Physicists observe long-expected helium superfluid phase

Physicists have reported that they have finally observed helium 3 existing in a long-predicted type of superfluid, called the ß phase. This is an important discovery, if it’s borne out, for reasons that partly have to do with its isotope, helium 4. Helium 4 is a fascinating substance because the helium 4 atom is a boson –…… Continue reading Physicists observe long-expected helium superfluid phase

Onto drafting the gravitational history of the universe

It’s finally happening. As the world turns, as our little lives wear on, gravitational wave detectors quietly eavesdrop on secrets whispered by colliding blackholes and neutron stars in distant reaches of the cosmos, no big deal. It’s going to be just another day. On November 15, the LIGO scientific collaboration confirmed the detection of the…… Continue reading Onto drafting the gravitational history of the universe

Awk CZTI result from Crab pulsar

An instrument onboard the ISRO Astrosat space-telescope has studied how X-rays being emitted by the Crab pulsar are being polarised, and how such polarisation varies from one pulse to the next. This is very important information for understanding how pulsars create and emit high-energy radiation – information that we haven’t been able to obtain from…… Continue reading Awk CZTI result from Crab pulsar

On that ‘Last Word on Nothing’ post

A post published on the Last Word On Nothing blog yesterday has been creating quite the stir on Twitter. Excerpt: While I can appreciate that this is an important scientific discovery, I still have a hard time mustering excitement over gravitational waves. I would not have read these articles had I not embarked on this…… Continue reading On that ‘Last Word on Nothing’ post

Neutron stars

When the hype for the announcement of the previous GW detection was ramping up, I had a feeling LIGO was about to announce the detection of a neutron-star collision. It wasn’t to be – but in my excitement, I’d written a small part of the article. I’m sharing it below. I’d also recommend reading this…… Continue reading Neutron stars

The secrets of how planets form

Astronomers who were measuring the length of one day on an exoplanet for the first time were in for a surprise: it was shorter than any planet’s in the Solar System. Beta Pictoris b, orbiting the star Beta Pictoris, has a sunrise every eight hours. On Jupiter, there’s one once every 10 hours; on Earth,…… Continue reading The secrets of how planets form