Physics News of the Week: News on the Hunt for Exoplanets & Dark Energy

| November 10, 2013 |

Another great Sunday is upon us, so let’s take a look at the news from the world of physics. As always, here are top 3 news plus some additional news that you might find interesting. To receive these news straight to your email, register for our email newsletter.

1. Two Billion Planet in our Galaxy Might be Suitable for Life (November 4)

According to the new data by Kepler space observatory, most likely, there are more potentially habitable planets in our  galaxy than previously expected. The approximate number from Kepler’s data are as follows: there are around 100 bn stars in our galaxy, of which 10% are like the sun and around 22% of sun-like stars have rocky planets circling them in the zone where they get roughly the same amount of light energy as Earth.

“This is the first estimate of the frequency of Earth-like planets around sun-like stars, in orbits large enough to lie in the habitable zone of their stars. The finding that roughly one in five sun-like stars may host such planets is an incredibly important one, probably exceeding the expectations of most cautious astronomers,” said astrophysicist Subhanjoy Mohanty.

The transit method of detecting exoplanets

2. Contraversial Theory Explaining the Accelerating Universe Ruled Out (November 7)

As expected, after 2011, when the Nobel prize was awarded for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe, a number of scientific articles appeared trying to both explain and to criticize the discovery. One of such paper offered a simple explanation of the observed effect — the acceleration of the expansion of our universe could be explained with no dark energy, given that Earth is at the centre of the universe. Even though such an idea violates the principle that the universe doesn’t have a center, it could in principle explain the cosmological observations.

Recently, this hypothesis has been completely ruled out by the researchers from Dartmouth college. Scientists designed a way to test the hypothesis by thinking how the cosmic background radiation would look if Earth was at the center of the universe. It turns out, however, that the cosmic background radiation looks completely different in our universe.

3. New Family of Four-Quark Objects Predicted (November 8)

Scientists from the Beijing Spectrometer (BESIII) collaboration have announced that the recently discovered Zc(4020) subatomic particle is a sign of a new family of four-quark objects.

“While quarks have long been known to bind together in groups of twos or threes, these new results seem to be quickly opening the door to a previously elusive type of four-quark matter,” said Frederick Harris — the spokesman for BESIII. The discoveries at BESIII collaboration will surely play a significant role in forming the full theoretical understanding of four-quark particles.

More news:

Nanoparticles can Overcome Drug Resistance in Breast Cancer Cells
Determining the Quantum Geometry of a Crystal
Harry Cliff: The man Who’s Making an Exhibition of the Higgs Boson at the Science Museum



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