Ask people on the street “What are X-rays?” and you’ll likely get a variety of replies. About medical and dental X-rays. Stories about Superman’s X-ray vision. (Why does lead block X-rays?) Invisible particles that allow us to see through stuff. Technical explanations about electromagnetic radiation. So, street surveys typically reveal levels of understanding, which I’ll… Continue reading Levels of understanding – what are X-rays?
So many media headlines today regarding the observation of both light (EM spectrum, not just visible/optical light) and gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars. Lots of visualizations. Big science in action. Here’s a sampling of headlines: Gravitational waves from kilonova collision of neutron stars discovered – The Washington Post Gravitational waves: So many new toys… Continue reading Kilonovas and multi-messenger astrophysics
Supernovas are mind-boggling. But supernovas are not all the same. For example, magnetars. Like other neutron stars, magnetars are around 20 kilometres (12 mi) in diameter and have a mass 2–3 times that of the Sun. The density of the interior of a magnetar is such that a thimble full of its substance would have a mass… Continue reading Magneto’s star