The Hubble Space Telescope has observed SN 1987A regularly since the mid-nineties and we have recently used these data to measure how the brightness of the ejecta changes over time. Our analysis revealed that the flux declined up to around 2001, or about 5000 days after the explosion, but then started to increase, more than doubling by the end of 2009.
Things have been happening lately with experiments which could eventually shed some light on dark matter.
The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which was completed last December, defiantly started data taking in its final configuration on Friday the 13:th of this month. Data from 5397 optical modules are recorded at a rate of 2370 events per second, and about 50 million events per day are sent North for analysis via satellite (unfortunately,
almost all are due to atmospheric muons, not neutrinos).
We are just about to finish our second night at the world’s largest optical telescope, the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) on the summit of the island of La Palma. For me personally, observing surely confirms that the only difference between children and scientists are the prices of their toys. The pricetag of the GTC is roughly 650000 times more than the telescope I got in the 8th grade, but on the other hand it also has about 10000 times light collecting capability.
During the last couple of months, a large wooden structure has been puzzling passers-by at Linköping airport. Hanging from the structure is PoGOLite – a X-ray telescope which is specifically designed to determine the polarisation of incoming photons. This capability makes PoGOLite unique.
One of the many research topics at OKC is the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Several aspects of them are studied, such as the gamma-ray and X-ray emission, the afterglow emission, and the interaction between the bursts and the circumburst medium.
In a recent paper based on observations with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope it is argued that the main emission during the first few minutes of GRBs is dominated by the jet photosphere and that there is significant amount of energy dissipation close to the photosphere. This result is significant for our understanding of physics of GRB jets.
As the Sun is finally warming up both the nature and people this far north, also the efforts to construct the Swedish LOFAR station awake from their winter sleep. From November until now snow and frozen soil stopped the work in its tracks, but today at Onsala near Göteborg on the west coast of Sweden, the building activities will recommence.
LOFAR is a European wide radio telescope consisting of stations spread out over the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, France and Sweden, with possibly more countries joining in the future.
From a particle physicist point of view the search for dark matter is just the search for yet another exotic particle. But the search for a possible dark matter candidate in particle physics experiments has definitely a special place on a par with the search for the famous Higgs boson.