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Newly-Discovered Comet Neowise Streaks Past Earth – HuffPost
The spacey object was discovered in March, but will make its closest approach to Earth in two weeks.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning nighttime show after buzzing the sun and expanding its tail.
Comet Neowise the brightest comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere in a quarter-century swept within Mercurys orbit a week ago. Its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail. Now the comet is headed our way, with closest approach in two weeks.
NASAs Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.
Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) across. Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
The comet will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere until mid-August, when it heads back toward the outer solar system. While its visible with the naked eye in dark skies with little or no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to NASA.
It will be about 7,000 years before the comet returns, so I wouldnt suggest waiting for the next pass, said the telescopes deputy principal investigator Joe Masiero of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
He said it is the brightest comet since the mid-1990s for stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already caught a glimpse.
NASAs Bob Behnken shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media late Thursday, showing central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground.
Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet! he tweeted from orbit.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Liquid crystals create easy-to-read, color-changing sensors – Phys.org
Chameleons are famous for their color-changing abilities. Depending on their body temperature or mood, their nervous system directs skin tissue that contains nanocrystals to expand or contract, changing how the nanocrystals reflect light and turning the repti…
Chameleons are famous for their color-changing abilities. Depending on their body temperature or mood, their nervous system directs skin tissue that contains nanocrystals to expand or contract, changing how the nanocrystals reflect light and turning the reptile’s skin a rainbow of colors.
Inspired by this, scientists at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago have developed a way to stretch and strain liquid crystals to generate different colors.
By creating a thin film of polymer filled with liquid crystal droplets and then manipulating it, they have determined the fundamentals for a color-changing sensing system that could be used for smart coatings, sensors, and even wearable electronics.
The research, led by Juan de Pablo, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering, was published July 10 in the journal Science Advances.
Stretching liquid using thin films
Liquid crystals, which exhibit distinct molecular orientations, are already the basis for many display technologies. But de Pablo and his team were interested in chiral liquid crystals, which have twists and turns and a certain asymmetrical “handedness”like right-handedness or left-handednessthat allows them to have more interesting optical behaviors.
These crystals can also form so-called “blue phase crystals,” which have the properties of both liquids and crystals and can in some cases transmit or reflect visible light better than liquid crystals themselves.
The researchers knew that these crystals could potentially be manipulated to produce a wide range of optical effects if stretched or strained, but they also knew that it’s not possible to stretch or strain a liquid directly. Instead, they placed tiny liquid crystal droplets into a polymer film.
“That way we could encapsulate chiral liquid crystals and deform them in very specific, highly controlled ways,” de Pablo said. “That allows you to understand the properties they can have and what behaviors they exhibit.”
Creating temperature and strain sensors
By doing this, the researchers found many more different phasesmolecular configurations of the crystalsthan had been known before. These phases produce different colors based on how they are stretched or strained, or even when they undergo temperature changes.
“Now the possibilities are really open to the imagination,” de Pablo said. “Imagine using these crystals in a textile that changes color based on your temperature, or changes color where you bend your elbow.”
Such a system could also be used to measure strain in airplane wings, for example, or to discern minute changes in temperature within a room or system.
Changes in color provide an excellent way to measure something remotely, without the need for any sort of contact, de Pablo said.
“You could just look at the color of your device and know how much strain that material or device is under and take corrective action as needed,” he said. “For example, if a structure is under too much stress, you could see the color change right away and close it down to repair it. Or if a patient or an athlete placed too much strain on a particular body part as they move, they could wear a fabric to measure it and then try to correct it.”
Though the researchers manipulated the materials with strain and temperature, there’s also the potential to affect them with voltage, magnetic fields, and acoustic fields, he said, which could lead to new kinds of electronic devices made from these crystals.
“Now that we have the fundamental science to understand how these materials behave, we can start applying them to different technologies,” de Pablo said.
“Prolate and oblate chiral liquid crystal spheroids” Science Advances (2020). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba6728 , advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/28/eaba6728
Liquid crystals create easy-to-read, color-changing sensors (2020, July 10)
retrieved 10 July 2020
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