Category Archives: Talking science

Gravitational waves finally detected

It seems that nearly exactly 100 years after their prediction by Albert Einstein, Gravitational Waves have finally been directly detected for the first time. Speakers of the LIGO experiment announced yesterday that they have witnessed the final stages of the inspiral and merger of a massive black hole binary system. This marks the beginning of a new type of astronomy with gravitational waves that allows to explore a so-far completely unknown side of the Universe.

The young star cluster perspective of star formation

Star formation is one of the fundamental process contributing to galaxy evolution and therefore in shaping the Universe. Yet it is extremely challenging to build a complete view of this process and its interplay with galactic scale properties. The most challenging aspect is to reconcile physical mechanisms, which operate at the smallest spatial scales (i.e. the size of our solar system) all the way up to galactic scale features such as the large star-forming complexes.

First results of the AMS-02 experiment

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) collaboration announced its first physics result in Physical Review Letters on 3 April 2013. This was a long awaited event for the astroparticle physics community. Indeed, this large particle detector was first proposed by Nobel laureate Samuel Ting in 1994, to study primordial cosmic-ray particles in the energy range from 0.5 to 2 TeV. A proof-of-principle spectrometer (AMS-01) flew successfully for 10 days on the space shuttle Discovery during flight STS-91 in June 1998.

Planck data released

Today some of the Oskar Klein Centre's researchers were viewing the webcast from the data realease of the Planck satellite.
Planck webcast
OKC researchers digesting the new Planck data.
The Planck data is a very impressive set, which will be used extensively in cosmological analyses for many years to come. It will take time to digest all the information in the 29 scientific papers that were also put online today, on Planck Published Papers. It seems the major features … Continue Reading ››

Fermi observations proves Supernova Remnants produce Cosmic Rays

Particles with TeV energies, like those produced at the LHC, seem exotic. But once outside the protection of our atmosphere, these “cosmic rays” (CR) become exceedingly common. The Fermi Telescope, for example, encounters a hundred thousand CR for every gamma ray it detects. These particles have an impressive scope of local effects, from damaging electronics and inhibiting manned space travel to possibly triggering lightning strikes. And although we have been aware of their existence since the early 1900ʼs, their exact origins remained unclear.

Fermi/Swift GRB Symposium 2012: Polarisation and thermal emission in GRBs

The Fermi/Swift gamma-ray burst Symposium 2012 was held in Munich 7-11 May 2012. Recent results on the prompt and afterglow emissions in gamma-ray burst were discussed at the Fermi/Swift gamma-ray burst Symposium 2012 which was held in Munich 7-11 May 2012. Among the most important issues presented was the recent gamma-polarisation measurement with IKAROS-GAP. Significant degrees of polarisation in several bursts have now been detected. In particular, the change in polarisation angle was significantly detected. It was speculated that this is due to variation in emission patches in very narrowly collimated … Continue Reading ››

The Lithium problem. Primordial, cosmological or stellar?

We all have heard about it since kindergarden, but would you bet 5000 SEK you know exactly what it is? I did not, so had to look it up. And here is what I have learned.
First of all, let’s play it fair: there’s two stable lithium isotopes, lithium-six and lithium-seven. In the last years it seemed both had problems, but we are talking about the bigger brother here, the one who has had problems for a longer time. Since 1982, 30 years ago -when my brother was born- there have been observations of lithium-seven in metal poor stars of the galactic halo.