Hard Science Fiction by Brandon Q. Morris
In the ultraviolet the sky never turns black Astrophysics

In the ultraviolet the sky never turns black

The universe is permeated by a universal light. Don't worry, it's not getting esoteric here, and I'm not talking about the cosmic microwave background. It is about a completely different part of the spectrum, on the other side, the ultraviolet range. The so-called Lyman-alpha ultraviolet background was first discovered in the 1960s; its existence was confirmed in 1971. It is formed when light particles of a certain frequency (an excitation frequency of hydrogen) are scattered by neutral hydrogen atoms. Such photons emanate from the Sun in large numbers in the solar system. The light particles are invisible to the eye…
The great barrier is real – for cosmic rays Astrophysics

The great barrier is real – for cosmic rays

The great barrier surrounding the core of the Milky Way is encountered in 2287 by the starship NCC-1701-A under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. Supposedly, it is impenetrable, and any ship that nevertheless dares to cross it will be destroyed. Kirk and his squad from the USS Enterprise prove the legend to be false. In fact, there is a kind of barrier around the galactic center - and this barrier is not an impenetrable wall. But, as astronomers have now discovered, it is an obstacle to cosmic rays. (more…)
Is our Earth an oddity in space? Space

Is our Earth an oddity in space?

When you think of the rocks that make up our home planet (but also all the other rocky planets in the solar system), you probably immediately think of the fact that olivine and orthopyroxene are the predominant minerals in the Earth's mantle. If not, you are probably not a geologist. I confess, I didn't know that either. But is this actually normal? Are all rocky planets in the universe composed primarily of these minerals? That's an important question, because other rock types absorb more water than Earth's rocks, for example, which would affect the development of oceans. Others melt…
What is constructor theory and what does it seek to accomplish? Astrophysics

What is constructor theory and what does it seek to accomplish?

"When you have ruled out the impossible, what remains must be the truth, however improbable it may sound." Arthur Conan-Doyle had his famous detective Sherlock Holmes say this sentence. However, this sentence could also be used to summarize the basic principle of constructor theory, which the well-known quantum physicist David Deutsch and the Italian physicist Chiara Marletto have been developing for about ten years now. Deutsch first presented her principles in 2012, and since then it has raised great expectations, but of course has also been met with many skeptics. This is not because it provides the ultimate theory…
The Secret of the Black Ice Astrophysics

The Secret of the Black Ice

We are familiar with the physical states of water - solid, liquid and gas. However, in its solid phase, as ice, water can form more than a dozen different structures whose properties vary. The ordinary ice on the puddles that soon awaits us again in the northern hemisphere is just the tip of the iceberg. Scientists have now succeeded in producing an ice phase in the laboratory that is much darker than normal ice - superionic ice. This type of ice forms at extremely high temperatures and pressures, such as those found deep inside planets like Neptune and Uranus. Until…
What are time crystals? Astrophysics

What are time crystals?

Ice crystals are more orderly than flowing water - right? Wrong. There is a so-called translational symmetry in the liquid. That is, no matter where we look in the stream, it always looks the same. However, when the water freezes, its molecules arrange themselves in a fixed lattice. Now, if we look at a particular spot, there is either a molecule there (if we are lucky) - or not (if we caught the interstices of the crystal). The translational symmetry of the system is broken, the physicist says, in terms of spatial coordinates. Moreover, crystals are normally in the…
Black holes determine the evolution of the universe Astrophysics

Black holes determine the evolution of the universe

In principle, they can only be recognized by what you can't see - and yet black holes have a decisive effect on the evolution of the universe. That's according to a new study by an international team of researchers from the University of Bologna and elsewhere. The work, published in Nature Astronomy, focuses on the Nest200047 system - a group of about 20 galaxies at a distance of about 200 million light-years from Earth. The central galaxy of this system hosts an active black hole, around which the researchers observed many pairs of gas bubbles of different ages, some unknown…
42 of the largest asteroids: from spheres to dog bones Space

42 of the largest asteroids: from spheres to dog bones

More than 650,000 objects orbit in the solar system's asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory ESO imaged 42 of the largest in a large-scale effort from 2017 to 2019; the results have now been published. What did they notice? (more…)