We're not saying it's aliens.

The strangest star in the Universe has suddenly kicked into gear again, with researchers reporting that its light has started dimming in bizarre ways - just like it did two years ago when it baffled scientists with its irregular light emissions. 
This time around, we get to watch the investigation in action, because over the weekend, astronomers started freaking out on Twitter, telling everyone with a telescope big enough to train in on the star and help them figure out what's actually going on here.
"As far as I can tell, every telescope that can look at it right now is looking at it right now," astronomer Matt Muterspaugh from Tennessee State University told Loren Grush at The Verge.
ALERT:@tsboyajian's star is dipping

This is not a drill.

Astro tweeps on telescopes in the next 48 hours: spectra please!
First discovered in 2009, the 'alien megastructure' star - known officially as KIC 8462852, or Tabby's star - is located about 1,500 light-years away, between the Cygnus and Lyra constellations of the Milky Way galaxy. 
In late 2015, a team of astronomers led by Tabetha Boyajian from Yale University noticed something peculiar - a strange pattern of light surrounding the star that to this day, no one's been able to explain. 
One of the best ways for scientists to locate and study distant stars like this is to track how they emit light - slight, periodic dips in brightness can reveal the existence of one or more large objects orbiting it in a regular fashion.
These dips in brightness are usually very slight, with stars typically dimming by less than 1 percent every few days, weeks, or months, depending on the size of planets orbiting it. 
But KIC 8462852 has been experiencing erratic dips of up to 22 percent, and there's no periodic orbiting going on here - just a bunch of irregular, light-blocking shapes, with no discernible pattern to them. 
The 2015 patterns were so weird, they even prompted one scientist to offer up the possibility that an 'alien megastructure' such as a Dyson Sphere has been messing with its emissions.
"Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider," astronomer Jason Wright from Penn State University told The Atlantic at the time, "but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilisation to build."
Others have suggested comet swarms, the remaining dregs of a devoured planet, or even a scenario where KIC 8462852 is so distorted, it spins in a way that gives it a larger radius at the equator than at the poles, but none have been widely accepted by the scientific community.
The problem was a lack of data - there simply wasn't enough to prove or reject the various scenarios that were being thrown around.
"We were kind of stuck in a spot where we couldn't do anything," Boyajian told The Verge. "We had all the data we could, and to learn anything more, we needed to catch it in action again."
Fortunately, KIC 8462852 decided to throw us a bone, and has gone in for another round of bizarre dimming to give scientists some fresh data to work with.
According to Wright, the star stated dimming again on early Friday - all of a sudden, it had dimmed by 3 percent in just a few days.
"And so we are officially on alert, and we are asking astronomers on telescopes ... to please take spectra (light measurements) of the star," Wright announced, as reported by Eric Mack at CNET.
Here's what the most recent bout of dimming looks like:

bright dips
Tabetha Boyajian on Twitter‏/@tsboyajian
When Wright took questions from the public over the weekend, he said it's unlikely that the mystery of about KIC 8462852 will be solved immediately.
But we've now got astronomers from all over the world on the case, and a whole lot of new data, so we're better placed than ever before to figure out what's behind these unexplained light patterns.
In the meantime, you can watch Wright answer a bunch of questions about KIC 8462852 in the video below, and let's all just take a moment to enjoy the fact that no one's willing to discount aliens just yet - even though it's definitely the least likely explanation we have right now.
"That theory is still a valid one," Muterspaugh told The Verge, referring to Wright's Dyson Sphere idea.

"We would really hate to go to that, because that's a pretty major thing. It'd be awesome of course, but as scientists we're hoping there's a natural explanation."

Wireless Power has the ability to deliver major advancements in industries and applications that are dependent on physical, contacting connectors, which can be unreliable and prone to failure.


Wireless Power transfer  was first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla in the 1890s, however it is only really in the last decade that the technology has been harnessed to the point where it offers real, tangible benefits to real world applications.  In particular, the development of resonant wireless power technology for the Consumer Electronics market, has seen wireless charging deliver new levels of convenience for the charging of millions of everyday devices.
Wireless Power is commonly known by many terms, including Inductive Power Transfer (IPT), Inductive Coupling and Resonant Power Transfer. Each these terms essentially describe the same fundamental process – the transmission of energy from a power source to an electrical load, without connectors, across an air gap.  The basis of a wireless power system involves essentially two coils – a transmitter and receiver coil.  The transmitter coil is energized by alternating current to generate a magnetic field, which in turn induces a current in the receiver coil.


The basics of wireless power involves the transmission of energy from a transmitter to a receiver via an oscillating magnetic field.
To achieve this, Direct Current (DC) supplied by a power source, is converted into high frequency Alternating Current (AC) by specially designed electronics built into the transmitter.
The alternating current energizes a copper wire coil in the transmitter, which generates a magnetic field.  Once a second (receiver) coil is placed within proximity of the magnetic field, the field can induce an alternating current in the receiving coil.
Electronics in the receiving device then converts the alternating current back into direct current, which becomes usable power.
The diagram below simplifies this process into four key steps.


Resonant Wireless Power
  1. The ‘mains’ voltage is converted in to an AC signal (Alternating Current), which is then sent to the transmitter coil via the electronic transmitter circuit.
  2. The AC current flowing through the transmitter coil induces a magnetic field which can extends to the receiver coil (which lies in relative proximity)
  3. The magnetic field then generates a current which flows through the coil of the receiving device. The process whereby energy is transmitted between the transmitter and receiver coil is also referred to as magnetic or resonant coupling and is achieved by both coils resonating at the same frequency. Current flowing within the receiver coil is converted into direct current (DC) by the receiver circuit, which can then be used to power the device.


The distance at which the energy can be transferred is increased if the transmitter and receiver coils are resonating at the same frequency.
This resonant frequency refers to the frequency at which an object naturally vibrates or rings – much like the way a tuning fork rings at a particular frequency and can achieve their maximum amplitude.


History of Wireless Power
The idea of inductive power was made possible in 1888 when German physicist Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves by creating a spark gap transmitter and receiver.
A spark generated by the transmitter also created a small spark in the receiver, which could be seen with a microscope. Serbian American inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla learned of Hertz’s work by the following year and began duplicating his experiments.
By 1891, Tesla had developed a high-tension induction coil, which he used to demonstrate wireless energy transmission. He successfully presented his technique to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the National Electric Light Association. By 1894 Tesla had developed the equipment to wirelessly light incandescent lamps at his New York laboratory. This method used resonant inductive coupling, which involves tuning two nearby coils to resonate at the same frequency.

By 1896 he had increased the range of transmission to 25 miles. Tesla began construction on his Wardenclyffe Tower, designed for wireless broadcasting and power generation, in 1901. After several construction delays and technical setbacks, the project ran out of funds a few years later and was eventually demolished. After this, no significant advances were made for more than 50 years.

In the early 1970s, experiments with RFID tags began and by the early 2000’s Professor She Yuen (Ron) Hui and S.C. Tang developed a charger to provide resonant power transfer for small electronics. Today wireless power is used for everything from industrial motors to charging smartphones and tablets.

Researchers predict that wireless power will be making a significant contribution to energy supplies by the end of this decade.

  • Reduce costs associated with maintaining direct connectors (like those in the tradtional slip ring).
  • Greater convenience for the charging of everyday electronic devices
  • Safe power transfer to applications that need to remain sterile or hermetically sealed
  • Electronics can be fully enclosed, reducing the risk of corrosion due to elements such as oxygen and water.
  • Robust and consistent power delivery to rotating, highly mobile industrial equipment
  • Delivers reliable power transfer to mission critical systems in wet, dirty and moving environments.

Whatever the application, the removal of the physical connection delivers a number of benefits over traditional cable power connectors, some of which aren’t always obvious.  The video below highlights just some of the benefits and advantages of wireless power and offers an insight into a world where wireless power is widely integrated into industrial and mission critical environments.

Hunting for Extra Dimensions

As important as gravity is to us here on Earth, it is actually surprisingly weak in comparison to other fundamental forces in our universe, such as electromagnetism. In fact, as researchers struggle to unite quantum effects and gravity in single theories that make sense, they find that extra dimensions, usually with gravity, are implied.
However, theorizing the existence of these extra dimensions is much easier than actually proving that they exist. Scientists were hopeful that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) might reveal evidence of their existence. After all, the device gives them the ability to run specialized experiments searching for massive particle traces, microscopic black holes, and missing energy caused by the migration of gravitons to higher dimensions. So far, however, definitive proof has not been discovered with the LHC.
In their search for answers, researchers Gustavo Lucena Gómez and David Andriot at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany, have honed in on two strange effects: high frequency gravitational waves and the “breathing mode,” a modification of how gravitational waves stretch space.

Image result for Space ripples

The researchers calculated that extra dimensions should result in the creation of extra, high frequency gravitational waves. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have observatories that can detect frequencies in the range they predict, nor are any in development.
However, we do have the tech needed to observe the breathing mode. Space changes shape as it reacts to gravity passing through it. The breathing mode is seen when, in addition to stretching and squishing, space expands and contracts in reaction to additional gravitational waves. “With more detectors we will be able to see whether this breathing mode is happening,” Lucena Gómez told New Scientist.
Based on the researchers’ calculations, the additional waves at high frequencies would point decisively to extra dimensions. However, the breathing mode could have explanations beyond those theoretical dimensions, but its detection would be a significant clue pointing toward their existence.

Explaining Our Universe

Even without definitive proof, we’re making progress in our hunt for other dimensions. Since 2015, scientists have been able to observe gravitational waves, and because gravity probably exists in other dimensions, observing and analyzing the behavior of these waves under different conditions might provide clues about those extra dimensions. The existence of another dimension makes weak gravitational force more understandable — if gravity exists throughout all of these extra dimensions as well, it should be weaker.
Put another way, the existence of extra dimensions would allow for a coherent, comprehensive theory of the universe. It would also explain uncertainties about the nature of gravity. It would even put us on the road to explaining why the universe is expanding faster and faster. “If extra dimensions are in our universe, this would stretch or shrink space-time in a different way that standard gravitational waves would never do,” explained Lucena Gómez.
Proof of an extra dimension would be extraordinarily exciting for physicists working to explain the laws of the universe with a single, coherent theory. If we were able to reconcile the conflicts between quantum field theory and general principles of relativity, for example, things like antigravity, instantaneous communication and transport, transmutation of matter, and faster-than-light travel might all be possible. For now, we don’t have a definitive answer, but understanding the behaviors of gravitational waves would be a remarkable step in the right direction.

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has long held that humans only have 100 years to find a new planet. This summer, he will present his theory in a BBC documentary.

According to the BBC, the documentary "Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth" will air as part of its Tomorrow’s World season and will explore Hawking's theory that "isn’t as fantastical as it sounds."

For years, the 74-year-old genius has warned that threats including climate change, destruction from nuclear war and genetically engineered viruses put humankind in grave danger.

"Professor Stephen Hawking thinks the human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive," the BBC said in a statement posted online. "With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious."

"In this landmark series, Expedition New Earth, he enlists engineering expert Danielle George and his own former student, Christophe Galfard, to find out if and how humans can reach for the stars and move to different planets."

While Hawking holds fast to his theory, he says there is still hope if humans can find a way to colonize another planet.

“We must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity,” Hawking said during a 2016 speech at Britain’s Oxford University Union.

“Although the chance of a disaster on planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, becoming a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years...by that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so it would not mean the end of the human race" Hawking said.

Hawking's prediction has drastically changed since November, when he predicted that we had at least 1,000 years before we need to pack up and get off the planet we've always called home.

We’ve all learned in science class about how tiny we are in comparison to the vast, infinite universe. And once you consider just how big the universe is, the fact that you can’t find your phone charger suddenly becomes a lot less important, doesn’t it?
Still, it’s hard to conceptualize the size of this lovely blue planet of ours—and how achingly small it is in the grand scheme of things. After all, the world seems like such a ginormous place! Surely we must take up some kind of space in the known universe, right?
Maybe these 30 pictures will help you truly understand the scale. It’s safe to say you’ll never look at the night sky the same way again…
1. This is our home—the one and only planet Earth. But have you ever stopped for a second to consider the fact that literally every single human being who has ever lived, has lived here? Whoa.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

2. Our solar system can also be called “our local neighborhood.” While that sounds kind of crazy—the space between us and, say, Neptune, is almost unfathomable—our solar system is still only an infinitesimally small fraction of the actual, entire universe.

Fox News

3. This is the distance between the Earth and the moon—to scale. That’s only 238,555 miles! They don’t really look that far apart, huh? Imagine how big the moon would seem in our night sky if it was even just a little bit closer to us!

4. Still, the Earth and the moon are quite a distance from each other. Did you know that you can actually squeeze every other planet within our solar system into that space? That really gives you perspective as to how far astronauts had to travel to be able to land on the moon. It’s crazy to think about!


5. It’s also worth noting that some of the planets in our solar system are truly enormous. This teeny green speck is what the continent of North America would look like if it was on the surface of Jupiter. It really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

COMMENTS 1. This is the Earth – where every single human has ever lived. This is the Earth! This is where you live. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image / Via visibleearth.nasa.gov 2. And this is our local neighborhood, the solar system. And this is where you live in your neighborhood, the solar system. Via foxnews.com 3. Here’s the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. It looks far, but is it? Here's the distance, to scale, between the Earth and the moon. Doesn't look too far, does it? 4. Nope. You can just about fit every planet in our solar system within that distance. THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly. PerplexingPotato / Via reddit.com 5. But some of these planets are very large indeed. That green speck you see? That’s what North America would look like on Jupiter. But let's talk about planets. That little green smudge is North America on Jupiter. NASA / John Brady

6. Earth itself doesn’t seem all that big when it’s compared to Saturn, either. All of those rings really make us here on Earth look pretty puny. Imagine how long it would take to travel in a plane all around Saturn?

Nasa/John Brady

7. This is what we’d see if Earth had rings like Saturn. Isn’t that just so insanely cool looking? There need to be more science-fiction movies that take place on planets with rings like this!

Ron Miller

8. This is what the city of Los Angeles looks like compared to an average-sized comet. It’s a good thing those bad boys are made of ice and don’t come close to Earth very often. Otherwise, they could be pretty scary!

Matt Wang

9. None of that compares to how small the Earth is in relation to the sun. This is the truest example of “everything in perspective” inside our solar system—er, neighborhood. Look how tiny we are!

John Brady

10. Here’s another comparison, just in case we’re not being clear. Earth really is nothing more than a blip on the universe’s radar. The sun just dwarfs us so thoroughly, it’s hard to even comprehend.


11. If you were able to stand on the moon, this is what Earth would look like. You see the moonrise (almost) every night in the sky, but the “Earthrise” is something only a very select few have ever witnessed.


12. And this is what our little blue planet would look like from Mars. If you were to wake up on Mars, you’d need some really strong binoculars in order to spot Earth! It’s barely a speck in the distance.


13. This is what Earth would look like if you were situated behind Saturn’s rings. Now, that is really far away! To think we’re nothing but a twinkle in the distance for anyone who might be living on Saturn (aka no one).


14. Astronomer Carl Sagan once said that “everyone and everything you have ever known exists on that little speck.” The speck here is what Earth would look like from beyond Neptune, which is four billion miles away.


15. Sagan also famously said that there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth. That is almost incomprehensible, right? We truly cannot fathom it, no matter how hard we try.


16. And if you thought the sun was big, there exist other stars that are far bigger than our own sun, which is quite small in comparison. Now, we’re really beginning to prove just how small our planet is…


17. VY Canis Majoris, the largest known star in the universe, is one billion times bigger than our sun! That is one billion—with a “b!” It’s just unreal to think about how our local neighborhood is actually quite tiny.


18. If you decreased the size of our sun to the size of a white blood cell, and then reduced the size of the Milky Way galaxy using the same scale, the Milky Way would become the size of the United States.


19. This is what the Milky Way looks like in comparison to IC 1011, which is 350 million light years away from the Earth. Our galaxy in general is also quite small in comparison to the others in the universe.


20. There exist thousands of galaxies, and every one potentially contains millions of stars, each with their own planets. This insanely detailed photograph taken from the Hubble Space Telescope demonstrates that. (Each of those bright, swirly dots is an entire galaxy.)


21. This is UDF 423, which is 10 billion light years away. If you were to view this image through a telescope right now, here on Earth, you’d be looking at the spiral galaxy—one of the brightest—as it appeared from when the universe was just 5.9 billion years old.


22. Everything that we have seen in space only represents a small fraction of the universe. So, despite the vastness of the observable universe already seeming infinite, that’s still only a small piece.


23. Alright, get ready, because now we’re going to start with the Earth, and then zoom out. Are you prepared? You’d better strap yourself in, because this is every bit as mind-blowing as you might expect it to be…

Andrew Z Colvin

24. Now let’s zoom outward from Earth until we the entire solar system is in our sights. It might seem like a lot, but trust us—it’s actually just a tiny piece of the entire puzzle. It only gets crazier…

25. If we move a little further out, we can get a glimpse of the most immediate “neighborhood.” Again, it feels like this is an unimaginable amount of space and size, but there is so much more to come…

26. The Milky Way—our home galaxy—is the next stop on our trip outward into the cosmos. Where we’d once been comfortable inside our interstellar neighborhood, we’re now way out of our depth…

27. Next comes our local galactic group, which is a rather fun name for the cluster of galaxies that are closest to the Milky Way. Each one is home to any number of solar systems just like our own.

Andrew Z Colvin

28. From there, we head to our first supercluster: the Virgo Supercluster. This is what we call a cluster of galaxies, which are themselves clusters of stars and planets. The universe is full of ones just like this one!

Andrew Z. Colvin

29. Beyond Virgo, it’s even more expansive! You can’t even see the Milky Way from way out here, and the cozy confines of our tiny blue planet are all but forgotten entirely. See ya, Earth!

Andrew Z. Colvin

30. And that’s it—almost! The entire observable universe as we know it is the final destination on this outward voyage into space. Though this marks the end of our trip—for now—the observable universe is only a small piece of the whole puzzle. There is so much left to explore!

Andrew Z. Colvin

Talk about humbling, huh? We knew the universe was big, but that big? It truly puts things into perspective.
Share these amazing pictures with your friends below!
Previous PostOlder Posts Home