Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Scientists Detect ‘Dark Lightning’ Energy Burst Linked to Visible Lightning

April 25, 2013 1 comment

Apr. 24, 2013 — Researchers have identified a burst of high-energy radiation known as ‘dark lightning” immediately preceding a flash of ordinary lightning. The new finding provides observational evidence that the two phenomena are connected, although the exact nature of the relationship between ordinary bright lightning and the dark variety is still unclear, the scientists said.

Three images, left to right, of the same thundercloud depict a less-than-10-milliseconds-long sequence of events: (left) formation within the cloud of a small channel, or ‘leader,’ of electrical conductivity (yellow line) with weak emission of radio signals (ripples), to (middle) a burst of both dark lightning (pink) and radio waves (larger ripples), to (right) a discharge of bright lightning and more radio waves. (Credit: Studio Gohde)

“Our results indicate that both these phenomena, dark and bright lightning, are intrinsic processes in the discharge of lightning,” said Nikolai Østgaard, who is a space scientist at the University of Bergen in Norway and led the research team.

He and his collaborators describe their findings in an article recently accepted in Geophysical Research Letters — a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Dark lightning is a burst of gamma rays produced during thunderstorms by extremely fast moving electrons colliding with air molecules. Researchers refer to such a burst as a terrestrial gamma ray flash.

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NASA’s Van Allen Probes Reveal a New Radiation Belt Around Earth

Feb. 28, 2013 — NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission has discovered a previously unknown third radiation belt around Earth, revealing the existence of unexpected structures and processes within these hazardous regions of space.

Two giant swaths of radiation, known as the Van Allen Belts, surrounding Earth were discovered in 1958. In 2012, observations from the Van Allen Probes showed that a third belt can sometimes appear. The radiation is shown here in yellow, with green representing the spaces between the belts. (Credit: NASA/Van Allen Probes/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Previous observations of Earth’s Van Allen belts have long documented two distinct regions of trapped radiation surrounding our planet. Particle detection instruments aboard the twin Van Allen Probes, launched Aug. 30, quickly revealed to scientists the existence of this new, transient, third radiation belt.

The belts, named for their discoverer, James Van Allen, are critical regions for modern society, which is dependent on many space-based technologies. The Van Allen belts are affected by solar storms and space weather and can swell dramatically. When this occurs, they can pose dangers to communications and GPS satellites, as well as humans in space.

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Largest Quasar Ever Discovered Burns 100 Times Brighter Than Entire Milky Way

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

By Emily Elert Posted 11.28.2012
Glowing galactic center located near a supermassive black hole
Artist's Rendering of Huge Quasar Outflow

Artist’s Rendering of Huge Quasar Outflow ESO/L. Calçada

Astronomers have found a galaxy whose super-luminous nucleus–called a quasar–is burning 100 times as much energy as the entire Milky Way galaxy.

Though theory has long predicted that quasars this powerful should exist, the newly-discovered object, known as SDSS J1106+1939, is by far the most energetic ever observed. The quasar is powered by a supermassive black hole that lies at its center.

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Enough Wind to Power Global Energy Demand: New Research Examines Limits, Climate Consequences

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

ScienceDaily (Sep. 9, 2012) — There is enough energy available in winds to meet all of the world’s demand. Atmospheric turbines that convert steadier and faster high-altitude winds into energy could generate even more power than ground- and ocean-based units. New research from Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira examines the limits of the amount of power that could be harvested from winds, as well as the effects high-altitude wind power could have on the climate as a whole.

There is enough energy available in winds to meet all of the world’s demand, according to new research. Atmospheric turbines that convert steadier and faster high-altitude winds into energy could generate even more power than ground- and ocean-based units. (Credit: © Thorsten Schier / Fotolia)

Their work is published September 9 by Nature Climate Change.

Led by Kate Marvel of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who began this research at Carnegie, the team used models to quantify the amount of power that could be generated from both surface and atmospheric winds. Surface winds were defined as those that can be accessed by turbines supported by towers on land or rising out of the sea. High-altitude winds were defined as those that can be accessed by technology merging turbines and kites. The study looked only at the geophysical limitations of these techniques, not technical or economic factors.

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Nanotechnology Used to Harness Power of Fireflies

ScienceDaily (June 15, 2012) — What do fireflies, nanorods, and Christmas lights have in common? Someday, consumers may be able to purchase multicolor strings of light that don’t need electricity or batteries to glow. Scientists at Syracuse University found a new way to harness the natural light produced by fireflies (called bioluminescence) using nanoscience. Their breakthrough produces a system that is 20 to 30 times more efficient than those produced during previous experiments.

Nanorods created with firefly enzymes glow orange. The custom, quantum nanorods are created in the laboratory of Mathew Maye, assistant professor of chemistry. (Credit: Image courtesy of Syracuse University)

It’s all about the size and structure of the custom, quantum nanorods, which are produced in the laboratory by Mathew Maye, assistant professor of chemistry in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences; and Rebeka Alam, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate. Maye is also a member of the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute. “Firefly light is one of nature’s best examples of bioluminescence,” Maye says. “The light is extremely bright and efficient. We’ve found a new way to harness biology for non-biological applications by manipulating the interface between the biological and non-biological components.”

Their work, “Designing Quantum Rods for Optimized Energy Transfer with Firefly Luciferase Enzymes,” was published online May 23 in Nano Letters and is forthcoming in print. Collaborating on the research were Professor Bruce Branchini and Danielle Fontaine, both from Connecticut College.

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In Metallic Glasses, Researchers Find a Few New Atomic Structures

“The fundamental nature of a glass structure is that the organization of the atoms is disordered-jumbled up like differently sized marbles in a jar, rather than eggs in an egg carton,” says Paul Voyles, the principal investigator on the research. (Credit: © marionbirdy / Fotolia)

ScienceDaily (May 11, 2012) — Drawing on powerful computational tools and a state-of-the-art scanning transmission electron microscope, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Iowa State University materials science and engineering researchers has discovered a new nanometer-scale atomic structure in solid metallic materials known as metallic glasses.

Published May 11 in the journal Physical Review Letters, the findings fill a gap in researchers’ understanding of this atomic structure. This understanding ultimately could help manufacturers fine-tune such properties of metallic glasses as ductility, the ability to change shape under force without breaking, and formability, the ability to form a glass without crystalizing.

Glasses include all solid materials that have a non-crystalline atomic structure: They lack a regular geometric arrangement of atoms over long distances. “The fundamental nature of a glass structure is that the organization of the atoms is disordered-jumbled up like differently sized marbles in a jar, rather than eggs in an egg carton,” says Paul Voyles, a UW-Madison associate professor of materials science and engineering and principal investigator on the research.

Researchers widely believe that atoms in metallic glasses are arranged only as pentagons in an order known as five-fold rotational symmetry. However, in studies of a zirconium-copper-aluminum metallic glass, Voyles’ team found there are clusters of squares and hexagons-in addition to clusters of pentagons, some of which form chains-all located within the space of just a few nanometers. “One or two nanometers is a group of about 50 atoms-and it’s how those 50 atoms are arranged with respect to one another that’s the new and interesting part,” he says.

The above story is reprinted from materials provided byUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison. The original article was written by Renee Meiller.

‘Nanofishnet’ Could Be the First Metamaterial to Impossibly Bend Light in the Visible Spectrum

By Clay DillowPosted 04.30.2012 at 2:09 pm

The Nanofishnet Array: Layers of Silver and Glass Carlos García Meca via IEEE Spectrum

Metamaterials hold the elusive promise of the true invisibility cloak, one that bends light right around objects to make them invisible to viewers. But most metamaterials with any kind of potential can only be fabricated in very small sizes, and even the ones that work well–and there are a few–generally don’t work in the visible spectrum. But researchers from Spain and the UK have reported that they have constructed what may be the first practical metamaterial that works in the visible range.

The material was designed with optical switching in mind–sub-picosecond pulsing of light in fiber optics networks or in highly tuned pulsing lasers–but the researchers themselves are convinced that its layered structure could be scaled up into usable, practically-sized objects. Everyone in the materials science community isn’t so optimistic, but the fact that it works at all in the visible range marks something of a breakthrough in the field.

Visible light has been a particularly tough nut to crack when it comes to metamaterials, which essentially bend light unnaturally to achieve a desired effect. Light waves in the visible spectrum tend to degrade to nothing after passing through materials just a fraction of a wavelength thick, so it’s tough to make a metamaterial that can bend light in a predetermined way without also losing the visible light wave altogether.

The UK/Spanish team (from King’s College London and the Valencia Nanophotonics Technology Center, respectively) overcame this through a novel layered construction of silver and hydrogen silsesquioxane (a type of glass). Using a focused ion beam, they punched tiny holes through the layers to create a structure they refer to as a “nanofishnet.” This combination of materials, layering, and nanofishnet structure allows the material to create the necessary negative magnetic permeability (a necessary ingredient for metamaterials that you can learn more abouthere) in the red and near-infrared parts of the spectrum.

By varying the size of the holes in the nanofishnet the team was able to adjust the materials index of refraction, giving them some degree of freedom when it comes to “programming” the material for different kinds of light. So while the team hasn’t created the wundermaterial that will enable our invisibility-cloaked future, they have created a metamaterial that works in one sliver of the spectrum and that could perhaps be cajoled into working in other slivers as well. Click through toIEEE Spectrum for a much more detailed explanation of this.

[IEEE Spectrum]

NASA Invests In Satellites That Beam Power Down to Earth

By Rebecca Boyle Posted 04.11.2012 at 4:05 pm

Flower Solar Power This margarita-glass-shaped space setup is nicknamed SPS-ALPHA – the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array. John Mankins via PhysOrg

As spaceborne energy-harvesting schemes go, this one seems faintly possible — an array of curved mirrors directing sunlight toward solar cells, their energy production microwaved down to Earth. It’s so realistic, actually, that NASA is providing funding for a proof-of-concept study.

 A former NASA engineer named John Mankins, now with a company called Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, detailed his plans at a NASA innovation conference recently. The concept is called called Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array (SPS-ALPHA), and it would harvest solar energy from a perch in high Earth orbit.

 It would consist of a modular array of movable thin-film mirrors, which could be taken into space using current cargo ships and assembled piece by piece. This would be less expensive than building a gigantic array and launching it. These curved mirrors would redirect sunlight toward an internal collection of photovoltaic panels, and the solar energy would be converted into microwaves. Then the Earth-facing portion, or the bottom of the margarita glass in the image at top, would transmit low-frequency, low-intensity waves toward Earth. At the receiving end, power plants would convert the microwave energy into electricity, adding it to the power grid.

It’s not as comprehensive — nor potentially destructive — as building a Dyson sphere around the Earth, but it’s sort of along the same lines, building a space-based system that can harness solar radiation and somehow beam it back to the planet. Mankins’ design is inspired by nature, according to an account of his presentation over at It does sort of look like a flower.

His project, first announced last fall, is part of NASA’s NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts project, under the Office of the Chief Technologist. A one-year study is ongoing.

[via PhysOrg]

For the First Time, Electrons are Observed Splitting into Smaller Quasi-Particles

By Clay Dillow Posted 04.19.2012 at 1:34 pm

An Electron Splitting In Two David Hilf, Hamburg via PhysOrg

We generally think of electrons as fundamental building blocks of atoms, elementary subatomic particles with no smaller components to speak of. But according to Swiss and German researchers reporting in Nature this week, we are wrong to think so. For the first time, the researchers have recorded an observation of an electron splitting into two different quasi-particles, each taking different characteristics of the original electron with it.

Using samples of the copper-oxide compound Sr2CuO3, the researchers lifted some of the electrons belonging to the copper atoms out of their orbits and placed them into higher orbits by manipulating them with X-rays. Upon placing them in these higher–and higher-velocity–orbits, the electrons split into two parts, one called a spinon that carried the electron’s spin with it, and another called an obitron that carried the electron’s orbital momentum with it.

 Spin and orbit are–at least as our basic understanding goes–attached to each particular electron. So the fact that they have been separated is pretty significant. And while researchers have thought for a while that this kind of separation could be theoretically achieved, they’ve had a hard time proving it empirically until now. It’s a reminder that at the quantum level there are still things that more or less mystify us.

 But that’s not all it is. This particular observation of an electron splitting could have big-time implications in the field of high-temperature superconductivity. Understanding the way electrons can decay into quasi-particles could improve our overall understanding of the electron and how it moves, and thus help us figure out new ways of moving electrons–or electricity–around in bulk without losing large amounts of it as waste.


New photos from the Bosnian pyramids

posted from:

We found another pyramid yesterday, bringing the total number of structures to 6 here in Visoko.

I got to meet some Bosnian government officials today, they seem very nervous of the whole thing.
Got myself on Bosnian national TV today as well haha. Madness.
Ive had about 4 interviews for the national press, people in Bosnia all know of these pyramids, tho most dont believe it. Many of the ppl living in the town where the Sun Pyramid towers over refuse to accept the reality. They are all nervous for what it means.

The weather has been very cloudy in the morning so Ive had no chance to get some good shots of the actual Pyramids cos they are covered in cloud.

Ill show you some photos of the labyrinth system. These are 100s of KMs of tunnels which connect all the pyramids in the complex.
At some point in the past every inch of these tunnels were filled in with rocks, sand and clay. It takes a team of miners a whole day to move about 4m deeper into the tunnels, just to get an idea of the scale we are talking about.

Also, something amazing, there are large megaliths placed around the tunnels. Dowsing shows that water is below these rocks.
One has 2 separate flows intersecting creating an energy vortex.
Now, in outside air it is usually 1000ppm ionised atoms. Next to these large stones the ionized particles increases to 36000 ppm. The air is fresher, cleaner and healthier within the tunnels than outside in the open country.

Here is the block with symbols carved. There is also a Swastika. Sorry the detail isnt very clear. Bad light.

This is the end of the tunnel with the debris extracted. The wall in front is the material we are removing.

This is one of the Megaliths

Section of the tunnel. Imagine you are a grey alien and the size of this passageway is a perfect fit. Not made for tall modern man.

Tony Robinson eat your heart out!

Main tunnel splits off into 2 separate passages. We have decided to concentrate our efforts on the Right hand side passage.

Pyramid of the Moon (left), Temple of Mother Earth (right) which is more of an elongated curved pyramid. The Moon pyramid has a terrace rather than a peak, similar to some S.American Pyramids.

More soon..