Cherenkov Radiation Credit: Wikipedia
A recent criticism of the apparently Faster-than-light (FTL) Neutrinos inspiring a lot of discussion is the claim that if Neutrinos are going FTL – they must cause Cherenkov radiation.
Why? That doesn’t make sense. And its never been observed so how would anyone test that?
Cherenkov Radiation Requires Charged Particles – But Neutrinos Have No Charge
The beautiful blue-violet glow of Cherenkov Radiation is only caused by charged particles, primarily electrons.
I’m Not Sure about the Uncertainty Principle
(c) Copyright 2011 David Dilworth
Apple Bitten: courtesy Wikimedia
It is difficult to test the flavor of an apple without biting it or taking some sample out of it. You or I can test or measure its flavor by taking a bite of it or taking a small piece for examination. Either method of testing changes the apple irreversibly. Testing that harms or changes the tested phenomena or materials is called “Destructive Testing.”
When I take a photograph inside a building, where the light is dimmer, I usually use a flash.
Using a flash intentionally affects the subject of the photograph in a demonstrable way, and in an unintended way — some people react to a strong flash of light in their eyes. A flash often changes how someone looks in a photograph.
By contrast – photography without a flash does not affect the “model,” at least not with light.
Similarly, while X-rays show us the inner workings of some things, they also harm living photography subjects by damaging the DNA of living tissue.
Regarding the potentially Faster than light Neutrinos, it is vital to realize that only about one (1) Neutrino is detected by Italy’s OPERA every hour; that’s one Neutrino per hour.
Compare that to how every square centimeter on Earth (facing the Sun) encounters some 65 billion solar neutrinos per second.
When that single neutrino hits in Italy, its timed arrival is associated (extrapolated back) to a recorded proton pulse at CERN by using the time it would take for a photon to travel the same distance.
Here’s a very clear article in (relatively) plain English explaining problems with the Cosmological Inflation conjecture by Sean Carroll in Discovery Magazine.
While I disagree with the author’s conclusion that the final ingredients of a “settled” cosmology hypothesis will include Inflation, this article is very well summarized, explained and organized.
This began as a simple question, but it has intrigued enough people that I decided to feature it as an article and expand it so we can have some fun.
Carmel Beach has many more grains of sand than our Milky Way has Stars
“I have heard people say that there are more stars in the universe than there are the grains of sand ‘on the beach.’ What size is the beach and are the grains of sand coarse or fine? Or does the saying go “all the grains of sand on all the world’s beaches,” something I simply can’t believe to be true.”
You and I will work through to get an answer, but be warned — There will never be a definitive, conclusive, absolute, precise or final answer to this question. There simply is no accurate calculation or mathematical proof or method of counting – nor will one ever conceivably exist — for either counting stars or sand grains.
Its even worse than that — we can’t even get approximate numbers with much confidence.
We can only roughly estimate the number of stars in our own galaxy. Estimates easily vary by 150 times (more than two orders of magnitude) and estimates of the number of grains of beach sand are even worse.
Posted in Basic Science, Education, Fun
Tagged Carmel Bays, Carmel Beach, Estimating, orders of magnitude, Sand, Scientific Wild Ass Guess, sextillion, Stars, Universe
Muon vs Electron Neutrino Decay Tracks
Credit: Duke U. Saturday Academy
Neutrinos are fundamental particles, more closely related to Electrons than Neutrons because they are not made up of smaller particles (Neutrons are made up of 3 Quarks).
Here are some odd things about Neutrinos.
1. All three flavors (types) of Neutrinos have zero electric charge making them beyond invisible; nearly impossible to detect. They are only affected by the Weak force and Gravity; both effects are extremely difficult to detect at the atomic scale.
What makes Neutrinos unique among particles is that they seem to change structure or “flavor” (called oscillation) . . . in very short distances. (Kind of like the Transformer toys – except instead of changing shape, Neutrinos seem to change mass ! – both up and down)
Posted in Basic Science, Definitions, Particles
Tagged electron neutrino, helicity, Light Speed, Majorana particles, muon neutrino, Only one Neutrino Flavor, Space-based Neutrinos, tau neutrino, Vanilla Neutrino
Update: Added Glossary and Links to: the original paper, video talk, OPERA website; and step by step explanation of experiment details.
Neutrino Beam Path
While working on another problem, a team of physics researchers at CERN and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy found a potentially revolutionary result seven months
three years ago.
They have spent the subsequent seven months
three years quietly verifying – that muon Neutrino particles seem to be traveling faster than the speed of light, called Superluminal Motion.
Prof. Dr. Antonio Ereditato, OPERA Spokesman
(A very happy) Team spokesman Prof. Dr. Antonio Ereditato said “We have high confidence in our results. We have checked and rechecked for anything that could have distorted our measurements but we found nothing,” he said. “We now want colleagues to check them independently.” (Quote credit: Reuters reporter Robert Evans)
Posted in Basic Science, Experiments, Particles
Tagged Causality Violation, CERN, General Relativity, Gran Sasso Laboratory, Italy, Neutrino, OPERA, Pions, Special Relativity, Superluminal, Tau-Leptons
Dark Matter Illuminated?
NewScientist reports that “NASA’s FERMI satellite has confirmed a previous hint that there is more antimatter than expected coming from space. The bad news is that the result strongly almost certainly rules out Dark Matter as the source.”
Posted in Basic Science, Big Bang Models, Dark, Dark Matter, Experiments, Models, News, Particles, UnObserved
Tagged DAMA, Dark Matter, galaxy rotation, Gran Sasso
The voice you hear getting louder is Brünnhilde practicing Götterdämmerung. Thats because the search is all but over for “the most sought-after particle in modern physics” – the Higgs Boson.
Update: In March 2013, while there are a few loose ends, it appears that a Higgs Boson is detected. See “Closing in on Higgs Boson Certainty, But “Standard Model Higgs” Remains Distant“.
The most expensive science experiment in history, the Large Hadron Collider, has failed to find the Higgs Boson which is required for Big Bang and Expanding Universe ideas (as well as its role as a key component of particle physics “Standard Model“).
CERN Higgs Boson Experiment — Artist’s Simulation
Credit: Lucas Taylor, Wikipedia
The hypothesized particle was not (yet) found within the wide range of values for mass where it needed to show up.
(c) Copyright 2011 David j Dilworth
Imagine resolving details of nearby stars and their planets.
Sub-nano-arc second resolution should be possible with this proposal for a telescope that is composed of a set of three sets of two (six total) lens-sensor spacecraft systems that send images and data back to Earth from three baselines that can begin sending ground breaking data when the spacecraft are separated by 10 times Earth’s diameter. The baselines of the six spacecraft grow over some 100 to 200 years to about 100 billion miles (roughly 1100 AU, 2 hundredths of a light year or 160 terameters).
Six Directions for Six SpaceCraft
Three pairs of identical telescopes are launched in six X,Y,Z axis directions to escape our Solar System and return images from each of the three paired baselines. One axis is intended to be perpendicular to our galactic plane.
Posted in Basic Science, Experiments, Fun, Proposal
Tagged HelioSphere, IR, MagnetoPause, Solar Map, Sub-nano-arc second resolution, UV, VLBA, Voyager spacecraft
I just found a critique by Ethan Siegel implying that there is some flaw in my article explaining Big Bang’s lack of an adequate scientific definition and hypothesis (titled “International Astronomical Union has no Definition for Big Bang“).
While flattering (I’ve made mistakes before and far prefer to get them corrected quickly), the critique fails to identify any flaws in my article and contains a number of incorrect or misleading assertions — including the false claim that the complete quote by Professor Peebles is somehow out of context.
It also spends most of its extensive effort with an elaborate distraction where it tries but falls short of describing a complete hypothesis for Big Bang. Since the article is copied on other blogs, its errors need correcting. So, here are some responses to the dispute article’s ideas and quotes.
Here’s a fun article on possible identification of a new particle.
FermiLab - Illinois
Update (July 2011): Unfortunately, this exciting potential evaporated under more rigorous scrutiny. But, that’s exactly the way science is supposed to work. We are supposed to abandon even our most treasured concepts when data can not support it, and embrace data even when it contradicts our wishes about natural phenomena.
Update (June 2011): Rats – verification by a second team failed; it shows no similar “bump” meaning that hope for the alleged new particle is evaporating, but not disappeared. Nevertheless, the amusing term remains :-)
It describes how the evidence is getting stronger – and we may have a new particle confirmed soon.
Ever want to explore the whole night sky ?
Whole Night Sky
Here you go thanks to Nick Risinger—
The new record for the farthest object whose distance was directly measured is 450 million light years with an uncertainty of no more than 9 percent.
Our Milky Way galaxy is only 100,000 light years across. 450 million light years is more than four thousand times the diameter of our galaxy. Our “local” Supercluster centered on Virgo is only 150 million light years across – one-third of the new distance measurement record.
This was set by the world’s largest telescope, the Very Large Baseline Array telescope (VLBA) which extends from Hawaii to New Hampshire, and boasts a resolution a hundred times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.
IAU has no Definition for Big Bang
(c) Copyright 2011 David Dilworth
3 Quarks Daily Semi-Finalist Logo
“…the [Big Bang] definition is a mess.” – Prof. P. James E. Peebles, Princeton University, Feb. 2011
News: (Carmel, California) The world’s most widely respected astrophysics organization, the International Astronomical Union (or IAU), has affirmed that it has no definition for any Big Bang model.
News: A fundamental astrophysics distance tool called Cepheid stars are newly discovered to vary in brightness and mass with age.
Cosmological Distance Measuring Sticks “Ladder” and “Standard Candles”
“Everything crumbles in cosmology studies if you don’t start up with the most precise measurements of Cepheids possible,” said Cepheid research follow-up study lead author Pauline Barmby, of the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
MIRA (Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy) will hold their fabulous annual Holiday Party on December 12. During the fest / feast they are excited about me providing a 15-20 minute presentation titled “Ground Rules for Cosmology.” Come and join us.