Physics News of the Week: The Bright Light on Mars & Cern’s Discovery of an Exotic New Particle

| April 14, 2014 |

This weekend, as always, we have some fascinating physics news, which are summarized below. To receive these weekly news to your email, register for our newsletter.

1. Bright Light on Mars (April 8)

The famous bright light detected on Mars by Curiosity, according to NASA scientists, was just an artifact caused by cosmic rays hitting the camera. The explanation is confirmed by other images taken at exactly the same time with different cameras, which display no such artificial light source. According to experts, due to the thinness of Mars atmosphere, Curiosity’s cameras are especially vulnerable to cosmic ray hits, which can often cause similar digital artifacts.

Still no aliens on Mars: the bright light was caused by cosmic rays

2. A Modern Twist on Young’s Slits (April 10)

A landmark experiment on wave interference from the early 1800s was recently revisited using gold nanoparticles by the physicists from A*STAR Data Storage Institute. The aim of the experiment was to reproduce the famous results and to study the scattering in the visible and near-infrared wavelength regions from a cluster of two or three closely spaced gold plasmonic nanoparticles.  In addition to the familiar interference results, the team found evidence for the presence of near-field, subwavelength-sized optical vortices and the circulation of electromagnetic energy, which are typical for three-slit interference. The team’s findings not only expand our fundamental understanding of how light interacts with nanoclusters of metallic particles, but have both theoretical and practical applications.

3. CERN’s Discovery of Exotic Particles (April 11)

The recent discovery of an exotic particle named Z(4430) has important implications for astrophysicists. The new particle is about 4 times more massive than a proton, has a negative charge, and appears to be a theoretical particle known as a tetraquark. The results will require more confirmation, but if this discovery holds up it could have implications for our understanding of neutron stars. The latest results gave strongest evidence of 4 quarks forming a color neutral particle, which in turn could mean the existence  a hypothetical object known as a quark star. Since the results are still at the initial stage of analysis, verified evidence of tetraquarks will force astrophysicists to reexamine some the assumptions about the interiors of neutron stars.

More news:

Space Station Supply Launch
Glasses Strong as Steel
Scroll Mentioning Jesus’s Wife is Ancient, Scientists Confirm



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