September 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
in the late 70s, the start of the universe was described with the hot big bang theory; starting from a singularity and expanding, being filled by baryonic matter as well as non-baryonic matter. this model has successfully explained the existence of the cosmic microwave background and the amount of light being generated by nucleosynthesis. however, it had fundamental problems that it was unable to answer: the horizon problem (the homogeneity and isotropy of the universe in large-scale), the flatness problem (small curvature of the universe), the monopole problem (missing heavy stable magnetic monopoles), and the structure formation problem (the lack of support for the formation of the structures we can see today in the sky). in early 80s, research showed that the universe inflation could explain the above-mentioned problems even though there was still no concrete proof to support it .
among the different inflation theories proposed in the late 70s and early 80s, “old inflation” theory proposed by guth was the most popular, and easiest to understand, and was standardized as a textbook theory of inflation. however, this theory has shortcomings in the sense that it results in an inhomogeneous universe at the end. this led to the invention of the “new inflation” theory and later chaotic inflation scenario . the inflation theory was supported by many practical data. after hubble space telescope was launched in the late 90s, the observation of distant supernovae became possible. it showed that distant supernovae appear to be fainter than expected in a flat matter dominated universe, which means at fixed redshift, they are at large distances than expected in such a context and thus the universe is accelerating . another important proof is based on the observation and studies of the cosmic microwave background, which determines the total energy budget of the universe and proves that there is a shortage of about 70%, which leads to a missing exotic form of energy with negative pressure . dynamics of our universe is defined by einstein’s equations, which shows that the contribution of energy content of universe that is represented by energy momentum tensor is related to the geometry given by the curvature of space-time. there are two ways to expand this equation to take into account the acceleration; either by supplementing an extra energy momentum tensor or by modifying the geometry itself. first method adds an extra momentum tensor, which is sourced by energy with negative pressure. the simplest candidate is the cosmological constant. however, due to its being non-evolving, cosmological constant theory has fine tuning implications. hence, dynamically evolving scalar field models such as phantoms, k-essence, tachyonic scalar fields and quintessence are introduced .
“the quintessence models were proposed to circumvent the two fundamental problems of the cosmological constant: a) a value of ΩΛ~0.7 is about 122 orders of magnitude from the naïve theoretical calculation b) it seems somewhat unnatural that we happen to live in a time when ≈ 2 since this ratio depends on the third power of the redshift. …in “quintessence” models, the “dark energy” density tracks the development of the leading energy term making both comparable” [goobar 53], this modifies the late time evolution of the expansion rate of the universe, and explains the luminosity of supernovae and the angular distance of cosmic microwave background patterns. quintessence theory has its own shortcomings; the main problem lies in the fact that the quintessence field must be weakly coupled to ordinary matter. due to the coupling to ordinary matter, the quintessence potential does not decrease to zero in infinity as theory predicts .
looking at the present status of the studies and research on dark energy, it is fair to say that due to its being around for about 30 years, the dark energy could be a viable answer to the acceleration of the universe. however, its nature is still a mystery, and even though theories such as quintessence and tachyons are very successful in approaching it, it is still one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology.
- riazuelo, alain. “chapter 7, an introductory overview about cosmological inflation.”frontiers of cosmology proceedings of the nato asi on the frontiers of cosmology, cargèse, france from 8 – 20 september 2003. new york: springer, 2005. 101-138. print.
- linde, a.. “course 7. inflation and creation of matter in the universe.” the primordial universe l’univers primordial : les houches, session lxxi, 28 june-23 july 1999, ecole de physique des houches, ujf & inpg, grenoble. berlin: springer ;, 2000. 340-396. print.
- binétruy, P.. “Course 8. Cosmological Constant vs. Quintessence.” The primordial Universe L’univers primordial : Les Houches, Session LXXI, 28 June-23 July 1999, Ecole de physique des houches, ujf & inpg, grenoble. berlin: springer ;, 2000. 397-422. print.
- riazuelo, alain. “chapter 7, an introductory overview about cosmological inflation.” the invisible universe dark matter and dark energy. berlin: springer, 2007. 219-256. print.
- sami, m.. “chapter 8, models of dark energy.” the invisible universe dark matter and dark energy. berlin: springer, 2007. 219-256. print.
- goobar, ariel. “supernovae and dark energy.” particle physics and the universe proceedings of the 9th adriatic meeting, sept. 2003, dubrovnik. berlin: springer, 2005. 47-57. print.
December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
found the sdo site of nasa which has up to date images from the sun in different frequency ranges and colours. you can watch sun as it changes (it is like every half an hour or so). beside all the serious stuffs in the site there are also fun links, for example, the site has a pick of the week photo which makes a very nice background for your computer (choose here from different colours). the solar flares and solar corona makes an unreal and unbelievable image of the sun, which is very different from the image that most of us have in mind. it also gives us another different mental image, a sense of how changeable the sun is.
another fun to read part of the site is the facts section, which blows your mind away, read this one for example: it takes 200,000 years for light to make it from the core to the surface of the sun but then only 8 minutes to reach the earth!
ok now the serious stuffs,which i excerpt from the sdo guide on the site!
the sdo mission is to study and observe the solar activities and their effects on the earth climate. the data is gathered from the sun’s interior, its magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona and the radiations. beside influence on the weather, the solar flares and coronal mass ejections can also cause the disabling of the satellites and cut off communications. the sdo instruments are taking photos from sun continuously.
the sdo spacecraft has three main instrments; atmospheric imaging assembly (aia) which consists of four telescopes that photograph the sun on 10 different frequency ranges and colours, extreme ultraviolet variability experiment (eve) which measures the ultraviolet radiation of the sun that affects the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere, and helioseismic and magnetic imager (hmi) which maps the magnetic field beneath the sun’s surface.
sdo was launched on february 11, 2010 at 10:23 am est. it is part of a nasa’s living with a star program (lws) that is to provide the scientific understanding needed for the united states to effectively address those aspects of heliophysics science that may affect life and society.
November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
caltech demonstrated the proof of concept for the quantum hard drives. they demonstrated the use of quantum entanglement based memory to store and retrieve data, which is an introduction to a whole new concept of storage, pushing the traditional optical storage into the history. the new storage utilizes the electromagnetically induced transparency to reduce the speed of light to zero for storage. here is a link to the report.
below is an explanation of the eit as i understood it in layman terms.
electromagnetically induced transparency (eit) is a way to eliminate the effects of the medium on a broadcasting beam. to achieve this, the frequency of the beam of light has to be concentrated narrowly around a specific frequency and at the same time one needs to freeze the electrons at that specific frequency. this happens for example if the electrons receives two or more sinusoidal forces with opposite phases. one of the side effects of the eit is the drastic change in refractive index which is usually close to unity, over a very narrow frequency spectrum, which in turn results in very slow and close to zero group velocity of the beam. various research papers reported the reduction of the speed of light in different materials and frequencies. a result of 50 cm/s was reported, and shown theoretically that it is possible to stop the light completely inside a medium.