Archive for February, 2012

New class of planets – GJ 1214 b

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The definition of planets has to be extended due to a press release from Harvard-Smithonian center of astrophysics. In short: There are three different types of planets: rocky, terrestrial worlds (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn), and ice giants. A recent measurement requires to add water planets to our definition since it has been shown that GJ 1214 b consists of more than 50 % water and has a dense atmosphere.

Categories: Progress in Space

First two-dimensional map of an exoplanet

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Astronomers around Carl Majeau, Seattle, managed to get a two-dimensional image of an exoplanet. It’s an intensity map that has been calculated from measurements of its brightness. The technique they used is called eclipse mapping. In short: if a celestial body is passing behind another one, it is possible to extract information about its surface temperature. The white color marks a hot spot and one can clearly recognize its day side.

Molleweide projection of the 2D infrared map of HD189733b. Source: Original paper

Categories: Progress in Space

GJ667Cc – earth 2.0?

February 4, 2012 Leave a comment

A team of astonomers under direction of Guillem Anglada-Escudé has reported a new exoplanet called GJ667Cc. It circles a red dwarf with a period of 28.15 days and a minimum mass of 4.5 times the mass of earth. It lies in the habitable zone and is therefore a good candidate to support life. Its distance from earth is 22 lightyears.

Source: Original paper

Would you like to earn 100000$ ?

February 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Scott Aaronson, a well-known MIT computer scientist, has offered 100000$ to the person that convinces him (and in the same time the entire physics community) that scaleable quantum computing is impossible in the physical world. Although several principles of quantum computation like the implementation of Shor’s algorithm have already been prooven multiple qubit operations and quantum gates are still extremely difficult to realize and a reliable process to upscale is missing to date. The only integrated quantum computing system with claimed 128 qubits has been built by the Canadian company D-Wave although the most part of the physics community does not believe their claims. In the end time will tell if Scott Aaronson can be prooven wrong, in my opinion quantum computation is one of the most promising and most interesting fields of research today.