A powerful cosmic particle accelerator has been pinpointed in the Crab Nebula: a doughnut-shaped magnetic field surrounding the stellar corpse at the nebula’s heart. The finding is based on a tricky measurement showing that high-energy radiation near the star is polarised, with its electric field lining up neatly with the star’s spin axis.
The Crab Nebula is the expanding remnant of a supernova that was observed by Chinese and Arab astronomers in 1054 CE. When the star exploded, it left behind a dense corpse called a pulsar.
The pulsar spins about 30 times per second, but is gradually slowing down as it emits a wind of particles and electromagnetic fields.
Some of these particles – mainly electrons – emit high-energy radiation, in the form of X-rays and gamma rays, when they are accelerated by magnetic fields in the region. But it has been unclear where this acceleration is taking place.
Now, researchers led by Tony Dean of the University of Southampton in the UK say it is occurring quite close to the pulsar.
This is the first time I heard that the Crab nebula had a pulsar in the center of it, interesting. Must be I was snoozing on this one for years.
When one speaks of particle accelerators, images of the Fermi Accelerator and the new Large Hadron Collider come to mind. Impressive pieces of technology to be sure.
How do we know this isn’t the result of someone’s technology? We don’t, do we? We just assume it’s a natural occurrance.
Just a thought.
It’s relevant to questions so important that most adults don’t think to ask them – why are there only eight planets? Or nine, or however many there are now? Why are they where they are? Because of all the objects that formed during the birth of the solar system, the ones we see are the ones that survived. It’s likely that many small proto-planets formed as the stellar dusts condensed into larger bodies – some collided and merged, some may have been pinballed out of the system by the varying gravitational fields, and it seems that some got smashed to bits in the confusion. The existence of the asteroid belt supports such planetary pile-ups – but we can look at these antarctic rocks much closer.
Mineral analysis of the fragments reveals a large concentration of feldspar – large enough to have needed a planet to create it. You might not think of rocks as hot and runny (unless you’re the Human Torch), but when you gather enough of anything together the pressure and heat provided by gravity will melt it. Materials of different densities float to different heights (just like oil in water), and as the system cools these differentiated layers are frozen in. If you hang around for a while you have a hard shell around a layered liquid core, like our own Earth, and eventually the entire system solidifies, like the Moon. If you lose a fight with another extremely solid body you get blown to pieces – but each of those pieces still shows evidence of the layer-cake structure.
As the evidence for the collision theory of planetary formation piles up, one cannot help but think of the theories of Velikovsky and Zecharia Sitchen.
While I’m not going to go into the details of Tiamat, Niburu and the Annunaki for now, it is interesting to note that what is fashionably becoming mainstream now, was once ridiculed.
Somewhere, Velikovsky is laughing his arse off.
Lifelike graphics are breaking free of elite computer games and spreading throughout society in what industry insiders proclaim is the dawning of a “visual computing era.”
Astronauts, film makers and celebrities joined software savants, engineers and gamers in the heart of Silicon Valley this week for a first-ever NVision conference devoted to computer imagery advances changing the way people and machines interact..
“Visual computing is transforming the videogame industry; transforming the film industry, and has all kinds of potential for how we view real-time television,” NVIDIA co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang told those gathered at the event.
“We solve some of the most challenging problems for more and more companies around the world. Let the era of visual computing begin.”
Gamers dueled for three days in a cavernous room in the San Jose Convention Center while entrepreneurs showed how graphics breakthroughs are shining in other fields.
Car makers are exploring letting potential buyers not only customize automobiles with graphics software but go on virtual test drives.
Graphics processing underpins financial modeling and weather forecasting
It was only a matter of time before this became a reality, and it’s only going to get better.
Or worse, depending your take on it.
Science-fiction writers such as Greg Egan, Iain Banks and Alistair Reynolds have used extrapolations of this technology to create entire cultures, worlds and universes as backdrops for their stories.
Often these tales are set centuries hence.
I surmise such are going to be possible in decades, not centuries.
What will the price be to become an immortal upload ( or download ) in a virtual reality universe?