tell stories. Studying the rocks can show how the volcano formed or how it was changed over time, Sheridan Ackiss, a graduate student at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and one of the researchers who discovered the long-lost volcanic eruption, said in a statement.

Curious mineral patches have been identified in a region of Mars long-suspected of having volcanic activity. NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/ASU

Volcanic activity on Mars is thought to be long-dead, but the epic volcanic monuments left behind within the geology of the Red Planet betray to us its much more violent past. A recent study revealed how one epic volcanic effusion billions of years ago actually tipped the entire planet over by 20. Olympus Mons once squeezed out floods of lava across the Martian landscape; if it grew any larger, it would be so heavy that it would sink into the crust.

The mineral patches found in the Sisyphi Montes region, which extends from 55 to 75 south, can only be formed when lava mixes somewhat explosively with ice. Today, the ice-capped south pole is around 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) away from this region, which means that ice sheets were once present in this region.

We have these types of subglacial volcanoes on Earth too: The Eyjafjallajkulleruption in Iceland in 2010 is a good example of this, where the meeting of hot magma and cold ice generated prolonged, huge ash-filled plumes of steam and lava blebs.

These volcanoes either erupt under or onto a volume of ice. Whereas the latter situation tends to be calm and uneventful, the former is almost always more explosive. Ice caps above magma chambers increase the pressure difference between the magma and the outside world, and a higher pressure gradient always means a more explosive eruption.

What happens when lava erupts onto ice. Science Channel via YouTube

Also, the searing heat of the magma encountering the far colder ice initiates something called a molten fuel coolant reaction (MFCI); the greater the temperature difference, the more energetically the heat from the magma is transferred to the ice, and the more explosive the eruption will ultimately be.

Curiously, magma just erupting onto ice never produces an explosion. Volcanologists think that the ice or water needs to be wrapped up inside the magma, where it will rapidly heat and expand into a gas under additional pressure, before it explodes. This mechanism is likely behind the production of these mineral patches just discovered on Mars.

Photo Gallery

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/volcanic-eruptions-mars-used-explode-through-ancient-ice-sheets

Early Warning Trigger Found For Most Unpredictable Kind Of Volcanic Eruption

Volcanoes are complicated. Whether theyre acting destructively or theyre building new land from the depths of the ocean, volcanologists are still unable to pinpoint the precursors to many types of eruptions.

Progress is being made, however, and a new study published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters details a new mechanism that could help researchers predict a particularly deadly type of eruption. Although they might not be the most well-known eruption style, phreatic or hydrothermal explosions kill a disproportionate amount of people, as they often eruptwith no warning of any kind.

A team of volcanologists, led by Dr. Maarten de Moor from the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, have found that the composition of the gas emitted by the volcano prior to one of these blasts actually signals how close it is to initiating a hydrothermal explosion. Identifying this surface accumulation of gases could save hundreds of lives a year.

Before this study, phreatic eruptions were primarily thought to occur with no appreciable precursors, said de Moor in a statement. Our study shows that there are clear short-term changes in gas compositions prior to phreatic eruptions.

The crater lake at Pos volcano. Peter Andersen/Wikimedia Commons; CC BY 2.5

Hydrothermal explosions arent technically eruptions, as no new magma is ejected from the volcano. Prior to this study, volcanologists thought that they occurred when a pocket of pressurized vapor often water is quickly heated by nearby magma or hot rock, causing it to burst out from its shallow, subterranean hiding place and force its way to the surface.

This often happens with no seismological precursor signal, which is why they tend to kill many unsuspecting scientists and hikers, as the eruption at Mount Ontake in 2014 so horrifically showed. They can happen at all kinds of volcanoes, from the relatively calm to the extremely violent.

For this new study, the team were studying Pos volcano, a stratovolcano in central Costa Rica. Its erupted almost 40 times since 1828 in a variety of ways, but its noteworthy for frequently exhibiting phreatic eruptions, particularly near its northern lake. There were 60 of them in 2014 alone, some minor explosionsand some ejecting ballistic rocks at near supersonic speeds.

Using gas detection instrumentation placed around the crater lake for two months in 2014, the team noticed that the surface ratio of sulfur dioxide to carbon dioxide two common volcanic gases increases in the run up to most explosions. The composition of the crater lake gas also begins to match that of the expected magmatic gas explosions when a blast is imminent.

A hydrothermal explosion at Pos volcano. Moor et al./EPSL

Although sulfur is normally removed from volcanic systems by fast-moving hydrothermal fluids, the researchers think that a significant increase in gas coming from the magma itself inhibits this action, which is why theres a spike in sulfur dioxide gases at the surface before an explosion. This means that hydrothermal explosions can also be directly caused by the magmatic system, not just near-surface pockets of pressurized gas as previously thought.

Remarkably, these researchers have stumbled upon a new type of eruption trigger. However, theres a catch: The instruments used to pick up on this chemical signature are often destroyed in the process. Hydrothermal explosions frequently obliterate the surrounding landscape when they occur, and the atmospheres around crater lakes are so acidic that the air itself can eat away at the equipment.

Photo Gallery

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/early-warning-trigger-found-most-unpredictable-kind-volcanic-eruption

Youngest Supernova In Milky Way Created By Catastrophic Collision Of Two White Dwarfs

Supernovae are some of the brightest objects in the night sky. They are the self-destruction of the largest stars, and on occasion can outshine entire galaxies. One particular type of supernova, involving the catastrophic dance of two stars, has mystified astronomers since it was first discovered in 1941; to date, its not clear what causes a supernova in a binary star system.

After observing the nuclear ashes of the youngest supernova in the Milky Way, a team of astronomers led by Harvard University has come up with a potential answer. At just 110 years old, they have concluded that this violent flash of light was produced by the spectacular collision of two white dwarfs. Publishing their results in the Astrophysical Journal, this finding implies that there are at least three broad ways to destroy a star via a supernova.

In single star systems with at least eight solar masses, the star explodes when it runs out of nuclear fuel to burn. The stars immense gravitational field overcomes the increasingly weak heat emerging from its core, causing it to collapse before undergoing a titanic explosion. Type 1a supernovae, like the one observed in this study, require at least two stars to occur that much, astronomers agree on.

One of the prevailing theories of how they happen is that a white dwarf, a stellar remnant that is unable to undergo fusion in order to produce heat, steals the atmosphere from a companion star. At a critical point, the white dwarf becomes massive enough to exert gargantuan pressures on its core; this initiates a runaway fusion reaction, which immediately leads to its obliteration.

This animation shows two white dwarfs merging. astropage.eu via YouTube

Most astronomers have thought that this companion star was an ageing red giant. However, a recent study revealed that a type 1a supernova was observed burning its nearby companion star, which turned out to be a main sequence star. Either way, the supernova was caused by the theft of another stars atmosphere.

This new study, after observing supernova G1.9+0.3, gives credence to another theory of how type 1a supernovae occur. Using NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory and the National Science Foundations Jansky Very Large Array, they analyzed the high-energy bursts jettisoning from this young cataclysm. When an object is heated up, it gives off electromagnetic energy, and certain wavelengths apply to certain types of ignition.

The team concludes that the energy regime theyve observed from this particular supernova could only have come about through one event: the collision of two white dwarfs. We observed that the X-ray and radio brightness increased with time, so the data point strongly to a collision between twowhite dwarfsas being the trigger for thesupernova explosionin G1.9+0.3, said co-author Francesca Childs, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, in a statement.

This happens when two closely orbiting white dwarfs lose energy through the emission of gravitational waves, causing them to spiral inwards and merge. During this particular merger, they reached a critical mass that initiates a destructive, runaway fusion reaction, creating a supernova. In light of recent research, this new finding means that there are two ways to create a type 1a supernova, and at least three ways to kill a star overall.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/youngest-supernova-milky-way-created-catastrophic-collision-two-white-dwarfs

SpaceX Rocket Explodes Spectacularly

SpaceX has failed in its latest attempt to land the first stage of a rocket on a barge. But it was frustratingly close, and while the landing was not quite a success, the launch itself from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California passed without a hitch.

This was the third attempt the company has made to land the first stage of one of their Falcon 9 rockets on a barge. The previous two ended in similarly spectacular explosions. While a barge landing continues to elude the company, though, they did successfully land a first stage on the ground earlier this month.

On this occasion, the landing attempt was made after the launch of the Jason-3 satellite on Sunday, January 17. And it was almost perfect. The rocket touched down within a few meters of the center of the drone ship (named Just Read the Instructions after one of the spaceships in the science fiction works of Iain M. Banks) and appeared upright at first.

But one of the four landing legs it uses to remain stable failed to lock in place, causing the rocket to tip over and, ultimately, explode. The problem may have been ice build-up due to heavy fog at liftoff. You can check out a video of the landing attempt below.

As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted, the barge itself did not cause the problem. The same failure on this occasion would likely have occurred on the ground. Definitely harder to land on a ship, he wrote on Twitter. Similar to an aircraft carrier vs land: much smaller target area, thats also translating & rotating.

But he added: However, that was not what prevented it being good. Touchdown speed was ok, but a leg lockout didnt latch, so it tipped over after landing.

If barge landings can be perfected, it opens up a new range of operational capabilities for the company. Landing on the ground is good, but it means the rocket has to essentially reverse its trajectory and land back at where it launched.

For launches at high velocities, such as those going to a higher orbit, this is simply not possible. Using a barge allows for landings to take place during more launches, a step closer to SpaceX’s goal of making all their rockets reusable.

While the landing experienced a slight mishap, the launch itself passed without a hitch. On this mission, SpaceX was taking the joint U.S.-European Jason-3 satellite into a near-polar orbit. Jason-3 will be used to monitor the global sea level rise, working in tandem with a twin spacecraft launched in 2008, Jason-2. It is run by several institutions including NASA, CNES, and NOAA.

As human-caused global warming drives sea levels higher and higher, we are literally reshaping the surface of our planet, said Josh Willis, NASA project scientist for Jason-3 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratoryin Pasadena, California, in a statement. These missions tell us how much and how fast.

But for now, well have to wait a little longer to see SpaceX perform the first successful barge landing.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/spacex-rocket-spectacularly-explodes-after-latest-barge-landing-attempt

Birds Eye View Of Fireworks

Fireworks are enjoyed around the world in the summertime, but it is nearly always viewed from the ground. 

Jeremiah Warren changed things up by flying a GoPro camera on a balloon above his fireworks display. He caught a rare and unique perspective of the colorful explosions that is rarely seen. 

The video is featured on LaughingSquid and BoingBoing.


Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2012/07/02/birds-eye-view-of-fireworks/

Cat Attacks Office In Mini Tank

Like so many countless cat videos online, I assumed this would just be a cute and end with that. Boy was I wrong. When a little cat in a mini tank comes driving through the office, the secretary thinks its so cute. That is, until, the cat shoots her in the face with the laser gun. That’s right, get ready for action.


Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2011/05/14/cat-attacks-office-in-mini-tank/