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Old 2017-01-10, 18:28   #1926
Uncwilly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spherical Cow View Post
I wonder if some serious amateurs will set up a network of equipment scattered around the planet, sort of a distributed recording project,
A spec of a value based system, using off the shelf system components, with appropriate custom software would help to kick off the effort. (And maybe a crowdfunding page to raise funds for the prototyping and initial buy of some components.) This is well within the range of consumer scopes and detectors. Add a Raspberry Pi in to collect and monitor data (and kick out an alert to the world). Provide a pier, shelter, and power&data connection and go. The data gathered might be useful for other projects.
If there was a fund raiser for the project I would kick in some funds. Ideally, the system would find a complimentary project for the unused dark time and one to follow on after the nova.

Last fiddled with by Uncwilly on 2017-01-10 at 18:29
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Old 2017-01-10, 22:11   #1927
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This article contains a chart showing where the system is in Cygnus:

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/uncat...ute-to-merger/

My telescope mount is low-tech, so I am hoping to find a finder chart soon. At 12th magnitude, a finder chart would have to be pretty detailed.
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Old 2017-01-10, 22:31   #1928
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
If there was a fund raiser for the project I would kick in some funds. Ideally, the system would find a complimentary project for the unused dark time and one to follow on after the nova.
Yes, I would definitely kick in funds for this kind of project, and would volunteer to help maintain a nearby station. Lots of clear nights (and days) out here in the Arizona desert. Will have to start thinking about the minimum needs of a station, and how many/where stations would need to be to guarantee (almost) more than one station has clear skies at any given time. Like you say, start off-the-shelf, do proof of concept monitoring with a few prototype stations sending data to a server, nail down all the specs, then crowdfund a network of stations to be ready a year or two before the predicted nova. Could be downright fascinating to do.

Norm
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Old 2017-01-27, 04:53   #1930
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We are now one step closer to ManBearPig:
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38717930
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Old 2017-01-31, 09:25   #1931
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Harvard scientists announce they’ve created metallic hydrogen, which has been just a theory | Harvard Gazette
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Thomas D. Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Isaac Silvera and postdoctoral fellow Ranga Dias have long sought the material, called atomic metallic hydrogen. In addition to helping scientists answer some fundamental questions about the nature of matter, the material is theorized to have a wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor. Their research is described in a paper published today in Science.

“This is the Holy Grail of high-pressure physics,” Silvera said of the quest to find the material. “It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.”

In their experiments, Silvera and Dias squeezed a tiny hydrogen sample at 495 gigapascal (GPa), or more than 71.7 million pounds per square inch, which is greater than the pressure at the center of the Earth. At such extreme pressures, Silvera explained, solid molecular hydrogen, which consists of molecules on the lattice sites of the solid, breaks down, and the tightly bound molecules dissociate to transforms into atomic hydrogen, which is a metal.

While the work creates an important window into understanding the general properties of hydrogen, it also offers tantalizing hints at potentially revolutionary new materials.

“One prediction that’s very important is metallic hydrogen is predicted to be meta-stable,” Silvera said. “That means if you take the pressure off, it will stay metallic, similar to the way diamonds form from graphite under intense heat and pressure, but remain diamonds when that pressure and heat are removed.”
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Old 2017-01-31, 10:04   #1932
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Quote:
“One prediction that’s very important is metallic hydrogen is predicted to be meta-stable,” Silvera said. “That means if you take the pressure off, it will stay metallic, similar to the way diamonds form from graphite under intense heat and pressure, but remain diamonds when that pressure and heat are removed.”
There has been a lot of controversy over the claim in general that they actually did what they said, but also the specific claim that I quoted above. If they really did make the stuff then they should release it from the anvil and test whether is does indeed remain metallic or not.
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Old 2017-01-31, 11:03   #1933
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retina View Post
There has been a lot of controversy over the claim in general that they actually did what they said, but also the specific claim that I quoted above. If they really did make the stuff then they should release it from the anvil and test whether is does indeed remain metallic or not.
I read one article that suggested they would but slowly because they don't want to break the anvil and the material they made it form usually breaks when pressure is released quickly.
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Old 2017-02-09, 01:37   #1934
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Physicists Are Closing the Bell Test Loophole | Quanta Magazine
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In the first of a planned series of “cosmic Bell test” experiments, the team sent pairs of photons from the roof of [Anton] Zeilinger’s lab in Vienna through the open windows of two other buildings and into optical modulators, tallying coincident detections as usual. But this time, they attempted to lower the chance that the modulator settings might somehow become correlated with the states of the photons in the moments before each measurement. They pointed a telescope out of each window, trained each telescope on a bright and conveniently located (but otherwise random) star, and, before each measurement, used the color of an incoming photon from each star to set the angle of the associated modulator. The colors of these photons were decided hundreds of years ago, when they left their stars, increasing the chance that they (and therefore the measurement settings) were independent of the states of the photons being measured.

And yet, the scientists found that the measurement outcomes still violated Bell’s upper limit, boosting their confidence that the polarized photons in the experiment exhibit spooky action at a distance after all.

Nature could still exploit the freedom-of-choice loophole, but the universe would have had to delete items from the menu of possible measurement settings at least 600 years before the measurements occurred (when the closer of the two stars sent its light toward Earth). “Now one needs the correlations to have been established even before Shakespeare wrote, ‘Until I know this sure uncertainty, I’ll entertain the offered fallacy,’” Hall said.

Next, the team plans to use light from increasingly distant quasars to control their measurement settings, probing further back in time and giving the universe an even smaller window to cook up correlations between future device settings and restrict freedoms. It’s also possible (though extremely unlikely) that the team will find a transition point where measurement settings become uncorrelated and violations of Bell’s limit disappear — which would prove that Einstein was right to doubt spooky action.

“For us it seems like kind of a win-win,” Friedman said. “Either we close the loophole more and more, and we’re more confident in quantum theory, or we see something that could point toward new physics.”

There’s a final possibility that many physicists abhor. It could be that the universe restricted freedom of choice from the very beginning — that every measurement was predetermined by correlations established at the Big Bang. “Superdeterminism,” as this is called, is “unknowable,” said Jan-Åke Larsson, a physicist at Linköping University in Sweden; the cosmic Bell test crew will never be able to rule out correlations that existed before there were stars, quasars or any other light in the sky. That means the freedom-of-choice loophole can never be completely shut.

But given the choice between quantum entanglement and superdeterminism, most scientists favor entanglement — and with it, freedom. “If the correlations are indeed set [at the Big Bang], everything is preordained,” Larsson said. “I find it a boring worldview. I cannot believe this would be true.”
Somewhat related, also in Quanta: Pilot-Wave Theory Gains Experimental Support
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Old 2017-02-22, 22:53   #1935
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Big news today in the "Exploration of the Universe to Solve our Existential Crisis" category:

System of seven Earth-like planets around ultra cold dwarf star could support life

40 ly away, all 7 planets at sub-Mercurial distance, strong gravitational interactions between them
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Old 2017-02-23, 01:57   #1936
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Default NASA’s longshot bet on a revolutionary rocket may be about to pay off

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...ut-to-pay-off/
Former astronaut works the other side of the game.
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HOUSTON—Franklin Chang-Díaz bounds up a handful of stairs and peers through a porthole cut into the side of a silver, tanker-truck-sized vacuum chamber. Inside, a blueish-purple light shines, unchanging and constant, like a bright flashlight. “It looks kind of boring,” Chang-Díaz admits. “But that plume is 3.5 million degrees. If you stuck your hand in that, it would be very bad.”

Truth be told, the plume does not look impressive at all. And yet the engine firing within the vacuum chamber is potentially revolutionary for two simple reasons: first, unlike gas-guzzling conventional rocket engines, it requires little fuel. And second, this engine might one day push spacecraft to velocities sufficient enough to open the Solar System to human exploration.

This has long been the promise of Chang-Díaz’s plasma-based VASIMR rocket engine. From a theoretical physics standpoint, the rocket has always seemed a reasonable proposition: generate a plasma, excite it, and then push it out a nozzle at high speed. But what about the real-world engineering of actually building such an engine—managing the plasma and its thermal properties, then successfully firing it for a long period of time? That has proven challenging, and it has led many to doubt the engine’s practicality.
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