Many folks have heard of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Most folks, however, can’t tell you anything about them. They’re dark. They’re lurking out there. That’s about it.
They’re too important to leave it at that. So, let’s look at the “whys” and “wherefores” of the Dark Duo. With today’s post, I’m going to begin this exploration with a simple fact and its cosmic (literally) interpretation.
Let’s start with a very important distinction. Dark Matter and Dark Energy have nothing (as far as we know) to do with each other. The only thing they have in common is that evocative adjective “dark,” which, for astrophysicists, simply means we can see an effect but we can’t see the cause. -Adam Frank
Image description: An Expedition 30 crew member aboard the International Space Station took this nighttime photograph of the Atlantic coast. Large metropolitan areas and other easily recognizable sites from the Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. area are visible. Long Island and the New York City area can be seen in lower right area. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are near the center.
Photo by NASA
Image Copyright: Wolfgang Promper
Earth braces for biggest space solar storm in 5 years
The space weather storm is hurtling toward Earth, threatening to disrupt power grids, GPS systems, satellites and airline flights. The brunt of the storm is expected to strike early Thursday and last through Friday, possibly garbling some of Earthlings’ most prized gadgets but also giving viewers in parts of Central Asia a prime look at the aurora borealis when darkness falls.
This week saw the arrival of a solar storm that many feared would cause electromagnetic havoc here on Earth (as well as giving us some more beautiful aurora porn). It didn’t prove to be all that bad in the end, but what exactly is a solar storm?
The kind folks at The Guardian have put together an interactive demo so that you can learn how they work. Of course, you’ll have to click through for the “interactive” part.
The spacecraft that offers key warnings of incoming solar storms is more than a decade past its expected orbital lifetime.
Fibre-optic screens could lead to longer battery life in laptops.
A new technique developed by L.E.S.S. (Light Efficient SystemS) could lead to a 30% reduction in energy use in computer screens, which account for around half of the energy use in laptops. The fibre-optic technique they have developed could find its way into commercial products in around four to five years.
Laptop screens are composed of different filters for colors and of a source of white light situated in the lower portion of the frame. With LED, which is currently used, 60% of the light remains trapped inside these diodes and accounts for a significant loss in efficiency. The fiber optics developed by L.E.S.S. could bring just as much luminosity and contrast while conserving a quarter of the energy. “That liberated power could be used by the processor to gain speed,” adds the entrepreneur.
Jupiter and Two of Its Moons
A “fire and ice” pair of Jupiter’s large moons — volcanic Io (lower left) and ice-sheathed Europa, which possesses a global ocean (upper right) — orbit across the face of the giant planet.
Credit: NASA; JPL; Paul Geissler; Michael Benson
Those are the cutest little planets. Poor little Pluto didn’t get an invite apparently.