Astronomers have detected the collision of a pair of dead stars, called a kilonova, that caused a cosmic ripple of gravitational waves around 130 million years ago. It turns out these kinds of massive explosions forged most of the gold, silver, and other heavy elements in our universe. From Nadia Drake's story in National Geographic:
First theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916, gravitational waves are kinks or distortions in the fabric of spacetime caused by extremely violent cosmic events. Until now, all confirmed detections involved a deadly dance between two black holes, which leave no visible signature on the sky.
But with this latest event, teams using about a hundred instruments at roughly 70 observatories were able to track down and watch the cataclysm in multiple wavelengths of light, allowing astronomers to scrutinize the source of these cosmic ripples for the first time.
“We saw a totally new phenomenon that has never before been seen by humans,” says Andy Howell of the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s an amazing thing that may not be duplicated in our lifetimes.”
Unlike colliding black holes, shredded neutron stars expel metallic, radioactive debris that can be seen by telescopes—if you know when and where to look.
“We felt the universe shaking from two neutron stars merging together, and that told us where to go and point our telescopes,” says Howell, whose team was among several that chased down the stars tied to the gravitational wave signal.
"In a First, Gravitational Waves Linked to Neutron Star Crash" (Nat Geo)
How did Twitter addict Jesse Singal become the anti-transgender spokesgoblin of his generation? When a Child Says She’s Trans continues his creepy fixation on gender-nonconforming minors. The “ex-trans” movement, similar to the discredited “ex-gay” movement, can always count on axe-grinding coverage that vastly over-represents their numbers and POV.
BeauHD, a Slashdot moderator, has Crohn's Disease, and he lives in an age of modern miracles, which means that he can have his small intestine surveyed by swallowing a tiny pill-sized camera, rather than having a scope threaded up his rectum or down his throat, or having his gut sliced open.
The National Institutes of Health maintain a 3D Print Exchange, a kind of miniature Thingiverse for open-licensed, 3D printable objects for teaching and practicing public health.
Your pet might be photogenic, but getting them to stare long enough at your camera to snap that Instagram-worthy photo isn’t as simple as telling them to sit. Bribing your pets with their favorite treat, however, might just do the trick, and with the Adjustable Pet Selfie Smartphone Attachment, you can do just that while getting […]
The cybersecurity landscape is changing, and now one of the most effective ways to counter hacking threats is to employ another hacker against them. Commonly referred to as ethical hackers, these professionals use a cybercriminal’s tools against them, checking networks for vulnerabilities and patching them up before they can be exploited. The Certified Ethical Hacker Bootcamp […]
The human eye is a powerful thing, but it’s not so great at seeing in the dark or around tight spaces, which is partially why most of us struggle with unplugging drains, cleaning under the fridge, and other hard-to-reach jobs. This 1080p HD Waterproof WiFi Wireless Endoscopic Camera, however, gives you the flexibility necessary to get […]