Submitted by mwoo on Fri, 2013-05-03 09:35
A new kind of cosmic flash may reveal something never seen before: the birth of a black hole.
When a massive star exhausts its fuel, it collapses under its own gravity and produces a black hole, an object so dense that not even light can escape its gravitational grip. According to a new analysis by an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), just before the black hole forms, the dying star may generate a distinct burst of light that will allow astronomers to witness the birth of a new black hole for the first time.
Submitted by mwoo on Wed, 2013-04-17 10:00
PASADENA, Calif.—Smaller begets bigger.
Such is often the case for galaxies, at least: the first galaxies were small, then eventually merged together to form the behemoths we see in the present universe.
Submitted by kfesenma on Tue, 2013-03-26 14:28
Chemists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory believe they can now explain one of the remaining mysteries of photosynthesis, the chemical process by which plants convert sunlight into usable energy and generate the oxygen that we breathe. The finding suggests a new way of approaching the design of catalysts that drive the water-splitting reactions of artificial photosynthesis.
Submitted by kfesenma on Sun, 2013-03-24 14:31
Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), working with a collaborator from the Jerusalem-based company LeukoDx, have developed a portable device to count white blood cells that needs less than a pinprick's worth of blood and takes just minutes to run.
Submitted by mwoo on Thu, 2013-03-14 18:21
Although Keith Matthews was about to make history, he went about his tasks like any others. It was the night of March 16, 1993, nearly 14,000 feet above sea level on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and he had just installed the first instrument on the brand-new 10-meter telescope at W. M. Keck Observatory. Matthews, who built the instrument—a near-infrared camera, abbreviated NIRC—was set to make the first scientific observations using the newly crowned Biggest Telescope in the World.
Submitted by mwoo on Wed, 2013-03-13 11:00
PASADENA, Calif.—Galaxies have been experiencing vigorous bursts of star formation from much earlier in cosmic history than previously thought, according to new observations by a Caltech-led team.
These so-called starburst galaxies produce stars at a prodigious rate—creating the equivalent of a thousand new suns per year. Now the astronomers have found starbursts that were churning out stars when the universe was just a billion years old. Previously, astronomers didn't know whether galaxies could form stars at such high rates so early in time.
Submitted by mwoo on Mon, 2013-03-11 15:08
PASADENA, Calif.—Thanks to a new high-tech gadget, astronomers have observed four planets orbiting a star relatively close to the sun in unprecedented detail, revealing the roughly ten-Jupiter-mass planets to be among the most exotic ones known.
The team, which includes several researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), describes its findings in a paper accepted for publication by the Astrophysical Journal.
Submitted by kfesenma on Fri, 2013-03-01 14:38
Imagine that the chips in your smart phone or computer could repair and defend themselves on the fly, recovering in microseconds from problems ranging from less-than-ideal battery power to total transistor failure. It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a team of Caltech engineers, for the first time ever, has developed just such self-healing integrated chips.