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December 2012 marked the end of the first LHC proton physics running period. After a four-week run of proton-lead collisions from mid-January to mid-February 2013, the LHC will shut down until the end of 2014. Before running is resumed in 2015, experts, scientists, and technicians will be busy with consolidation and maintenance to get everything ready for an increased collision energy of 13 TeV.
During the first run, the LHC reached many milestones, including evidence to a Higgs-like particle. Also in December, the space between proton bunches had been successfully halved to the design specification of 25 ns rather than the 50 ns used so far. You can read more about this and other accomplishments in the following link:
As was announced last month, NASA and Ahoora Foundation have united to ignite students' passion for science, space, and technology. The management team would like to highlight a few items for our readers:
- the registration would close in less than 10 days. The fast approaching deadline for registration is February 28, 2013.
- you can listen to an interview with Rebecca Spyke Keiser, the Associate Deputy Administrator for Strategy and Policy-NASA, about "What If Competition Live"
- the mentors are available to be contacted through the competition website. You can read their bios and ask them questions. http://www.whatifprize.org/our_mentors.php
For more information about NASA, visit:
A new study using observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveals the first clear-cut evidence the expanding debris of exploded stars produces some of the fastest-moving matter in the universe. This discovery is a major step toward understanding the origin of cosmic rays, one of Fermi's primary mission goals.
"Scientists have been trying to find the sources of high-energy cosmic rays since their discovery a century ago," said Elizabeth Hays, a member of the research team and Fermi deputy project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Now we have conclusive proof supernova remnants, long the prime suspects, really do accelerate cosmic rays to incredible speeds."
Cosmic rays are subatomic particles that move through space at almost the speed of light. About 90 percent of them are protons, with the remainder consisting of electrons and atomic nuclei. In their journey across the galaxy, the electrically charged particles are deflected by magnetic fields. This scrambles their paths and makes it impossible to trace their origins directly.
Scientists previously could not determine which atomic particles are responsible for emissions from the interstellar gas clouds because cosmic ray protons and electrons give rise to gamma rays with similar energies. After analyzing four years of data, Fermi scientists see a distinguishable feature in the gamma-ray emission of both remnants. The feature is caused by a short-lived particle called a neutral pion, which is produced when cosmic ray protons smash into normal protons. The pion quickly decays into a pair of gamma rays, emission that exhibits a swift and characteristic decline at lower energies. The low-end cutoff acts as a fingerprint, providing clear proof that the culprits in IC 443 and W44 are protons.
To read more of this article, please visit:
For images and a video related to this finding, please visit:
For more information about NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and its mission, visit:
On February 15th, 2013, Earth witnessed two cosmic events not in far reaches of the space, but in its own backyard, the meteor in Russia as well as the record-breaking flyby of an asteroid.
We found it fitting to bring your attention to a comet currently traveling the southern skies, Comet Lemmon. What makes this comet interesting is its stunning lime green coma and faint divided tail.
To see a large picture and learn more, please visit:
To learn more about the asteroid fly by please visit:
To read about the meteor shower in Russia, please see:
My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer: a book by Anousheh Ansari and Homer Hickam.
In her memoir, Anousheh recalls her long path to success and to achieving her dream. To learn more about the book, please visit: http://www.anoushehansari.com/book/
To find a book signing, please check the upcoming appearances section of this newsletter.
To obtain a copy please visit: