How do you study the invisible? This is a challenge faced by astronomers studying dark matter. Dark matter makes up 85% of all matter in the universe, but does not interact with light. It can only be seen through gravitational effects on light and other matter. To make matters worse, efforts so far to directly detect dark matter on Earth have failed.
Despite the difficult properties of dark matter, we have learned a few things about it. We know it’s not only dark, it’s cold. As a result, they clump together to form the seeds of the cluster. It also often forms a halo around the galaxy, making up most of the galaxy’s mass. However, there are still many unanswered questions about dark matter, so astronomers often develop new models for dark matter, comparing them with observations to test their accuracy.
One way to do this is to use sophisticated computer simulations. Recently, a team at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics ran a detailed simulation of the dark matter universe, with amazing results.
The accuracy of a dark matter simulation depends on your assumptions about dark matter. In this case, the team Weakly interacting large particles (WIMP) It is about 100 times the mass of a proton. WIMP is one of the most popular theories about dark matter. Similar computer simulations of WIMP dark matter have been performed previously. Nevertheless, this was very high resolution and simulated the function on a scale of up to 30 digits.
As we observed in this simulation, dark matter formed in the halo around the galaxy. Interestingly, however, we found that halos developed at all mass scales, from halos of small planetary masses to halos of galaxies to massive halos that form around clusters of galaxies. These halos have a similar structure, they are densest towards the center and more diffuse at the edges. The fact that this happens on all scales makes dark matter an obvious feature.
The small scale halo is too small to detect through the effect of gravity on light, but it can tell you how dark matter interacts. One idea for dark matter is that dark matter particles emit gamma radiation when they collide. Some gamma ray observations The excess of gamma rays from the center of our galaxy can be caused by dark matter. In this particular model, most of the gamma rays produced by dark matter come from smaller halos. Because the size of the halo affects the energy spectrum of the gamma ray, this model makes specific predictions about the gamma ray excess we see in the Milky Way and other galaxies.
Dark matter is one of the biggest unsolved problems in modern astronomy. We’d love to detect it ourselves, but until that happens, simulations like this are one of the most powerful tools to better understand dark matter.
Reference: Wang, J., Bose, S., Frenk, CS et al. “Universal structure of a dark matter halo over a 20-digit mass range.” nature 585.7823 (2020): 39-42.
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NASA Astronaut Will Vote From Space – KCCU
On Election Day, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will be more than 200 miles above her nearest polling place. But she’s still planning to vote — from space.
“It’s critical to participate in our democracy,” Rubins told the Associated Press. “We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space.”
Rubins, who has a Ph.D. in cancer biology from Stanford and was the first person to sequence DNA in space, is currently training for her upcoming six-month mission on the International Space Station.
Voting from the space station is similar to voting absentee from anyplace on the planet — except instead of relying on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the ballot, Rubins will get hers forwarded electronically from Mission Control in Houston.
“Using a set of unique credentials sent to each of them by e-mail, astronauts can access their ballots, cast their votes, and downlink them back down to Earth,” the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum explained in 2018.
The ballot is then sent to the county clerk for tabulation.
American astronauts have been able to cast ballots from above for over two decades now, ever since a Texas lawmaker learned that astronaut John Blaha couldn’t vote in the 1996 presidential race between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. At the time, Blaha was serving on Russia’s Mir Space Station, a predecessor to the ISS.
“He expressed a little bit disappointment in not being able to do that,” Republican State Senator Mike Jackson told NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce in 2008.
Voting from space had never really been an issue before then, because NASA astronauts typically spent no more than about two weeks on shuttle missions. But with the advent of the space station, Americans were sometimes on missions for months at a time.
So a new law was born. “I can attest to how important one person’s vote is because my first election I won by seven votes out of over 26,000,” Jackson said.
Texas lawmakers approved the measure in 1997, and then-Gov. George W. Bush signed it into law. That same year, astronaut David Wolf became the first American to “vote while you float,” as NASA cheekily put it.
“I voted alone up in space, very alone, the only English speaker up there, and it was nice to have an English ballot, something from America,” Wolf told The Atlantic in 2016. “It made me feel closer to the Earth and like the people of Earth actually cared about me up there.”
Most NASA astronauts live in Houston, so since that Texas law was passed, several astronauts have been able to cast ballots from above. This isn’t even the first time Rubins has exercised her orbital privilege; she also voted in the 2016 presidential election from the space station — listing her address as “low-Earth orbit.”
“I think it’s really important for everybody to vote,” Rubins said. “If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Estee Lauder Pays NASA $128000 for Photo Shoot in Space – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Estee Lauder Cos. is sending its newest skincare formula into space, and it’ll cost only about as much as paying a big influencer for a few Instagram posts.
The U.S. cosmetics giant is spending $128,000 for NASA to fly 10 bottles of its skin serum to the International Space Station. Once there, astronauts will take pictures of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair in the cupola control tower, which has panoramic views of the cosmos. The images will be used on social media, with the company planning to auction one bottle off for charity when the items return to Earth this spring.
The global recession, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, has pushed brands to get more creative with their advertising because consumers are cutting back. Within beauty, several companies are spending less on traditional ads, while looking for new ways to break through the glut of content out there. In a press release, Estee Lauder highlighted it being the “first beauty brand to go into space” as a means to tout its “skincare innovation.”
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket that will transport the skin serum as part of a supply run is scheduled to launch on Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Virginia. The Cygnus cargo craft will then dock on the space station early Saturday.
Estee Lauder’s push into micro-gravity is part of NASA’s effort to commercialize low-earth orbit and make it a domain where private enterprise eventually does business as routinely as the government conducts spacewalks. Companies from Goodyear Tire & Rubber to Merck & Co have used space for research, and NASA is hoping to expand its use, including private citizens visiting the space station.
“We need to expand people’s perspective on what we can accomplish in space,” said Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight development.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A dazzling full 'harvest moon' is set to illuminate Vancouver skies next week – North Shore News
While the weekend forecast calls for rain, Vancouver skies are expected to clear next week, which is just in time for the glorious full Harvest moon.
Earlier this month, locals were treated to a full corn moon. Last year, September’s full moon was a full ‘harvest moon,’ which takes place in two years out of three. However, since October’s full moon falls closest to the fall equinox this year, it will carry the harvest title.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “this full Moon name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked the time when corn was supposed to be harvested.”
The Harvest Moon gets was given its name because farmers needed its silvery light to harvest crops. It has since inspired a rather dreamy, beautiful song by Canadian icon Neil Young, too.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac also notes that Native peoples would give distinctive names to each reoccurring full moon to mark the change of seasons. As such, many of these names arose when Native Americans first interacted with colonialists.
The October moon will be at its fullest in Vancouver on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 2:05 p.m.
Stargazers should opt to travel as far away from city lights as possible in order to avoid light pollution that will obscure the clarity of heavenly bodies. While this works best in more remote places, anywhere that has a higher elevation will also provide more ideal viewing conditions.
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