Planet of the Day: Kepler 78b

October 31, 2013

This Earth sized planet is really close to its star, completing an orbit in 8.5 hours.  It is so hot that its surface is probably melted. Its density shows it is similar in composition to planet Earth, so it probably has an iron core wrapped with rock. How it got so close, scientists are trying to figure out, since the various scenarios they have in mind doesn’t seem to be adequate. More details here. If only I could get behind the paywall for the studies. *sigh*

Dark Matter Still Dark

October 30, 2013

Aw, the first run of the new dark matter detector LUX was a disappointment. Alas, that is how science goes. Sometimes, you find nothing. It still has over two years to go, though, so my fingers are crossed for something to be found. And no, even if no WIMP (the dark matter candidate) is found, MOND is not it. The Bullet Cluster shot that theory dead and it is now a corpse in the graveyard of scientific ideas.

Minimizing Quantity Part 3: The Brachistochrone

October 30, 2013

Last post, I finished the post cryptically, mentioning that there is a certain path that an object falling will take less time to travel than any other. Now, one of the solutions, as I mentioned, is just a straight fall. That is only one of the solutions, but only if the endpoint is directly underneath the starting point. What if the endpoint is to the side, what curve would the fastest path follow?

brachsetup Read the rest of this entry »