News from the Universe: 07/16/04

Posted by barb on Jul 16, 2004 in Science Musings |

A few random items from the world of astronomy:

  • Shortly after achieving orbit around Saturn, Cassini started returning spectacular pictures of Saturn and it’s rings. This is just the beginning of it’s 4-year mission to study the gas giant. in December, the Huygens probe will be released into the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.
  • New Scientist reports that Hawking cracks black hole paradox. In 1976, Stephan Hawking caluclated that while a black hole can emit radiation, that the radiation contains no information about the matter inside the black hole. The result was in direct conflict with quantum physics that states that such information is never lost. This has been referred to as the black hole information paradox. Hawking argued that the intense gravitational fields inside a black hole somehow broke down the laws of quantum physics. Now it seems that he has changed his mind — information can be retrieved from a black hole. The results will be presented next week at the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation in Dublin, Ireland, after which, I’m certain, there will be a lot of noise from physicists as to the merit of Hawking’s solutions.

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