Even More Evidence Points to the Ninth Planet

Space is a very humbling thing, just once we think we’ve figured something out we realise there is something else we need to learn. Our very Solar System is an example of that with scientists now claiming that there’s even more proof to back up the evidence of a ninth planet in the solar system.

The ninth planet was first speculated in January by a few scientists, but now it would seem that Mike Brown, a planetary astronomer at Caltech University, believes he’s found even more evidence that our solar system may, in fact, have this mysterious ninth planet. The speculation about a ninth planet has only been helped by the research conducted by Brown and a colleague who originally claimed that the behaviour of six objects in the Kuiper Belt supports the existence of another large and distant object.

The Kuiper Belt is a large cloud of icy objects that orbit the sun, just beyond the reach of Neptune and now it would seem that another object in the belt shares the same behaviour as the six bodies that were previously measured.

There is a lot of room in this theory with the bodies suggesting that their movement has been affected by a large planet somewhere between 200 and 1,200 times the distance between the Sun and the Earth. Mike Brown tweeted saying that the new objects location, matching up with the theory of Planet Nine, does nothing but support the idea of another planet in our system.

With no peer-reviewed journal yet to back the claims for a ninth planet, it’s still up for discussion as we wait and see if our solar system may just gain a ninth planet (I’m sorry Pluto, we don’t mean to replace you).

Solar Cells So Small They Don’t Even Pop Bubbles

Solar panels are hardly small things, they are so big that some places even create large fields covered in just the devices, some laws even state that you either use them on your roof or you have grass. With recent advances in the field, increasing both how much energy each solar panel can absorb but also what they look like, it was no surprise that people are more and more keen to adopt the new technology, but sometimes giant panels, even hidden ones, are just too inconvenient to be considered useful; introducing the solar cells so small that they don’t even pop bubbles.

The solar cells were created by researchers at MIT, who while they state they are years away from commercial products, the proof-of-concept means that soon your phones and even your clothes could soon be powering all your gadgets. The process involves a vacuum chamber and avoids the use of solvents, something that differs from the traditional approach of high temperature and chemicals in solar cell production.

The researchers were able to demonstrate how light and thin their solar cell was by placing it atop a soap bubble, the bubble then remained intact. The problem with the cell though is it may be too small, making it maybe a little too prone to blowing away in the wind or after a heavy breathe.

Would you like to see solar panels integrated into more things? Your house windows or your roof, why not your watch or the back of your phone? The possibilities are endless!

German Stellarator Fusion Reactor Testing Deemed a Success

It’s no secret that this is the nuclear age, that is the age where nuclear technology will go its greatest to shaping the world. From its use as a weapon during world war 2 to our future hopes of using it as a power source, the atom is changing the way the world works. Using its Stellarator nuclear fusion machine, Germany has taken the first steps in this change with the creation of hydrogen plasma.

With Germany having one of very few nuclear fusion machines, it was only a matter of time before they changed how close we were to sustainable fusion. Nuclear fusion is the same process that powers the sun, potentially creating a clean source of energy, not to mention nearly limitless.

Back in December, the team at the Max Planck Institute in Germany managed to suspend helium plasma, the new step forward was in using the hydrogen atom, something the team has now managed to do using their experimental reactor, the Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) stellarator. The difficulty alone makes this act an accomplishment, but with hydrogen fusion releasing far more energy than helium fusion, we’re yet another step closer to the ultimate goal of a sustainable reaction, but still have a very long way to go.

John Jelonnek is a physicist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and also one of the people responsible for installing the technology that heats the reactor. In speaking to the Guardian Jelonnek stated, “We’re not doing this for us but for our children and grandchildren”.

US Government Prepare For Blast From Space

This is not an article about a future movie plot. It would seem that as we become more and more aware about the universe we only just start to understand just how little we actually know about what could happen in the vast emptiness of space. The White House’s National Science and Technology Council seem to understand this as they have released their strategic plan for “extreme space weather events” that could potentially disable or even destroy spacecraft and satellites.

Two terms that will be used a lot in this article are Solar Wind and Earth’s magnetic field. The former, Solar wind, is the term used to describe particles that the sun admits on an almost regular basis. While the latter, the Earth’s magnetic field, is a natural field that is generated around the earth (your compass uses it to help point you to north). The magnetic field normally acts as a protective barrier and stops the solar winds from breaching into the atmosphere.

With estimates of $2 trillion in damages for a single ‘monster’ surge, ten times more than any other natural disaster in recorded history, and a 12% chance given by NASA that one could happen within the next decade, it would seem that preparing for this event is just one of the many things we should be looking at.

There are three stages to any disaster, and it would seem that we are starting to work on all of them for this particular scenario.

The first stage is knowing when it might happen, for this we have the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre who monitors the sun for any signs that something abnormal, like a ‘monster’ solar wave, could be emitted. With an estimated window of only 15-60 minutes to act, the likely hood of being able to act effectively comes from preparation more than reflection on the information given.

See-Through Solar Panels Could Turn Windows and Screens into Energy Generators

Solar panels are more popular in homes than ever, and a new innovation could take their personal use to the next level. Silicon Valley startup Ubiquitous Energy, founded by researchers from MIT and Michigan State University, is hoping to bring transparent solar panels to a household near you. The practical implementation of the technology is boundless, from windows in homes and cars, to screens on smartphones, tablets, laptops and televisions.

“It’s a whole new way of thinking about solar energy, because now you have a lot of potential surface area,” Miles Barr, Chief Executive and co-founder of Ubiquitous Energy, said. “You can let your imagination run wild. We see this eventually going virtually everywhere.”

The basis of the technology is to convert the energy from the invisible ends of the light spectrum into electricity. Since such a solar panel will only be absorbing invisible light, it will allow light visible to the human eye to pass through, meaning the panel can be transparent. Ubiquitous Energy has taken published research from 2011 and developed an optimal formation for transparent solar panels from it.

“There is generally a direct tradeoff between transparency and efficiency levels,” Barr added. “With the approach we’re taking, you can still get a significant amount of energy at high transparency levels.”

Ubiquitous plans to introduce the tech on a small scale, to begin with, starting with smartphones and watches powered by the sun’s rays. “We think providing battery-life extension and solving battery life problems will be a very good entry point for us,” Barr said. The company is not working to a particular timeframe, but hopes to debut the technology soon.

Thank you National Geographic for providing us with this information.

Watch This Amazing Journey From the Sun to Jupiter at the Speed of Light

Have you ever wondered how it’s like to travel through our solar system? Yeah, it may be boring and it may take years and years if you’re not travelling at the speed of light, but how about a virtual journey?

If your answer is yes, then let animator Alphonse Swinehart take you on an amazing virtual journey from the Sun to Jupiter, at the speed of light! However, don’t expect it to last just a few minutes, even at this speed.

Swinehart wanted to illustrate the mind-blowing scale of the solar system we live in, and he apparently did it in this not-so-short amazing video. The detail, from the scale of planets to the actual distance between them, appears to be accurate, but he did make a few minor tweaks.

“I’ve taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids,” he says, “but overall I’ve kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible.”

In addition to the above, Swinehart did not take into account the physics that theoretically are in place when travelling at the speed of light, such as distorted vision and the time slowdowns.

Nevertheless, it looks like the journey will take about three quarters of an hour, so it would be wise to free up your schedule a bit if you want to watch it.

Oh, also, if you’re interested in more of Alphonse Swinehart’s work, you can find his portfolio webpage here. Enjoy!

Extremely Thin Coating Could Keep Buildings Cool During Summer

How do you keep buildings cool? Right now, there’s not much you can do apart from crank the air conditioning and close the blinds – but thanks to some researchers from Stanford University, we could see a new solution cool things down considerably.

The researchers are currently working on a new solution that could keep the inside of buildings much cooler, with a new super-thin coating that reflects up to 97% of sunlight, while at the same time radiating head from inside of the building. It’s win-win. A technique that has researchers calling it photonic radiative cooling. The material they have created is made from 8 layers and is just 1.8 micros thick (this is thinner than the thinnest sheet of aluminum foil). It is made from 7 layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide, on top of a thin layer of silver.

It’s not perfect yet, as there’s the problem of getting it to transfer heat from the inside of the building, to its exterior coating. Once it is there, the material can expel it, but getting the heat tunnelled to the new material is the big hurdle right now. The second issue, is scaling. The researchers’ previous prototype is the size of a regular pizza, so it’s nowhere near as big as it needs to be to be used in a real-world scenario, especially being painted up and down an entire skyscraper. At least we know it’s coming, as this is something that could change the face, literally, of buildings in the future.

Source: TechSpot.

North Korea Claim To Have Landed A Man On The Sun!

Oh man where do I even start on this one! Never short of a few giggles it seems that the state news agency of North Korea has confirmed that they have become the first, and we suspect the only country in the world to ever land a man on the sun. True to their word given that early last year they said they’ll perform the first solar landing.

But wait, there’s more! Their “astronaut” Hung Il Gong left in his specially designed rocket ship at 3am in the morning on his solo trip to our nearest star, The Sun. He arrived on the sun just four hours later where he collected sun spot samples to bring back to his supreme leader as a gift, and then jumped back in his ship to make the four hour journey home for a heroes welcome.

“We are very delighted to announce a successful mission to put a man on the sun. North Korea has beaten every other country in the world to the sun. Hung Il Gong is a hero and deserves a hero’s welcome when he returns home later this evening.” said a North Korean central news anchor during a live broadcast.

Even more bonkers is how the 17 year old pilot of the spaceship avoided the suns deadly rays during his flight, think you can guess how he did it? He flew at night of course!

North Korea central news agency is calling the mission the “greatest human achievement of our time”, I’m not so sure, but I applaud them for making me giggle this early in the day.

Thank you Waterford Whispers News for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Waterford Whispers News.

The Sun Gives Its Approval Of Mozilla’s Firefox


Mozilla will no doubt be smiling back at the sun this morning as Scientists discover a familiar logo flashed up while monitoring solar activity.

While of course you could easily say this is a loose interpretation of the Firefox logo, people see what they want to see and its not much different from seeing faces in clouds. However, this one is pretty uncanny and even the colours look pretty sweet in this short video clip that looks like the Firefox fox wrapping around in a ball.

The actual moment only lasted a few seconds as the magnetic flux lines magically created what will no doubt be the biggest corporate logo ever seen, no doubt the hottest too.

There is no official word for Google or Microsoft, but we can only assume they’re renting a few telescopes to try one up Firefox’s free galactic marketing campaign.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/_UjPXvqkzZk[/youtube]

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information.