Fast radio bursts, or FRBs to friends, are one great recent astrophysical mystery. Another mystery, this time in the subatomic world, is the slightly different behaviour between matter and antimatter. Finally, dust devils.
Starting with short space news, a second exoplanet seems to have been discovered orbiting Alpha Centauri. And another one at a hundred light-years away is the first exoplanet found to have similar conditions to earth’s.
It was time for Les Rencontres de Moriond again, the particle physics conference-cum-excuse-for-skiing. The main takeaway was, once more, that the Standard Model of elementary particles keeps getting confirmed.
Deep under the ground of Gran Sasso in Italy hides XENON1T, an assassin of dark matter hopes. The cold heart of this experiment hides two tons of liquid xenon, whose atoms get kicked out of position by passing dark matter particles, giving flashes of light in the process. Or at least that’s what physicists would hope.
Asteroid 1999 KW4 flew by us at about thirteen times the distance to moon, successfully monitored the whole time by the International Asteroid Warning System. What’s the big deal, you say? Its observation was part of the preparations for something you’re gonna like.
Physics of elementary particles has two rounds of global-reach conferences, the winter and the summer ones. The “Rencontres de Moriond” is the winter star, held annually at the Italian ski resort town La Thuile. Here is the place of the announcement of new results, hot from the long hours of work during the dark months and the battles for who will represent their experiment in such high-profile events ; )