Mar 252016

Mysterious space object dubbed 1991 VG was first observed on 6 November 1991 by James Scotti, an astronomer and research specialist at the Lunar and Planetary Lab of the University of Arizona.

Scotti was at the lab’s Kitts Peak (Arizona) telescope and while tweaking various settings beyond the usual range, he spotted an odd thing which he christened 1991 VG.

Asteroids collision near star - artist's concept (NASA/public domain)

Asteroids collision near star – artist’s concept (NASA/public domain)

In 1996, he recalled:
“It was a magnitude V=20.7 object moving with rates typical of a Near-Earth Asteroid.”

V factor measures of the brightness of the object. From there a complex formula links the brightness to the object’s size.

Scotti wrote:
“From the photometry we did we can say that if the objects’ albedo is low, around 5%, it is about 19 meters in diameter. If it is around 20%, then it is about 9 meters in diameter. If it were a perfect mirror it could be as small as about 4 meters in diameter.”

Nowadays, many conspiracy theorists believe this is a real “alien probe” which is set to come closed and fly near Earth in 2017.

Natural or artificial?
The object created confusion among astronomers because of its odd rotation and longevity in the outer space. Some argue that it’s a section of the Apollo 12 rocket, but Jim Scotti believes the weird space junk might be something else.

“We took into account also the possibility of a man-made object. There were several spacecraft and rocket bodies that could be 1991 VG, but after a detailed analysis, we ruled out this hypothesis,” said Scotti.

The opinions remain yet divided with some folks being convinced that the strange object is a secret Soviet rocket of the Space Race era (1957-1975).

It is widely known that the Soviet space rockets were as powerful as those developed by the US and there is a possibility that the former Communist empire launched such a rocket to the Moon and hid this fact because of a mishap or something which did not go according to plan.
When it was first spotted, the object was about 10 meters in diameter and located at a distance of approximately 451 000 km from Earth and about 80 467 km from the Moon.

This indicates an increased rate of rotation and brightness fluctuations. At that time, such a behavior had not been noticed at another asteroid of similar size. Furthermore 1991VG has an Earth-like orbit.

Mar 152016

British mathematician Sir Andrew J. Wiles, who solved the mystery of Fermat’s Last Theorem in 1994, thus cracking a dilemma that troubled specialists in the field for over 350 years, has been given the Abel Prize 2016.

The decision to award 62-year-old Wiles the “Nobel Prize for mathematics“, was revealed on Tuesday by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, which said that Wiles’ impressive proof opens “a new era in number theory”. The Abel Prize recognizes contributions of extraordinary depth and influence to the mathematical sciences and has been awarded annually since 2003. It carries a cash award of NOK 6,000,000 (about EUR 600,000 or USD 700,000).

andrew wiles

Sir Andrew J Wiles solved Fermat’s Last Theorem in 1994 (pic: Charles Rex Arbogast)

As for the theorem in question, it bears the name of 17th-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat who wrote it on the page of a textbook, around 1637. He said at the time that the theorem has a magnificent proof, but he “did not have enough space on that page to lay it down”.

“Fermat’s last theorem was a seemingly simple puzzle as the mathematician said that for any three whole numbers, a, b and c, the equation a^(n) + b^(n) = c^(n) could not be satisfied by any whole number n greater than 2. Furthermore, Fermat claimed to have a proof for the theorem, that could not be contained in the narrow margin of the textbook he happened to be scribbling in.”

Solving the theorem turned out to be a hard burden for the later generations of scientist and a long string of unsuccessful attempts gave rise to a dedicated book called “Fermat’s last theorem“, by Simon Singh.

The stunning proof of Fermat’s theorem is seen without any doubt as the top moment of the career of Andrew J. Wiles, born in 1953 in Cambridge, who graduated from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and continued his studies in the US and France.

Oct 012015

Starting November 2015, two driverless electric vehicles will start travelling between Wageningen University and the city of Ede in the Netherlands, writes Foxcrawl. The fully autonomous minibuses, called WEpods, are programmed to travel a distance of 5-6 kilometers and passenger will be able to stop them via a smartphone mobile app.

autonomous vehicles

Autonomous buses will mix with common traffic in Holland starting November (pic: BBC)

Wepods are designed serve the public transport by carrying up to 12 passengers along the route at a speed of 25 kilometers per hour.

The unmanned busses will be using the regular roads, however, during the first stage of the program they won’t mix with regular traffic if harsh weather conditions – raining, snowing – or if night falls.

The passengers are not left unwatched during their journey: besides the onboard surveillance video cameras and other sophisticated high tech equipment, they will have an emergency button at their disposal which stops the bus whenever pressed. At the same time the technicians at the control center are informed of any possible incident.

The developers of the WEpods project are confident that there will be no unpleasant events, and the entire Netherlands will be able to make use of such uncrewed vehicles starting next year.

Mar 272015

In the center of our galaxy, Milky Way, there is a huge black hole with a mass estimated to be millions of times bigger than that of the Sun but according to NASA scientists who study the phenomenon, this hole is “relatively quiet “.

However, not the same could be said about a black hole spotted in a distant galaxy dubbed as IRAS F11119+3257.

black hole

Distant active black hole blasts outflows of matter and star-making molecules (public domain)

Herschel Observatory’s Telescope snapped images with a supermassive black hole that is simply devouring matter around, and throwing outwards powerful jets of star-making gas molecules.

Researchers have been seeking for long the driving force behind these molecular outflows which fascinated the scientific world.

A new study in the journal Nature, published March 26, 2015, provides the first observational evidence that a supermassive black hole at the center of a large galaxy can power these huge molecular outflows from deep inside the galaxy’s core. These outflows remove massive quantities of star-making gas, thus influencing the size, shape and overall fate of the host galaxy.

“This is the first time we see a black hole in action. It features a tremendous attractive power and could swallow everything around,” explains Francesco Tombesi from the University of Maryland.
Source: Maryland University

Mar 142015
Astronomers spotted fastest star US708 in Milky Way Galaxy

Astronomers at Queen’s University in Belfast have measured the speed of a wandering white dwarf star that travels though space at 1,200 kilometers per second, the highest speed ever recorded for such a celestial body in our galaxy. The hyper-velocity unbound star, named US 708, is free of gravity, which means that is gonna leave [Read more]

Mar 142015
NASA reportedly finds water on Jupiter satellite Ganymede

U.S. space agency NASA has confirmed the existence of a new source of water in our solar system. After analyzing scientific data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists confirmed on Thursday that under the frozen surface of Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons, there is an impressive salty ocean. The discovery solved thus the mystery [Read more]

Mar 142015
NASA launches four satellites to monitor Earth's magnetic field

An Atlas 5 rocket took off took off at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday carrying four NASA satellites that aim to monitor the energy bursts as well as the electrically charged particles that enter into contact with the Earth’s magnetic field. Atlas V rocket was built and launched by United Launch Alliance, in partnership [Read more]

Mar 142015
Sony Xperia Z4, a flagship smartphone thinner than iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6?

Sony Xperia Z4, the flagship of company’s mobile line-up, is scheduled for roll out over six months at the IFA 2015 event, but some of the features of the new smartphone leaked already on internet. It is rumored that Sony’s gadget, which will most likely see its launch earlier than iPhone 6S, will be 0.04 [Read more]

Mar 142015
ASUS Republic of Gamers G501, a remarkable ultra-slim gaming laptop

ASUS unveiled ROG G501, one of the thinnest gaming notebooks that features an impressive 0.81-inch (2.05 cm) thickness and a 4K display. ASUS Republic of Gamers G501 has a weight of 2.06 kilograms and in terms of specifications, comes with a 4GB GDDR5 Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, an Intel Core i7 quad core [Read more]

Mar 142015
Apple welcomes flexible edge display patent for iPhone

Apple is ready to build side displays into the next generation of iPhones! Various sources argue that the Cupertino-based IT giant has received approval from USPTO with respect to a patent application for edge display technology submitted in 2013. Thus, besides rumors claiming that the iPhones will feature Force Touch just as Apple Watches, it [Read more]