Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gamma-Ray Burst Visible to Naked Eye

Scientists have found an interstellar explosion so bright that he briefly with the naked eye-from 7.5 billion light years away.

Viewers looking for the right patch of the night sky on Wednesday had seen several afterglows from the massive gamma-ray burst, somewhat brighter than the faintest stars visible.

NASA Swift satellite recorded the unprecedented spectacle with its X-Ray Telescope (left) and optical / UV telescope (right). The burst GRB 080319B was named because it was the second of four bursts detected that the first day for Swift.

GRB 080319B, is more than half in the entire visible universe, crushed the previous record holder for the most distant object visible without the help of three orders of magnitude. That would be the galaxy M33, only 2.9 million light years from Earth.

"That was a stunner burst," Swift Principal Investigator Neil Gehrels of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. "It blows away every gamma-ray burst so far we have seen."

Gamma-ray bursts occur when massive stars run out of fuel and collapse, casting, fast huge quantities of radiation and high energy particles. Acting as high-power cosmic blowtorches, particle jets can also heat interstellar clouds to create bright afterglows, according to scientists.

The bursts are the most brilliant occurrences in the universe after the Big Bang. GRB 080319B the afterglows, for example, seemed to 2.5 million times stronger than the brightest supernova on record.

Researchers are still unsure why GRB 080319B was so bright. Some theories originating a star with an unusual mass, spin, or magnetic field or a particularly concentrated energy jet.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Scientists "see" ghosts

The reason that appearances, enemy images, and like phantoms lurking in the shadows May by scientists.

A team from University College London found that when we look around in a poorly lit context, it can fool our brains in things that are not really there.

Although no one has done a systematic study of the ghost, neuroscientists are convinced they are all in the mind ", and in the light of the new work, it seems not so surprising that they seem most likely to see in" spooky "scanty - Lit circumstances

The journal PLoS Computational Biology, Prof. Li Zhao Ping and her colleagues say that the surrounding context of what we see, everything is important - sometimes overwhelming evidence gathered by our eyes and we even imagine things.

They were surprised when they find that a vague background context has more influence on what we see, as someone who is bright and well defined, and speculate that this may explain the power of abstract art and the reason why we can see vivid details in the vague brush strokes from impressionist paintings.

"The paintings are vague in the details, but I speculate that perhaps because of this vagueness viewers are free to live their imagination to fill in the details," said Prof. Zhao Ping, takes her first name as her pen scientific name - Li Is such a common name, it can lead to an identity crisis for Chinese scientists.

"Everything we see is a hallucination caused by the virtual-reality machine in our head," commented Professor Mike Morgan from the City University in London.

"Normally, these hallucinations veto by the information coming through our senses, so we can call perception" controlled hallucination ".

"But if the input is not clear can be all sorts of things, like the faces de Quincy saw in the clouds and carpets. There are hundreds of faces hidden in the soil of structured platforms at subway station Euston, if you look for . "

To the power of the urgent context, 18 observers were from the UCL team to concentrate on the center of a black screen. Each time a buzzer sounded they pressed one of two buttons to record or not, whether they just saw a small, dark, grey 'target' rectangle in the middle of the screen. It seems not every time, but when it appears, for which only 80 milliseconds (80 one-thousandth of a second).

"People saw the target much more often if it appeared in the middle of a vertical line of similar-looking, grey rectangles, in comparison to when it appears in the middle of a pattern of bright, white rectangles. Yourself registered" see "the target If it is not really there, "says Prof. Zhao Ping.

"This is because the people psychologically better prepared to see a bit vague, when the surrounding context is also vague. It made sense for them to see - so that what happened. If the objective is not with the Expectations that the surrounding context, you saw it much less frequently.

"Illusionists were alive to this phenomenon for years," Prof. Zhao Ping "If you see, they throw a ball into the air, followed by a second ball, and then a third ball, the" magic "disappears, you ask, how they did it.

"In truth, there is often no third ball - it is not only our brain is fooled by the context, tell us that we really see three balls in the air launched one after the other."

"Contrary to what one might expect, it is a rather vague as a bright and clearly visible context strong that most of our convictions to allow the evidence and fill in the blanks."

This may also be why more monsters lurking in the shadows. "In the shadow of a lot of things are vague seen (and not as clear), that is more of the filling-in," says Prof. Zhao Ping.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Haunted Lighthouses - Seguin Island Light

Way up in the northeastern corner of the U.S, perched high on its own little barren island made of rock, sits Sequin Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Kennebec River in Georgetown, Maine, is the second lighthouse that was ever built in Maine and is one of the oldest in the U.S. The little island of rock, located in an area that is frequently shrouded in fog -- an average of 2,734 hours of fog every year -- and hammered with cold, high winds, seemed almost designed by nature to harbor a lighthouse.

Merchants submitted the petition for the lighthouse in 1786, but the government didn't order the lighthouse built until 1795. Once President George Washington gave the order, the lighthouse construction began and the project was completed in 1797 at a cost of $6,300.

Sequins Lighthouse holds the title as the highest elevated lighthouse in Maine, standing just over 180 meters above the sea level. The fixed, non-flashing light is visible, as far as the ships 40 miles. Due to the high incidence of fog in this area, the light, the house is equipped with one of the most powerful fog horns that have ever been made. The original structure was replaced in 1820, then again in 1857, than in the current structure was built. The light has continued to be monitored manually until it was fully automated in 1985.

The history of Seguin Island Light Station is filled with strange and tragic stories.
One is that of the first lightkeeper who died penniless and boatless on the island. Some say his ghost has haunted the keepers who came after him. There have been sightings of a ghost who has been named the "Old Captain". He is usally seen climbing the staircase of the tower as if heading upstairs to tend to the light.

One night the old furnishings were being removed from the premesis. Apparently the man in charge of the crew moving the furniture was awakened in the middle of the night by the "Old Captain" who asked him not to take the furniture and to leave his home alone. The man didn't grant the request and the next day after the furniture had been loaded onto a boat and was being lowered into the water, the cable mysteriously snapped. The boat and everything in it fell onto the rocks below and were smashed into pieces. It appears the "Old Captain" got his way afterall.

Another frequent sighting is that of a young girl running up and down the stairs and waving to those who see her. She has also been heard laughing and bouncing a ball in a room upstairs. History shows that a young girl died on the island and was buried near the lighthouse.

Perhaps the most tragic incident that occured on the island is that of a former caretaker in the mid 1800's who was driven insane and murdered his wife, then took his own life. Legend states the caretaker brought his wife to live with him at the lighthouse shortly after they were married. As time went by, she became depressed and sullen and he bought her a piano to help cheer her up.

Unfortunately, she didn't memorize music and had to play from sheet music. Since she had only had one piece of sheet music on the island, she played the same song over and over until her husband finally took an axe to the piano and to her, and then killed himself.

Passing ships have reported that the sound of faint piano music coming from the island can be heard floating out over the waves on still, calm evenings.

Additional accounts of the paranormal include doors opening and closing by themselves, mysterous cold spots, coats being thrown onto the floor, tools disappearing and reappearing at random, and coughing from an unseen source.

The Sequin Island Lighthouse is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and is accessible by boat from Bath, Popham Beach, or Boothbay Harbor.