Faster than Light Particles?

A meeting at Cern, the world’s largest physics lab, has addressed results that suggest subatomic particles have gone faster than the speed of light.

This could be big! News from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research have created what seem to be neutrinos traveling faster than light. Its too early to get too excited, but if it turns out to be right, it will shake up one of the pillars of modern physics, Einstein’s relativity! It is likely to be some kind of unaccounted for process or systematic error in the experiment, but it may not be.  A good scientist will remain skeptical until all other possible explanations are ruled out.

If these measurements turn out to be right, and if it turns out that some physics has to be rebuilt from the foundation, it will be an exciting time for young physicists.  Any time there has to be a reconstruction at the foundations of physics is a fun time to be working physicist.  Sting Theory has consumed many theoretical physics careers in the last couple decades, but this would give new minds something of major importance to work on…and likely win some Nobel Prizes in the effort. Who wants to be the next Einstein, Bohr or Heisenberg? Any takers? Go out and earn those PhD.s in physics and go get it!

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Images Apollo Landing Sites

Not that this will stop the conspiracy theorists who insist that Apollo happened on a soundstage, but for the rest of us, this is pretty darn cool! The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is in a very low orbit around the Moon, and using its hi-resolution camera it was able to capture images of the Apollo 12, 14, and 17 landing sites. You can see the equipment left on the surface, rover tracks, and foot paths left by the Apollo astronauts.

Do You Want to Help Out with Astronomy Research?

Today, there are astronomy projects out there that are designed to get the general public involved to assist in realresearch.  Two such projects are Galaxy Zoo, and Galaxy Zoo Supernovae.

At Galaxy Zoo, hundreds of thousands galaxies in Hubble Space Telescope images need classifying.  Astronomers need these classifications to help solve the puzzle of how galaxies form and evolve.  People wanting to participate are run through a simple tutorial.  After completing the tutorial they are given new images of galaxies to classify.

The Galaxy Zoo Supernovae project involves looking at images of galaxies where bright spots have recent appeared.  Supernovae are exploding stars and there are different types of supernovae.  Participants then compare the bright spots with older reference images to see if these spots are indeed supernovae.  Like Galaxy Zoo, a simple and brief tutorial is completed before they are set loose on new images.

If you love astronomy or just want to be a part of professional astronomy research, check these sites out.