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Explosion

Artist's impression of stardust forming around a supernova (Image: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Using an instrument mounted on the European Southern Observatory's (ESO's) Very Large Telescope (VLT), scientists have been able to shed light on some of the mysteries surrounding stardust by observing the event and aftermath of a supernova. The observation was undertaken in an attempt to answer a number of questions regarding stardust, chief of which being where and how the grains are formed and grow. Another oddity that the team hoped to resolve was just how these tiny, fragile particles manage to survive the inhospitable environment that prevails following a supernova.  Read More

US Atomic Energy Commission 14 kT Bunker Charlie test - October 30, 1951 (Photo: USAEC)

The best advice for surviving a nuclear bomb is to be somewhere else when it goes off. If that doesn't work out for you, though, a recent study carried out at the USDOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) provides some simple guidance for maximizing your chances of survival.  Read More

Nanofoams, such as this one made from porous silica, are able to absorb large amounts of e...

Given that scientists are already looking to sea sponges as an inspiration for body armor, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that foam is also being considered ... not just any foam, though. Unlike regular foam, specially-designed nanofoams could someday not only be used in body armor, but also to protect buildings from explosions.  Read More

Frame one of THEMIS/ASI images shows auroras on a collision course on Feb. 29, 2008. (Imag...

A network of cameras deployed around the Arctic to understand the trigger mechanism for the beautiful light display called the aurora borealis – also known as the Northern Lights – has discovered that sometimes the vast curtains of aurora borealis collide, producing a stunning outburst. The reason no one on Earth has ever noticed these collisions before is that they occur on such a vast scale it takes a network of sensitive cameras spread across thousands of miles to get the whole picture.  Read More

The tubular steel 'space frame' of the Ultra II is welded together

Casualties in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have dropped as the number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles has increased, but with roadside bombs still responsible for the majority of casualties to coalition forces in Afghanistan, there is a need for a smaller, more nimble version more suited to its rugged, mountainous terrain. A new concept that would see military vehicles built around a protected personnel compartment and use a sacrificial “blast wedge” to absorb energy could improve safety for the occupants of future light armored patrol vehicles.  Read More

The afterglow of GRB 080916C.
 
 Image via NASA

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space telescope, which was launched on June 11 last year, has borne witness to the most violent gamma-ray burst ever observed – a monster that exceeded the power of 8000 supernovae. The GRB 080916C burst appeared in the Carina constellation, 12.2 billion light years from Earth, and was analyzed by five French teams, which published their results in the February 19 issue of Science Express.  Read More

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